As a fan of basketball I understand that there will be games like this. I inherently know that there will be nights where a team not only doesn’t play well, but they play really, really bad. They stink up the joint to the point that fans are left wondering if they’re actually trying to play well of if there is some sort of conspiracy amongst the players to play as poorly as possible just to show you how ugly the game can be. Against the Bobcats the Lakers had one of those games. There will be some that take this game, look at the loss to Miami just one night before, take a look at how the Lakers have played below their standard at different points this season and come to the conclusion that this team is in trouble. That they’re not really a good team. That they’re ripe for a major fall or that they’re not championship material.
I am not one of those people. Judging the Lakers based off (possibly) their worst game of the season is like judging a beauty queen when she first wakes up in the morning and she’s hung over after an all nighter out drinking with girls. Yes, she does look like this now, but we all know that she’s looked better. I mean, are the Lakers the team that we just saw get trounced by the ‘Cats or are they the team that beat Denver just six days ago? The fact is, the Lakers are both of those teams. So, fans can say that they’re not sure who this team is, and that would be valid. But I am sure. They’re an inconsistent bunch that can both inspire unwavering confidence and extreme doubt in their abilities. And while I understand the frustration and I understand the want to vent and bury this team, remember what this team is capable of and take a deep breath. This team is better than it’s showed in the past two nights. How much better can not be judged now and should not be. And while this one game is symptomatic of other performances that have allowed fans to doubt, it is still just one game (admittedly a bad one, but still).
There really is no need to break down this game in any real way with any in-depth analysis. The Lakers played poorly; beyond poorly really. They, again, suffered from some sort of aversion to taking care of the ball and were not sharp on offense for almost the entire evening. Charlotte, on the other hand, did play well. They made shots and went on runs that the Lakers did not have answers for. Over the middle part of the game (2nd and 3rd quarters), the ‘Cats outscored the Lakers by 15 points with hot shooting from the outside and solid pick and roll play. The Lakers either didn’t defend well or ineffectively and could not sustain effective offense, playing a classic game of one-step-forward-two-steps-backwards basketball where they’d make a shot and then on the subsequent possessions give up a three pointer and commit a turnover. Watching the game unfold in the manner that it did was frustrating, but it was also a game where so many things kept going wrong that I just concluded it wasn’t the Lakers’ night.
Some may try to explain away this game with the circumstances surrounding it – the fact that Charlotte is a team that has our number or the fact that the Lakers played 53 minutes last night in a different city and are dealing with injury concerns that have players playing longer minutes as our coaches go with a shortened rotation. But just as I am not a person that will abandon my belief in this team, I also will not succumb to these excuses. Now, those are legitimate reasons, and I’m sure they contributed to the Lakers loss, but in the end, I just think the Lakers played bad. There will be days like this.
Does this Lakers team have things to be concerned about? Yes. I’m concerned that they seem to be in a rut of committing turnovers. I’m concerned that our big men have too many games where shots that realistically should fall do not. I am concerned that it’s too infrequent where the Lakers have more than three players play well on a single night. But even with all of those concerns, my outlook on what is possible this season has not changed. The Lakers are still one of only a handful of teams that can win the championship this year. And while I understand that winning a championship with be tough sledding for this year’s Lakers, I think that same statement applies to every team that has a team capable of winning. Do you think any team is looking forward to a seven game series against the Lakers? I don’t. So, take a deep breath Lakers fans, this is a bad stretch but tomorrow is a new day. The Lakers will have another chance on Sunday. There are better days ahead.
Mike Penberthy says
EJK, maybe you need to see more of this team to determine how they’ll do in the playoffs and that’s fine. I don’t. With 75% of the season gone, it’s obvious to me what kind of a team they are.
thanks for the recap, Darius.
after reading your recap, i think i might be too spoiled for thinking that Lakers will win every game and play great.
but at the same time, i feel that they are not executing as a team, which is beyond me.
because it’s not like Lakers is a team without a system.
From my perspective, sometimes their execution is just bad.
Until now, I cannot say that Lakers has a winning play that they can use in a pinch, other than kobe iso.
this is something that confuses me.
I sympathize with the fans who are so angry that they want to give up hope for this team because they don’t to have even bigger disappointments.
However, as parents shouldn’t give up on their children, I feel that true fans shouldn’t give up on their teams. (Of course, the reason isn’t parallel).
Right now, our beloved team is going through some adolescent period. It’s confused. It’s struggling. But there are brilliance hidden somewhere here. There’s talent. They just need inspiration and enthusiasm. I think true fans will supply that rather than repeating what’s already been said and nagging them to death.
I see a team that can dominate on the both ends of the floor. I see a team that can blow out the elite teams in the league. I see a team that can win close, tough games. Sadly, that team doesn’t show up night after night. But I won’t give up on this team until Ernie, Kenny, and Charles send this team on a fishing trip. I just have this feeling that we won’t see those ugly photos. I am a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers, and I will still root for this team.
36% can be fixed. 20 turnovers can be fixed. (I hope) 16% from three can be fixed.
If the team plays well and loses, it is time to prepare for an early exit. The Lakers are not playing well and that can be fixed.
No idea if it will, but it can.
Nice post, I completely agree. The real season starts in April anyways, and something tells me the Lakers will not want to get kicked out of the playoffs.
The most confusing part is which team will show up. The Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome is maddening for a team nearing the end of the season.
I wish I could be a fly on the wall in the locker room, after the game, so I could tell where the teams head is at. Is the season just too boring for this talented group to focus night in and night out, or has it let last years success infest the infrastructure like termites.
Well back to the bottle.
meanwhile, every other higher ranked team in every other game won tonight. this is what you’d expect with twenty(20!) games left in the season.
How can a team that played their best basketball without their star player be playing their worst now? If they don’t fix things Dallas is gonna get the number 1 seed in the West. I think their is something going on with this group as a whole inside the locker room that we don’t know about. I also think that the players are fatigued. Due to the fact that we don’t have a bench, Gasoft, Kobe, Lamar and you add Fisher’s age and they have played a lot of basket the past two years.
