Records: Lakers 46-19 (3rd in West), Heat 43-21 (3rd in East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 111.7 (2nd in NBA), Heat 110.6 (6th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 104.5 (8th in NBA), Heat 103.5 (6th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Heat: Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Erick Dampier
Injuries: Lakers: Theo Ratliff (out); Heat: Udonis Haslem (out)
The Lakers Coming in: When a team has won 8 consecutive games and has an average scoring margin of +12 in the last 4 of those wins, things are going well. As we’ve documented recently, it’s all been keyed on very good play on both sides of the ball as the Lakers have clamped down on D while executing their offense at a high level as well.
If there’s been one area that does need some attention and improvement, it’s been the play of the bench. Matt Barnes is back in the fold and while his legs look fresh with his injury seemingly fully behind him, his timing is not yet back to what it was before his knee was scoped. Combined with a somewhat inconsisted Shannon and a steady, yet unspectacular Blake the Lakers’ reserves have done enough to keep opponents at arms length but not enough to inspire unyielding support of their play. That said, if some up and down play from the reserves is the only issue that the Lakers have to contend with, I’d say they’re doing quite well for themselves. So in the end, I’m quite happy with how they’ve played overall of late. (Understatement alert.)
The Heat Coming in: Disarray may be too strong a word, but the Heat are approaching that point lately. Losers of 5 straight, the team is starting to show the wear of a bright spotlight and heavy expectations with results that aren’t what many would expect from such a talented group. Whether it’s the coach saying players shed tears after a close loss, players calling for more touches, or more questions about lineup decisions, this group is certainly not anywhere near it’s best as the regular season winds to a close.
Blame can be – and has been – assigned to many places, including the coach, the players, and (even if only through critical analysis of the team’s construction) upper management. And while stories of this groups demise are pre-mature, they do have some real problems of late.
And, in my opinion, it starts with the fact that their offense is not in balance and is too reliant on the scoring talents of their star players rather than those same players’ ability to help and improve their mates’ games. Essentially, it comes down to the lack of an offensive system to lean on and a way to fully incorporate the entire team when looking to score points. Handing the ball to LeBron or Wade or Bosh in one of their sweet spots and telling them to go to work can be effective based off their sheer talent but it doesn’t promote team play nor is that a reliable option down the stretch of close games when baskets are harder to come by.
The fact that their big men are only finishers and not initiators of offense further hurts this team because that only puts more responsibility on Wade and James to create offesne every single possession rather than allowing them to work off the ball and simultaneously be threats that the D has to account for and be finishers with others setting them up. I mean, look at the other successful (championship caliber) teams. Those groups all have bigs that are both finishers and players that can be given the ball at the high post where they can pick out teammates with good passing: Lakers (Gasol/Odom/Bynum), Spurs (Duncan), Celtics (KG), Bulls (Noah), Mavs (Dirk). Even Howard in Orlando is an underrated passer out of the post when faced with double teams. Meanwhile, Miami has Bosh – who is primarily a scorer – and slew of other bigs (Dampier, Big Z, Joel Anthony) that are completely reliant on people setting them up to score while offering very limited (or even non-existent) ability to do the same for others.
Until the Heat figure out to be a team that can mold their talent together to become a whole greater than the sum of their parts, I see them falling short of what there potential is. And right now, this is exactly what we’re seeing from this team.
Heat Blogs: The Heat Index combines great writing with thoughtful anaylisis. You should check them out. Hot Hot Hoops also does a very good job of covering the Heat.
Keys to game: Yesterday we covered some of the motivating factors in this game, so this will strictly be an X’s and O’s approach to what needs to be done to win this game.
Defensively, the Lakers’ new-ish scheme will be fully put to the test by Miami’s personnel. Wade and James are excellent ball handlers in the P&R and will consistently look to turn the corner and attack the paint when they have the ball in their hands. This will put a lot of pressure on Bynum and Gasol to defend the paint while also forcing the Lakers wings to help off shooters to close down driving angles and then spring back to the perimeter to contest shots. Furthermore, the Lakers will have to execute this scheme without fouling as Wade and LeBron are two of the best players at earning trips to the foul line. What I’d like to see is for the Lakers’ bigs to sag off on the P&R and encourage jumpshots from Wade and James and live with the results. If they beat you with 18-20 foot jumpers, tip your cap and move on.
Of course, slowing Wade and James isn’t the only key. Chris Bosh is a very dangerous player and the exact type of rangy big men that the Lakers have struggled with over the years. Bosh is great at popping out for jumpers after setting screens in the P&R and must be respected as a shooter out to 20 feet. The Lakers must decide early if this is a shot they’re comfortable ceding to Bosh as he can be exponentially more disruptive if he’s able to beat defenders off the dribble and attack the rim. The Lakers are all too familiar with this from the Christmas Day game as Bosh worked his mid-range jumper effectively and then used ball fakes and his quick first step to beat defenders to the cup. The Lakers will need to close out on Bosh but do so under control. The last thing the Lakers need is a big man closing hard to perimeter, getting blown by, and the result being Bosh attacking the remaining big man at the rim with only wings and guards rotating down to rebound or offer a second defender.
The Lakers must also be prepared to face added wrinkles that the Heat have been using of late. Even though they’ve lost the games, Miami has effectively started to expand their offense in ways that take advantage of all their perimeter talent. Don’t be surprised to see Wade/James P&R’s or Bibby/James P&R’s in order incorporate defenders into actions they’re not used to defending. Also do not be surprised to see LeBron play some PF when Odom is in the game and force LO to either guard the two time MVP or switch onto another wing player (likely a shooter like Mike Miller or James Jones) to spread out the Laker D and create a vulnerable middle. I’m sure the Lakers have seen all of this on tape in their day off, but seeing it in person with the speed and ability of these players taking hold is quite different than watching it in a film room.
Offensively, the Lakers must continue to work their full offense and not fall into the trap of playing isolation basketball. Granted, Kobe and Pau will work in isolation from the low post, elbow, and short wing but the rest of the Lakers must cut and screen off the ball in order to occupy aggressive wing defenders that have shown the ability to cover a lot of ground when their afforded the opportunity to ball watch against stand still players.
When speaking of player movement, though, that also means Kobe and Pau doing work off the ball in order to better make themselves threats. Run Kobe off screen actions to get him flashing to the ball from the weakside. Run “center opposite” sets to get Pau moving to the ball agasinst Bosh (where Pau can use his size) and Miami’s slower footed defenders to help free him up. Use the built in pin down screens and cross screens off clear out cuts to open up flashes for both of these guys in order to keep the Heat guessing on how the Lakers plan to attack them. Remember, the Heat are a team that thrives off turnovers and predictable sets on O will only lead to their active wings jumping passing lanes and rotating down to help and create steals that lead to easy baskets.
Lastly, the Lakers must control the backboards. Andrew Bynum had a limited role in the Christmas day game, only playing 17 minutes off the bench. In this game, his ability to hit the glass hard (as he’s shown in the last few games) will be a needed ingredient in winning this game. In the last 4 games he’s tallied 20 offensive rebounds and grabbed 57 caroms total and that level activity can tilt this game in LA’s favor. If he, Gasol, and Odom can effitively limit Miami to one shot while also getting the Lakers multiple possessions on the other end, I like LA’s chances a great deal.
Where you can watch: 4:00pm start time on TNT. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710am.
chris h says
I haven’t seen this in a while, and I haven’t been around in a while, so I hope it’s OK to say this –
this one’s for warren!
keep the streak alive fellas, both our winning streak, and their losing streak.
I’m keeping my eyes on young ‘Drew, looking for him to stay as aggressive as he has been, looking to make his mark on the D end of the floor, and get his O off alley oops, and O rebounds.
