Tonight could get ugly â€” Kobe has been suspended for tonight’s game by the league for the play on Jaric. While we could well argue that the league should just allow people to hit Jaric (Clipper fans will back that up), there was little doubt this was going to come down today. This play was almost identical to what happened against Ginobli, so the league had no choice but to be consistent.
Tough way to come in to take on the Bucks: No Odom or Kobe, plus last night Cook played 49 minutes, Evans 44, Smush 42, and the list goes on. Add to the tired legs the hard loss last night and weâ€™ll see how much fortitude this Laker team has tonight.
That fortitude has to start with finding a way to cover Michael Redd â€” last meeting he dropped 45 on the Lakers while shooting 61.6%, leading the Bucks to the win. He is one of the best shooters in the game, although he is weaker from the midrange on the right side of the court. But you canâ€™t give him good looks from anywhere, my guess that will fall to Evans and Sasha.
Overall the Lakers have to play better defense than the first meeting when the Bucks shot 54.7% (eFG%) and 43.8% from three.
Also in that game, Odom had 21 points and 13 boards, Kobe had 27 and Walton added 14 points. Those have to be made up somewhere â€” but even still the Lakers should be able to get some offense going. The Bucks are the second worst defensive team in the NBA, and are second worst in opponent eFG%.
Also, the Bucks are the worst defensive rebounding team in the league â€” Bynum, Kwame and others need to crash the boards, get a few easy ones on misses.
One thing to drool over tonight: Bucks PG Mo Williams will be a free agent this summer. The bad news is I think there is little chance the Lakers will be able to afford him.
Sometimes, I regret watching a game on TiVo after knowing the outcome because I just get frustrated. The double OT loss to Minnesota was one of those games â€” and there was plenty to be frustrated about. How hard is it to execute an inbounds play? When did Mark Blount learn to shoot threes? (That one is one of those where I say â€œgood on himâ€ for making the play, if you told me that the T-Wolves are going need Blount to hit threes to win the game Iâ€™d take that chance.) Why is the zone defense so baffling for the Lakers? Why canâ€™t they shoot free throws? How do you not know the shot clock? Then thereâ€™s â€œthe technicalâ€ or Phil not subbing out anyone in the overtimes when it was clear guys were dragging.
But, as you commenters noted, a lot of that comes back to the rash of injuries.
McKie should not be making inbounds passes, Luke Walton should be. He would have seen Cook standing unbelievably wide open with the chance to win the game. But, you say, Cook could not throw a pea in the ocean in that game (thanks Chick), even if he had gotten the ball he would have missed. But Phil didnâ€™t have Radmanovic to turn to as the hotter hand that night. And he didnâ€™t have Odom to take on Garnett, he had to go with Cook. The result was Cook having to play 49 minutes often matched against one of the leagueâ€™s best players, leaving the Lakers with other bad matchups, including on Blount.
Iâ€™m not trying to make excuses â€” McKie is veteran who should make better decisions. Cook asked for chances and needs to take advantage of them. Guys need to step up. But there was a reason that McKie has sat much of the last two seasons, reasons Cook is not given key defensive assignments. Right now the collection of injuries is forcing Phil to make player and matchup choices he would prefer not to, just because he sees it as the best option he has. We can question some of those decisions, and should, but there are not great answers on the current roster. And that is hurting the Lakers and costing them games.
Damn, a bunch of retards in the nba league office.
Stupid Jack and evil Stern are at it again.
dan reines says
Forgive what might I know be a ridiculous question, but I’m stuck over here in Europe, I haven’t watched a minute of basketball this year, and I just don’t know: Is the Lakers’ season just slipping away completely right now? Has it slipped away already?
Obviously the definition of “slipped away” matters, and it’s probably not definable. What I’m asking, though, is if the team is in freefall the way it was at the end of the Rudy T season, or the Magic-is-coach season. it seems hard to believe that a team with Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant would do that, but the combination of the injuries, suspensions, and piling losses just makes me think that we’re watching a flame-out that would threaten to undo a lot of the progress we seemed to be making.
