Records: Lakers 33-20 (3rd in the West), Nets 19-35 (11th in the East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 105.4 (13th in the NBA), Nets 103.6 (19th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 102.8 (11th in the NBA), Nets 109.7 (30th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Ramon Sessions, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Troy Murphy, Pau Gasol
Nets: Deron Williams, Marshon Brooks, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Johan Petro
Injuries: Lakers: Andrew Bynum (out), Jordan Hill (doubtful); Nets: Brook Lopez (out), Jordan Farmar (out), Shelden Williams (out)
The Lakers Coming in: The news of the hour is that Andrew Bynum will not play this evening. He didn’t participate in shoot around this morning and instead received treatment. And while Mike Brown calls him a gametime decision, Andrew Bynum says he “can’t play” tonight but hopes to play tomorrow against the Clippers. (He also says he doesn’t know anything about being fined by the team, but I digress.)
Besides Bynum’s perceived petulance, things with the Lakers are…okay. They’re winning close games which is good. The fact that some of these games are close in the first place is not so good. Kobe showed he’s not so bad a shooter after all and Gasol has turned in several good performances of late, prompting what is hopefully a strong stretch run for the Spaniard. Meanwhile Sessions is proving to be what we all thought he could be – a very good point guard that has flashes of fantastic in him. If the D could get back on track things would certainly be trending up; hopefully tonight is the night.
The Nets Coming in: The Nets have won four of their last five games and are playing some good basketball. At the trade deadline they picked up Gerald Wallace in exchange for their number one pick in the upcoming draft (top three protected) and his play, along with another strong Deron Williams’ campaign and the very good play of rookie Marshon Brooks (and some highlight reel action from Gerald Green) has led to some nice wins lately.
Speaking of Williams, the Nets are hopeful they’ll be able to keep him in uniform long term – especially next season when the team moves to Brooklyn. However, that line of thinking may be misguided as Williams seems intent on testing the free agent waters this off-season:
Fans can forget about playing the “loyalty” card, for it won’t stop Williams from hitting the free-agent market this summer. “People get traded all the time,” Williams told Yahoo! Sports. “They don’t get backlash as an organization. If [players] leave, we are not loyal, we are ungrateful. People say stuff to me on Twitter. They already think I’m gone. They are out there bashing me, saying to me I’m a traitor. “I didn’t ask to be here. I got traded. I didn’t come here being a free agent. This is the first time that I’m a free agent in my career.” Sounds like Williams is ready for free agency, although he hasn’t ruled out the Nets.
Well then. Glad that’s cleared up. So the Nets are at a bit of a tough spot. They want to show Williams they’re an up and coming team so winning some games seems smart. However, the pick they gave the Blazers is only staying in Jersey (err Brooklyn) if it’s in the top three and every win makes that happening less likely. We’ll know a lot more about this team in the next 5 months but right now their future is up in the air.
Nets Blogs: Check out Nets Are Scorching for all your news on the team headed to Brooklyn next year. Also, I sat in with the fine folks that run NAS for a 3-on-3 for tonight’s game. Check it out.
Keys to game: With Bynum out, this game just got a lot more interesting. The Lakers still have the talent advantage but removing ‘Drew makes the Lakers front court depth an issue even against an undermanned Nets’ team that’s missing two of their main big men.
The onus now shifts to Pau Gasol to raise his game in Drew’s absence. He’ll likely be matched up with Johan Petro who does have good size and is a solid defender. Even though that’s the case, Pau will still need to park himself in the post and call for the ball to get the Lakers’ inside game going. If he does his work early and runs hard in early offense, he should be able to establish good position and use his back to the basket game to get good looks. When Pau is on the wing, he should still look to be aggressive though. Lately he’s flashed his good first step and if he’s isolated at the elbow he can take Petro or Humphries off the dribble and attack the basket.
Kobe too must adjust his game and not rely so much on his jumper tonight. He should have more room to operate 15 feet and down and should use that extra real estate to his advantage. It’s unclear if he’ll be guarded by Wallace or Brooks but if it’s the rookie, look for Kobe to try and work him over in the post and show off his arsenal of fakes and pivots to get good shots at the basket.
