Around The World (Wide Web): Kobe willing the Lakers to the playoffs

Ryan Cole —  April 11, 2013

From Brett Polakoff, Pro Basketball Talk: The criticism for this Lakers team, which has struggled mightily in consecutive nights against teams that have long since been out of the playoff picture, is both real and well-justified. But regardless of the poor starts, even worse team defense, and a propensity to play down to their level of competition, the reality is that L.A. is being dragged to victory by one of the league’s best players, and that’s been pretty exciting to watch.Kobe Bryant followed up his 23 point fourth quarter on Tuesday with a 47 point effort in Portland, which was enough to lead his team to a 113-106 victory that pushed the Lakers a full game ahead of the Utah Jazz for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference standings.

From C.A. Clark, Silver Screen & Roll: Fifteen times, the Los Angeles Lakers have dealt with the difficulty of playing professional basketball contests on back to back nights. Fifteen times, they have failed to win both games. Tonight was their 16th and last opportunity, and they needed badly to be successful to keep Utah at bay in the race for the last playoff spot left. You knew, even against an under-manned and unimpressive Portland team with nothing to play for, it would take a special effort to get the job done. You just couldn’t have known how special it would be. Kobe Bean Black Mamba Vino Bryant. Take a bow.

From Dave McMenamin, ESPN LA:  Kobe Bryant emerged from the showers late Wednesday night and limped through the nearly empty visitors locker room at the Rose Garden, stopping briefly on his way to the training room to change so he could acknowledge Metta World Peace.”You always backed me,” Bryant said with intense appreciation. Bryant was winding down from what can only be described as an epic performance by the 17-year veteran — a season-high 47 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 blocks and 3 steals with only 1 turnover, a statistical line never before recorded in the league, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.And all those stats paled in comparison to Bryant’s playing all 48 minutes, each and every second of the game, to help L.A. sweep a back-to-back for the first time in 16 tries this season and beat the Trail Blazers 113-106 in Portland, where the Lakers had lost 12 of their previous 14 games.

From Ben Bolch, LA Times: Kobe Bryant pumped his fist as he raced down the court in the final minutes, allowing himself a moment to celebrate a performance that was implausible even by his standards. His Lakers teammates extended high-fives on the way to the timeout huddle, about the only way Bryant was leaving the court in a game his team had to have.

From Eric Freeman, Yahoo Sports: The Los Angeles Lakers are fighting to grab the West’s last spot in the playoffs and rescue their season from utter disaster. After Kobe Bryant’s fourth-quarter heroics in Tuesday night’s win over theNew Orleans Hornets, the Lakers were faced with a road game against the Portland Trail Blazers on the second night of a back-to-back. A win would push them a game ahead of the Utah Jazz — a loss would drop them back into a tie for eighth place (which means missing out on the playoffs, because the Jazz hold the tiebreaker advantage). That’s a stiff challenge for an aging team, particularly given the heavy minutes logged by Bryant and others in this final push towards the postseason.

Ryan Cole

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53 responses to Around The World (Wide Web): Kobe willing the Lakers to the playoffs

  1. Pau and Dwight still complaining….how do they get away with this.

  2. Shooting a combined 20/26 gives the bigs plenty of reason to say that pounding the ball inside is the way to go, rather than assuming that a 17 year veteran can continue to play 48 minutes per game at a level never before seen by any NBA player. They happen to be right.

  3. Only Kobe could throw down this stat line:

    47 points
    8 rebounds
    5 assists
    4 blocks
    3 steals
    1 turnover
    14-27 from the field
    18-18 from the line

    playing every second of the game on the second night of a back-to-back on the road at the age of 34 and have the story the next day be how he’s somehow not doing enough to help the Lakers win because he’s shooting too much or not involving his teammates enough or (fill in the damn blank).

    This is patently absurd. If you want to pick a time to ***** and moan about the offense being too Kobe centric, then pick a time when he hasn’t had a night when what he did has never been done in the entire damned history of the league and was done with incredible efficiency.

  4. Note: My post above wasn’t specifically directed at Funky Chicken. I wrote it before Funky’s post was visible.

  5. @Jim C.
    100% with you on the matter. When I read Gasol’s comments in McMenamin’s article, I frankly thought they were maybe taken a bit out of context. That would be just plain absurd to speak these word after the lonely b-to-b win of the season, a very much needed win.

