Preview and Chat: The Toronto Raptors

Darius Soriano —  March 8, 2013 — 171 Comments

Records: Lakers 31-31 (9th in the West), Raptors 24-38 (9th in the East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 105.7 (8th in the NBA), Raptors 103.3 (T 11th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.9 (18th in the NBA), Raptors 104.4 (T 22nd in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Earl Clark, Dwight Howard
Raptors: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Andrea Bargnani, Jonas Valanciunas
Injuries: Lakers: Pau Gasol (out), Jordan Hill (out for the season); Raptors: Linas Kleiza (out), Mickael Pietrus (out)

Raptors Blogs: Check out Raptors Republic for good analysis and news updates on this team. You can also check out their game preview here.

Keys to game: The story of the night is that the Lakers have the chance to go over the .500 mark for the first time since they were 6-5, a span of 108 calendar days. (As an aside, that was also D’Antoni’s 1st game on the Lakers’ bench.) The motivation, then, to get this win should be high. The Lakers have been playing well — especially in games that are close late — and it’s led to a nice string of wins. If they can start to bring more of that late game focus and execution to earlier parts of the contest, a streak of W’s could be on the horizon. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; we all remember the start of the Hornets game.

And speaking of the Hornets, the Raptors actually have a very similar statistical profile to the team from New Orleans. Toronto is ranked in the top 15 off Offensive Efficiency and are in the bottom third of the league in Defensive Efficiency. This profile is the type of team that can hurt the Lakers, should they lack focus or not be ready to execute from the outset. The Raptors have the weapons to keep up on offense (especially against an up and down Laker D) and the fact that they’re record is poor doesn’t matter as much when playing between the lines.

Furthermore, the Raptors are a different (and better) team than the one that actually beat the Lakers on that matinee game earlier this year. No, they don’t have Jose Calderon (who absolutely torched the Lakers) or Ed Davis (who was very good too), but they are healthier (Bargnani and Valanciunas didn’t play in that game) have upgraded their wing athleticism by acquiring Rudy Gay. Gay is a player who has given the Lakers some trouble over his career and, now that he’s with the Raptors, he’s being used at both Forward spots in order to maximize his versatility and to stretch out team’s defenses to open up the middle for some of the Raptors other attack players.

All of this combines to make the Raptors somewhat of a dangerous team, even if on the face of the match up they wouldn’t appear to be.

In order to win this game, then, look for the Lakers to try and work the match ups in their advantage and find ways to attack the Raptors defense with quick hitting actions that get them inside. The Kobe/Dwight P&R, as it did against the Hornets, can pay real dividends against this team — especially if they’re able to draw Valanciunas away from the rim and get Kobe attacking him in space. The young Center has good feet and can do a good job of bottling up penetration, but he also averages 5 fouls per 36 minutes and doesn’t often get the benefit of the whistle. If Kobe can occupy him with his dribble, Dwight may get some good chances to get the ball diving to the rim against a back side defense that will prominently feature the rotations of Andre Bargnani.

Another way to take advantage of that back side help is to send cutters from the weak side when Kobe is working the opposite side post and for the team’s wings to hit some of the open three pointers they’re sure to get. This makes Earl Clark, Jamison, and MWP pretty important players tonight as they’re the guys who won’t be the focus of the defense with Kobe, Dwight, and Nash are involved in strong side actions. If Clark and Jamison can find ways to sneak into the paint on the back side and all three can hit enough jumpers, the Lakers offense should be able to create the cushion they need to win this game.

Defensively the Lakers’ success will almost totally rely on their ability to stop the Raptors in isolation. Since the trade that sent Calderon away and brought Rudy Gay in, the Raptors have become more isolation dependent and will use that type of action to get their points. Gay, DeRozan, Bargnani, and Lowry all have the ability to score in one on one situations and they’ll look to attack their man — especially if that player isn’t a good defender. So, look for Lowry to attack Nash and for whoever Jamison is guarding to try and be extra assertive tonight. Also look for Rudy Gay and DeRozan to work down on the block to try and get baskets from inside 15 feet.

