Records: Lakers 8-8 (7th in the West), Magic 5-10 (11th in the East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 105.4 (5th in the NBA), Magic 95.5 (29th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 98.7 (8th in the NBA), Magic 101.2 (15th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Darius Morris, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard
Magic: E’Twaun Moore, Arron Afflalo, Maurice Harkless, Glen Davis, Nikola Vucevic
Injuries: Lakers: Steve Nash (out), Steve Blake (out); Magic: Hedo Turkoglu (out), Jameer Nelson (questionable), Al Harrington (out)
In past seasons, a battle between the Lakers and the Magic meant a battle of the league’s top big men. Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum would anchor the paint against Dwight Howard and everyone would get their money’s worth as these guys traded blows from the low block. That, of course, is the past. Dwight Howard is now wearing Laker colors, Bynum is in Philly, and Pau, while still here, is battling tendonitis in his knees and has been a perimeter based big for most of this season.
Howard’s move to Los Angeles from Orlando is surely the main story heading into this game. It’s the first time the former #1 overall pick is facing his former team and, after the messy way he left the organization, their reunion on the court as adversaries makes this the biggest subplot of what would otherwise be an ordinary contest. For what it’s worth, Howard seems to understand how badly things went and his part in that. I’m sure this matters not at all to Magic fans, however. They’re out their franchise center and have to watch a rebuilding team each night.
And it’s that last point that really matters for me. This is a Magic team that’s really struggling right now. They play hard, but have lost their last three games and seven of their last ten. Injuries have hurt them as Jameer Nelson has battled achilles soreness, Al Harrington is dealing with a staph infection, and Hedo Turkoglu is out with a broken hand. Those are three of the Magic’s top eight rotation players and even though first year head coach Jacque Vaughn is proving he’s an able sideline tactician, his team simply lacks talent right now.
What this means for tonight is that the Lakers are facing a team that’s not very good at the moment but will likely be extra motivated not just because of who’s starting at center for the Lakers but to also end their losing streak. The Lakers must be prepared to match their energy early and then use their superior talent to wear them down over the course of the game.
Strategically, there are a few things the Lakers must be aware of. The Magic have had issues shooting the ball lately, especially from distance. Even with marksmen like Reddick and Afflalo on the roster, the Magic lack the inside presence or penetrating guard to open up space on the perimeter to free guys up to get good looks. The Lakers would be wise to make non-shooters hit shots from deep, but also, in general, play tight on the perimeter and not let guys get the types of easy shots that will build their confidence.
As mentioned, the Magic don’t have a lot of classic post playing big men to threaten the paint in one on one matchups. Vucevic, Davis, and Ayon all have good qualities to their games but none of them are the type you can throw the ball to on the block and tell them to get you a basket consistently. This means the Lakers’ bigs must be aware of how these guys want to hurt them and be prepared to have to hedge/recover in pick and rolls while also helping on penetration and then recovering back to their man on drop off passes. These types of actions will also require the rest of the D to be active and quick in their own rotations especially when helping the helper on penetration.
Offensively, the Lakers should be much less concerned about exploiting matchups and instead focus on their system. As they did against the Nuggets, the Lakers can generate good shots if they simply move the ball on to the open man while staying aggressive in looking for their own shot when it’s there. Nearly every Laker has an advantage over the man who will be guarding him and that will make it easy to fall into the trap of playing one on one against an opponent that’s perceived to be weaker. That would be a bad idea. Any defense can gear up to stop isolation ball, but almost all will struggle with quick smart passes to teammates in space.
Emotions will be high in this game but the Lakers must find a way to engage themselves in the game while not getting caught up in the hype. If they simply play their game, they should win this contest. Play smart (avoid turnovers, don’t look to do more than you need to) and disciplined basketball and they should be just fine. Do the opposite and a team that’s likely looking to extract some revenge will be ready to pounce.
Magic Blogs: Check out Magic Basketball and Orlando Pinstriped Post for excellent analysis on this Magic team.
Where you can watch: 6:30pm start on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM.
Kobe Alert: With his 8 dimes against Denver, KB went by DJ for 40th all time, and now has 5500. MJ is now only 133 away in this category. At tip off tonight he will tie S Pippen for 33rd on the all time games list. He will also most likely go by 43k minutes and is chasing Oscar there (amazing how many minutes this guy plays). He is only 86 points away from 30k, which means he is just about in 1 game striking distance : )
Right about energy Darius -they need to come out and put them away early, not let them hang around in hopes of pulling off an upset.
