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Extra! Extra! (12.14)

26878397 Okay, so here's the deal.  Dallas is one of the league's elite teams.  The Lakers were on their floor.  In the second night of a back to back, no less.  It's a game that easily could have been lost, even if Lamar Odom wasn't lost for the next four weeks (and only four, hopefully).  But Wednesday night's 110-101 defeat at the hands of the Mavericks did show what the Lakers will miss without L.O. in the lineup.  First, the Lakers had nobody to cover Dirk- or anyone apparently, as the Mavs shot an obscenely robust 60 percent from the floor.  They missed his assists, managing only 14 for the game, and his presence on the boards, where Dallas hammered them 39-31.  (Granted, they also shot 60 percent, so there wasn't much glass to clean.)  All of that makes the numbers contained herein seem downright scary. 

But there is a bright side.  Remember, it was a back to back, they were on the road.  And while minutes for Kobe, himself not the picture of health, went up, he scored 33 points on an efficient 9-18 from the floor.  He facilitated with seven assists, and the Lakers nearly facilitated a lot of anger and resentment among the Dallas faithful, keeping the game tight into the fourth quarter.   On the same page as P.J., Kobe seems more likely to take advantage of the Lakers' increased depth.  They'll need it, because they have a long road of roadies ahead.  And while, given his versatility, it's hard for one person to replace Odom, the box score shows a little more production from guys like Kwame (boards) and Vlad Rad (foul trouble)- wouldn't hurt either. 

Don't call it an airball! 

PETA thinks NBA players are sissy types.  Except Allen Iverson, we presume, because he's clearly not.  Is that a reason Jackson thinks he'd be just fine with Kobe?

 
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Scary stat for the next 4 weeks...from Elias over at ESPN:

"The Lakers began their temporary life without Lamar Odom with a loss to the Mavericks. Since Odom joined the Lakers for the 2004-05 season, Los Angeles has a .522 winning percentage in the games that he's played (91-74) compared to a .143 mark in the games that Odom has missed (3-18)."

MR

Anyone else feel the momentum just get sucked out of the Lakers when Kobe blocked Devin Harris' layup, but then Farmar lost the ball, which led to Harris scoring an easy one? That was disheartening.

Phil and Kobe talk about Iversonby: Marc Stein


posted: Thursday, December 14, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson

The Los Angeles Lakers wouldn't even generate a mention in the Allen Iverson Sweepstakes if Phil Jackson, when asked about it over the weekend, hadn't gently tossed them into the derby.


A few days later?


There's really no new evidence to suggest that the Lakers are in this, or that they want to be, but Jackson isn't exactly backtracking from his original disclosure that he "wouldn't outright say we have no interest."


Without revealing whether L.A. is still contemplating a serious play for the league's top scorer, Jackson did insist Wednesday night that he had little doubt Iverson and Kobe Bryant could flourish in the same backcourt, not just co-exist.


"When I was with New York, we had a really good basketball team, [but] the chance to pursue Earl Monroe came to the Knicks ... which would give us [Bill] Bradley, [Dave] DeBusschere, [Willis] Reed, [Walt] Frazier and [Earl] Monroe," Jackson said.


"The natural assumption is, 'How are you going to accommodate a guy who scores 26 points a game and takes that many shots?' [But] when I expressed concern to Bill Bradley, he said, 'Oh, we'll fit him in, he's a good team player.' And we did.


"I think Allen's of the age," Jackson continued, "where he's ready to do [something similar]."


Well, then.


What's stopping the Lakers from making a run at the 31-year-old who scores 31 a game?


Why couldn't they join the leaders of the Iverson chase in Denver ... and the clubs (Minnesota, Boston and Indiana) trying to hang in?


They'd almost certainly need the help of a third team to acquire AI, but there are worse pieces to start building a package with than Andrew Bynum and future draft considerations.


There is likewise no coach in creation who'd have a better chance of getting Iverson's best.


The answer? The Lakers really don't need The Answer.


This isn't December 2005, when the Lakers' situation looked desperate. When it looked like they had to jump at any risky trade possibility in search of a home run.


This also isn't Ron Artest, whose defensive gifts and multi-position potential -- provided Jackson would have harnessed it -- could fill in some of the holes around Bryant better than Iverson.


L.A. already has a dynamic scorer. The Lakers also have a good bit more hope than they had this time last year, when Artest was made available by Indiana, because the shared ability of Jackson and Bryant -- and Phil's system -- has taken them so far in a year's time.


You used to hear D-League jokes about Kobe's supporting cast. Now? The Lakers have been sufficiently united, organized and lifted by the Jackson-and-Bryant tag team that -- despite doomsday predictions from yours truly after a nightmarish training camp -- they'll stay competitive in the West until the right trade opportunity presents itself. One that brings a better point guard than Smush Parker ... or the outside shooting L.A. still needs to open up the floor for Bryant ... or maybe more dependable size.


I'd be surprised to hear that Bryant went to his bosses to lobby for an Iverson trade, like he did for Artest, but not only because he's waiting for something better or the likelihood that he's less-than-thrilled with the idea. It's also because he takes an almost fatherly pride in the development of this crew.


How proud?


