(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: You might mistakenly believe that the notable “first” to come out of the Lakers’ game Thursday night was their first loss of the season. To see Kobe Bryant after the game in the Pepsi Center visiting locker room, you would realize that a far bigger deal to him appeared to be getting to envelop his weary bones in his plush, new bathrobe for the first time. Bryant sat in front of his locker in the thick black robe, eschewing its hood but showcasing its KB24 “Carpe Diem” crest both on the back and on the left front lapel. In his ongoing quest for max efficiency, Bryant has lately taken to postgame multi-tasking: Instead of waiting until after he ices down, showers, takes additional medical treatments and gets dressed, Bryant has met with reporters while he sits idly (for a specific time period, clocked dependably by the little timer he holds in his hand) with huge icepacks on both knees and his feet and ankles minimizing swelling in their own ice water.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: The Lakers’ frontline struggled. Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom should’ve had a field day considering the Nuggets have had to absorb absences to Chris Anderson and Kenyon Martin because of off-season knee surgeries. But Gasol and Odom combined for seven of 23 from the field. Odom played only 26 minutes and absent altogether in the fourth quarter. And Gasol’s post play and interior defending appeared tentative and exhausting. Allowing 54 points to the paint shouldn’t happen. They’ve been the team’s most consistent players this postseason, but it clearly shows they need everything they can from them until Andrew Bynum returns around Thanksgiving.
From Dexter Fishmore, Silver Screen and Roll: It was fun while it lasted, the Lakers’ undefeated start to the season. But time marches ever forward and drops the occasional loss on even the most charmed franchises. Tonight the Lakers fell in Denver by the final score of 112 to 118. Even though they were favored in this game and, on balance, most of us probably expected them to push their record to 9-0 against a Nuggets team that had been looking a bit shaky, it’s not stunning that the perfect start ended this evening. When the NBA announced its schedule last August, a lot of us circled tonight’s game as a good bet for the Lakers’ first L.
From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: Offensively, I thought this was Ron’s best game in some time. As his fellow starters struggled early in the first quarter, he connected for five quick points to help maintain pace then rounded out the night with 18 points on seven-of-11 shooting. More than just his efficient percentage, I liked how Ron muscled his way to the rim for several buckets. Artest can be a load down low, and it’s always a welcome sight seeing use that power advantage. Throw in five boards, three blocks and two steals, and I thought he did a nice job offsetting some struggles guarding Carmelo Anthony.
From Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: Kobe Bryant’s shot abandoned him. Pau Gasol no longer scored with ease.?? Shannon Brown, of all people, tried to keep the Lakers among the undefeated, but it all dissolved in front of an overjoyed Pepsi Center crowd, the Denver Nuggets dropping the Lakers on Thursday, 118-112.??The Lakers surrendered 33 points in the fourth quarter, their defense sputtering badly, matched in ineffectiveness only by Bryant’s outside touch.?? Bryant had 34 points but made only 11 of 32 shots. Gasol wasn’t much better: 17 points on six-for-17 shooting as New Orleans (7-0) became the NBA’s only undefeated team.??” Just another game in November,” Bryant said, not taking the loss all that hard.
Updated, Additional Links:
*From Jim Thompson, founder and executive director of the Positive Coaching Alliance at responsiblesports.com, an interview with Phil Jackson: In this episode, Jim talks with NBA coaching great and Positive Coaching Alliance National Spokesperson Phil Jackson, who shares his insights on how to build a true community within teams, finding voice for star players while encouraging role players to embrace their vital place on any successful team. Phil also shares his philosophy on balancing talent versus effort, the role of rivalries to motivate teams, and how to extend the lessons of sports beyond the court.
*From Kelly Dwyer, Ball Don’t Lie: Everyone needs to get a bit of bad behavior out of its system every so often, and I hope the Lakers are happy with its exercise in this regard. They’ve certainly earned it, by playing near-perfect basketball for the season’s first two-plus weeks. And while a two-possession loss to a playoff team in one of the tougher arenas to play in is nothing to freak out over, still, Los Angeles could have had this with better play.
(hat tip to Clarence Gaines for the P-Jax interview and kaifa in the comments for Kelly Dwyer’s comments.)
