Wednesday Storylines

Dave Murphy —  April 10, 2013

Last night’s game had it all, some good, some not. It was solid in spots and completely rudderless in others and in the end, there were even moments of brilliance. Kobe caught fire in the fourth quarter, Pau found his assertiveness and in the end, a victory over New Orleans on a night when Utah lost to Oklahoma City. This was a much needed win. The Lakers are up in Portland tonight – the second half of a two-game back-to-back plus the fact that they’re 6 & 25 in the Rose Garden is just a bit worrisome.

Sam Amick for USA Today on a resurgent Pau Gasol.

Brian Kamenetzky at the Land O’Lakers has a podkast and transcript, the zen of Pau.

Drew Garrison at Silver Screen and Roll writes about last night’s two-man give and go with Kobe and Pau.

Mike Bresnahan at the L.A. Times looks towards the challenges posed by tonight’s game. Also Mike plus Eric Pincus from the Times on Metta’s fast return.

Mark Medina for Inside the Lakers writes about the load Kobe’s carrying, trying to will the team into the playoffs.

Anybody who knows me knows that Craig Sager and Phil Jackson are two of my favorite fictional characters. Here, Aaron McGuire from Gothic Ginobili does it up right.

Dave McMenamin at ESPN has an injury update for Steve Nash and Jordan Hill.

This just had to be included – Eric Freeman from Ball Don’t Lie supplies video from MWP’s ‘too sexy for my cat’ speech last night.

Ross Gasmer from Lakers Nation has some Mike D’Antoni quotes from last night.

One of the things I miss most about Phil Jackson is the two-finger whistle. There were times when his bemused refusal to call a time out could frustrate and in all honesty, he seemed to lose his team’s dedication at the end of his last run. Still, he had the ability to focus and organize his teams. There’s something to be said for system basketball. The Lakers increasingly strayed from classic triple-post principles in the later-model Phil lineups but they still operated out of certain fundamental concepts. The injury factor has been joined at the hip with a lack of framework this season and while there are reasons offered, it doesn’t change the fact that a central tenet of coaching is unity. Tonight, the Lakers bring their chances to the Rose Garden – four games to go, four games for the right to continue playing.

 

Dave Murphy

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18 responses to Wednesday Storylines

  1. you had to love Robert´s imitation of Riles last night!
    wadda you got for us tonight, oh Soothsayer Rob? :)

  2. Two positives from last night that **hopefully** continue were: A) the Lakers actually stuck to something that was working vs. getting bored and trying something different. Seeing them repeatedly work the ball into Pau last night knowing that he was eating up Anthony Davis was refreshing; and B) Seeing Pau with aggression was shocking and delightful. That’s the Pau I remember, and him being engaged made the game easier for Dwight, and obviously he and Kobe have longstanding in-game kismet (when Pau is in attack mode).

  3. Hollinger’s nutty computer program projects the Lakers going 2-2, but still making the playoffs as Utah is projected to go 1-2. Now I don’t know if the Lakers will make the playoffs or not, but I really struggle to believe that 2-2 would get them in. Of course, his system doesn’t account for ‘details’ such as injury, player vs. player or system v system matchups, whether a team has an incentive to try to win a specific game at the end of the season, etc.

    This season has been so painful, I fear the inevitability of some kind of equally devastating conclusion, something like: Lakers need to beat Houston to get in. Lakers down by 1 with 5 seconds to play, Kobe hits a miracle three from the corner to put the Lakers up two… but Harden drives coast to coast in the last 5 seconds against absolutely no defense (Kobe arguing for the 4 point play?) and his fouled by an idiotic and inconsequential reach-in as he makes the layup, then hits the free throw to win the game. Hack a Dwight would also be a tough way to lose… This may sound melodramatic, but for me, the end of this season is like when you have a nightmare and you just *know* that something terrible is about to happen right before it does…

    Really hope our @Port and our B2B jinxes somehow cancel each other out tonight. Let’s go!!

    (Do I sound schizophrenic? This season did it to me. Really, I was quite well-adjusted in November…)

  4. Sounds like a lot of hallucinations and delusions to me lil pau. Sit back and and enjoy the game. Worst case scenario, we get some time off during the summer to do other things than watch our favourite team in the finals.

  5. lil pau, I doubt it will get a chance to be that dramatic. I say the Lakers lose tonight, then lose to San Antonio, while the Jazz win both against Minnesota. Game over. (Remembering that Minnesota has the lottery incentive to tank, and there’s no way Adelman will do anything to help the Lakers.)

  6. From McMenamin:

    “I think Mike just realized what he has in Pau,” Bryant said after the game. “During that stretch there, second quarter when I was out of the game, during a timeout he said, ‘Guys, we just got to pound the ball inside to Pau. We just got to go to him. Stop trying to do things on the pick-and-roll, just go inside, let him muscle us.'”

    Mike just realized that Pau Gasol is a 7 footer with one of the best low post games in the NBA? It’s either that, or he has known all along but has stubbornly refused to accept it (my preferred theory). Either way, it’s a shameful example of a coach whose stubbornness or ignorance has been a factor in this dreadful season.