To put it bluntly, if the front-court of Ebanks, Clark & Hill are not on the floor to close this game out, then something went horribly wrong.
Tough week coming up, hope the team´s not overlooking tonight´s game –
That would be most ideal Tra – hope the bench runs the final 10 mins or so.
Just an aside – Cuban is in favour of fining spurs – for a good reason.
And there it is in a nutshell. We should completely crush these guys as Tra indicates, but recent reality suggests that anything can happen as PurpleBlood is hoping against. Perhaps we could get on a roll. Many road games this month so we need to.
It will be very untenable situation for DH12 if Lakers are upset in this game. Two reasons how they can lose this game? No defense and brick shots ignoring the coach game management. Win this one for Howard as his sweet revenge against Orlando Magic FO.
Also, try to boost Pau Gasol, he has been subject to numerous trade rumors. Gosh, you are hurting with tendinitis and people keep on trading him whether Lakers are winning or losing, no point of satisfaction on anything. It is understandable for rumor mills to spread rumors for Lakers because we have 1 million followers in the Southland.
There was a story from last game about Dan D’antoni writing on the white board “Win the damn game Dwight” which Howard took to heart. Dan D’antoni did that a lot in Phoenix – specifically with the guys that needed to focus or needed extra motivation – or needed to key on something specific. Barbosa would get stuff like “speed kills”, Marion would get words of encouragement, Amare “rebound rebound rebound”. Usually something up for the whole team as well. Nash and Kobe are pretty self motvated/aware – so they won’t get msgs much – but it would cool to see whats on Rons, Dwights, Morris, etc… all season long and see if they follow thru.
Morris is just terrible. Get him out.
Morris running himself into trouble time and again here.
Fouling three-point shooter, then dribbling into 3 Orlando big men, then turning it over. Yikes.
Kenny T says
No urgency from the Lakers yet. Magic hanging in and lead 15-13.
WOW Devin Ebanks in the game.
WoW, whats MD plan right now? Playing Ebanks hmmm…
Ebanks needs to get the nerves under control-playing scared.
Pau’s doing fairly well anchoring the 2nd unit. Give D’Antoni credit, his changes in rotation actually make sense compared to what Mike Brown was doing.
lakers actually run an offensive set every other time down court.
Get Morris out
Was that a fastbreak? ~_~
Did we just miss 3 layups in one fastbreak?
There’s been at least a handful of possessions where nobody has touched the ball but kobe.
Dwight Howard, please no more 20 foot FG attempts.
Gah. Boneheaded play by Kobe to end the half.
Why tbe heck is Morris playing. He get beat every single time down, can’t pass, can’t dribble, can’t shoot. Wake tbe heck up Mike!
How in the world is that not a shot clock violation? Lakers never had controlled possession.
Yeah that is what happens sometimes when your primary ball handler is also your leading scorer. See Allen Iverson, Tony Parker, Dwyane Wade, Lebron James etc…
Stu doesn’t understand that there’s an intimidation factor to these hard swinging blocks. He’s usually spot on with his commentary so this must be an exception.
LeBron does the same too, and there’s a reason why everyone looks back before their breakaway layup when playing against Miami.
If it’s truly that simple you would’ve figured someone on the coaching staff has already told the shot blockers about that, but intimidation does play a role. Think about it, who would you be more scared to drive into, Tim Duncan (the ultimate tip-blocker) or Dwight Howard (the monster blocker)?
Kenny T says
No emotion and poor defense from the Lakers. No sense of urgency. Do they really think that Orlando is going to lay down for them? They’ve given the Magic belief that they can win.
HT, where the hell is the D. We’re giving a terrible Magic team life.
Where’s the ball movement? Not liking what I’m seeing so far at all, especially when Kobe goes into one of those modes where he’s the only one touching the ball.
Morris isn’t playing with the same confidence he exhibited earlier in the season, but agreed, if he’s not cutting it then I am all for Duhon getting the bulk of the minutes again tonight. Ebanks played rather well during his few minutes, no? Not too shabby. Would like to see more of Meeks, though.
Get Morris out please
Kenoak: everyone has to get in rhythm. Lakers are much better when they share the burden of the outcome.
Ron Artest with his 1,000th career three pointer.
You can’t be this blind Mike? Morris can’t defend. Pau is just so weak it’s sad sometimes. This team is baffling.