Today is also a good opportunity for the Lakers to run a lot of P&R’s with Sessions and with Kobe. The Nets big men don’t have great foot speed or defensive awareness and forcing them to hedge out on Sessions or Kobe and then recover could spell their doom. Sessions’ strength is turning the corner and with Murphy or Pau setting the picks the hedge man will need to be quick in his recovery to a big man that can make the open jumper.
Defensively, the Lakers will need to find a way to slow Williams – a task that’s easier said than done. This team is very familiar with Williams from his days with the Jazz and the same principles (even if he’s running different sets) apply. Deron is great working in the P&R and must be chased over the top with a hard hedge to contest his jumper and deny him driving angles. The bigs hedging must show discipline, however, because he’s adept at going opposite screens and compromising the defense by getting into the lane. The best course of action is make Williams give the ball up from a non-threatening part of the floor and then deny him a return pass where he can reset their O and make another run at the D. Also key will be slowing him off the ball by chasing through the screen actions the Nets run for him to be a catch and shoot player. Williams is capable of big scoring nights because his three pointer can be as smooth as anyone’s in the league so allowing him to get going is a no-no. Sessions and Blake will need to play him well but don’t be surprised to see Barnes, Ron, or even Kobe get some turns on him if he starts to over power the Lakers’ PG’s.
Also important is keeping Kris Humphries off the glass. He’s one of the better rebounders in the league and he will attack the offensive glass. Murphy, Pau, and McRoberts will all need to keep a body on him and make sure he doesn’t give the Nets too many extra chances. Wallace is also a capable offensive rebounder so Ron will need to have his head on a swivel and not get too caught up ball watching when working on the weak side. Wallace is still a plus athlete and will use his quickness and strength to sneak in and secure extra possessions.
As the last two games have shown, winnable games don’t always come easy and the Lakers can’t take their opponent lightly tonight. As mentioned earlier, they’ve been playing pretty well lately and have a Laker killer (Wallace) and an elite player (Williams) of their own that can turn a game in their favor down the stretch of a close game. Making sure it’s not close down the stretch should be the objective tonight.
Where you can watch: 7:30PM start time on Fox Sports and NBA TV for the non-locals. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.
This one’s for Warren
What the hell is Andrew doing now? Blowing off a meeting with Mitch Kupchak? WTF?
His mom needs to slap him upside the head.
OK – we are 2-0 towards the 6-1 streak we are going on.
After tonight it will be 3-0.
biggest worry tonight for me is the boards, potential for a big disparity tonight
Courtesy of Bill Simmons…
Can you guess the identity of these three players?
Player A: 30.7 PPG, 42.4% FG, 30.8% 3FG, 24.2 FGA, 10.5 FTA, 4.6 TO, 23.2 PER, 42.3 MPG.
Player B: 28.1 PPG, 42.4% FG, 29.1% 3FG, 23.5 FGA, 8.0 FTA, 3.7 TO, 22.1 PER, 38.6 MPG
Player C: 26.4 PPG, 45.8% FG, 34.5% 3FG, 19.0 FGA, 9.7 FTA, 3.0 TO, 20.9 PER, 41.8 MPG.
I will give you two more seconds …
And … time!
Player A: Allen Iverson’s 2004-05 season, which happened right during the height of the whole “You can’t win with Iverson, he monopolizes the ball!” craze.12
Player B: Kobe this season.
Player C: Iverson’s 2007-08 season, which doubled as his last relevant season as an NBA player.
With Drew out Sessions has to be aggressive vs Deron make him play defense. He needs 10+ assists.
Another game with a rookie SG. Kobe should shoot 50%.
the endgame of this bynum conflict is a discussion between drew and brown mediated by kupchak. this whole thing is about drew negotiating more touches, which is a positive thing, given his level of production.
The matchup that I’ll have my eye on tonight will be between Kobe and Marshon Brooks. Only for the reason that Kobe, like Jordan before him, always seems to attack/test individuals who have come into the league and are viewed as ‘The Next 1′ or whose game is looked upon as comparable to their predecessors.
I’ve witnessed MJ take this approach with Ron Harper, Dennis Hopson, Kendall Gill, Harold (Baby Jordan) Miner and several others. Just as I’ve witnessed Kobe take on the challenge of neutralizing Vince Carter, LeBron & Melo (even though he was giving up so much size to the latter two), D-Wade, Roy and numerous others.
