Around The World (Wide Web): Nash-Dwight Altercation, Standings, Team Growth, Grammy Trip Recap

Ryan Cole —  February 11, 2013

From Kevin Ding, OC Register: What’s wrong with you if the Greatest Teammate Ever is fed up with you? Well, what’s wrong with Dwight Howard is he still isn’t trying. And for Steve Nash – who has spent close to two decades in the NBA making anyone who tried hard next to him look better than ever and who said during his own MVP heights that if everybody worked as hard as him, he wouldn’t even be in the league – not trying is infuriating.

From Royce Young, CBS Sports: In the end, the Lakers’ annual Grammy road trip was a massive success. At least relative to the rest of the season.The Lakers went 4-3 on the trip, almost equaling their previous total of road wins (they were 5-15 away from Staples before the trip started). Considering their position and performance, that’s really not all bad. That is if their circumstances were different. Starting the trip with a 20-25 record was a problem, and one that required an almost impossible task of near perfection. Here’s how the trip went: They beat the Timberwolves, Pistons, Nets and Bobcats. They got waxed by the Celtics, blew a fourth-quarter lead against Phoenix, were humbled by the Heat and oh, lost Pau Gasol for 6-8 weeks along the way too

From Eric Pincus, LA Times: The Lakers won’t make the playoffs without some help. On Sunday, after falling to the Miami Heat 107-97, the Lakers got some assistance from both theOrlando Magic and Sacramento Kings. At 24-28, the Lakers are in 10th place in the Western Conference, with hopes to climb to eighth before the end of the season.  The Utah Jazz (28-24), Houston Rockets (28-25) and Portland Trail Blazers (25-26) are in their way. The Lakers need to overtake two of the three teams and on Sunday the Magic knocked off the Blazers 110-104 and the Kings beat the Rockets 117-111. If the Lakers sweep the two remaining games against the Blazers, they’ll own the tiebreaker. Just two losses behind, the Lakers mathematically have it within their power to pass Portland. The Rockets have a 2-1 series lead and are three losses ahead.  The Lakers have the better conference record, so a victory over Houston at Staples Center on the final day of the season could give the Lakers the tiebreaker. That means the Lakers still need help from other teams to outpace the Rockets.

From Elizabeth Benson, Lakers Nation: The Lakers had a decent road trip. They went 4-3 over the Grammy trip, which lasted 13 days away from the comfort of home, but they failed to make up any ground. The team encountered two injuries on the trip; one that will sidelinePau Gasol for six to eight weeks, at minimum. There has been slight progress as the team has won seven of their last 10 games, but there are still a plethora of questions lingering around regarding the team’s identity.

From Eric Adelson, Yahoo Sports:  The pain flared just moments after tip on Sunday. On his first trip down the court, Dwight Howard felt Miami Heat players grabbing at his injured right arm. “They got me early,” he told Yahoo! Sports in the quiet of the Lakers locker room after Sunday’s 107-97 loss. “They would yank it back.” Howard said the Bobcats did the same thing in Charlotte Friday night – even worse, in fact. “It’s like a jolt,” he said. “Then it hurts the rest of the night.” This is the daily reality now for Dwight Howard, who no matter how publicly he is painted as soft, is playing with an injury that is not going away anytime soon. The torn labrum in his right shoulder is very real, and so is the pain. Howard says he’s trying to do everything he can on the court, but also adds: “I’m trying not to make [the injury] even worse.” When asked how long doctors say it might be before the pain goes away, Howard sighed. “No timetable,” he replied.

 

Ryan Cole

Posts

12 responses to Around The World (Wide Web): Nash-Dwight Altercation, Standings, Team Growth, Grammy Trip Recap

  1. I’m officially off the DHoward bandwagon. I see little effort, too many mistakes and, what’s truly troubling, no heart. SMH.

  2. So what is everyone going to say about Nash calling out Howard? Where’s the uproar? Where are the articles about Nash being a bad teammate and the reason that Howard is going to abandon the Lakers after this year? Where are all the posts from some of our regulars about Nash needing to keep this kind of stuff inside the locker room instead of on the court or to the media? Ugh. Nash is so bush-league for embarrassing a teammate like that!