I thought one of the Lakers’ blunders on Christmas was failing to exploit Z’s lack of lateral quickness.
I would like to see Z forced to defend the Kobe/Pau pick and roll every possession until he’s yanked.
well, Hollinger says that, more important than this game (Warren notwithstanding) is the Dallas game. this is an excerpt from the entire Insider article, credit to Lakers.topbuzz:
“The bad news is, they need to be playing this well. A year ago the Lakers had the top seed in the West sewn up by Nov. 15 or so, giving them the luxury of coasting. This time they’re battling tooth and nail to avoid the third seed in the West; land there and they probably have to win three straight series on the road to win the title.
“That’s where the battle with Dallas for the conference’s second seed becomes important. The Lakers are only a half-game behind the Mavs after the latter’s inexcusable loss to a Chris Paul-less Hornets team Wednesday night (a defeat caused mainly by their inability to defend the immortal Jarrett Jack). However, regardless of how bad Dallas looked, passing the Mavs won’t be easy: The Mavs are peaking too, going 19-3 in their past 22 games, with all three losses by one point. Everyone is making a big deal about Lakers-Heat tonight, but L.A.’s visit to Dallas on Saturday is of much greater importance as far as postseason implications.
“Again, here’s why it matters: History says it is much, much, MUCH easier to win a title as a second seed than as a third seed; basically, having to survive an additional round without home-court advantage pushes probability to its breaking point. San Antonio won as a third seed in 2007, but only when the West’s top seed lost in the first round and the East’s top seed went out before the Finals; the Spurs had to play without home-court advantage only once, a statistically improbable scenario for the Lakers should they wind up in a similar position.
“In the past 30 years, the only other team to win while seeded below second was the 1995 Houston Rockets. That’s your list. Otherwise every team to win the title was seeded first or second; throw in San Antonio’s 2007 title team and you can see that two series without home-court advantage is the usual limit. ”
moderate this if you must, but I thought it deserved a wider audience..
Chris D says
HCA is important, but I don’t think its doomsday if (dear Lord!) we finish 3rd. Boston went to the Finals last year on the back of 2 consecutive series on the road. It makes our mission much more difficult, but it’s not impossible.
I don’t know why, but I have a feeling San Antonio will get upset by OKC in the conference semis. If that happens (and of course we get that far) then we can still play the conference finals at home. If we win that one and we don’t somehow meet Boston in the NBA Finals – all of this within the backdrop of a better record than Miami and Chicago, the other potential Eastern finalists of course – then we still get to play the Finals at home. Think of this series as much like 2004, where we got to the Finals with HCA in spite of a less than favorable seeding
A bit off topic, but had to share.
Ramona Shelburne had a great line about why the MVP voters, who write and look for dramatic stories for a living, always gloss over Kobe:
“Greatness — sustained, stubborn greatness like Kobe Bryant has been able to maintain throughout his career — makes for a flat story arc.”
Sustained, stubborn greatness. I think that’s as accurate description of Kobe as we’ve heard.
We are some lucky fans!
I second both sentiments seen above. First, we’ve discussed the potential to finish 3rd in the West, and I think most of us agree 2nd would be nice, but not absolutely necessary.
Second…’Drew. I am really excited to see what he does tonight. If he stays in “Bynum Smash” mode, I’m going to enjoy this game. As stated, Xmas was an injured-bench Bynum. It’s now time to see the “untradeable” version. Miami has nothing to throw at him.
As always, just the high level of man/man match-ups will be awesome. Ron (in great form lately) vs Bron…Kobe/Wade…Pau/Bosh. Spoiled basketabll fans tonight.
>I don’t think its doomsday if we finish 3rd.
but the point of his article was exactly that it may well *be doomsday if historical trends mean anything (and the creek don’t rise).
I guess the upshot is this: these remaining games should be taken seriously.
Travis Y. says
Unrelated question to anything….
Now that the Celtics picked up Jeff Green his salary for this season is currently:
Next year he has a qualifying offer of: $5,908,640
Since the Celtics are over the cap is that how much they can offer him?
How can they resign him for less than that? They would be renting him if he wants more, which would have been the same case with Kendrick Perkins.
Can someone enlighten me?
An awesome little highlight clip from the current win streak…something to satisfy appetites until tip off:
Based some comments I’ve read I think Phil really wants to get that #2 seed in the West and has a strong preference to have home court against any east team as well. Personally, I think they are much stronger favorites with it than without it.
As for tonight’s… I think it’s going to say a lot about the Lakers killer instinct. They have been riding high the last two weeks or so while conversely Miami is in a vertical tailspin. I know pundits like to say one game doesn’t matter but If the Lakers were to come and dominate this game I think you could pretty much stick a fork in the Heat. Between the confidence complex and the internal disharmony that would surely follow a Lakers rout, I think they’d just shift into wait till next year mode.
Of course this will be no easy task. Right now Miami is a wounded animal. They are in a corner and they will defend themselves with everything they have left. Effort will not be an issue. That said, and I’m not proposing it’s likely, I’d really like to see a soul crushing performance tonight. I mean, forget facing the Heat in the finals. You have a chance with this game to shatter their season. Get it done.
Early on I’m looking at turnovers and points in the paint. Even if Miami is knocking down perimeter shots and leading or keeping it close I think if the above two stats are trending towards the Lakers by mid 2nd quarter it should portend a victory.
Chris D – sure the Celtics went to the Finals, but they lost.
To a team with HCA.
The Big Bynum vs The Big 3. Who will prevail? If Drew continues playing as his indestructible alter-ego, the Lakers will not only beat Miami but the title is a lock.
Bynum’s been a beast and NO ONE has been able to handle him. Have you seen how high he’s been getting off the floor going after every rebound?! He’s more locked in trying to clean the glass than searching for opportunities to score.
I don’t know if Drew flipped the switch or if the coaching staff slipped something into his Gatorade, but whatever it is, I like what I’m seeing…
Travis, they will extend their qualifying offer next season to Green, which will make him a restricted free agent. This means that Boston can match any offer made to him by another team. They can go over the cap to do this, because they acquired his bird rights when they traded for him from OKC. The difference with Perkins was that they were attempting to extend his current contract, in which case they had to follow certain salary increase rules, (i.e. they could only give him a limited 10% ish raise). If they had allowed him to play out his contract, they then could have re-signed him for a salary of any amount because they held his bird rights, but they didn’t want to get into a bidding war and overpay. Oklahoma was under the salary cap, so they could extend Perkins’ new contract any way they felt, so long as they stayed under the cap w/ his new deal. I am pretty sure that’s how it worked.
Simple reasons why I would appreciate a victory on South Beach tonight:
1. Seedings (A win tonight gives us a 3 gm advantage n the loss column against the Heat, keeps us 1 gm behind Chicago n the loss column and assures us that Sat’s gm against the Mavs would be for the 2nd seed cause I believe they’ll defeat the Knickerbockers 2nite.)
2. Revenge (We all remember what happened on X-mas Day.)
3. Lebron (Just going off of muscle memory, but it seems as if we always have difficulty against a Lebron led team. Besides the aforementioned Christmas Day game, his Cavs team swept us last season.)
Tonight, we need to make it happen. Let’s Get It.
This is a regular season game, albeit, one I am greatly looking forward to.
I would love to see the Lakers drop a beat down on the Heat, much the same as the one they gave the Spurs earlier this month.
I agree with bchamp, that might be enough to send the tailspin LeYawn and DWade are currently experiencing into an actual fiery crash.
Looking forward to big games from Fisher and Blake tonight.
