Preview and Chat: The Los Angeles Clippers

Darius Soriano —  February 14, 2013

Records: Lakers 25-28 (9th in the West), Clippers 38-17 (3rd in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 104.8 (8th in the NBA), Clippers 106.1 (7th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.0 (T 15th in the NBA), Clippers 99.3 (6th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Earl Clark, Dwight Howard
Clippers: Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan
Injuries: Lakers: Pau Gasol (out), Jordan Hill (out for the season); Clippers: Trey Thompkins (out)

Not to sound snarky, but there is no battle for Los Angeles. L.A. is a Lakers town and likely will be for the foreseeable future. That said, there is also not a battle for who is the better team this year. That team is the Clippers and it’s really not that close. They are the deeper team and through a combination of better chemistry and health, are the more structured team on both sides of the ball with a vastly superior record to show for it. That may hurt to hear, but it’s the truth.

At ESPN, Kevin Arnovitz discussed the dichotomy of both team’s seasons to date, focussing mostly on the lack of cohesion that has plagued the Lakers and how the opposite has been true for the Clippers. It examines this idea through the lens of systems and how the Clippers have the “Chris Paul System” while the Lakers still seek their identity after swapping out Mike Brown for Mike D’Antoni. The entire thing is an excellent read, but this section captures the point well, I think:

To Del Negro and Paul, the NBA is a superstar league, and the offense they run is dictated by Paul. In the Clippers’ world, his instincts take precedent over any dogma. That intuition is rooted in strong principles. Paul will probe, but he’s meticulous and patient, and in the half court he’ll rarely act until the defense is leveraged.

“On offense, you just try to make the right play,” Paul said. “Every time I come down the court, I want to make sure that two people have to guard me, no matter what. If I’m in a ball screen, I want to make two people have to guard me and then somebody is going to be open.”

Draw the defense, make the play. Apart from that, there’s no defined program etched into the Clippers’ playbook. A system has principles, but not every principle belongs to a system.

Down the hallway at Staples Center, D’Antoni subscribes to a different basketball value system, but his doctrine has been a tough sell in Los Angeles, particularly to his big men. In the confines of D’Antoni’s system, size and length aren’t virtues unto themselves. Big men have the same imperatives within the offense as the little guys — they must stay in motion, move the ball and keep the paint vacant so that there’s space for drives and cuts. Want to make yourself useful? Set a drag screen, make a quick pass from the high post, do anything that keeps the offense moving.

Interestingly enough, lately the Lakers have started to adopt some of what has made the Clippers successful on offense. As Del Negro noted, it is a superstar league and the Lakers are putting the ball in the hands of their perimeter superstar on nearly every play and letting him go to work. Kobe Bryant is at the center of the Lakers’ offensive universe — as he seemingly always has been (at least since Shaq left) — and has taken it upon himself to be his team’s Chris Paul.

Kobe is operating as a facilitator first, looking to make two defenders guard him and then making the right read out of that. For the most part, he’s been successful at this. Other times, not as much. It’s a work in progress to be sure, but we’d be blind to not see that progress is indeed being made. If, as we saw against the (to be fair, bad) Suns’ defense, the Steve Nash and Dwight Howard can start to find cohesiveness in their pick and roll partnership, the team will look even better on offense. With the hope from there being that a better offense can lead to a better defense. (Which, by the way, isn’t some myth. In the last 10 games, with the Lakers playing a more controlled style on offense, they’ve posted a defensive efficiency of 100.4 — the 6th best mark in the league over that span. Expand the threshold to 15 games and L.A. is posting a DEff of 101.8 — 10th best mark in the league over that span.)

Tonight, then, the Lakers will use this new approach against the Clippers and see how far it gets them. The Clippers will be waiting with their own blueprint, ready to show that there’s still plenty of ground to be made up. Both teams come into the game playing some good ball — the Lakers have won 7 of 10 and the Clips, after struggling with Chris Paul out, have won 3 in a row with their full roster now back and ready to play.

It’s the Clippers’ depth that will pose a huge challenge for the Lakers this evening. Their first team, anchored by Paul and Blake Griffin, will test the Lakers with their dynamic work in the P&R and through Griffin isolations in the mid and low-post. It will be interesting to see who is deployed to slow Griffin as his strength will be tough for Clark to handle and his explosiveness will surely give Ron issues. My guess is that Ron gets first shot and that he’ll look to frustrate Griffin through physical play and by using his quick hands to disrupt his handle and post ups by attempting to poke the ball away. Griffin, though, should still be able to get his shots in the paint when he gets position and, of course, is always a threat in transition.

Speaking of transition, the Lakers’ second unit will need to be prepared for a quicker pace when they face the Clips’ bench. Bledsoe, Barnes, Grant Hill, and Crawford will try to turn up the tempo and get easy baskets in transition when they come in the game. Blake, Meeks, and Jamison will need to be aware of run outs (especially from Barnes) and look to mark these guys early in possessions, slow the ball, and force them to back the ball back out and run some sets. If unsuccessful at achieving this, the Lakers’ bench will be run off the floor.

Offensively, the Lakers will need to be deliberate while also finding a way to take advantage of mismatches when they present themselves. It’s unlikely Chauncey Billups will guard Kobe and that will leave Caron Butler to check #24 with Chauncey sliding over to Ron. Kobe will need to vary up his attack against a bigger defender, finding ways to mix in P&R’s from the top of the floor to mix with his typical work from the post. Also look for Kobe/Nash P&R’s where they try to force the switch so Kobe can go to work against a smaller defender (be it Paul or Bledsoe) by getting to the post.

Meanwhile, Ron will need to find ways to get into the paint and use his size to his advantage against Billups. Whether that’s through well timed post-ups and drives or simply getting to the offensive glass more often, Ron can’t be a stationary player waiting around the arc and let Billups off the hook by letting him camp weak side and not have to defend the full floor.

The Lakers’ high P&R with Nash will also be important tonight. Paul can be a disruptive defender in his own right, so Nash will need to try and shake free by using picks up high from Howard and Clark. The Clippers will need to decide how aggressive they’re going to get with Nash; whether Jordan and Griffin will be hedge and recover players or whether they trap hard will dictate how Nash needs to play this action. If he’s trapped, Nash will need to have an outlet ready so the Lakers can use their man advantage on the weak side of the floor. If the Clips lay off, Nash will need to aggressively look to attack the defense via quick passes and in looking for his own shot before Paul recovers to him. If Nash can keep his turnovers low and find ways to mix his own scoring with setting up good shots for others, the Lakers’ O should be able to get enough baskets to keep this game close.

