Records: Lakers 46-16 (1st in West), Bobcats 28-31 (9th in East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 109.0 (10th in NBA), Bobcats 103.6 (26th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 102.1 (1st in NBA), Bobcats 103.4 (6th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Bobcats: Raymond Felton, Stephen Jackson, Gerald Wallace, Boris Diaw, Theo Ratliff
The Lakers Coming in: So much for carrying the momentum from the Denver and Indy wins into the road trip. The Lakers now have a bit of an uphill climb to salvage this three game roadie. They face a team that traditionally gives them problems tonight and do so on a the second night of a back to back. Last night, I gave you some key numbers that defined the loss to the Heat. Well there were a couple of others that got left out that I’ll share with you now.
15 is the number of assists the Lakers had on their 45 made field goals. That is simply not enough and it needs to change if this offense is really going to operate at a level consistent with playing winning basketball. The ball needs to move better for this team and the teamwork needs to come back if they really are going to play high level offensive basketball. I understand that the assist numbers are going to be low-ish when Kobe has a fantastic night from the wing on his jumpshots the way that he did last night. But, along those same lines the team needs to create more opportunities for eachother based off the movement of the offense and set eachother up more by passing and moving with out the ball. Last night, the offensive efficiency was 111.0 and that is a solid number and above our season average. But if Kobe needs to go crazy with his shot making for the team hit that number it will not be sustainable. Let’s hope we get back to passing, cutting, screening, and playing together tonight and on Sunday.
The Bobcats Coming in: After being a surprise team for most of the season the Bobcats have fallen off some lately. While they’re still in the playoff hunt, they’re now on the outside looking in as the 9th seed in the East. They’ve lost 5 of their last 6 games and that won’t get it done if they expect to catch the Heat, Bucks, or Bulls to get into the post season. Their dropoff can be attributed to several factors – they’ve been hit with the injury bug with their big men as Chandler and Nazr Mohammed have missed loads of time recently. And in a trade that got them Tyrus Thomas (a big that can help with some of their frontcourt injury woes) they gave up their one dependable guard off the bench in Flip Murray, so they’re now thin in the backcourt and lack that scoring punch that helped sustain an already poor offense (to accentuate this point, they’re actually looking at acquiring Larry Hughes). They’ve also seen a dropoff in their defense as the team that used to be ranked #1 in defensive efficiency has now slid down to sixth. This team was probably over achieving some in that department, but when it comes right down to it, they were hanging their hat on their D and if they have trouble stopping people winning won’t come easy.
Besides the fight for entry into the post season, the other big piece of news surrounding the ‘Cats is the upcoming change in ownership. Bob Johnson has finally found someone to buy the team and it’s a guy that he, and we, should all recognize. Michael Jordan moves up in rank from ‘minority’ to ‘majority’ owner as he’s gathered the investors needed to purchase the team. Personally, I’m excited to see a former player become a major stakeholder in a franchise. Former players have always been guys that we’ve seen pacing the sidelines as coaches or the guys that have been heading front offices as GM’s. But to now have a former player, especially one with the profile and legacy of MJ, owning a team? I think that’s a great thing for the NBA and for the fans of Charlotte. Hopefully he can do a better job as an owner than he did as a GM or in his game against Gerald Henderson in HORSE.
Bobcats Blogs: Queen City Hoops will keep you well informed on the team from Charlotte. Check ’em out for some smart takes on everything regarding MJ’s new team.