But that had nothing to do with HCA, they would have won if Perkins had been healthy for Game 7. Haven’t you paid attention? :p
I really thought LeBron would change his game and embrace a Magic Johnson like role with this team. I thought he would say to himself, “yes I can score 25 a game but we will win if I think pass first and let Wade be the main scorer, and let other guys get comfortable and feel like they will always get the ball if open”. In hindsight that was an insult to Magic’s sublime greatness that I thought ANYONE, even someone as good as Lebron could somehow play like Magic.
If Lebron can’t be Magic the only other option is for Wade to decide he’s gonna be the Mega version of Scottie Pippen and shut down the opposing teams best defender and do all the little things while Lebron dominates the ball.
Short of this happening in Miami, I don’t think it will end well..
I for one think that this Heat team matchup wise is a nightmare for the Lakers on the defensive end so I am looking forward to seeing the stifling Lakers D we have seen the past 8 games, because if we don’t see it the score could get ugly fast.
Unfortunately I think Phil Jackson may have put his foot in his mouth by even commenting on the Heat players recently. I know he loves his mind games but I don’t want to wake a Sleeping (struggling) giant. This game could be the perfect storm to snap the Heat out of their struggles and while the Lakers have been playing extremely well, the media has a short term memory when it comes to assessing what a team has done as a whole on the season and this one game could change the view for each team very easily.
Here’s hoping the Lakers come out and stick a fork in the Heat and don’t give them any confidence for the rest of the year.
Craig W. says
The Heat are slashers. Bynum is still susceptible to getting fouls against good slashers. This is a key to this game. Andrew must be somewhat stationary and keep his arms straight up, not bring them forward to block the ball. He will not get some balls he might have in the past, but he will change many shots and avoid fouls if he plays that way.
20, I doubt it. We’re dealing with Lebron here. Even if Andrew is completely stationary, hands straight up, I bet he’ll get at least two fouls called on him for blocking. Lebron is probably second to Pierce as the most protected player in the NBA by the refs. There is nothing Andrew can do that will save him from the refs. It’s all up to them.
LA didnt play that bad of a game Christmas, Miami took control after Kobe tried to go one against five because his teammates were playing uninspired ball. Since the all-star break LA has been nothing but inspired and focused. Miami will have to play better than Christmas day, currently they just dont look up to the challenge at this point of the season.
Dwight Howard did a phenomenal job defensively against the Heat during that comeback win last week. He consistently went straight up, body and arms, absorbing all of the contact forced by Wade and Lebron. He wasn’t called for fouls, because there was no extra curricular attempt to make a play on the ball. The key for Drew is to not worry about getting the block but just creating a large obstacle that they have to shoot over while they’re already off balance. The refs will definitely call if the contact is absorbed and Bynum or Pau take another swipe towards the ball.
You can watch on the web here:
Bynum got the ball and the post and it seemed like he had no idea what to do with it. Maybe because he hasn’t gotten it for so long?
magic days says
I hope the Lakers come out and demolish the heat. I want revenge for xmas. the bonus of a beating would be the psychological factor of a huge beating sending the heat into a tailspin that most likely (imo) result in the firing of Eric S.
I don’t believe that Riley will stay on the sidelines and not step in if this continues.
what’s with Kobe?
i sorta expected this, which is kinda funny ;P
So much for winning the turnovers early….
I know it is a lot to hope for from a finesse player like Gasol, but I dearly wish he would just throw an elbow. Just once. Simply clean someone’s clock, knock some teeth out, bloody someone up.
Anything at all would be preferable to the constant whining about getting fouled.
The secret is out Pau, people can slap your hands, and it bothers you…
(Wow. Kind of a pathetic crowd in Miami, at the moment… Sounds like a Triple A baseball game…)
fisher on lebron, and lebron goes for a triple. not phi beta kappa, as chick used to say.
I like the way we’re executing the defensive game plan right now, but giving up so many offensive boards and turning it over carelessly doesn’t help.
On a side note, Bosh is the kind of guy I’d elbow if played against him in a pickup game. He’s pounding his chest after an easy dunk from a Dampier pass? You’ve gotta be kidding me.
Fisher guarding Lebron? That’s so radical it might work…
Triangle experts, is this a new wrinkle that sometimes Gasol or even Bynum steps out beyond the 3-point line to help swing the ball and then dives? I’m not sure I have seen that in earlier games or previous seasons, the bigs have been mostly screeners out there.
Artest was having too much fun, it seems…
Travis Y. says
Right now Bosh is winning the battle between him and Gasol.
Gasol so far has treated this like a regular season game. Bosh has not.
Let’s just hope he is able to elevate it (again) in the playoffs.
Maybe they will just let Kobe guard Wade and put a hand in Chalmers face, Fisher had no reason to help that much
I hope Bibby brought hi Sacramento track record against the Lakers with him…
Shannon’s duck-under-the-shooter technique is the worst ploy in the NBA.
We let them get a little momentum at the end if the 1st. That’s bad. Honestly, the Heat want to win this game so bad. We need to want it more!!
Really poor effort on the defensive boards right now.
Giving up wayyyy too many offensive boards…
Come on guys Rebound.
Back to the same old refrain – we have to stop them getting second shots.
Too many offensive rebounds.
I am really enjoying the feed off of the TNT site… Nice to see the isolation cameras. They really give you an indication of how much of a beating an NBA player takes, game in and game out.
do you have other link available
It seems like we can pull away a bit after the timeout. Right now, I’D go with Bynum and Odom, Gasol has rebounded quite poorly so far.
They are getting TONS of second chances. Take those away and we’re doing fine. We are playing better than them and getting easier shots. Lets just hope Kobe can keep everyone involved and Drew brings it.
SECOND CHANCE! SECOND CHANCE! Come on.
Wow, Mike Miller has looked useless since coming back from his injury, but he’s breaking out today.
why is nobody boxing out mike miller…?
Didn’t think we’d be losing the rebounding battle so bad.
Does anyone else get the sense that the Lakers have not shifted into their highest gear? I don’t know if it is intentional or not, but they don’t have the focus they brought against San Antonio.
Barnes is definitely still recovering from his surgery. He’s slow on his rotations, on his close-outs, and he’s been unable to stop Mike Miller.
pau is no doubt a great player but he’s playing soft defensively.
why do role players always light up the lakers?
Derek Fisher might be the only guy in the league who’s better at defending 2-on-1 than 1-on-1…
The guards and 3s aren’t even hinting at boxing out today.
Chris D says
Lakers need to grab a rebound. We’re giving up wayyy too many 2nd chance points. We’re playing okay, but need to box out or else this could be San Antonio b4 the ASG all over again
Did our boys develop a sudden allergy to rebounding?! What’s the deal?
Bynum has 0 rebounds. 0!
Its been said before on here, but Fisher has to be the games best 1 on 2 defender…it’s really amazing how an old 6 foot guard can break up so many fast breaks on his own. One of those intangibles we love him for
The Heat are putting one of the bigs (Bosh the last few possessions) in the pick and roll. Our bigs do a pretty good job of containing that so far so the second help doesn’t have to be as deep as it has been in my opinion. Stay a bit closer to Miller/Chalmers and not have to close out so far.
ahh that’s artest’s patented move.
Artest is locked in. Great to see.
that was a sweet steal by artest…vehdie nice.
they are taking lots of long jump shots which is how they keep getting those rebounds…we will be better the second half.
bosh is punking gasol…not good
actually ill take that back. our effort on the boards just isnt there thus far.
it always seems to me that in the games where our bigs and our length can dominate, neither dominates.
losing rebound battle 21-13. that’s the story so far.