And, ultimately, that’s the ultimate goal tonight. The Clips have been a very good front running team lately, playing from ahead and then dictating how the rest of the game unfolds. If the Lakers can stay close or, even better, claim a lead and play from ahead themselves, they can change the tenor of the game. Of course that will then require the Lakers to out-execute a Chris Paul led team down the stretch (by no means an easy feat), but I’d rather that be the case than having to race from behind to try and claim a win via a comeback.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on TNT. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

Posts

191 responses to Preview and Chat: The Los Angeles Clippers

  1. For Warren! Go LAKERS!

  2. This one is for Ken!

  3. For the Kobe Alert!

  4. It would have been a lot better if D.A. can actually tinker without hurting people feeling. I mean look at how benching Pau brought so much criticism, imagine if he bench both nash and Pau just so that they cna have more room and the ball more.

  5. The Lakers are ranked 23rd in Points Against them per game. That is the most telling stat about this team. Lakers are 6th in Points For, but offense can only do so much.

    The Clippers are ranked 10th in Points Against them per game. They are 4th in Points For.
    Those are championship level rankings. If you can be in the top 10 in both categories, you are a threat to win a championship.

    The Clippers have made a historic jump. They are exceedingly deep. Maybe on of the deepest benches in NBA history.

  6. I’ve seen some horrible news about Jerry Buss. Apparently he has cancer and is in intensive care.

    Sad day, I hope he pulls through.

  7. First of all i hope and pray for a speedy recovery to Dr. Buss the best and most succesful owner on american sports the last 30 years, he built the Lakers into the franchise that it is today. About tonight game i think the Lakers are due a win over the Clippers, the team is playing well for the most part the last 3 weeks, last game it was the first time i remember i saw a Nash-Howard PnR executed to perfection. That is potentially the most lethal in the league bar none, they need to keep that up. The D is improving and in general i feel a level of optimism despite the injuries and all the bs. I agree with Neil on his comment about MDA the roster is not fit for his style but i think he has a better grasp on this roster talent now, people talk that he ” failed” in NY but people forget about the absolutely horrid mess isaiah thomas left there. When they signed amare they finally had a decent playoff team going and then that idiot of a owner Dolan traded half the team for Melo mid-season despite the fact that he could had signed him as a FA and kept the team intact. We all know what happened after that.

  8. Robert Sacre Alert:

    Sacre has a total of 10 blocks in his first year as a Laker. Chuck Nevitt had 15 blocks in his first year as a Laker. Sacre needs 6 blocks tonight to surpass the great Nevitt. Sacre has already surpassed Nevitt’s rebound total, 30 to 20. Sacre also needs 13 offensive rebounds to pass Tierre Brown’s total of 21 offensive boards when he was a Laker. John Salley had 8 steals in his lone season with the Lakers. Sacre currently has zero steals, but only needs 9 steals to pass Salley. Mark Madsen made 1 three pointer as a rookie. Sacre only needs 2 three pointers to pass Madsen. Let’s hope he does it tonight! Slava Medvedenko committed 45 personal fouls in his first two seasons COMBINED. Sacre is on pace to shatter that record, with 36 personal fouls committed in only his first season. If Sacre commits 5 fouls tonight, he will be on pace to take Slava down in the first game after the all star break. Fingers crossed. Go Lakers!

  9. Kobe Alert: If you remove Kobe’s rookie year (Del Harris played excellent defense on him that year), he has had only 10 games in the other 16 years of his career, where he has scored 4 or fewer points (1214 total games). Including his rookie year, he has had only 5 games in his entire career, where he has played at least 20 minutes and not scored more than 4 points. The game against Phoenix was the first time Kobe had played 20 minutes and scored 4 or less, since early 1998. This is for Kevin: In the other 9 games in the past 16 years where Kobe has scored 4 points or less, he totaled 15 dimes, as opposed to the 9 he had against Phoenix. This is for Ken: Kobe has had a total of 16 games in his career where he had at least 8 attempts, and shot 20% or worse from the field (he was 1-8 against Phoenix). Derek Fisher did this 31 times and MWP has equaled KB with 16 of these in his brief 3.5 year career with the Lakers. These are for the haters: Regretfully, in all the games where Kobe has scored 4 or fewer points, he has never had more than 3 turnovers, until the Phoenix game where he had 8. KB has had 23 games in his career where he has had 8 or more turnovers. No other Laker who started his career in the 90′s or later has more than 3 (incredible but true). You might be confused by the somewhat negative Kobe report. Hey – I just report the facts. I do not make them up. And that applies whether they are about players, FO, or coaches. Facts need to be reported no matter how annoying or redundant they are : ) Don’t worry, I wanted to get this out of my system to prepare for the tribute to Kobe known as the NBA All star Game.

  10. Lakers biggest game of the year, if they win, they will have sole possession of 9th place. Not much to cheer about, but the best they can do before the All-Star break. Lakers need this game more than the Clips & will have their crowd behind them. Big game for the Clips? Yes, they have been the Laker’s doormat for…ever. But this is basically a play-off game for the Lakers, hopefully they’re approaching it as such.

    I smell an upset…go Lakers.

    P.S.: sorry to hear about Dr Buss hospital admittance, wishing him well.

  11. Lt mitchell: Love it
    NxRammer: Also love it
    Neil: A little earlier next time – you are 1-0 as the first post.

  12. We need to win this one. For the team, for the fans and for Dr. Buss.

    Lets Go!!!

  13. Win for Dr Buss!!!!!

  14. Jerry Buss: Most successful owner is the history of sports (16 trips to the Finals and 10 Titles)
    Take a look at this list (Jerry Buss tops everyone, including the most successful owners of the Yankees and Celtics)
    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=chi/100704_10_most_significant_owners_sports_history

  15. Also putting in my get well wishes for Jerry Buss, for whom Lakers fans will be forever grateful!

  16. Wins and losses are not life and death, though we may have the luxury of treating them as such sometimes. I’d wager that none of us that frequent this site know Jerry Buss personally but there is not a one of us that hasn’t taken pleasure in the great product he has been instrumental in producing here in Los Angeles.

