Lakers/Blazers: Comeback Falls Short Even With Henry’s Career-High

Rey Moralde —  December 1, 2013

That was quite the fun game. But in the end, the Blazers became the #1 team in the West (technically, since they beat the Spurs earlier this season) after beating the Lakers, 114-108.

The Lakers have been resilient for most of the season and they showed that in this game. L.A. was down, 21-4, at one point. But they caught the Blazers in the second half as they got a great boost from Xavier Henry and Robert Sacre. Unfortunately, Jordan Farmar was lost to a hamstring injury, which was pretty big considering how well he has played this season, especially the last few games. I was ready for Steve Blake to play the entire second half; the Lakers aren’t going to play until Friday so I didn’t see any problems with him going the distance.

Unfortunately, the Blazers’ shooting and ball movement overwhelmed the Lakers in the third. They dropped 41 in that quarter and it seemed like it was over by then. The Lakers’ starters couldn’t get anything going and Mike D’Antoni went with a ragtag bunch.

The weird line-up of Robert Sacre, Wesley Johnson, Shawne Williams, Nick Young, and Xavier Henry (who played point in place of a tired Blake) got the Lakers back in the game. They were energetic on both sides of the ball (Xavier Henry’s dunks, Jodie Meeks’ threes, and Wesley Johnson’s block really got the Staples crowd unglued) and were able to get the team within one. But Wesley Matthews (who has been so good behind the arc this season) and Damian Lillard (26 points) made huge three-pointers. The Lakers really had no business being in a close game after being down 20 twice but they made it one hell of an entertaining contest. Like I’ve said many times in the past, sometimes, that’s all you can ask for.

Henry led the way with a career-high 27 points. Jodie Meeks had 20 points, Nick Young had 17, and Steve Blake had 13 points and nine assists. Robert Sacre had 12 points, a career-high for himself. And Shawne Williams (four points, eight rebounds) made big plays in the fourth as well. Pau Gasol played horribly (six points on 3/15 shooting, although a bad ankle is bothering him) after a few good games. The Lakers had won five of six coming into this game and this loss stops a little momentum but these guys are just so fun to watch since most of us had no expectations for the team. As for Portland, LaMarcus Aldridge was nearly unstoppable early; he had 27 points overall.

Funny thing is that the Lakers are 9-9. That’s a better 18-game start than last year’s team when they were 8-10; that squad was superstar-laden if you guys remember *cough*. The Lakers don’t play again until Friday when they go to Sleep Train Arena (zzzzzzzzz) to face the Sacramento Kings. A certain dude who wears #24 may come back to the Lakers for that game (sorry; it’s not Lloyd Daniels or Jim Jackson). THAT could be interesting.

In the meantime, we’ll have a little injury watch (Farmar, Steve Nash, Kobe) this week before the Lakers play again. The Lakers just had four straight days off two weeks ago, too. Weird scheduling.

Entertaining game, everybody.

Rey Moralde


66 responses to Lakers/Blazers: Comeback Falls Short Even With Henry’s Career-High

  1. It will be very interesting how Kobe fits in with this style….The Lakers are very entertaining… Love how MDA keeps the players who started the rally in the game…Would that work with Kobe?

  2. Robert Sacre? I forgot he was even on the team – LOL. It goes to show situational minutes are better than no minutes at all. This was heart attack junction, but boy this club has ‘grit’. It is really difficult to keep your foot on the Lakers’ neck – they just keep biting you, over and over. They are like the pest who just won’t go away.

    My guess is that Kobe will love to play with these guys. They will challenge him to pay attention at all times during the game and they will allow him to get some rest. Kobe isn’t an elitist, but he does demand you give maximum effort or he will lay you out. No problem with this group.

  3. rr,
    I have to repeat my thoughts on Kevin Love… He is nothing more than a spot up shooting roll player to me. A very good role player… But a roll player. Stars create shots and take away shots. Love does neither. He can’t play defense and is a glorified spot up shooter on offense. He isn’t anyone I am wasting max contract on unless I already have three stars on my team.

  4. MRI for Pau. Hurt it last game and should have sat out and played Kamen. Seth Curry averaging 30 in D league if Farmer is out.

    Both Pau and Nash are at a point where injury is their reality.

  5. Kobe Kobe Kobe

    We need you and we need you for Pau’s sake. If Kobe doesn’t come back soon, Pau will be lucky if he gets 8Mil from any team.

  6. I think if MD pulled Pau a little earlier in the 1st and 3rd quarters, Lakers win this game. Portland backup center was schooling Pau tonight. Before even knowing the rest of the guys would make a come back I was yelling at the TV for the coach to pull Pau in the 3rd.