Brooks, while obviously not on the same scale or with as much hype as the aformentioned, is a youngin’ whose game has been compared to a young Kobe. He has even mentioned that Kobe was one of his idols coming up and that he patterned a good portion of his game after him.
Being a New Yorker, I’ve gotten the opportunity to watch Marshon with regularity during this, his rookie season and I see so much of the 18 & 19 yr old Kobe within his game. It’ll be interesting to see if The Mamba puts the Young Pup to this test.
7. If Drew wants more touches its going to mean more passing not more shooting as double teams are getting more agressive, he therefore better realise the responsibility that being the focal point of offense means.
Jim C. says
Courtesy of Jim C…
Novel Thought: Having a 33 year old who has played close to 50,000 minutes over his career leading the league in minutes played this year is a sure formula to having some decline in efficiency.
Easy to forget that Kobe was playing like an MVP earlier this season.
Kobe Alert: At tip off KB will climb past Tree Rollins for 37th on the all time games list. He needs 4 Def Rebs for 74th on that list, going by Tom Chambers. He still needs 5 steals to get 15th there (Magic).
For this year’s scoring title, he has Durant by 30 pts with 13 gms to go.
Sessions needs a big game he has yet to step up against the top guards in the leauge this matchup will show me if he is the real deal and if we can count on him in the playoffs.
by the way I think we play better without Bynum.
#10 Robert – it will be interesting to see towards the end of the year whether KB and KD try to one up each other. I could totally see that happening.
I remember one season where MJ and David Robinson were in a race for the scoring title. They both had one game to go, and MJ went on a tear, I think scoring 40-something. Robinson never had a chance.
We know KB has that MJ competitiveness. But I’ll be curious to see if KD has a bit of that fire in him as well.
T. Rogers says
I don’t think the end game of the “Bynum Saga” is him getting more touches. I think the end game is either him or Mike Brown being employed by a different team in the near future. Bynum’s recent actions are the height of dumbness and immaturity on his part. But it is not the real issue. The real issue is the team rejecting Brown wholesale. Bynum is simply the face of the insurrection. The Lakers will either have to ax Brown or find the best trade deal possible for Bynum in the off season.
Aaron: In 2001 Iverson shot 42.0%, which is worse than A, B, + C. He was rewarded with the MVP that year : ) He did win the scoring title that year.
I am texting this to KB so he knows he has 0.4% to work with as he tries to outgun Durant for the next 13 games : )
Vegas: Yes – if it is close – it will be a total duel + yes Durant will be gunning for it – just watch a tape of the all star game to see how he will be : )
Agree and disagree. I think Bynum wants more touches and responsibility. He also might be acting out to get the attention he rightfully desserves from this standpoint. The only offensive players that are having the advanced statistical seasons of Bynum are LeBron and Howard. And Howard is not a low post scorer. He does his damage basically in PnRs. This is what happens when young superstar athletes don’t get enough attention. They cry out like babies.
What does bynum want a shoe deal? commercials? he gets the right amount of attention he deserves if you ask me, He still hasent even proven himself on the big stage.
Bynum if you want that respect play out of your mind in the playoffs to prove you are the best center in the world and win us a NBA title in your breakout year.
17. Indeed, if Drew wants to be a superstar you have to have both an engaging personality and have accomplised more than one all star game, he has neither
Lakers please play PnR defense
Wow the offense looks so much faster without Bynum and Gasol both clogging the lane and slowing transition!
Bynum’s not a superstar. Going there is silly. Don’t compare him to Howard and Lebron – those guys have been able to control SEASONS worth of games and multiple playoff series.
Bynum’s had a good year – and he’s maybe the 4th best big in the league right now – behind Howard, Love, and Dirk (The big German still holds the belt).
Bynum’s never taken over a playoff game – let alone a playoff series – and he’s starting to act like Terrell Owens.
Mason and Ireland were trying to compare him to a young Deion Sanders today to explain him, but its not a fair comparison – Deion is one of the best defensive football players of all times.
And not liking Mike Brown isn’t good enough. It’s not a fair excuse. Bynum is 24. Not 18. The immaturity excuse isn’t valid – and he should be jumping for joy that he’s finally somewhat healthy and able to play. With those knees, who knows how many games are truly left.