    I was in favor of making the trade to land DH. He is playing this year, after all, whereas Bynum isn’t. I never in a million years expected him to behave like he is though. He has one of the greatest point guards of all time chomping at the bit to get him the ball and he can’t be bothered to make the effort because…it’s not the way he wants to score!? Here’s a dirty little secret that Shaq has Dwight- Kobe got him about 4 or 5 easy dunks a game by penetrating and dishing to him. He got countless other easy looks from the triangle. His game was not *only* posting up with his back to the basket!

    Do I think that MDA was the right coach for this team? Nope. However, I think that most of the fault has to lie with DH12 for not giving consistent effort on defense and for not trying to find his offensive groove with Nash and Kobe.

    So, what needs to happen? Well, my knee-jerk reaction would be to find a decent trade for Howard before the deadline and get him out of here. Then, chalk this season up to a loss at this point and rebuild for one last chance next year with Gasol at center. Try to resign Earl Clark. Amnesty MWP.

    I could be wrong, but I just don’t see this happening this year. I do hope for the best though…

  3. P Ami: I enjoyed your post in the last thread. I agree with much of it, although I have a slightly different slant on the conclusions. You say the FO did its job, and I agree. We can be retroactive and state that they did not fill the bench very effectively, but in my opinion, that was all part of the gamble we took to get the big names. We all have our personal peeves. Many wanted a back up PG, and in my case I never wanted to part with the likes of Shannon and Barnes. However I think we need to give the FO credit for doing their job. We gambled and thus far we have lost, but we are all in this together and the FO does not have a crystal ball.

    You did allude to the fact that the FO was responsible for making a coaching change after the season started. And they obviously also decided on what that change should be so they are responsible in that area (good or bad). I will leave it at that.

    Your reference to injuries is of course valid. Clearly the Lakers have been hit hard and that has hindered our performance. The question is by how much? As a different reference than you chose, the C’s (old team like us), just lost their #1 and they have actually improved ! I will buy a drop of a few places in the rankings due to injuries, but to drop from a top 3-4 team (expectations), to outside of the top 20 in the league is not reasonable. Even if we were overrated and we were below the top 3-4 in the pre-season – a drop of 16 notches is not warranted.

    We will have plenty of time for evaluation later, and we can of course still make the playoffs.

    However, short of an amazing season closing run, I just do not want to see the post season Laker spin machine try to tell us that the FO did a great job, the Coaches did a great job, Kobe did a great job, and DH deserves the maximum. While I do agree with a couple of those items, I can’t buy off on all of them simultaneously, because if they were all true – we would not be where we are.

  4. I’ve read plenty of comments from so many well meaning fans making suggestions on what it would take for the Lakers to reach the post-season and beyond. Player trades, coaching changes, attitude adjustments, different offenses, better defense, the list goes on & on.

    Currently Kobe is the easily the Lakers best player & their most reliable. But at this stage of his career he can no longer carry this team on a day to day basis. The Lakers were most successful during the Kobe era when Kobe was actually the 2nd scoring option. Kobe & Shaq (3 Final MVP’s) lead the Lakers to three consecutive titles at the turn of the century.

    Then teamed with Gasol, and as the top dog Kobe added another two titles (& 2 Final MVP’s) to the Lakers trophy case.

    This season, Nash & Howard, two future HOF’s were added to the team with horrible results (based on expectations). Think about it, Gasol, Howard, & Nash(3 HOF’s) individually & collectively are all having one of the most underwhelming seasons of their careers. Yet Kobe almost looks as good as ever.

    The chemistry issue makes me look at the bigger picture. Obviously Kobe has no respect for Howard or Gasol’s hearts.As far as Nash? So my questions, quite simply are:

    - which NBA players do Kobe respect?
    - are they attainable by the Lakers?
    - and would Kobe be willing to “pass the torch” to that player NOW?

    If the answers to question 2 &/or 3 are “no”, then the Lakers have no shot of adding title #17 to their collection during the Kobe era. Regardless of what they do.

  5. Miami did everything to slow down Kobe in the post with little success. Wade started out on him, than Battier, than Lebron, sprinkled in with some double teams and early traps. Regardless, Kobe had his way for the most part.

    It’s becoming increasingly clear that Kobe is the best post player on the team, and maybe in the league…and the sooner Dwight comes to grips with this, the better off the team will be. When Howard is in the post, he often gets stripped or sent to the line, with no offensive rebounders to grab his misses, especially with Pau and Hill out. Due to his health issues, he’s also missing quite a few easy layups.