  6. Pau and Dwight both know that if Kobe plays the team game then it would ve been easier to beat a team that isnt very good and missing players…There was a reason that Phil was a great coach…he was able to take Kobe’s talent and blend it to help the team…With Kobe…Howard..and Gasol…There is no reason this team should be struggling to beat Portland….How the mighty have fallen….

  7. No offense taken, Jim. Kobe’s performance was one of the better games I have ever seen by an NBA player. That it happened on the road on the 2nd night of a b2b, in a must win game and in a place where they almost never win, well that just makes the performance sweeter.

    My comment and, from what I saw post-game, Pau’s comment was in no way intended to minimize the greatness of Kobe’s effort, but instead a commentary on whether this kind of effort is sustainable for a playoff push. I’m of the view that it is not, which is in no way a knock on Kobe. Playing inside out is always going to be a more sustainable approach when you have a size advantage, which is why none other than Phil Jackson spliced scenes from the movie “Inside Man” into film for a bad Laker team with a starting unit that included Luke Walton, Smush Parker, and Kwame Brown as a way to drive home the point that to beat the MDA-Nash Phoenix Suns in a first round playoff series you need to pound it inside. Damn near worked, too (curses to you, Tim Thomas).

    I still think the Lakers have a tougher road to the playoffs than the Jazz, and should they get there it will likely require them to beat San Antonio, which will virtually guarantee that the 8th seed will be playing OKC in the first round. Thus, I see very little likelihood of playoff success for this team, and whatever chance they have if/when they get there will be enhanced if they are moving the ball and getting good production inside. I think that’s all Pau meant, and in that I think he’s right.

    I do, however, agree, that anyone using any breath today to be critical of Kobe after a truly historic performance last night is out of their mind.

  8. Pau i can understand wanting more touches but dwight? When he stops fumbling the ball on layups and can make at least 60% of his free throws, then he can complain.

  9. From the start of the 4th to 5 min mark Kobe took 1 shot. Pau was 5 of 6. Kobe having 3 assists on 5 of Pau’s makes. Yesterday team ball was evident Pau had 15 shots and 9 assists. Last game in the 3rd quarter the team played through Pau and he delivered. I think these quotes are year long frustration and him being healthy enough to display bravado. He did kind of slight a great all around performance on offense and defense as 47 pts in 48 minutes. So hopefully if Lakers make the playoffs he delivers more than he has the last 2 years. The team will need it.

  10. It should also be noted that Kobe shot the ball 23 times per game last year and 20 times per game this year.

    His career average is 20 attempts per game.

    Last night the Lakers scored 113 points on 59% shooting. Seriously, the offense is not the reason why we struggled to beat Portland. Our offense in general hasn’t been the problem the entire year.

    At some point people need to accept that Kobe is an imperfect but amazing player and just look elsewhere for answers on why the team is struggling.

    He’s shooting a career high from the field. He’s leading the league in assists per game at his position. He’s in the top-5 in the league in minutes played. And by the way, the guy’s 34 years old.

    There’s a limit to what you can ask a guy his age with his mileage on him to be able to do. He can’t simultaneously be your primary scorer, your primary distributor, a lockdown perimeter defender and play through all injuries and practically lead the league in minutes played all at the same time at his age.

    Something is going to suffer because he can’t do literally everything the team needs him to do.

  11. People who don’t like Kobe’s style of play – mostly because long ago the “talking heads” decided he didn’t deserve to be compared to the “great” MJ. – simply don’t have the capacity to be somewhat objective.

    Yeah, the Lakers would be better if Kobe would share more and the other players would produce more. Now we have players who can do that. The only problem with this scenario is that isn’t what has happened this year. Other players have fallen off, instead of stepping up. In Portland, in the 1st qtr, the Lakers were in danger of being run off the floor. It was Kobe who kept them within striking distance at that time. When doubled and tripled he actually did find open players to pass to. People have to take this game in context – the Lakers had not won a b-2-b all year, our record in Portland was terrible, early in games we don’t seem able to defend to save our souls – when trying to criticize Kobe for trying to take over. Things didn’t look good in the 1st qtr and Damian Lillard was in beast mode. Portland was playing rookies on Kobe.

    Basketball isn’t a game where there is one way to play. Everything has to be evaluated in the context of the flow of the game. That is one of the problems with starting with statistics and then trying to find things to justify your statistics. In this game Kobe was hot and he was efficient – evidence is in how many other things he did in the game besides score.