  7. Aaron, what do you think of Aldridge as a prospective FA?

  8. A very good role player…

    Well, if you are going to use PER as your go-to stat on other guys, like Howard, then you need to acknowledge Love’s–26.2 as of today, and he put up a 24.3 in 2011 and a 25.4 in 2012. He lost last year to injury. Love is an elite offensive player and rebounder, and as a big man who can play outside and spread the floor, he fits in well with MDA ball.

    That said, Love is not a particularly good defensive big man, and you would ideally want to pair him with a quick, active big who can block shots, like Larry Sanders. Minnesota has a pretty good team, but the Love/Pekovic combo is a bit too slow. Love and Monroe would not work all that well.

    But if you have better ideas as to whom the FA targets might be in 2014 and 2015, and to whom the Lakers should be thinking about giving some of this cap space, I am ready to hear them.

    The players and MDA both deserve a lot of credit for the comebacks tonight.

  9. Aldridge isn’t leaving. You can expect a contract extension with this bunch.

  10. Impressive that they keep this up no matter who goes down, what a TEAM.

  11. Kobe is been watching this team i bet my life on it and thinking how to mesh with them, he is a very smart player, i think he will be passing the ball nost of the time to these guys especially in transition we dont expect the 30 ppg Kobe, we might need it in spurts but he need to get in distribuitor and mentor mode but then there is the 25th best player in the NBA thing that must be killing him lol and the 800 pound silverback gorilla we know he is carrying there is a lot we wants to prove. In reality i dont know what to expect.

  12. Gene,

    My thoghts exactly. I was always very critic of NBA coaches (mostly Phil) for not giving minutes to bench players who outperform the starter in some games. At least MDA is not afraid to do it and that’s definetly a plus. I don’t think Kobe would settle for that and would demand to be on court at all times, even if he was having a bad game. I’m sure he likes the fact that everyone works hard, but I’m sure he can be detrimental to our on court chemistry unless he returns with a newfound approach to the game…

  13. Renato, why would you risk that when you already have someone at hand that already does what you seek?

  14. Maybe I didn’t explain properly. I like MDA’s current approach reagarding substitution patterns and I don’t want him to leave the current Lakers. What I’m afraid is that Kobe’s return can:

    a) Make MDA go away from what he’s doing now and allowing Kobe to “shoot out of a funk”
    b) Lead to a Kobe rant to the media about not playing at the end of the 4th quarter if MDA subs him out because he’s cold (keeping the current approach).

    Obviously I’d rather see a third option happen, in which Kobe returns and everything goes smoothly, but I’m really not sure it will…

  15. How can Lakers pay Kobe $30 million this season and sign him to $48 million extension then keep the mamba on the bench if he is shooting the Lakers out of a game? No way.

    Kobe will have the ball at crunch time and take every big shot even if triple teamed, because he is the icon. In addition, Kobe get 20+ shots per game. Hopefully 45% of his shots find the net. Not sure the MDA team ball style that is exciting to watch and effective will mesh with Kobe determination to “show his team mates how to win”.

    Kobe’s leadership last season produced abysmal results. Is it insane to think his leadership will produce better results this season with an inferior roster?

  16. Renato, I don’t know what you are watching but MDA has a poor substitution pattern and last night was a great example. Pau had no business being on the court. The 1st Quarter was understandable but having Pau play as much as he did in the 3rd was mind boggling. It was clear to anyone watching that Pau was the worst player on the court.

    For all the people worried about what Kobe’s return will mean, I have one question? What is the Lakers record? Do you think the Lakers would have a better record or worse if Kobe was playing? When Kobe starting dominating the ball the 2nd half of last season the Lakers were 28-12. So please enough of this ball movement illusion. The aim of playing the game is to win. I trust that Kobe (a winner) is better versed at getting wins than those having doubts. Even the Coach has come out and said once Kobe comes back he will be the number 1 offensive option. Its a waste of time to wonder what Kobe will look like or what will happen to the team or how the team will play. The Coach and Star player will come to an agreement on how they will play when the time comes.

