Some quick hitting links today as we’re all looking forward to getting last night out of our system with a game tonight. However, we take one last look at the Memphis game by going around the world (wide web)…
*Losing three straight game is frustrating, especially when the losses come in a manner where they seemingly aren’t learning from their previous losses. Dexter Fishmore of Silver Screen and Roll was reminded of Sunday’s Indiana game after watching the loss to Memphis. And he’s not happy about it. However, in Memphis, they’re obviously all smiles.
*There are many reasons why a team will lose games and last night was no different. Over at the OC Register, Kevin Ding says the Lakers are once again forgetting about Gasol. Meanwhile, Broderick Turner of the LA Times says that the Lakers just couldn’t deal with Grizzlies PG Mike Conley.
*Also at the LA Times, Mike Bresnahan tells us that the Lakers latest streak isn’t the three-peat that this team was looking for this season.
*We’ve all discussed Pau Gasol’s heavy minutes in recent games. Last night he played another 45 and while he looked more fresh at the end of the Grizz game than Sunday’s affair vs. the Pacers, there are thoughts that Pau is starting to show some wear from the heavier load he’s carrying.
*Over at NBA Playbook, Sebastian Pruiti is doing great work everyday. Last night he broke down the end of the Lakers game to show us how Fisher got lost on Conley’s dagger three pointer that pushed the lead to 7. And then he shows the Lakers’ last two offensive possessions and how Kobe was excellent on his first drive but could have gotten more out of the final play of the game.
As Joel B said in post 16 on the previous thread, I think some of this is on Jackson–his insistence on having Gasol go 45 in regular season games is, IMO, a mistake and seems to contradict his “don’t overreact” philosophy. I see three options:
1. As Joel B said, let Caracter play 10 minutes, maybe learn something, and have Pau go 38.
2. Go small with Artest at the 4 and Barnes at the 3, and Odom or Caracter at the 5 10 minutes a game. I see all the downsides–Artest can’t jump, and doesn’t rebound well for a 3, much less a 4–but it would space the floor well and create some issues for the other team. It would also be a good lineup for traps and double-teams above the circle and at the elbow extended.
3. If Phil HAS to have Gasol out there 40+, play him WITH Caracter, and let Caracter try to check the opposing 5 for 8 or so MPG minutes.
Phil is Phil, and I know there are those who don’t like second-guessing a legend, but I think either of these options is more interesting than, “Play Pau 45 minutes and complain about Bynum’s timetable to the media.”
Darius Soriano says
#1. I’d like for Caracter to play more too, but he doesn’t look ready. Especially on defense. When Pau rested last night and Caracter came in the Grizz went on a quick run (6-0, I believe). This isn’t to put the blame on Caracter, but if he’s not ready to defend at an NBA level he’s really not any use (even if he’s more ready offensively, which he’s not when playing PF and has to do the correct things on the wing).
Despite what many think about Phil – he doesn’t call timeouts, willing to lose a game to teach a lesson, etc – he does want to win every game (as he should, I might add). So, he is in a bit of a pinch. He could lesses Pau’s load but there is a good chance it will end poorly. The alternative is what we’ve seen lately (a winded Pau having to carry a heavy load for nearly the entire game). No easy answers here.
The answer is for the Lakers to play better while Pau is in the game, and the result will be that Pau doesn’t have to be in the game as much. “Play better” meaning run the offense and defense properly.
I think were seeing a paradign shift on the way teams are playing the Lakers now. For years it was, “let’s make life as difficult as possible for Kobe and let everyone else beat us”. I think Pau Gasol was playing so well and the Lakers offense was so effective I think teams are using the, “Let’s make life as difficult as possible for Gasol and let everyone else beat us”. It seems like teams are shifting their defense around Gasol, crowding him, banging him and taking him off his spots. I think Kobe recognizes this so he’s playing more aggressive but frankly I think teams are coming to the conclusion that they are not going to let Pau Gasol beat them.
We will see how the Lakers and in particular Gasol adjusts.
Fair points. But one caveat: given Ratliff’s age and Bynum’s injury history, the current situation is not exactly unexpected. It seemed that maybe Phil looked at the schedule, had heard the Thanksgiving timetable, and calculated–correctly
–that the team would be fine until then.
But, this is Bynum, and we know that he is a slow healer.
Anyway, your points are well-taken, but I think Caracter might do a little better if he got a few more minutes. If Phil really doesn’t want him out there, then I would try some smallball looks a few MPG.
I think the Lakers should consider going small at points during the game against weaker teams and giving Pau some rest.
I thought Artest would be a little more comfortable in the system by now.
Guess I thought wrong.
T. Rogers says
4)- I think that is a great observation. The Suns took that approach in last season’s WCF. Teams are realizing the Triangle runs best when Gasol catches the ball in the post. They are trying to push him out off his preferred spots. Or they are crowding him to keep him from catching the ball. When teams do this effectively the Lakers seem to struggle running the Triangle. That leads to Kobe taking more shots, guys standing still, bad defense on the other end, etc.
It will help to have Bynum on the other side. When the Lakers can swing the ball to the other side and dump it to Andrew as an alternative it will really make Pau’s life a lot easier.
I may be wrong, but does it appear that Artest is not playing at a high level of defense due to the early success of Barnes on offense, and the cut in his minutes due to this fact? There is no reason for Artest to look as poorly as he has these past 3-4 games. He looks a step slow, tired or just plain uninspired. I think that this is a concern.
Artest has not had a steal in several games, or at least not a game changing steal. I think that’s why the coach had him in the game for the last play. Ron is back to being indecisive on offense, had he at least took the shot on Kobe’s initial pass to him instead of dribbling closer to Rudy Gay, the Lakers might have at least had a decent shot attempt.
@4 Archon, has a valid point, in that opposing teams are not, at this point in Kobe’s recovery, concerned about his ability to beat a team almost single- handedly. They are concentrating on Pau, now it is up to Pau to adjust to defenses being designed to stop him.
If, anyone wants to declare Pau as the MVP of the Lakers team, then he should be able to play his game against all defensive strategies. Because that’s what Kobe has had to do these past seven years.
Ditto the sentiments on Caracter not being ready and will go even further, right now he is so completely lost and over matched that’s its not even a learning from mistakes situation. This I believe is what Phil meant by hating to set him up for failure. He’s not going to improve or learn, only get beat down and perhaps have his confidence destroyed.
The truth is there is no other option but to try and weather the storm right now.
Darius Soriano says
The game preview is up.
“play his game against all defensive strategies. Because that’s what Kobe has had to do these past seven years.”
Playing his game and playing his game successfully are two significantly different things. Too often when he “plays his game” it is unsuccessful. Last night is a perfect example of this.