Around The World (Wide Web): Lakers-Nuggets, Dwight’s Free Throws, Kobe’s Tech, The Guarantee

Ryan Cole —  February 26, 2013

From Ramona Shelburne, ESPN LA: Those who have been waiting to see what Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni’s high-octane offense looks like finally saw it Monday night. Too bad it was the Denver Nuggets playing it. All that great spacing and shooting and scoring D’Antoni’s teams have become known for over the years … yeah, that was George Karl’s Nuggets running the Lakers off the court in a 119-108 win Monday night.”They’re good,” D’Antoni said. “They spread you out and they shoot a high percentage. “We just couldn’t catch ‘em.”D’Antoni was glum after the loss, but not unusually so. That wistful, pining, ”If they could only see what I see?” quality he carried around with him during the first few months of his tenure on the Lakers bench is gone now. He’s either squashed it for good or put it in a place where it doesn’t bother him as much.

From Kevin Ding, OC Register:  Big picture, the Lakers have still gone 11-5 since the day of their clear-the-air team meeting in Memphis. But the feel-good sentiments were contrasted Monday night by some ongoing cold – or should that be “old”? – realities for this Lakers team. The Lakers were as slow as ever in letting the Denver Nuggets blow by them. Final score: Denver 119, Los Angeles 108. Fast-break points? Denver 33, Los Angeles 3. “Man,” Kobe Bryant said, “that’s a killer.” The Lakers are last in the NBA in points allowed per game off turnovers, and that’s just how Denver took control of this game – also running off Bryant’s early missed shots. The Nuggets kept control with Dwight Howard shooting 3-for-14 on free throws and Bryant’s individual defensive effort lacking even as he rediscovered his shooting stroke.

From Actuarially Sound, Silver Screen & Roll:  Three days ago Kobe Bryant told Sports Illustrated: “It’s not a question of if we make the playoffs. We will, And when we get there, I have no fear of anyone.” Kobe Bryant’s other-wordly competitiveness never allows him to admit defeat until defeat is certain. You see, Kobe Bryant has conquered so many seemingly insurmountable obstacles that he views every challenge, no matter how long the odds, as still being possible. It is this supreme confidence in his ability to win and his strong desire not to lose that allows him to make such bold predictions that he himself truly believes in, even when no one else does. It was only two seasons ago that the Lakers found themselves down 3-0 to Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs and in the post-game interviews Kobe provided the following insight into his mentality: “I don’t know, I might be sick in the head or crazy or thrown off or something like that because I still think we’re going to win this series.” The fat lady had yet to sing and Kobe felt absolute confidence, bordering on self-admitted insanity, that he could permanently shut the fat lady up like he has every critic who ever doubted his ability. We all know what happened, though. The Lakers went on to lose the next game by 36 points. Series lost. Season over.

From Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: It’s been awhile since Dwight Howard’s free-throw shooting became a headline. It happened Monday. He made three of 14 from the line in the Lakers’ 119-108 loss to the Denver Nuggets, a woeful 21%. He actually made his first two, so you can imagine what happened from there. Everyone knows Howard will never win any free-throw contests. The carnival workers won’t be handing out any stuffed animals when he steps up to the basketball booth and opens his wallet. But three for 14 tied his worst of the season when he’s had more than 10 attempts. He was also three for 14 in the season opener against Dallas. “I can’t get down on myself,” Howard said. “For the most part, the same form and everything was straight. Some were just long. I’ve just got to continue to practice and they’ll start falling. But I’m not going to get discouraged. I’m going to beat this.” The Lakers made only 14 of 31 as a team (45%).

From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk:  Kobe Bryant was right, the league has rescinded Kobe’s technical from Monday night. Kobe was complaining about not getting a call (shocking!) right at the end of the half on a half-court heave. You don’t get that call unless someone goes Jadeveon Clowney in tackling the shooter. But it wasn’t the ref Kobe was talking to that made the call, it was Joey Crawford running in from the other side. In a very Joey Crawford way. The league understands so they rescinded the tech. That leaves Kobe at 13, still just three off being suspended for a game.

 

Ryan Cole

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27 responses to Around The World (Wide Web): Lakers-Nuggets, Dwight’s Free Throws, Kobe’s Tech, The Guarantee

  1. the Lakers needs to go 17-7 the rest of the way

  2. I have a buddy who has been working with Dwight’s management team for the past year. He confirmed to me last week that Dwight wil sign an extension with the Lakers. It’s a done deal. For those of you who are concerned about Dwight leaving….don’t be. He will be a Laker for the forseeable future.

    Now, let’s get that seventh or eighth seed!

  3. Many posts with regard to whether or not we still have a decent chance for the playoffs. We certainly still have a chance. How decent it is depends on your definition for that word. In any case – I will root hard until we are mathematically eliminated or we lose 4 in the playoffs. That said, while some posters are too negative, others are “hedging” and setting up explanations in case the season does not end well. The later is equally annoying. Save the spin machine for later, or better yet, save it all together, because after this season, the Lakers will have more spin in their FO then they do on their cheerleader squad.