    There will be time later to berate his son. We will have time to question Dr Buss’ judgement. We will have opportunity to demand more from his team. I hope today is our opportunity to thank Jerry Buss for all he has done in a good, long and accomplished life. Let us hope his will continue to be good, that he have further accomplishments and that his life be even longer. Get well Dr. Buss. Our thoughts, prayers and thanks to you.

  17. Wishing you well Dr. Jerry Buss! Man…it is really amazing how great of an owner he has been all these years. He has spoiled all of us Lakers fans. It’s just a game, but it would be nice if the Lakeshow could pull this one out with their guy in the hospital.

  18. Staples Center, LA Live and the Laker tridition is all the legacy of the the best owner in sports. All the best to Jerry and I hope the team pulls off the greatest come back of all time this year.

    Start it tonight by showing the Dippers who owns this town.

  19. LT Mitchell

    That Robert Sacre Alert is classic. At a time when LakerNation is feeling down due to the depressing news regarding, arguably, the greatest owner in all of sports, a comical post such as yours is something that can ease the pain. So to speak. Thoughts and Prayers are with Jerry Buss and the entire Buss family and thank you for providing me with such a glamorous and successful franchise that, for the past 33 years, I’ve been fortunate to have been a fan of.

    Tonight, lets get it.

  20. Best Owner of All Time: Jerry Buss; Best GM of All Time: Jerry West; Best Coach of All Time: Phil Jackson (all of these are not just NBA – but all sports)

  21. Thunder have nobody that can take advantage of Wade or LeBron, Miami has players who slow down Westbrook and Durant, Lakers have nobody that can guard Westbrook or Durant, Miami has trouble slowing down Kobe and Dwight (historically). Miami > Thunder > Lakers. Chances of beating Miami Lakers have that nod.

    Best wishes to Dr. Buss and family.

  22. Robert

    What’s the over under on 20 or more Kobe shots tonight?

    I will take the over. Bet the house!

  23. I just love that Jordan interjects into ESPN’s epic wankathon over Lebron’s obscure statistical records with, simply: yeah, I’d still take Kobe. And the NBA’s shills can only respond with: well, Lebron will get 5 championships too!

  24. Just caught the tail end of the first half of the MIA-OKC game. When the officiating is like they handled LeBron makes me again remember why I’m flirting with the idea of ditching the NBA for good. The Heat are simply better tonight, and LeBron is casually destroying anyone they guard him with. So they give him two fouls and a T in the space of 40 or so seconds in an attempt–to my cynical eye, at least–to try and make their marquee game of the night competitive in the second half.

    Some games suck, sorry NBA and TNT. Just deal with the lower ratings in the moment instead of turning fans off in the long term by fixing–okay, strongly giving the appearance of fixing–games.

  25. JB
    I have to disagree with you. I think that what you are seeing is that Lebron is actually being called for fouls against other Superstars. He’s not used to getting called for fouls at all and he spouted off at the ref towards the end of the half for the technical.

  26. Ken: Based on this thread, I am optimistic for KB and the Lakers tonight:
    1) The top of the thread is a triple: For Warren, For Ken, For the Kobe Alert
    2) I went totally Phil Jackson on Kobe in the alert tonight
    3) You have gone completely retro with your name
    How can we lose?

    KenOak: I agree. Saying that the referees are fixed against Lebron is like saying Chicago politics is fixed against the Daleys

  27. Blizzard: Don’t let your love of the Lakers blind you to the sheer awesomeness that is Lebron. I was a HUGE Magic Johnson fan and Lakers fan in the 80′s and 90”s – so much so that I only watched games where the Lakers played. When a young wipper snapper named Jordan came around and dared challenge the greatness that was Magic and my Lakers, I immediately began to look for faults in his game. In those days, anytime someone mentioned how “awesome” MJ was, I always responded that MJ23 was a “ball hog,” a “shoot first pass last” guy and the “anti-Magic” – and most importantly, “he does not have the rings that Magic has.” The problem was that this type of attitude blinded me to the greatness that was unfolding before my very eyes and I never truly appreciated how great Jordan was to the league and the game of basketball until much, much later in his career. I think the fact that MJ played against Magic as Magic neared the end of his career contributed to much of my hatred. Perhaps if Magic had been retired for a few years and then MJ came on the scene I would have had a different outlook on MJ.

    I think this is the same scenario that fuels the Kobe-bashing up to today. The same arguments I made against Mike, are now made against Kobe. In the end, these folks may not realize the greatness of Kobe until he is retired and they can appreciate how his career stacked up against the great ones. Will he ever be regarded as being better than MJ? Probably not – but that’s only because Michael is so fresh on our minds.

    As far as Lebron, I think that the NBA has never seen a physical specimen quite like him. Although he is far from the perfect player, there is no denying that he is getting better every year and that he has the physical ability and skill to become something better than MJ and Kobe. Sure, Michael and Kobe have more rings – but rings alone should not determine greatness. Plus, Lebron has plenty of gas left in his tank so don’t count him out yet. I would recommend that you just catch a few of his games (preferably against the Celtics) and just enjoy his game. I guarantee you that 20 years from now you will be able to appreciate it.

  28. Reggie commenting on a made shot: “SPUH-LASH”, as the replay shows the ball rattling around the rim a few times before dropping through. Reggie is comedy gold.

  29. KenOak and Robert, but I think JB’s point, which I agree with, is this. At times (usually the most important times), the last thing the NBA’s refs are focused on is simply calling the a fair game by the rules. They’re always pursuing some kind of BS agenda and trying to manipulate the outcomes according to whatever they imagine their interests are.

    Amusingly, Reggie is pounding the drum over the *travesty* of official bias against Lebron. Yes, Reggie, THAT’s the problem with NBA refs, too much bias against Lebron, eh? I just picture David Stern feeding Reggie a pellet afterward for his solid work tonight.

  30. Don’t understand the Thunder. They should post up KD every time down the floor that Wade is guarding him. Westbrook should be fined for every pull-up jumper he takes while KD is being guarded by Wade.