Yes… with 75% of the season gone it is clear what team the Lakers are… the best team in the western conference
This was a very disappointing loss–and it was not fun to watch. The team almost looked like it was the first week of the season, with everyone out of synch–but it wasn’t.
I hope I don’t see another game like this either during the remainder of the season–or the playoffs.
Laugh if you want, but I think the Lakers are poised to smack Orlando down this weekend.
The STD says
On the bright side, looking at the boxscore, Farmar had a good game and logged more minutes than Fisher. Let’s hope for more good games from Jordan where he logs more minutes than Fish.
Also Kobe and Drew got to the foul line.
And Kobe busted out the off the backboard pass to himself we saw against Houston, maybe to impress MJ or something.
There are no other bright sides.
11 and 12 the last 23 games on the road. Hardly championship numbers. How has Shannon turned into a D leager so fast? Worse is Pau who continues to call his team out in the media and then comes back to play like a girl> He look scared of his own shadow out there. This team is getting worse while the other top team are peaking. Lose Sunday and find yourself 3 ahead of Dallas who has more home games and 10 in a row. Nice job on improvong the team before the trading deadline Mitch. This team is not near the team that finished the season last year.
Aaron, I agree with your statement 100%… If the Lakers play bad and lose that is just fine with me, it should be expected, right?
“What does not kill me makes me stronger. – Friedrich Nietzsche
I’m not one to overtly express disgust with any one member of the team. Let us remember that the Lakers have bad losses towards the end of the year almost every year. 2 years ago up 1 game in the West and the ability to put it away we lost back to back to Memphis and Washington (maybe it was Charlotte). Then we had to beat NO just to win the West on the last game of the year. Last year came the bad loss to Philly on the Iguodala 3. And now back to back losses against teams struggling for playoff positions. It’s not so much the losses as it is the trends. Bad turnovers, inefficient offense, missed free throws, etc…Hopefully its just a rut and they’ll work the kinks out. I”m for believing in teams peaking too early and I’m glad this team clearly hasn’t yet, but the trends are troubling. Furthermore, the last 2 nights the pick and roll defense has been atrocious. Smart teams will utilize this as a blueprint to beat the Lakers in the playoffs, but I’m still convinced that it’s a damn good team going in a rut.
Good thing the Bobcats are in the East and have no chance in hell to make it to the Finals (would love to see them upset the Cavs, though).
What we say, analyze, and criticize do not affect how the Lakers play, so, in short, I’m just going along with the flow. If they suddenly turn it on in the playoffs, great. If they continue to play as they have been and get eliminated, well, some of us were realistic enough to at least consider that conclusion.
A bad loss is a bad loss. Stop using the “worst game of the season” excuse. How many times have we used that already? And this whole “it doesn’t matter until X month, anyways” excuse is equally hilarious. Stop acting like the Lakers aren’t trying simply because it is March, a whopping three weeks away from April. If you don’t think the Lakers are trying to establish home court for the Finals, you are mistaken. Not that they necessarily depend on it, as we saw last season, but it’s foolish to pretend that they don’t care about it.
#15, I disagree. Did they win the championship that year? No. Last year, the Lakers were lauded by “analysts” and us for making that late season jump in intensity. Did we win last year? Yes.
Perhaps the team is making a point to Kobe. We play real hard and like a team without you, We play like the Clippers these days with you.
I smell another Phil book in the making!
I just thought of something!!
Maybe, just maybe, the Lakers lost on purpose to allow the Bobcats to maintain the 8th seed? Maybe? No? heh
Booboo I just has a thought. The NBA is sick of the Lakers. They want to see Carmelo or Dirk aganist James.
They want to spread the wealth. Also maybe the Lakers aren’t that good as the early record with 70% home games.
Maybe the Gasol trade is turning into a joke on us.
Maybe the highest paid Coach in American sports history isen;t all the media thinks he is.
Instead of trying speculate with “maybe’s” and “perhaps'” and having comments devolve into some sort of attempt at Miss Cleo, why don’t we just look at what is happening on the court, shall we? No fan is in the players’ minds and none of us are privy to the conversations or messages sent behind closed doors in the locker room. So unless you have something to add besides knocking a ten time champion while simultaneously pining for a coach that has flamed out in two stops, never won anything, and has lost teams within 3-4 years at each stop, please just leave the speculation to the media hacks that throw gossip out and call it “reporting”.
I was kidding. Trying to be silly. I know things will be fine. The team was tired tonight. Phil won”t be back though. Bryan will coach this team next year. One thing about blogging is no one knows who the other person is. I could be Jimmy Buss’s best friend or smoke cigar daily with Bryon”s manager. That;s what makes this medium so interesting.
Its called entertainment Darius don’t take it so serious. Chill.
That’s fine, except for the fact that you’re on this site all of the time and either extremely negative or consistently commenting about how Phil isn’t worth his salary. So, it’d be tough for me to know that you’re kidding when the comments that I referenced fall in line with almost everything else you post. I’m not trying pick on you, but you’ll just have to understand that as the guy that runs the site I tire of hearing the same comments from fans that, serious or not, don’t seem to be rooted in reality.
Joel B. says
The lakers have real problems this year. Last year it was are they tough enough and that don’t played hard against bad teams that was it. This year they have on court problems. First they haven’t found a rhythm and they’ve been inconsistent in every aspect of the game. Second they don’t have an identity. Is this team a defensive team? Well the numbers say so, but I don’t believe any fan can say this team takes pride in their defense and gives the energy and effort on the defensive end every game like the spurs, celtics and pistons of the past did. This is clearly not th potent offense of the past two seasons. Their execution has been awful most games. And they can no longer flip that switch and just dominate offensively. Their turnovers have been off their turnovers have been off the charts in recent months. I’m not going to call out players individually except for Pau because he is the only one crying to the media after the game and doesn’t show up when the lakers need him to.
It’s not the time to panic but it’s time to do some soul searching. This team has not played a championship brand of basketball this season. Just off the top of my head this team has been blown out eight times. They haven’t played well against the top teams in the league. They aren’t a confident road team. Kobe misses a few last second shots they could be in the second seed. This team is undisciplined and uncertain about what they want to accomplish night in and night out. The lakers won’t even win 60 games this if they keep this up. no it’s not the playoffs but habits don’t disappear as soon as playoff come as we saw in the second round last season.
