The Lakers won only their 2nd game of the season (in 11 tries) last night, taking out the Hawks in Atlanta. The game itself offered a glimpse at what anyone who was (even somewhat) optimistic about the Lakers being better than advertised envisioned they could be. Kobe was the focal point of the team’s attack and handled himself efficiently in the process, but in support of his effort came strong play from multiple other players on the roster. Carlos Boozer was efficient offensively and contributed a very good scoring output. Jeremy Lin was both a solid scorer and a good set-up man for his teammates. Ed Davis and Jordan Hill provided very good interior play, working the glass well and scoring enough to keep defenses honest. And Nick Young came off the bench to provide an offensive spark, but also an injection of fun and enthusiasm that helped propel the team. All in all it was a real team effort and the best the Lakers have looked all season.
Normally, this would be the part of the story where I would typically point to all the factors that make this not sustainable and why you shouldn’t get your hopes up. I mean, good for the Lakers and all that, but the Hawks aren’t exactly one of the league’s better outfits and why fool ourselves. Not today, though. Today, I tell you simply enjoy the win. The Lakers are still a bad team. They still project to win 20 some odd games and while there will be other nights like the one against the Hawks throughout the year, they won’t be here often. And while all that makes for a depressing turn, this is why you should enjoy games like the one against that one even more. The Lakers won’t always look this good and they certainly won’t win a lot of road games against projected playoff teams (not even eastern conference ones). So why not live it up and enjoy yourself some? That’s what I’m doing.
One last note on last night’s game. Kobe Bryant became only the 4th player in NBA history to reach 32,000 points in his career with a turnaround jumper last night. He joins Kareem, Karl Malone, and Jordan on this list. Kobe’s taken a lot of heat this year for how he’s played, mostly from analysts who are doing their best to use statistics and analytics to portray Kobe’s play as a blight the Lakers are suffering from. Some of this is rooted in truth, some of it overblown, but most of it is a simplification of one player’s role within the very complex nature of a group of players operating within a team sport against other professionals.
I say all this not to discredit anyone’s thoughts on Kobe — we’re all entitled to our opinions and to use whatever “facts” we feel are on our side to spread our own gospel — but to instead bring the focus back to the fact that Kobe, for all intents and purposes probably shouldn’t even be playing basketball. After rupturing his achilles tendon, many thought his career could be over. When he returned only to break a bone in his knee after playing six games last season, many probably thought his career should be over. But, here Kobe is, achieving milestones. He’s not the most efficient player and some of the tendencies he displays on the court will continue to rub some the wrong way. But, through it all, one of the greatest players ever is still out here making amazing shots and hearing fans chant his name in the opposition’s arena. If only all of us could be that washed up.
As for tonight’s game against the Rockets, the Lakers will be hard pressed to replicate the performance they had last night. For one, playing a second game in as many days is hard. Further, the Rockets are a much better team than the Hawks, boast the league’s stingiest defense, still have a couple of all-NBA level players on their side, and are playing at home. These are ingredients that make for a difficult night for any opponent, but for the 2-9 Lakers this is especially so.
If there are three keys to the Lakers remaining competitive in this game, however, they are simple and straight forward:
- Get Dwight in foul trouble. Regardless of your view of Dwight (and I know some of you Lakers’ fans view him rather unflatteringly), he is still the Rockets’ best big man and a premier two way player in this league. Less of him on the floor is a good thing for the Lakers chances. It will be on Jordan Hill and Ed Davis to make him work defensively and to be crafty and smart enough to put him in positions where he commits silly fouls.
- Keep James Harden off the FT line. Harden (37.2%) shoots a lower percentage from the field than Kobe (38.9%), but makes up for those misses by going to the line a ton. Harden has shot 110 free throws through 11 games, or a tidy 10 per contest. Harden’s ability to bait defenders into reaching in and then getting the line (where he hits 90% of his shots) props up his efficiency. Make him shoot contested jumpers and keep him from making up the difference at the line and the Lakers will be in business.