This style of play puts a greater emphasis on Dwight’s ability to step up and rotate into the paint to slow down these moves and for the guys behind him to rotate over and help clean up the glass. Amir Johnson will feast on the offensive glass if no one is there to put a body on him, so just as Dwight will need to have his teammates’ back, they’ll also need to have his. If Dwight can come anywhere close to being the force he was in the 4th quarter of the Hornets’ game, the Lakers should be in good shape tonight.

This isn’t to say the P&R won’t be a threat as Lowry will still try and create in this action too. But he’s very fond of turning the corner and being aggressive in looking for his own shot rather than playing with the type of tempo that creates shots for others. Whenever he’s attacking, the defense should be thinking shot first and rotate to him, as their primary read, and then work hard to recover should a pass come. But, again, the key is slowing down their isolation attack — especially when they go small — and then go from there.

As stated earlier this is a game many will think is an automatic win. But a loss to this team earlier in the year and the unsteady start to the Hornets’ game should eliminate that line of thinking. The Lakers are clear favorites, but with that designation comes the need to back it up with a good start and sustained energy throughout.

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

Darius Soriano

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171 responses to Preview and Chat: The Toronto Raptors

  1. Kobe Alert: The game against the Pelicans was truly one of the greatest (amongst many) of Kobe’s career and that is saying something. KB registered his 118th 40+ point game (only trails Wilt and MJ). No other active player has more than 50. The Clippers have 10 such games since moving to LA.. The Heat have 53 such games since their inception in 1988. During the Kobe era, the player who is in second on this list is A Iverson (79). I point this out for a couple of reasons. KB and AI entered the NBA in the same year. At one time they were top rivals (think 2001). Now fast forward to today. When you see Iverson sitting in the stands, you are looking at a player from a completely different era, yet here we are in 2013 and KB is still KB. Incredible. KB needs 15 more FGA’s to have 24,000 for his career, and is pursuing Elvin for 4th on that list. Against the NOH, he moved by Kareem for 5th on the FTAs list. In filling up the stat sheet, he also cruised into 63rd on the Def Rebounds list (moving by L Nance), and is now within 9 dimes of NVE for 33rd. He needs 224 more points to catch WTS. Thanks for the props from Lou, Jane, Purple Blood, Chearn, Jayz, rr, Kevin, and others.

  2. It truly is amazing to think about the Mamba’s career. All the challengers have fallen by the wayside. Can anyone really make an argument against Kobe for the greatest player in his generation? There is only one other who comes close and that’s Tim Duncan. IMO

    Thanks for these updates Robert!

  3. Did Bill Plaschke (one of the biggest Kobe haters rivaling only Henry Abbott) just write that column? My, my have the times have changed.

    Plaschke eating crow, just made my day!

  4. Thanks for the updates Robert! They are fantastic. My greatest Laker wish, other than the next championship, is to see Kobe hang on for a few more years to keep moving up these lists.

  5. If Deron Williams breaks Kobe’s 3 point record of (12), Kobe is going to be pissed. Deron currently has (9) 3’s in the half.

  6. Wow! That’s a lot of 3’s…at what point do you, you know, start guarding that guy? Hey look- he’s on fire, let’s run him off the 3 point line.

  7. If Lakers win the championship this year, Kobe will be considered the best Basketball player ever.

    On game note: Very dangerous game, this Toronto team has athletic wings who like to run. Dwight needs to show up.

  8. Kobe Alerts rule.

    Utah is up by a little in the 4th in Chicago. We should not assume that the Lakers are going to catch them, and the team needs to realize that tonight’s game is not a gimme.

  9. BULLS WIN. Thank you Marco Belinelli for the game winning 3

  10. Its a wrap Jazz lose! Fall to 31-30!

  11. Thank you CHI-town. Take care of business LAL.

  12. Utah loses again and GS/Hou play each other. We move up against 2 of the 3 teams ahead of us. Nice!

  13. Even as I root against the Jazz for our own playoff chances, I can’t help but feel bad for them the way they’re dropping these games.

  14. If the Lakers win this one like their should they be only 1/2 behind the last spot, in my opinion this game is huge, really really important that we win this game. Crossing my fingers…

  15. I meant 32-30.

  16. Holy cow, Bellinelli. Lakers win and my day is complete.

  17. That was a beautiful fast break by the Lakers Ron to Kobe to Clark for the 2

  18. to quote rr, Kobe Alerts rule!