Anyone want to reassure me? Please?
Rob L. says
Hate to harp on this, but I will. Kobe is getting suspended for “un-natural” shooting motion making contact. But in both cases he was making a wild off-balance shot. In both cases the lack of balance was caused, in part, by the defensive player.
Check this out
At NBA.com in the video section, you can search for Sonics Knicks. Click on the highlight reel for Sonics 100, Knicks 99. You’ll need to skip to the 4th quarter. Near the end of regulation (45 seconds) Marbury makes a jumper in the lane. There is contact while he is in the air and one of his arms flails to the side. The defender happened to be on the other side so there was no contact. But if he was on the other side…
The side arm motion isn’t part of natural shooting during balanced shots. But watch players who are off balance. The arm shoots to the side a lot.
Bandwagon L.A. says
What bothers me so much about the suspension is that a game ref, standing 2 feet away, acknowledged the play and justly gave Kobe a loose ball foul.
Last time, when he hit Manu, the play was not acknowledged by the game refs (either because they didn’t see it or they swallowed their whistles in the closing seconds) and thus, I can at least understand the league’s desire to retroactively dole out a punishment. And to warrant a suspension, you would have to assume that had the game refs in the Manu game been able to make that call that it would have been at least a flagrant I.
However, last night’s incident shows that the play in question, in plain view of a ref and in a relatively ‘normal’ game context, is nothing more than a loose ball foul. A suspension worthy loose ball foul.
And yes I agree that this is a matter of consistency for the league. But I don’t agree that it’s right to make the same mistake twice for the sake of consistency.
Dan, the problems are not as systemic as the Rudy T. year. Unlike that year, the direction for the future and potential are still there. And there is still time for the ship to right and the Lakers to be a threat in the playoffs. This team is not going to fall out of the playoffs.
But I’m curious to see what Phil will, or can, do to stem this tide. As I said in the post, I see his options as limited right now. Unless he just wants to lean on Kobe to win a few games himself.
“Is the Lakersâ€™ season just slipping away completely right now? Has it slipped away already?”
No it hasn’t. The Lakers still have the 6th seed in the playoffs. Injuries are certainly taking their toll on the team and could very well end playing a big part in how the season ends, but I don’t necessary see things being all that negative. Barring a catastrophic downfall (which I don’t forsee) and 3 of the 4 teams fighting for the last two spots making a serious run, they won’t miss the playoffs. Getting in and getting more postseason experience is really the most important thing.
Rob L. says
6 – Right on! Getting Young Mr. Bynum some quality playoff time will be huge down the road. And though it seems unlikely at this point, a first round win by the Lakers is still a possibility depending on how things shake out with Lamar/Luke.
Let’s not forget that this team had to win 15 out of there last 20 last season to end up 8 games over .500. Although expectations are higher this year and, a desire for a better seed as an aid to get out of the first round is hoped for, we just need to get healthy.
chris henderson says
any word on Ronnie for tonight?
we can use all the power forwards we can muster, and we need his heart and athleticism now with the depleted bench/starters.
this suspension really feels like Kobe is being unfairly singeld out, when we all know that there’s been other hard/flagrant fouls ie; lebron on Wade that in comparison would at least equally deserve a suspension if this does.
just ain’t right.
I was at the Phx game, and I’ve gotta tell ya, the offense seems lost, passing around the perimeter, Kobe passes, he gets it back, shot clock winds down, kobe has to shoot over 3 defenders, or drive and dish to only have the shot clock expire.
it’s just a kind of “freelance” offense, no cutters, no plays, if this is the triangle, we need to consider adding in some variations, occasionally run a designed play.
Kobe is gonna wear out at this pace, I guess that’s the only redeeming thing about tonights suspension…
but it still sucks.
John R. says
Howdy Kurt. I credited you with a link today you had posted way back in the day so I stopped by to see whats up. Same quality posts as ever I see.
