The Golden State Warriors are taking their hatred for the Los Angeles Lakers a little too seriously. The Lakers have always been one of those teams in sports that only has one true rival, but is the rival to everyone else. Other teams, especially in the division, get up to play the Lakers in a way that they don’t for other teams in the the league, and seems to still be the case even in what is arguably the least successful season in the Lakers franchise history.
With a chance to clinch a playoff berth against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday Night, the Warriors elected to lay the conjectural egg and allowed Timofey Mozgof to go off for a ridiculous 93 (!) points on only 15 (!) shots with 29 (!) rebounds. Mozgof’s night was easily the most efficient of any player who has scored more than 70 points, mainly because the Warriors let him run rampant on the offensive end.
The reason: The Warriors wanted to clinch a playoff spot on the Lakers home court. “Teams tank all the time,” began head coach Mark Jackson after the game. “The Lakers are a team that this organization doesn’t like and they don’t like us. If we have an opportunity to clinch on their floor, in front of their fans — we’re going to take it.”
A clinch for the Warriors in Los Angeles isn’t a guarantee, however. They’re heading into a second of a back-to-back and the Lakers are coming off their highest scoring total of the season. The offense was firing on all cylinders as they dropped 130 points on the Houston Rockets. Although they’re only at 25-53, the offense may have finally found a rhythm that can carry them for the remainder of the season, even without Kobe Bryant or Pau Gasol or Chris Kaman or Steve Nash or Jordan Farmar or Xavier Henry or Kent Bazemore. **
Kendall Marshall is going to have to control the tempo and keep his counterpart Stephen Curry in check. If the Warriors are able to get out and run, things can get a little dicey for the Lakers as they just don’t have the depth to continue to rotate players to play 48 minutes of high tempo basketball. Curry is his best in the open court when he’s able to improvise and pick his spots. Klay Thompson is one of the beneficiaries of Curry in the open court as he’s often left open as defenses key in on trying to keep Curry under control.
One of the more interesting things about the Warriors in recent weeks is Jackson’s sudden willingness to play an Andrew Bogut/Draymond Green front court. With Iguodala on the court with those two, the Warriors have one of the best defensive front courts in the NBA. Their ability to get stops and force live ball turnovers has turned into some on-court success in the absence of David Lee.
For the Lakers, they’ll have to counter with the likes of Jordan Hill and Wes Johnson as the starting front court. Injuries were the problem at the beginning of the year and have continued throughout their 2013-14 campaign. The issues started with the backcourt, but with both Gasol and Kaman out, the front court is not the most depleted part of the Lakers roster and it could be very evident on a night that features one of the more unique front courts in the NBA.
A win for the Lakers isn’t necessarily out of the realm of possibilities as this has been a team that has fought extremely hard even in their worst of losses this season. However, what is there to be gained in another win as the season comes to a merciful close? It’s hard to condone even the idea of not playing to win, but any win at this point will be recorded in vain. There is the idea that the Lakers can keep the Warriors from clinching on their home floor, which is a mini-feel good story in an otherwise horrible season.
Where To Watch: 7:30pm start time on TWC SportsNet and NBATV. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.
** Words above the break are likely made up and should not be taken seriously.
the other Stephen says
We still have to play the Warriors tonight? Oh, bother… Jokes aside, thanks for the preview, Phillip.
“The offense was firing on all cylinders droping 130 points on the Rockets” Too bad they allowed 145 to a Rockets team without Dwight Howard, so whats the point really?”Kendall Marshall is going to have to control the tempo and keep his counterpart Stephen Curry in check” LMAO now i know your joking, good one!!!
I am going out on a very thin limb.
GS on back to back without Lee will lose to the lakers given Shawn/JC victory in the wine world with 26 wins!
Steve Blake is going to score a new career high against the Lakers tonight.
Mark Jackson hates the Lakers, believe that!
Let’s see if the Lakers high octane offense can score more than the young, hungry, angry, scoring Warriors.
The Heat hosting the Pacers and there are a lot of empty seats, what a pathetic fanbase…
this is amazing but doubt its veracity
With a chance to clinch a playoff berth against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday Night, the Warriors elected to lay the conjectural egg and allowed Timofey Mozgof to go off for a ridiculous 93 (!)