  19. Down by 7 already, this is so frustrating… No defense at all.

  20. Funky Chicken March 8, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Why can’t this team play defense to start games?

  21. There is literally no end to how disinterested in defence this team can be.

  22. Can this team ever get out to a quick start? It always seems like they are playing from behind, even when they win.

  23. Hopefully, we’ll start to concentrate on D before the half is through because as it currently stands, they’re getting whatever they want, when they want.

  24. Blake was brutal last game, has started out this one equally as bad, time for a short leash.

  25. Not again…

  26. Disgusted, blownout in progress allowing 35 1st quarter make that 37 to a struggling team at home i feel sick to my stomach.

  27. Is this still the Pelican game. Terrible play by guards. 7 turn overs by guards. Worst defensive team in memory. How does this keep happening?

  28. What a pathetic quarter of basketball by our Lakers. Kobe with 5 turnovers to go along with his 6 assists. He could get a quadruple double tonight. :/

  29. Kobe has 4 turnovers, but 2 of them were not his fault. Howard didn’t bother to move his feet at ball on one interior pass which let his guy come around him for an easy steal. Another, Clark just juggled for no good reason.

  30. Turnovers and defensive issues in the first quarter, just another hole for the Lakers to climb out of.

  31. What the heck is wrong with this team???

  32. Maybe it’s time to scrap the experiment of playing Clark at the 5 and Jamison at the 4. It ain’t never gonna work Mike.

  33. Lakers can’t count on Toronto not scoring the last 7 minutes of the 4th Quarter. Seems to be the plan though.

  34. Just a note: this lineup is ridiculous by MDA.

  35. Joe there are no Pau nor Hill what other lineup you sugest?

  36. Each game seems to start with guards getting penetration with zero defense and Nash and Kobe turning ball over. Hard to start each game down. Lakers sure need a PG who can stop anyone.

  37. That was the slowest weak side D rotation I have ever seen.

  38. Funky Chicken March 8, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Well, perhaps Mike D has a new system: 7 minutes or less, because this makes 8 of the last 9 quarters being pure garbage.

  39. @Fern – once upon a time Ebanks shut down Melo in a game by using his youth and athleticism to stay in front of him and contest, true story. Also think it was the last time Ebanks saw real game time.

  40. Kobe is getting an extended rest? Our coach has set lineups he likes to use. He should have put kobe in for meeks about 4 minutes ago.

  41. If we lose this game, I’m gonna go wild. SMH!

  42. Counting the last 3 bricks last game that is 2 for 10 for Ron. Can someone tell him he can’t shoot. Please!

  43. If lakers go into the locker room down less than 10, they should consider themselves lucky.

  44. Much better quarter defensively, down by 6 the game is well within reach. Need to start strong the 3rd quarter.

  45. Toronto averages 9 fast break points a game, they have 15 at the half.

  46. Again–the Lakers are simply too old and slow on the perimeter. DeRozan, Lowry and Lucas III are a combined 13/17 from the floor, and Gay has 12 points. These problems will not change with the team’s current personnel.

  47. The further away from surgery Dwight starts looking more and more like a Dwight of old. If the Lakers start focusing on slowing the other team 1st instead of getting off to fast starts they may stop digging themselves holes. This will be a tough game.

  48. The Raptors shoot 58% in the 1st half.

  49. gotta love that Peace tip-in!

  50. Not that there is much good to say about that half, but the raptors had an exceptional shooting game on Wednesday and I was a bit worried they would come in on fire, as they did. Have to be at least a little happy that with a 15% descrepancy in shooting percentages (57% for the raptors vs. 42% for the Lakers) only being down 6 is pretty good. they did seem to restore momentum in the 2nd quarter.

  51. Joe, putting Ebanks in the rotation is pointless, he was given his chances and he is useless.

  52. rr

    It all starts at the PG position. Nash been out scored last 2 games something like 34 to 6. Tough to compete.

  53. I hope that since I missed the first half, now when i start watching the Lakers win. Anyway, rr is right. The lakers are just too old and slow. Nash 39 kobe 34 mwp 33. In comparison, lowry 26 derozan 23 rudy gay 26.