  12. This is a lot of horse crap, the reason Kobe has been forced to go on NBA2k13 cheat mode is because of all the horrible inconsistency every single other player has shown this season, be it Gasol struggling, moppin and getting hurt, Dwight with his back, plethora of dumb fouls even dumber turnovers and his putrid ft shooting, Nash being hurt all the time and being too shy on offense most of the time, Blake and Meeks and their streaky shooting, we all know that Kobe is going to do what Kobe needs to do. How many times in the last 2 games did he passed to Meeks and Blake when they were wide open like “no defender in the same zip code ” and missed shots that some of us would make? Kobe would had more than 10 assist last night if it werent for all those bricks. Kobe is doing what he need to do to get this team in the playoffs, i cant believe anybody would dare to question his shot selection when if it wasnt for him they would had lost both games. Gasol need to shut the hell up and play because having 2 goodgames in a row dont make up for all the horrible play early in the season that are direct causes of the predicament the team is in

  13. @FunkyChicken:

    We’re on the same page then. Last night’s effort by Kobe wasn’t remotely sustainable, even for him. The issue is that Dwight has been very unreliable in the post but sulks when he isn’t the primary offensive option at the big man position.

    It reminds me of that notorious phone call we heard about last year where Kobe supposedly told Dwight that he could be the Lakers’ Tyson Chandler, implying that he wanted Dwight to be the primary guy on defense and Gasol to be the primary Laker threat on offense.

    I think that has to be what ends up happening. I’m all for working the offense through the post and doing an inside/outside game, but Dwight just has not been very effective on straight post ups this year and tends to mope and not give maximum effort defensively when he’s not the man in the post on that end.

  14. I would understand Gasol if he got 4 or 5 touches, but he shot 15 times and at least 10 more touches, what he wanted 30 shots?

  15. I always understood that the Lakers bigs wont score 30 points each everytime, sometimes Pau should be the main focus down low and sometimes Dwight its all about matchups, but Dwight limited post game and general lack of sense has made very obvious that Gasol is more viable on offense down low, Dwight needs to concentrate mainly on D and stop triying to be a 25-30 ppg scorer, he will never be that he can go up to 20 in a career year and that is it. After 9 years in the league that ship had sailed.

  16. Dwight shouldn’t be getting more than 10 post touches a game. Every other touch for him should be lobs, dump offs, or passes off of rolls. Why? Look at his turnover line last night. There is a direct correlation between his post touches and turnovers. The more he gets of one ->
    the higher the other number is. He had 6 last night and he wanted to handle the ball more?

    Here’s the problem with most of DH12’s touches being assisted by other players- the play or action isn’t always successful because of the way the defense decides to react. There are going to be nights where that Horns 4–> 5 lob play works because the defense decides to make Pau a passer and then there will be nights where they decide to make Pau hit that open 15-17 footer. (which he hasn’t done all that well this year.)

    There is only one thing that is consistent about this Lakers team. That’s Kobe Bryant. He is the only player on this team that has been consistently good this year. Everyone else is up and down.

  17. What’s even more absurd about Pau’s quote is that Kobe had at least 6 shot attempts that occurred with his getting the ball with 3 secs left after a teammate dump it off on him. The Lakers played with no life to start that gamevand if not for Kobe they would have lost. Pau just put the death nail in his coffin with Laker fans. He will never get the adoration he thinks he deserves. After his disappearance in the 2011 playoffs u would think he would simply shot him mouth.

  18. I am a huge Kobe fan, but I am with Pau on this one. Pau is not about shots. He is one of the most unselfish players in the game. Just look at his assists. He understands that you maybe able to win a game on the back of one guy but to win deep into the playoff requires a balanced attack. Pau and Dwight made 6 more baskets then Kobe on one less shot. Portland had no answer for them. I think Pau was just stating the obvious. move the ball, go inside out and it makes it easier on everyone, including Kobe.

    This is the one area that has frustrated me even during the finals runs. We would go inside, have great success then abandon it. I can recall a lot of games where. Bynum for instance would be like 6 for 7 in the 1st quarter and finish 8 for 11 for the whole game. Yes Kobe may carry us into the playoff but to actually win in the playoffs it’s going to take a more balanced attack.

  19. The onus is on Dwight and Pau to perform ‘consistently.’ While I recognize that Kobe’s numbers were an outlier statistically, so are Dwight’s and Pau’s as far as this season is concerned.