Keys to game: Go to the top of this post and look at who is starting at PF and C for this team. Now, tell me what you think the Lakers’ strategy on offense should be. Obviously, this game should be another that the Lakers try to exploit their distinct advantage in the pivot. Gasol and Bynum should have a field day against this duo. But, in order to do so the Lakers need to create the proper passing angles against some long and strong defenders on the wing. Kobe and Artest are going up against Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace and both those guys have the ability to take away what you want to do on the perimeter and that includes finding good ways to receive the ball and make proper entry passes. So, our wings and our bigs are going to need to work in tandem to create post entry chances by helping eachother with screens to get open and by being big targets against post defenders that will look at what the Heat did with their fronting and ball denials to make the Lakers’ bigs’ lives hard. Our post guys must fight for position and seal their men to make themselves easy targets. And our weakside big must recognize when his post partner is struggling with this and make himself available as a pressure realease in order to create high-low opportunities where this type of defensive tactic can be exploited. It didn’t happen last night, but it needs to be there tonight or we’ll see plenty of stalling on the offensive side of the ball. If we see three or more 24 second violations or Kobe/Ron/Farmar/Odom taking too many shots as the shot clock buzzer is sounding you’ll know that our post players and wings are not working together to take advantage of Charlotte’s deficiencies inside.
On defense, the Lakers need to be aware of three key players – Felton, Jackson, and Wallace. Raymond Felton is a guy that has the ability to hurt the Lakers in both the open court and in turning the corner in P&R situations. The Lakers need to funnel him to the sideline and slow him down in transition by building a wall in the paint and making him slow up and run his team’s sets. If the Lakers allow Felton to break free in the open court, it will be a long night. With Jackson, he is the classic boom or bust perimeter player. Last game against the Lakers he was all boom as he delivered a fantastic shooting night and scored 30 points on 16 shots, but doing so mostly on the perimeter against some solid defense. On that night I thought we defended him well and it just didn’t matter. So tonight, I just want to see us mark him like we normally do, contest his shots, and try to avoid allowing him to get into a rhythm. One way to do that is to make a concerted effort to find him in transition and not allow him to walk into three point shots. Dating back to his days with the Spurs, this is one of Jackson’s favorite shots and he’ll kill you with his flat footed non-jumper. Find him early in the possession and don’t let him take these shots because he’s much less dangerous and can get out of control when he has to put the ball on the floor when chased off the three point line. As for Wallace, Ron is going to have his hands full again. After chasing the fleet footed Wade all over the court last night, Ron gets a different beast entirely tonight. Wallace is one of the few forwards in the league that can match Ron’s physicality and he’ll do so mainly in transition, in attacking off the dribble, and on the offensive boards. Ron will need to be extra aware of Wallace slipping into the paint looking for offensive rebounds so boxing out and rebounding will be a priority tonight for Artest – especially after last night’s rebounding performance where he had zero rebounds in 45 mintues of play and was the first forward to accomplish that dubious feat since Kiki Vandewheghe in 1987 (hat tip to our old friend Kurt Helin via HoopData). So box out, make Wallace more of a perimeter player that shoots jumpers, and just live with the results tonight and I think the outcome in that matchup will tilt in our favor.
Where you can watch: 4:00pm start time on the West on KCAL, and on ESPN Radio 710am.
Chownoir (was J) says
If we don’t win this one, we can kiss goodbye to getting #1 seed throughout the playoffs….
Once again we have a height advantage on the inside,lets see if the bigs can convert on a smaller front court tonight. They have to redeem themselves for the poor showing last night.
Without them focused and aggresive LA is an average team, with them we are a beast.
P.S. Dear Mr. Turnover, please leave LA alone, you have out stayed your welcome. Go hang around another team, preferable in Cleveland, and cause inconsistent play. I hope you find somewhere else to crash cause the locks have been changed. Peace
Its interesting to see the slip in Gasol’s offensive game from last year to this year. His shooting is down and he isn’t converting around the basket as well either. I hope this is just an off year and not a sign he is losing athleticism.
On paper, this Charlotte team does not have good perimeter shooting but we know that this team get’s hyped every time we play them, along with Stephen “Kobe’s not so great” Jackson. There is no Chauncey, no Quinten, then no problem right? Well as long as Ron contains Wallace and Kobe stays at home on Jackson’s 3’s we should be able to focus on the interior defense. Just as much as we need Drew and Pau to have a fg frenzy, we really need LO and our starting towers to have a huge rebound night.