- Make shots from behind the arc. On opening night the Lakers were outscored from behind the arc by 27 points in a game they lost by 18. I’m no mathematician, but I think that latter number was influenced by the former. The Lakers have upped their three point FGA’s as the season has progressed and Nick Young’s return will help even more. But the Rockets will bomb away tonight and the Lakers will have a better shot of keeping the game close if they can keep up somewhat. I’m not saying the Lakers need to shoot 25 threes, but shooting 18 or 20 would be nice. Making eight or more would be really nice.
Again, I don’t see the Lakers pulling this game out. But, unless you’re Philly, you can’t lose all your games.
Where you can watch: 6:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet and ESPN nationally. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.
Calvin Chang says
Using a shorter defender on Harden seems to give him more trouble (ie: Ronnie Price or Lin) because a smaller defender can get under his space and poke the ball away. With a bigger defender like Wes Johnson or Kobe, Harden will penetrate, get under their space, extend his arms and draw the foul. I’m not saying have Lin or Price guard Harden all game. But it would be good to have a small guy guard Harden 50% of the time to throw him off rhythm. A sporadic hack-a-Howard will also throw the Rockets off-rhythm.
Kobe Alert: The greatest Laker is back into a mode where he goes by some sort of milestone almost every game. Against the Hawks Kobe scored his 32,000th point during a stellar game of 28 points on 10-18 shooting and 3-7 from three. Tonight at tipoff Kobe ties Otis Thorpe for 23rd on the games list. KB needs only 6 dimes to catch Mookie Blaylock for 31st. Within the next 2 games Kobes should play his 46,000th minute. As he would say – that is a lot of mileage. He needs just 291 points to be like Mike.
Craig W. says
Interesting point. I will watch to see if Byron agrees with you.
Calvin, I believe you aptly stated this theory of a shorter defender on Harden when they were in Los Angeles. I think you have something there, and sadly Price is the only capable player as Lin is not an option. Once a player has lost their confidence against their old team, it’s best to not put them in the position of defending that player. Lin would be in foul trouble within the first five minutes of the game. Unless…Lin took on the persona of the Mamba then he would play to prove Harden’s dismissal of him wrong. I’d like Ellington on him if he were available or Xavier if he were healthy. Alas, these are the breaks.
Glad to see the team play with some fire in their belly, otherwise known as passion.
Let’s go, Lakers.
Kevin Love is the Alan Iverson of the outlet pass. They both covert 40 percent of the time. Out of a lot of times.
This article claims that NBA players don’t like Dwight Howard.
Hope Dwight dosen’t try to wack Kobe and than call him son!
Dwight out. Pending legal issues?
Sweet pass Kobe .. Sweet
3rd TO in 7 minutes for Lin. Sit
Wes Johnson is just stupid bad.
Hmm a lot more team eficiency these last 2 games. And Howard wacking Kobe and calling him son? Please dont make me laugh, if anything it would be the other way around, if Howard was playing tonight i bet a million bucks Kobe would try to dunk on him just to prove a point, 36 or not. Thats why Kobe is Kobe and Howard is regarded what KD called him the other day.
Basically, if boozer plays well we have a chance 🙁
Funny to see that old geezer Kobe Bryant blow by a good defender like Ariza and seemingly half the Rockets for a practice layup.
Lin and Johnson are too inconsistent to be starters.
Nick played yesterday on pure adrenaline. His body is reminding him that he’s not conditioned to play back-to-backs yet.
Harden has been unspectacular this season. Howard seems to miss every other game with one malady or another.
Get Lin on the pine. He is terrible tonight. 5 TO. Out of control.
Lakers three point defense is not good. Rockets getting easy looks beyond the arc.
Wes 1 for 5 with 1 rebound
Lin 1 basket and 5 turnovers.
And they start?
Scotts sub patterns and rotations are just mind boggling. And his infatuation with Wes who’s just terrible either means he’s trying to lose (tank) or he’s just stupid. Playing kb all these minutes doesn’t help either,esp when he’s jacking up shots. Free X & Clarkson!!
Kevin T says
Coach takes Davis out and brings in Hill, keeps Boozer in after 3 missed shots in a row. I am pissed, is he a bad coach or is he coaching to lose.
Kevin T says
And Lin is scared to shoot again tonight even when Kobe is out of the game.
