Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Bucks

Darius Soriano —  December 31, 2013

First off, Happy New Year to all of you. Whatever your plans — whether watching the Lakers or not — have fun and be safe.

Second, I don’t really have much to say about tonight’s game against the Bucks. The Lakers are struggling mightily, losers of 5 in a row and 7 of their last 10 games. They’re banged up with Xavier Henry out at least a week and Wes Johnson out with the stomach flu. Pau (sinusitis and bronchitis), Kaman (sprained ankle), and Farmar (tightness in his hamstring) all will play, but I don’t expect any of them to be 100% physically.

The Lakers, then, are a team short on healthy talent eve if they are long on fight and determination. The latter matters a great deal in this league, but the former is probably the most important factor when determining wins and losses in the association. Hence the piling up of losses recently. All of this is more than frustrating when in the moment even if step back does provide some perspective on what this team is going through.

Today rumors surfaced about a potential swap of the Lakers’ current big man and a former one. This deal has been downplayed and all but shot down by sources within the organization, but even acknowledging the discussions is an admission that the team’s front office is focusing on more than just wins and losses for this season. They’re thinking about the bottom line, draft positioning, and future assets too. This should be expected and of no surprise, but it’s an uncommon look behind the curtain of a front office who has said that their goals remain focused on getting banner #17 up in the rafters this year.

In any event, those are topics that go beyond tonight’s match up with the Bucks. Milwaukee is one of the worst teams in the league and comes into Los Angeles to play a game on New Year’s Eve. Let’s just say that there may be more than a few thoughts about what’s happening after the game while the game is actually going on. That said, the quality of the Bucks shouldn’t mean much considering the Lakers’ last two losses came against the bottom-dwelling 76ers and Jazz. The Lakers don’t have the luxury of taking teams for granted or assuming they’ll win games based off superior talent. Fact is, there aren’t many (any?) teams who the Lakers have more talent than — at least not this injury ravaged version of the Lakers.

So tonight the Lakers will have to be at their best even thought circumstances dictate it will be hard for that to be the case. Their execution will need to be sharp and they’ll need to do all the little things well. Things like boxing out, avoiding live ball turnovers, and making the extra pass to open teammates. They’ll need to communicate defensively, help the helper, and play for each other. They need to do these things every night, of course, but with a diminished roster and rumors swirling they’re even more important tonight.

The Bucks would love nothing more than to leave LA with a win and celebrate their New Year in style. The Lakers would also like to be able to go out after the game with their collective heads held high (at least Nick Young would). So, here’s to the home team getting it done. They’ll be in their black Hollywood Nights unis, so maybe that will give them a bit of luck. They can use as much of that as they can get, after all.

Darius Soriano

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46 responses to Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Bucks

  1. Happy New Year everyone…May 2014 bring us all prosperity and ping pong balls (and Kobe sits until next season)

  2. For Warren, though that hasn’t been as effective lately.

  3. I am hoping to make lots of money next year as opposed to getting a Ping pong ball(no s need be added as there is only one draft pick next year).

  4. Happy new year to everyone!!!! Specially to Darius and all the other guys that make this blog posible and alsonto Ken,Trey, Robert, Warren and all the commenters that make this so special. Well as much as i hate tanking it looks like we might end up doing that if that trade happens, i think its a disrespect to the fans that fund these teams but with this CBA i give up even our mighty Lakers have been brought down by it. I really think we will not sniff the playoffs and thats fine in a paynful way. The long term health of the club is more important. I hope we win tonight.

  5. First and foremost, to my entire FB&G Family, I would like to say Happy New Year and continued success throughout the next 12 months of your Journey.

    As for our Lakers, as horrendous as we’ve been as of late, tonight, we’re up against THE worst team in the Association. In our building. And RIP (Respiratory Infection Pau) is back in the lineup. We should be able to end 2013 with a victory. SHOULD being the operative word.

  6. Agreed for Happy New Year to all.

    Going back to my old days in the music biz a quote from an old friend.

    “You have to know when to hold them and know when to fold them”

    Time to fold and develop a plan for next year.

    Be safe all!

  7. Go lakers!!!

    All this talk of the glory and virtue of tanking doesn’t seem to account for those of us who spend our hard earned money as season ticket holders. Do we not have a right to expect at least an attempt to win games in exchange for the huge fees we pay annually? I get that it benefits the team in the long run to get below the cap, but can there be some acknowledgement of those of us who are financially invested in expecting at the very least spirited competition, if not the hope of an actual victory?