Was on my way to Big Bear for a little R & R with my girlfriend so glad I didn’t watch the game.
The Lakers have had stretches like this before these past two seasons and made it to the Finals both times. So no need to panic but the mediocre record against the NBA’s top teams is not encouraging.
If Gasol can handle the defense collapsing on him and constantly swatting, prodding and hacking at him without coughing it up and getting the shot to go down the Lakers will be able to beat anyone. If not, the Lakers come back down to earth.
In any case, if the Lakers play smart and up to their potential they should have as good as chance as anyone of winning it all.
whatever they may say, a combination of what’s really in their heads and others out their hands like injuries may keep them out of the best record year in and out. they are not simply after that record by the looks of their play on court (which makes me question them at times like this).
after seeing the roller coaster of last year’s playoffs, i expect this team to gather themselves when needed. after seeing much of their regular seasons, i also expect this team to slack off and make themselves look unbelievably subpar which makes our heads spin. i once held that there are no excuses for a championship team to be so inconsistent. either you win or get beat with your hand hanging on their necks. not so true with our team. their team dna is one of a kind indeed. also do note that the league is ultra-competitive and everyone wants purple and gold blood. this takes a toll mentally and physically on our lads.
but then, they will gather themselves for a strong push. it’s just a matter of when and for them, as long as we ain’t out of contention, it could be anytime soon.
it’s as if the script is so painfully being written in front of us. it’s not about DAL, CLE or CHA. the chip passes through this team, this unique team. keep up the faith. i’ll save my trade, sign or whatever issues this offseason. GO LAKERS!
Joel B. says
I apologize for my typos in my previous post I’m typing from my phone at work.
But post #24. You said if the lakers play smart and up to their potential they should have as good of shot as anyone else. No they should have a much better shot. The lakers are more experienced and talented than every other team in the league. But the reality is this team does not play smart ball for two halfs a game. The are rarely on the same page offensively and defensively. Yes they have underperformed. But is that a good thing or bad thing 60 games into the season?
Maybe I am wrong, but I remember very early in the year that FB&G predicted like around 58 wins this year, that number included the Lakers having to acclimate Artest into the Triangle offense, meaning more losses than last year. I agree though that this team worries me just a little now about being able to make it all of the way through to the Finals, but let’s just see what happens and enjoy every single game we see of our Lakers until they stop playing them, whenever that is.
awesome, awesome post. i appreciate the way things are put into perspective. after losses, especially ones like these, fickle laker fans come with a “sky is falling” mentality that the team may never come back from. the title still runs through LA. there would be days like this, only to show that better days are coming. keep your heads up laker fans. the best has yet to come!
Great post. Kurt picked the right guy to take over this post.
I am one of the optimistic people on this site. So I have nothing more to add abou the lakers last two games.
Lakers have a lot to work on and are still the best in the west. I look at that as a good thing. Glass half full type of thing.
Can’t wait for the Orlando game.
Gr8 Scott says
Darius – thanks for politely putting Ken in his place. Maybe he and Aaron should form their own site, entitled “Lakers on the Ledge”
Great summary. I told my oldest son and my newborn that this game was going to be tough because of the circumstances and just due to the fact that teams can’t get up for all 82 games. We fans might like to think our teams should have the killer instinct and be on the “same page” each night out, but it just doesn’t work that way. A win on Sunday would cure a lot of ills.
Throw last night’s game away and let’s go back to the scene of last season’s title – a win in Orlando! Go Lakers!!
I would be willing to bet that if you checked, the winning % of teams playing a back-to-back on the road after an overtime game is about .200 or so. Another factor to keep in mind is that the Bobcats were just sold to the Jordan consortium and are supposedly hemmorhaging money, and therefore really, really, really want one of those last playoff spots in the east. Further, with Jordan in the saddle that means Brown is staying, and these guys need to impress both of them. And of course the Lakers’ yearly visit is a pretty big deal in all the eastern conference towns.
Add it all up, and this was one of the season’s most predictable losses. What makes this a bad trip is the loss in Miami. That said, the team’s basic problems:
lack of offensive flow
Kobe’s ‘free safety defense’
lack of reliable spot-up shooter
were all on display.
There will be plenty of time to talk about this later, but the playoff road as it is taking shape will be a long, hard one:
Round 1: Either Portland or San Antonio
Round 2: Utah, Dallas or Denver
WCF: Utah, Dallas or Denver
Finals: The Chosen One & The Big Sidekick or D12 & Company
If the Lakers actually win it again, it will be a run on par with any the team has made.
28, I wouldn’t group Aaron in with the downers. He’s never said the Lakers have no shot at the title.
Go back and check the FB&G posts last year around late March. 2 losses in a row to Atlanta and Charlotte. Check the comments. We’ve been here before.
Actually speaking of Gasol and Phil and closed locker rooms: we’ve got more barbs via media!
Anyone who’s followed this team for long knows we air our dirty laundry and it’s not a big deal, but that won’t stop other teams fans from taking inordinate delight when our team does it.
And I’m glad we’re at least aware of the never ending war between downer fans and the relentless optimists (who include the guys who run this site, which is probably a good thing)
I just try to remain realistic, but maybe everyone thinks they’re being realistic. Still, I think there’s positives and negatives in every game and most every situation that you can either choose one side to focus on (as I did in post 12) or you can take the good with the bad and ultimately end up with a wishy-washy sentiment that’s not going to end up in you arguing this or advocating that as is a requirement in Internet ‘discussion.’
I always look to the most divisive player on the team (to fans) for this dichotomy in action: Derek Fisher. You can reasonably believe he’s the Achilles heel of this team who is old, can’t shoot, makes questionable decisions, and is a defensive sieve. Or you can reasonably believe that he is a leader, a hustler on defense, and someone who knows the offense inside-out and provides the necessary spacing to make it work.