Why is boozer in instead of Davis?????
Davis asked for a sub because he was running out of gas..
Baylor Fan says
Lakers refuse to go away. The rockets are seeing if they can play even less defense than the Lakers. Different Lakers taking turns scoring, is Kobe next?
Just terrible coaching… Boozer and Johnson belong in china. Instead they start for our Lakers and play in crunch time. Unbelievable!!!
I haven’t been this excited for someone named Wesley since season 2 of Star Trek TNG.
Wes Johnson with the steal, basket and 1 and makes the FT.
What was that about Johnson again?
Wes has made one play all night fern.
Give him credit. Play of Wes’s carrier.
Party in Newport!
Welcome back Swaggy P, you are now 2-0!
Lakers hang around and get the win over the Rockets, that is two road wins in a row. Lakers 2-0 with Nick Young.
GREAT WIN!!!!! Lot of Laker fans in Houston too, those are not bandwagon fans, sweet sweet win.
Great come from behind win!
Lakers are now 2-0 when swaggyp plays!
Back-to-back wins and I don’t care under what circumstances!
Still, Lin and Johnson are inconsistent.
Robert that’s minus 29 points and 7 assists. Nice.
Lakafan he made 2 of them when it counted or you forgot getting fouled and hitting his fts when he grabbed that vital offensive rebounds the play before?, i could care less what he did the rest of the game. He got us the win thats all that matters.I hope he starts getting it togheter now this could only give him confidence.
Life is good again! Yay!
Alright Lakers…slow down on this winning thing! OKC now has the worst record in the West. I would be one PO’ed dude if they somehow managed to get the #1 pick in the draft and paired him with KD and RW. Nice to beat the Rockets though!
Swaggy KO says
My new name!
Wtf happend 2night?? Wes the man of the match??? Did what he was actually aquired for with solid d 2night….
Swaggy bings back the swag to our lakers…hope we can keep this up, hate to see us lose, f that pick if we can get to the playoffs as an 8th seed i would take it plus ratings and therefor twc-money would go up … downside is jimmy stays in hpuse for another year but so be it better if we finish around a record of 20-62
Keep it rollin now, we had a hard sceduel zo start with but with confidence coming back2staples and perhaps some more minutes and less injuries who knows what kobe, swaggy, hill davis and company can accomplish
Given what we’re facing this season, I’m hoping for that top 5 pick. BUT, I want wins over Boston, Houston and the Clippers. So for me, today’s a good day!
Calvin Chang says
For all the criticism I’ve leveled on Byron Scott, big credit to him in crunch time. In the last 2 minutes, Houston always run the 1-4-flat with Harden at the top of the key. The decision to bring Jordan Hill up to double and trap threw Harden off, resulting in a couple of stops, and that Wes Johnson play of the game. Of course, Jordan Hill cannot do that if Dwight’s in the game – otherwise it’s a lob-dunk to Dwight. But great adjustment to throw Harden off-rhythm.
Amen Darius on you words on Kobe in this preview. Yes he misses more shots than he makes. Always has. But at age 36, in the 4th quarter on the second night of a back to back , there he is splitting a double team and heisting up a shot over a Houston big. Incredible! Or rising up way over Trevor Ariza and hitting an And One jumper late in the game. Amazing!
When folks projected how Kobe would be able to play this year , many pointed to the fact that few players, at any age, have returned full bore after an Achilles’ tear, much less at age 36. Chauncey Billups immediately comes to mind. But if we look at the top 5 NBA scorers if all time, maybe Kobe’s resurgence shouldn’t be that much of a surprise; the Mamba fits right in with:
Kareem: unparalleled excellence and great longevity.
Malone: a fierce and intimidating physical specimen.
MJ: the standard of competitiveness.
Wilt: the legendary Superman of the NBA.
Kobe fits right in with this group. I’ll continue to enjoy him, warts and all. We have seldom seen his like.
Calvin Chang says
I don’t care how bad Wes, Lin and Boozer suck on offense = the most important thing is they don’t give up on defense. The effort has been there the past 2 games. As long as they can scrap, play ugly, get stops and keep the game close in the last 4 minutes, they can let Kobe play closer and have a chance to steal wins.