This Sessions guy is kinda good…
remember that rule where its not a foul if u jump straight up and the offensive player jumps into you? thats what Pau just did and he got called for a foul…
All Kobe’s FGs have been on the move
A decent start on the offensive end. Just need to tighten up that D now…
before anyone asks: Hill isnt on the bench tonight. Big men rotation: Gasol, Murphy and McBob.
thats thin up front.
I take it with no Bynum or Hill we might be seeing some MVP at the 4 tonight.
Wow McRoberts…that’s ridiculous! Ridiculously awesome!
Can’t be too disappointed with 9 bench points in the first quarter. And McRoberts on the buzzer. Certainly happy with progress at this point.
McRoberts behind the back buzzer beater
wow. that Pau guy is pretty damn good when he’s featured as a post guy.
Blake shouldn’t be guarding SG’s.
Not to harp on the Bynum situation, but I’ve been saying it for weeks now on this Site that he’s feeling himself. Now, it’s @ the point to where he’s being BLATANTLY DISRESPECTFUL not only to his Teammates, but the Entire Organization. Question now is, how long will this continue?
listened to MB’s press conference and he dismissed all that stuff when asked. his answer: players get fined all the time and the reason this is a big deal is bc the media found out about it.
so take it for what its worth. for now, i just have an eyebrow raised.
2 corner 3s for Blake park him there.
Pau is always more aggressive when playing center. He’s more comfortable in the post
This is exactly the type of thing LA needs from Sessions when Kobe is on the bench. Orchestrating the offense, grabbing the odd rebound, and just generally making his presence felt.
Sessions jumper is legit.
Pau looks really really good as the focal point. Refs are still letting a lot of contact go against him too. Bynum better be careful….he may get relegated to third option again if he is out for too long. 😛
Uh, oh Brown is finding out what Pau can do in the post. That means his hook on Bynum will be used more effectively.
You guys notice Sessions shoots overhand layups unless he’s wide open?
Pau can’t get a call .. RS7 is the Best PG in the building so far .. And that Green kid is looking pretty solid. Not only in this game, but ever since he’s signed on with the Nets. Mean to tell me that we couldn’t find a spot on our roster for him? With all that dead weight that we were and are still carrying .. Hopefully, we can keep up this intensity for the 2nd half, build the lead and then bury them. That way we can get the starters some rest in anticipation for 2morrow night’s huge nationally televised game against our co-tenants.
On Bynum, I also think that one of the reasons he can’t take over a playoff game is that the structure of the team won’t really allow him to.
Big Dogs eat first…
Maybe he wants to start eating some as well.
I’m friggen giddy over here! I love this Pau Gasol! I want this Pau every single game!
Pau need to get back inside…
KenOak: Brown should let Bynum extend his range in that case. That puts Pau back in the post.
Pau doin work!
but I would really love it if Kobe just scored the heck out. Just to keep Durant off the scoring championship race
Coach Brown just trying to downplay the fine and infractions (plural) in order to not have it become a full blown controversey. Also coddling the Youngster. Which may or may not be a good thing in my opinion.
I would actually just like to see more lineups that feature a single big on the floor. Then run inside out through that big. Sessions can run with Pau and Blake with Bynum.
yah. thats a big possibility. but thats what MB needs to do right? i think we all agree that this team needs Bynum to succeed… tho Pau is showing he can still be the man in the post if needed.
time will tell i guess.
even tho Aaron will call me out on this, i like the offensive flow without bynum right now. kobe, pay, and ramon are a good trio. yup, its against the Nets, but still.
Pau with a tough shove, love it. Then William’s misses the tech.
I’m feeling this double digit lead starting to erode. Should I be concerned?
* Check that – clearly I wasn’t counting on back-to-back triples from Ron.
KenOak: agree. Truth be told Pau and Bynum never had great chemistry on the floor together.
Artest shooting the ball with confidence.
I know that MWP hasn’t been the greatest this year, at least offensively, but he is one of my all-time favorite Laker role-players!
*edit to add all-time
Deron is roting on a horrible team in his prime like Kobe did. Great talent going to waste be surprised if he stays.
i’m really impressed with Pau’s versatility. with Bynum emerging, he’s basically turned to LO from last year. high post, big to big passing. but he really is a great post player.