  17. Treylake you are totally off with your statements.
    1st of all, “the MDA team ball style that is exciting to watch and effective”: The Lakers are a .500 team. I don’t see how that is effective. They were down twice by 20 last night and when it mattered the Blazers took control and won the game.
    2ndly, Kobe wasn’t trying to show his team =mates how to win, he wanted to show Dwight Howard how to win. Lets see, how much winning had any of his teammates done before playing with Kobe? Pau the only one with a ring is 0-16 in playoff games without Kobe.
    3rdly, you need to be banned from the forum for saying “Kobe’s leadership last season produced abysmal results.”. Do you even understand what Leadership is? Kobe is the only player who excelled at every role (and he had many) he was assigned last season. Management, Coaches and players all were trying to placate Howard last season that they sometimes did things that were detrimental to the team. In return Howard never bought into the system. Refused to set screens and Kept on worrying about the stat sheet. When Kobe finally said enough was enough and took over as the PG the Lakers were very successful which is why they made the playoffs. When Kobe went down the Lakers under the leadership of Howard flamed out in the playoffs. So I will ask you again, what do you know about Leadership?
    Systems don’t win games, players win games. The Lakers best player is Kobe and he has earned the benefit of doubt to perform his services in a way he deems best serves the team.

    Fans like Treylake annoy me because they sound ungrateful. This man has won 5 rings in LA. No selfish person wins 5 rings, none. Lets stop confusing self belief and hard-work with selfishness.

  18. Definitely worried about Kobe’s return upsetting the chemistry the TEAM is developing. Everyone contributes now because nobody has an ego and that will change once Mamba’s back. We’ll soon see. Can Kobe change? Put the team ahead of his own stat line?
    Why isn’t Dantoni playing Kaman? His back is healed. Last year it was Jordan Hill languishing on the bench for no reason. Dantoni hates bigs. It’s weird.

  19. My God, again with this ego nonsense. Kobe is better than everyone on the team. Can Kobe change? why should Kobe change? Who are these people? Have you guys watched any Laker games in the last 17 seasons? How can anyone claim to be a Laker fan and hate Kobe this much? So for 17 years you watch the Lakers and hope they win while Hating the reason why they are winning? I don’t get it.

  20. On the Kaman tip think MDA likes what Sacre is doing. For now, seems Sacre passed Kaman in the rotation.

    Agree with those who say the Mamba will be option number 1 and will lead team in scoring and field goal attempts. He will play 30 plus minutes and will always be on the floor at crunch time no matter how he is shooting or defending. The hope is that he plays efficiently within the team concept. If so, Lakers can possibility win. They don’t need Kobe to be the hero, problem is FO is paying him to be the hero. Kobe has shown ability to play within team concept – 5 titles. He has also shown off the charts ego preventing him from sharing the basketball. Kobe’s return is the worse thing that could happen to Xavier Henry’s development.

    19 is over/under Kobe field goal attempts upon his return.

    Will Lakers win Kobe’s first game back?

    Who sits ? Meeks, Johnson, Young, Henry, Farmar?

    Nick Young & Kobe on the floor — can’t wait.

    When Nash returns does Farmar play?

  21. dog scratches door, we go for walk, we come home. lakers almost win.

    oh well. can hardly wait for kobe. play a little point guard to start off? mix in a little two guard and on occassion, small forward. triple threat. the new and improved kobe is what i’d like to see happen. and if anyone can make that happen, it’s kobe.

    Go lakers

  22. What are you talking about treylake?

    “How can Lakers pay Kobe $30 million this season and sign him to $48 million extension then keep the mamba on the bench if he is shooting the Lakers out of a game? No way”

    Its not about the money. He should be in the game because he is our best player, even if he is missing shots. (Kobe has stated he wants to watch his minutes throughout the year)

    “Kobe will have the ball at crunch time and take every big shot even if triple teamed, because he is the icon”

    How many times have we seen Kobe pass the ball for game winners throughout the years? (especially in playoffs) YET you still want to complain about him shooting. How many game winners have we seen? He will take the big shot because he is our best player.

    “Not sure the MDA team ball style that is exciting to watch and effective will mesh with Kobe determination to “show his team mates how to win”.”

    He needs to show his teammates how to win, we have lost most of our close games this year (We have a 9-9 record, just because MDA style is fun doesnt mean its championship material without kobe). Unless your okay with nick young shooting side stepping jump shots or Steve blake turning the ball over. Again, Kobe has stated he wants to watch his minutes. 5 championships should should give him the edge on showing his teammates how to win CHAMPIONSHIPS.

    “Kobe’s leadership last season produced abysmal results. Is it insane to think his leadership will produce better results this season with an inferior roster?”

    Kobes leadership produced abysmal results? So leadership changes from year in year out? do you want to mention how his leadership won us 5 championships?
    How about the fact that Dwight howard did not want to play defense unless they ran the offense through him. How about the fact that they were 28-12 when Dwight decided to play. How are you measuring “leadership”?