Duhon and Jamison badly outplaying Morris and Pau.
So is this the team we’re gonna be stuck with this year? Never knowing what we’re gonna get from one game to the next?
Pau just got sent by a 6′-6″ fat*ss PF.
We look so different each game, inconsistent to say the least.
Oh that move and dunk from Dwight!!
Kobe nit sharing ball at all tonight, hurting the team.
Kenny T says
This half-azzed defensive effort is not going to get it.
Kobe to Howard for the Smash
T. Rogers says
Jekyll and Hyde. That is the simplest description of this team.
Mike’s rotations have gone backwards tonight.
Why have we seen so much Ebanks and so little Meeks tonight?
I like everyone else am wondering why in the world Ebanks is lapping Meeks in floor time?
Also, not a proponent of not giving Hill any time, he is our best offensive rebounder.
Hey mike take Howard out! Boy what is he not seeing,
Is Mike D still on the pain pills?
Why not play Hill? At least he gives effort in rebounding and defense, especially when the overall team effort is lacking like tonight.
Pau has become worthless.
Boy is Pau bad,
Pau is lumbering around like Bynum used to out there. He rotates on D like him as well (which is to say not at all or VERY slowly at best).
I would sit Pau and play Hill personally.
Jim C. says
I want Mikey D. to succeed…but is there a coach out there who will make the simple and obvious rotations and play players where it is incredibly obvious?
Jordan Hill chained to the bench…
Seriously..I’m beginning to think we could drag in a random NBA fan off the street and have a more coherent, non-BIASED rotation.
I’m thrilled to see Meeks getting the burn he deserved and Jamison better utilized. I’m aghast at still not seeing the blatantly no-brainer rotations that the entire FG&G community knew where the right ones for months.
Kenny T says
Even a rookie like O’Quinn or whatever his name is , is taking liberties and getting physical with Pau.
I think Pau’s hurting. Whatever the reason, an undersized Hill would probably be better at the 5 than Pau tonight.
How bad would we actually be stats wise without D12 protecting the paint? Opposing teams eyes light up when D12 sits and Pau’s protecting the paint. He looks woefully inept at defending anything.
Meeks for 3
Why is he not taking Pau out. He is really blowing it. Stupid Muje.
Pau Gasol is done with this team. He must be moved and anyone who can’t see that is just blind.
Kenny T says
Just goes to show that without focus and enthusiasm, talent doesn’t mean a thing.
Lakers could’ve blew the doors off this team if everyone got involved early. As the de facto pg that’s kobe’s job. Lakers need to play team ball.
Kenny T says
Orlando is going to luck up and win this game, mark my words.
“Shouldn’t have to battle this hard to beat a team that you’re superior to on your homecourt.”
Well said Stu.
Gutless performance. To many guys counting their money. Yankees West.
Mike in Qingdao says
Afflalo out dueling Kobe.
I never thought it would come to this.
I hate to see my team lose, but when they play like this they deserve too. No energy, no sense of urgency will make the best talent not succeed.
Kenny T says
What a national story this is going to be.
Joe M says
I have had it. I am not watching another Lakers game until Nash comes back. This is just getting annoying….
Funky Chicken says
On a team that gets very little consistent effort, not playing Jordan Hill seems like an obvious mistake.
If Pau can’t move around any better than this due to tendinitis, he should be in street clothes and his minutes should be going to Jamison and Hill until Pau can play. I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure the best treatment for knee tendinitis is not 25-30 minutes a night of NBA basketball.
This loss is on D’Antoni.
He has done a terrible job with subs in this game.
Notably, Ebanks over Meeks; also he left Morris and Pau out there way too long while they died slow deaths.
Chris J says
Dwight Howard is an overpaid version of Kwame Brown. He’s well on his way to tanking a second organization in as many seasons.
At least the Lakers don’t have to worry about Kobe Iso Ball in the 4th quarter any more. Its just going to be Hack a Dwight.
Yes, our D is less than nonexistant.. But Hack-a-Dwight is killing us. I have zero respect for teams that choose to employ it as a “strategy,” but it’s on us that we get exploited by it every time. Haven’t been this sad in a while watching a game, not even during the Pacers game.
This is why I was against the Dantoni hire, he can only play with having his team outscore opponents, he plays short rotations and burns out his starters, and is not a good game tactician. Essentially he is mike brown except with no offense his team has no defense.
Dwight looks defeated right now, his free throws are all mental right now and he his throwing them up there with no expectation of making the.