Continuing the discussion in the last thread:
I think we’re making a mistaking lumping all these coaches together as “re-treads.” SVG, Larry Brown, and Jerry Sloan, for example, are not in the same league as Kurt Rambis, Byron Scott, George Karl. Coaches should be evaluated on an individual basis, instead of painting with broad strokes. I tend to dislike the idea of pulling from the NCAA ranks, as the track record of success in both leagues is very limited. Brad Stevens has done little except hold together the locker room of a tanking team. We’ve got a long way to go before we have enough data to judge the wisdom of hiring Stevens. I’d caution against following a completely unproven model.
If we do want a young coach to “grow” with a young team, then this seems to contradict targeting Love/Durant in free agency – veteran players should be paired with experienced coaches (even with Ollie/Durant recent speculation). Taking a coach with little NBA experience only increases the chances of wasting these players’ primes.
If we do pull from the NCAA ranks, then the priority should be a coach with a long NBA history. Ollie and Hoiberg would be the only two I’d give a second look.
I get your point snoopy, though I would argue SVG belongs w Karl and Scott, and Rambis should never be seriously considered as a coach.
The one point I would make in hiring Ollie (or some other relatively unknown person to the average nba fan) is that by hiring a rookie coach it would be a public signal that the coach and team will be given time to grow by fo, whereas hiring an SVG etc… there might still be an undue assumption that a quick turn around is imminent whereas the can and kobe s contract combine to severely handicap that compared to the last cba. Not saying that anyone wants a protracted return to competitiveness but instilling a little patience and understanding that this is a long term process may alleviate some of the heat the fo has felt this year. Though I don’t know how kobe responds – would live to sit in on the end of year meeting
I see your points, but GS is only 1.5 games away from 9th–they need this game pretty bad.
Boy Lakes ate a poor passing team.
Please tell me the Laker FO isn’t so clueless about a winning strategy that they’d choose a coach as a message to the fans. Whoever it is, he should be someone they believe in long term.
I think the answer is for Jimmy Buss to coach next year. He clearly has shown his knowledge of personnel this year.
How hard can coaching be then.
@rfen I’m not saying that the FO hires someone unknown strictly to defray expectations, but the reality is that if you hire someone younger and newer the fan base there isn’t necessarily the hype that would come w former coach that had significant success or track record. If the reality is that the FO looks at things and thinks this is going to be a 3-4 year process then why not get someone younger or a bit more obscure. Keep expectations low – under promise and over perform.
@rr, you mentioned Hoiberg- is that the same one that used to play w Minnesota before heart issues? If so, he would fit in well in that Scott brooks/kevin Ollie mode being a former pro. I didn’t know that he was coaching.
From last thread:
Karl has been to the Finals and lost. He was again very recently coach of the year. It wasn’t for being teribad. Hes the polar opposite of MDA in that he does not have a set system. He builds the system to the players he is given. The only way he could be any better is if he had a Championship Title but the same could be said about a lot of coaches. Karl is a very solid choice.
To reiterate Karl with Good Players took his team to the Finals. With not all that much he got into the play offs. Karl is an excellent choice unless Popovich is available. :p
Draft lotto look like it might come down to tie breakers,
Ko> “I think the answer is for Jimmy Buss to coach next year. He clearly has shown his knowledge of personnel this year.”
They should grab 10 fans out of a bar and draw straws. 😉
I actually didn’t mention Hoiberg, but he is a hot candidate–Iowa State, his alma mater, just gave him a 600k raise. Hoiberg has NBA playing and FO exp. From Wiki:
In April 2013, Hoiberg signed a 10-year contract extension with Iowa State worth $20 million. Hoiberg’s contract has a $2 million buyout clause if he leaves for another college coaching position, but the buyout is only $500,000 if he leaves to become an NBA head coach or general manager.
San Antonio clinched best record tonight–that will affect game 82.
Spurs 3rd string can still beat Lakers current squad. After all they won at PHX tonight on 2nd night of B2B with Duncan & Ginobili sitting out. Just need green team to win a couple and for Utah to beat Lakers Monday.
jerke> “If the reality is that the FO looks at things and thinks this is going to be a 3-4 year process then why not get someone younger or a bit more obscure. Keep expectations low – under promise and over perform.”