  20. Don’t know or really care what Pau or Howard are thinking or want.

    But, if they want more touches/shots, one way to do this is to hit the offensive glass.

    Kobe’s recent work makes MDA’s prattle about managing his minutes seem, well, stupid. I guess his minutes are being managed by Kobe playing every single minute of every game.

  21. Pau’s only played one game against okc this year. Lakers had 29 assists shot 55% and won at home. Other 3 games were losses by average 12 points. If the bravado he has is what he needs to have that kind of impact I’m all for it.

  22. Fwiw, I wrote about Pau’s comments at Pro Basketball Talk:

    http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/04/11/kobe-was-fantastic-in-win-over-blazers-but-his-teammates-continue-to-stress-team-play/

    If you read that post, you’ll see that Pau wasn’t the only one that said something in the past couple of days. Ron also had some comments, though he approached it through the perspective of the other guys needing to do more than stand around and watch as Kobe plays aggressively.

    I should also note, I see nothing controversial about what Pau’s saying. He’s won championships too. Just as Ron won one with the Lakers as well. They understand what it takes to win at the highest level and how to do so with Kobe as a teammate. If you also read McMenamin’s article that I cited in my post at PBT, you’ll see that this is what Kobe wanted as well. He wants his teammates to speak up and has stated multiple times that confrontation is a good thing within the team because they’re all brothers and all love each other. Trying to get the best out of each other is never a bad thing.

    The way to a title is through team play. This is not debatable. Kobe can be the focal point of all that and likely will be, however successful the team is. Kobe can win a game or two playing the way he did vs. the Blazers but the team will fail in the long run. Again, this isn’t debatable. Some of the comments criticizing Pau or Dwight or any other player for speaking their mind about encouraging team play come off as pretty defensive towards Kobe when I don’t think that stuff is really relevant. The team will succeed or fail together in the end, but the path towards success will be directly related to how much the rest of the guys can give to the cause. Trying to figure out the best way to make that happen and them wanting to be involved is a great thing.

  23. We all know what needs to be done. Just that it will always be a chicken and egg thing until everyone steps up.

    Kobe needs to defend consistently, and not let teammates’ misses stop his effort to look for them. He’s got a shooter’s mentality – help your teammates create their shooter’s mentality.

    Pau needs to be more assertive, befitting the 1A option of a two time championship team, and three time finalist, and the captain of his own national team which places near the top in every olympics.

    Dwight needs to learn how to stay on the floor and not let the lack of touches discourage him. Hitting FTs will help too.

    Nash needs to get healthy.

    On and on what needs to be done in an ideal world is quite obvious. But I’m sure every other team recognizes this as well and do their best to disrupt it, and we’re not tested enough to pull through and stick true to this no matter what. That will come.

  24. I always wonder about these quotes, the context, and the storyline that any given author might be pursuing. Gasol’s comments seem relatively harmless to me, in a broader context, but if the goal is to paint “conflict” between players, then it can be spun that way. Hardly a big deal to me, however. I can only imagine what it must be like to answer questions day after day after day about the same issues.

  25. Definetly it was a comment painted to look like conflict and turmoil, but like i said before Kobe playing hero ball is direct result of his teammates inconsistencies all season long specially on these vital do or die games, when they are hitting their shots he will defer, we seen that all season long but if the team as a whole is not producing offensively he will took it upon himself to make things happen. I have no problem with that. On the other hand i truly glad the vestiges of our b2b are leading the charge.

  26. My two cents, is that the whole year has been a struggle of sorts to figure out how to play and where to go with the ball, but that has been really exascerbated by the constant run to the infirmary. So for e.g. they had a pretty comfortable niche in February, before Pau went down being led by Nash, Pau and Kobe running a mix of PNR and post ups and were a coherent and balanced offence. Then Pau got injured and they kind of forced Dwight back and there were some awful games and truly putrid chemistry till that was solved and that group eventually found a rythym ands played some pretty good ball. Then Kobe went down for a few games, and Dwight and Nash had a nice thing going till the bad 7 man rotation game against Phoenix. Then Kobe and Pau came back rusty and that led to a bad streak for a few games. Then MWP and Nash went down, causing further adjustments as key cogs on the defensive (MWP) and offensive side (Nash) were out..Now it seems to me we are back to the early part of the season where they are running more or less as they used to before this season, and are very reliant on Kobe, but are more succesful than they were early season as Dwight and Pau are playing much better basketball than they did in November.