  54. LA’s defense was mediocre in the first, but sometimes, the other team just can’t miss, and TOR was hitting every long “2” they took. Second quarter—not so much. If LA can duplicate the second quarter “points allowed” in the third, they should head to the fourth with a lead.

  55. @Fern – when did MDA give Ebanks a chance?

  56. The first half was odd. They gave up a ton of easy points and still ended the half only down six. This is not a great Raptors team. If they control matters defensively just a smidge, all those easy buckets they made in the first half don’t happen in the second.

  57. Robert, all I have this season are the Kobe alerts.

    Good to see Dwight slowly but surely get back to form. He cannot cover the missed defensive assignments for all four of the Lakers, plus stop his own man.

    Our Steve’s are not providing much offensively.

    Mike needed to call a timeout after that missed defensive assignment. None of the Lakers had a clue who was guarding Fields.

    Every older player on the team has one good game and four bad games. Except for Kobe.

  58. Well deserved booin goin on staples

  59. In my opinion Ebanks is a stiff plain and simple.

  60. It’s sickening how bad our defense is

  61. Defense back to being putrid again. It’s like the Lakers think it’s against the rules to play defense before the 4th quarter.

  62. Second or third time tonight in which Kobe has turned the ball over and instead of hustling back on D, he stands there complaining to the refs. He has to get back on defense.

  63. Earl Clark is having possibly his worst game since he was given the starters position. he has contributed literally nothing to the game.

  64. Do you remember last year when I told you guys that Lakers’ main problem is Defense??

    Same old story.

  65. @Fern yeah and the Lakers roster is filled with super athletes, give me a break. Ebanks has his issues on offence, but he is better on D then at least half the roster. We need D not O.

  66. This team is just ridiculous, i dont count on a comeback tonight, this is just disgusting i mean whats so hard about sticking by your defensive assigment. Worst defensive team of all time i dont think i seen such an horrible defensive team on all the years i been playing and watching basketball.

  67. To say Kobe is great at basketball would be an understatement.

  68. The rally buster. Metta brick Peace.

  69. it safe to say without kobe Lakers would be 12th seed or lower in the West?

  70. He is not that good on defense either, i guess you didnt notice the litanny of blown defensive assigments he made.

  71. Kobe is going to play the entire 2nd half again. The rest of the regular subs are unplayably terrible. Meeks better start hitting 3s soon because Derozan is torching him.

  72. Kobe has 8 freaking tos, i hate to say it but he is the one killing the team tonight.

  73. Clark/Jamison frontline, no sir!

  74. Taking out Howard with 3 minutes left in the 3rd to play him the whole 4th makes no sense to me. These are games the Lakers need he should play whole halves like Kobe.

  75. Down by 10 and letting the raptors do whatever they want offensively, your defense is beyond putrid if you let a bottong feeding team like this shoot 58% for the entire game, just shameful.

  76. Kobe has 21 points on 60% shooting, 10 assists, 2 steals and 3 boards.

    Our bench is 6 of 17 and getting torched by any player they guard. Earl Clark has done nothing tonight, he has 2 points and 2 boards and is a team leading -12.

    The 8 to’s aren’t helping but they are not why we are losing. We are losing largely because our team can’t guard.

  77. man, i hope we will not let this game slip.
    lakers look tired and no energy on both ends of the floor.
    we really need this win.

  78. What a terrible shot by Meeks.

  79. Considering Darozen is 10 for 12, Kobe man, and Kobe has 10 TOs this is not his best game.

    Boy has Earl fallen off the wagon. What happened to him?

  80. Maybe if Kobe wouldn’t have to score 70% of the time, play 42 minutes, assist the ball, and rebound PERHAPS he wouldn’t be so turnover prone. Give him a break!

  81. Ken,

    Like I said a few weeks ago, Clark’s performance record indicated that he would have some regression to the mean with more playing time.

  82. Momentum has been slaughtered.

  83. Man the. raptors really want to lose this game.

  84. I really wish that Nash would realize that it’s better for the team if he takes the open 3, rather than passing to either Metta or Jamison.