This is last year all over again with our team having to resort to kobe isos to score.
Also what the hell are with Dantoni’s rotations.
No Defense tonight. Dwight have zero block shots and shows no effort on the defensive end.
T. Rogers says
So what’s the excuse now? We can’t blame Mike Brown’s coaching anymore. We can’t blame Bynum’s lack of effort anymore. Heck, we can’t even blame Pau for this one. This team was 5-10 coming in. The Lakers have enough talent to absorb a bad night from Pau and STILL beat this team. So what is it? I have no clue.
Yeah, is quite “obvious” that these last minutes without Pau has been outstanding..
He is playing bad, but the team is a mess.
Easy to defeat Hack-a-Dwight; play offence/defence and sub him out!
Regardless of how other players play – if dwight is on the flr and the game is close, all teams are going to hack a dwight to keep the Lakers out of rythm. He needs to seriously address it – too big to ignore when its coming this early and easily in the season.
Hack-a-Dwight brings back nightmares!
What exactly is D´Antoni´s beef with J. Hill?
I don’t know what to think of this team, one game we look great.. another game later we’re losing to one the worst teams in the NBA.
Complacency, sense of urgency or whatever it is. This is downright embarrassing. Talk about the most disappointing team in the NBA as of today.
This is not all on Pau. When he came out, the Lakers lead collapsed. The defense was atrocious, all the starters except Artest were horrible, and Hack-a-Dwight is proving to be a successful strategy.
Oh, and the Lakers has had one of the EASIEST schedules so far.
New coach, same attitude problems as last season. This team is nowhere near being a contender and Nash returning is NOT going to change things.
T. Rogers says
Funky Chicken is right. It’s time to sit Pau and go with a combo of Jamison and Hill. It is inconceivable that Hill is chained to the bench. A hustling, work horse of a big, and he can’t get off the bench. I don’t understand that one.
Not sure if this was said already but Kobe Bryant’s defense was pretty poor tonight. We need Steve Nash in here ASAP.
We have some grest examples to examine. Vs denver everyone got going early and lakers rolled. Vs indiana and magic when kobe wanted to be the sole reason lakers won they lost. Guarantee mwp says “we’re a tougher team to beat when the other team has to guard all of us”. He’s said it after every game kobe has gone rogue and probably will tonight. Kobe has to distribute and not kill 5 and 6 straight possessions becasue he wants to score. Team had no energy because everyone wasn’t involved.
Dwight has 12 field goal attempts, 21 FTs and he has generated 19 points out of that.
So out of a possible 45 points he has scored 19.
That type of efficiency would rank him in the lower echelon in the league.
Has Dwight become Andrew. Only plays if he feels like it? Minus 19 forDwight tonight. Appears this Mike can’t motivate this team either. Something deeply wrong with the makeup of this team.
Kenny T says
This Laker team doesn’t have the heart of a champion. Orlando could teach them a thing or two about pride. This has got to be one of the most satisfying victory in Orlando franchise history.
Joe M says
Magic has scored a basket 13 times out of their last 15 times down the court. 40 points in the quarter. I like to applaud the defense.
Jim C. says
Jordan Hill zero minutes.
I’m done. Until we get a coach that makes the obvious rotations without trying to get cute with things I’m done.
The Orlando Magic were 14-21 in the 4th quarter for 40 points, simply horrible effort the whole game. The Magic finished 50% from the field 43-86. Jordan Hill the Lakers energy player off the bench had a DNC-CD. Not the type of game before a road trip. As James Worthy said “This is just sad”.
The answer’s simple really.
With Pau hurt and Nash out, the Lakers only have 2 players that are even above average. The rest of the players are all all waiver wire fodder. If you front load a team and the big talent doesn’t produce, theres not much the team can do.
But I do agree with others as well, this team seems to think they can use an on/off switch, and its led them to being wildly inconsistent.
Right now the Lakers are the 2009-11 NYK of the west.
Kenny T says
I’m so disappointed that I’m not even angry. More numb than anything else.
Why would you blame the coach? These players played with lack of energy and sense of urgency. Maybe MD trying to play and give some playing time to Ebanks on what he can do in this offense. He benched Pau in the 4th for Antawn and if you benched Dwight because of Hack A Dwight strategy then who’s gonna be playing.