    Point being, with such potent superstar types who have had, collectively so much success winning a particular way, each major injury has changed the way they play, and caused instability. And that has happened, quite a large number of times this year. So who they are is, amazingly, still being worked out.

    A few further related observations: 1) Now that Pau is rejuvenated, it is not surprising that Kobe and Pau lead the team as they are the only combo of the big 4 that have any continuity to fall back on. 2) Kobe has been off the charts brilliant in quite a few games, but often you wonder if the team was truly on the exact same page this would have been necessary. 3) With Nash out, the rest of the team is getting less touches and you can see Jamison, Blake and Meeks start to slowly disappear a bit 4) Ironically, while we bemoan the injuries, some of the worst games have come with all of the big 4 “healthy”. This is because, imho, with that many superstars around needing the ball, and with their different needs on how the team plays, there have been chemistry/style issues. Given how few games there have been with all 4 healthy, this is the not surprising, but is a bit frustrating, and is the one big thing to sort out in the off season, if this team stays intact, more or less.
    5) in the end its more about defence, but solving this offensive questions, would really help them on the defensive side, imho.

  27. I think Pau’s comments are directed to other teammates not named Kobe. 24KB’s stat line is a result of him being aggressive in the offense. Other players should match his aggressiveness. If Kobe toned down his aggressiveness in order to ‘facilitate’ the fragile egos of his mates, then the game would be a loss instead of a win. There are a lot of ways to be aggressive in the game, 80% of which are done without the ball. Like fighting for a rebound, or setting a good pick, or running hard during a break.

  28. Fern

    Not always on the same page but your post at 3:39 is perfectly said. No question Nash, Pau, Dwight, Meeks have all played WAY under their past performance’s.

    No question Kobe has been equal to or better then he has been.

    So then why would you pass to guys on the downside career wise? Seems simple.

  29. Darius,

    I agree with you and see no problems with either 1)confrontational culture and 2) team play. Of course Kobe hero ball is not sustainable in the long run. It just seems weird to me – especially from Mcmenamin’s article – that all of a sudden they talk “title” while the reality is back-to-back must win game.
    Overall, it might simply be a bad article from McMenanin’s side causing me this strange feeling of discomfort.

  30. So Jordan Hill….

  31. off topic..I was channel surfing and chanced upon a Philippine Basketball Association game. DJ Mbenga is playing as an import for the Red Bull team

  32. Jordan Hill will not return until next year, unless the Lakers can make it to the finals. For now though, the last thing the Lakers need is another gimpy player on the floor. MWP should wear a sleeve on his knee and stop with all the “I’m too sexy for my cat” comments. He looks tenuous step/sliding to his left. The only reason he was not exposed in the Portland game is because the rookies were not savvy enough to go at him on defense. Best believe that the Warriors will force him left at every opportunity on defense and on any offensive moves he makes.

    As for Pau and MWP’s comments: Shut up already! Golly gee willikers, just let winning games speak for you. Because if you are playing your game and doing all that you can on BOTH sides of the floor, you won’t have to say anything, as you will be a champion when the last game is played. At best the entire team has seven games left to play together, at worst three. He just needs to stick his head back in the sand, like he did in the 2007 playoffs and finish this season.

    This team has so many entitled players, many that have never done a darned thing independent of Kobe Bryant. Kobe has won championships with other players, can any of them say that, no. Yet, they have the audacity to complain. Weird they just refuse to play their role. Can anyone imagine Ron Harper, Horace Grant, Dennis Rodman or Scottie Pippen complaining about the shots that MJ took in a game? How can any of them speak disparagingly about what Kobe has done for this team this year? Kobe has played the 2nd most minutes in the league at the age of 34, played injured, and had to be the decoy, the facilitator, the defender, the coach, the rebounder and scorer. Kobe has been asked to do things outside his comfort zone for this team; I’d like to see some other players do at least what they are capable of doing and then exceeding that expectation by 30%. Thirty percent not even 100% above their capability because at this point many are not even playing with any consistency.

    As a fan of Kobe; at times I have shouted pass the ball, however the game in Portland was not one of those times. Kobe waited for the Lakers to get going and was down something like 2-12 before he resorted to Mamba mode. This scenario of starting slow and getting down by 15-20 points has happened far too many times this season with the end result being a loss, after a high octane last three minutes of a game.

