Lakers Fall To Hawks After Lackluster Second Half

Andre Khatchaturian —  December 16, 2013

The Atlanta Hawks dropped 67 points in the second half and held Kobe Bryant to just eight points in 32 minutes to overcome a seven-point halftime deficit and beat the Los Angeles Lakers, 114-100, on Monday night.

Al Horford led the Hawks in scoring with 19 points, but the team also received balanced scoring throughout the lineup as five other players hit double figures. One of those players was Kyle Korver, who hit three timely threes in a third quarter where the Hawks outscored the Lakers, 35-19.

The Hawks outrebounded the Lakers 16-8 in the third quarter. The turning point of the game came when the Lakers were up 60-55 and the Hawks grabbed three consecutive offensive rebounds in one possession. They ended their possession with a three for Korver, who extended his streak of three pointers in consecutive games to 94 and at the same time gave the Hawks plenty of momentum. Atlanta would eventually take the lead a few minutes later and never look back.

But the story was Kobe’s ineffectiveness once again. For the third time since his comeback, Kobe scored fewer than 10 points. He failed to make a three pointer today and is now shooting 2-for-15 from downtown. Once again, his turnover numbers were sky high as he coughed up the ball five times. Lastly, he only shot one free throw and it was on a technical. Kobe is known for earning calls and getting to the line. However, we have yet to see him get to the line more than 10 times in a game – something he did 28 times last year.

The Lakers did receive solid production from Jordan Hill, Xavier Henry, and Nick Young – at least offensively.

Hill didn’t miss a shot – going 8-for-8 and scoring 21 points. Young was money from long distance – draining five three pointers. However, he was the only player on the team to hit a three as the Lakers went 5-for-21 from long distance. Henry, meanwhile, scored 18 off the bench. That said, the trio combined for a minus-20 and struggled defensively – especially in the second half.

For the Hawks, Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap were key contributors. Teague dished out 10 assists and scored 17 points and Millsap added 18 in the win along with four steals.

The Lakers have a quick turnaround as they head to Memphis for a huge Western Conference showdown against the Grizzlies.

 

 

Andre Khatchaturian

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52 responses to Lakers Fall To Hawks After Lackluster Second Half

  1. The Hawks are a decent team and as Luke Walton said it’s tough winning on the road in the NBA.
    But the Lakers are still disjointed as they adjust to Kobe’s return, and with Kobe and Pau playing a two-man game, while the second unit runs and guns and all five players on the floor contribute.
    It’s unfortunate that Blake and Farmar are both absent as they would make it easier for Kobe as he finds his way back. As it stands, with Kobe playing point and Nash still a phantom, it’s gonna be a long and winding road.
    Hopefully to the lottery.

  2. Was the huge part of the showdown in that last sentence sarcastic?

  3. Lakers: Wow – this is just really bad. I expected lots of losses this year, and it appears the Lakers may make a run at “exceeding” my expectations.
    Tra/lil pau: Yes – add him to the list. He was on there by default anyway. He is a frontcourt player. They have all been unhappy/frustrated at some point, and many of last year’s are gone. I have a feeing the same will be true next year.
    Pau: He is not what he was physically for sure, but he has also been through a mental wringer. Traded, Un-traded, Trade rumors, Big Boy Pants, MD dog house, more trade rumors, and now the current war of words with MD. We do not seem to do well with sensitive guys now. Lamar, Pau, and DH to name a few.
    Another B2B tomorrow: Need to buckle up or as said a couple of days ago – this could get very ugly

  4. Wonder if Stern will step in and help Laker fans and ownership ” For basketball reasons”.

  5. I see two big glaring problems (there are many but there are two that stand out IMO): Rebounding and Defense. In fact, both seemed to disappear at the same time–in the 3rd quarter.

    A few alarming facts:

    1) The Lakers allowed 67 points in the 2nd half, 35 in the 3rd quarter, 32 in the 4th;
    2) the Lakers were outscored by 16 points in the 3rd Quarter, 21 in the entire 2nd half;
    3) Atlanta had 34 assists, the Lakers 18;
    4) Atlanta had 24 more assists than turnovers, the Lakers 4;
    5) The Lakers allowed the Hawks to grab 15 offensive rebounds including 1 horrifying instance of 3 in a row and several instances of 2 in a row (would Wilt have allowed any offensive rebounds to this team?);
    6) The Lakers allowed Atlanta to shoot 48.9% from the field and 40.7% from 3-point range.