-D, nice assessment of Kobe and those who analyze his game & career.
-Best player on team usually gets too much credit when things go well & too much blame when things go bad…what else is new?
-As for the game, what can one say? Very nice win. Guys stepped up. Rockets very different team w/o D12. Glad to see Lakers were able to take advantage of his absence (& starting PF T. Jones) driving the lane and out rebounding the Rockets 47 – 38.
-3-9 record will remove this team from “worst Laker start ever” conversation for a while. ’57-’58 team didn’t get their 3rd win until their 17th game.
To me it looks like Nick is a much bigger part of the team that we anticipated over the first 10 games.
With Lin being so inconsistent and or taking a big step back this year it looks like Nick is really the 2nd shot creator we needed, although I agree that it kind of doesn’t make sense that clarkson can’t get off the bench since he has the skills in terms of shot creation and driving ability that the 2nd unit was missing.
The one thing I’m not liking are the constant long 2 nears the top of the key by either Hill, boozer, or Kobe …. we kind of got lucky yesterday with hill hitting at a good percentage but what i’ve been seeing is a big drop in his offensive rebounding putbacks since he is either taking a shot form the top of the key or providing the screen for kobe to take that shot …. maybe boozer should be the one setting those screens.
At one point in the 3rd we saw both davis and hill on the court and I think we did ok, overall I think our defense seems like it is a generation behind how offenses play today … to me it looked like our defense was designed to stop post penetration or protect the post when really all houston was doing were mini-drives to open up the 3pt shot it kind of worked out tonight but I think most time this is what cause so much confusion on the defensive side at least from what ive seen where our perimeter guys are always chasing someone who is wide open
Renato Afonso says
Again guys, Wes Johnson and Carlos Boozer don’t belong in China or elsewhere. They are viable rotation NBA players that are being asked to play starter minutes due to incompetent roster build. We should focus on getting someone that could relegate those two to the bench because the alternative is not there yet.
On Ed Davis: I really like him and I feel he’s a better player than Boozer right now, especially on the defensive end. However, our offense does look better with Boozer on court, so I’m sure that this is not an easy choice for Byron Scott… Byron should be giving Jordan Clarkson more burn though.
This made me chuckle out loud-
“Again, I don’t see the Lakers pulling this game out. But, unless you’re Philly, you can’t lose all your games.”
Has there ever been a franchise that has mastered the tank as well as the 76’ers?
@kenoak: the 76ers are just a shame for the game of basketball, how can you be 0-11??? Thats just not right, at some point you have to win one if you are really trying, but i think they dont try and thats just wrong :(:(:(
Great win + great game for Kobes. Without regard to who was on the floor it was still an unexpected win and that is back to back on the road in a good way. Before these two I am not sure anyone on this board would have bet we would win back to back road games at any point during the year.
Key to the game Lakers out rebounded the Rockets for second chance points.
Read this post from the last thread… It’s not the Sixers you should be mad at… It’s the NBA that wants teams to tank. As you can see I’m as mad as you about it but I know where to aim my anger.
It’s not rocket science. When every win helped the Lakers I rooted for 82-0, and now that every loss helps the Lakers I root for 0-82. I didn’t impliment this NBA welfare state that incentivizes losing. I wish the NBA could be like the EPL and other European football leagues. But alas the NBA has a monopoly on high level basketball and there are salary caps, drafts, and max salaries. I wish there was promotion/relegation. I wish it was in every teams best interest to win as many games as possible. I wish the higher seed got to pick what team they play in every playoff round to prevent high seeded teams from tanking late regular season games to face the lower seeded team they want to face. I don’t support the NBA system that rewards losing but I don’t pretend it doesn’t exsist.
It makes as much sense for Lakers fans to root for wins now as it would for Lakers fans to root for losses in 2010. It’s exactly the same.