One line of thought leads us to believe that we’re better off starting Sasha Vujacic, the other makes us think that there wouldn’t be a trade out there that could improve the team at that position and we should stand pat with Fish for as long as he wants to, because we’ve won four chips with him and we can win four more.
-Or- you can go the middle path (very Buddhist like, how appropriate for a Phil Jackson coached team) and think both sides make a good point, but unfortunately that often leaves you as someone without a very stirring opinion and rather contentless posts. Posts about as contentless as the one I’m writing, which identify a situation (downers vs optimists) but don’t take a “side” or offer anything useful.
Right now, our beloved team is going through some adolescent period. It’s confused. It’s struggling.
I think optimism is fine, but given the age of the team, the fact that they have been together for a long time except for Artest, and the experience of the coach, this kind of stuff just doesn’t work with me.
The Lakers are a very good, veteran team with specific, tangible weaknesses, and as I outlined in #28, last night was the type of game that almost all NBA teams lose. And, people need to realize that last night’s game, ultimately, doesn’t matter very much. The only argument one can make that it did matter is that the Lakers should be busting hump to catch Cleveland, but given Cleveland’s schedule the rest of the way, the fact that LeBron James is playing at an historic level, and the fact that the entire future of that franchise is riding on the next 10 weeks, that was highly unlikley even before these two losses.
Darius noted after the Miami game that the team had only 15 ASTs out of 45 FGs. Again, I think one reason for the issues on O is that the team misses Luke Walton’s 8-12 minutes of good passing. Walton is not very good at anything EXCEPT passing, but he is the best passer on the team, and his absence has had an effect.
I’ve been thinking about the optimist/pessimist thing (again), and I know that I fall into the Pessimisterian sect, as a matter of habit; but then I *do tend to think of myself as a Realist.
I read something like “the title still runs through LA” and I think, “Just how, exactly, does that work?” Isn’t every year a new challenge? Even with all of Phil’s back-to-back titles, even when he had the incomparable MJ, hasn’t every one been a struggle? I don’t think anything is a given, and all the Pessimisterians here are saying is, “there are some things going on here which might give one pause for concern.”
so call us worrywarts and leave us to stew in our own juices.
Warren Wee Lim says
Darius, awesome post. I say this with all the praise on how the post was laid out, titled, captioned, and everything. I disagree on a few things, but I love the journalism side of it.
Aside from being FB&G’s bitch err lucky charm, let me share a piece of WWL’s gray matter on this stuff. But just to not sidetrack the topic later on, I urge everyone to please stop posting for me LOL. I feel abused and the mantra won’t work if you do it ever so often. Its like sending a thousand coins into the wishing well. PS the only one allowed to shoutout for me is chris 😀
Onto the stuff…
The Lakers are a good team. The best team hands down, even though the record shows CLE. To say the sky is falling would be dumb and outright stupid. To say “we would peak in April” would be overconfident and cocky and wrong.
If you look at the Lakers, again on paper, the team is filled with the league’s most enviable group of guys:
Kobe Bryant is the best basketball player on the planet not named Pluto (pun intended)…
Pau Gasol will go down in history as one of the greatest international big men in the history of the game.
Ron Artest will forever be linked to the Palace brawl, but lest forget not that he was once DPoY, still is a very very very good defensive player.
Lamar Odom will forever be the best almost-starter-that-is-tallest-and-has-the-best-handles. Oh and he is married to a Kardashian.
Derek Fisher is Mr. 0.4 and Mr. daggerthreeballmaker. Andrew Bynum has potential that would top the Sears (dunno which peak is the highest nowadays).
In short, no other 6-man rotation in the whole damn league that would beat out the LA Lakers. Again, on paper.
“Thats why games have to be played out.” says a wise man. Because just because a team is 5-54 doesn’t mean they can’t beat a championship-caliber Boston team (do you guys still think so?)… or just because a team is in so much trouble that it can’t stand up and play like grown men any given night, esp at home. Remember, we are the Lakers. Like another less-wise man said, “we have bullseyes on our butts” and games against us are always circled in red in team calendars (or better yet, schmaps).
Am I heading to the longest comment ever point yet?
The part I don’t agree on, is when we ever so often say “we’ll be fine on April”. I believe that represents everything wrong with us. I think that is the root cause of why “mama said there’d be games like this” and why the team isn’t working its butt out every damn night. Sure we all lose to 5-54 teams every once in awhile, and sure we can’t play like 65-win teams every night, but I hate to repeat the words “we’ll be fine or we’ll peak in April” as words of reassurance.
Of course, I have my own version of “fix-the-Lakers” right under my sleeve. I don’t go out and complain without having a backup plan of my own… but that will belong to another space in time… another post perhaps after we see what we’re made off after Denver kicks our butts in May.
Days like this, I sure do hope I’m wrong. ^^
xoxo Warren Wee Lim
Man am I glad I decided to go to South Beach instead of watching this game. From all the comments I can tell the game went just about how everyone probably expected it to go. Bobcats always play us tough and it was going to be extra tough on a back to back where we had to go into overtime the night before.
We probably won’t catch Cleveland for the #1 seed throughout, and even if Denver or Dallas catches us for the #1 spot in the West I am more than confident that the Lakers can win at Dallas or at Denver in a 7-game series.
yeahbut, the danger is that, if the Ls fall to second or third, they might have to win at Dallas AND Denver.
The OT loss to Miami set the stage for this loss. No doubt about that. Everyone’s shot was off last night (except Farmar and LO, I guess).
But I will engage in just a little speculation about states of mind. For the first time that I have ever noticed, it looks to me like Kobe has been a little bored this season. He is usually the obsessive engine driving the team. At times he looks almost disinterested, IMO.
I also think Pau is tired. It was brought up at the begining of the season, how he hasn’t had a break for a couple of years. That may be catching up with him as he is missing shots he usually makes, losing the handle, etc. I think some of that may be mental, even more than physical weariness.
I think in the playoffs we will see a different more focused Laker team. Ron, LO and Farmar seem ready. Bynum is who he is. I actually think Fisher is coming around and will be alright for one more run. It is Kobe and Pau who will need to carry this team and I think come playoff time, they will step up and regain the focus and intensity we expect.