Since this team isn’t known for its outside shooting we just can’t let this team thrive on putback chip shots. I’m confident the Lakers will have the tools tonight to get a commanding W. It will be up to them if they decide to utilize the tools instead of forcing the issue.
Iron Mike says
So Nazr Muhammed and Chandler are out. Muhammed had a career night against the Lakers last time, if Old Man Ratliff posts career bests tonight I’m going to jump off a cliff.
I agree with Aaron,
Pau is due for a major a breakout game…
No secret he hasn’t been in top form lately. What surprises me most are the dropped passes and losing the ball so much, since he’s been here I’ve always appreciated his ability to keep a handle on the ball and use(granted he replaced one Kwame Brown). When he plays well you can tell he’s enjoying himself and having fun using his skills, and it rubs off for the team and those watching. Lately he hasn’t looked particularly engaged or comfortable.
some words of wisdom from Mike Tyson:
“There’s nothing more more proficient than a happy fighter. Everybody believes the mean, and the serly fighter, is the tough fighter but that’s not true. The guy who’s most relax and loves what he does, and is happy to be in there doing what he does. “
I thinks its interesting that Pau was commenting in the paper how they weren’t passing or playing hard. Odd since his game was the weakest on the team. Is he blind to his own weak play? He played like a girl last night and now blames others!
Pau looking aggresive tonight, going at the defense early.
Bigs got the memo.
how did we just give up 8 points in like a minute
Is it me, or are the Lakers missing a lot of easy shots this year?
Shannon’s handles look like they’re really suffering with this thumb injury. Stuggling just to get the ball up court. That’s a shame.
Yeah Kwame Brown working his magic for Detroit.
Turnovers killing us again tonight. LA treats possesions like a VD.
very worrying that this late in the season this team has very little confidence and is so shaky on offense
Good observation by the Bobcats announcers. It seems like Kobe hasn’t touched the ball this entire quarter – the rest of the unit is just running around with their heads cut off.
shannon’s shooting as been very off last 2 games…his thumb must be a real problem
this team is unbelievably careless with the ball…this is horrible, 7 turnovers in the second quarter alone so far
i cant believe this is the same team that had a top 3 offense the last 2 years
very poor passing, looks like Mr. Turnover stopped by for the second quarter
Started the game strong and shooting well. Certainly has turned into an ugly showdown in Charlotte.
Forgive an Australian’s ignorance, but where can I listen to a live radio broadcast of the game online?
ESPN Radio 710 seem to be talking about hocke… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Holly $%#*! I am not a great basketball player, really I’m about your average gym pick-up guy but I got to say this is undisputably ugly. If I was just bigger, faster, and stronger I know I wouldn’t be as ugly out there as these guys are. I may be underrating how difficult it is to protect the ball against an NBA opponent but these guys can’t make an entry pass! I’m sorry but I think I can get that done on any level. It’s times like this that make the in game comments ugly but if you watch the game, you’d know why.
LA lets sub .500 teams stay in the game with their careless play. The longer they continue to let these type of teams hang around, the more confidence they gain throughout the game.
Teams struggling seem to break out of their slump against us this year. Lakers make every game a challenge, when it doesnt have to be. Time to get our heads out our a#@, and let Kobe put on his cape and save us.
Farmar needs to have better clock awareness to get the shot off before the end of the half . Just a terrible end to the first half. Too many turnovers again.
I would like to see improvement in the flow of the offense in the 2nd half
Stu summed it up nicely :
“If there is any rhythm to this game, please let me know”
Last 2 Laker possessions:
instead of going 2 for 1 to end the half, Kobe takes his time and goes ISO at top of the key, fakes, tries to jump into defender and draw foul. He loses handle, charlotte gets a steal goes other way for lay up.
Lakers get the ball back with 15 seconds,
Kobe dribbles the clock out til about 1.5-2 seconds, passes to Farmar for a “SHORT CORNER 3”, but then Farmar passes it to Gasol underneath as the buzzer sounds.