  4. ” Lakers win 4 in a row…Houston loses 4 in a row” that simple huh? i didn’t realize

  5. Without intending to show disrespect, I will say that I will remember LT Mitchell’s post. Will be instrested to see if it is right.

    As to the playoffs, I want them to make it, and I think they will be a tougher out than Funky does, given the playoff scheduling patterns. But I do not find the fight for the 8th spot to be tremendously engrossing in and of itself. If the Lakers had a young team and were overachieving in a rebuilding year, I would be more into it. As It is, it is sort of like watching a wounded elephant trying to fight off a bunch of hyenas.

    People who really want D’Antoni gone should probably hope they miss the postseason. If they don’t make it, they will need a head. I do think Howard is more likely to stay here if they get in.

  6. Off topic: Today ESPN’s 5 on 5 topic was “Most watchable players by position”. Very interesting who was chosen…and who wasn’t. Check it out: http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/page/5-on-5-130226/nba-all-watchability-team

  7. Looking at Ramona Shelburne’s article it makes me wonder:

    Does Dwight Howard fit in a Mike D’Antoni system? D’Antoni likes pace and space with 1 big in and 4 out. Certainly Dwight is a big with enough athleticism and talent to fit in that sort of mold. But D’Antoni hates free throws because it slows the game down upsets the flow of the game. Whenever Dwights in though, teams have a 100% incentive to hack him has hard as possible because at this point he’s more likely to miss a free throw than make it.

    Just pontificating I guess, but its worth considering. Dwight has been playing better as of late, but he seems out of rhythm on the offensive end even with good games.

  8. @BigCitySid
    We typically do not see eye to eye when it comes to this team and a certain player, but I am seriously curious as to what you think about that article. I pretty much figured out what was going to be written or not written once I saw the topic and the writers. ;)

  9. I dont know about the Rules, but would like to learn what happens to the referee who called a technical foul and that technical foul was rescinded later on by the NBA? Does he get a fine? If yes how much. Does he get a suspension? How many games?
    Missed calls by referees should be penalized and a hefty sum should be imposed. Imagine if the Nuggets game was won by a point. That rescinded technical foul would have made a huge difference.

  10. Cdog: “he seems out of rhythm” May I ask you, who on our team does not seem out of rhythm, other than Kobe? The whole team is out of rhythm, in fact we have never had any rhythm : )
    rr: “If they don’t make it, they will need a head” You can remember the Lt’s quote and I will write down your’s. And by the way, MWP or Blake being offered up to the amnesty alter do not count as “the head”. It must be one of the big 5 – and only 2 of them are players : )
    KenOak: I am sure the sponsors of NBA games would love to have commercials running during games involving Andre Iguadola and JR Smith. Nobody wants to watch Kobe : ) Perhaps that link was intended to be posted on the C’s board or maybe the Nugget’s board since they still boo every time he gets the ball.

  11. Opponents SG (Chandler, Mayo, Matthews, Lee, Billups, Tucker) last 6 games are 17-27 from 3pt 62%. Lakers are 17th in defending the 3 pt line the last 4 years they were 14th, 3rd, 1st and 3rd playing with two 7 footers. Opposing SF last 6 games are 37-70 fg shooting 52%.

    Opponents have 68 off. rebounds last 6 games. 17 coming from some undersized pf’s (Brand, Scola, Faried, Griffin, Bass, Aldridge). Lakers are missing Hill and Pau. And what once were strengths are no longer. Lakers were always tops in the league in rebounds and defending the three. They’re 17th in offensive rebounds the last 4 years 9th, 5th, 4th and 3rd.

  12. @ Robert – Looking at the team play recently, outside of Dwight and Metta the team looks in much better rhythm on the offensive end. Blake, Antawn, Clark, and Meeks have all stepped up their games lately. Even Nash is starting to develop his footing.

    Whenever Dwight gets the ball, though, it seems like he’s forcing things. And Metta, well at this point he’s an offensive liability, but the Lakers don’t have the requisite bodies not to play him. Plus he’s still playing B+ defense for the most part.

  13. @Robert Yeah, but what do those guys know!? :)
    Hey here’s an easy way to tell who fans like watching! Jersey sales as of 11/26/12. Another way to tell is All Star game voting. Who got the most votes this year? ;)
    1. LeBron James Heat
    2. Kevin Durant Thunder
    3. Kobe Bryant Lakers
    4. Carmelo Anthony Knicks
    5. Derrick Rose Bulls
    6. Rajon Rondo Celtics
    7. Dwyane Wade Heat
    8. Blake Griffin Clippers
    9. Dwight Howard Lakers
    10. Chris Paul Clippers

  14. How about catching Golden State they are losing to Indiana right now with impending suspension from players involved in a scaffle.