    If the lakers truly aggressively and unapologetically try to tank, which would be the first time in my near lifetime of a history of a fan of them of not even trying (this goes back to drafting magic), then I will renounce my tix and cc the LA times on my resignation letter.

    One of the reasons I am a season ticket holder is to share with my daughter the operatic virtues of passion and competition, the unforgettable miracle wins and heartbreaking losses… Deliberately losing to game the new CBA is a narrative I personally cannot accept. That’s for the sonics, or the pelicans, not for my beloved P&G. I truly struggle to understand how real fans – and I think anyone who posts here qualifies- can advocate something so cynically in opposition to everything that is beautiful about what sports can provide. Have you forgotten the sweetness of the Kobe to shaq alleyoop against Portland? Didn’t it take Kobe’s air balls against Utah to make that moment special? You only get that by TRYING, even if you are not ready yet for your moment to shine.

    Happy New Years to all, but especially for those who want the lakers to win every game. This is a sports team we love, not a stock we are shorting.

    The king is dead. Long live the king, damn it!!!!.

  8. Worst laker team of all time.

  9. The Lakers must resolve to score a point this quarter

  10. We are so proud of this team and it’s fine coach.

    Perhaps they have quit on this joke of a coach.

    Laughing stock of NBA now.

  11. 17-2. I have never seen a start like this. Not sure if the lakers or the D-Fenders.

  12. Lowest quarter in Lakers history?

    Happy New Years long time Laker fans.

  13. Somehow brought it to a double digit

  14. Fly, fly up in the air!
    Amusing is the ping-pong ball.
    Reach heaven and get dizzy there,
    Down to the earth dazedly fall.

    Soar, soar up in the air!
    Elfish is the ping-pong ball.
    Loop the loop high in midair,
    Make us laugh rolling your eyeballs.

    Float, float up in the air!
    O poor thing the ping-pong ball.
    Hard for his parents to bear,
    Punished everyday, for all
    That he shaved all his hair.

  15. Marshall with the nice bounce pass. Add that to the 30 foot set shot

  16. About to head out for the evening. Sacto won in Houston tonight, and beat Miami a few days ago. The Lakers are certainly the worst team in the West at this moment, and may well be the worst team in the NBA, as of this snapshot moment today. If they lose sucessive home games to PHI and MIL, there wouldn’t be much of argument.

    That noted, as I said yesterday, firing MDA right now would be truly stupid for the org IMO, and I wouldn’t take on any bad contracts to get rid of Pau, as Robert has said. I think the players are doing the best they can.

    Happy New Year.

  17. New Years resolution.

    Find a coach.

  18. Simonoid, 2013 was a particularly bad year for the 1st post mantra. I was 0-2 in my last 2 games and I couldn’t have timed it worse than our injury bug hitting hard. Here’s to me regaining some of that magic in 2014.

    Maybe I should represent the Lakers in the lottery. I’ll wear my Hugo Boss jacket with my lucky Kobe 6 pewter to boot.

  19. Breaking News

    Los Angles Lakers are worst team in NBA .

    Breaking News!

    Lakers raise ticket and parking prices !

  20. The tanking has begun.

  21. Hoping for a safe and happy new year for the FB&G crew. I also hope 2014 is better for the Lakers than 2013 was. At some point the team needs to completely reset. May as well be now.

  22. The horror… The horror

  23. Breaking news!

    Entire team quits on Coach Mike.

    Breaking news!

    Jim gives Mike a 10 year contract extension and changes his name to Magic Mike!

  24. Turns out that should WAS the operative word.

    T. Rogers,
    The last 2 sentences of your post speaks volumes.

  25. TIME FOR DANTONI TO GO Its just not working and it hasnt for 2 seasons he should resign like he did from NYK or was he fired ? get rid of him

  26. Hire byron scott

  27. I doubt any coach can help this lineup. If you consider that you would be a fool to have championship hopes this season, keeping D’Antoni seems to be a better option. A new coach won’t come and convert baskets. A new coach won’t increase the team talent. Where is the talent? Period. Drive your anger wherever you want but Lakers without Blake, Henry, Kobe, Johnson, Nash will have hard times winning no matter who coaches.

  28. Lewis,

    As painful as this is, this is hardly D’Antoni’s fault. (And no, I am not a D’Antoni apologist.) Today the Lakers were missing Kobe, Blake, Nash, Wes Johnson, and Xavier Henry. (I believe they really missed Henry tonight.) And Farmar tweaked his hamstring again and couldn’t go after the midway point of the 3rd Q.