Denver may have lost KMart for the year and they don’t know what’s wrong with Ty Lawson after he got injured in the game against us, but he can’t lift his arm
I think that makes the Mavs the major threat in the West, although the Spurs have stepped it up lately…
It’s an interesting process, sifting through the comments on this site.
I am like most of the fans on this site. I want the Lakers to win, and when they don’t, it hurts, no matter how rationally I might be able to dismiss the hurt as silly or ridiculous.
One of the greatest values of this site has always been its ability to help me maintain perspective, especially right after losses, when I want to trade everybody, rip the whole team, criticize Phil, or pronounce them dead on playoff arrival.
So I’m going to let these last two games go, and put the following points to the readers and posters:
1. This team, for whatever reasons, has slipped significantly on the offensive end, and this is befuddling because offense is the fun end of the floor, it’s the end where Phil has stamped his identity (the triangle), and it’s the one where the talent on this roster is most disposed to showing up.
2. I ask for someone to argue what’s going to change between now and the round of the playoffs either against Denver or Cleveland that reveals some systematic advantage that’s going to overcome our systematic disadvanatages heading into the championship rounds…..of course we will advance the first two rounds….but afer that?
3. Yes I recognize most teams would love to be in our shoes….but regardless of that fact, how do we overcome the fact that we have the worst 3 man combo of point guards in the league? At some point, at leats one of these players are on the floor for us, and that’s a major problem. Stu has alluded to the big lineup, and I see that as a playoff inevitability, but regardless of that, at some point , either Fisher, Farmar, or Shanwow are going to have to sustain some level of play.
The overdribbling, injuries, integration of Ron Ron, lack of perimeter shooting, are all things I understand, but the thing that bothers me the most is that the Lakers rarely function as a team offensively. Rare is the possession where ball and player movement involving 4 or 5 guys generates a “system” basket and not points derived because of an individual’s talent. On a single possession basis, it’s just too easy to stop a one man gang, and that lack of offensive cohesion and unity is the thing that concerns me the most moving forward.
It’s times like this that make me wish the season were 60 games long.
Firstly, great post Darius. One of many great posts since you’ve taken over. Your knowledge of the X’s and O’s is astounding and your ability to keep things in perspective while focusing on the bigger picture is Phil Jacksonian.
Now to address the whole pessimists vs. optimists view that TheSTD brings up i would hope that both sides ultimately view things (mostly) the same way when looking at the possibilities for this season. I think that any reasonable fan would say that the lakers are amongst a small group of teams that are capable of winning the NBA championship this season. Anybody who disagrees with this is either ill-informed or is being unreasonable. It seems that many of the “pessimists” tend to think that with our talent and personnel we should win every game and cruise to an NBA title; almost like a title is owed to us as fans. Unfortunately this is not the way it works, especially when a target is on your back for an 82-game season. At any sign of trouble, these “pessimists” view the season as a failure and say that there is no way we can possibly win the championship. This is not a realistic viewpoint.
I guess my view largely corresponds with the view posted here and i dont see it as being “relentlessly optimistic.” There are areas of great concern that must be corrected if we are to reach our goal of an NBA championship. We may or may not make the adjustments and we may or may not win the championship. Just know that we are one of a few teams that has the pieces necessary to potentially make this run. It is also reasonable to say that with our unique size and skill that no team is looking forward to trying to beat us 4 times in 7 games.
I have been watching the Lakers for 50 years and this was the worst game I remember. I was
trying to understand how they could all look so bad,
when I remembered they flew from LA to Miami for
the previous game. As I watched turnover after
turnover, it seemed that their reflexes were a bit
slower than the Bobcats. This often occurs with
jet lag which may not yet have kicked in during the
Miami game. Anyway, I have found some comfort
with this explanation. If they are as bad on
Sunday, I’ll have to try tranquilizers just to watch.
Winning back-to-back championship is not easy, we all knew that. The important i think is next road trip, we will find out how good this Lakers team are. Tomorrow, if Lakers lost to Orlando, i won’t be dissapointed.
Joel B. says
I understand everyones view on the pessimistic/optimistic perspectives. But no one should be to the extreme on either side. This sight is normally more on the extreme optimism, which is okay because hey Darius you have a sight to run and the sight would be terrible if after ever loss you’re calling for Phil’s firing, the benching of everybody and trading players. But at the same time you can not get made because everyone doesn’t have the phil jackson zen that everything is going to be okay. On the other hand, no one should say this team doesn’t won’t win a championship because none of us are clairvoyant.
But I do believe this team can and will get it together and eventually win a championship. But I find nothing wrong with calling this team out. The excuses being made for the lakers are just as sickening as the extreme pessimistic opinions. Honestly, on this site and everywhere else I’ve read its just october this game doesn’t matter, its just november, december, games in january don’t matter, now the excuse is that its just march. I understand the game was a back to back. But thats just making more excuses. This team has not stepped up to most challenges they’ve had this season plain and simple. They don’t have a clear identity. What are they? Last year they were a dominant rebounding team that will pound the ball inside, knock down open shots and then there was kobe who can get his whenever however. This year they’ve been inconsistent at shooting the three and dominating inside. Kobe hasn’t been able to dominate games due to injury. They’ve been out rebounded by good teams pretty often and no longer dominate the glass. They are top in defensive efficiency but have consistently given up 100+ points to good teams. My point is the lakers really need to find that continuity, consistency and identity before the playoffs. They can’t wait until the playoffs and say its playoff time and play up to their potential without ever establishing a rhythm. This is not the dynasty team with Kobe and Shaq. We knew what we were going to get from kobe, shaq and the lakers come playoff. Can we say the same for this laker team. Is Gasol going to start playing like an all star again. Will they stop turning the ball over? They definitely can. But they have to. This team isn’t head and shoulders above everyone else like they were last year. They will not have the luxury to just show up and win in the playoffs this year. They are going to have to play well to win this season.
They are having on-court chemistry issues. I wonder about off court.