    I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point. Rebounding and Defense. These areas have got to be fixed.

  6. This was kind of an ugly one, but it’s hard for me to wring my hands until the Lakers get at least one of their PGs back and Kobe can slide back to the 2 (or over to the 3). I’m not sure I’ve appreciated Steve Blake so much until watching a post-rehab Kobe trying to run the point.

  7. Why is Sacre playing and Kaman isin’t? – it looked like maybe he had a back problem but now we know hes not hurt and MDA is just not playing him – why would mitch be happy with the guy we gave our mini-mid-level to not playing at all?

    Im excited for the post MDA world of the lakers — hes killed 3 franchises now let him go

  8. Im just confused why people keep on harping for Kaman to play as if he can play point. Seems just a never-ending complaint thread of sorts.

    Fire everyone when we lose. MDA is great and all guys are fun to watch in wins even the last game.

  9. Ken: More than once I have wished Stern would have used his VETO when I saw what we were doing.
    Shaun: I know it is very frustrating, but nobody in their right mind would take this job now. We need to wait until April.
    WWL: You should appreciate my consistency. There are a few people I want fired win or lose, and I have never once said that MD was great : )
    lil pau: “post-rehab Kobe ” Don’t say that yet : ) Although – man – not the Hollywood script I was hoping for.
    All: We were not as good as some had hoped early, but neither are we this bad.

  10. Having watched, listened, etc. this is what I think the Lakers should do, short-term:

    The starting 5, when JF comes back:

    1-Farmar
    2-Kobe
    3-Johnson
    4-Hill
    5-Pau

    Second Unit, Chaos/MDA Unit

    1-Henry
    2-Meeks
    3-Young
    4-Williams
    5-Sacre

    _________________________________

    The first team is the Lakers’ best traditional 5, and it covers Pau and Kobe on D the best. Kobe is not dumb; he knows no ring is coming. So, I expect what he wants is to feel like the team can compete when he steps out there. That 5 is the best shot to do that, around his type of game.

    That is not an SSOL team, though, and it would have issues with floor spacing, so MDA would have to be flexible, as we have been told he is. That team is the best defensive option with Kobe and Pau IMO. They could switch Meeks and Johnson in some matchups.

    The second group is pure MDA ball. Young, Meeks and Williams could spread the floor 2-4 and they have a roll man in Sacre. It would allow Henry to get minutes with the ball in his hands and give them a way to further evaluate him. And, since people seem concerned with “fun”, that would be the fun group–get the TV/radio guys to give them a nickname, etc. I was thinking “Fast and Furious” but the time is not right for that.

    That leaves Kaman as a trade chip, Blake as a trade chip when he comes back, (I would pick up an emergency PG from the DLeague if I ran the Lakers). Either work out a deal with Nash to allow him to leave with dignity or have him stick around as a mentor semi-coach for Farmar and Henry.

  11. Warren

    Why spend $3.2 on a guy the coach won ‘t play. Lot of decent PG out there for that. Biggest Laker issue is basket defense. Do you feel Kamen at 7 foot isn’t worth 10 minutes or at least the minutes given to Williams and Kelly who had no points.

    Issue is does the right hand(FO) have any communication with the left hand(MD). Seems like the two hands are missing in action and the body has trouble feeding itself.

  12. Kobe looked like he hit the wall last night. 3rd game in 4 nights with another back to back to be completed tomorrow. Not making excuses for him. Every one on the team looked that way in the second half; a step too slow and an instant too late. I knew that all the ball handling that Kobe
    would have to do in light of the point guard injuries was going to be very difficult for him at this early stage of his comeback. DeMarre Carroll of the Hawks made him work by picking the Mamba up full court. Coming back is hard enough but playing point in addition is just too much at this stage.