The Lakers have been a championship franchise because they’ve made great basketball decisions, greater than any fan could have made. If I could build such a team, I’d be there doing it. I know there’s nothing simple about it, and it’s not about managing fan expectations. If they think the best coach for the job is someone inexperienced but promising, then do it. If they like a more proven commodity, then do that. Either way it takes a special vision and sticking to principles. I’m not sure the Lakers still have it, but that’s the hope.
Okay let’s see. Lakers, Celtics and Jazz have 3 games left each.
LAKERS-> Grizzlies, Jazz, Spurs
JAZZ-> Nuggets, Lakers, Timberwolves
BOSTON-> Cavs, 76ers, Wizards
Lakers have clinched the 6th worst with 25 wins.
Boston and Utah tied for 4th with 24 each.
So we need to lose all 3. And hope that Celts and Jazz lose atleast one.
We can take the fate in our hands against Jazz. Last tank standing match.
As for Boston, let’s hope 76ers pull a ‘2013-14 76ers’ on them.
Decisive games- Lakers@Utah
jerke: The problem is, some refuse to accept that this will be a 3-4 season rebuild, at the very least. So there’s no reason to overpay for a coach now. And never mind even the expectations.
Fern: going back to your reply to me on the last thread, yeah, rooting for your team to lose sucks donkey testes, Or the sweat off the same. Take your pick. But the point was and is that, sometimes, losing in the short term is in the strategic interest of the team in the long term. And it’s in the strategic interest long term because the anti-competitive nature of the current scheme means that the team cannot use all of its money and go the Dodgers route to success. See Warren’s post on thread before the last one. Where he runs the CAP numbers. Not even enough for a max deal for Melo, even if they wanted to go that route. And even after Nash and his 9 mil are gone, there’s still the problem of what happens when Kobe is gone, and why does any first tier FA want to assume that risk. Go the known commodity route like Howard did with Harden.
Vahseed: Take a tie for 4th most wretched team in the league. Would be the average of this:
The average of that is 103.5 (207/2), so a coin flip decides who gets 103 combinations and who gets 104 combinations. That same flip would determine the order of pick if neither team gets a top 3 pick.
If we have a 3 way tie for 4th, would be:
So each team would get 90 combinations, or 270/3 combinations. And so no need for a coin flip.
And the combos are 4 balls worth, i.e., they put in the 14 balls, spin her around for randomness, then take 1 out. Then 10 seconds later, for more spinning randomness, then another ball, all the way to 4 balls worth.
And if we have a 3 way tie for 4th and none of the 3 get a top 3 pick, then would presumably be an odd man out coin flip, so H in TTH wins or T in HHT wins, and then the two losers can flip for next spot. And if 1 gets in and 2 do not, then a flip for that as well. They should have it live, but they never will.
I’ve heard a few people in the media, some closely connected with the organisation, emphasise the importance of this year’s draft pick.
Imagine the pressure on this young 18-20 year old. They’re going to have to be someone who can handle that.
Renato Afonso says
I’m not going to discuss the way the draft works and/or the salary cap, but I can tell you this: being from Europe, it’s very hard to understand why is there a system in place that rewards losing. The goal is to win as many matches as possible and if you finish as the runner-up, then you know you’re in the right way and only need to tweak your squad to have a better chance at winning it all next season. Losing is really bad as prize money from competitions is lower and you can be relegated from the league you are in. Therefore, I cannot root for ping-pong balls…
I concur. Cheering for ping pong balls just isn’t in me, either. I can’t do it. Furthermore, the draft is a crap shoot. Anything can happen. You can choose a Kwame Brown with the 1st pick or a Kobe Bryant with the 13th choice. It’s almost impossible to predict the long-term future success of these young players.
Fans have a tendency to fantasize about their draft picks. But then reality hits. For every Damian Lillard, there are 6 Greg Odens. Occasionally you strike gold. But history has proven that you simply can’t count on the draft. After all, we’re talking about a bunch of 19-year olds.
The Lakers have many missing pieces. Their draft pick will fill only one–if it works out. And that player, if he pans out, may not begin to mature for another 3-4 years. I abhor the ping-pong ball mind set and try not to get too caught up in the frenzy surrounding the draft.
That said, the Lakers better nail this choice because they need all the help they can get.