  23. Jay A,
    Questions I have been asking myself for quite a while.

  24. Pau isn’t done. He plays much better with Kobe and the pick n roll offense with PGs and Pau isn’t working well because the guards are never really threatening to drive so Pau has to always pop out a little further. He took good shots last night, he just missed them. He will dounce back. I am worried about Farmar, he is our best ball handler.

  25. Personally, Kobe is gonna love this group. He is all about energy and effort, and this unit has it in spades. The larger question is that since Kobe is not a coddler, how a bunch of guys that have been castoffs will remain aggressive in the face of the Black Mamba.

    Will they be afraid to take the shot, knowing that Kobe is the best player on the floor? Will they be afraid to pass to someone other than Kobe when they’re actively seeing Kobe demanding the ball?

    To me, those are the biggest questions, as physically, I don’t think Kobe is going to be able to play huge minutes at the start, and he is probably going to need to lean on his crew a bit more. I’ve gotta believe they have earned his respect.

    But Kobe is not a back rubber, and guys that have NOT been used to playing big minutes need: A) Emotional support to keep firing; and B) The commiseration of “we are in this together.” That’s not Kobe.

    Will be an interesting mix. Super excited to see how this plays out.

  26. Wow, the Kobe debate again. I wonder if any player has ever polarized a fan base as much as Kobe seems to do for Laker fans?

    Isn’t the real question to see how these guys play with Kobe? Let’s face it, Kobe is a Laker for this season and two more. The rest of these guys are auditioning to fill in. It’s absolutely wonderful that they are playing well together and developing confidence and chemistry, but all of that needs to carry over when Kobe returns. I compare it in my mind to the pre-Pau team — are any of these guys better than Smush and company? If so, they have to prove it to Kobe and to the FO.

    And to me, “they” includes everyone — Pau, Nash, Jordan Hill included. I thought Pau was emotionally and mentally done after 2011, physically done after 2012. He’s shown flashes this year, but I would not pay him more that $5-6 million a year to stay. Nash I think is done, period. Jordan Hill is still too inconsistent for a huge payday. But all of these guys have to work with Kobe — that’s the reality created by the front office. Of course, all of this is my opinion only.

  27. Who said I hate Kobe at all? And while Kobe is one of the main reasons why we won he is not the ONLY reason why we won those titles. And about Kobe, I’m all for MDA making Kobe the main offensive offense, as he should be as long as he keeps 85% of the ability to score points that he had before the injury. Now, being the main offensive option doesn’t mean that he HAS to be on court if he’s having a bad game. That’s all I’m saying and I’m not sure about what MDA will do when the time comes (and it most certainly will).

    And I agree that Pau had no business being on court during the 3rd period (maybe Kaman should’ve actually played) and he should’ve subbed him out sooner, but he did stick with the guys that made the comeback in the 4th. We’re talking about a guy who gets criticised for a lot of things but is actually adjusting his coaching style and substitution patterns to better suit the personnel available. Remember when he only played 6 or 7 guys? Give the man some praise when it’s deserved.

    I am liking the result, I like that the team wins and I hope that Kobe’s return doesn’t hurt our future chances of playoff success. Kobe is a Lakers icon, but noone knows if his return will mess with the team chemistry or not. The same away that I can’t say that we will be worse when he returns, none of you can say we will be better when steps on court, specially because we don’t know how he is.

  28. We can’t make any assumptions about Kobe’s role or his production level. We don’t know what Kobe will look like. Yes we have wonderful memories of Kobe. But all things being considered (age, mileage, major injury) we can’t apply old expectations to this new Kobe Bryant. It doesn’t mean that Kobe has turned into Darius Morris over night. But at this point maybe Wes Johnson is a better wing defender. Maybe Xavier Henry is more explosive off the dribble.

    The thing to watch here is Kobe’s impact on the team. Hopefully the other guys don’t go back to standing still and watching him work. This team has built an identity over 20 games. They hustle. As long as they continue to hustle when Kobe returns they will be alright.

  29. rr: Love and Monroe would not work all that well.

    I am one that thinks Monroe is obtainable this offseason. The Pistons are up against the cap and a max offer may force them to pass. However, I’m not sure that Monroe is a center and if you play him there you will need a longer/good defensive PF to help out with the interior dirty work. My fear with Love is that he’s not that lomg/tall nor is he a good defensive player. He can clean the boards though.

    To me this is the issue with 1) pushing to be competitive this year and 2) signing Kobe to such an expensive extension. Not only are we missing an opportunity to get a great young player in the draft but Kobe’s extension really makes it tough for the FO to put together a team where the players complements each other. We’re going to be forced to take the talent that’s available on the open market even if the pieces don’t fit well together.