  13. As was expected Kobe Bryant has killed this teams early chemistry…pau just plain sucks there’s no denying it or defending him anymore he’s washed up…this team was so fun to watch & root for before Kobe came back we will be lucky to win 25 games now…oh well can’t say I didn’t see this coming it’s not like we have smush Walton & cook out there our young talent is pretty good…sad to see guys play so well for 20 games then be forced to stand around and watch failed post ups…we shall see

  14. Yeah I loved how the lakers were playing before Kobe returned. I loved the chemistry and how someone used to show up every game. I had expressed my fears that things would change after Kobe comes back in line up.
    It’s putrid right now. And I don’t see things getting any better unless changes are made. We have MikeD and the team, and then we have Kobe and Pau. Kobe and Pau can’t rejuvenate. MikeD can’t change his philosophy. We have a rock and a rock here. Sad to say but if things stink for longer, D’antoni should be relieved. MikeD < $24Mil.
    It will be interesting to see how things turn out from here.

  15. Let’s not overlook the obvious: “When the Lakers were playing inside out with Pau Gasol in the first, it really opened up the floor for the rest of the team. Gasol made his first six shots and had 11 points and nine rebounds in the first half. Forward Jordan Hill was the beneficiary of several opportunities created by the attention Gasol drew. He had 13 points and six rebounds in the first half.

    Of course, the Lakers totally went away from that in the second half and neither forward contributed much the rest of the game.” Ramona Shelburne.

  16. Kaman’s benching is a mystery. I used to wonder about Phil sometimes but MD seems like a head case. Kelly and Williams ahead of Kaman? Really? And Kupchak can’t call MD and make a suggestion ? ‘Hey, we’re paying this guy $3 mil.’
    Kobe: “it’s not like we were going gangbusters”.
    Compared to this, we were. Without you.
    We had won 6 of 8. Since comeback: 1 of 5.
    Maybe it’s gonna get worse before it gets better.
    Or maybe it’s just gonna stay worse.

  17. Why are you concerned with 3.2million not playing? We signed him to give us talent, but since his back problem, he hasn’t been playing.

    People complain old and slow and no defense… yet “demand” for Kaman to be out there.

    I won’t apologize for Shawne Williams – but he serves a purpose, and he isnt supposed to be in the league. He spaces the floor, hustles on defense and is young enough to atleast run.

    I suggest you focus screaming and demand that Pau Gasol play like 8 million. Nevermind 19.

  18. I agree Pau has been underperforming. That is a separate issue. In fact, if we trade Pau, we need Kaman to be in game shape as his minutes should increase in that event.
    The point about Kaman’s salary is this:
    Kupchak felt he was worth 3 mil.
    He was our first free agent signing this summer.
    There’s a reason. Because he’s good.
    He can pass, hit the open midrange shot and rebound. Even block shots. He’s a former all star and his back has healed. He played against OKC and then sits again.
    If you know basketball, as Dantoni should, players like Kaman should be playing ahead of Williams and Kelly. Kaman’s salary just suggests that Lakers management agrees.

  19. Heading into the season I was firmly in the preserve cap space and tank mode. I’m pretty sure that put me in the minority of Laker fans. With the FO extending Kobe and agreeing with his aggressive comeback timetable I get the impression that the FO is not going either of those routes. So it does not surprise me that the FO is open to dealing Pau.

    Personally I’m not happy with this news. Not because I don’t want to see Pau go – he has hit a wall here (MDA). My sense is if we do move Pau we will likely have to take back contracts that extend beyond this summer. My fear is that in an effort to ‘win one for Kobe’ we will make moves that take on salaries that will be on our books beyond Kobe’s retirement.

    We won’t see an opportunity like the potential one we had this summer (nothing on the books) for many years. This is a wasted opportunity and I think the FO will regret making these moves.

  20. Nice argument Warren except he is averaging 18 minutes a game , scoring. 5 points and his 38% field goal percent is LAST on the entire team!.

    If that stretching the floor then no stretch for me.

  21. Leo: We won’t see an opportunity like the potential one we had this summer (nothing on the books) for many years. This is a wasted opportunity and I think the FO will regret making these moves.
    ___

    The FO has made some very good moves these past few years. The CP3 and the DHoward trades were brilliant — they just did not work out. They have also made some very bad decisions – like not hiring Rick Adelman (which would have stabilized the coaching situation through Kobe’s tenure) and overpaying for Nash.

    In spite of all this the team still had a chance to wipe the slate clean this summer and begin the rebuilding process. The timing of the Kobe extension (before he had even played) and its cost (40% of the cap) was by far the biggest blunder.