While the draft is of course uncertain, most NBA stars are high lottery picks, and the research shows that for the most part, the higher the pick, the more likely there is to be a good return, particularly within the Top 5. So, the Lakers probably have a better shot to get a good player if they pick higher, which is pretty much all people are rooting for.
There are busts every year in every draft. It’s just the way of the world. There hasn’t been a single draft in history in which the top 5-6 selections have all gone on to become super stars. It just doesn’t happen.
I just hope the Lakers choose wisely. They need a break.
Warren Wee Lim says
Excellent post Slappy. Just excellent.
I don’t think that many people are counting on getting a “superstar.” I certainly am not. People just want the best shot to get a good player.
And, in any case, there is no upside to going 27-55 rather than 25-57.
Baylor Fan says
The Lakers have greatly benefitted from having an owner/GM/coach with a big picture of what they wanted the team to be like and then acting to make it happen. What Jerry Buss, Bill Sharman, Jerry West, and Phil Jackson all have/had in common was the ability to have a vision of what a great team needed to be to win an NBA championship. With the current FO/coach that vision is not working. How else can you explain 4 centers on a team that refuses to put more than one on the court at a time or firing the guy who was able to put fat Shaq back on the court and kept Gasol healthy after he became a Laker? How are the Lakers supposed to win if they do not play defense? Even the Showtime Lakers were able to shut down the best offenses when they needed to. Who in the Laker hierarchy has the big vision to put together a coherent team?
Renato> “…being from Europe, it’s very hard to understand why is there a system in place that rewards losing. The goal is to win as many matches as possible…”
It’s not as bad as it sounds, and in practice, “the goal” is not different. Tanking is something people on the sidelines may root for, but has nothing to do with how the games are played by those who play (or coach). Some Laker fans may root for the Jazz in the upcoming game, but both teams will be playing to win. Those playing really don’t care about the lottery.
Moving up or down a spot in the draft is not a big deal, but fans want to have something to root for. I mean, they pay a boatload for a seat at Staples, and then root like they’ll starve if they don’t win a free taco. 🙂
A few years ago, the Blazers “beat” the Sonics in the lottery. They got Oden, second place got Durant. One example of how it can work anyway. Laker management is grateful they have a high pick this time, but they’re not concerned about being 4th, 5th, or 6th. Whatever they get, they’ll make their best attempt at a pick. They at least earned it by being honestly bad.
Kenny T says
I believe that one of the reasons the draft is so unpredictable is the fact that so many underclassmen are a part of it. It’s awfully hard to get a handle on a one year college player, especially in the ESPN era, when everyone wants to be the first to identify the next big thing. Look at how Andrew Wiggins was anointed before even playing one game at Kansas.
What I have seen in the past suggests to me that the top picks in the draft are most effective when a fairly decent team lucks up and acquires a high pick. I’m thinking Spurs w/ Duncan or the Lakers w/Magic. The number one pick is not going to turn around an awful team by himself, unless he’s a player for the ages like Kareem.
I’m just hoping whoever falls to the Lakers is a real baller and that the team can use him to build for the future.
Kenny T says
And as an aside, I just don’t see the hype about Julius Randle. Seems a bit undersized and unable to create his own shot.
I think the pressure is double-edged. Lakers management must choose a serviceable pick, they just can’t afford to draft the next Kwame Brown or Adam Morrison. The young kid has to constitute more than basketball acumen, he has to be self-assured, confident even arrogant to bare the weight of this organization on his shoulders. Too bad, Kobe isn’t in this years draft he had the gravitas for that honor.
Craig W. says
All the top draft picks have holes in their game. If we get 3 all-stars out of the top 10 it will be a good year. That is the backdrop we fans are looking at in the draft. Our most likely spot is to finish 6th and that means someone has to fall for us to get someone we have been discussing. Even then, that person isn’t likely to ‘plug a hole’, but will likely just help our bench.
J C says
So many excellent points here.
Rarely does a draft pick make an instant impact.
Or the impact necessary to swing a team from awful to contender. Kyrie Irving is a recent example of a player who adapted swiftly to the NBA game but his team was still poor. Lillard is a nice player too but it still takes time for a team to gel and grow. Portland has excellent complimentary an major pieces and they’re still not true champ contenders.