    The Lakers can make history as a TEAM if everyone plays all out, with heart and soul on both ends of the floor with the sole purpose of winning. No excuses about not getting the ball and playing the right way, it’s too late for that. In the game, get down on the floor for loose balls, finish around the rim, hit wide-open shots, rebound, box-out, play defense, set screens, go hard for the 50-50 balls, if they are not going for offensive rebounds they need to run full speed to get back on defense. If all of the Lakers do these things they might earn the right to play in the 2012-2013 playoffs.

    Lakers stop talking about making history and physically do it.

    LET’S GO

  33. I see no reason to bash Pau for his comments, because I don’t think he was saying what many seem to “think” he was saying. There is a danger at times in trying to read the mind of a player through inference based on comments about a given subject. Pau is, first and foremost, a cerebral, high-IQ player who, when asked, is going to give his opinion, and in this instance, the opinion he gave is simply right. Team ball is better. The fourth quarter against POR was an apt example. POR was focusing so much on Kobe (probably thinking, like many of us, that Kobe would stay in “gunner” mode) that when Kobe refused to deliver, and instead started giving the ball to Pau and saying “let’s see the Black Swan” that was it–POR couldn’t recover.

    What happened in that game is, of course, not sustainable. It just isn’t. So Pau is right.

    So why are we bashing Pau for stating the obvious? I have a feeling Kobe is relieved as heck (of course I’m engaging in mind-reading now myself) that Pau said those things, because Kobe wants “Black Swan” Pau, i.e., a fellow champion who wants the dang ball and will take pressure off of Kobe–and it was “Black Swan” Pau that made the statements….

  34. I wonder if Kobe also set the record for the oldest player to have played the full 48mins and have an efficient stat line like he did.

  35. I think a lot of people on this board have completely missed the point of Pau’s comments. What Pau (and Ron) said was as directed as much at the other players on the team, and even at the coach.

    Kobe has had some selfish games. No Laker fan can reasonably deny that. The Portland game was definitely NOT one of them. Nobody was criticizing Kobe for being selfish. The point was that an offense that consists of a ball dominant guard, at 34 years of age, playing 48 minutes is most assuredly not a recipe for success in the long run. It works from time to time, but this can’t be the “system” for a deep playoff run (one of the reasons why the Clippers will not go far–because you don’t find many championship teams with guards who control the ball for virtually the entire shot clock).

    And for those seeking to limit Dwight’s post touches, are any of you in the “we should’ve hired Phil” camp? Because anyone remotely familiar with Phil Jackson would know that PJ would never support a strategy of limiting a big man’s touches.

    What my previous post about the Laker-Suns playoff series left out was that the big man that PJ devised his strategy for was Kwame (hands of stone) Brown, so spare me the suggestion that limiting Dwight’s touches is a winning strategy. That strategy makes as much sense as limiting Kobe’s touches due to his propensity to turn the ball over. Dwight’s game (and ball handling) is limited, but if you are going to ignore his FG% and focus on turnovers, you should be doing the same for Kobe….

  36. As a follow up re: Pau’s comments–I think MWP’s comments, while perhaps less polished and articulate are nevertheless just as prescient–think about how many shots Kobe takes of the “Kobe grenade” variety Darius and others have talked about–with the shot clock just about cashed and everyone going “ok Kobe, bail us out….” MWP’s point is a good one–Kobe won’t shoot so much if everyone else starts moving instead of waiting for Kobe to act, and demands the ball and generates profitable returns when they get it.

    Simply put, I don’t think Pau or MWP are bashing Kobe. They might be subtlely bashing the lack of a system (but I don’t claim that is the case) and they might be subtely telling teammates to step up (ok, MWP wasn’t being subtle at all) but they aren’t critiquing Kobe’s game.

  37. Darius,

    Pau’s point is certainly not debatable, but the issue is bringing up this obvious point to begin with. It serves absolutely no purpose, other than to insult Kobe’s style of play. Pau made a similar backhanded compliment about Kobe on the historic night when Kobe broke Kareem’s Lakers scoring record. Insulting Kobe’s game on historic nights is becoming a trend for Pau.

    Kobe’s gone through stretches where he averaged double digit assists this season. It was his idea to become the main facilitator and play through the post. Pau’s comments suggest that he is concerned that Kobe will stay in gunner mode for the rest of the season, but those concerns are silly, based on Kobe’s play this season.