Kobe never shows public concern, even when it's understandable or when he probably is fretting, but he went out of his way Wednesday night to sound unworried, happily engaging in Iverson hypotheticals despite the seriously bad news confirmed just hours before: Lamar Odom will miss at least a month, and much of it on the road, with a sprained knee.


(Kobe's pre-game calm, incidentally, didn't look out of place when the Lakers, on the second night of a Texas back-to-back and in their first full game without Odom, guarded almost no one and still managed to rattle the reigning Western Conference champs with some execution and poise after halftime in Dallas' unconvincing 110-101 triumph.)


"It'd be interesting," Kobe said of an Iverson-Bryant backcourt. "It'd be a lot of competitive juices flowing. I don't mind it. I'm sure you [media] guys would have fun with that.


"I can't see [the Lakers] entertaining that, but for your column's sake, let's entertain that."


Thanks, Mamba.


"I got you," he said. "I got you."


He's got a rough month ahead, too, but I'd say the Lakers needn't go any farther in discussing The Answer. They've shown enough in the first quarter of the season to wait for Odom to heal and watch the Iverson race from the fringes.

Kobe is a Team Player,

That was the play of the game right there. Glad someone said it. If we take that ball back down court, get a bucket or even a three, I think we ride that momentum until the end. You could tell we were a half step slow all night, but that might have given us the juice to pull it out. If you watch the replay you can even see it on Kobe's face.

On the same line, Kobe might have the best timing on blocking shots in the open court of any player I can remember. He really is impressive in that regard. with the block last night and the one on Deron Williams, he's putting together a pretty solid highlight film of blocks.

Obviously the loss is hard to take especially after they closed the gap in the 4th. I for one am still optimistic that the Lakers will be there at the end with a chance to win it all - unless there are some major injuries.

The Lakers no doubt missed LO - his boards, defense and assists. Vlad looked lost - but the team in general just didn't seem to have it for sustained stretches.

I am hopeful, now that Vlad will be getting more minutes with the starting unit and with some practice time it will help speed up the learning process for him. Plenty of bloggers have doubts about V Rad and it is understandable to question the Lakers investment, however he has shown flashes of what he can bring, and maybe we see a similar improvement in him that we saw in Kwame last year when Mihm went down.

BTW - Has anyone else noticed, that even though the media overall is reluctant to give the Lakers respect, some of the best coaches in the league have all said the Lakers are certainly improved and a deeper team. I have seen quotes now by Avery Johnson, Del Harris, and Popovich all stating they believe the Lakers are better, deeper and more of a "team".

Keep the faith even as we hit this bumpy patch without LO. No need to panic, PJ, Kobe and Co. understand it is a long season and will work to prevail when it counts the most.

Eagleboy

I thought Kwame was horrible last night. It was quite an eye opener for all those that hoped he could play the four in the Western Conference. Dirk just took the guy to school. Oh well, Dirk is probably the second best scorer on the planet, so Kwame can find solace in that. But four rebounds? Come on!!!

The problem here is, do these young players really know what it is to be a Laker?

It is amazing to see what it means to a team and to opposing fans to beat the Lakers; you would think the Lakers were the defending champs.

Record setting crowds in Houston and Dallas, also Dallas was playing like if they were playing for a championship, Dirk saying not to allow your kids to be Lakers' fan, it's just too much.

Last year was just about Kobe and watching him play, now is about the Lakers; beating the Lakers seems to be very important to teams, more than beating any other team.


On another topic: I believe that many journalist may say that they would never wish any injury to anyone, but that they knew an injured player would set the Lakers back. So I guess they got their wish.

I truly believe that many journalists were wishing for something to go wrong with the Lakers, so their predictions would come true.

Bad Karma may hurt the Lakers right now, but in the end all bad Karma goes back to whoever wishes that bad Karma, even if that bad Karma is unconsciously wished upon.


If the Lakers win the 2 home games they'll be 10 games above .500 and that will give them time to adjust playing without Lamar.

The Lakers lose LO and go 1-1 on a back to back Texas two-step. I'll take that any day.

What the Lakers missed last night - besides defense - was LO's ability to penetrate the lane. Except for Kobe, nobody was attacking the basket. Somebody's gotta step up.

and the bandwagoneers are jumping ship...

Matt,

That statistic is misleading, if I am not mistaken, when Lamar was injured the first year Kobe was also injured. I think they didn't play in many games, so it was not only Lamar.

All the statistics are misleading, they are not skewed properly, and they may be skewed in a certain way to prove a point, but not all considerations were taken to make that stat, so don't read to much into them.

I am only going to say one thing.

Trade Shasha.

Lakofan (and Matt),

Actually, those stats aren't misleading at all. I just looked up the injury records from the 04-05 season, and LO and Kobe only missed 2 games at the same time. The majority of the games LO missed with that shoulder injury, Kobe actually played in. Granted, the Lakers were in a free fall at that point, but the stats, in this case, don't really "lie."

I wouldn't start hitting the panic button quite yet, because this team is much better than that squad. If the Lakers can just play .500 ball without LO (which won't be easy with so many road games on the horizon, but it's not impossible), they shouldn't lose much ground at all. That they took care of business in the opening 21 games is a real plus right about now.

AK

Just watched the game... the Mavs are a joke. I just hope they remember to choke in the first round this year. Let the serious basketball teams compete deep in the playoffs.