Hack-a-dwight works wonders when the other team willing trades givng up missed free throws from Dwight for made 3 pters. regardless of all other issues this team has – completely dispiriting to see Howard and the entire team taken out of the game on a regular basis via a bush league – albeit legal- play.
Blaming Kobe and MWP for this loss is insane. Both were out there trying to make things happen. Both lead the team in assists, boarded, stole the ball and tried to block shots. Kobe had 4 shot block attempts.
That is twice as many as Dwight and Pau combined. Dwight had ZERO block attempts tonight. The closest thing he got to a block was a goaltending where he swatted the ball into the next county.
I feel for Jordan Hill. A waste of a roster spot like Ebanks gets 12 minutes but he can’t get one run. That is on D’Antoni.
Funky Chicken says
This is mental. We have two mentally tough players (the two oldest guys) and a roster filled with soft players. I have seen nothing this season to make me think this team will get past the 2nd round at best.
They just lost a home game, again, to a truly awful team that was without its best player. Again.
Perhaps getting out on a long road trip will help this totally disjointed and disconnected team develope some camaraderie.
Blame the coach all you want but his offense is equal opportunity. And when kobe is killing possession after possession holding the ball that’s sucks the energy from the team. Lakers looked like the knicks when d’antoni and melo were paired. Kobe has to MOVE THE BALL.
Obviously, something (more like everything) went horribly wrong.
No defense and No sense of urgency. Feel bad for Jordan Hill (dog house) and, tonight at least, Jodie Meeks (basically, no burn).
What an embarassment. Get it together Coach D. and please, no mention of Nash during your post-game interview. He’s not the savior, so he shouldn’t be your cruch.
A couple observations
The lakers don’t, won’t and can’t play defense. They all play matador defense and think Dwight is going to shut down five players at once. The don’t give any defensive effort, especially Kobe and pau.
As well as artest has been playing, he doesn’t pass the ball anymore. It’s not that he’s selfish it’s that dantoni has given him the green light.
It’s time to rest or get rid of Pau. He’s having an awful year and hurting this team. I’m not blaming this or any other loss on Pau but he’s getting worse as the season goes on.
Lastly Steve nash is not going to save this team.
This has bested the Sacramento loss as the worst loss this season. Honestly, with the Lakers upcoming schedule I am starting to wonder whether this team will even be in a playoff spot come the all star break.
Jordan Hill should’ve been in to finish the game. When they went hack a Dwight, Jamison in the game just gave up too many back line finishes. Great coaching by the magic to put Dwight in the PNR to draw him out and great shotmaking on Orlando’s part.
Pau needs to sit out or just be used as an Ilgauskas. He is not a threat in the post and is turning the ball over when trying to initiate.
This game wasn’t as bad as it seemed. We played well in the first half but missed a few easy opportunities and magic hit some difficult shots. It should’ve been a ten point lead at the half. Really just lost the game on defending the pnr with Dwight and Jamison.
Is is too late for pj?!
Edwin Gueco says
Hill on the D’Antoni’s dog pound, all players playing complacent basketball, poor defense and brick contests, there goes the ball game. Dwight is severely embarrassed.
D’antoni should now adjust his Showtime Coaching to run and slow offense because the veterans are just too slow to switch guarding while Dwight is a liability on the FT line. I don’t see any pick and roll with D’antoni system, it is all outside shooting.
Who are we going to change again? You can’t find another player that will solve the Lakers problems. Play as a team with devoted energy for 48 minutes. If your shots are not going in, play a team defense basketball.
Don’t know what the feed was on league pass – but even the one announcer was saying that Pau should just be given a couple games off to see if that helps his “knees”. And Dwight looks rattled when he steps up for free throws now – even though hack-a-shaq worked a little bit – shaq never looked that nervous or scared at the line.
Sometimes kobe seems too worried about getting his thst he alienates his teammates giving them an excuse to say you want to do this by yourself well go ahead. Lakers just played their best TEAM game the other night then they drop a stinker.
Biggest flops of the year so far, absolutely no denying it.
We’ll find out if we’re any good in the upcoming games, 7 of our next 8 games are on the road and we’ve looked anything but a good team at home never mind on the road.
Jim C. says
No. Negative. Nada. Not happening. Kobe has been our best, most consistent player all year long.
I get it. He can sometimes be TOO aggressive. He can force things.
I don’t care. There’s no excuse for losing a game like this other than players didn’t give maximum effort. And there’s only so much you can blame the intangible of Kobe didn’t share the ball enough or Kobe didn’t get his teammates involved enough.