I don’t think there are any Magics or Birds in this draft.
I’d bring in Ollie as coach. He’ll be respected and won’t be too expensive. Maybe another Riley diamond in the rough.
I predict Lakers will snag one more win – against either Utah or SA for a lovely & fateful 26 wins.
Pop won’t care about game 82.
bryan S. says
They should have it live, but they never will.
And therein lies our hope! If there has been rigging in the past to favor a big market team (Knicks, Ewing), then this *should* be our year!
I have a lot of doubts about Randle as well.
bryan S. says
BTW: Anyone notice that Boston beat Charlotte on Thurs? A loss on Monday to Utah could help us immensely. Go tank rank!
Also: McBob > RKelley. We had a better shooter, passer and athlete in McRoberts for our stretch four . . . . The only edge I can think of to give Kelley is shot-blocking; which he is surprisingly adept at.
J C says
Comment in mod. Is it prohibited to muse about an off-season potential trade about a current roster player?
Sorry about that…
Renato Afonso says
I’m not saying that the players don’t play to win. Of course they do. I’m talking about having a system in place that rewards GM’s that build a terrible team with the intention of getting a better draft pick. Also, I cannot relate at all to fans that root for a Lakers loss. I’d rather have the Lakers go 35-47 than 20-62. At 35-47 you’re closer to the playoffs than at 20-62 (barring a situation like the Spurs when they drafted Timmy). At 35-47 your basketball is better than at 20-62. At 35-47 you probably have more assets to move in order to improve your squad. I’m not a GM, I’m a fan and I want my team to win every single game, period. If we win enough to win a title, great, if not then we’ll keep thinking of ways to improve next season’s record…
I have doubts about Randle as well, but I especially have doubts about another top-10 prospect: Aaron Gordon. Maybe I didn’t see enough of him – I’ll have to take a look at his shooting stats over the full season – but from what I saw, that jumper will take a miracle to be fixed. And in today’s game, with spacing at a premium in all offenses, a broken jumper is a huge cause for concern, regardless of how athletic the player is. It would take a special situation (good development, and the proper complementary players around him) for Gordon to reach the potential some are suggesting, IMO. In contrast, I think Andrew Harrison will be much better in the NBA than he was in college.
I’ve jumped on the Exum bandwagon, although I acknowledge he may be the biggest gamble out of the top 5 prospects, simply because the majority of his court time has been against inferior competition. And I’m also low on Parker – a guy who I think will fill the boxscore with slightly inefficient scoring, but be too limited defensively to be a key championship cog unless he finds a truly ideal situation.
Boston about to beat cleveland and if we lose to utah next we can jump to 4th in the tank rankings …. mu hahahahahah
Ill lose the wine but gain some happiness
But wine brings happiness!
But wine brings happiness!
More reliably than the Lakers recently ….
Some analysts have expressed doubts about Gordon for exactly that reason.
J C says
I liked McRoberts.
He was a unique kinda player with some cross section of pluses.
Could handle the ball, rebound, pass.
Dantoni would have liked him, i think.
I viewed him as the type of pickup that Kupchak could be sorta proud of.
Then they released him. So what do I know?
Casual Fan says
Did the lakers win both games against Boston this season?
In other words, the Lakers need have 1 fewer win than Boston to be a lower seed for the lottery right?
Warren Wee Lim says
Lakers 25-54 (MEM, @UTA, @SAS) safe to say we won’t be winning. Projected finish: 25-57.
Celtics 25-55 (@PHI, WAS) possible wins.
Jazz 24-55 (@DEN, LAL, @MIN) possible wins.
J C says
How is it safe to say we won’t beat Utah?
They’re every bit as bad as we are.
Not only that, we beat them once already this year. That game’s a coin flip.
They lost tonight after leading for much of the game.
The SA game won’t be a normal game either.
Pop will rest all his stars.
The Spurs ball boy and the mascot will probably be starting.
I want one more win for the wine.
But every loss helps our draft position at this point.
Warren Wee Lim says
Safe to say we are guaranteed 6th. But if we have a shot at equal footing with Utah and Boston then why not?
119 combinations for 4th.
88 combinations for 5th.
63 combinations for 6th.
Assuming Utah wins our game, loses out everything else; Boston loses out everything else; and we end up losing out, we are in a 3-way tie for 4th seed at 25-57 record.