Is it just me or are players going at Kobe on the defensive end? I hope Kobe is saving his defense for the playoffs. The Lakers can’t have Kobe being a defensive freelancer then. He’s not forcing many turnovers when he plays off his man.
Is Murphy ever ready to shoot?
I like the Lakers effort tonight.
remember when we ruled the paint and the post in the first half?
i wish they’d do it again…
Kris Humphries must be wishing he played LA every game. That’s a solid double-double he’s got going on, with plenty of time left to add to it.
On another note, I am loving how LA are playing today on offense. Spreading it around and generally getting the best option. Not always, but more often than recently.
when the offense looks as ugly as it has the last 5 minutes, i miss the triangle even more…
people want drew to act as if he is living paycheck-to-paycheck, and can’t afford to challenge authority.
Raydiaz – True. I clearly made my last post too soon, not realising that the Lakers were going to completely implode offensively for the next 4 minutes or so.
Hoping to see a solid close out to this one.
This is freakin pathetic. Why am I even surprised that we’ve blown another 17 pt. lead? We deserve to lose.
These blown leads are the result of Mike Brown.. This guy can’t motivate and is a liability.
these blown leads are on MB, and KB, and PAU and Sessions and the rest of the team. u shouldnt have to motivate if ure up 17 points. its on all of them.
They act as if they’ve never seen the trapping defense that NJ is throwing at them. Make the proper adjustments! They’re pretty much doubling Kobe every time he touches, and the team has no clue what to do.
Raydiaz1238: Mike Brown still doesn’t motivate. Get STan Van.
Lost in this is Sessions has been getting cooked.
Oh by the way. His name is Kobe Bean Bryant. Game time.
Funky Chicken says
It is extremely difficult to view Mike Brown as a good coach. His time outs produce no discernible offensive plays, and his insistence on keeping Goudelock on the bench (even while playing both Sessions and Blake together) is making the Laker 2nd unit much worse than it needs to be.
These narrow home wins against the dregs of the league are hardly the way to tune up for the playoffs.
Kobe does it again. Hits a huge 3
And that is how you take maximum time off the shot clock lmao! 🙂
Thanks for leaving KB wide open there, NJ. Wow. Dagger by the Mamba.
wow. wow. wow
Kobe man. Just a pleasure to watch.
Funky, you nailed it exactly on the head. Barely beating these sh*tbox high school teams at home is nothing to be popping the champagne over, which I wouldn’t be surprised if this team and the majority of it’s fans are actually doing. I’m tired of hearing “a win is a win”. No it’s not. A win is better than a loss, but that’s about it.
wow, horrible fourth quarter.
Kobe has saved the Lakers from losses from a depleted Hornets team and bottom feeder Nets team.
dont forget the golden state warriors kevin
Sessions 11 assists
Kobe 2nd straight game over 50%
Pau averaging 20-12 since Bynum ejection
Lol @ Zirk-
Yeah I’m sure that this team is popping champagne tonight after this victory… We beat a bad team yeah, but this win is one more half game that we are up on the Clippers. I’ll take it and move on to the next one which we *should have Bynum back for a better defensive effort.
The question is why?
1) Why go away from Pau?
2) Why go from getting into our offense quickly ( under 8 seconds) to slow walking it up the floor?
3) Related to #2 above- Why fall in love with the perimeter and forget the paint, esp when Blake & Murphy are scared of their own shadow when it comes to shooting the rock?
4) Why can’t we get our turnovers to 10 or less a game?
5) Why in the name of everything that is holy does MB play Brooks & Sessions together?
Effectively answering even a few of these questions (which is by no means all-inclusive) would mean an end to 15 point + leads evaporating.
kobe is greatest closer I ever seen.
I completely agree with you. I can’t understand why Goudelock gets zero burn as a backup 2 if not a pg. I mean if you are going to run Sessions at the point with Blake at the 2, then why not have Goudelock at point and rest Sessions a bit more.
I’m not ready to completely write MB off as a coach, but I won’t pretend that I have a ton of confidence in the guy.
Post game wrap up headline: That should have been easier.
That was exciting though wasn’t it. Difference between halves: Pau dominating the post in the first half and getting 4 points in the second. I dont think they opassed it to him once in the post during the fourth quarter, instead relyin on p&r most of the second half.