I don’t give a **** about any of that. This team only loses this game because they don’t come to play. No pointing the finger at Kobe.
Kobe’s offense ain’t the problem, kevin. You spend way too much time on that hobby horse. If people want to bag on Kobe, they should be talking about his D, not his O. Look at cdog’s post. This team was based on the Core Four playing at max level–the bench has guys that can do one or two things, but not guys who can play heavy minutes and do heavy lifting. Morris and Duhon are not rotation players, and they are the team’s PGs. Guys like that will play well once in awhile, but will hurt you more often than not. And as I said in preseason, the team is too old and slow to be really good on D.
As far as people calling for Hill, I agree to a point. But Hill is a mediocre player, and a guy who would get overexposed in heavy minutes. Still, I agree that he should be getting 10-15 MPG.
With Pau at about 50%, Howard at about 80% and getting worse all the time at the stripe, and Nash gone, the team just isn’t that good. It is not a “pride” or “focus” issue.
I am amending my previous comment about where the blame lies in this loss.
Kobe has to shoulder some of it, but not due to offence. The “Kobe takes too many shots sometimes” is old, tired and almost always inaccurate.
Tonight I thought Kobe played pretty soft on D. As the team tends to feed off his alpha male lead by example, I think it caused everyone else to be lax on D as well.
But this is where my ire turns on Dwight. He was supposed to come in and take the heat off Bryant being both our alpha on offence AND defence by being the D guy. Tonight he didn’t try to block a single shot (except for the goal tend).
Honestly I thought Jamison hustled on D more than Dwight tonight. MWP too.
Kenny T says
Orlando just simply played with more energy and heart than the Lakers. And coach Vaughan used the Dwight strategy to perfection. He rubbed Dwight’s face in it. The lack of defensive effort on the part of the Lakers is becoming part of their identity. Other teams look at them and can’t wait to get a crack at the “great” Lakers.
Kobe doesn’t have the energy anymore to labor on defense and offense. He is slower on defense and/or takes plays off to conserve energy for offense.
The Lakers have been inconsistent with their effort for many years. This is nothing new.
I expect more of the same. The playoffs will be a disaster. Lakers have very bad habits.
JimCK what’s was the difference between last game’s 1st half and this one? Everyone was involved thr ball was moving. This would’ve been a perfect game for kobe to get pau going instead he wants to keep going and keep dropping his fg%. It’s a big difference in the way kobe started the year and the last 3 games. rr: kobe’s started forcing shots the past few games. In the princeton there was structure. He would cut and get the ball in certain areas. In d’antoni’s freelance type offense he has to fight the urge ti shoot when he has a small window. Teams want kobe to shoot the ball.
It’s no point in bringing in dwight, jamison, meeks and nash and continue to shoot 20 shots a game. Defeats the purpose of wanting and needing help. Jim: I agree some bad habits indeed. One of them is kobe takeover mode.
Lakers are leading at the end of the 3rd period..however, what is fascinating here, is that Orlando do a Hack a Dwight in about 75% of the final period..they expose dwight’s free throw woes, i can imagine if this will happen in big games (like playoffs) what will happened to the Lakers. Free throw made/miss will definitely affect the game one way or another..Kobe does so much, cant wait for Nash to come back..hopefully
Teams want kobe to shoot the ball.
No, they want Howard to shoot it–at the FT line. The Lakers lost this game for a lot of reasons, but they mostly lost it because they gave up 40 points in the 4th quarter, because Pau is playing like a 40-year-old, because their PGs are waiver fodder, and because Howard missed 12 more FTs. Kobe’s passing the ball more wouldn’t have much impact on any of that. Like I said, and others have said, the real problem with Kobe is his D. Afflalo’s line tonight tells some of that story.
As I have explained many, many times, the main mistake people make in talking about Kobe is attributing every single thing that happens to the team to whether Kobe is shooting a lot or he isn’t. IMO, you are making that mistake here.
Pretty much everyone on the team shoots a lower percentage than Kobe.
If Kobe wants to shoot, I say have at it.
Also, Kobe is NOT a point guard (yet he frequently has more assists than any of our guards) so “getting other people involved” is not his job, shooting is. Unfortunately, he has no one getting him easy shots right now (that is one thing Nash will help with).