You guys don’t really believe Kobe shouldn’t be suspended for that, do you? All we hear about is his incredible body control. If Kobe catches a dude in the face, a reasonable person has to conclude it was on purpose. At any rate, in the unlikley event it wasn’t completely on purpose the league has informed the players that each is responsible for his elbows. Kobe is at least grossly negligent in that part of his routine is to flail his arms about with complete abandon.
In this instance its clear he cocks that arm back like Coach K would have taught him to do.
Let’s approach the problem from another angle. If the hits on Ginobili and Jaric happened on the blacktop, would there be a fight? Of course there would.
dan reines says
thanks all — i’ll table my concerns for the moment. that said, if the season does in fact start spinning out of control, y’all let me know, okay?
Hey John R., read some quality comments from you over at Clipperblog and I hope you’re doing well. Honestly, I’d be curious to hear your assessment of the differences between the Clips last season and this. I wasn’t sure if they would step forward but I didn’t expect this kind of regression.
As Rob L. and Nate Jonesonthenba have suggested, I think it’s a habit Kobe got into on off-balance shots and since it has at times drawn him fouls he never made a conscious effort to change it. He may now.
And what will cause a fight in a playground game, especially at some playgrounds, might not even be a foul. That’s a pretty low threshold.
Rob L. says
John R., long time no see.
I think that most reasonable Lakers fans can live with one-game suspensions for the incidents Kobe has been involved in. What I think riles us up to a degree, is the lack of consistency in the league’s enforcement. Quite a few “hard contact” incidents have happened since Kobe’s first one-game suspension without similar punishment. LeBron’s clothesline of Wade being everyone’s favorite example.
But what’s done is done. The league is obviously not going to change it’s policy on Kobe’s Octopus Arms, so my bet is he’ll get ’em under control and this will no longer be an issue.
John R. says
I don’t want to jack the thread, but since the host asked. I’ll at least keep it short.
I thought I knew the problems 3 or 4 different times and then something new came along. The list of theories is probably well known: training camp overseas(maybe the Clippers were uniquely in a position to suffer there, what do SA and PHO need training camp for and PHI probably didn’t care), constant nagging injuries followed by catastrophic injury, lack of progression for Kaman (I’m told this explains regression, I’m not sure how though.), the Maggette Situation, a certain PG entering his typical second year itch. Take your pick. I think it will be more clear in about 4 weeks. I didn’t mention TT. I don’t think he is a problem for the obvious reason. There is all this talk of expectations, but Dunleavy coached him before. He knew was he was getting and TT has turned in a typical TT season. The whole TT disappointment thing doesn’t hold water with me, especially in light of Vlade Shaun Whiteovich.
I don’t think the blacktop method is the be-all to judge a foul, but I think it works here. If that happened in a geezer’s game, there would be geriatric shoving going down. If the hit would rankle grandpa, I think its worth supressing the behavior.
“If the hits on Ginobili and Jaric happened on the blacktop, would there be a fight? Of course there would.”
That’s actually exactly how i justified the suspensions to many people i’ve talked to about it….if some guy cleared me out with an elbow to the face just because i defended his shot there would definitely be at the very least some trash talk…the only reason I’m mad is that if we were playng pi I would probably punch Bowen in the face if he kept putting his feet under me when I was shooting jumpers, I’d knee Mutumbo in the stomach if he kept clearing me out with elbows after rebounds…and I’d at the very least karate chop Wade if he kept hurling himself at me wearing thigh pads and whining for a Foul..yet all of these go unpunished
Consistency Stern..that’s all we ask
Rob L. says
Bynum and Brown on the floor at the same time!
Cary D says
well, pretty ugly was right kurt. not a great game for our reserves – we couldn’t hit a shot at all.
well boys… it can’t get any worse than this. It’s only uphill from here!
Didn’t see this one–just saw the box score and heard very negative comments on the radio. The Lakers scored enough points–and apparently played a respectable level of “D” the first quarter.
Then the roof caved in.
With the remaining Laker players:
Defense is not an option.
Defense is the only way
That had to be the weakest starting line up the Lakers have EVER put out on the court.