  7. Lakers’ shot tonight is that POR will be/may be missing a lot of guys, apparently.

    Still, having watched Lakers games in Portland since just after the merger, it is hard for me to be optimistic about any b2b there, no matter who is suiting up for the Blazers.

  8. guys have you SEEN the free agency class this year? it’s LOADED with S tier A tier and B tier talent.

    even trevor ariza will be on the market.

  9. @Funky – that is so great. Maybe Mike’s starting to figure out what his meal ticket is.

  10. The bigger red flag in that McMenamin article is the tenor of the quotes from Gasol, which just ooze contempt for D’Antoni. How in the world do you lose Pau, the nicest and most flexible star player you’re likely to find? That Pringles managed to do just that reflects terribly on him.

  11. Dave, it’s pretty astonishing stuff. I mean, it’s ok to cut a guy slack for not having a full training camp, or not knowing exactly what he has in unproven players like Clark. But to utterly fail to grasp the fact that Pau Gasol is and has always been an effective low post player, and a below average stretch 4 just boggles the mind.

    Blizzard, yep, I think it is getting pretty obvious that nobody on this team really respects the coach. The star player is now instructing Gasol to act the opposite of the coach (and, for now, Gasol is siding with the player, not the coach). The franchise center is reportedly less likely to re-sign with the team if MDA comes back. Half of the roster has been told in no uncertain terms “I think you suck and don’t trust you even when half my starting lineup is injured” so I doubt there’s much love lost for the coach from the reserves.

    With all this, and with a record of failure this season, you’d think the two sides could just quietly work out some kind of buyout this summer and part ways (I know you can’t do that under the CBA for a player contract, but I’m not so sure about coaches’ deals).

  12. Funky: with coaches, you could theoretically work out whatever deal you want (there’s no CBA for coaches), but it’s a one-sided negotiation– why would any coach take less than 100c on the dollar? Players do it sometimes if their agents tell them they could make up the difference playing for another team, but generally speaking, coaches know they will be unemployed for a little while so they demand – and get – a full buyout (sometimes discounted by inflation– i.e., they take less in today’s dollars but it’s a good faith estimate of the total amount due over the life of the contract).

    I think it’s a moot point anyway– unless DH does a ‘it’s me or him’, MDA will be the coach next year. And if Howard does that, and the Lakers agree to appease Dwight, then MDA knows he’s going to get paid off in full and wouldn’t take a reduced buyout. Oddly enough, even as he’s getting shoved out the door, he would still be the ones holding all the cards.

  13. I agree, I don’t think MDA’s going anywhere. My hope is for the path of least resistance – in other words, his acceptance of the cards he’s been dealt. I think he’s starting to come around because lets face it – nobody wants to be saddled with the rep of coming into a huge franchise loaded with big name players and big expectations and go straight to FAIL. That said he’s got a bit of a chippy personality and a stubborn streak. That was evident in NY. At this point he has to be thinking that he’ll take wins however he can get them even if it means doing an about-face with Pau. It’s a pretty make-shift situation at this point because there isn’t a real workable system in place and a lot of the guys on the floor haven’t shown consistency game to game or even quarter to quarter.

  14. lil pau, I hear you. Mine was more of a hope than a suggestion, predicated on MDA realizing that 100c on the dollar might not be worth the destruction of his (already diminished) reputation. When you oversee the worst Laker season in decades, and manage to alienate practically every player on the roster the year after you quit on your previous team (right before they went on to dramatically improve in your absence), maybe you should consider preserving what reputation you have left.

    Of course, all of those facts argue strongly in favor of taking 100c on the dollar of what will likely be the last contract ever offered to you….

  15. I never knew why Lakers hired MDA anyway. Did we really hire a coach just because of Nash( whos 39 years old) and Jim Buss wanted showtime? Was no thought given to the fact that the coach’s offense does not fit the roster and he doesn’t preach defense? If Lakers had a 2 year window to win a championship before we rebuild, then they should have gone with somebody who actually lead a team to the nba finals….like maybe phil jackson or jerry sloan.

  16. Exactly… plus there’s the issue from the other side of the equation: after shouldering some huge blame for getting SVG fired, does Dwight want to be that guy for the second time in as many years? I guess if Dwight really hates MDA, I mean really thinks the guy is the worst, then he would, but so much of this stuff seems overblown to me– player feuds, player/coaches feuds, etc. Plus, there’s the question of a replacement– contrary to many posters here, I think the return of certain mustached hippy with two handfuls of rings is pretty much a pipedream.

    My guess is next season’s roster looks a lot like this one, only with hopefully far better health and, to my anticipated regret, a couple of perimeter players on short contracts occupying the Spaniard’s spot. That may be enough for a 5 seed, who knows? And then, when all those salaries come off the book in 2014, it’ll be a whole different story again largely predicated around what Kobe wants to do.

  17. Funky: That was quite the sentence up above.
    lil pau: I agree with much of your post, except the two handfuls reference. It is actually two handfuls plus one toe.

  18. Funky- Very well said my friend. Robert posted this question about D’Antoni staying or leaving a month or so ago and the answer hasn’t changed. If the Lakers miss the playoffs *and* Dwight makes an ultimatum, then MDA is gone as fried chicken. Otherwise…he’ll be here for next year at the very least.