Also too many jumpers for the Lakers right now. Need to get that ball close to the basket – why not give Bynum an opportunity once or have Kobe post?
hopefully in the 2nd half, lakers can do a better job cleaning up the boards and closing out on 3s
we’re in good shape right now
I honestly thought bosh was one of the softest big in the league but wow pau is shrinking away from any contact. he’s even doing the crybaby “i was fouled” face
gasol nailed bosh to the floor, james worthy style.
Spoke too soon Jay
I honestly think the Lakers are not going all out here. And I think they are alright with that. Not sure why.
I mean that as an observation, not a complaint.
Come on Pau, are you serious.
Clearly giving up 55 points in a half is not going to get it done. The main reason would be second chance points due to so many offensive boards given up.
If the team can focus on controlling the glass, the 2nd half should be a different story. To only be down by 2 with such a rebounding gap is hopefully a good thing.
the heat have 12 offensive rebounds at the half. 12 !! 12 !! My god!! wipe the damn glass lakers!!
Can someone tell me how many second chance points the Heat have scored so far? It has to be the reason the Lakers aren’t up by like 8 right now
We’d be in the drivers seat if we would just put a body on them on defense. I have a feeling this one is going down to the wire…both teams are playing well offensively, but Cryami more so through hustle points.
If we rebound the second half the way we should… we will definitely win this game. Too many second opportunities for them, and seriously, Bosh isnt this good.
Pathetic on the glass so far.
Let’s see what kind of adjustment the team makes.
LT Mitchell says
Lakers have 15 total rebounds. The Heat have 12 offensive rebounds.
outrebounded 23 to 15. 15 second chance points for Miami. That will change. I am confident.
12 to 5 on offensive rebounds, 15 to 6 on second chance points
78 – I think it’s 15-4 now. In favor of Miami, of course.
The Lakers should be pretty happy with this first half. Guys are hitting their shots and not getting into too many bad situations on offense. I like that we’ve initiated the triangle in different ways, which keeps Miami on their toes. On defense, we’re forcing Miami into the shots we want – with the exception of a few over-helps by guards, leaving Miller and Chalmers open behind the 3 line.
Second half: do the same…but rebound. We did it against Boston, we can do it against Miami.
Great first half… The two best teams in the NBA going at it… What more can you ask for? I’m impressed by the way the Lakers are playing. I know we are down two but you know how I feel about Miami. They are a legendary basketball team in my opinion and we are down 2 at the half in Miami. I’d like to see Bynum get the ball in the post more. He is the only Laker with a sizable advantage.
And sorry to break the news to you… Bosh is a great player. He dominated us in LA too. He is a all star every year and the starting PF on the USA National Team. When he gets the ball on the elbow the only Laker that can guard him is Andrew Bynum. But we need big Drew in the paint protecting the basket.
Suddenly Chris Bosh has heart. Let’s see him do it back to back halves.
LA is keeping the game close in the first half off of talent alone. Hopefully they will put there foot on the gas in the second half too put the game away. Miami played its best during that first half and still couldnt go on a long run to give themselves a sizeable advantage.
Know the clock, Pau! Irritating.
The thing that alarms me about the first half (other than the obvious rebounding issues) is that the heat’s role players beat us. There is no way that Wade and Lebron will each have less than 10 points in the second half.
The lakers must turn up the defensive intensity and block out if they want to have a chance in the 2nd half. If not, the Lakers will get blown out when Wade/Lebron get hot.
For those that remember, Bosh also gave us fits on XMas day. From what I’ve seen, they have been two of his more aggressive games offensively and on the boards this year..Pau’s lackadaisical demeanor seems to bring that out in some. That said, Paus been dynamite on offense when given opportunities.
Igor Avidon says
Bosh will get bottled up, but one of the other two supperbuddies will go off (most likely King Crab)
LA is keeping the game close in the first half off of talent alone. Hopefully they will put there foot on the gas in the second half too put the game away. LA will sure up the defensive boards after the break, champs using the rope a dope on the paper champs.
John Morris says
If they win the rebounding in the 2nd half they win the game.
Mostly agree with the sentiments here, if we rebound the basketball we are up by 8 easily. Our initial defense is good, just need to finish the possession. Hopefully Gasol and Kobe can keep up the offense…
aaron, Bosh is not as good as he is playing right now but he gets credit for bringing his A game tonight.
Cold start by both teams to the 2nd half.
At least Kobe’s now got a number in the assist column!
ron does some crazy shit sometimes.
ill give credit where credits due, Bosh is doing an awesome job on the boards.
Seems like Dampiers only job tonight is to box out Bynum, and hes doing a decent job of it.
Kobe’s J looks off tonight. As a result, he’s not dominating the ball and it seems like we’re actually getting solid balance coming out of the offense.
Artest running an interesting play there.
Our defense is picking up now, we were sluggish in the first part of the game, looking sharper now. Bynum definitely trying to hit the boards hard.
For the next time-out, watch ths short NBA feature on Kobe and Fish through the years:
Strange game. The first team to get on a small run might win it, it feels. Time to get a couple of stops in a row.
lakers offense seems to be a bit gummed up. they’re holding the ball and permitting miami to get their schemes set up.
The Heat have made 2 field goals in 6 minutes and we’re still losing? Wow. Make a damn shot!
We’re getting the stops – just not making the shots!
Well, I guess asking Kobe to play within the flow of offense is too much to ask. Why doesn’t he ever just learn? Everytime we play the Heat, even before the big signings, Kobe takes the rest of the team out of flow.
Standing there in triple threat and jacking up a shot without any player or ball movement?
that’s our bynum.
Kobes D tonight is nothing short of spectacular…for all the lazy rotations this season, he can still lock down whenever he wants to
So, are the Lakers so good that they are staying close on purpose, so that they can then blow the Heat out in the fourth?
This is a much better pace for the lakers…This is the type of slow grind it out game the lakers know how to win. I dont think Miami has figured it out yet but we will see..
just magic says
when bynum brings it the lakers are beastly and can beat any team. he needs to keep it up and they need to go inside more.
Bosh cant guard Pau
111. That makes no sense.
argh, could’ve put the game away!
Been at work and havent been watching the game. How do we look guys? Must be playing some smoothering D though, 7 points for the Heat the whole 3rd???
bad pass by Drew; he needed to take that up strong to the hoop
I’m happy that we’re winning, but I’m sorry, we should be up 15-20 right now. Miami is trying to give the game to us, and we don’t seem to want it at all.
just magic says
too many turnovers. giving the game away.
Good God our interior passing has been horrible the last few plays. Turnover after turnover.
kobe just missed a bunny. lol i know he wants that one back.
Terrible. Turnover after turnover.
im hating the way Lamar is playing defense this game.
Good lord LA take care of the freaking ball. This should be a 10 point lead right now
just magic says
lakers should have had that rebound. too much standing around.
124, agreed, the Lakers just stood around as 57 year-old Juwan Howard walked into the rebound.
win or lose, this game will give Heat some confidence unless we can rout them at the end somehow…
Yeah, the execution has just been sloppy and the turnovers are worse than missed shots as far as giving Miami momentum
What a game… I love this. I wish we had a back up Center though… We cant get a rebound when Bynum goes to the bench.
Lamar has been nothing more than disgusting on the defensive end today. No effort to box out or contest shots.We’d be better putting Theo out there injured on D.
That stretch when we were up 6 could kill us in the end. We had multiple opportunities to build a solid lead, but kept throwing lazy passes and didn’t run the offense with any determination.
Lakers are playing like they know they’re the better team…that may be true, but it’s a dangerous game to play. Gotta show more hustle if we want to win tonight
That should’ve been a great quarter. We held them to 13 and grabbed more boards. But the turnovers and missed FGs just killed us. Down to the wire in the 4th by the looks of it.