  31. It’s 7:25 and 10 mins left in Miami game. We’re going to miss the whole 1st quarter.

  32. @Kevin_
    It’s a good thing that I live in California and can watch all the Laker games….wait nope I live in the Bay Area and can’t get TWC. /sigh

    *edit* It looks like this game is being carried exclusively by TNT anyway?

  33. If your argument for Lebron’s greatness is that he has the longest streak of either shooting 60% or getting 12 assists against teams whose name start with the letter “S” on Tuesday nights with a full moon, well then … might want to re-think that.

  34. Wade is gonna cry in that locker room.

  35. Ok maybe this is a dumb question. But do we just automatically miss the beginning of game because of this late Heat/Thunder game?

  36. Horrible start for the Lakers.

  37. Shoot the stupid ball Kobe not air ball Metta? Metta is bad.

    Another 3 Rd quarter like last game?

    Terrible start. Metta sucks on defense and offense. Worst starter in the league.

    Blake may out score him by 50

  38. Beautiful basketball right now.

  39. Get Metta out of the game! He playing no defense. He is a joke.

  40. What a lovely start!

  41. First, in all seriousness, my thoughts are with the Buss family. Jerry Buss has been the best owner the NBA has ever seen and the Lakers were blessed to have him at the helm for so many years.

    Now, on to this game, the only thing I can say is we look equally awful on D as we do on O.

    Luckily the Clippers tend to come out like gangbusters and then sputter out a bit. If we can hang close until then…

  42. Ok, I have to say it, I hate Chris Paul….he is too damn good.

  43. This isn’t the Suns. This is a real team and the Lakers are not. Hey genius Mike get crap Mess out of the game.

  44. Wow – and I thought OKC played a poor 1st quarter. Just HAVE to get stops.

  45. Steve Nash is getting killed by chris paul. Too bad if nash switched to billups he would get killed by billups.

  46. Griffin just made Howard his B*tch.

  47. I guess Dwight’s shoulder hurts too much for him to get an arm up…geez making it pretty easy for Blake.

  48. Lakers have no offensive or defensive system. They’re just winging it. The most successful play is to post Kobe and let him read the defense. Amazing at the asb Lakers are still in training camp phase.

  49. Annnd true to form the Lakers come out flat. In a deep hole already. SMH

  50. Blake Griffen, who wwas made to look unguardable, outscored the Lakers in that Quarter 18 to 17.

    That about says it all.

  51. I guess the Lakers are no longer the kings of LA. A 17 point quarter!

    I put this on this coach thinking slow, over the hill Artest can guard. Anyone any more.

    How can Mitch sit there and say “we don’t need to make changes.

    Are you blind?

  52. Steve Blake has come in and completely changed the Lakers energy, good for him – he has really struggled as a Laker after a very good run in Portland.

  53. Keep Metta out and Jamison in. PLEASE!

  54. Rusty Shackleford February 14, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Nice run.

  55. Someone tell Fratello that Jamison is getting looks and Dwagina isn’t because Jamison actually moves his feet and puts in effort without the ball.

  56. With all the injuries to our frontline, how we haven’t gotten even a sniff if Kenyon Martin is beyond me. Clark playing the 5 and Jamison the 4 is just ridiculous.

  57. Okay, admit it, how many of you thought MWP was going to blow that?

  58. Artest with the hilarious steal … how can you not love that guy? Seriously.

  59. Remember when Jamison played 0! Minutes for 8 games?

    Nice brain again Metta.

  60. What a brutally bad T call, I would bet a trillion dollars that it will be rescinded after the game.

  61. Barnes hit Odom in the eye = Laker foul

    MWP pumping his fist = Technical foul

    LMAO…

  62. Joe – Yep. And like all the other rescinded Laker techs (Howard springs to mind), it hurts us in the game, and the fact it’s removed after the fact helps us not at all.

    Does anyone know if refs get fined or otherwise punished for calls that the league later admits were so wrong that the will go on record as reversing them?

  63. Blizzard

    I use to love Bozo the clown. He never shot 26% for 12 games though.

  64. Holy smokes, that makes Dwight’s FT stroke look money

  65. Ken, so he’s in a shooting slump — it happens. He’s not here for his offense anyway, although he brings more of it than other noted defenders (Tony Allen?)

  66. @AusPhil – the NBA (Stern) religiously protects their refs which has lead to them being completely incompetent and unaccountable.

    They not only don’t punish them, they reward them (see Joey Crawford).

  67. lol … Kevin Ding on Twitter: “If there were three baskets lined up next to each other, DeAndre Jordan’s free throw still would’ve been an air ball.”

  68. Jesus, Nash didn’t even touch him that time, ref just presumed a foul.

  69. Get the feeling refs don’t like Dwight?

    Good gutsy comeback.

    Steve has zero chance to guard Chris. Pull him please.

  70. Dear God … is it too much to ask that refs forgive a guy’s temporary rage at their gross incompetence?

  71. Joe – Yeah, that was pretty much what I thought.

    I’ve never seen a season like this one before where the NBA has had to admit that referee errors changed the outcome of 2 games (that Mavs-Blazers one recently, and the Raptors-Bobcats one earlier in the season). Not a good reffing season.

  72. The officiating has been awful.

  73. why are the refs so quick to give technicals? I didnt see anything wrong with what antawn jamison did.

  74. The officiating has been horrible.

  75. Wow, really Chris Paul, lobbying the refs to T up other guys…so beneath you, or so I thought.

  76. @AusPhil – the Raptors have had 3 games lost this year due to clearly wrong calls at the end of games. Their coach called out the refs last time and the NBA gave him a pass rather than doing the standard whack-a-fine because even Stern had to recognize how bad it was already. Not that he will do anything about it, the league just has clearly unqualified refs, I assumed this is where the replacement NFL guys came from.

  77. Terrible officials…this is fun though!
    http://twitpic.com/c3ugor

  78. Deandre Jordan set a moving screen on Kobe no call.

  79. Lakers were just down 4 now 14. D’Antoni has to fix this end of quarters meltdown.

  80. Very bad refs. Palmer is always been out of control with her whistle.

    Sad to see how over matched Steve is out there.

    How did Clips get 5 subs better then our best.

    Get Nash out his over under tonight is like minus 30. Killing the team.