    As a result, this has become the mere shell of a team. D’Antoni is doing what he can with only 9 players. At one point the Lakers had Sacre, Kendall Marshall, Ryan Kelly and Shawne Williams on the floor. Think of it. That’s a D-League call up, the last player taken in the draft 2 years ago, a 2nd round draft pick from this year, and some one who wasn’t even in the NBA last year.

    Without injuries, these players wouldn’t be out on the floor. Some of them wouldn’t even be dressing for the game. D’Antoni certainly can’t be blamed for that. He’s simply playing the hand that’s been dealt him.

  29. I have been calling for firing MDA. After tonight’s game, I changed my mind. Why let him off the hook? Just leave him there to suffer, since this season is wasted anyway.

    I am calling Time Warners to ask for lowering their cable fees. For this kind of product, I deserve a discount. :-)

    Happy new year lakers fans! Glad there are still more important things in life.

  30. This team is too injury depleted, c’mon people, the fire MDA thing is old and stupid. Were are down to scratch the bottom of the barrel just to field a team. Not even the holy Pat Riley combined with Phil couldt save this season, this season is worse that the last one injury wise, i mean what are the odds? I thought i never see anything like last season and this is actually worse. Cant blame MDA

  31. True to a point Fern. These are suppose to be professional players yet don’t even try on defense. That is a reflection on bad coaching. This guy said they would score 110 a game not give up that.

    But as he says after every game. These are really good guys! Ya and so was Custard and his last
    stand..

    Anyway Happy New Year Fern.

  32. Happy new years fellas, don’t let the lakers bring your spirit down!

  33. Thank you to FB&G for hosting.

    I believe this is Hollywood LA drama. The Lakers MUST lose to the worst teams if they are going to make WINNING THE FINALS meaningful. They will do it. I believe.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR AND . . . .

    GOOOOOoooooOOOOO LAKERS!!!

  34. By the way just got home to listen to Coop and Worthy. Funny they agree with me. Zero effort on D or boxing out.

    They said part players but more coaching for not demanding it from players.

    Players have quit and it’s time to get a new coach out there. Someone with a spine. 3 tines it was 4 or 5 on 1 on run outs. No coach should allow that.

    Anybody who thinks Bucks have more talent is not paying attention. MD only has jokes and excuses. When Coop and Worthy are calling out coach someone has to listen . “There is something wrong with this team and it’s spirit” from Worthy mouth. ” no pride” clearly this would never happen to a Pop or Phil team . Never.

    To bad the FO isn’t watching. If they were they would blow this thing up NOW!

  35. Johnny P

    Please take a taxi home . No driving. Sorry but you can’t win championship from the 14th position.

    By the way Hill 14 minutes. Kamen 0 minutes.
    Williams 36 minutes 5 points.

    Any people say don’t blame the coach.

    Really!

  36. IMO this is not just about the talent or lack of it, lack of talent does not explain losing to the Bucks or 76r’s, are they better in that department? Just take a look at Phoenix, are they full of All stars on their roster?

  37. im not knowledgeable really. why is williams being called out everytime by the fans here

  38. Lack of talent along with regular injuries. We have a nightly change at the PG position and atleast players on Phoenix and Bucks have been there since the beginning of the season. I would have pointed finger at coach if Marshall, Kelly, Sacre were getting such minutes from the start of the season. They weren’t even supposed to be in the scene.

    I know its hard to justify the crush that MikeD has on Williams.

    And don’t forget that Pau still ails while Farmar is still stiff. Someone had said that D’Antoni’s system is PG based. Tell me who is the PG now? What would you call if a team has its 3 PGs injured. Then the two ‘can be’ PGs are also injured. What do you expect when SwaggyP is your main PG. I think there is no point of changing coach unless we get our players back and we still suck. It seems to be a waste of time to keep bringing up the ‘fire MikeD’ topic.
    Meanwhile, I just checked the mock draft, for the first time in many years. Tanking seems to be a default,a God’s wish, a consequence, unavoidable, unforced.

  39. This team barely have bodies to play and has succumbed to the dejection. Their fundamentals on boards and D are atrocious and without a regular healthy point guard they make exceedingly idiotic decisions with the ball. The offense is drive and kick so with a gimpy Farmar, no Henry, Blake, Bryant or Nash to implode the D, no one aside from the the occasional Nick Young drive or the kamikaze layups of Meeks could get the O to function properly so the ball stayed on the perimeter for prayer 3s. Add Larry Sanders prowling and a lack of use of the pump fake it was going to take lightning bolts from Zeus to win this game.