Chris D says
wow – 15 points in the 3rd. Lakers have been great on D, but disgustingly sloppy on O. otherwise should be at least 10 ahead. im not liking this you guys …. if Miami gets hot, we might be in for a long night
just magic says
lakers need to win the rebounding battle if they are to win this. reminds me of finals game 7. difficulty with offense. defense is picking up. comes down to rebounds.
Bynum has come alive in this second half. 8 boards since half-time now.
Andreas G. says
Pau is not on his game tonight. Sure, he gets some points – but that’s to be expected when guarded by the Heat.
What impresses me is that the Lakers haven’t really played a good five minutes of basketball yet, and they’re still winning..
We only have 9 TO’s? Did they all come in the last few minutes of the 3rd?
Crazy, all 5 Lakers starters have a positive +/-, all 5 Heat starters are negative, and both benches are reverse of their team’s starters.
I’m on a train on the way home (staring at Oakland Coliseum currently), so I have comments here and the Yahoo box score to give me updates.
That’s the second over zealous rotation by Steve Blake leading to a 3.
Bynum does remind me of ‘the beast’ in x-men. He’s about the same size and they both like to read.
The Lakers are shooting better, more efficient at the 3-point line, and have more free throws made and attempted. Control the glass and this is a win.
Um how was that a foul? Lebron just ran into bynum who was standing still. Bbq’d refereeing is such a crock, I hate lebron
just magic says
Come on Odom. terrible time to be disappearing. gotta lead the bench. he’s been kinda off the last couple of games.
odom must have heard me. that was a nice drive to the hoop for the foul by odom. odom coming on strong now. needs to keep it up.
Does Steve Blake know that he’s actually supposed to cover his man?
Lamar met khloe in Miami i heard. I think she sucked the energy out of him….goddamnit. Im being serious in case your wondering.
Odom should not finish this game. He has not played focused defense and hasn’t been particularly good on offense. Bynum + Gasol need to finish.
anyone else having nightmareish flashbacks of bibby hitting threes against the lakers with Sacramento?
blake is playing way too far off of bibby
come on LAMAAAAAAAAAAAR!
This is a bigger game for Miami, I did not expect the Lakers to blow them out. I predicted this would go down to the wire and I think that is what we are going to see.
Too much ball watching.
just magic says
ok. can we get the starters back in?
There could be A LOT of free throws over the next 7 minutes…
lets go lakers lets go!!!!!!!
Bynum is proving that he deserves to be there at the end of games.
Can we please stop double clutching on our shots like we’re afraid it’s gonna get blocked?! Get it together already!
I hope Kobe is conserving his energy for a strong and aggressive final six minutes. I’m liking our defense, but we’re gonna need some more scores.
Wow… This is a heavy weight fight… Two of the best teams ever to play in the NBA going at it toe to toe. And they both look like they have taken a few punches stumbling around out there midway through the 4th. This is one of the best regular season games I’ve ever seen.
Aaron, I hope you’re joking. No matter which team I was a fan of, I would say that they have both played absolutely piss poor!
159. exactly right i believe.
bynum! nice pass.
just magic says
it is good to see bynum in at the end of games. he definitely deserves it. he worked for it.
Gasol gets the and 1
To roll out an old cliche, it’s definitely been a game of 2 halves. First half with both offenses putting up 50+, and now this grind-it-out 2nd half with a lot of missed shots and turnovers.
just magic says
what’s with the layup drill? lakers cannot afford to play bad d right now.
Sub in joe smith for Gasol please.
Live and die by Kobe once again it seems.
Kobe vs. LeBron, Wade and Bosh in terms of crunch time shooting.
Man, what a missed opportunity on that possession. Ouch.
Damn. Damn. Damn. Kobe so clutch right now, but Wade with a huge defensive play.
They’re scoring too easily right now. If not for Kobe’s miracle 3’s, they’d be pulling away. This is what you fear when facing 2 incredible perimeter penetrators.
God we needed Pau to finish that bunny around the rim so bad
Execution down the stretch. This will be interesting, given that we all think LA gets too iso-centric with Kobe, and everyone’s been bashing Miami for their inability to close out games…
We need smart ball movement. Too much dribbling without purpose right now by Jellybean.
You know what would be fantastic right now? Players who can rebound.
Kobe is great, but his handle has suffered the most from his injuries…
How good would he have been these last three seasons with healthy hands?
lakers don’t really deserve to win this game.
nochalantly bringing the ball up, nonchalantly running the offense, leading to low-percentage shots with the clock running down and preventable turnovers.
we gotta run the pick and roll kobe and pau.
just magic says
it looks like it’s going to be a do or die by kobe ending. proving who’s more clutch. not looking too good. 3 vs 1 kobe.
I think Bynum told Gasol to switch to Bosh, that made it better a little bit. Still, tonight Gasol has not been able to contest successfully.
Hoping Kobe sticks with the pick and roll over trying to penetrate by his own.
Ron is so horrible on offensive it makes me vomit
Why the hell is Odom checking into the game?
can someone tell me why bynum is out of the game? are they matching with quickness? I dont get it…
Ron catching the ball with 10 seconds on the clock is a recipe for disaster.
just magic says
if only artest could jump higher. that ball would have gone.
Nice goaltending and foul by Miami.
Looks like the Heat have figured out how to score in the clutch. Don’t give the ball to Lebron.
Did Artest even leave the ground?
Seriously point blank range and Ron misses an uncontested layup. What a freaking joke
It’s not the loss, it’s the way they lost. On one end Kobe choking with absolutely stupid play, and a layup drill on the other end. Just pathetic. Really frustrating game to watch
Matt R. says
Kobe got killed by Wade and James on that pass, no foul.
Oh well. Horrible play at the end of the 3rd quarter did us in.
just magic says
terrible time to choke. phil looks annoyed.
well hey if one team gets all the calls
Well if we would have taken care of business earlier and been up by 20 like we should have, none of this crap down the stretch would even matter.
We’re not getting calls, but that’s no excuse for losing the ball, giving up layups, throwing up off balance 3s, and missing layups. That’s the story of the last three minutes.
Nice. Moving screen foul, golatend and holding foul by Miami. Any of them called? Nope. Home team? Miami.
Well, no matter who wins this, the only thing that has been proven (again) is that NBA referees are terrible…
not a bad game by the lakers…if anything, they played sloppy and gave away this game to Miami.
Matt R. says
You can’t say only one team got all the calls, the Lakers have twice as many free throw attempts as the Heat.
The refs have swallowed their whistles at the end of a close game, which is what we usually ask them to do.
Besides, the Lakers should have been up 4-8 going into the 4th, but fell apart. Then Kobe going into hero mode took the wind out at the end.
Igor Avidon says
this game looks like its done.
Matt R. says
LeBron trips over Artest’s foot and goes to the line.
Roflcopter. James falls down and gets a foul call. 2nd most protected player in the game.
Man, funny thing was when Phil was drawing up the play, I was thinking he should take Artest out on offense.
Ah well. A big loss would have been more disappointing.
Seriously Noles, that awful end to the 3rd quarter is what lost this game. And Blizzard you are crazy if you think Kobe choked, did you even watch the 4th? Kobe had a bad turnover on a great defensive play by Wade but he kept the Lakers in the game by hitting two huge 3 pointers.
Can’t say I didn’t see this one coming, the Lakers have let teams end streaks against them all season long. Just sucks it comes against the Heat.
Too many Jesus shots by Kobe down the stretch.
Andreas G. says
Jeez what a flop.
oh well. let’s go knicks!
good game miami. on to the next one.
Lakers breath life into Heat. Blah.
Just what the Lakers needed, another bad play.
Way to give the damn game away! Absolutely pathetic! I rarely criticize Kobe, but this one is quite a bit on him!