Right There

Dallas may have finally turned a corner after the debacle of last year's finals. They've got some bulk down low and Howard with D George finally gives them perimeter defenders that can at least look like they're guarding the hi fly acts of the league. Last night was about Howard more than Dirk, he hit the daggers in the 4th. We just couldn't find him on D. But that wasn't a very convincing big D win while shooting 60%.

Still will all that, we were right there. Right there while adjusting on the run to the loss of the most consistent player this year. Right there with Luke not being able to find the basket. Right there with Vlad visibly trying to remember where he's supposed to be in the offense. Right there with Kwame taking much of the night off.

Phoenix will run and gun their way to 60. We weren't going to top them regular season while Phil works his plan. With LO out, if we can hang on to 2nd Pacific we'll be right there.

Despite the loss, I too am feeling really good about this team. You can bet that we will come out the next 2 games and get the wins.
Third quarters used to be our worst quarters of the game, now they seem to be the best. Good news!
What a great season so far. This is going to be fun!!!

GO LAKE SHOW!
LIGHTS OUT!!!

AK,
Yes those stats ARE misleading. The Lakers are a way better team nowadays. They also have a better coach now. This is a different team then 2 years ago.

Laker Seth,

Luke also penetrates the lane, he did it last night, but he was not getting any calls. He was frustrated, because he was driving in and in a couple of times he did get fouled and no call.

Luke and Vlad are making an effort to go to the middle. Maybe Luke is not getting the calls because he's not known as an aggressive player, but hey a foul is a foul.

only one thing from the Chad Ford chat on the lakers, and of course it is about AI like every other thing going on right now...

Rob (Los Angeles, CA): Phil Jackson has now spoken twice about AI. Is he trying to convince the Lakers to trade for him? They wouldn't really get into this mess, would they?

Chad Ford: (12:03 PM ET ) I'm not sure there are enough shots in a 48 minutes game for Kobe and AI. I think it would be a disaster. Ditto for most of the other teams in the hunt for AI. Yes he's a great player ... but he's really going to screw up a team's chemistry and likely get the coach or GM that wants him fired.


ZZ

Zen,

I acknowledged in my original comment that the team is better this season than two years ago. I simply meant that the stats aren't skewed because they include a bunch of games that Kobe and LO both missed, since Lakofan had said she thought that may have been the case. For the large majority, that stat simply reflects their record without LO, and is presented pretty cleanly. That's all I was trying to say.

AK

lakofan,

I thought it was extremely interesting to see how hyped the Mavs were to play, and beat the Lakers. With Jason Terry, Josh Howard, and Dirk all high-fiving and giving each other hugs when they finally left the game at the end, you'd think they just won the championship.

Thanks Sunny for sharing the article.

Concerning A.I., it would be interesting to pick up the answer however, seeing him fit inside the Laker line up would be questionable. I always thought that a successful basketball team consist of a dominate scorer, a strong wingman, an aggressive rebounder (ie: Jordan, Pippen, Rodman) and of course a decent supporting cast.

Of course, I'm relating to PJ's old Chicago Bulls and in today's L.A. Lakers, we all know that Phil is creating a similar formula. Now I question this idea because it would depend on who the Lakers were willing to give up for AI. Would the Lakers have to dig into their up and coming bench/supporting cast, or slash away at one of their Role Players (that being LO and Kobe).

Even with the fill in of AI, the Lakers would have to give up LO in order to maintain some sort of balance and chemistry. By the way, I'm not game for that. Odom fits in quite well and the only suggested line up I could see if letting go LO is by moving Kobe to a slashing/shooting forward. Besides, I would take LO over AI anyday due to Odom's age, height, and versitility in relation to his position.

Digging away into the bench for AI spells "DISASTER" from what I see. Simply put, your adding another dominate scorer to the line up where again, a successful team only needs one. More importantly, the bench would be weakened so therefore, would spell a recipe for disaster.

AK,

In some way it is misleading, not only because of Kobe and him not playing even if it was only 2 games. But because of the coaching situation and many many other factors.

Saying that is was just because of Lamar's absence is indeed a misleading stat, even if by numbers is not, which what a stat is, but other factors do indeed change that stat, anyway you put it.

Any loss is hard to take, but I think this was one of those learning experiences that this team had to go through. I am proud of their effort last night - they could have easily rolled over like the Clips against San Antonio, but they hung in there and weren't ever out of it until the end. I think we win this game in March, once the rest of the guys have more experience and poise and can offer Kobe real support in situations like these. Honestly it's tough to criticize Kobe for not playing team ball when every time he dishes it to someone they brick a layup.

Don't forget the Mavs were SUPPOSED to win this game, even before Lamar got injured. Let's hold down the fort by feasting on some LEastern teams until Lamar gets back and then commence the league-wide beat down come February.

I hope this game at the very least will quiet those fools who wanted to trade Lamar - it's not just about the points, it's about having a solid, versatile defender/rebounder/scorer/facilitator out there. Let's keep this team together, get healthy, and proceed with the 60 win season.

GO LAKERS!

Lakofan,

All stats never tell the entire story and people should never lose sight of that. I acknowledged mitigating circumstances in my original comment. Again, all I meant was that the stat didn't include a ton of games with no Kobe AND LO. That's it. Not much to debate one way or the other.