    I love Kobe but his style of 1 on 5 these past few years has worn thin. This is a young man’s game and I do not think that Kobe or the FO is aware of that fact.

  22. Kobe tends to get into “passing modes” when he is running the point, meaning that offensively he one dimensional, as he becomes enamored with setting up his teammates for scores. It does lead to him making some unbelievable reads and passes that net easy buckets (especially for the bigs), but He also has a tendency to force passes that either aren’t there, or are so unexpected that his teammates fumble the pass away for a turnover.

    Despite the 4 turnovers in the first quarter, Kobe was actually pretty effective as he was making some nice reads and was able to start getting into a nice scoring rhythm (which he lost after siting for the final 2 minutes of the 1st, and first 6 or 7 minutes of the second). The way the team plays with Kobe in the lineup is structured, whereas the way the team plays without him is pretty unstructured, so it seems that the team struggles when they have to switch back an forth throughout the course of the game.

    The solution is obviously more playing time for Kobe, as I am sure he will be able to start shooting the ball more effectively as he gets more reps.

  23. Ken, do you like JM Poulard’s writing? If so you can check this: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1882968-breaking-down-la-lakers-ideal-5-man-lineup

    … read a skit about Shawne Williams at the end.

  24. Andre´s underlying frustration and the Shelburne quote best sum up last night´s game. (thanks BigCity)
    On to Memphis.

  25. Keep your eyes on the prize Lakers fans. Everyone should be happy here. Getting the tenth seed doesn’t do anything for us. We want a top pic in the next few drafts… And we are now on our way…

  26. Todd: In spite of all this the team still had a chance to wipe the slate clean this summer and begin the rebuilding process. The timing of the Kobe extension (before he had even played) and its cost (40% of the cap) was by far the biggest blunder.
    _

    I think the FO was scared into making the Kobe extension. I’m sure the Time Warner folks are not happy about the team imploding right when they are paying premium dollars to broadcast the games. Clearly from a basketball perspective it was better to take the cap space and tank (get a high draft pick).

    I think the fans would have understood that course of action and trusted the FO to make the right draft selections and spend the cap space wisely. However, it’s not likely that the Time Warner executives understand how brutal the new CBA can be.

  27. Pre-Kobe Lakers excitement was sparked high octane by Jordan Farmar. When Farmar hits the floor Lakers excitement returns. Farmar is a hungry player. He got no respect before, and he gets no respect now. Difference is this time circumstances and MDA will give him a chance to show his game.

    Its too early to pass final judgement on the season or Kobe.

  28. Of course, the Lakers totally went away from that in the second half and neither forward contributed much the rest of the game.”

    The problems with this meme (and what a surprise that Sid posted it) are:

    1. It suggests that everything is scalable. IOW, since Hill went 8/8, that he could go 16/16 if he got the ball enough. Basketball doesn’t work that way.
    2. It ignores that other teams cam make adjustments in-game or at the half. Mike Budenholzer is watching the same game that Shelburne is.
    3. And, I don’t know the rest of what Shelburne wrote, but the part Sid posted ignores D. ATL’s ORTG for the night was 124.9. The Lakers can play inside-out all night and they are still going to lose if they can’t do any better than that. Elton Brand and Mike Scott went 9/11 from the floor off the bench. more or less cancelling out what Pau and Hill did. The Lakers’ ORTG was 109, so the O was not the reason they lost.

    It is not that simple of course. O and D interact. But without a PG and with Kobe back, the perimeter D has regressed, and now there is nobody inside to cover and clean up.

  29. The way Pau and Kaman are treated by MDA, I dont think any borderline all star or decent players would not like to join the Lakers. To really be contending, you will need all star and solid role players. All star caliber players have problems with MDA, see Melo and DH. Solid role players? See Kaman, Jordan Hill, and soon-to-be frustrated Xavier.
    This season is pretty much done, the moment DH joined Huston. I am afraid we might not have success in getting major free agents this summer either. MDA was a mistake, and time to swallow the pride, and go out get a real NBA coach.

  30. Robert,
    I meant rehab aftermath, not anything more permanent or damning. I don’t think we’ll be able to judge for another month or so what Kobe’s new ceiling will be.