119+88+63 = 270 pingpong balls.
Pre-lottery, each team gets 90 balls each. It puts us in even footing with the 2 others atleast in terms of “odds of winning top 3” …
Once the lottery is done, and supposedly none of the three goes on to win top 3, we assume places 4th, 5th and 6th by virtue of coin flips.
^ Yup, coin flips.
Renato> “I’m not saying that the players don’t play to win. Of course they do. I’m talking about having a system in place that rewards GM’s that build a terrible team with the intention of getting a better draft pick.”
I’ve never liked the way the draft works in any of the major pro U.S. sports, but the idea is to create a stronger business for the entire league. They favor parity, and they don’t want teams to fail. Letting the worst teams pick first is the safety net, kind of socialistic approach. Regardless of how pro sports are romanticized to capture the fans’ imaginations, they’re always a business first. An entertainment business.
That’s the league business, but most in the business are still pros, dedicated and competitive. I’m not aware of any evidence that GM’s intentionally build terrible teams. Organizations hit the bottom and have to rebuild, but that’s not where they want to be, regardless of the draft. There’s so much more to the business, the game, and personal ambition than getting a good lottery pick. Whether there’s a draft or not, the fact is some organizations are not smart or lucky, and high picks don’t fix their problem.
renato: I don’t think that anyone likes the tanking. At the same time, though, it was not until April of last year that the Premier league put in something resembling a salary cap. The championship league and leagues 1 and 2 have a scheme where you can spend as much as you want provided the asset to debt ratio is good. If the NBA had that, the Lakers wouldn’t need to tank, as they’d wait until Lebron becomes a FA and then offer him 30 mil a season.
For how anti-competitive it is, read rfen’s one post, about how some, despite sucking wind and consequent high draft pick, remain mired in the mire. That’s what I hate most about the current scheme, as essentially, it acts to preserve franchises that apparently don’t have a clue when it comes to the evaluation of talent. Not in the known commodity sense, since even folks like me can judge that fairly well, but in the projection sense, as in, what does he project to be in this league.
I also hate the scheme because it is patently and egregiously unfair to the middling players. As we saw with Melo and the Nuggets, the elite can always force what they want. The problem is the guy who is overpaid for Cleveland, or Minnesota, but who the Lakers might be willing to overpay, i.e., assume his existing contract, except they can’t, owing to the CAP, etc.. So Mr. Middling remains frozen in ice, as it were. And not only him, but Cleveland or Minnesota is stuck with him, and a team that could use and would be willing to use his services cannot do so.
For my other hate, as I’ve mentioned before, who really remembers the 70s? Nobody cares about the 70s. Because nobody was dominant. Everyone remembers the old Celts and the Lakers futility in trying to beat them. Everyone remembers Kareem, Magic and Worthy, and Bird, McHale and Parrish, everyone remember MJ, Pippen and Rodman, and so on with Shaq, Kobe, Duncan, etc. Oh, and I left out the intermediate dominant team for two years there, Hakeem and his crew. And for the Lakers role in futility, there’s Stockton, Malone and the Jazz versus the Bulls, though not nearly of the same duration. That’s what makes the NBA great, you either love the Lakers or you hate them, ditto the Heat of late. And so we all get what I mean, remember our man on that show sponsored by Mutual of Omaha? They probably didn’t have that in Europa, but most here will remember, well, at least the old fogies like me. Nature is built on the alpha male and the up and comer trying to knock him off his perch there. No alpha and consequent challenges in the 70s and so no one really cares to remember. But we all remember the dominance of some and those others who rose to the challenge.
And for one more for you, the Chelsea resurgence is easily explained by the fact that over the last decade, they more or less lead the way in spending in the Premier league. And Man City is a close rival in that respect, with our Sheik deciding that 100+ mil in loss is of no import when it comes to winning. The new Fair Play scheme isn’t otherwise designed to bring parity to the Premier, but to avoid Portsmouth, Leeds United and Glasgow Rangers. Which is why the Premier should have simply done what the Championship and Leagues 1 and 2 are doing. I mean, the Sheikh is good for the money. It’s like a toy for him. He’s that rich. And what Man City fan doesn’t love winning? It’s a hoot.