Look, LO is a HUGE part of this team's success (in my mind, the biggest X-factor, hands down), so the stats are meaningful in the sense that they reflect how important it is to have him on the court. That said, anybody who thinks the Lakers will go winless without Odom is panicking. And anybody who thinks it'll simply be business as usual is kidding themselves. Fair enough?

AK

Andrew Z,

It is indeed amazing what it means to a team to beat the Lakers. I think is a combination of many factors.

Beating the Lakers is beating the team that has held your own team back from winning a championship. Is beating Kobe Bryant, is beating Los Angeles(the city), is beating the team that they hated when they were young because the Lakers didn't allow their childhood team to win. Is beating a legacy, a historic name.


Maybe I'm taking it far, but to them it seems that way.

That Odom stat is stupid,
it doesnt account for the games Odom AND Kobe missed at the same time...

Korey,

LO and Kobe missed a grand total of 2 games at the same time during the period the stat covers. It's pretty clean, in that sense.

AK

yea that Odom stat is misleading... but i guess all stats should be given context...

of course ESPN does a GREAT job of this

Andrew Z,
Good observation. Our twin bigs, Kwame and Andrew, were non factors last night.

But this game also highlighted one of our biggest weaknesses-not having a great PF. I say that with all deference to Lamar, who in my opinion is an outstanding player, but a "tweener" and depending on matchups can go either SF or PF. But we have little depth at PF. Once Lamar is out of the picure, we lack the good PF depth to compete in the Western Conference. Remember there are a slew of really good PFs in the WC, and now without Lamar to hold the fort, we dont match up at all.

And unfortunately, there is no evidence that Kwame, whose continued improvement at C has been gratifiying to everyone, can ultimately man the 4 position.

You created a lot of controversy a few days ago, when you CORRECTLY stated that we cannot ultimately afford to keep both Kwame and Andrew.
Some mistakenly intepreded that to mean we needed to trade one right away. Not so. We have this year and next year to enjoy them both. But ULTIMATELY one will have to go, and that would pose the opportunity to acquire a more dominant PF (dare I say like a KG) who COULD combine with Lamar to be the dynamic combination we need.

You were correct in your assessement that the Lakers may eventually have to deal one of the two. The Lakers simply cannot afford four heavy contracts with Kobe, Lamar, and two centers.

I am not suggesting we acquire KG this week, but with the loss of Lamar, it demonstrates our weakness at the PF position, which is arguably the STRONGEST position in the Western Confernece overall.

Some may continue to say that the Lakers weakness is at PG. I challenge that, and submit that our biggest weakness has been and remains at PF.

AK,

I'm not saying Lamar is not going to be missed, no way I would say that, Lamar is extremely important to the team. Not only because of all the things he does as a player, but as a leader to the young players.

They love having Lamar, they love playing with him, so it many ways it will hurt the team, no doubt, but I was simply saying that a stat is numbers without taking any other factors into consideration and in that context a stat is misleading.

But lets leave this stat talk alone, because it brings memories of many years studying statistics, hahaha.

AK,
if I were a stat guy for ESPN... I would show the drop off in winning percentage for that season ...

so if LO missed 20 games in 2005, what was their record with him and what was it without him...
do the same for 2006.

and then, after you show those 2 seasons then show the total aggregate record.

this way, fans can see what was really happening.

Wouldnt that be just as clean?

The Lakers are still a better team than the Mavs…

I was disappointed that we lost to the Mavs but not at all discouraged. I thought we showed great fight playing on the road against the defending Western Conference champs on the second night of a back-to-back and the first game after losing Lamar Odom for a month. We were in the game until late in the fourth quarter and had nothing to be ashamed of as far as our effort and nothing to be discouraged about with respect to the potential of this team. We will be there in the end when it comes to playing for the championship. Believe it.

I thought Kobe played a great game. I also agree with the poster who remarked that had Farmar not lost the ball after Kobe’s great block on the fast break, we might have pulled this game out. I couldn’t see what really happened on the play as the replay was not clear. I was disappointed at Farmar’s five turnovers, however, but that is what can happen to rookies in big games. He kept us in the game with his shooting and hustle in the first half, so you can’t really peg him for the loss.

I was more disappointed in the inability of Kwame and Andrew to outplay the Mavs’ Dampier and Diop, who not only blocked 4 shots to 0 by the Lakers’ centers but also outscored our guys 10 to 9 and out-rebounded them 11 to 7. While you expect that we would not match up with Dirk with Lamar out, you would think that our young center combo would have played better. This is where I thought we really lost this game. Kwame and Andrew need to bounce back tomorrow night and Sunday and make sure we pick up two wins to bolster our record before hitting the road for six.

Bottom line, we will lose a few of the next sixteen games with Lamar out of the lineup but our depth and Kobe Bryant will let us continue to perform as an elite NBA team. Looking at our schedule, we have 9 games left in December: the Rockets, Wizards, and 76ers at home and Bulls, Wolves, Nets, Heat, Magic, and Bobcats on the road. I predict that we should be able to go at least 6-3 during this stretch. In the first half of January, we have 7 more games: the Nuggets, Mavs, Magic, and Heat at home and the Kings, Grizzlies, and Rockets on the road. I predict we should be able to go 5-2 during this stretch, which would make us 11-5 for the period without Lamar and 27-12 for the season through the first 60% of the season, despite injuries. If we can do that, then there will be no question that the Lakers are a championship contender.