You should read more of my comments ala Zephid. FIrst you would smile mroe during the day and 2nd you would learn a little (a very little) about basketball. My opinion of this team has changed very little from the start of the season. From game to game my thoughts change zero percent. I still think they are the best team in the NBA. I still think Kobe is the 2nd best player on the planet. I still think Phil is the best coach in the world. I still think Gasol is around the 4th best PF in the game. I think Artest is the 2nd best defensive SF behind Lebron James. I still think Andrew Bynum is the 2nd best Center after Dwight Howard. And I still think they will win a championship. Oh yeah… and I still think they are starting the 50th best PG in the NBA. Ohhhhhh… thats what it is. Because I was the first one to be honest about the Derek Fisher factor last year I am a Laker hater? I am just a Fisher hater.
This team only has one weakness. Well… they have a couple but all would be solved by bringing in an athletic PG who could shoot. We miss the athletic presence in our starting lineup sans Ariza and of course we need another shooter to go along with Artest. As much as you all complain about defense the Lakers are the best defensive team in the NBA. We need to spread the floor.
The relentless optimistic vs. the downers discussion here made me think of a story my dad once told me when I was trying to find my way to becoming an adult.
There was a man who walked into his house one day and smelled dog pooh. For two days straight he continued to smell dog pooh when he arrived home from work. He checked the livingroom, garage, bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen, but couldnt figure out where it was coming from. On the third day he finally looked on the bottom of his shoe and the problem was solved.
So now your thinking(like I was), what is the moral of this. The point being that sometimes you overlook the obvious, and search for the answer in unrealistics places. The man turned an easy solution into a three day investigation, all because he couldnt believe the obviuos.
The relentless optimistics smell the pooh day in and day out but continue to search someplace other than the most realistic . The downers just tend to check under their shoe a little earlier than most.
I am pained to say it, but I have extended my streak on the ESPN Streak for the Cash contest two more wins by betting against the Lakers the last two games. I just knew it.
Of course, I will be betting for them next game. Not gonna lose that one.
My 2 cents:
Pau and Kobe are both tired because of all the games they’ve played the last two calender years. A championship season by its very nature entails a lot of games, and Pau additionally played this past Summer as well, and Kobe the previous Summer (I think).
Overall, the Lakers got older and slower vs last year, the result of inevitable aging plus the substitution of Ariza by Artest. (The special and extreme case of Fisher has been covered here extensively – no, make that beaten to death.)
And, I wonder if the players have started tuning PJ out – this can happen, through no particular fault of the coach or players. After a while, the message starts to get old. And, the absense of Tex cannot be minimized.
New post up. A few insights on the Magic from Orlando Pinstriped Post.
46, Claiming the Lakers have no shot at the title is not realism; it is mental weakness. Anyone who makes such a claim is simply protecting themselves from the possibility that the Lakers will not win the championship. Similarly, anyone who thinks that the Lakers will waltz to a title is ignoring the possibility that the Lakers will lose the championship, another sign of mental weakness. And all that we preach at this site is to not allow mental weakness to sway your judgement.
Darius has never, not even once, claimed that the Lakers will win the NBA championship this season. He, like many others, believe that the Lakers have a very strong chance to win, much stronger than others, and as of now, are one of maybe 5-6 teams that have a legitimate shot to win it all. He has never said that the team doesn’t have issues; almost every post he writes contains some message that one game is just one game. No matter how well the Lakers play, or how poorly the Lakers play, it has always been placed in perspective.
All viewpoints are constrained by their perspective. In this way, the only difference between pessimists and optimists is that optimists take some sort of joy from every game the Lakers play, whereas pessimists find some sort of fault in every game the Lakers play; realist or fantasist do not matter. My only question would be: would you rather try to find the joys in each game, or find the faults?
DirtySanchez, I dont understand how that analogy applies. I see the same problems that everybody else sees and I know that they need to be corrected in order to reach our goal. the difference is that the pessimists view that “pooh” as being the end of the road and a death-blow to our championship prospects, whereas who you call the “relentless optimists” tend to put that “pooh” into proper perspective and understand that it needs to be addressed in order for us to reach our ultimate goal. i understand that this is a blog full of passionate laker fans, i am one of them, and many come here to vent about our play/players when it doesnt measure up to its potential. personally, i don’t typically like to do this because, although i see the shortcomings of our players, i also see the numerous strengths that they have and ways that they can contribute to our pursuit of another championship. for example, gasol has been underachieving over the last couple of games and his lack of physicality at times is frustrating, but he is extremely skilled, can score in a variety of ways, and is a great passing big. that is who he is and i wouldnt want anybody else for our team. i guess what it really comes down to is that different people have different ways of being a fan and that’s ok. just don’t fool yourself into thinking that the “optimistic” people dont see the same problems you see.
Joel B. says
You need to reread my post.
Did I once the lakers have no shot at the title? Did I say Darius said the Lakers will win the title and he’s a 100% sure. No not even the least bit. I said this site would be terrible if Darius and Kurt were the type panic like some fans every time the lakers lose.
I’m just as much as a Laker fan as anyone on here or anywhere. I’ve praised this sight so much. I praise the lakers when they deserve it. But what I said was that the lakers have underperformed and been inconsistent. Since Christmas the lakers are 21-12. That’s not that bad, but its not great.
What I said in my post was that Lakers haven’t found a rhythm and haven’t found their identity. And I said the lakers need to do so before the playoffs. The Lakers can’t just wait until the playoffs and say okay were not going to turn the ball over, we are going to execute the triangle and play great defense. It has to start now. The Lakers have to find that continuity or they will have a hard time making it through the playoffs. The lakers have always played their best best ball going into the playoffs. But bad habits and trends will not just cease because it the playoffs, as we saw last year versus the rockets and game 4 versus the Nuggets. But the Lakers were able to overcome that. This year they are going to have to play that much better, because teams are that much better. They cannot just rely on talent as they did versus the rockets. They have to play a brand of basketball that we are accustom to seeing on a nightly basis. The lakers were much more consistent on what they wanted to accomplish night in and night out last season. The lakers knew they were going execute their offense, wear teams down and outscore them. This year? What is their identity?Their offense is ways away from what it used to be, while their defense has improved, their defense hasn’t been consistent. The Lakers don’t take pride in their defense like they did in their offense last year. In my last post I said I believe the lakers will figure it out, but they should do so before the playoffs because this team is not like the Shaq/Kobe lakers to where they can just wait until the playoffs and turn it on. That team could do so because we absolutely knew that we were going to see 30 points and 13 rebounds from shaq. We knew we were going to get 25-30 points from Kobe and that we were going to have a chance. Based on how they played thusfar, we don’t know what we are going to get offensively or defensively from anybody on any given night save for Kobe, but that does include Pau.