  81. Steve Nash can’t guard anyone. That is why we r down. Just pathetic.

  82. This hurts deep to watch. I feel bad for Kobe. This was suppose to be his last few glory years.

  83. This is such bs. Kobe needs to be more agressive, he needs to find a balance.

  84. Nice hands, Howard… Dumb foul, turnover — three point deficit right back to 14.

  85. Nash is minus 21

    Blake plus 8

    Daaaa

  86. I dont feel bad for Kobe because he is passing on some very nice shots to be a “facilitator” and its hurting the team.

  87. The plan must be to hand out a T after every made basket tonight.

    Someone let the refs no that no one paid to come watch them blow their whistle randomly.

  88. Why Barnes didnt did any of this crap when he was playing with us?

  89. Man these refs suck… Smh

  90. Matt barnes rarely knocked down those threes when he was a Laker…

  91. The game is still within reach. But the uneven character of this team shows up again at the end of quarters very dissapointed. We need vintage Black Mamba on the third.

  92. This team can not compete with top teams with Metta and Nash starting. These are now 20 minute a game bench players. Not $18 million in starters.

    Look good on paper or fantasy league teams though.

    Minus 35 for those two. Oh well.

  93. Lakers are going to lose this game. Almost every team they play is on cruise control and right when they want to start playing they’re up double digits. You’d think all this talent on the Lakers they would have another gear other than their current one “old”.

  94. Correction, Barnes never hit those threes in the playoffs. He played decent during the regular season for the Lakers. It’s when the playoffs start when Barnes turns into a scrub.

  95. James is actually right, upthread, and I and others have said it before: the Lakers have a well below-average defense, and it is virtually impossible to have a championship-caliber team that is well below average on one side of the ball. However one wants to apportion the blame for/assign the causes of this, it is pretty much indisputable.

    The “Robert Sacre Alerts” are one of the most clever and amusing things that I have ever seen at FBG.

    Note to Robert: It looks more and more like the veto marked a turning point for the franchise. I thought that the Nash and Howard acquisitions might alter that trajectory, but at this point, such does not appear to be the case.

  96. Another dissapearing act from Dwight “Chris Angel” Howard. Like Shaq said he needs to impose his will on the other team.

  97. Where is our #2 Option?…we need him to have an imprint on this game.

  98. Lakers don’t do anything well as a team don’t pass well, rebound, defend, shoot, play position defense, play inside, play outside, scheme, nothing. This team stinks.

  99. The Clippers should run D’Antoni’s SSOL. They have all of the tools to facilitate his offense.

    I knew Dwight was going to disappear against a good team. Happy to see that Jamison proved me wrong by playing strong tonight.

    The problem with an older team is that players can look really good for one out of every seven games. That’s what we’re getting from Metta and Nash.

  100. I dont kbow why is so hard to figure out to feed howard to on the post when guarded by griffin to try to get him in foul trouble. This game is almost over

  101. Clippers +30 points from the three point range.

  102. Dwight’s effort tonight looks half-hearted to say the least.

  103. I swear that every team in the NBA has better shooters than the Lakers. And Dwight is not even 75% healthy. He can barely jump right now.

  104. Disgusted, way to give it all for DR Buss and head into the all star break ,the season in a nutshell right there, like i said before last season team looks like a world beater compared with this one this is not the Bobcats this game is done. Pathetic

  105. Lakers look like the team that played last night. It’s incredible the amount of energy Lakers never have.

  106. Kobe Bryant now has 11 games this season with 6+ turnovers. Only Jrue Holliday (13) has more. From ESPN Stats and Info.

  107. Dwight is getting punished on the boards.

  108. Lakers have to struggle to best the Suns Cavs, Detroit.

    They clearly are not a top 15 team in the NBA anymore.

    But Mitch said they need no changes?

    Odd.

  109. Nash has been brutal tonight, his offence needs to make up for his defence – tonight it’s not even close.

  110. Steve Nash is just terrible. TOs, shooting, defense. What was Mitch thinking?

    2 more years of this?

  111. Nash was straight up mauled bu Paul, no call, a Laker breath on a Clipper automatic foul. We are gettimg the Bobcat treatment

  112. Dwight has to be the worst at rebound league’s-leading-rebounder ever. Dude, grab the freaking ball when it’s right in front of you.

  113. 25-29. ASB tomorrow. Trade deadline next week.

  114. @Ken
    Just stop man. Everyone and I mean everyone thought that the Nash pickup was a good move. Everyone, except for Aaron, wanted Howard over Bynum. Sometimes moves just don’t pan out. How does it help for you to say the same exact things over and over again?

  115. Steve Nash

    3 for 9 a minus 25

    Chris Paul

    6 for 10 a PLUS 30

    ENOUGH SAID!

  116. If Dwight is really this hurt there is NO WAY that he should be playing in an all star game. The fact he will t me is yet another reason to ship him out for whatever we can get.

  117. Ok I am done. Your right.

  118. Great finish for the Lakers from 20+ down. Awesome 4th q!

  119. So I think the lakers might give up 140 points with the bad defense they’re playing.

  120. According to some people in this forum, this Lakers team is still a contender, just haven’t played as well as they could. Watch this game and you will see its not as much about that. They are just clearly outmatched by a better team. Changes needed? I guess not.

  121. It’s one of those games where the Lakers’ pathetic laxity on defense let the Clippers get nice and comfortable, so now they can’t miss a shot. Rolled out the red carpet for them.

  122. I honestly can’t even stand the sight of Howard anymore – dude is walking around with this look on his face like he couldnt care less.

  123. To whom was Kobe referring when he said get him out of the game after that 3 second call?

    Steve Blake has looked really good since returning from injury. Just wish he could go on a run like he did when he was with the Clippers against the Lakers in that one game. It would definitely help the Lakers in this game.

    Metta, Earl, Nash and Howard are invisible. Can’t win games when four of your five starting players can’t contribute.

  124. Anyone can tell me about how many games when Dwight, Nash, Pau and Kobe played together?!

  125. Game over… The only interesting part will be to see how much can the clippers score in the fourth..

  126. This game illustrates why the playoff chase is pretty meaningless. Making the playoffs would mean four more games like tonight. Five tops. This is a lottery team without a lottery pick.

  127. Chearn

    Dwight. Called him a xxx. Xxxx. Guess that tells us a lot about those two.