Tom

LakerAl,
Absolutely agree. It will be interesting to see if Mihm (assuming his ankle heals completely) could make the transition to PF. Turiaf is a possibility, although I question that he will turn into "starter" material. Those are two possibilities for homegrown backups at that position, with slight possibities that they could turn into starters. I think Lamar's best position is at SF.

I am one of the proponents "get AI" to the Laker team but not to the expense of our promising players like Bynum, LO, Kwame, Farmar, Luke and of course Kobe. I'm sure Sixers will not be interested in getting our non-performing players like Mihm, Mckie and Williams and more to add up to $17M. The players I mentioned have expiring contracts at the end of the year. Sixers might just need fillers and the objective to free cap space at the end of the season to rebuild the team. With AI under PJ and Kobe on the other side, we have two-pronged attacks that will decongest the center. As you saw last night, Mavs applied all kinds of fresh horses on Kobe double team him with big bodies like Kirk and Howard. Surely it helps if have another threat from the team in absence of LO to win games. I hope Vlad will get it and develop his rainbow shots. Having said that, we also need to be efficient with our free throws, turnover ratios and those close dunks, everything can be accomplished through pratice that forms into a habit during game time. Everyone is amazed how Kobe use the boards and his hang time in the air but nobody saw the hours of practice he devotes in order to perfect his game. The work ethic could have been done before the pre-season, unfortunately, the Lakers were tardy in applying work ethics or incorporating martial arts, acrobatic that could also soften the occurence of injuries.

Anyway, going back to the idea of the trade, it is now very improbable to assume a huge expense both in salaries and players taken away, therefore, it is not feasible with this team.

Korey,

To be honest, I'm not exactly sure what the diffence is. But considering the record last season without LO was 0-2, I'm not sure Lakers fans looking for reassurance want this stat dug into even deeper. haha

Again, I think people are making way too big a deal out of this. The stat is real in the sense that it reflects a scenario worth being concerned about. It's not real in the sense that it doesn't reflect EVERY angle of the story, in the same way no stat ever does. But in any case, it's not padded with a bunch of games both LO and Kobe missed, which is all I was saying in the first place.

AK

I don't care if LO is hurt, we should still try to get him in the all-star game!!!! I know it's hard to get in the all-star game as a forward, but who else in the league is more deserving of an all-star bid than LO? No one has had to endure more, and still be able to be one of the best players on their team. I know I'll still vote for him everyday, on as many computers as I can!!!!

and Bill Walton n the Lakers from his ESPN chat...

Joshua (CA): With Andrew Bynum and Jordan Farmar playing this well at 19 years old, and Kwame Brown and Luke Walton are playing very well and are both still young, and Odom should still be playing good, and Kobe should still be the best player in the NBA. So Do you think in a year or two that the Lakers will be back on top of the NBA for a few years again, maybe another 3 peat?

Bill Walton: (1:32 PM ET ) The Lakers' success this year is a direct testament to how great a coach Phil Jackson is. Phil has taken players who, by themselves, would be nowhere near where they are today without Phil. Coaching is about teaching, guidance, making people better at what they do--making them feel better about themselves. This Laker team is capable of being a finalist contender this year. The injury to Lamar Odom is very serious, and we all feel awful for Lamar, who has had the worst tragedy of all in his life this past summer (the death of his child). But injuries are often the determinging factor in history's meandering course (please read David Halberstam's "Breaks of the Game"). When you look at the Western Conference, Utah, Denver, Dallas, all young and upcoming--you would never think that Phoenix is the second-oldest team in the NBA when you watch them play.

Bill Walton: (1:34 PM ET ) With a nucleus of young, exciting, well-coach players, with Kobe Bryant facing reality and mortality with his knee surgery and more limited teammates. The Lakers are playing a relative team game with quality depth, good size, and a huge upside. Who would have ever thought that in just the blink of an eye, the Lakers, after trading Shaquille O'Neal, would be right back in the thick of things with a completely different roster.

Bill Walton: (1:34 PM ET ) Thank goodness for Phil Jackson.

ZZ

LakerTom,
Didn't you say yesterday that the Lakers "wouldn't miss a beat" while Lamar was out?

Lakofan, all teams go over the top when beating the Lakers with their celebrations! And maybe they thought it was a coming out party of sorts for Devean George, yet they don't know he will revert back to his bonehead ways and bricks and ISH from here on. Not impressed with Dallas. Dirk is an All-Star and simply played that way. Howard is just playing out of his skull in a sense, but he also had plenty uncontested shots go in. Kwame made Dampier/Diop look like the Superstars that they are not. Wow. Bottom line, What they did is just take care of their homecourt was all.You dont win no place else, you are supposed to win at home. It was up to us to prevent that and come away with a win and we didn't have anyone to step up. I think Jordan shoulda been in there at the end..He had a bounce last night that no one outside of Kobe exuded.

Oh well. Game's over. No need to wallow. Still got madd games to play. Next up Houston.

Let's Go LakeShow!