    Agree with those who think we should play two distinct units with first unit kobe and pau centric anf the 2nd unit being an MDA dream team. Kind of like back in the ariza days.

  31. D’antoni is gone by seasons end. who should be the next coach? Lionel Hollins? Jeff van gundy?
    Stan Van Gundy?

  32. rr brought up a great point as far as how Kaman’s role on this team seems to be best suited for a trade chip.Same with Blake, thought I think Kaman may be more likely given Nash’s recent string of injuries.

    Having said that, last night’s game was a disaster. I get that we are down two PGs and Kobe is not quite jelling with the team, but there is not excuse for lack of hustle and defensive sets that look to be inspired by James Harden. In short, our defense is horrendous. That blame falls squarely on Mike D, as head coach, but lets not forget that Rambis is supposed to be the defensive coach on this team and, therefore, should also share some of the blame.

  33. If the Lakers chose to tank they do have a lot of trade chips: Pau, Kaman, Hill, Young, Meeks, Farmar and Blake would all be attractive in season acquisitions by teams in the playoff hunt. If we looked for future picks (beyond this draft) we may be able to stock up on a number of late first and early second round selections.

  34. MDA isn’t going anywhere – so no matter how much people whine and complain about it, unless Kobe states out loud that it needs to happen (which he won’t) it just aint going to happen. There are no allstars on this team this year based on current performance, injuries have decimated the pg’s, and while as a team MDA can get them to play at a reasonable level, individually the talent level isn’t there right now compared to good teams. Mitch and Buss are absolutely backing MDA 100 percent and know that he’s taking a bullet for them this year coaching this team and guarranteed he will at the very least coach out his contract and they will give him the final year w a retooled roster and see if he can do something with more talented (depending on FA signings) crew. The Lakers won’t allow their team to purposely tank all the way to worst in the league – and there is no sense doing so unless they were to get into the top 5 picks as most of their draft picks are already sold off – therefore they would only be tanking so that some other team could improve at their expense. Mitch and Buss are paying MDA to keep a competitive, entertaining team on the flr that will at least keeps seats full at Staples so that financially this season won’t be a huge loss while they wait out the salary cap to retool.

    As for Kaman – do people not see that he is the same player w the same limitations as Gasol? You can only have so many slow white centers who can’t defend on your roster – and when Paul Millsap is shooting threes, or Hordford screens and forces switches or wide open looks for Korver, neither Pau or Kaman can cover those guys on the outside – and the reality is they can’t hedge then slip back to protect the rim or play help defense to save their lives. Thats why Hill, Williams, johnson, Sacre are getting those pf/backup center mins because Kaman can’t play alongside of Pau, and he isn’t an upgrade over him.

  35. The key to Kaman is his $3M salary, while Pau’s is $19M. If we can keep an offensive minded, slow, big on the roster, which one should it be? If we were to trade Pau and not get a center back, guess who would start? Kaman is insurance – pure and simple.

  36. Jerke – Mitch and Buss are paying MDA to keep a competitive, entertaining team on the flr that will at least keeps seats full at Staples so that financially this season won’t be a huge loss while they wait out the salary cap to retool.

    Um, until the Kobe extension the salary cap would not have been an issue this summer. By acting on the extension its now at least two plus years away.

  37. Aaron,

    You have made that point on a few threads. The one big issue I see with that is it assumes Kobe has either bought into the approach or is unaware of that approach. If the former, then Kobe would have to be ok with no chance for a ring in the next two years and a willingness to talk about championships publicly while knowing that he is lying. If the latter, then that portends bigger issues with the FO. Let’s assume that is not the case and he knows what the real strategy is. What do you make of that? Kobe is ok with the lottery for his last two years?

  38. Jerke is right about MD. He actually is the perfect coach for a team going nowhere in particular. His style is exciting. And if you have a group of guys who are willing to hustle and get up and down the floor your team has a 50/50 shot of winning every night. The 10-9 Lakers were respectable because they were a wild card every night.

    Of course the problem is this doesn’t work if you have guys like Pau Gasol, Chris Kaman, and Kobe Bryant. Gasol and Kaman are clearly expendable. But Kobe’s going nowhere. So here we are at an impasse.