    As Craig and others have stated, it’s all about context. If defenses want to single team Kobe, than it’s Kobe’s job to look for his shot. The more aggressive Kobe is when single teamed, the harder the double and triple teams will be when defenses adjust. Pau doesn’t seem to realize that he has been one of the main beneficiaries from Kobe’s aggressiveness.

    I find it amusing that Kobe has tried to get Pau to be more aggressive for years, while Pau has tried to get Kobe to tone down his aggressiveness. In the past couple weeks, Pau has played as aggressively as I’ve seen him in the past two seasons. The irony is that during this stretch, Pau decides to make a back handed insult about Kobe being overly aggressive. Go figure.

  38. LT Mitchell,
    Thanks for agreeing with me that Pau’s point “is certainly not debatable”. Everything else in your comments comes off as a pretty sharp sensitivity about Kobe.

  39. Nobody was criticizing Kobe for being selfish.

    ____________

    Disagree. People are talking about Pau, but here is what Howard said:

    “We just got to play together; that’s the biggest thing,” Howard said. “Play together. I think we got to really play inside-out. That’s what kills teams. It slows the game down. It gets me and Pau in a rhythm, and we’re able to find guys on the perimeter also. It’s tough to guard.”

    Howard has used the words “play together” and “play the right way” about 15-20 times each in the media that I am aware of, always after games in which Kobe shoots a lot.

    As to Pau, he is a very smart man, and the fact that he is as articulate as he is in English has always impressed me. He framed it very, very carefully, but here (to me) is the key sentence:

    “On the other hand, I’m a player that likes to see a little bit more ball movement and better balance. I’ve always been [like that]. That’s just how I perceive this game.”

    ____________

    So, I think it is pretty clear that they were saying–again–that Kobe should shoot less and give them the ball more, and I think attempts to frame that as not being at least mildly critical of Kobe are misguided.

    Whether they should have said it is another question. Since I am not anywhere near the team, I genrally avoid expressing opinions about personality dynamics, but I think Kobe would probably love it if Howard and Pau screamed “Give us the %#!*%! ball!” at him in the 4th quarter.

  40. SMH….Kobe was extremely assertive in the first half trying to keep the game close. If not for his offense, the team would have been in a deep hole. He was hot and he milked it. Towards the end of the game, in the 4th quarter, he facilitated several baskets with the hockey assists. Man played a great game, bottom line.

  41. rr:

    I’m not sure I’m as convinced about Pau dissing Kobe, but you make a compelling case on both bigs.

    But I’m 100% convinced that your last paragraph is right–which was my point above. I think Kobe has been absolutely DYING for someone to look at him and say “feed me Seymour” and Pau has started doing that, to a point. To think otherwise is to think either that (1) Kobe would rather score than win–something I generally ascribe only to blind haters, not true fans; or (2) Kobe doesn’t understand that he can’t sustain this level of production infinitely and incessantly–which would be contrary to the fact that Kobe is, at the very least, and above-average BBIQ guy.

  42. When you say things like that after a win..especially about the person who is saving your career and trying to save the season. It shows why we suck in the first place..Pau can’t carry a team..Dwight whined his way off if a team because the load was too great.

    He spoke because he is selfish. .nothing more. If Chris Bosh whined about touches after a game and questioned lebron ESPN would go crazy for two months.

    Go play with jameer nelson..or go back to memphis where you dragged your team to the finals….sucking for better part of 3 years and still talking S is pure lunacy.

  43. Talking after a win is just as good, if not better, than talking after a loss. Just because you win a game doesn’t mean there’s nothing to learn or that execution couldn’t be better.

  44. Darius

    I truly understand the logic in what your saying

    But in this case its flat out wrong…its passive aggresive selfishness by a guy with no muscle tone, who pouts mire often than not and really doesnt fit into the coaches plan.

    He hasnt played well enough or consistently enough to speak out about anything other than his own questionable play. More importantly each game has its own life and the comments are generic at best…you can say that after any game on any level.

    If somebody asks about your great article and I say something stupid like” your website sucks( it doesn’t), or I would do it different” its not meant to help

    He was being a d**k..sorry for the language.

  45. Marques,
    I mean, that’s a total mischaracterization of what was said, so I get the feeling you’re just venting about Gasol in general. Pau said what Kobe did was amazing. He said it at the beginning of his statement and at the end. So, why compare his statement to anything even implying that what Kobe did “sucked”? The fact is, what Pau said is true. The team needs more balance. Kobe, in a roundabout way has said the same thing multiple times, so is his logic flawed too? Is he being a jerk to himself?