Regarding the debate on the stats - the stats are interesting to discuss and may you clues to how the team may fare without LO. However, with the change in the coaching staff and personel changes, we can really only know once the games are played - with this team, these players and this coaching staff.

I think that it may turn out to help Vlad in particular. That is my hope anyway. Now Vlad will need to play more and while practice is great, any one who has been in competitive sports understands that nothing can replace actually being on the floor for real. He may sink or he may swim, but we are about to find out if he was worth the investment or not.

As for the banter about AI - Phil is about the only coach that might get the Answer to play the right way. If the bring him in, if nothing else it would be interesting! That being said, I agree with those that think it would be too disruptive but then again I don't expect that Mitch or Phil will be calling me to ask my opinion.

Eagleboy

THE JACKSON JOURNAL: 22nd Game – Dallas Mavericks (15-7)
By Michael C. Teniente

A reluctant thumb’s down for Phil Jackson!

KEY OBSERVATION

The Lakers played with the proper energy but too many miscues cost them. Even with the miscues there were other problems.

2nd OBSERVATION

It’s pretty hard to give PJ a thumb’s down on this one for couple of reasons, but I feel I have no other choice. Before I explain the thumb’s down I think I should explain why it’s hard to give PJ a thumbs down on this one.

The 1st reason is because there was no Lamar Odom. The 2nd reason is because this was the 2nd game of a back-to-back road game against an elite team. So then why the thumb’s down, you ask? OK, here we go.

1st lets start with Lamar Odom. I think this game shows us just how unique and valuable Lamar Odom really is. To appreciate Odom you have to think of the other power forwards in the league. It’s very rare that we get a power forward that does what Odom does. What does he do? He plays both the power and the pretty game.

When you think of the power game you think of guys like Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard, Carlos Boozer, and Elton Brand. That’s just to name a few. These guys are true power guys. When it comes to rebounds Lamar Odom does all right when comparing rebounding numbers with the likes of these guys. That’s the power part of Odom’s game. But it’s not a true power game when compared with the players mentioned above. But the drop off isn’t that bad. We can get away with it.

But what these guys don’t have are Odom’s small forward abilities. That’s the pretty part of Odom’s game. That’s what’s unique about Odom’s game. What’s more he’s playing with those gifts at the 4 spot for the Lakers. That comes in pretty handy because we have a couple of young centers in Kwame Brown and Andrew Bynum who aren’t really fully developed to meet the onslaught of elite teams. With just their physical attributes these guys are pretty good on the defensive end. And with the power part of Odom’s game it helps them out because, realistically, they’re all alone manning the 5 spot with a guy like Odom who isn’t a true power player at the 4 spot.

Not being a true power player at the 4 spot allows Odom to use his small forward abilities against these power players. But that’s only on the offensive end of the game. When it comes to defending these power players PJ goes with Kwame Brown. Against a team like San Antonio that leaves Odom on Fabricio Oberto, the center for the Spurs, while Kwame Brown guarded Tim Duncan. You see how Odom’s game isn’t a true power game?

Now that we don’t have Odom to man the 4 spot that leaves Kwame Brown and Andrew Bynum all alone on the defensive end. PJ goes with Vlad Rad to start the game against Dallas. When Vlad Rad isn’t doing too well he goes with Brian Cook as his replacement. If you watched the game they both did about the same thing. What does that mean? Just look at Dirk Nowitzki’s stat line. 23 points, 14 rebounds, and 8 assists.

I think everyone knew before the season started that Brian Cook wasn’t exactly a defensive minded guy. I think everyone questioned whether Vlad Rad would be any better at that position. Yet these are the guys that PJ kept throwing at Dirk. But what’s so cold is that Dirk didn’t really take advantage of them. He basically let the flow of his offense expose Vlad Rad and Cook.

You see we didn’t have Odom to cover us. What does that mean? It means that Kwame Brown is left all alone on the block because Luke Walton was busy with Josh Howard, who scored 29 points. You see, with Odom, Kwame Brown has some help on the block. With Kwame and Odom doing their thing respectively it hides Luke Walton’s shortcomings. If you want to get more precise we can look at it this way. With what Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, and Kwame Brown bring Luke Walton is the benefactor of that overflow.

Kobe Bryant brings lots of points. Odom brings a steady supply of points, rebounds, and assists. Kwame Brown brings a steady supply of defense. Combined it bring a serious stability to the game plan. That leaves Luke Walton and Smush Parker to fill in the cracks. With Luke Walton being the heady player that he is, he turns that into steady production. Smush Parker is still learning how to be consistent.

If you look closely at Walton’s game I think you’ll see that he does a lot of clean up work. Being in the right place at the right time. That isn’t a bad thing. But without Lamar Odom it isn’t going to be enough. Without Odom there’s a crack in the defense front line. If there’s a crack in the front line then it takes away from Kwame Brown’s steady contribution. I know Brown has quick feet but he can’t be in two places at the same time. If Brown’s defensive effectiveness is taken away, then all that’s left are Kobe Bryant’s points. If all that is left are Bryant’s points, then there isn’t going to be an overflow for Walton to work from. Luke Walton is going to turn mortal right before your eyes.