Now we just hope NY gets going against the Mavs so we don’t slip back a game in the West.
I thought we had a height and length advantage. where did it go? how did we get outrebounded? did the heat big men just draw our guys out and let the guards rebound?
Look on the bright side – you think we’ll have to worry about seeing Miami in the Finals?
Anyways, if we had to win either Miami or Dallas, I’d rather we win at Dallas.
Tied score, LeBron moving screen on Kobe (knocks him over) and Wade scores.
Other end, our shot is still ON THE RIM, Iggy knocks it off. No golatend call.
Next possession, Kobe gets a pass, has his arm grabbed and ripped away from the ball. No foul called, Miami gets the ball.
At the end, LeBron runs and trips over Artest’s foot (Ron isn’t even looking). Foul, Lakers. Lebron free throws.
Fail refs. Sick of this.
Wow!!! I am not used on blaming the refs but crucial calls in favor of the heat gave the game away.
Very disappointed in the execution, or lack thereof, down the stretch.
Two turnovers in the last minute by Kobe alone, not to mention his questionable shot selection throughout most of the game.
I wanted the Lakers to win this one so bad. Pretty pissed off since the Lakers were actually up 6 before letting the Heat score 3, 4 lay ups in a row.
Kobe with some poor decisions down the stretch. Shake this loss off and get ready for Saturday and beat the Mavs
like i said before, we didn’t use our length advantage at all. execution down the stretch was awful, and I hate to mention it, but I will…a few pretty bad calls helped the ‘Miami Tears’ pull it out. all we can do now is hope dallas loses.
The last 2 minutes were lost by Phil and Artest. Phil took Bynum out for one defensive possession that resulted in a easy lay up for Wade because Phil when the game was tight went back to his comfort zone for one series before realizing his mistake and putting Bynum back in. And Artest choked a lay up that would have tied the game. But what a game that was. We played great against what I think is the best team in the NBA. If we have HCA against them I think we can beat them in the finals.
@217 – can’t really blame this on the refs – the calls were horrible, but we put ourselves in the position to let the calls affect the game when we shouldn’t have. Turnovers and soft D were why we lost.
Lakers continue to choke in the close games this year. A very bad habit and it is becoming playoff time soon.
The Kobe Sucks chant worked! Kobe took that terrible shot after the time out and took 21 shots to get 24 points. That why he will go down as most missed field goals in NBA history.
Heat swagger has just been reset…and I think they’ve finally figured out who their closer is.
just magic says
kobe (should have adjusted to the officiating) and artest (should have just focused on defense) choked this game away in the final minutes.
guess there will another HA piece tomorrow on kobe not being clutch.
let’s go knicks!
216, normally I would agree. But not this game. It’s not like Miami lit the house on fire and barely beat us. They played like crap and we still lost! That’s what pisses me off. We handed that game to them.
8884, did anyone else even touch the ball, or defend the ballhandler? That’s all on Kobe, they went from tied to losing by 6, even with his two lucky threes.
Andreas G. says
noles: Really? Sure, he missed some – but he was left with no choice most of the time.
Lack of rebounding, not shooting the ball well and not getting calls down the stretch…those were the main reasons I think. Still, the Lakers were right there – on the Heat’s homecourt – despite not playing well. I’d feel pretty confident in a seven game series vs this team.
I would like the Lakers to get some more wins however. It would be nice to have HCA in the finals (which we’ll get to).
Ron played great.
Eh, we played hard, good playoff tuneup. Fun to watch
Kobe played poorly in the clutch, I’ll give him a pass. Let’s see what happens in the playoffs.
This game wasn’t lost by the referees. We started the game with poor intensity in the 1st half, when we could have built a sizeable lead.
Then our defensive intensity picked up, but our offensive execution was awful. Turnover after turnover. Too many difficult interior passes in tight spaces.
Then we finished the night with a nice helping of both poor offense and D. The last few minutes of the game were exactly like Christmas – Wade getting to the rim off high picks, and with the foul calls the Heat get, the only big under the rim (Pau usually) just went straight up and down helplessly. Offensive execution went flat, courtesy of a couple boneheaded decisions by Artest (not knocking him though as he played a great overall game); our offense was only buoyed by Kobe’s pair of 3’s, or else they would have pulled away sooner.
Meh. Kobe’s shot is off. Drew forgets to rebound in the first half. Nothing from our bench (aside from Odom). And it still came down to some bad execution at the end. I was frustrated we let this slip away, but looking back now, as long as we learn from our mistakes, I’m happy.
213, I would say there’s plenty of blame to go around.
1) Odom decided today was a great day not to show up to work. Probably was out late partying in South Beach.
2) Gasol played woman defense against Chris Bosh.
3) Bynum decided not to show up until the 2nd half.
4) The Killer B’s decided to not make a single shot.
Aaron, I can only assume you are being sarcastic about the quality of play of these two teams. The second half has been a crapfest.
I am bummed the Lakers lost because they could have made up a game on Dallas and Boston. The Heat don’t scare me anymore. Unless Chicago and Boston have serious injury issues I don’t see this Heat team doing much.
I understand the complaints about how we shouldn’t have been in the position to let the calls decide the game, but we were. When multiple turnovers are caused by bad calls its not a “bad decision” by kobe. If you get fouled and lose the ball, there is no way to adjust to the officiating.
Its games like this one that infuriate me beyond belief. Good grief.
233, Snoopy. Saying the game wasn’t lost by the refs is kinda like saying the game wasn’t lost by Kobe’s 7 missed FG’s in a row: It didn’t lose us the game, but it sure didn’t help.
Zephid, I agree. That’s why I didn’t say this was ALL on Kobe. And like I said, I rarely criticize him. But his play down the stretch tonight was just suspect, in my opinion.
But you’re right. The team as a whole played poorly. We shouldn’t have even been in that position at the end.
Big picture, this game doesn’t define the season. I just hate giving away games we should’ve easily won. Especially to a team I hate like Miami. Let’s hope we take it out on Dallas on Saturday…
I wouldn’t read anything into this regular season game other than neither team brought their A game and the Heat made the plays down the stretch to win the game. It would have been nice to put pressure on Dallas but if the Lakers win the 2 remaining games against Dallas they should gain the 2nd seed.
Overall just a frustrating game to watch especially given how both teams were playing coming into the game.
For all those who said the wouldn’t mind the loss, choke on this one. It was sickning.
Igor Avidon says
The Heat won because they let Wade close it out. He’s the ONLY closer on that team. Yeah we had some shitty calls/non-calls go against us, but that’s not the only reason we lost. Heat have talent. Overall this Heat team can be great if they decide to let Wade be The Man. If LeBron becomes Scottie, that team is unstoppable for many years.
Rebounds killed us. Bench was outplayed. I liked how we defended James and Wade though. Hell, even Bosh (who probably won’t play that well again this season). Tonight’s problems were most effort based. There is no doubt in my mind that we would wear down this team in a playoff series. Unfortunately, I don’t think Miami can get past Boston. I’m more interested to see how we play against Dallas because there’s a good chance we’ll see them in the post season.
refs were bad, but the crowd goaded kobe into taking jesus shots. nights like these validate henry abbott and his kobe unclutch thesis.
I’m surprised you cant tell the difference between two average teams fighting it out and two all time great teams going at it. Was everything “pretty” to the average fan? I don’t know. But to me this was the most beautiful regular season game I can remember. It had all the feel of an NBA Finals game. The guys were going back and forth, back and forth the whole game. You had Lebron, Kobe, Wade, Gasol, Bosh, Bynum, Artest, and Odom all on the floor. It was like an all star game. Every second they were playing all out. But if you think watching the Lakers steamroll the less than spectacular Spurs is more aesthetically pleasing…
just magic says
kobe has 1 unclutch game and we get bombarded by stories mostly initiated by HA. when the heatles and lebron chokes 5 in a row, nothing is mentioned. fair and balance?