Also liked Dwyer’s take on the loss:
Denver 118, Los Angeles Lakers 114
Everyone needs to get a bit of bad behavior out of its system every so often, and I hope the Lakers are happy with its exercise in this regard.
They’ve certainly earned it, by playing near-perfect basketball for the season’s first two-plus weeks. And while a two-possession loss to a playoff team in one of the tougher arenas to play in is nothing to freak out over, still, Los Angeles could have had this with better play.
But give Denver credit. The in and post-game focus seemed intent on tallying up Kobe Bryant’s(notes) crummy long range shots, Lamar Odom’s(notes) disappearing act, and Pau Gasol’s(notes) poor finishes, and that focus was correct in its intent. But watch that game again. Denver was forcing quick, bad shots. The same shots Los Angeles has been taking and making all season, I submit, but tougher versions of such.
And any time Denver gets eight rebounds and good help defense in less than half a game from Al Harrington(notes) off the bench, or active play from Nene throughout, it is going to have a great chance. 32 and 13 (with five offensive rebounds) in an efficient manner from Carmelo Anthony(notes)? Come on. That team is going to be good enough to … well, that team is going to be good enough to beat the bloody Lakers. And they did.
By four. And to some Laker fans, the roof is falling in. After their first loss of the season, two weeks in, by four and on the road.
That’s telling. This team is goooooood.
Craig W. says
This game made me ill, but trying to pick out one person to put the blame on seems more than useless, it seems counterproductive.
What we are building here is a team. They win as a team, they lose as a team.
Sure individuals do matter, but the team got a chance to learn something tonight. Also, they got to see how the other side of the street has to live much of the time.
Now it is time to prepare for the Suns.
Darius Soriano says
I’ve added the KD link to the main post (and given you credit). Thanks for the heads up as I hadn’t yet made my way to KD’s Behind the Boxscore yet this morning (which should be a daily read for everyone, btw).
Can we have a separate thread dedicated to making fun of the Heat?
Lots of material out there.
I’m kidding (I think).
Yesterdays loss wasnt a big deal. I thought kobe actually played well offensively, just a few open misses that he should make and he would be shooting 50% fromt he field. Pau got outmuscled, I feel like pau needs to play smarter against certain players. Pau should have faced up harrington and took his time instead of trying to outmuscle harrington. I dont know why lamar did not play the fourth, maybe phil was trying to teach the team a “lesson”. Anyways, it was interesting to see the nuggets get so happy after beating the lakers. My intial thought was, wow, these guys are not going anywhere this year.
@#1 (Kaifa) – Thanks for the article. Helps to put the season in perspective. For how ugly and disengaged we played, and how DEN and its fans made it seem like a playoff game and all our blunders, we still only lost by four points, on the road. This year’s team is really good. And it’s happening w/out Bynum.
just magic says
It’s the Lakers 1st lost of the season. It was going to happen. Considering that our bigs had off nights and that they still only lost by 6 pts to a playoff contender, it’s not bad at all.
Even though it is disappointing that the Lakers are not going to go 82-0, IMHO I think the Lakers are the best 8-1 team out there!
As a Laker fan, it’s kind of a bummer that the other elite teams in the league are in the East. I’d rather see the Lakers play the C’s or Orlando 4x a season than the Nuggets, Jazz, Mavs, ect.
The toughest challenge we get from the west are teams like Denver, which if you follow the Lakers enough and watched this game, are clearly out-classed by the Lakers. The Lakers nearly coasted to 10 point leads, and were a couple of missed 3’s away from coming back from down 9 points in the final 1:45.
Granted, that 16-0 run was awful basketball, especially by Kobe and Pau, that’s certainly never going to be the norm for this team. In a playoff atmosphere, that game is a blowout Laker win.
Gotta say I was disappointed in Pau’s effort. He wasn’t running the floor, was barely leaving the floor for rebounds, and missed some chippies by going up soft and with one hand. I know he’ll bounce back, but if anybody deserves blame in this game, it’s Pau. Maybe it’s just early season malaise, but his effort was equally poor in the game against Minnesota. He almost looks like he’s bored and just watching the clock until the game is over.
Darius Soriano says
A new post is up.