  39. @Terri – aside from Nash/Kobe – the lakers only have 2 other guarranteed salaries in Sacre/young for 2 million for next season. I would love to see Nash play again – but if he can’t and medically retires, Lakers will have only $25.000.000 committed – which is a lot of salary cap space to retool with (if he is able to perform to the high level he wants to play at – then it’s about $35,000,000 committed which is still a fair amount of space). The plan was always to resign Kobe and retool around him going into next season w/ Pau etc… off the books. Though frankly the ongoing drama w Pau makes me wonder if they don’t choose to retool earlier by trying to trade him for some younger parts that could be developed this year or parcelled off in some way just so he’s not a chain around the Lakers necks dragging them down all season.

  40. Short-term, I think we need to see how they look with Farmar back, and with Kobe getting his timing back, playing the right positions etc,, and we need to see what they get for Pau and/or Kaman.

    Long-term, however, the issues with fit, planning, direction, Kobe’s extension etc. aren’t going anywhere until/unless the team is able to make some serious high-level adds in the talent department.

  41. Guys Kaman defends are shooting like 35% at the rim. And on offense he’s shooting 50% while scrubb Williams is at 33%. Mda is terrible when it comes to managing pt and substitution patterns. Last year he had problem with all the bigs too. Nothings changed!

  42. so he’s not a chain around the Lakers necks dragging them down all season.

    Or, maybe, you know, MDA needs to work on dealing with Pau better and communicating better instead of saying wiseguy internet-level stuff in the media about a guy without whom the Lakers would not have the last two banners. Like I explained the other day, Pau is obviously not MDA’s kind of player, and that isn’t anybody’s fault. And Pau certainly is partly at fault here. But MDA needs to look in the mirror himself, because no matter how much you (and MDA) whine and complain about Pau, moving his deal will be tough, so he will probably be here the rest of the year.

  43. I really don’t think D’Antoni has done a bad job this year. Lakers are still within striking distance of the playoffs even though injuries have started to pile up. What I do think needs to happen is Lakers need to acquire a player who eats 30-35 minutes at a position to stop these different lineups every night at critical junctures of the game. No reason for Kelly to have entered the game in the 3rd yesterday. Unless the team is actually tanking.

  44. SSR piece breaking down Pau’s apparent refusal to do what MDA wants:

    http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2013/12/17/5208554/pau-gasol-analysis-la-lakers-mike-dantoni

    According to the piece, Pau is refusing to dive on PnRs, despite being told repeatedly to do that, and is instead settling for jumpers, to the detriment of the team.

  45. I really don’t think D’Antoni has done a bad job this year.

    I agree with this.

  46. I’m in total agreement with lil pau and Double R in regards to the team having a definite need for a PG and I stated this as soon as SB (Steve Blake) went down. And while I commend Kobe for stepping up and assuming the position, the fact of the matter is that the role of primary facilitator is not one of his strongest suites, particularly at this stage of his comeback from the Achilles injury.

    With all that being said, unless the team makes defense their main priority, they’ll continue to descend within the standings of the WC. Unfortunately, the personnel within this team is not conducive to being a top notch defensive team. So it’ll be interesting to see if the FO decides to make an attempt to change this before the trade deadline.

  47. I think Pau has mentally checked out of this team. I’m sure he knows the Lakers are unlikely to give him the money he can command on the open market and he is probably tired about the constant trade rumors, the demands from the fans and the apparent lack of chemistry with MDA (although, to be fair, he wasnt exactly the model pupil for Phil either).

    Pau is a professional, but every human being has his limits. You can only hear about potential trades in the media, from fans, from your agent, for so long without it affecting you. Heck, I’m surprised he did not demand a trade after the CP3 trade fell through (or maybe he did).

    Pau has given us some good years. We should be thankful for that. However, the relationship has run its course. Its a shame. I would have loved for him to want to stick around longer.