  30. We got a much deeper roster then last year. A guy goes down this team still competes. Not worried about Kobe. As said this is a better squad then last year. Kobe will force things when he has guys who can’t catch a ball like Kwame, but is a willing passer to guys who get the ball in the basket with any competency.

  31. Lakers FO has made their decision. Its Kobe. Until we see at least 10 games we don’t know how he will play or his impact. We do know right now his return to the floor will disrupt budding team chemistry.positively, negatively or more likely some of both.

    On balance its TBD.

  32. Jay A, Craig W, Sufian-

    It’s the same old tired lines from the same people about Kobe Bryant. I claim that most of these Lakers fans that gripe about Kobe are just disappointed that he isn’t Magic. They want that type of superstar instead of the one that they got. Kobe’s achievements are equal to Magic’s. He’s been to 7 Finals and has won five championships. Magic went to 9 Finals and won 5 championships. Kobe’s teams were not nearly as good as Magic’s- after all Magic never won a ‘chip without the greatest big man to ever play the game. (ha ha see what I did there!)

    And for all of you people who love MDA’s ball movement system…great. How many championships has he won with this system? How many championship teams have there been in the last 35 years that didn’t have a post up player who could either get his own shot or pass to an open shooter or cutter when doubled? How many? I can only come up with 2 teams off the top of my head and they both have 3 top 10 players including the #1 player and a top 5 shooting guard.

    I love how Kobe coming back has suddenly scared people that “chemistry” will be ruined and the chances of going 41-41 are swirling the drain!! Give me a break. Same ole people with the same ole arguments.

  33. You have to give Kupchak credit for putting this team together once Howard left and MDA for coaching them to this 9-9 record. This team is way overachieving and it is great to see chemistry on this team. That being said, this an 8th seeded team at best and some serious free agents will need to sign on in the next two years to get Kobe one more ring.

    For all you Kobe bashers, wait until you see him seal his legacy with his play once he comes back. He will help the team win games they would otherwise lose and will make the other players even better. He could prove us all wrong as the schedule gets a bit easier and this team is way much better then last year to watch and root for.

  34. @Sufian Your comments suggest you want to hitch wagon Lakers wagon to 35 yr coming off injury and assert past history. Everyone acknowledges what Kobe has done, games winners, steals, passes all of that. No one disputes Kobe’s greatness.

    Issue is Lakers winning NBA championship ASAP. For many of us, if Kobe stepping back results in more wins, then so be it.

    FO paying Kobe $78 million means like it or not Kobe is the guy for this season and the next 2.

    You and other Mamba lovers have complete control of the Lakers. The exciting play many Lakers fans enjoyed is now at your Mamba discretion. All the “Lakers have a different leading scorer every game” chatter will be ending.

    BTW. Pau played bad with Kobe last year too.
    Pau needs rest.

  35. Not surprising Laker fans are wondering how differently this team will operate once Kobe returns. Thru 18 games (9-9), nine (9) different players have lead or share top scoring honors on this team. Six (6) guys are averaging between 8 and 14 fga’s per game, nine (9) guys between 7 and 14 fga’s per game. Four (4) guys are averaging 10 to 14.3 ppg, nine (9) between 8 and 14.3 ppg per game.

    Now consider the fact that Kobe has only averaged less than 20 fga’s per game five times in 17 years, four of those years were his 1st four years in the league, with the 5th time coming 10 years ago in ’03-’04. By the way, Shaq was a teammate all five of those years Kobe averaged less than 20 fga’s per game. And there are no Shaqs on this team.

    So adjustments are inevitable…and they will be interesting. As everyone will be watching and weighting in.

  36. BigCitySid,
    Basketball socialism doesn’t work. This sharing the ball nonsense doesn’t work. Don’t confuse making smart basketball decisions with sharing the ball. Yes 9 diff players have lead the team in scoring, you know why? because the Lakers have inconsistent castoffs playing major mins for them (along with a fast regressing Pau). I want the ball in Kobe’s hands and I trust him to make the best basketball decisions; so I could care less about his FGAs. The numbers I care about are 7 Finals appearances and 5 Championships in 17 years, you can take a seat with any other stat you want to throw out.

  37. The problem with guys like Treylake and Sid is that Kobe is in their heads so much that they figure that everything that happens on the floor revolves around his personality. Leads to bad analysis. Kobe’s part in last year’s “abysmal results” was the fact that he was one of the main reasons that the perimeter D was so lousy. And, of course, his “leadership”, if you want to focus on that, also lead to championships in 2009 and 2010. If you are going to focus on him this much when they lose, then focus on him just as much when they win.