I like exciting games, and pulling thru during adversity (giving up big leads) will make the team tougher in the post season.
It’s not supposed to be easy.
Magic Phil says
3rd quarter (and tonight, the 4th as well), our big problem. Different coach, different season, and the same problem closing games…
On another note, it’s amazing how Pau plays center. He doesn’t clogged up the paint and that gives our guards way more space to operate.
At least Lakers are getting reps in these late games situations to see what works and see what doesn’t.
If Drew can give it a go 2morrow night, the question then becomes which Drew will show up? The motivated All-Star from the 1st half of the season or the self absorbed slacker that we’ve seen over the last 3 weeks?
That’s what I noticed, as well, Magic Phil.
Pau’s game is a bit more mobile than Bynum and the driving and passing lanes seemed to be a bit more open. That’s why I would like to see Sessions run with Pau, Barnes, and McBob more. Then allow Blake to run the show with Bynum for more spot-up opportunities.
Maybe I’m mis-remembering, but didn’t we have this same problem letting teams back into games last year under Phil too?
You’re right man. I’m hoping that we will see ‘hungry’ Drew and that he drops 20 and 10 on the Clips big guys. Any rest that we can get his knees has to be good right?
Does anyone know the Lakers record in these close games 5 points or less?
I’m not sold on bynum and I feel Gasol is more comfortable without Bynum on the floor. (edited for trade speculation)
Good win. We now have 3 straight and we are on target for the 6-1 stretch !! I am sticking to that. Kobe – simply amazing; Pau – great game; Bench loses 25-14; Turnovers = 16.
Tomorrow is Huge against Clips
Kevin from prior thread:
Kobe does dumb things, takes horrendous shots at times and has contributed to poor possessions regularly during this drought. So has Pau with his matador defense and soft play around the rim, missing lay-up after lay-up when he should be dunking the ball.
I could make video low light films of both of those guys that would run for minutes on end. That’s how bad it’s been.
Bynum takes a couple of ill advised 3 point shots and you’d think the world was coming to an end.
Brown wants to bench him and fine him. The kid is having his best season bar none, despite the recent whatever this is.
I’m willing to cut him some slack just as I’m willing to overlook the recent terrible play from our other so-called superstars.
Hopefully this all part of one very large funk that has affected the team like a temporary virus.
If we’re going to call it Bynum. Call out the others too because they’ve been stinking things up at least as much as he has.
T. Rogers says
Pau does look great playing center. That is, until he comes up against an aggressive post defender. Then he doesn’t look so great.
The Lakers beat one of the worst teams in the league. And they still tried to give it away. Let’s not get too stoked about this one. It’s a W and keeps them in front of the Clips. That is about the best take away from this game.
Dave: This isn’t about Kobe or Pau it’s about a consistent lack of maturity from Drew. Kobe has 16 years of good will built up Pau has done amazing things and his trade brought the Lakers back to a championship level. You state Kobe and Pau’s play but it’s both Bynum’s play and off court. He skipped out on a meeting with his boss.
What is Bynum known for? Cheap shots, injuries and potential. He played on one leg for 2010 playoffs, but don’t know why he feels intitled he was the 4th best player on the 09,10 teams. Fans should want to see more than 50 games before declaring Bynum the Lakers future. He just started living up to his contract this year.
I noticed the team seemed together tonight. Offense has flowed great nothing forced. Maybe Kobe isn’t the problem he’s seemed fine with leting Sessions do his thing.
Darius Soriano says
The game recap is up.
Haha. You might want to make sure you’re on the right end of the debate before squaring off with Dave. I have not seen him be wrong yet. But I liked your arguments. I really liked them. Unfortunatley it’s not wise to pick a fight with a 7 foot Center who is currently having one of the best seasons of an big man. I think it was Darius who put out Drews advanced stats which showed he sits alone with Hakeem and Dwight Howard if he maintains these numbers.
Aaron: just talking ball bud. I see flaws in bynum’s game and in no way should he be compared to any great player. He is is no way in the conversation with Mikan, WIlt, Kareem, Shaq, Pau and nor will he ever be. Those were great stats Darius set me straight on Bynum’s defense before.