  15. rr, “like watching a wounded elephant trying to fight off a bunch of hyenas.”

    I love that.

  16. Like others, I’m not particularly fascinated by the fight to make the 8th spot. I’m not really sure what making the playoffs does. A few extra games? That 1-in-1000 underdog hope that anything can happen? I don’t particularly care, 1) because in a ringless year, losing in the 1st round vs not making the playoffs doesn’t matter much to me and 2) because of who we’d likely face at the #1 spot.

    For those of us too young to have lived through the 80s battles, the Spurs-vs-Lakers rivalry was the premier rivalry of our lifetime (until 2008 when the Celtics re-emerged). I still put a lot of stock in that rivalry, and take pride in that we have the distinctive edge in playoff battles (01, 02, 04, 08 vs 99, 03). I’d rather not see them even up the rivalry a bit. Others might not see why that matters, but for the younger generation, it’s the equivalent of asking “Would you want the Lakers to eke into the playoffs only to watch them get annihilated by the Celtics?” (if such a thing were possible in the 1st round). I’ll take no pleasure in watching us get dismantled by Popovich’s elite system.

    I’ve probably just grown bitter over the course of the season.

  17. Anyone else think the shoving match tonight was fun to watch? I realize I’m in a minority here, but I kinda enjoy the fights/confrontations. Chippy games (occasionally escalating into confrontation) are the most fun to me. Best part of tonight was Steph Curry losing his mind and rushing in from the weakside to tackle Roy Hibbert, getting thrown aside, and rushing Hibbert a second time.

  18. @Snoopy2006 I think the Lakers can beat Pops spurs in seven games if we meet them in the playoffs. Though it will be a longshot.
    Spurs biggest advantage is having Pop i teir bench and Lakers having MDA in their bench. If this was PJ the odds might be different.

  19. Spartacus, my analysis is different: I would say the Spurs biggest advantage would be having superior basketball players on their team.

  20. rr,

    None taken. I would be skeptical as well about a random blogger claiming inside sources. I posted early last summer that Dwight s management team was doing everything in their power to make Dwight a Laker before any rumors surfaced, and the news that Dwight will sign an extension this summer is based on the same source. Its a done deal.

    Anyways, regarding the injured elephant versus a pack of hyenas…… I’m taking the injured elephant in that fight.

  21. Snoop: I did live through the Bird-Magic era and I still see the Spurs as a huge rival. Not up with the C’s, but right there. I always root against them. I do not want Pop or Duncan to get more rings, why would I? : ) Your listed years above have brought back memories. I have a lucky 13″ TV with a VCR built in, that I only use to watch the end of really huge/close games (have not used it lately). One of the first games I watched on it was game 7 against Portland in 2000. I was huddled in a corner literally. I watched the Fish shot on it and many others including Game 4 against Indiana, and Game 7 against Boston in 2010. The biggest let down for the TV was in 2003, which I consider to be the biggest miss in Laker history (changed everything). Anyway I hate the Spurs, because that shot still haunts both me and my lucky TV.

  22. McMenamin:

    The four-game improved stretch can be extended back to include 11 wins for L.A. in its past 16 games. However, the five losses in that stretch have been by an average of 14.4 points, including the Lakers’ 11-point loss Monday in Denver in a game in which they trailed by as many as 18 points.

    The Denver loss dropped the Lakers to just 1-10 this season on the road against the eight teams in the West currently slated to make the playoffs, which only punctuates L.A.’s paltry 10-19 overall road record.
    ———————————————

  23. Why would anyone want to watch Kobe Bryant play basketball? I’d much rather watch Harden run into people and have the refs decide it’s a defensive foul or a glorified role player like Andre who is good not great or an undisciplined guy like JR Smith who is liable to shoot you in or out of games. Why would anyone want to watch an all time great like Kobe Bryant? What has he ever done?

  24. @ KenOak, I actually found the piece interesting, but was seriously surprised that not one writer picked Kobe. These guys watch the game differently than the typical fan. Most watch more game live in a year, then most fans watch in a lifetime. I know we tend to disagree with writers, taking heads and coaches when they don’t say or write what we want to hear or thinks needs to be done, but I find it more interesting, more compelling to hear their reasoning than people who simply agree with my point of view.

    Still with that said, I’m surprised Kobe wasn’t included. Before reading the article, I made my own list. And Kobe (along w/ D-Wade, Harden, & Joe Johnson), in that order, were my choices at two guard.

    @ Darius, I’ve seen you featured often in these “5 on 5″ articles. Who are your five most watchable players by position?

  25. And JR SMITH is more popular than KOBE . See him last 2008 olympics no body knows Kobe other than the US Basketball tem. So why would I watch a guy who scored 31,000 pts when I have Andre Iguadala and JR Smith to watch. Well lakers should trade Kobe and get JR Smith or Andre so that Laker games will always be sold out.

  26. @Robert, re: 13¨ TV; you gotta love it!