Baylor Fan says
This was a very odd game. Without D12 on the floor, neither team had a competent low post game. Fortunately for the Lakers, Houston also did not have very much defense in the paint allowing the Lakers to win that battle 38-20 (presumably this is where the Lakers offensive rebounds came into play). Houston was good from the 3 point line shooting 15-38 to the Lakers 5-20. Overall both teams had nearly identical shooting percentages. At the end of the game the Lakers were able to hit their long 2s and Houston missed their 3s. Basically, owning the paint can even out the inability to hit 3s.
geez Aaron, so its not enough for you to post 375 times per minute, now you are recycling posts from previous threads, even though the message is the same, over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and … …. …. over … again …. and … again …
what’s funny is that without D12, the Rockets really aren’t that much better of a team than the Lakers.
T. Rogers says
Nick Young brings a lot of positive energy. You need that when so many things are going wrong. Having a guy like him in the locker room is very valuable. The Lakers are fighting uphill battles most nights. But I would at least like them to put a little fear into other teams. At least make teams know that it won’t be an easy night when the Lakers are in town.
Aaron: Why are you “rooting” for losses? Your previous posts implied that the FO was pursuing an ingenious stealth tanking plan. So “if” that were true – they would already have a “targeted” W/L record and there would be no need to “root” for anything. It is already pre-ordained – because they are genius remember? Now – if we finish with let’s say the “6th” worst record in the league – kinda like we did last year, I guess this would mean that either the FO did a poor job tanking or they never intended to tank at all. Or perhaps you would say that Byron was not on board like you said about MD last year. Let’s get this defined now. Where are the Lakers going to finish in overall league rankings at the end of the year? My answer – I don’t know because we have many games to play and there are a lot of bad teams in the East.
mud: Could not agree more with regard to D12. I guess we should have kept that guy.
Robert, although keeping D12 would have DEFINITELY made the current Lakers team better, i’m glad that no-heart poser is gone. i’d RATHER suffer through a couple of bad seasons without him, than to bet the future on him. as i keep saying, i have no time for a “superstar” who can’t give a supreme effort for just ONE game in the playoffs to avoid a sweep. he doesn’t care, so i don’t care.
i fully understand that the nba contibutes to todays teams tanking, but, at least in my eyes, there is a difference between tanking and just giving up every game on purpose…thats inexcusable in my eyes, no matter what….in the end its all about the lottery and u can be 0-82 and still not get #1…..see cavs this draft, even if i still belive it was silver handing that pick to lbj and gilbert….plus poor sixers fans, which i think is a great fan base, are teeated in a way no one can excuse
sry justxmy poimt of view
Great win last night! Nobody here questioning Dwight’s absence? I found the timing of his injury a little convenient in light of the allegations of child abuse against him and the game against his previous team. But, maybe it’s just me.
I hate Houston’s game with all the 3 pointers. I don’t think they can win it all without Dwight being a force in the middle come playoff time. Their game is not balanced enough IMO. They remind me the baseball team that hits a ton of home runs in the regular season only to falter against great pitching in the playoffs , How Houston’s 3 point happy offense will fare in the grind it out style of the NBA playoffs remains to be seen.
Props to Wes Johnson, who came up big in crunch time. Kid has so much talent. Some more self belief would go a long way with him. He should also try to improve his ball handling skills in order to bring out more of his talent.
@lkk i dont think the Rockeys are going to win anything having a “superstar” like Harden who is so embarrasingly inept and unwilling on defense. And yes without him the Rockets are barely a playoff team. But even with him they are not good enough to win anything. About him staying in the Lakers? I was upset when he left but the Dwight we and the Rockets have is not the same dominant force he was on Orlando. So we would be a better team but we would be a middle of the road not going anywhere team saddled with not one but 2 humongous contracts that would make adding pieces practically impossible, and thats even worse than our current predicament.
i’m glad that no-heart poser is gone. i’d RATHER suffer through a couple of bad seasons without him, than to bet the future on him. as i keep saying, i have no time for a “superstar” who can’t give a supreme effort for just ONE game in the playoffs to avoid a sweep. he doesn’t care, ….
i could not agree more!