  85. How many wide open threes have we missed today?

  86. How many 3s have we taken? Trick question: answer is too damn many! (28)

  87. Meeks is killing us out there, not hitting wide open shots and is just getting torched on D.

  88. Meeks lost Derozan AGAIN. Guess MDA still hasn’t noticed.

  89. Hack-a dwight in progress.

  90. I can’t even stand watching how badly Meeks is causing our defence to completely break down. Why would you funnel a guy in that position? That is just a fundamental misunderstanding of how to play D.

  91. No defense at all on Deroze. Really have holes on D.

    Miami wins 17th in a row. Lakers can’t get above .500. The world just isn’t right anymore.

  92. Clark has had to play out of position ever since Hill and then Pau went down. It’s difficult to ask a player that has never played any sustainable minutes in his 3-year career, to become a starter playing heavy minutes and also anchor the Lakers at the center position.

    Clark is probably a 7 minute and 7 rebound player, which is not bad considering the fact that when the Lakers found him laboring on the bench the season was all but a loss.

    D’Antoni does not seem to recognize that he can put players on the floor for offense and take them out for defensive purposes. I’d like to see him utilize this simple coaching ploy every once in a while.

    The Lakers need to recognize that when L.A. players on opposing teams come home they are playing in front of their friends and family.

    So sad this team has to rely on Kobe night after night to put the ball in the hole. Meeks is just too streaky to be relied on, and Metta just can’t score, but remember he plays for championships and a regular season game doesn’t matter to him.

  93. I wont comment anymore tonight win or lose this team dont learn, they are not playing even regular season defense this is bush league defense against a crap team, the Lakers again making look bottom feeding teams like world beaters.

  94. Holy cow, Kobe.

  95. Coach is a fool, why is Meeks still in there?

  96. thats a clear foul on KObes drive.

  97. okay that was a bad shot by kobe.

  98. This is just not a real the sense that we as Laker fans are used to seeing. If you don’t commit to defense and you lack a huge variety of athletic can and will lose even to bottom feeder teams. Hope they can make it work better next year, because I don’t believe they are playoff bound. They just keep on making the same mistakes and falling way behind early. Sick of watching it actually and I watched every second of the Smush years..And Kermit

  99. Lakers inability to capitalize on these situations is mind boggling.

  100. Terrible foul.

    Meeks and Metta 6 for 20.

    Guess Mitch felt we didn’t need a small forward.

    Think this will be 1 on 5 play? Hit the open man? Why is Dwight in a.

  101. 3 for Bynum, draw it up!

  102. Wow!!!!!!!!!

  103. Kobe ties it, need one stop and OT, they get the stop, onto OT.

  104. Kobe with the stone cold 3.

  105. woooh. Kobe.
    now play D, team please.

  106. Mamba venom is flooowwwing tonight. Holy crap this is just straight ridiculous.

  107. If MDA has Meeks on the floor here I think Kobe should death stare his ass.

  108. Who is this guy?

  109. Can Judy Seto do what she does for Kobe elbow to MWP’s entire shooting mechanics and Meek’s brain?

  110. O..for crap’s sake… more time, maestro!!

  111. Unreal .. Just Unreal

  112. Kobe is too good.

  113. Looking forward to Henry Abbott’s “Kobe is unclutch” article tomorrow.

  114. Laker ball no doubt

  115. For the love of all things, TAKE Meeks out. Have you ever seen a more obvious move for a coach to make.

  116. What the crap is meeks in for. Mike is just goofy.

  117. Meeks again!!!!!!!!!!! Jesus.

  118. Meeks is garbage

  119. MDA is the guy leaving Meeks in, he is the garbage.

  120. Mike is in over his head, take MEEKS OUT!!! Dam D’antoni is a clown

  121. Nash has to shoot that.

  122. Jesus Christ Nash just shoot the damn ball.

  123. Toronto will go right at Reeks.

  124. Boy is Dwight not the brightest bulb. Take Meeks out put in Clark.

  125. Reeks will cost us this game. MDA has me completely confounded, what does he see out there?

  126. You idiot coach.

    You Should be fired for this.

    How can he be so blind. How how how

  127. jodie meeks don’t say?

  128. Mike D has basically given this game away with his inability to make a simple defensive substitution. What a shame.

  129. Why won’t MDA adjust? Reeks is getting abused out there.

  130. Coaching 101: If the opposing team goes at a guy four times in a row, scoring most of the time (I wasn’t counting), do you leave that guy in? I get that he’s a 3-point threat on the other end, but if they’re taking advantage of your bad defense every time, fill the hole.