    That said, there are several basic team issues with KB’s return, whenever it occurs.

    1. The perimeter D is better this year, in part because Nash and Kobe are off the floor. If they both come back Friday, we will, I am afraid, see this pretty clearly.
    2. While MDA and KB seem to have a good personal relationship due to the Team USA and Italy connections, the way Kobe plays doesn’t really fit MDA’s philosophy. Kobe likes to post up; MDA doesn’t like post-ups. Kobe likes to stop the ball and survey the D; MDA wants the ball moving all the time. MDA loves 3s; Kobe is not a particularly good 3P shooter. In some sets, MDA likes the PG to hold his dribble for 2/3 of the shot clock and survey the D, waiting for a breakdown. Kobe likes to iso on the perimeter and go to work.
    3. Last year’s team had no playable wings, except for Metta, who is really more of a smallball 4 at this point, and Kobe himself. This year’s team has 4–Johnson, Henry, Young, and Meeks, and that has been further complicated by Henry’s performance last night. It is not a bad problem to have, but there is a logjam. This is why some people have been loosely speculating about trades.

  38. Kobe is not a good leader…has chased away Shaq and Howard.Won 3 Titles with Shaq as MVP….Won one title that Gasol and Peace saved his butt….With his talent..and players he has had with him…5 titles in 17 years couldve been better…..As a leader he couldve taken less money and show everyone he is about “winning”…..NOW Kobe needs to come in and blend in with this team…It a style of Basketball that Kobe has never been part of.Its a complete different offense and mind set…Lets see If Kobe can play under it….If he can..the team will be tough..if not….

  39. Re Aldridge
    He is in that tied for second best PF in the game with Chris Bosh behind Anthony Davis. I love his game. Good interior and perimeter defender. Can guard in the PNR. Can create his own shot and is very long. Perfect guy to be your third best player on a championship team

    Like I said the problem with Love is his defense. That’s half the game. If you are a liability on defense you better be able to create offense. Love is Ryan Anderson with some rebounds. He is a spot up shooter. I can’t sign a guy to a max contract who can’t play defense and doesn’t generate any offense. But I do “love” Kevin’s three point shooting. He is a great shooter. But again I like creators more than finishers.

  40. Gene, read Jay A. above.

  41. I understand why Laker fans are wondering about how Kobe will do with this team, I wonder the same thing. Still after 17 years and 5 chips he has earned the benefit of the doubt. Gene you can question his leadership all you want but the fact is you don’t win championships without strong leadership. You may not like the way he leads, and he may have to change his approach from now on but he knows what it takes to win. Let’s wait and see if Kobe blends in or just takes over.

  42. One of the side benefits of Kobe’s injury is that his mins coming back will be tapered somewhat – meaning he won’t be coming in and immediately dominating the ball for long stretches of time. And quite frankly this is the most compentent non-star play i’ve seen of this Laker team in a long time – you don’t ask your bench players to win you games necessarily – you just don’t want them to lose games for you and thats what they’re doing and getting pretty decent in extended mins. Kobe recognizes and respects competence and hard work, ergo why him and Nash get along great despite having very different games and styles of leadership. The current healthy Lakers roster is proving that they can be trusted to hold down the fort and not F things up – thats all anyone could’ve asked for (and quite frankly they’ve done a much better job as a group than was expected prior to season start)- so if Kobe/Nash comeback healthy this team has a chance to do some damage. Kobe knows the system, he’s seen what guys can do – there is a comfort level knowing that these guys are prepared and ready to play every night.

  43. Kobe versus Magic…..If Magic played 17 years….He wouldve won more then 5 rings…The league was a whole lot tougher when Magic played…..Many great teams…….Not even close…. If Magic and Jordan played when you couldnt touch them on D….WOW…..Sharing the Ball does work..Look at the assists that Wade and Lebron has…..

  44. rr,
    Like I said the problem with Love is his defense

    I don’t entirely disagree–see my Larry Sanders comment. But there are not that many guys who superstars on both sides of the ball, and Love may be available–plus he has ties to LA.

  45. Aaron: Let me ask rr’s question with a different twist. Do the Lakers have any real chance of returning to contention soon, and if so, how would they go about doing that?

