The Lakers bump along, brilliance against the best and mediocrity against a team they should have handled easily. If you had put a ball machine on the floor and fired lobs to the basket every trip down, Andrew could probably have won the thing by himself. That’s not really true (it may be a little true). One game down, two more to go on this mini road trip. The Lakers visit the 8 & 29 Washington Wizards tonight, in what would normally be called an opportunity, here on planet earth.
What would have happened if Kobe had gone to the Bulls in 2007? J. Tinsley at the Sports Fan Journal has an intriguing take on the time continuum.
Eric Freeman at Ball Don’t Lie explains that the short-lived black Mamba mask was constructed by Rip Hamilton’s mask-maker. Don’t ever use the enemy’s mask-maker. It is not wise.
A preview for tonight’s game against the Wizards, from Andy Kamenetzky from the Land O’Lakers along with guest Kyle Weide from Truth About It.
Pau Gasol’s feeling somewhat better, after a conversation with Mitch Kupchak – this from Ramona Shelburne at ESPN.
“We live in a society obsessed with the faces… and inspired by fears being faced.” This, from a terrific article about Kobe, from Kevin Ding at the OC Register.
Ryan Ward at Lakers Nation explores the continuing Pau Gasol to Minny rumors.
The Lakers identity remains unsettled says Mark Medina at the L.A. Times Lakers blog.
The March 15 tradeline is little more than a week away. With a shortened season growing shorter by the moment, wins against Washington and Minneapolis will help keep the villagers peaceful and their torches unlit.
– Dave Murphy
I love Kobe. He is the second best basketball player of all time in my opinion. But I always let the defense dictate how I to run my offense. The reason the role players got so few shots is because they suck. Haaha. But also because we ran our offense through Kobe and via the perimter. That opened a lot of lop opportunities for Amdrew Bynum indeed. However, I’m less concerned with how many points Andrew scores and more concerned with how many points the Lakers score.
This game was a microcosm of the entire Lakers offense this season as far as how other teams defend us. Kobe Bryant has not been double teamed on the perimter (unless he is trapped on PnR) and doesmt take the ball to the hole anymore. This means he isn’t creating the kind of open shots for his teammates he has done for his entire career. He has turned into a Carmelo Anthony one on one scorer. That isn’t the worst thing in the world.
Half the teams in the league don’t have the one on one potent scorer Kobe is today and it usually would be the best way to run your offense. Unfortunately the Lakers have the best low post player in today’s game (says Goerge Karl) in Andrew Bynum and a guy who usually sees constant double teams. Have you noticed how smoothly the Lakers second unit offense runs with Bynum as their anchor? I would imagine it would look even better without four scrubs on the floor with drew.
Bringing it back to last nights game… The Pistons tried to single cover Bynum in the post. They didn’t have too much succsess with that strategy but the Lakers didn’t get the ball down low to him in the post enough to make the Pistons change their strategy and start sending help. Hence their wasn’t open shots for the role players. And we know those guys can’t create their own shots.
Remember… We shouldn’t be focused on shot attempts for Bynum. Those don’t matter. What matters as I’ve always been saying is paint scoring touches for him. It’s the best way to run our offense to get guys easy shots, to get Kobe easy shots. It’s the way basketball has been played for over fifty years.
Dave M: Thanks for the Kevin Ding article, I recommend all KB fans read it. Haters can skip it and just keep doing what you do : )
We need a win in the worst way tonight everyone !!
Funny Mitch reaches out to Pau after big win vs Miami then Lakers drop a stinker. All for nothing
Great article by Ding.
I wonder why Lakers don’t wear their throwback jerseys. May bring a little more energy look good play good. lol
Kevin: I agree: throw back jerseys, Pau should shave his entire head, anyone without ink, should get it on both arms. Then again – these would all be superficial changes – we need actual changes – I saw your entry in the machine and loved it.
We need this game !
Darius Soriano says
The game preview is up.
Buzz Lightyear says
I read the Kevin Ding article and it does nothing but confirm all the things we know (both good and bad) about Kobe.
Kobe’s dedication to his craft is remarkable. His work ethic is phenomenal. His willingness to employ every resource in pursuit of his goals is laudable.
The downside is that dedication, work ethic, focus, and “whatever it takes” attitude is all in the service of KOBE BRYANT (…and the Los Angeles Lakers).
Does anyone remember the 1999-2000 season when Kobe broke his wrist early on….and the Lakers started the season with some phenomenal record on the way to finishing 67-15?
Yet the next year, Kobe decided that wasn’t good enough FOR HIM. He quit working in the Triangle, the Lakers only won 56 games and barely beat Sacto for the division crown.