T. Rogers says
To be fair, sometimes Kobe’s offensive “aggressiveness” can kill the team’s overall offensive rhythm. But the real issue tonight was Afflalo having an almost career night. He basically got what he wanted out there. That is what hurt the most. That hurt more than Kobe’s shooting. If Kobe can’t stay with his man then the team has to play better team defense.
The problem is Kobe can’t stay with his man, and neither can Gasol or Duhon. If three of your five guys can’t stay with their men, then forget about any “team” defense.
Darius Soriano says
The recap is up.
pau is struggling, and he seems to be the new whipping boy, but i think the fundamental problem here is kobe. it’s not always as simple as he takes too many shots… i do think he was the only one in the indiana game that brought it, and on nights like that, i have no problem with him going into hero mode. on a night like tonight, however, there were something like 8 or nine possessions in a row where noone other than kobe touched the ball, and he didn’t make the right basketball plays. it was after that sequence of kobe going one on three and launching a bunch of bad shots (some went in) off pick and roll actions where howard could easily have gotten a pass and a dunk that howard took a bad shot from about 18 feet out. i don’t even blame him because that was the first time he touched the ball in a long long time, and that appeared to me to be a frustration shot.
Howard’s free throw problem is certainly an issue, and i was yelling at mike dantoni to sub him out once that strategy started, especially when we were down, we couldn’t afford to trade empty possessions for their three point attempts. however, it is hard to play good defense when the leader of the team is busy taking 27 shots, not getting people involved on offense, and then routinely taking plays off on defense on the perimeter. Aaron Afflalo is a decent player, but he hung 30 pts on kobe on 18 shots. kobe apologists always seem to give him a pass on defense, saying he needs to conserve energy for offense, but he really doesn’t. this team works best when it’s playing like a team. move the ball on offense, get a good shot, and don’t conserve energy on defense so you can handle the ball the entire possession. i was at the game, and dwight actually gave pretty good effort on defense, staying active and hedging, and recovering, but there’s only so much of that he can do, once hes rotated and recovered, he can’t cover the perimeter shooters as well… that’s on the perimeter defense… i’m looking at you kobe, and chris duhon. Our guards have a terrible habit of trying to collapse down in the paint to help.. which makes no sense since we have d12 in the middle. why can’t we preach staying at home with the shooters?
and mike dantoni seems like the bizarro mike brown, doggedly sticking to a system that isn’t perfectly suited for his personnel … putting some players in the doghouse that don’t match the system (jordan hill taking meek’s place), running the starters heavy minutes, and not making in game adjustments (subbing out dwight once hack a dwight was in effect) I have serious doubts about whether this team as presently constructed can win a championship, which makes me sad about how excited i was about getting nash and howard this summer.
if kobe cedes control of the ball to steve nash, i do believe the offense will have more nights like the denver night. but our defensive problems on the perimeter are real, and will get worse when nash is back in the lineup. troubling times ahead, i think.
First: If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Why did D’Antoni decide to play Ebanks instead of Meeks one game removed from Meeks making an impact from the 3pt line?
Second: When ever a player is traded and plays the first game against his old team. Everyone knows you get that guy the ball in a position so that he can score. Dwight set the pick for the role and Kobe shot the ball when he could have lobbed it to Dwight.
Thirdly: Kobe did not even attempt to play defense this game. As the leader HE must set the tone on defense and then execute the offense.
Again, Kobe must decide which one he wants to do: Score or Win. Anyone with eyes can see that the two blowout games that the Lakers played clicking offensively, Kobe was the facilitator. Every game that Kobe comes out looking to score more than pass the Lakers lose badly. Kobe dribbles the ball up the court and he never makes a pass. It makes the Lakers stand around and watch him and it allows the defense to key in on him. On one play, Kobe dribbled down the court took a screen from Dwight and then shot the ball–he had shot the ball two previous trips down the court. Well, the Lakers did not hustle back on defense and Kobe’s man ran past him while he complained to the referee. Kobe started hollering for help on defense but no one was there for him and Afflalo scored.
Until Kobe makes the same effort on defense that he does on offense the Lakers will continue to lose. A statement Kobe made keeps ringing in my ears, “I won’t hold on (playing) only scoring 15-20 points a game.” In the last game the Lakers scored 120 points in a win but Kobe only had 14. So tonight he comes out and scores 34 and the Lakers score 93 and lose.
Rr: it’s not always how many shots kobe shoots. Its what kind of shots and when he shoots them. I don’t see how it’s a good thing kobe shoots 20 times a game. Its an abundance of talent on this team. Why waste it?