  131. Toronto just played the worst double team D ever. Gave Kobe all the room in the world just to run around them.

  132. Mamba!!!!! Now one more stop!!

  133. Nash ties it, KOBE SLAM DUNK for the lead.

  134. German Knees!

  135. @JB I wouldn’t mind if he was hitting 3s tonight, he is not.

  136. We are so, so spoiled with Kobe.

  137. King James Who

    Again Meeks man. Fire this coach.

  138. @Joe: Thus “threat.” I guess it’s matchups–Blake would be just as abused and Jamison would play his usual “Olé!” defense. Having a third wing–not stopper, but lack of a defensive sieve–would have been nice this year.

  139. Take Dwight out ? Why not?

  140. Nash has choked from the line a few times this year.

  141. Nash Choked .. Hopefully, we can withstand it.

  142. Boy have I seen this before? No wonder Nash never won a thing in his life. That is plan Choking Nash.

  143. It is damn fortunate that the schedule produced two horrible defensive teams in a row, because the Lakers would have been staring at a three game losing streak if they played even average defenses these past two games.

  144. @JB we do have a guy better than Meeks – Ebanks who shut down Melo in the 2nd half Xmas day after Melo torched MWP. Ebanks’ offence is pretty iffy tho, but on nights when Meeks can’t hit the broad side of a barn, I say put Ebanks in for some D.

  145. Yes!

  146. LAKERS WIN!!!!, gain a game on Utah and Golden State.

  147. Damn this game, even if we won Ive gone wild because Kobe is freaking insane.

  148. This team…. I know they’re not that good right now. I know that if they go into the playoffs, as is, that they will get bounced in the first round. But, man I tell you. Something is happening here. I see chemistry building. I see players that are trying pretty hard for each other. It just needs to click. That Kobe guy is not too bad for a 34 year old player. 😉

  149. woooohoooooooooo. nice win Lakers. though we could have blown these Raps to make statement.

  150. Well Kobe willed us to yet another win. What more can you say, other than Lebron and Durant, I just don’t see who in the league is better than this guy, who is supposedly in his twilight while they are in their prime.

    And as I beat on him all the time, another big clap for Dwight who had a follow up to his last game itch another great outing.

  151. Funky,
    After this game, I now wholeheartedly agree with all your posts after the NO game. This was terrible. But if it’s gonna be pathetic, at least we escaped with a W. Thanks to Kobe bailing us out again.

  152. Meeks made DeRozan look like DRose out there. But that’s on MDA for leaving him in when he was obviously getting torched on D.

    Once again, Kobe bails out the Lakers to eek out a win against a mediocre team. Wins are wins at this point–but this isn’t building any confidence and the schedule’s about to get a lot tougher.

  153. darius: here’s the secret to the laker’s last two come from behind wins. my dog scratches the door, i take him for a walk. we come back, lakers win. bank it.

    my dog’s name? kobe h

    bring on the windy city.

    Go Lakers

  154. Team of destiny!!!!

    Too soon?

  155. @serik this isn’t building confidence for us, but its probably building confidence for the Lakers. Now no lead is safe for opposing teams and the team chemistry is getting better.

  156. truly, Kobe is on his own league.
    and Lakers should start their bid to 50wins now. if there’s a team who can make a streak, its definitely us.

  157. Dwight is growing into a Los Angeles Lakers right before our eyes! Can’t wait to see him next year.

    Kobe Bryant’s run is unbelievable! You go ahead and talk about his turnovers and I’ll talk about his greatness.

  158. Kobe Alert first post for the win! Timely.

    KB with back to back 40 point, 12 assist games. Would say he’s playing like young Kobe, but he’s not. Even young Kobe never did that.

  159. Chearn: agreed. Dwight now is where we thought he’d be at the beginning of the year.

    Tough to compare this average team vs a champion but what Kobe doing now is as good as what Kareem did in 85.

  160. Yeah, whatever. The team is what it is. Slow, aging and riddled with injuries. The defense is awful and even Metta can’t stay in front of his man anymore. But seriously? F. it. We’re seeing the best player of our generation play some of the best basketball of his career, partying like it’s 2005 and we may not be able to watch that much longer. Yeah, this win would’ve been irritating and difficult to enjoy when we were a championship team three years ago. But we’re not.