As for would I rather find the joys or the faults. I rather find the joys
I think you make many valid points about the problems surrounding the lakers and are very well-educated in your criticisms. i think where the disagreement lies is in your classification of the viewpoint of this site erring on the side of “extreme optimism.” Saying that the Lakers are one of a handful of teams capable of winning the championship this year is not extremely optimistic, it is just realistic.
Re: 54. EJK
The realism for the pessimist and the optimist are the same. Both are saying that there is problem, its just how they go about solving the problem.
The optimist tends to know there is a problem, but blocks it out searching for an alternative remedy other than what is obviously the solution to fix the problem.
The pessimist on the other hand sees the problem for what it is and addresses the situation at that moment. Not wasting time on trying to figure out an alternative solution.
When a fan says LA sucks, they cant win a championship, its about whats happening now. Its not about whats happening tommorrow or whats going to happen ten or twenty days later. Their thought process is in the present and doesnt see change because a pattern has been established.
Its no less real than fans saying lets see what happens in the future, cause all they are doing is hoping that a change will occur. But what if that change doesnt happen, they would still have to find a solution to the problem. Its not like it will go away, and never be seen again.
Bottom line is, at the end of the day they both still have “pooh” on their shoe at the beginning. Its just about when are you going to get rid of it, now or later.
DirtySanchez, I feel like we are going around in circles here. I’m not sure how I’ve provided some sort of round-about, alternative, unnecessary way of solving the problems that face our lakers. in fact, I’m sure that I haven’t. I’m not in some kind of denial about the issues that need addressing and I haven’t advocated that these issues can just be solved later. My position has been that we are one of a few teams capable of winning the title this year but in order to attain this goal we must make the necessary adjustments. Not sure how that qualifies as blocking out the problems and searching for an alternative remedy?
P. Ami says
I wonder when PJ is going to start meowing at Pau.
When will these necessary adjustments be made, tommorrow, two days from now, or at the end of the season when the playoffs start. The necessary adjustments havent been made all season, too predict that all of a sudden the light will come on in the future is very risky. The same risk someone takes when they comment that LA will not win it all this year.
I consider myself neither a pessimist or an optimist, because I cant predict the future. The comments made by some optimist makes it seem that they are downing the pessimist for an answer that is unknown to all until the season ends. Nobody has the right or wrong answer until the season is over with.
P.S. If Pau continues to catch passes and rebounds in the lane like he is waiting on his finger nail polish to dry. I will throw up on my tv tommorrow. Im out.
Darius. Sometimes one can be to much a fan. At 9 my dad and I became season ticket holders. I yelled for Baylor, West and of course a relative named LaRusso. I was thrilled during the Magic, Karem days and went on to play both high school and collage ball. The Lakers have been a passion and love for over 40 years.
Is my view to harsh? Yes. Does it fall into the negative? Yes. But we fans tend to remember the great players and teams not the few lean years we have had.
This is the best organiztion in basketball. If you lived in New York or Philly my posts would be light. I expect 100% from players so Bynam looping down court or Odom disapearing or Fish taking 13 shots when he can’t shoot all bothers me.
I feel my past blasts aganist Smush, KBrown Radmonovic etc on the radio helped to get them traded. Delusion on my part? No doubt but then I am the poster boy for fanactic in the word fan. I do love my Lakers and haven’t missed a game in many years.
If you feel my posts are too negative and harmful to this site just let me know and I will stop posting. I do know the game and hope that my thoughts can be used as postive criticism to help the team and its fans to get to the end goal.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand where the negativity comes from; I’m a fan too and I get upset during bad stretches of play and I want us to win every night out. However, those results aren’t realistic and I’ve adjusted my expectations accordingly. I try to put forward a balanced view on this site because things are never quite as bad as they seem nor are they as great either. I try not to get too high or too low as a fan unless the moments truly require that – like winning the championship.
As for the optimist/pessimist views, I just think we should be more grounded as fans. There are things that aren’t that great with this team right now, but there are plenty of things to feel good about every night and against any opponent. When comments or when fans focus on the negative, I understand the perspective I just never understand why that is all that is expressed. And when winning – especially at the rate that this team wins at – starts to get taken for granted that does bother me. The Smush/Kwame years are not too far removed from my memory nor are the years following Magic but before Shaq/Kobe where guys like Teagle and Threatt were the players that donned Lakers jerseys trying to keep this franchise competitive. So, I appreciate our current players that make up our team; I appreciate our coach. The lean years are over and I think fans should recognize that more and enjoy what we have as fans instead of putting so much energy into pointing out what the players aren’t doing right (and also being pretty mean spirited about it) and acting like those things they’re not doing right are the norm because they’re not. This team has the record it has for a reason and it’s not because they’re as bad as it is portrayed (on a lot of sites, not just this one) when the Lakers are playing a game that night.
I agree. Watching my 5-year old doing his impression of me yelling at the Lakers is both funny and sad.
I would no doubt be in a streight jacket if I grew up a Clipper fan.
Dallas wins again/ Down to 3 1/2 closest since November.
Parker breaks hand.
Joel B, thanks for finally posting what I’ve been thinking for a very long time now. If you’re a person on this site, you’re most likely a die-hard Lakers fan. And as die-hard fan, nobody wants to constantly read the “extreme” negative comments. “This is the worst team ever!” This team has ABSOLUTELY no shot at winning a title!” “So and so is the worst player ever!” Etc, etc. I can see how comments like these could get frustrating and upsetting to fans.