Very bad quarter, yet it’s still a close game somehow.
this team playing with no heart or fire…i dont even enjoy watching them when they play like this
pathetic, theyve just given up
phil has to make an example of gasol take him out
Mr. Negativity here again, just to note that *other so-called good teams seem to blow away these mid-class teams such as Miami and Charlotte. I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’. (my gosh Charlotte has Theo Ratliff playing in the middle!)
Andreas G. says
james: Unfortunately, it’s not like anyone else is playing any better?
This looked so good from the start, and now they’re at 35 %…sad. They need to go inside more to Pau and Drew.
Mike Penberthy says
Turns out the championship last year was one and done just like the celtics. These 2 teams have aged in a hurry. Gonna be an interesting offseason.
Pau and Drew getting blocked every other attempt.
What’s the Lakers season high for TO’s? Might be able to surpass it tonight!
Don’t be silly Mike.
Theo Ratliff is an all star, top ten should have retired already team.
Mike Penberthy says
You see more championships in this team’s immediate future?
Morrison checks in to save the day
Rodney Stuckey may of suffered a seizure in the Pistons-Cavs game and has been taken to the hospital
..continuing my earlier thought, this looks more and more like a Charlotte blowout.
hope rodney is ok, in other news I hope phil gives lakers a kick up their ass after the game
38 – That’s scary…let’s hope he’s OK.
36 – Cool out. The Lakers lost to Miami and they going to lose against Charlotte. Mysteriously, they lost against both teams last year as well. I could swear the season turned out well.
Andreas G. says
Mike: Yes, I think they’ll win it this year.
Has Farmar made a single smart decision in this entire game?
I wish we had a real spark guy that could cine off the bench with 3 or 4 threes like Cleveland, Boston and Orlando. Good thing we have the Mamba!
Down 15 let’s go Kobe do your work- we only have 7 mins left.
Boy this is painful to watch, cant really say anything positive about this performance. Think ownership needs to have Dr. Phil come talk to the team about confidence and self esteem.
has kobe missed like his last 20 threes?
can i get a quick recap of whats happened so far?
i just got back and started watching.
sigh….i really wanted last night’s game since charlotte always gives us trouble
18 turnovers and 36 percent… All about those numbers this game…
Man, we haven’t scored in like 4 minutes. Were not even gonna score 80.
Adam Morrison has been in the game twice tonight, that should tell you everything.
please help me understand what happened to our lakers.
should i start to worry?
on Sunday, we’ll play Orlando, i think we might lose 3 in a row for the first time since we had pau.
looking forward to the game recap 🙂
Game recap will not be any different then what has been said by players, Darius, and Kurt all season.
Pau Gasol is cheap he has to donate money to St Judes for every point he scores 1000 dollars per point.
Pau and Fisher are just terrible. Lamar should start.
Harry Cox says
Um…what is going on with this team??
A crappy game if I’ve ever seen one. cohesiveness was absent.
save for this
That horrible shooting % would be even worse if they hadn’t started off making 6 of their first 7 baskets. Quick start, good first 6 minutes of the game, and downhill after that. Gasol and Andrew did all their damage during that time period. Pau made his first 3 buckets and scored 7 points in the first half of the 1st quarter. Since then he’s been unable to convert jack, finishing 5/14, he missed a dunk too 🙁
Charlotte did well providing weakside defenders throughout the night. Lots of blocks (8), Shannon Brown had 2 of the 3 Laker blocked shots, so much for a size advantage.
heads up, hand injury for Artest
Mike Penberthy says
Losing 3 straight with Gasol was gonna happen at some point. Against Orlando is gonna be that point.
man, that was a frustrating one. im starting to wonder if all the turnovers are due to carelessness and a lack of focus or whether we just have guys in positions that tend to be more turnover-prone? i tend to think that it is mostly a lack of focus but im just not totally sure. kobe’s finger has undoubtedly contributed to his increased turnover numbers and pau just really seems to be laboring right now for some reason. other than those two shannon, jordan, and drew really worry me at times with the way they (mis)handle the ball…regardless of the reason, (and i know that i can’t really point out anything more obvious) we need to value the ball if we are going to make the sustained playoff run we are capable of. hopefully we can figure it out because games like this one are no fun to watch and about as frustrating as they get.