    But we are watching greatness. It’s magnified by a much more mediocre supporting cast than the good ol’ days, but it’s still greatness, so I’m gonna enjoy it while I still can.

  161. Zirk, I hear you. If the team is going to continue to under achieve and fall way behind inferior teams, I’ll just hold my tongue and enjoy the greatness that is #24.

  162. Awesome win, but MDA come one you’ve gotta at least make the basic adjustments. They literally went at Meeks every play down the stretch and if they did get a basket Meeks fouled the guy. Send a hard double or something, better yet how about take him out. Our defense scares the hell out of me, teams get any and every look they want.

  163. My neighbor thought I was getting robbed or something because I was running around screaming when Kobe and his german knees sealed it in o.t.

    True story.

    Kobe Bryant = true legend

  164. Enjoy the ride.

    Championship years are over but they will eventually reload and start another.

    Kobe is just solidifying his greatness. I am sure a few people have played at this level at this age , but they are few in number.

    I’m still PO’ed that he doesn’t have a coach and a supporting cast worthy of him, but that’s the price you pay for getting to 3 Finals..the cost is high.

  165. Kobe to good!!!! Kobe to good!!!! Kobe to good!!!! Kobe to good!!!! Kobe to good!!!! Kobe to good!!!!
    Kobe to good!!!! Kobe to good!!!!
    Kobe to good!!!! Kobe to good!!!!
    Kobe to good!!!! Kobe to good!!!!

    Sorry I just cant help it.

  166. Kehntangibles,
    Couldn’t have said it better myself. Darius and others are always preaching to enjoy the journey, so I’m gonna do just that. But this journey is to continue witnessing the greatness that is #24. The guy is truly amazing and us fans are truly lucky cuz it’s not gonna last forever. And all the Kobe haters, we know who they are, can go ahead and keep bitching cuz Kobe keeps telling them to shut it with his play!

  167. i hear that KB24 has a serious chance at making MVP!

  168. After the performance that Kobe put on tonight, the one thing that I would really like to hear are the comments on said performance by the opposing team. Especially considering the fact that the majority of these wing players, DeRozan and Fields for instance, grew up, as kids, idolizing The Mamba.

  169. Kobe has been absolutely unbelievable since the AS break, to be sure. But a part of me wishes that it didn’t have to go down this way, as just knowing Kobe can go off and “save the game” has to an extent limited the development of the other parts of the offence needed to see if this can be a really great team. Tonight there was some very strong support from Nash (with 22 points including some very clutch 3’s) and Dwight with a similarly nice stat line, and a bunch of nice blocks, but after the great play of the last few games we saw a big drop off from the bench and Earl.

    And while its hard to imagine this team ever challenging Miami (and probably you can throw OKC in there as well), I would really like to have the chance to see what Nash and Dwight can accomplish with a much healthier Dwight, a proper summer and training camp. And really I wonder what that would do for this whole roster, as I continue to wonder what the ceiling truly is here. I do think a great 2/3 who can really defend and hit some 3’s, is still needed, (think a Shane Battier type), but I am just not sure we will get the chance to see any of that. really hope we do. I do think this has been a really grand experiment in meshing all these talents, and given how well Kobe is holding up at age 34, there is still a couple of years, after this one, imho to see how far this can go…Hope the FO sees it the same way.

  170. Really like the posts from Darius, but the comments from the fan base are a bit..unbalanced…Nash puts up 22 pts. on 13 shots — including hitting 4-6 on 3-pointers and draining the tying 3 in OT — plus the clever in-bounds assist for one of Kobe’s big 4Q 3s, and 2 steals too — and all some of you people have is that he choked because he missed a FT (out of 5 FTs)?!?

    And people wonder why there’s hate for Lakers/Kobe fans…reading comment threads like this does not make it easier to cheer for LA…at least Kobe realizes it’s a team game, and that his 9 TOs were a seriously issue…with luck, he and the team can get the scoring/distributing balance for the starting guards more finely tuned, and they can nail down Ws without needing so many dramatic comebacks…

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