    When Kobe is in the post, not only does the offense flow better, but it also leaves Dwight, the team’s best offensive rebounder, to grab the misses. Another addded benefit is Dwight’s man will stick to him like glue when Kobe is posting up, leaving the lane open. The offense is at it’s best with Kobe in the post, and Howard just needs to accept it and stop complaining about more touches.

    When Kobe is not on the floor, usually at the start of the second and fourth quarters, the offense obviously goes through Dwight…but when they share the court together, it seems the team is trying to force feed Dwight in the post, particularly at the beginning of games. I just don’t think this is the most efficient strategy, but may be a necessary evil to keep Dwight motivatef…..or at least until Dwight realizes that his main focus should be on rebounding and defense.

  6. I think it was a mistake to have MWP guard Lebron for most of the game. MWP was unable deny Lebron the ball, contest his jumper, or deny penetration. Earl Clark was at least able to contest Lebron’s jumpers, but against MWP, Lebron was basically playing against a safety cone. I still think MWP can do a decent job guarding PF’s with his strength and quick hands, but there are very few SF’s than he can slow down these days.

  7. Robert, thanks for the comment.

    There are moves the FO may have made to mitigate this disaster. Not sure what they would have been. Losing athleticism is a problem for the team and I can see why Shannon and Barnes would have been good to keep. I just think the greater issue has been the slew of injuries to our bigs.

    Comparing our situation to the Celtics is fair but I think there are key differences. Besides the culture of the Celtics being an exception, as Zach Harper has said, as the Celtics get worse they play better, the loss they suffered is not as destabilizing as ours.

    With everything Rondo brings, ball hawking and uncanny court vision, he is a limited player. He pounds the ball quite a lot and often goes for the spectacular when the pedestrian would do. If you look at his game log, career wise, he tends to be less spectacular (sometimes even unspectacular) when his team is not on national TV. He is an excellent player but his scoring limits qualify his contributions. Since Rondo went down, Terry has played better and they have guys like Bradley and Lee to bring defense comparable to Rondos. While neither of those players make spectacular plays like Rondo does, they are solid replacements. They make the right pass, hit a jumper, can penetrate and make their free-throws.

    Meanwhile, Pau is an all round player who can shoot, scores with either hand in the post, is a masterful passer, is long and even with his limited foot-speed, he effected shots. Last week this site discussed Pau’s effect on the offense and one glaring statistic was the effect his presence on the court has on Dwight’s efficiency. I personally thought the move for this team, when healthy, is to have Pau in the post and restrict Dwight’s offense to P&R plays that then open things up for a ton of good options from all over the floor. Instead, Dwight’s desire to sit in the post limited Pau’s game and his own, while leading to bad shots and turnovers on a consistent basis. Unfortunately, the Lakers made more sense with Dwight out and Pau starting at center then they do now. So, I would compare the loss of Dwight to the loss of Rondo and that still sets aside the reality that Nash and Blake lost lots of time, Hill is out, and that our second most irreplaceable player is out for an extended period.

    Like I said, a comparison with the Lepers is reasonable (I’m definitely hearing it from my buddy who is a C’s fan) but I think it’s hard to expect that they suffer the same issues as the player they lost, in my opinion, is less impactful.

  8. Big City Sid,
    I’d appreciate it if you did your Kobe trolling somewhere else. I’m not saying don’t comment here, I’m saying that if 3 out of every 4 of your comments are some variation of the theme that Kobe is the team’s biggest problem (even when giving him backhanded praise) it’d be better if you did that somewhere else. It leads to baiting comments back and forth that accomplish nothing. Please respect what I ask. Thank you.

  9. BigCitySid,

    You should have look at Kobe’s twitter feed before deciding Kobe does not respect Pau’s heart.

  10. For the life of me why haven’t the FO signed another big???? We got killed on the boards yesterday. We lost 2 bigs to injuries and haven’t replaced them. What is going on????

  11. @ Darius, I really believe you misread my comment. It’s not a knock on Kobe to say I believe he doesn’t respect some of his teammates hearts or that the only way I think Kobe gets another ring at this stage of his career with the Lakers is if he is teamed with someone he respects enough to become the 2nd scoring option. To me it’s logical, and it’s what the Lakers attempted to do with Howard, but Dwight just isn’t that guy.

    Where’s the knock? D-Wade did it, David Robinson & Earl Monroe also. I think it would improve the Lakers title chances. And I believe you agree with me.

    And by the way, I do respect your writing and your wishes. At the same time I know you don’t want to be surrounded by a lot of “yes men”.