LKK´s props to Wes J. are solid. Keep it coming Wes!
it´s friggin´ great to get two straight; let´s make it three tomorrow night!!
in a vacuum, i could make sense of losing your team to lose. but seriously, why watch sports if you want somebody making the ‘big picture’ play on the court? I would much rather that the FO secretly plan to tank but the players stubbornly play through challenges and try for as many wins as they possibly can.
sure, mathematically it’s a lot better if we were trying to out-worse philly, but in my experience if you have a team that tanks just because it’s not statistically viable for them to compete, they stop competing at the smallest excuse they find and just give up. championship mettle is not built overnight and i think it’s important for the players (and the fans) to root for the players playing as hard as they can with winning in mind.
Purple/mudd: “a couple of bad seasons” – Well I could suffer through a couple of bad seasons as well. Unfortunately we are in year 5 of not being in the NBA Finals. Our all time record is 8. When I first brought this up, I was scoffed at. Now we are a favorite to break that record. And that is not something I can tolerate. We can talk about who is responsible for that another time, but for now – this is between us. You both are saying a “couple of seasons”. D12 was not here last year. So this is year 2. A “couple” is 2. If you had meant three – you should have said “a few seasons”. So I am expecting a contender next year or I am holding both of you responsible : ) Sorry you guys said a “couple” : ) If we were not exact and accountable about things we would start saying things like the team needs to contend in 3-4 years, and then where would we be?
If you’re going to be bad be the best at being bad. I respect the Sixers.
As I said before the season I think the Lakers will finish with the second worst record in the NBA behind the Sixers. Rooting doesn’t effect the actual outcomes of games. So I don’t care who people root for or what they root for. But there is a level of sadness when people root for or vote for things against their own personal interests.
ok Robert, a few.
actually, i think that the Lakers could be at least a dark-horse contender next year, there are a TON of variables that might change things drastically.
in any case, the team will be where it is, and i doubt if your acceptance of the matter makes much difference. if the team makes you too unhappy, you’ll have to find another team or give up on the NBA just like the rest of us. D12 wouldn’t be the difference maker anyway. it’s not like he’ll win a championship for Houston soon. well, if i end up wrong, then i’m wrong.
the Lakers winning IS in my personal interest. I’ll worry about the draft pick later. the draft pick is no guarantee of anything. if they lose and end up with a good pick, i’m ok. if they win and don’t get the pick, that’s ok too. a pick is going to be lost anyway, in almost every possible reality. there is no reason to lose on purpose. as Popeye so eloquently said, “wrong is wrong, even if it helps you”.
-Don’t agree w/ all the D12″dislike”. On Houston he’s their #2 guy. Most teams wish they had a #2 that good.
-Sounds like many here believe the Lakers FO will be able to acquire TWO better, more productive players than D12 (while he’s still in his prime)…time will tell.
^^^^^^ what he said. Agreed 100%
On the highlight reel the announcer said, “They can’t lose with SwaggyP in the game.” I’m loving it! Can’t tell me you didn’t enjoy the game and the win, eh? So, we are on a roll and on schedule for a plus 60 win year!
GOOOOOoooOOOOOO LAKERS !!!
I decided fairly early in the process that I didn’t want DH12 back. Something about the guy rubs me the wrong way. Magic Johnson is often seen as a fun-loving, care free guy who played the game with a joyous spirit -> kind of like DH12. The difference is that, underneath that very thin facade, Magic was a cutthroat assassin. He wanted to win at all costs just like MJ, or Bird, or Kobe. There are other similarities between Howard and Magic as well. Each one of them ran a coach off of their team. Magic got his coach fired fairly early in his career and DH got SVG fired in his like 7th year. Magic is one of the 5 best players to ever play this game. Period. I don’t care who’s making the list -> If you don’t have Magic in your top 5, then you’re suspect. Will DH12 be in the top 20 when it’s all said and done? Will he be in the top 5 centers? Top 10 big men?
The Lakers weren’t winning a title with DH12 as the best player on their team. (all my opinion I get it.) Perhaps, Carmelo comes west if he was still here? Maybe. I’d still make the claim that ‘Melo was never really going anywhere, but back to NY. Same with Lebron and Cle because it was the easiest choice to make. Probably the best choice for his brand as well.
So, we would have had Kobe and Dwight + fillers. Except instead of a young Kobe that could take over 4th quarters when the Lakers didn’t want Shaq to touch the ball, you would have an older version of Kobe playing along side a much lesser (than Shaq) DH12.