  128. get real ken, trying to compare the plus/minus on those guys is a joke. yeah the lakers look awful, just as they have all year. but kobe is -30 whereas his counterparts are +30, big deal. it is not because the Lakers signed nash, it is because this team sucks and everybody on the court is in the negative tonight.

  129. I love how teams just come into staples and absolutely punk us

  130. D’Antoni holds no one accountable. He hasn’t yelled at a player since he was hired. Mike Brown wasn’t afraid to bench the team’s best players last year. And the Lakers won both those games. He sent the wrong message when he put all the eggs in the Nash basket for a month and has failed to help the players be successful. He’s changed his offense some but he hasn’t had an impact either.

    It’s become blatantly obvious Kobe and Dwight have no chemistry and don’t like playing with each other. Kobe’s been more demonstrative this game than he has all season after the team’s miscues. Dwight is as unpredictable as they come when it comes to game to game play and decision making. Which means he’ll leave money on the table to play elsewhere this offseason. Sad if the front office really believes all this team needs is time.

  131. Whether it’s Dwight, Nash or MWP, there’s no need to try and find a Scapegoat. Fact of the matter is that the Clippers are just a better team.

  132. I am just angry and disappointed at the lack of effort and the reality that this team is what it’s record says it is. Worst season in my memory of 40 years.

    Pains to think no post season Basketball.

    This game does it for me. Gonna go buy a dog to walk at night.

  133. Annoying how some say “no effort”. The Lakers are, trying. the clippers and other young up n comers are just simply better teams than the Lakers. The Laker aren’t an elite team anymore, time to accept that.

  134. I wouldn’t say the Lakers are trying in the sense of playing with great urgency. When was the last time you saw a Laker make multiple efforts on defence, to box out, get a board, etc.

    Further, there is little player movement on offence, people are just standing around.

    That might be someone’s definition of trying, but it is not mine.

  135. Please Mike take out Kobe and Dwight. this game is over. You are just pointlessly waiting for one of your stars to get injured ala Rose. Please please dont play with fire or you will get burn.

  136. The one player who has game changing “effort” is Howard and unfortunately it’s lacking in this game….Again

  137. If Dwight was trying tonight on defense and boards then he must not be very good. But want to bet he will play really hard in All Star Game?

    It’s called a audition.

  138. Why is Kobe on the floor when the Lakers ARE losing by 24 points?

  139. Dwight tried on that play. Right?

  140. Right now DeAndre Jordan is a better post player than Dwight Howard. I think it’s time to shut Howard down for the season and let him heal.

  141. Shut down the whole team for next season.

  142. Nash’s agent negotiated a 3yr/29 mil deal for a 38 yr old player. He deserves a raise. I’m with Warren no way this team keeps a 100 million dollar payroll with a sub .500 team.

    These contracts Lakers give out wind up looking real silly a few years later. Ron 5yr full mid level, Blake 4yr/16, Pau 19 mil next year, Walton full mid level. Jamison is the best bargain Lakers have gotten last 5 years. Mitch?

  143. I see chuckles (aka Howard) is out there yukking it up with people after we just got our ass handed to us…yeah that’s the guy I am going to build my franchise around.

  144. It just boils my blood…this clown Howard smiling and hugging laughing after that game…

  145. Joe

    Yep.

    Lakers aren’t making playoffs. That’s a good thing. No more embarrassment and guarantees no more Dwight.

    The fat lady has sung.

  146. I think one takeaway here should be that this game shows, again, and in a very definitive way, that it is not just one thing or one guy or one problem, not Kobe nor Howard nor chemistry nor D’Antoni. The defense is the main problem, but even that has multiple causes.

    And I agree that it is time to consider shutting down Howard. I remember around Christmas that a few people were saying that he might come around when the schedule hit January. It is now mid-February, and he looks worse than ever to me, in terms of the back. His lateral movement, quickness, vertical, and second/third jumps are just not there, and he even looks uncomfortable jogging, walking, or sitting. He is a good player anyway, and if the Lakers were 37-17, I could see asking him to gut it out. As it is, I am not sure that’s a good idea.

  147. No recap tonight , folks. Sorry. Not that this game deserves many thoughts. I will say that the starters were pretty bad in working as a team, especially on defense. Kobe was very good overall, but his turnovers really hurt the team in terms of transition points, especially when the Clips took (and made) three pointers. Dwight had zero lift tonight and looked stiff on both sides of the ball and the team needed way more from him on both sides of the ball. As I’ve said many times, it’s impossible to gameplan when you have no clue how well, physically, Dwight will be each night. There’s more, of course, but it doesn’t matter. The Clips played very good team ball and were incredibly hot from the outside. But the Lakers’ D was quite poor in getting out to the three point line so who knows if some of those shots miss if they simply defend better. Anyways, it will be good to get a break for a few days for the ASG.

  148. howard has no damn heart or killer instinct. trade this bum for brook lopez and some expiring contracts!

  149. It’s one thing to have back pain but heart pain is obviously more dibilitating. Howard shows NO heart!

    Trade him.

  150. Some of you are taking this way too seriously. It’s like some are just now realizing this team is not a contender.This is who they are. I have long since accepted it. I don’t like it, but I accept it. Howard is unpredictable from night to night. Gasol is out. Kobe and Nash are still in their 17th seasons. And the bench has a host of issues.

    This is the team guys. They may as well shut Howard down and let him rest his back. Seeing the team miss the playoffs would be bad. But seeing them go through four straight games like this in the first round would be worse. This is surely the winter of our discontent.

  151. Talking, leadership, basketball IQ, teaching has nothing to do with his back…if he’s that hurt then don’t play, but he’s not that hurt he’s playing in the all star game…I’m sure he will be dancing and prancing up an down there court with a smile on his face, shooting threes, and telling the media how much fun he had

  152. The Dwight Howard Era is officially a disaster.

    In the words of the great Magic Johnson:
    “PLEASE BLOW THIS THING UP ALREADY”!!!!!

  153. @Ken, incredible. Regarding Dwight and Kobe.

    Dwight doesn’t know what it means to be with the Lakers. He doesn’t care that the Clippers haven’t won a series against the Lakers in 20 years. He just doesn’t appear to have a sense of what it means to play for this franchise.