    Right now the Lakers are one of the worst teams in the league and would be no matter who’s coaching. They’re a gun with no bullets nor even a flag that pops out with bang written on it. Question is and has been of direction. Assuming there are no trades and everyone at some point comes back relatively healthy (but still old), where the hell is this team going to go? 2.5 years of Kobe not meshing in an offense isn’t going to fly. He’s capable of adapting, I’m certain, but he’s only going to defer offensive responsibility to someone he profoundly respects. MDA’s ideal system is a bit too egalitarian for the talent level that they have for Kobe to trust others to do the heavy lifting.

    Farmar’s hammy might mean guaranteed money for Marshall unless they want to take a flyer on another washout. Marshall just better make certain that he’s up to date on his insurance.

  40. I think the time has come for the Lakers to cut salary and get under the cap. I have my opinions on how to do this but, the writing is on the wall. From the outset the Lakers have been betting on gambles working out on min salary guys. Somewhat surprisingly, although I did from the outset say this was a pretty good group of players,this team played well. However with the injury bug decimating this roster it is time to tip the hat and just get under the salary cap to avoid insult to injury of not making the play offs and not getting off the repeater tax.

  41. I recall that a few of us expressed concern about Farmar coming back ahead of schedule; hamstrings are known, even to lay people, to be both slow-healing and easily recurring.

    Some injuries are unavoidable, but given what has happened the last two years–endless injuries, guys getting cleared to play and then getting re-injured, etc–it might be time for the Lakers to take a look at their training and medical programs.

  42. MD: The season is a complete disaster. This is due to many reasons, and MD is not responsible for many of the them. However, it should be clear that he is not our long term coach for when the team returns to contention. That said, there is no reason to change coaches at this time. I knew I would become a moderate on this subject and indeed I have.
    Tanking: I do not think the Lakers are doing this intentionally, nor do I think they should. For those espousing “tanking” or pretending to be happy about losses, this is like being happy about declaring bankruptcy, because you still have $2 to buy lottery tickets.

    Happy New Years everyone !

  43. Yes Paulo, talent is a problem. Bledsoe is a talented player. Dracic is talented. The Morris twins are talented. Channing Frye is talented. The Suns have more available talent than the Lakers.

    The Lakers were thought to be a fringe playoff team with their team remaining relatively healthy. Two starters and three key subs have been out a few weeks. Sorry, but talent does mean something in the NBA. You can play hard and together all you want, and the synergy can make you better the sum of your parts… unless of course you go against another team with synergy that is more talented than you are. Even then, you can only be greater than the sum of your parts if you have parts.

    I don’t think tanking is really necessary. As it stand, without tanking, the Lakers have the 7th best chance at the top pick. If the Lakers just keep the 7th pick in the draft they stand an excellent chance to pick a star player. If the Lakers make a smart trade (that trade with Cleveland is one example) and it nets another pick in late teens, there is a chance to get a high quality “sleeper” in this draft or next.

    The rebuild is here. It is here, by design or not. This rebuild is a function of previous success. Long playoff runs and parades take their toll. They cost money. They degrade joints and weight bearing parts of the body. This was going to happen and it was going to happen right about now. If you look at the conference finalists between 2008-2010, look where they all are right now. Only one team can point to two rings in that time. It’s time. Find guys on the current roster that we want to keep. Get guys healthy. Bring in young talent from the draft and make the team attractive to the top FA of ’15 and ’16. Frankly, I think the team is well served keeping MDA for the rest of this season and perhaps beyond. This team is not going to win much. Try and entertain us and then bring in a top-quality coach when there is basketball talent to match.

  44. The zero D and specially the non boxing out thing is been bothering me for weeks, i commented ad nauseum on that, all this talk about being good guys and that crap, i rather have a team full of a- holes that compete than a team of good guys that bend over for the worst teams on the league. Even knowing this was going to be a long season this team is really really triying my patience almost to the point that its becoming really hard to watch them play.

  45. I agree with Robert the Lakers didn’t intentionally tank. I’m fairly happy with the squad we put out. The injuries have taken their toll and it’s time to just get under the cap.

  46. melcountscounts January 1, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    Free Chris Kaman.