What am I getting at? This team that I’m describing would have been good enough for the 4-8th seed for Kobe’s remaining years and then DH12 would be trying to attract FA’s on his own while he’s on the bad side of 30. Does anyone on this board believe that Dwight could win a championship as the best player on his team? I don’t.
Short term, losing Dwight hurt the Lakers and made them a much worse team. Long term, I think that I agree with Aaron. We needed a reboot with young players, and the draft is the only way to do it.
Craig W. says
I don’t think anyone here is saying DH is a poor player; he just ain’t a championship #1 player. Maybe he could have been, but he has established his game and personality and no longer is. He thinks he is a #1 player, but what ‘KenOak’ said pretty much covers the subject in depth.
As a Lakers’ fan I would have liked for Howard to have remained with The Show. It is what it is. My gripe with him is that he doesn’t embrace the specific skills that make him special…i.e. his excellence in the pick and roll, shot blocking and rebounding. IMO, Dwight doesn’t realize that his skillset can’t be done by most other players. A good teammate brings his best to the table for the good of his team. Dwight can be a factor in the paint on offense, but his main talent lies I defense and rebounding. He should realize somebody has to do the dirty work.
With regards to DH12, the only good thing happened was the graceful exit of Drew Bynum or else Lakers would have absorbed all the headaches he has done to other teams. Secondly, the giddiness and excitement to the Laker nation after signing him and Nash, it was like the coming here of the mailman and the da glove in summer 2003. In the ensuing months, we realized the truth that we got three stooges namely: Dantoni, the comedian and the MVP of the injured. Drama came back to Laker land with hospitalization and rehabilitation attached to it. It is good Howard chose to leave for the Rockets or else it could have been a tumultuous relationship with fans, Kobe and eventually with FO. It was also good that Dantoni renounced his last year of contract, it was a blessing in getting rid of two stooges.
Having said that, if the 3rd stooge was only healthy and could play the MVP type we have accustomed to plus of Randle, then Lakers are in the forefront in competing in the West. At this juncture, Lakers need all kinds of luck when they play against a team with so many offensive weapons like the Mavs tonight. Luck tonight described in form of an analogy of the correct alignment of four tires in a car: first,there is the Kobe alignment with his teammates; second, the alignment of controlled TO’s and well balanced shooting of Boozer and Lin; third alignment of Byron Scott rotation in awaited much contribution of Clarkson, Sacre and Wes Johnson; and fourth one, an unexplained unlucky night of the Mavs players: Dirk, Ellis, Parsons, Harris, Chandler, Wright, Aminu and Barea. We need the intercession of Chicky Baby and Dr. Buss from up above.
Renato Afonso says
I agree that those are Dwight’s strenghts. However, I also understand that he should only make that sacrifice (touches) if your team is contending. I don’t blame Dwight for leaving since he actually is in a better situation in Houston than he would be in LA. Maybe Houston becomes a contender and he sacrifices a bit of himself for a greater good but in LA that certainly wouldn’t be an option in the near future.
my man Robert,
yes, `a couple of years´ may have come up short; but it´s all moot anyway, right? the dude is the Rockets problem now –
nice posts KenOak & LKK
I actually think Dwight would have been contending with LA if he’d stayed and Kobe hadn’t gotten injured. If Dwight stays Pau probably stays (with a different coach) and maybe the Lakers could’ve lured a nice contributor or two. Still, Dwight would not have been the future of the franchise after Kobe’s retirement, so I’m not disappointed that he left.
I actually think we have a nice shot to get Durant. That’s my hope anyway. If we get Durant in 2016 Kobe may even continue to play a year or two, and I know he’ll be more than willing to give Durant the reigns. And Durant is a better option than Lebron or Melo would’ve been this past summer. Durant actually likes Kobe and has learned from him, and he’s the only one at the moment who could pass Kareem (or Kobe if Kobe passes Kareem) as the NBA all-time leading scorer. First Kareem, then Kobe, then Durant. It’s so Hollywood. Let’s go KD!