However, what I find just as annoying are the comments made by fans that take on the “ho hum, we played like crap and lost another game, no big deal” attitude. I absolutely don’t understand that! How can someone not be concerned with the way they’ve played for much of the season and especially with the way they’re playing now?! You’d have to be completely oblivious to not see that there are serious issues with this team that need to be corrected.
So yes, while a bad loss definitely doesn’t mean the sky is falling, it also doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is fine and dandy. I think their play of late completely warrants criticism and concern. The great thing about this site is that the majority of the fans are quick to praise the team when it’s deserved, but will also call them out when it’s warranted. There’s usually a good balance. The thing about pessimistic comments is that many of us die-hard fans are competitive in nature and often get very emotionally invested in our team. And sometimes, that may translate into certain “negative” comments when the team loses or doesn’t play well.
But criticism, concerns, or frustration on the part of fans shouldn’t be misconstrued as “abandoning ship” or “giving up hope” because I certainly haven’t! I may scream the worst profanities at my TV during a game, and immediately after a loss, I may tell myself “I hate this team” because my emotions are running high at that point, but guess what? My butt will be sitting right there in front of the TV the very next game rooting them on! And I think most fans on this site would be doing the same. Always rooting them on, not giving up on them, and believing that the Lakers will win the championship. We may have our concerns, but we believe that the team’s issues can be corrected, and will ultimately lead to another title.
So if someone wants to be an extreme pessimist or extreme optimist, that is completely their right. If I read a post from someone that is full of the typical excuses and cliches that are thrown around after many of our losses, and if the comment comes across as having a “there’s nothing ever to worry about” attitude, I don’t criticize the person making the comment. It’s completely his or her right to feel that way. But I read so many posts jumping all over anyone who has any critical comments of the team, and I don’t think that’s right either.
I love how the majority of the fans on this site are very knowledgable when it comes to the game. I love the insight provided by Darius and many other fans. I love how people can have differing opinions and discuss them rationally. And I especially love how most of us on here are very respectable towards one another and each person’s posts. So when it comes to pessimism vs optimism, I definitely think there should be a balance of both. And as long as there isn’t an abundance of posts that border on the “extreme” side of either, then I think we should all continue to be respectful of each other’s comments and not jump on anyone’s case over these type of posts.
In my opinion, scheduling has been the Lakers achilles heal. New player Ron Artest did not know the meaning of donning the Purple and Gold until midway through the season. Players have difficulty understanding the level of hatred that exists for the Los Angeles Lakers in opposing arenas. And it takes games on the road for new players to reach peak understanding of the malevolence that exists for the Los Angeles area and play for pure pride for the city. The remaining Lakers had gotten soft and fat (figuratively speaking) from sleeping so many nights in their own bed.
Had scheduling been in reverse, i.e., with the Lakers starting off exclusively on the road, the Lakers would have jelled, and comraderie would have replaced the semi-isolation that many Lakers exhibit when they’re at home and only have to hang around team mates in practice (barely) or at game time (barely).
Thus, I as a longtime Lakers fan need not be so distressed over the malaise that the team has exhibited upon the return of Kobe Bean Bryant. In his absence the team played inspiring defense and brilliant offensive execution because they could not take games off and allow Kobe to win the game. Upon his return it seems as though to a man–except Ron Artest and Lamar Odom–they are content with sitting back and watching Kobe make history for them.
Its time for Farmar to start and Fish to come in off of the bench because he has improved with playing time this season. Yes, he is inconsistent but starting these last 20 games may be the stabilizing factor for Farmar to become what he was drafted to be: The Lakers starting point guard! Here’s hoping that Shannon regains the confidence that he appears to have lost since entering the Slam Dunk contest.
@zirk and Joel b.
I am an “optimist” on this site. I feel the lakers are one of the top three teams in the league. They, along with CLE, are the favorites to go the finals this year. But I, along with most “optimists” on this site, know the lakers have problems right now. Here’s a list that is constantly in my head right now:
1. Lakers offense is disjointed. In the last month, the only games where the Lakers were running a smooth offense were the games that Kobe was injured.
2. Kobe’s integration of the offense since his return from injury. I will be in the minority on this because people feel the team should integrate itself around Kobe; but I am a team player type of guy. The team played well in his absence. I thought if Kobe integrated into that offense our team would be tough to beat. But it seems the team is still out of sorts.
3. Gasol’s slump. Soft? I won’t say he is soft. I’ve never known what it would feel like to play the post against guys bigger than me, so I won’t say he is soft. I will say he is not performing as well as he has in the past.
Here is why I feel I am an optimist: the lakers have correctable problems. Will they be corrected? Idk. I do know that this team has in the past. And they have the same core to do it again.
I see artest turning into the defender we hoped we would get. I see farmar playing good controlled basketball lately. And I see a team, with all it’s faults as the second best team in the league.
My only problem with “pessimists” are when they make conclusory statements such as “we are not winning it this year.”. A few months ago, I got into a discussion with Aaron about his statements about Fisher being the cause of the losses for the lakers. That’s my beef. And my beef gets worse when the statements come out during the in game chat, because every bad play becomes something more than it is.
I think Darius is right: too many laker fans feel they are entitled to the championship. The last time I felt like that was when we faced Detroit. I don’t make that mistake anymore. It’s not ours. Last year was ours.
I have no, and no optimist on this site has, any problem with criticism. I do it all the time. I criticise this team a lot. We should have beat the Heat. But in joel’s post regarding that game, he stated that the lakers played with no intensity, and I don’t think that’s accurate. They took the lead with 1 minute left in regulation after being down 9 at the 2 minute mark. That was intensity. Those are the remarks I don’t like because I don’t think it’s based on what he watched, but rather his disappointment over the loss. Same goes for the team not being a good defensive team or rebounding team (I don’t remember exactly).
So Zirk, when I make comments about someone being overly pessimistic, it’s because I disagree with what they are saying. I am not the only one who feels perplexed when people say the lakers won’t win it this year. And I am perplexed when people say the lakers WILL win this year with certainty.
@Darius: I loved the team with sedale threatt! Him vlade and Elden were awesome!!! Along with Cedric ceballos!! I am not kidding! I loved watching that team. They played hard every night under Randy pfund.