Walton may get his little 13 points per contest, but the question is: Will it translate into victories? I don’t think it will because points aren’t the problem. The problem is defense, and if there’s a knock on Walton game it’s his defense. Take away Odom from supporting Kwame Brown and Walton’s defense gets magnified. Combine Walton’s defensive liabilities with Vlad Rad and Brian Cook’s and you have a serious problem that can’t be addressed with Kwame Brown or Andrew Bynum alone. Yet when things go bad it’s exactly who PJ pulls from the game.

Now if you saw the game I think you know that PJ finally acknowledge this when at the 7:45 mark of the 4th quarter he inserted Ronny Turiaf into the ball game to play along side of Kwame Brown. This is why PJ gets a thumb’s down. Because he knew this was the option he had to take and he didn’t do it from the start of the game. By the time he did, to me, it was too late. But what made matters worse was that Kwame Brown missed a dunk, 3 free throws, and dropped a pass. So what does PJ do? He replaces Brown with Bynum. Then what happens? Dirk goes on a little scoring spree.

You see until Bynum replaced Brown at the 5 spot, Brown was guarding Dirk and was basically shutting Dirk down. But since Brown missed those scoring opportunities mentioned above PJ punishes Brown by pulling him from the ball game. I saw Dirk score over both Bynum and Turiaf. I saw Bynum and Turiaf bumping into each other. Bynum is too young and inexperienced to combine with Turiaf. PJ must play Turiaf with Brown. But he mustn’t wait until its desperation time to do it. He did it with 7:45 left and Dallas holding an 8-point lead. You do something like that from the start. To control the game! You don’t do it with less than 8 minutes to go trying to dig out of an 8-point hole.

If PJ had gone with Brown and Turiaf from the start, Brown would have guarded Nowitzki and Turiaf would have guarded Dampier. That would have left Walton on Howard. Howard scored 12 points in the 1st quarter. Nowitzki scored 11 points in the 1st quarter. Maybe Walton wouldn’t have stopped Howard anyway but Brown did stop Nowitzki in the 4th quarter when he was on him. Instead PJ let the clock play him instead of playing the clock. He started Vlad Rad. He replace Vlad Rad with Brian Cook. He kept on doing this until a third of the way into the 4th quarter. Is he looking for results from a Brown and Turiaf combination with only 8 minutes to go? That’s what I mean PJ let the clock play him. That’s not good coaching.

PJ has got to come to terms with the idea that he has a defensive weak link in Luke Walton and he can’t compound that by bringing in two other defensive weak links to remedy the matter. If he’s going to go with Turiaf at the 4 spot he can’t wait until there’s only 8 minutes left in the game to do so.

With Lamar Odom gone for a while there will be no pretty style of play for the Los Angeles Lakers. PJ has got to go to the mattresses. (That’s gangster talk for war.) What is war? Defense and rebounds. Combining Luke Walton with Vlad Rad or Brian Cook is not war. That’s pretty with pretty. That leaves Kwame Brown alone. But more than that it leave Kobe Bryant alone.

When left alone Kobe Bryant starts trying to do too much. Did you see Kobe? Moving around like a mad man. We can’t afford to have Bryant move around like that…trying to overcompensate. The last thing we need is for Bryant to go down. But, believe me, he’s going to go down if he’s left all alone trying to outscore the other teams because of the defensive leaks provided by a Luke Walton and Vlad Rad/Brain Cook combination at the 3 and 4 spots.

What made things worse is that the Lakers were running their offense from the weak side. I’ve seen enough to understand that the offense runs pretty smooth when it goes through Kwame Brown. He’s making great passes. But too often I see the Lakers go to the other side and run it through Luke Walton or Kobe Bryant. Every time it did it seemed that the Lakers had difficulty getting good shots. It also makes Brown a non-factor.

When the offense goes through Brown then Parker, Walton, and Turiaf are the cutters. If it runs through Walton or Bryant…Brown isn’t cutting. He’s on the weak side watching the play. That’s not how the triangle is supposed to be run. Not with the center watching from the weak side. That is fundamentally wrong if you’re running the triangle.

With Odom gone the Lakers are going to have to come to terms with the idea of running the offense through the 5 spot. If they don’t its going to be too taxing on Bryant as the game goes along. The execution isn’t what it’s supposed to be when it goes away from the 5 spot. With Lamar Odom we can get away with that. But without him it’s going to get ugly. Just like J.D. Drew threw a wrench in the Dodgers plans, this Odom injury has throw a wrench in how the Lakers will operate. And I mean running of the offense correctly to big shifts in who starts the game. Either that or suffer.

The Lakers are going to have to go to power ball if they’re to survive while Odom is gone. Turiaf has to start. If PJ needs offensive stability to cover for Turiaf and Brown then he has to go with Famar, too. Farmar’s playmaking ability will only help Brown and Turiaf if they’re starting together. If PJ must he might have to drop Walton from the starting line-up and play Brown, Turiaf, and Vlad Rad with Bryant and Famar. The whole idea is that PJ has to go with a big front line. He has to play power ball.

You see it’s not about replacing Lamar Odom. It’s about covering Luke Walton’s defensive shortcomings while not loosing too much offense. Again, Brown, Turiaf, Vlad Rad, Farmar, and Bryant.