Most Lakers have vitriolic comments in regards to Howard for the way that he played out his last game in Los Angeles. When he got ejected from that game, he walked past Mitch in the tunnel and spewed comments to the effect that, “that’s the last time he’s playing here!” Mitch did not look Howard’s way when he entered the tunnel made his remarks and walked past him. I will never forget the look on Mitch’s face, and it was one of dismissal.
The Lakers posted embarrassing billboards all over Los Angeles in a wayward attempt to recruit him, but by then it was too late for both parties.
Everyone makes choices; Dwight made his by tucking his tail and heading to Houston, good for him. Now many may say that was a better option; however, he went to the Rockets to be their number 2 man behind a player whose team has yet to win anything. He refused to be the number 2 player behind a man with five rings playing the last few years of his career when ostensibly the team would be his.
I wanted Howard and thought he came back too soon from back surgery (noteworthy), and he would have been a real center to add pieces to for building a championship team. But Howard turned his back on the Lakers. Thus, he is a non-Laker and a non-factor to me.
Here’s to hoping the Lakers continue competing tonight to show Cuban his team is a one-and-done championship team.
I do not disagree with the character flaws that D12 obviously has. He is also not the “lead” guy for a title team. That said he could easily be a Chris Bosh type. As everyone says you need at least 2-3 superstars to win a title so as BCS states, do we really think we are getting 3 guys better than D12 over the coming years after KB leaves? We are talking about writing off multiple years of our basketball history. At what point is this a bad thing? We are in our 5th sub par Laker year. Next year will make 6. And further – you can’t have it both ways with regard to D12. If he is such a waste of cap space, then we never should have acquired him. We should have traded Bynum for draft picks rather than shipping draft picks outbound. Further, if D12 is a such a waste then the VETO did us a favor, because the VETO prevented us from a long term commitment to D12. Remember it was going to be Paul/Howard/Kobe – the next dynasty. I see above that this would have put us at about “6th” best in the league in the eyes of some, because D12 has no heart. OK – if you feel that way – quit blaming Stern for our woes. He evidently did us a favor.
Robert, you seem to be missing a vital part of the D12 equation.
he didn’t want to be the guy you want him to be. period.
it’s easy to look for someone to blame, but at the end of the day, he wanted to go elsewhere. he didn’t like to be a defense, pick and roll guy. he didn’t like Kobe, he didn’t like the pressure, whatever, he wanted out and left.
I don’t blame Dwight for leaving for the simple reason that Kobe was recovering from a severe injury when he (Dwight) made his decision. It appeared that Kobe might be finished as an elite player. A healthy Kobe would have factored into his decision a great deal IMO and made it a lot harder to walk away from the max contract the Lakers offered him.
If Dwight had stayed, Pau is probably still here. Kobe’s extension may have then been structured in a more cap friendly way. Ah, IF!! A two letter word that is oh so big. Dwight needs to accept his limitations as an offensive player and do what he does best. It’ll be interesting to see how his career unfolds from this point onward. I’m not mad at him but I can’t say I wish him well, because he left my Lakers in a lurch.
I wrote my last post before reading your latest one. Needless to say, I agree with you!
Baylor Fan says
Too much is being made of 2-3 superstars leading a team to glory. Those superstars do not exist in this year’s NBA. The Spurs won last year without even one superstar and, with KD injured and LeBron looking a little human, Anthony Davis is this year’s best player. I do not see the Pelicans scaring anyone. Dallas may be a better model to follow. Make every position a strong one and have the players buy into the team concept where the offense and defense do not revolve around one or two players.
The Howard issue is very simple, and always has been: He is one of the Top 10-15 or so players in the league, and one of the best two-way big men. He is still in his 20s. He will be in the HOF when he retires. Guys like that make your team better even if you have to pay them a lot. Houston is much better with him, and the Lakers have been much worse without him. The rest is just narrative, emotion, and noise.
It is fine that people don’t like him–I don’t like him, either. And while Kobe, D’Antoni, and Buss all did a lousy job of dealing with Howard, it was ultimately Howard’s choice to leave and I think he mostly did it because he liked Houston’s talent core and 3-4 year window more than he liked the Lakers’–and he was right to feel that way.