    Ever sense the start of the season I have screamed about the Lakers hanging their hat on defense, darned the offense. Both Brown and D’Antoni harped on the offense far more than I have cared. Had the Lakers anchored the team on defense from the onset the Lakers might be in a different position today.

    No one is going to want to play with Kobe in this ASG, me thinks he will be in Mamba mode from the start. He will only make cursory passes, thus Dwight might want to request not to play the same time as Kobe.

    Jamison has had two really good games for the Lakers.

    Say what you will about Kobe, but I don’t know who the next Lakers great will be nor when the Lakers will get him. All I know is its been great watching Magic and now Kobe. Maybe the next Lakers great is in the 8th grade right now refining his game so he can enter the draft in 5 years.

  154. “I’d never thought I’d see the day where the Clippers toy with the Lakers.”

    Points for anyone who knows who mentioned this quote tonight.

  155. @Formalhault, Shaq (guess)

    But it sounds like Chuck.

  156. Charles Barley I believe..But it was one of the TNT guys (Kenny or Shaq) one of them said it…pretty funny actually…

  157. Better quote was

    Kenny. “Lakers are ild and slow”

    Chuck. ” no that’s not it. The Lakers are just bad!”

    Perfect!

  158. Jerry Buss hospitalized, it’s critical.

    I hope he can turn it around.

  159. For those asking for Dwight to be shutdown, I have one question, why is Dwight headed to Houston to play in a meaningless All-Star game??? He refused to play real games after being cleared by doctors however he can’t take the All-star game off to recuperate???

  160. @maert Thats a great question. Heres the answer: He doesn’t care about the Lakers. If he does re-sign with the Lakers, it will only be because of money. Not because he feels devoted to the franchise. So basically if he re-signs , we will have to deal with no heart or little effort from Dwight Howard for five more years.

  161. Quote Number 1

    “After we lose by 20 or 30 points, we definitely can’t be laughing and joking around with a team that just kicked your ass, that’s for sure.”

    Quote Number 2

    “I’m looking forward to having fun and getting away for a couple of days.”

    No need to act like we don’t know who these 2 quote’s are attributed to.

    The Deadline is 6 days away. Future of the Franchise weighs in the balance.

  162. All I remember from last night’s game is T’s after made shots, Clippers players smacking Clippers players, but it’s a foul on a Laker. I remember Clippers landing on a Laker, but no fouls. 3′s, I remember 3′s, all day. They got shooters, we got Metta :(

  163. There is nothing about Dwight Howard I like. He, in my opinion, turned this team from a top 5 team to a lottery team. Along with the coach, the bench and a simply to old point guard.

    Question: can’t the Lakers resign Baby Dwight for his max and then trade him? This way they get something and ruin another teams chemistry at the same time.

    Any thoughts?

  164. I tweeted this last night but bares repeating. Mitch should draw up a contract for Dwight and tell him the offer is his if he can get it down off the top left corner of the backboard.

    If I were the Lakers, I still offer Dwight a deal but not the Bird Rights Max. Offer him the most any other team can offer and make him show us he wants to stay.

  165. Laker fans, it’s time to face the reality that the only things good about the Lakers this year is their “Past and their Name”. Other than that it really isn’t good. Want to get better in a hurry? Trade Kobe, otherwise next year will be more of the same. Remember, Miami use to suck and Orlando were the Kings of Florida. Clippers are in position to be the new Miami and the Lakers will become Orlando. Trade Kobe now!

  166. Praying for a great man, Dr. Jerry Buss. Praying that he doesn’t
    suffer and experience much pain. Praying for his family and loved ones, as well.

  167. JayCartyisGoldenWheels February 15, 2013 at 8:58 am

    God Bless Dr. Buss.

    Dwight must go. Personality aside, without his hops he is not enough of an offensive threat. Would rather have DeAndre Jordan-energy, rebounds, hustle points. Who would have thought?

    Dwight wants the ball in the post, but can’t do much with it once he gets it. This is a mess.

    Ebanks can’t get any time in a game like this? What did he do that we don’t know about?

  168. that looked like the 3rd team in the west beating up on the 9th team in the west…we had games like this against utah,sac, hell even the clips when we were a good team…we are no longer a good team

  169. http://www.netsdaily.com/2013/2/14/3990622/stephen-a-smith-howard-still-thinks-hes-going-to-be-in-brooklyn

    So Dwight still thinks he’s going to the Nets. What’s the front office waiting for? They’d be foolish to think the allure of LA will make him stay. Last major star to choose the Lakers was Shaq almost 20 years ago. Lakers trade for the stars they don’t choose here. Draft: Magic, Worthy. Trade: Wilt, Kareem, Kobe, Pau. FA: Shaq.

  170. @Ken No, they can’t sign-and-trade because they are a luxury-tax-paying team. The new CBA stipulates that if you are in the luxury tax (which the Lakers will be next year, even without Dwight), you cannot do a sign-and-trade. They can re-sign Dwight and go as deep into the tax as they want, but that’s it. It’s either trade him before the deadling (2/21), or hope he re-signs.

  171. So Darius, do you still pick the Lakers over the Clippers in a 7 game series?

  172. Robert,
    Nice bit of trolling there. But since you asked, I’ll reply with a question: What part of “today, I’d go with the Clippers” is so hard to understand? Or maybe your reading comprehension is so flawed, you also decided to ignore the major caveat of “if the Lakers keep improving and get hot going into the playoffs”? I mean, it’s one thing to ask me a legitimate question. It’s quite another to essentially put words in my mouth. You should try avoiding the latter.

  173. I see that Tra has started a new “future of the franchise” countdown clock–this time we need to trade Howard to save the Lakers, not acquire him.

    Also, the ire directed at Howard is excessive. He has always had thsi personality. The problem is the injuries, not the fact that he smiles and is sort of a goof.

    As far as the ASG, that is frustrating, but the team doctors have cleared him to play.
    The Brooklyn thing…I would say await further devopments. But I do think Kupchak should be talking to him off the record.

  174. I think Howard is the type who needs the ASG as a distraction. Considering how things are going in Lakerland I can see him being eager to have some fun with basketball again. Just because Kobe has the persona of an ax murderer on the court doesn’t mean everyone has to be like that. It works for Kobe. But everyone is not like Kobe. There can be a balance. Dwight needs to find his balance. Scowling at everyone on the court is not about to change the reality of Lakers situation.