  48. rr – I’m not “whining” about Pau as you put it, just as much as you are not “whining” about MDA – all I’m saying is that his time here has clearly run its course – it’s obviously clear he’s not in the long term plans and his skills/attitude/physical ability have degraded to the point where catering to him him to keep his numbers/touches individual success up is a detriment to the team the Lakers are trying to/need to be have the success that management is trying to achieve this year – which is to find some sort of team success to hang their hat on, evaluate their the roster, and try to have as positive a year despite some acknowledged talent deficiencies and injuries to deal with. If Pau was playing good soldier and voicing his legitimate gripes behind closed doors instead of taking them straight to the media, then i would have no issues w him at all – and I don’t personally. but when this team has to work as hard as it does to be successful despite long odds – you don’t want to be expended all sorts of energy dealing with and coddling a negative influence in the lockerroom.

    I read the original Shelburne article the SSR piece references when it first came out last week – watch Pau’s first posession every game – he always pops instead of rolling out and takes the 16-17ftr at the elbow. He does more to limit his game on his own than MDA does.

  49. Regarding defense:

    The middle has been soft since that #12 guy left. The difference in the first 19 games was the perimeter was covered better. As RR has noted, inserting Kobe in the lineup has put a pair of slow feet on the perimeter. The switching on defense also creates mismatches that kill the Lakers. Lastly, the quicker pace they played at before kind of baited other teams into the same style. That was a plus for the Lakers.

    Now the Lakers are slowing it down on offense which encourages opposing teams to do the same. The problem is the Lakers best defenders are on the perimeter. A quicker pace game allows them to jump into passing lanes and use their defensive advantages, speed, length and the ability to disrupt. By slowing down the Lakers are playing to their defensive weaknesses. For this group to have any chance at consistent winning they really can’t play slow.

  50. Well, it’s fine to say that Pau’s time here is effectively over, and I mostly agree. But trading him will not be easy, so it would be good if they could work some of this out in the meantime.

    Pau is clearly a big part of the problem, but I would add that, as Robert has suggested, buy-in with his bigs seems to be an issue for MDA, unless he is coaching guys one step away from the DLeague or the waiver wire. Evidence showed that Howard should be playing dive PnR, but he didn’t want to. Evidence shows that Pau should be playing dive PnR, but he doesn’t want to. MDA has had some stuff with Hill both here and in NYC. With Howard, MDA was in a tough spot, but that isn’t really the case with Pau. The org is much more committed to MDA than it is to Pau and MDA’s deal is longer.

    This is a tricky area–we are not at practice, we are not in the locker room, we are not on the team plane. But I tend to have little sympathy for “quotable” coaches who seem to have communication issues with their players. Phil IMO was the exception, not the rule.

  51. @rr I think Pau is very movable. Just watch. Chicago, NYK, Milwaukee, we’ll see. There are lots of teams looking to get some money off the books for next season and I don’t think the Lakers are one of them. Teams will think they can get Pau back into a groove and might not mind having his Bird Rights. Heck Denver and Shaw might like a rental.

    I love Pau. Seems a good guy, probably can hold a good conversation in a number of languages, has a passion for the sport we all love, and helped bring us from 14 to 16. His legacy as a player should be well intact. We need to get quicker. That is where we are. Has anybody else noticed that since Kobe’s return we are looking more and more like the team from last season? Poor 3rd quarters, giving up fast breaks, creating less turnovers. It’s not Kobe’s fault per say. Kobe’s and Pau’s feet are just two slow feet too many.

    This is probably my problem, but I just get surprised whenever I read anyone talking an impact provided by Nash returning. I’ll be surprised to see him back and if so, sweet lord, have mercy upon our defense.

  52. rr- I wonder where the friction is being generated. You are right in that we have no idea what goes on behind closed doors, but it would be interesting to find out. But, as you say, this is the third big man in a row MikeD does not seem to be able to motivate – and sometimes where there is smoke there is fire.

    I know the team is committed to Mike D for this year, but I have a gut feeling (nothing more) that short of a miraculous run to the Conference Finals or NBA Finals, his tenure as a Laker coach will depend largely on what Kobe and potential free agents have to say about playing for him.

    I think the team largely committed to keeping him this year because (a) there was a feeling Dwight would not come back at all (or the team knew he was not coming back because they could not accommodate all of his demands), (b) given the lack of a true “superstar” on the roster and the expiration date for the deals of most of the other players under contract, it did not make sense to bring yet another new coach to a team everyone felt would be struggling to make the playoffs, (c) the candidates the FO truly covets to coach were not available, and (d) it is cheaper to buy out a guy on his last year than halfway through his contract..