Joel B. says
I said yesterday, Gasol is soft. He’s marshmellows. It’s not about physicality, it’s his concentration and mentality. When the going gets tough for Gasol, Gasol just goes. He and uncanny propensity so just forget how to play. Last year when he had all the questions about being soft this was the most telling thing was Kobe saying he had to remind Gasol that he’s one of the best players in the world during half time after he was shut down by Boston’s bigs again. I will take Kobe shooting 35 shots and try to will the lakers to a win the Gasol disappearing.
This team doesn’t have heart. They can’t turn it on like they could last year. How many times has this team been blown out this year. This team will not win 60 games and hollinger was right in predicting that. The have 8 straight games starting the last week of this month all agaisnt playoff conteding teams vying for the the highest playoff seed. They will lose at least 3 of those games. They play San antonio twice Atlanta Denver Houston Utah new Orleans and Okc. It’s possible this team won’t finish as the number 1 seed in the west.
The half time scores and results of the lakers game and cavs game made me laugh.
cav down 9 to a lesser opponent then come back and win. lakers down six to a lesser opponent they get blown out by 15.
i hope gasol isnt just one of the many lajer players who signs long contract then forgets hoe to play.
36% from the field. 16% from three. 20 turnovers.
Now add to that the highest payroll in the NBA, the highest paid coach in the NBA and imagine how Jerry B is feeling right about now. Ouch.
I should add that I think the Lakers are capable of beating anybody. But man, it is hard to keep the faith sometimes.
I hate the fact that we lost, but it’s understandable.
Larry Brown coached team on the 2nd night of back to back after OT the night before.
While I’m not worried, yet, I’m pissed off that we lost the game last night.
If we lose against ORL, I’ll be pissed off even more, but it doesn’t mean I’ll abandon the team or think that we have no chance at the championship, just that it’ll be a more difficult journey.
hey mike, how about you wait until the game is played before you make a decision about the outcome? also, how about you wait until the season is over before you decide that we don’t have another championship in us?
some here are saying not to worry about anyone catching the Lakers in the west. I’m thinking (based on what I’m seeing of late) that the L’s will be doing well to go 10-9 the rest of the way, what with their remaining schedule and their current funk.
and if that’s the case, they’d finish with 26 losses (maybe more!). that would make them eminently catchable.
You know it’s a bad game when Ammo is leading the team in +/-. He was a +5
I’m resetting the memory bank on this one.
I dont think anybody on here is saying LA cannot win a championship with the talent on the current roster. But if the Lakers continue to play the same type of inconsistent ball, then anybody could potentially beat them.
Im praying that the team can cut down on the turnovers, play team ball, and have confidence on the court when the refs and ball dont bounce their way. It seems that Bynum’s sullen attitude when things dont go his way, has snowballed through the entire team.
A win in Orlando Sunday would do wonders for my fanhood. Until then pass the bottle and twist the cap, Ive got a lot of soul searching to do tonight.
P.S. Mr. Turnover must be a locksmith.
I missed the game, but VoR and the stats he left in his comment makes me glad that I did not see the Laker destruction tonight against the Bobcats, they seem to have our number it seems like, huh?
Game recap is up.
This team isn’t hungry, I say no way they’re winning a title again. Not with the way Pau is stinking up the joint.
Perhaps this team wants to send a message to Phil, They want Scott and Phil should be looking for a apartment in New York. six minutes at start of 3rd quarter while getting run out of building yet no time outs. Perhaps Phil need a raise from 12 to 15 million to get him to actually coach.