Blizzard, you blame Kobe but basketball is a team sport. It’s irresponsible for you to blame one player for that loss.
I knew the Heat would win, but I am still satisfied with the effort. If the Lakers do the little things they win the game. On to the next game
Extremely disappointing. The lakers collapsed down the stretch. They did so many things wrong in the in the second half. Although officials basically allowed Wade to hit kobe on every shot attempt, he still didn’t help the situation by trying to go one on one in the fourth and taking bad shots. The bench came in to start the fourth and continued their recent terribleness.
This game absolutely proved why bynum absolutely has to finish every single game. Lamar and Gasol are not a presence at the rim whatsoever. Has Gasol’s hamstring issues over the past 2 seasons completely diminished his explosion and quickness on the defensive end. Gasol is so slow contesting shots. Even when he’s there he doesn’t alter shots. The lakers also ran to many isolations for artest and he came up empty every time.
I thought fisher was bad in the second half as well. He took way to many hero shots as Doc would call them and he only made that one contested 3. The lakers overall played okay defense in the second half but completely forgot how when defend towards the end of the 3rd quarter. And the icing on the cake they were out rebounded by 9. In the end it was winnable but continued to miss opportunities.
Very frustrating game.
Could not have said it better Joel.
Aaron, your narratives could make a person puke…the BS meter when you speak is around a 9.9…a team that has never even played a playoff series together should not be referred to as an all-time great team. That is a huge slap in the face of every championship team that has come before them. Respect the game. Give them a little bit of time before you go reaching with the historical comparisons. Their starting center is Eric Dampier for god’s sake.
I also enjoyed this game more than the win against the Spurs, it was a brutal battle throughout. Watching the best-of-the-best go at it, head-to-head makes for a great NBA game, for sure. I am OK with this 1 out of 82 game loss, anyway.
I said it in the first half, the Lakers were coasting. It reminded me of the Atlanta game. The only difference is that Miami has better players than Atlanta. Instead of kicking it into high gear at the end, they stalled.
All the individual failures have been pointed out. Pretty much everyone had a subpar game. I am pretty sure that Odom and others may have had other things on their mind on this leg of the trip.
On to Dallas – that is a game that really does matter.
Game was lost in the third. LA stepped up the defense, but couldn’t close the deal on the other end. LA had a chance to seize the game by the throat and let it slip away…..
Bench was awful…..
LO should donate his check for tonight’s game to charity…he doesn’t deserve to keep it….
Drew should donate half of his…he didn’t show up until the second half….
Or, LO and Drew can give the money to Ron, who, as a positive, hustled his butt off tonight….
Miami got their dream game:
A win over the Lakers that not only breaks our winning streak but break their losing streak. Refs ignore obvious fouls but calls them in favor of Miami at the end. On top of that, Kobe chokes on shots at the end and LeBron seals the deal with free throws.
They can watch this game on tape while we’re beating Boston in the Finals.
Can someone tell me did Steve Blake make the trip to Miami? Because that guy has been a non-factor all season
Didn’t get to watch the game, as I worked until about 2 minutes were left of game, lakers were down 90-88 and I was listening on radio.
From what I could gather, Ron missed an easy layup, after Kobes shot was partially blocked, and that led to a relatively easy wade layup. Then we missed another contested shot, and didn’t foul bosh before he could call timeout. Lebron runs over Artest and gets a foul call on a flop, andmthat was game.
Disappointing cuz I wanted the win, but from what I can tell there was terrible offensive execution with no sense of urgency with a minute left. Lakers bwent like 6/23 in the fourth quarter as a team, which is awful.
Now we gotta get that win at Dallas next, and lets root for the knocks to beat Dallas tonight…
And stoudamire got injured. Still hope the knicks pull this one out against Dallas.
I just hope this doesn’t spark a losing streak as games like this so often have this season. They have dallas in dallas then orlando at home. The lakers could easily lose the next two games. If they really improved, then they’ll only need this one wake up call and won’t keep hitting the snooze button.
Once again we lose to a Lebron led team and it’s funny how it played out just like last season. Get destroyed, at home, on Christmas Day and then lose a close one to him n his building. The only difference being is that last season it was Pau playing soft down the stretch against the Cavs and tonight it was Kobe with some terrible shot selections late n the 4th that helped doom us.
Gotta give it to Miami, they played with more poise n the 4th and earned this victory. Looks as if we’ll lose ground to the Mavs cause they’ll definitely ceased the opportunity to move up a game.
Go Mavs. Gonna be a great run to the playoffs.
The glaring issue I’m seeing right now with the Lakers is bench production. Blake is completely out of place and timid, and Shannon’s jumper has regressed to the mean. Lamar is the only consistent (we’ll excuse tonight) player off the bench right now. When Barnes gets back to 100% that should provide a spark, but we are really going to need a solid 15-20 minutes a game from the guard spots during the playoffs.
…I shouldn’t say most glaring issue, but really the only major issue that I’m seeing right now. On a positive note, Artest has regained his jumper – that’s is a huge, huge plus for the starting unit. Now only if we could work on his layups…Mikan drill anyone??
Gotta give credit where credit’s due. Despite Wade’s travel on almost every foray to the rim, he is a monster closer. He is the team’s Mariano Rivera. Lebron is more appropriately a great set-up man.
I felt this game was absolutely a trap game for the Lakers, with Miami in a do or die mode. Gasol was so flat-footed on defense today, and Barnes is clearly rounding back into shape. I’m a little disappointed with Kobe’s shot selection at the end, and hope this is not how we intend to close games in the playoffs.
I thought that game was lost in the third quarter, when the defense was rolling but the offense sputtered – there were a lot of bad shots and careless turnovers, and instead of stretching the lead from 6 to 12 or 14, the Lakers let Miami cut it to 2 at the break.
I let myself be mad for about five minutes after the game and then let it go. A 3-1 trip was what I was hoping for, and I’d rather have the Dallas game. Hopefully this loss will have the Lakers mad and determined going into the next contest.
I’m irked that the Lakers lose so many regular season contests to LeBron’s teams but I’ll trade that any time for parades in June.
The heat scored 5 baskets late in the game on layups.
Blake has been just anemic on offense. I mean, even a damned broken clock is right twice a day and but blake cannot seem to have a great shooting night–ever. Brown stunk too.
Wins on Saturday and Monday would still make this post-all star stretch very good for the lakers 10-2.
But in sports, the narrative always changes. Before this game the Lakers could do no wrong, and the Heat sucked. Now, the Heat are “back.” That’s why I was cheering for the Heat to beat Portland the other night to avaoid coming into tonite so Hungry.
The Dude Abides says
All in all, it was a pretty intense game. One of the reasons we committed turnovers is because Miami’s wings are very good at playing the passing lanes and getting steals. That’s not what bugged me. What I didn’t like about the game were three plays (besides Ron’s Benny Hill-Yakety Sax forays while dribbling): one play on defense, where Steve Blake decided to leave Mike Bibby alone beyond the arc in order to prevent the rotting corpse of Juwan Howard from taking a 15-ft jump shot; one play on offense, where Fish threw a 75-ft lob pass to Pau (who wasn’t even open) when a 60-ft pass would have been accurate; and one play on the defensive boards, where three Lakers stood around and let said rotting corpse of Juwan Howard grab a rebound after it bounced on the floor.
Wow. Kobe conducting post-game shoot around by himself for over an hour after the game. Sad but true, it must be tough for someone like Kobe to realize his athleticism must inexorably decline each day. He’s starting to stare at mortality, just like the rest of us.