  175. Darius: I am hoping you know that those posts are not the real Robert. I do not use @Ken or similar, I always start with Darius: or Ken: not so Darius. And of course I do not troll :) oh yea – always quite a few : ) so my posts are pretty obvious. Robert: Again please pick another name or initial. And Darius, in case you did not know it wasn’t me – I forgive you for the trolling comment : )

  176. Not the real Robert above
    Robert does troll and reading comprhension is fine

  177. I know who’s who. I can see behind the curtain.

  178. KenOak,
    Actually one person wasn’t in favor of the Nash acquisition… That would be me again. The day the Lakers traded for him I said at best he would be as good as Ramon Sessions this season. Unfortunatley for us he hasn’t been as good as Ramon this year.

  179. Not that I’m a Wilbon fan, but he says what desperately needed to be said about ESPN’s perpetual wankathalon over Lebron.

    http://espn.go.com/chicago/nba/story/_/id/8947531/michael-jordan-birthday-recalls-greatness-not-surpassed-lebron-james-dominance

  180. The only way the Lakers get in as the 8th seed is if they win at a much higher clip. Then again, they may beat out Portland, but Houston is going to be tough to beat out for the 8th seed.

  181. will the real robert please stand up? please stand up?

    on a serious note, dwight is playing hurt, he is not the problem. The problem is that we dont have a average starting caliber PF/SF on the team. Metta World Peace at this time in his career is a 20 MPG off the bench SF. Earl Clark is a 20 MPG backup PF/SF in this league. Oh, we dont have a backup center or shooting guard either.

  182. So of 144 minutes of bball played against the Clips this season, the Lakers have led for a grand total of 63 seconds.

    I don’t understand folks (on other blogs; folks here seem a little more realistic) who say the Clips would be the best first round matchup with us. Not that the Lakers are in danger of making the playoffs at this point.

  183. The more I watch this Lakers team, the harder it is for me to understand what they are trying to accomplish on defense. I will fully acknowledge this may be *my* limitation – things may be happening that I am not astute enough to observe or understand – but would it be possible to request a master post analyzing the Lakers Defensive Strategy?

    Not to add fuel to the fire of some of our more frequent and hyperbolic contributors, but I spoke to Dave Shore Wednesday night at a season ticket holders function and I asked him why the Lakers don’t ever use a zone given what seems to me to be a real problem with defensive perimeter footspeed… He responded that he and others have asked MDA that on numerous occasions and MDA has simply responded: ‘I don’t believe it it.’ I must say this was not exactly the level of analysis I was hoping for.

    Darius? Philip? Could a defensive-strategy post be in the cards at some point?

    Thank you for possibly considering the idea…. I realize how much work it is just to keep this going without considering requests from the peanut gallery.

  184. But I do think Kupchak should be talking to him off the record.
    ____

    True indeed Rr. I would like to believe that the FO was already doing so.

    Kevin,

    Good lookin on the link. If we were to believe Stephen A., who I happen to feel is very credible, in regards to Dwight, it seems the more things change, the more they remain the same.

    Tough decisions, at the most inconvenient time considering Dr. Buss’ condition, definitely lay ahead for our FO.

  185. Jordan was great. But I am more interested in what LeBron is doing in the here and now. There is enough ink printed about Jordan to last a lifetime. Wilbon doesn’t need to add any more to it. Jordan’s legacy is safe.

  186. Unfortunatley for us he hasn’t been as good as Ramon this year.

    Nah. Sessions has a higher PER and far fewer TOs/minute, but Nash is still a better player than Sessions is by every other metric, and Sessions as the starting PG would have made the problems on D worse, just as Nash has. You can make the argument that the Lakers would be better off with Sessions, Bynum’s corpse, and the picks than they are with Nash and Howard, but even that needs to be tempered by the facts that Sessions is playing 27 MPG on the league’s worst team, and that Bynum has spent more time bowling than he has playing basketball this year.

    You deserve some credit for your preseason comments, and you have gotten it, from me included. But if you are going to brag about being right, present all the facts.

  187. Tra: Sas is a big mouth but seems to be really credible. He talked about how when Dwight was traded to LA that he was right next to him. So I’m guessing when he says things like it’s in Lakers best interest to trade him, Dwight doesn’t like playing with Kobe and he thinks he going to end up in Brooklyn that it’s coming from Dwight.

  188. The simple fact remains that if the Lakers wish to retain Howard, they will be able to offer signficantly more money than others can. This works 90% of the time in the NBA. The most money gets the player. There is no reason to think otherwise here. The question is do we want to offer max? At this point I do favor shutting DH down for the year. I never understood the prognosis of this back. If you are have vertebrae pain and numbness – the prescription is rest. Not playing basketball. I can’t reconcile this. If he were not having pain and numbness, then a little less agility (which could be permanent) is understandable. However, if you have back pain and numbness, it is not something you walk off like a slightly sprained ankle. You simply should not play. If Dwight is on the court and can play – he should play with heart, but the question is – should he be on the court? Who is making these decisions?

  189. Lil Pau,

    I have the same questions. Take last night for example. The Lakers start out by putting Nash on CP3 and Artest on Griffin. The Clippers attacked those matchups, and rightfully so. When Nash and Artest were isolated, there was no double team, no traps, Kobe wasnt switched to guard Paul, no secondary defender hedging….NOTHING was done to take those players out of rhythm, and as a result, the Clips were in rhythm and overflowimg with confidence from the get go. CP3 can abuse almost any PG in isolation, yet D’Antoni has one of the worst defenders at PG in the league trying to guard CP3 in isolation with no help? It was mind boggling. There was very little resistance on the Lakers part, and it had more to do with poor defensive coaching than lack of effort. I’m not a big fan of zone defenses, but I believe that every team should have it in their back pocket to occasionally use to throw a team off. I’m not surprised that DAntoni does not believe in zones. What does he believe in on the defensive end? I have no clue, and I’m not sure if the players do either.

  190. @ For the record, I was also pissed as hell when they landed Nash and more disgusted when they got Howard.

    I wanted Dragic and to keep Bynum. Even with Bynum missing the whole season, I’d still have preferred to have kept him and avoided even sniffing Dwagina’s stench in purple and gold.