Yes, Kobe put away his selfishness for the playoffs and the Lakers nearly ran the table, but THAT WASN”T HIS FIRST CHOICE.
Similarly, a few years ago Kobe sat out 5 or 6 games because of an ankle injury. In his absence, the team’s offense flourished and flowed. The Lakers went undefeated during his absence. Yet when he came back, he started jacking up 25+ shots a game again.
Kobe mangles his finger? It’s not a reason to take step back and do what’s best for the long-term interest for Kobe and the Lakers. It’s an opportunity to prove how tough he is. Now he has a mangled hand and frequently gets his dribble stolen because he doesn’t have the ball control he used to.
Kobe tears a wrist ligament? It’s not an opportunity for the rest of the Lakers to learn to play without leaning on the Kobe-crutch, it’s Kobe’s excuse to prove how tough he is by shooting 20+ jump shots over double-teams despite having a wrist injury.
It’s a testament to Kobe’s individual greatness that these forays into single-minded ego and selfishness don’t result in disaster.
Or do they?
Is following up a momentum-building win over Miami with a unconscionable loss to Detroit a disaster? Probably not, but it’s not a positive.
How about getting blown out 4-0 by Dallas in the 2011 playoffs? I’d call that a disaster, and if you watch the game tapes, you will see many many instances of Kobe’s selfishness harming the team.
Andrew Bynum’s “trust issues” were code for “I have to rotate to cover for other player’s defensive mistakes, and when I do, my teammates (esp. Kobe) don’t rotate to cover my man”
Near the end of one of the early games (Game 2?), Lamar Odom dribbles full court against a set Dallas defense, drives into the left block, and takes a wild fallaway hook shot over a double team.
Why did he do that? I’m convinced that it was because on the prior Lakers’ possession, Kobe dribbled around outside the 3-point arc on one side for most of the possession before finally hoisting a 25-footer over a double team. Lamar Odom was WIDE open on the opposite wing for much of that possession. But Kobe wouldn’t pass him the ball, so Lamar decided that the next possession was his turn to try to create his own offense.
I admire Kobe. I think he is one of the ten best individual talents to play the game.
But for whatever reason, he lacks the “I’m going to find every way I can to use my game to ensure the success of MY TEAMMATES” gene the way that Magic, Bird, Russell, and some others had. Heck, even Jeremey Lin seems to possess it in much larger quantities than Kobe.
So when Kobe displays his legendary and laudable traits, we have to ask if he’s doing it because it’s the best thing for the Lakers, or the best thing for Kobe’s reputation/ego/offensive numbers. Too often the answer is it’s all about Kobe.
Edwin Gueco says
You got it right 1/2 D & R, why compare Kobe to Magic or to the latest craze J. Lin. He is what he is and they are what they are. Is it possible that he was given by MBrown the green light to shoot at will so that Lakers could win? As a Coach, he could bench him, rest him, and ask him to pass the ball. I wonder why is that not happening? In the realm of things as a Laker fan who have never had a NBA experience, what do we really know about basketball and speak with authority the Kobe-know syndrome.
Buzz Lightyear says
For those who think I’m simply Kobe-hating, I defer to the words of Phil Jackson (as quoted in Bill Simmon’s The Book of Basketball):
“Sometimes his needs to overwhelm the rest of the ballclub’s necessity. … As we get into the playoffs, that’ll dissipate, because he knows that he’s got to put his ego aside and conform to what we have to do if we’re going to go anywhere in the playoffs. Any player that takes it on himself to do that [play for himself] knows that he’s going against the basic principles of basketball. That’s a selfish approach to the game. You know when you’re breaking down the team or you’re breaking down and doing things individualistic, you’re going to have, you know, some unhappy teammates … and he knows these things … intuitively, I have to trust the fact that he’s going to come back to that spot and know that the timing’s right. The season’s over, things have been accomplished, records have been stuck in the books, statistics are all jelled in, now let’s go ahead and play basketball as we’re supposed to play it.”
For more quotes about Kobe being much more about Kobe than about team victory, check out this Simmons column:
Contrast that with quotes by Magic Johnson:
“Ask not what your teammates can do for you. Ask what you can do for your teammates. ”
“Everybody on a championship team doesn’t get publicity, but everyone can say he’s a champion.”
“When the ball goes through the basket, the shooter gets the credit. But that’s wrong. That shot went in because somebody did his job. Somebody played defense. Somebody boxed out. Somebody grabbed the rebound. Somebody made the outlet pass. Somebody set a pick, and somebody passed the ball to the shooter. All those somebodies are a team, and the team made the ball go through the basket”