    Treylake: “Not sure the MDA team ball style that is exciting to watch and effective will mesh with Kobe determination to “show his team mates how to win”. Previously you said you were only concerned about titles. It appears now that this needs to be done in an “exciting” way as well?
    Not me. I am selfish like Kobe. 2001 was my favorite year. “Get Outta Our Way”. Now that is what I call “Interesting”

    gene: “5 titles in 17 years couldve been better” – Wow – an interesting take indeed. I thought I was entitled. I mean we went to the Finals 7 times and won 5 during the Kobe era so far. I am curious what you think those numbers will be in the first 17 post Kobe years?

  46. “The exciting play many Lakers fans enjoyed is now at your Mamba discretion. ”
    There is nothing more exciting than a double teamed, turnaround, fade away, 25 footer. And I do not want to be surprised. I want to know it is coming. I want the defender to know it is coming. And then I want him to get the ball and bury the shot anyway. Now that is entertainment !

  47. treylake

    Most of laker nation understands that Kobe’s contract is not the most desirable one as far as cap spaces. But it is what it is. The lakers chances of signing max free agent this summer if cap space were available were slim to none. Who are they going to sign this summer. The only player that may be available is Carmelo Anthony. Is he going to put this franchise over the top, probably not if Miami’s big 3 are still around.
    So essentially the lakers have two years to add one or two solid pieces through free agency and develop the young players they have now. If they accomplish that, they will have a fun and competitive team and again have cap space in two years when multiple big name free agents are available. Then we will see. But not much was going to go on this summer regardless of the lakers cap.

  48. The level of ungratefulness here is astonishing. Kobe is not a leader? MWP save his butt? So i guess John Paxon saved MJ’s butt or Ray Allen, he did save Lebron’s butt last year that was as big a save as i ever seen one ,i guess he is a bad leader too. On the Shaq situation, he chased himself out of town “yelling pay me” at Jerry Buss and the healing on company time remark. He made the Lakers choose and the Lakers choose correctly, Kobe and Shaq are both to blame and i blame them for at least two titles we didnt get. I guess those monster shots Kobe hit to bury Phoenix on the conference final in 2010 aint the stuff that a leader is supposed to do. When the Lakers were 17-25 last year who was the one that willed that team to that 28-12 ending?literally carriying the team on his back and playing like he was a videogame character and torching the league until his body gave up? I guess that dont make him a leader either This is Kobe’s team until he retires, and there were other considerations given to that contract you know the revenue his brand brings and the butts he put on seats and maybe a little thing that a couple of people here dont know about, being grateful to the best player of his era. Basketball wise he can do whatever the hell he wants as far as im concerned he earn it,but he is been watching this team and he must feel confident that there are some players he can trust, i dont see any Smush,Luke or Kwame on this team.

  49. What are you talking about treylake, your the one disputing Kobe’s greatness by questioning his leadership skills and his “hero” ball. I’d rather have a better chance at a championship than watch “exciting plays” by Xavier henry. Kobe gives us a better chance now and if you dispute that, than your clearly lacking basketball knowledge. Ps. Mitch kupchak is smarter than you.

  50. The Farmar injury is serious – gone for a month. However, I see across the internet the usual quoting of disaster for the Lakers and how stupid the front office/ownership is. I guess with some people the sky is always falling.

    This will not help the Lakers, but I doubt it will be the end of the world. Our schedule to date was as tough as any other club and we managed .500 with a lineup of role players. Things should be easier in December and we should see Nash and Kobe back. Plus I suspect we may see a signing or a trade – after all we now have only 14 players on the club.

    This is all part of sports and we simply show our ignorance by overreacting to each event.

  51. The Lakers are 9-9. A .500 record. .500 is a mediocre record. All this talk about Kobe disrupting chemistry on a .500 team is nonsense to me. Even at this stage of his career, even with the uncertainty of his return, the Lakers welcome Kobe with open arms and in the case of the FO, an open and generous checkbook. Some on this board talk as if the Lakers are 16-2 instead of 9-9. I don’t expect his return to be seamless and without fits and starts. However, adding Kobe Bryant to your team can only be a good thing if the man is any semblance of his old self.

  52. I laugh at all this dominate the ball comments. Steve Nash dominated the ball in Phoenix. Kobe is going to play the Steve Nash role in this offense, and so will Nash, Blake and Famar. The opponent will dictate how the team executes its offense.

  53. gene – I respectfully disagree with your comment. I agree that Kobe was not a leader in the Shaq days. However, this was Shaq’s team back then and no one would dare take the team away from him. Since that time, Kobe has grown tremendously, both as a player and leader, and has become a very different ball player. He certainly is not perfect, but to say he is not a leader is just not accurate. But don’t take my word for it – even Phil Jackson has acknowledged how much Kobe has grown as a player and a leader since the Shaq days.