Could this be Kobe’s rendition of Doc’s leaving $$$ in the Staples Center locker room? Kobe shooting around, dropping some $$$ to pick up should the Lakers and Heat meet in the Finals.
Zephid – That could be said by virtually any team in almost any close, critical game. Not saying it’s incorrect, just saying there was plenty of shitty play I’d point at before looking at the refs.
Agreed on the bench play. I think the Heat also picked a convenient game to realize Wade (as someone stated above) is a better closer than Lebron. That could be because Spoelstra respected Artest’s defense and thought it was easier to free up Wade – so I’ll be interested to see who the Heat go to in the future.
The Heat got it together on offense in the last few minutes. All of their 3 All-Stars were heavily involved in same plays, the passes were crisp, and they looked sure of themselves on offense in a way I’ve rarely seen. Kudos to them.
Also agreed with 3Three. Where Kobe’s fingers hurt him is his dribble…it’s a shame, when you think about how devastating he’d still be with healthy hands.
some are speculating that Kobe has a chance to break KAJ all-time scoring record provided he plays six more seasons and averages 24 ppg. that seems so out of the question. maybe he could do that on a crappy team at the age of 35/36 but I couldn’t imagine on a contending Lakers team.
maybe on the clippers or twolves
Talk about a stretch, DY. His athleticism has been declining for 3 years now. Yet, he’s still winning chips and his numbers are consistent. His offensive efficiency is higher this year than last year. He’s averaging 2 less points, but also playing 5 less minutes. Kobe let his team down tonight with his shooting, and so he’s putting in extra work because of it. I know there’s a lot of people who want to see him fade with age, but it hasn’t happened yet and you probably shouldn’t hold your breath.
The Dude Abides, those same 3 plays blew my mind. Even high school basketball players could recognize what the smarter plays were in those situations. Although the rebound to me symbolized the Lakers effort on the glass all night – lackluster at best.
Matt, thank you for pointing out the obvious. I have been trying to say that same thing all season long but it got to the point where I sounded like a broken record. Kobe is not going anywhere.
I saw on TNT stats before the game started that showed that Kobe is a better closer since 2003-2004 than Lebron and DWade COMBINED. Abbot and Hollinger should stick that in their pipes and smoke it.
Really? Really? You need to see them play for 3 years straight to see if they are an all time great team? I didn’t need to see the Lakers play after they got Gasol to know there were one of the best teams of all time. All you need to do is look at a roster. If Deron Williams, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwight Howard were on the same team you would need to see them ay for a few years to know they were one of the best teams of all time? Really? Really? They have the best SF, the 2nd best SG, and at worst a top 2 PF all on the same team. Didn’t AC Green start on one of the best Lakers teams of all time. As did Ron Harper, as does Derek Fisher.
Aaron, you can think what you want, as we’re all entitled to our own opinions. But that doesn’t make your opinions the truth. Sure the hypothetical team you mentioned could be an all-time great team, but they would earn that distinction by winning titles. The Heat are very far from the dream team you suggest. They’ve got two superstars and a third all star. You have not watched enough Heat games this year if you think Bosh is a top two PF. Top 5 would be a difficult argument to make. Off the top, I’d rather have Pau, Amare, Dirk, and KG right now to win a basketball game. He’s an above average defender and rebounder at best. You know, the things power forwards are supposed to be good at. And he started for the olympic team because that group completely lacked bigs. It was him, Dwight, and Boozer and I think that was it.
Their fourth best player is Mike Miller, followed by Mario Chalmers – two more or less average NBA talents. The phrase all-time great teams refers to the teams that have proven year after year to be elite. I would say the simplest of qualifications for that kind of distinction would include A) at least one championship and B) multiple finals appearances. The ’08 Celtics would have absolutely destroy that team. I mean, it wouldn’t have been close. Any of the Lakers championship squads would have convincingly beat them in a 7 game series. What would they have done against Shaq or Kareem? And that’s just scratching the surface of all-time great teams.
Teams don’t win on paper. They’ve got to prove they are truly great on the court before they deserve the type of credit you are giving them. Throw that Heat group out there against the 80s Celtics or Lakers and see how long they would last. Actually, I don’t know why I’m still discussing this, it’s beyond absurd, borderline insane. Put down the pipe, brotherman.
I doubt Kobe becomes the all time leading scorer but passing MJ is within the realm of possibility.
Which would be poetic, especially if he somehow collects rings 6 and 7 in the process.
On another note, I’ve finally figured out how to get more responses to my posts: Simply make comments like Aaron’s implied claim that the way to create an all time great team is to throw a bunch of big names together. Laughable.
The Heat haven’t figured anything new out. Kobe said it best:
“We didn’t protect the rim,” said Bryant, whose team shot 29 percent in the second half. “We’ve done a good job and then in the fourth quarter we let Wade get all the way to the basket on those screen-and-roll actions and it cost us.”
Yeah. That about sums it up.
Exactly Mojo If the Lakers don’t turn the ball over on 3 straight possessions In the 3rd period, once they built that 6 point lead, they win the game it’s that simple Ron neutralized Lebron and Kobe did a great job on Wade It’s the turnovers that killed them I’m not worried either Miami will not get past The Celtics Bulls or Magic.
If you would rather have KG (washed up), Amare and Dirk (no defense) then have fun. And as we’ve seen this year Bosh and Gasol are pretty even. Gasol is a little better at the basket and Bosh from the outside.
Adam @ 274 – “Throw that Heat group out there against the 80s Celtics … and see how long they would last.”
Yep, just think of this present Heat squad vs the C’s team that had Bird/Parish/McHale/Walton (haha – Bill not Luke)/Ainge/DJ.
The Heat would be crying during team intros, let alone in the locker room after the game.
I guess the Lakers team that featured Kobe, Shaq, Peyton and Karl Malone was an all time great team too, huh?
After all, Aaron @ 272 – “all you need to do is look at a roster”.
Yeah, right, except for one small problem – they were ready to rip each other’s heads off rather than focus on an over achieving Pistons team.
Aaron, Amare has upped his defensive game now that he’s gotten out of Phoenix – even if he is playing for Dantoni again. I’m not saying he is some kind of all-defensive type player, but he definitely has a bigger impact on games in the paint and on the boards (and offensively) than Bosh has. He’s simply more talented, a bigger guy, and holds a greater presence inside. It’s not because of their teammates either, Amare is just a monster.
And Dirk…you’d rather have Bosh on your team than Dirk? If you polled every GM in the league, I don’t think one of them would agree with you. Dirk’s got a complete offensive game, and Bosh’s def/rebounding is only marginally better (.2 bpg more and 1.5 rpg). The rebounds can also be attributed to team roles, where Dirk has Chandler, Kidd, and Marion all sharing rebounding duties, while Bosh knows he’s gotta do as much work as he can on the boards w/ that roster – and he still only averages 8. Bosh may have a slight edge there, but the offensive package of Dirk more than makes up for anything Bosh may be marginally better at.
And KG – yes, if you put KG on this team w/ Lebron & Wade, I’d be willing to bet any amount of money that their record would be better. He may be old, but he’s actually healthy, and there are so many intangibles that you are ignoring when comparing Bosh and KG. It starts with his defense, intensity, and leadership. Bosh is a softee that front runs just like his “leader”, Lebron. They boast when they win and pout when they lose. If this team is “all-time great”, they will have no problem reeling off 2-3 championships while they’re together. But with the Knicks, Bulls, and Thunder all looking like elite teams for the next 5-7 years, I don’t see that happening. This is what I tell all the Lebron/Heat lovers, they’re not a modern day Jordan’s Bulls – Jordan won, all the f’n time.