    Like I said earlier, no one is saying Kobe played poorly. That’s an unsupportable statement. Another unsupportable statement is that Pau and Ron and Dwight are wrong to say that team play is what will get them the furthest in the playoffs. So, what’s the issue?

    Lakers’ fans sensitivity about Kobe, that’s what. I’d add that I’ve defended Kobe in regards to his style of play and think he gets a bum wrap for being “selfish” and all kinds of other things fans say about him. The fact is, it’s a gray area with no real definitive answer. But, in the end, if someone were to say that the way for the Lakers to be at their best over the long haul is for Kobe to score 47 points a night, they’d be wrong. So, again, what’s the point of all the backlash?

    That’s right, there’s an inherent sensitivity in a sect of Lakers’ fans towards Kobe. It’s the same reason I’ve been called a “hater” on twitter for critiquing his game. It’s silly. No one is infallible, even when they play great. And Kobe did play GREAT. But, as I’ve said a thousand times and will continue to say, others will need to be involved AND even more important, they’ll need to play well when given their chance. It’s important they get their chance, however.

  46. rr, you’re taking those comments to be criticism of Kobe’s game against Portland. I took them as commentary on the fact that while this was an amazing (historic, really) effort, it’s not the ideal model. Yes, that more than implies that the ideal model means inside out, less shots from the outside without first starting inside. I still don’t see that as criticism as much as realism.

    We’re all amazed (or should be) by what we saw Wednesday night. We should not, however, be so swept up in that performance that we lose sight of the fact that it is simply impossible to sustain this “system” for much longer. There’s a reason guys don’t play 48 minutes a night, and while nobody wants it to be true, unless you are talking about an anomaly like Bill Russell, Dennis Rodman, or MWP, the less involved a player is offensively, the less active he’s likely to be defensively. There’s more justification to spreading the ball around on offense than just improving the offense; it also tends to improve the defense as well.

  47. Phil often used the media to pressure his players into playing a certain way or to get more out of his players…….and I think Kobe and Pau have been influenced by Phil in this regard.

    The problem with Paus comments is that it serves no purpose. Is he trying to get more out of Kobe

  48. ? does he want Kobe to pass more the day after Pau praised Kobe for force feeding Pau in the post? Unlikely. It was a diss, pre and simple, and an unnecessary comment that served no purpose.

  49. I wish he said something about their defense because that’s the real problem

  50. Like I said..I get it..he cant do it every night..he should pass more..sounds great

    Except

    Hes dragging a sucky team with two whiners who are supposedly stars. They (Dwight and Pau) are big reasons why we suck.

    How can a person that hasnt given their all in every game question anything?

    Im not sensitive about kobe at all. Its just that…if your the reason we suck, you cant be giving unsolicited criticism. Last time I cheked effort was part of team play and professionalism. And Pau hasnt given it on a regular basis in at least 3 seasons.

    If MWP had said it..no problem. Dwight.Or Pau…Problem.

  51. Another obvious consideration here is the timing of the comments. You do not question a kid’s study habits the day they come home with a straight A report card. Even though the study habits might need to be improved, I would recommend a different day to discuss it. Pau’s comments don’t need to come after a loss, but stating them after a performance like Kobe had – well the timing is not good, clearly, as all this discussion confirms.

  52. You know when real comments about the team, or Kobe in general would have been helpful? Ten games into the season not on or after its 78th game. Now is not the time. Make sure the team gets to the playoffs then start discussing what needs to be done to go deep.

    No need in dividing the camp the last three games of the season. That’s all I’m saying, it’s just not the appropriate time to speak on the matter (as noted by Robert and others.)

    Everyone knows that Kobe playing 48 mins. and scoring 47 points at the age of 34 is not sustainable. If it were I’m quite sure Kobe would have done it long ago and would stand alone atop the all-time NBA scoring list.

    Pau has played two good games against non-physical teams; I’d like to see Pau and Dwight address the issue of being out-rebounded recently by a team like the Clippers and out-muscled the entire game. The Lakers will need the two of them to play like 7-footers these last three games. Then the discussion can begin in earnest about the offensive philosophy.

    As a fan, it’s preferable to see the ball move and see stat lines with 4-5 players in double digits for a win. Certain players are paid big bucks to carry the weight of that load starting with Kobe, Pau, Dwight, Nash and MWP.

    Lakers stand united, let’s get this win by any means necessary.