    As far as the money, well… I was on your side just a few days ago. But after reading a lot on the subject I do think that Kobe will earn every penny that is coming to him. This is not a guy who will be happy making $17m a year while sitting on the bench or averaging 2 points, 2 assists, 0 blocks a game. If it ever came to that, you can bet your money maker that Kobe would retire. Plus, would you give up 50% of your salary right now so that your company could, potentially, if everything works out as you hope, with no other contingency plan, hire some young kid to take your place just so that your friends can say “Gee, Gene is a heck of guy for doing that.” Maybe you would, but I wouldn’t.

  54. Kobe is not a coddler, how a bunch of guys that have been castoffs will remain aggressive in the face of the Black Mamba .. Will they be afraid to take the shot .. Will they be afraid to pass to someone other than Kobe when they’re actively seeing Kobe demanding the ball?

    Excellent points Mark Sigal.

    We can’t make any assumptions .. We don’t know what Kobe will look like .. all things being considered (age, mileage, major injury) we can’t apply old expectations to this new Kobe Bryant .. The thing to watch here is Kobe’s impact on the team. Hopefully the other guys don’t go back to standing still and watching him work.

    In total agreement T. Rogers.

    The points that the both of you make are identical to what I’ve been saying. These individuals, who have been aggressive with Kobe on the sidelines, must maintain their aggressiveness upon Kobe’s return. I stated previously that they can’t sit back and start idolizing Kobe. Becoming more so a fan of his instead of a teammate. Even Ron Artest, who had been in the league for years before becoming a Laker, acknowledged that this is what happened to him before he eventually snapped out of it. It’ll be interesting to see the approach of these players once Kobe is back on the hardwood.

  55. Jordan out stinks. By far our best PG and was getting better. Lots of decent guys in D league like Curry but clearly someone must be acquired. Not winning much with 40 minutes of Blake and 12 of Meeks. Not smart to put Kibe there trying to guard the fastest players in the NBA. Any Sasha sightings?

  56. I have a comment that’s been stuck in The Moderation Maze for around 2 hrs now, but it’s basically pointing out some of the statements by a couple of posters who I happen to agree with.

    Sad to see that Farmar caught a bad one. He was really starting to turn it up. And unfortunately, a torn Hamstring sounds like something that will take more than 4 wks to heal sufficiently.

  57. About Farmar, that really sucks we need everyone, im not a big fan of his pg skills but he can score, defend and have been one of the main contributors coming off the bench, tough loss but not world ending for the team.

  58. Anybody know a link to available free agents? looked at bball reference etc… but can’t find an up to date site. Lakers do have a free spot for a min contract or 10 day contract since releasing Harris. Tried looking for names but the only ones that look interesting are barbosa, daquen cook, and roody briesbois – but barbs is still in recovery mode and i don’t knwo the where abouts of the others. Perhaps boobie gibson might be an option.

  59. KenOak: I mean wow. First you lay out some excellent facts in support of Kobe, then you lay down the law with the MD system, and then finally the closing paragraph with the quote “chances of going 41-41 are swirling the drain!! ” Simply priceless. Awesome post.

  60. Jerke

    Check team steam there was a list a week ago.

  61. Anybody watching indy vs trailblazers? I think we are seeing the next nba superstar in paul george. And the trailblazers are no joke. They don’t have a 15-3 record for no reason.

  62. However, I see across the internet the usual quoting of disaster for the Lakers and how stupid the front office/ownership is. I guess with some people the sky is always falling.

    Serious question: which sites? No one here has really talked about it much at all–except for Darius, who just posted about it, and suggests that replacing Farmar’s early-season production will be a challenge in some ways for the team. Also, the “we” you are using–who is that, exactly? Lakers fans at other sites? ESPN commenters? Is that just a generic “we” as in “all fans?”

  63. Kenny T: “All this talk about Kobe disrupting chemistry on a .500 team is nonsense to me. … Some on this board talk as if the Lakers are 16-2 instead of 9-9.”

    Fair enough. However, a 2-16 start wouldn’t have surprised me too much. I was expecting a 30 win season, and they are showing signs of being better than that, all the while looking like a team. In other words, maybe there’s something to build on here.

  64. @R…..
    We are all very encouraged by the showing of the team so far. The grit and competitiveness are a complete turnaround from the start of last season. My contention is that, given time, these players and Kobe will find a way to mesh and complement each other. Farmar’s loss will slow that process, but I believe, based on what I’ve seen so far, that this is a team that can make the playoffs. Once there, who knows?

  65. And I agree that there is something to build on with these players. Young, Wesley, XMan and Farmar are a breath of fresh air.