Brown and Turiaf can handle the defensive post and rebounds. Bryant can do it all. Vlad Rad can score plus add height at the 3 spot. And Farmar can create for Brown and Turiaf. With Walton there’s too much to hide without Lamar Odom and it gets compounded with Vlad Rad or Cook as his sidekick. We’ll get exposed. You can bet on it. That’s a guarantee.

AND FINALLY

You know some people are talking as if this loss is Kwame Brown’s fault. But if you look at the boxscore it was Josh Howard who scored 29 points. It was Dirk Nowitzki who scored 23 points. And it was Jason Terry who scored 26 points. You know when a team shots .600 from the field there aren’t that much rebounds to go around.

But if you want a play-by-play account go to: http://www.nba.com/games/20061213/LALDAL/playbyplay.html

You’ll see where all the letdowns are. Start from the beginning of the 4th quarter. 30 seconds into the quarter and the game is tied. Follow it play-by-play until the timeout. The “(5:25) Timeout: Official” maker is what you’re looking at. I saw the game. During this time the Lakers weren’t running the offense. They were playing at a hectic pace. The defense was there for the first 3 minutes of the quarter. The Lakers missed opportunity after opportunity to take control of the game.

Then to top it off look at what happens after the time out. Look at who’s scoring for Dallas. That was basically it! That was over Bynum and Turiaf. Again, up until that point in the 4th quarter Kwame Brown was guarding Nowitzki. Look at how many points Dirk scored before that point in the 4th quarter. I’ll tell you: None! Whatever Brown doesn’t do for you on the offense he’s doing it on the defense. PJ will always get burned when he pulls Brown from the game when the Lakers are down by 10 points or less.

Look at what Walton did for that 4th quarter. My point being: Walton is not a go to guy. He’s complimentary and nothing more. You look at the boxscore and you think without Walton the Lakers would have done worse. But if you look at the link Walton didn’t make a shot from the field in the 2nd and 3rd quarter. As a matter of fact Walton didn’t make another shot from the field from 1:25 left in the 1st quarter until 1:06 left in the game. That’s 3 quarters of missed shots from the field. You people would have crucified Lamar Odom if he did something like that in a loss. Walton is not our 2nd option. If he is then we’re in a lot of trouble.

Right now we’re looking for a 2nd option. My suggestion is that the Lakers run the offense through the 5 spot and let it determine who is going to come out with the numbers. If they don’t the Lakers are going to be struggling to figure out what to do because Luke Walton is not a go to guy. Defenses will focus on Walton and show the NBA world what happens to 6’8” slow-footed players who are forced to play the part of a 2nd scoring option behind Kobe Bryant. To top it off he’s a defensive liability.

mike

p.s. Dang, it took 4 hours to write this. I guess I should submit this to KCAL 9, LTV as my reasons for being a diehard Lakers fan.

I agree with Laker Tom on Kwame and Bynum playing under par for the game and being outplayed by the Dallas center combo as a major reason we lost that game. Kwame shot a horrible percentage and only pulled down 4 boards. I was really looking for Kwame to step it up while LO was out especially in the rebounding department.

ZZ

Ak, Bk,
If Im Kobe, Im happy with the game. We played good defense in the third. If not for that farmar turnover after that Kobe Block, we might have gone up on them.

Reasons why we lost the game?The play of Kwame and Andrew Bynum, they got outrebounded. Kwame used to say that IT was because of Odom that He couldn't get a rebound, now LO is not in the game and he still can't rebound.

tough loss last night..

luke wasnt getting any calls when he drives inside..
the same goes for vlad too..

i hope that vlad get his groove on while lamar is out..he showed us last night that he aint just a catch-and-shoot player that extends beyond the three point range..

howard killed us last night..if lamar was on the game on dirk..dirk wouldnt be able to make those early assists..therefore changing the outcome of the first quarter..luke and evans just cant handle dirk because of nowitzki's size..

im looking forward for a W on friday night..

P.S. AI isnt goin to the lakers..screw that..i'll be more happy to wait for KG on free agency two summers from now..

Brylle

I agree with Bill Walton in that Phil had a lot to do with this. He never thought his son would be THIS good!

We need to take care of our next 2 home games. The next road trip only figures 1 back-to-back so we should be in pretty good shape. The key as always is to win the first of the back-to-backs !
GO LAKERS ! Mo Evans time to step up !

ex:

If we can go 11-5 over the next 16 games without Lamar, wouldn't you consider that to be not missing a beat? I would. Wouldn't you?

I have two other questions for you and the GHE crew. What was your prediction for the first 22 games during which the Lakers finished 15-7? And what is your prediction for the next 16 games without Lamar?

Tom

Am I the only one that feels like Turiaf should be much more involved in the rotations especially when we face teams that require better defense and rebounding?

I'm even pulling for some starts out of Ronny while LO is out to help gets us going earlier.

Last night for example Turiaf did not get in until mid 3rd quarter. By the end of that quarter we were tied. We start the 4th with Radmanovich and Kwame back in and things fell apart (the TO's didn't help either).

I just feel like we are a better team with his presence on the floor. I just don't get some of PJ's rotations. We obviously need defense and rebounding and he goes back and forth with Cook and Vlade??

WTF?!

LAMAR!!!!!!

Ex,

I used to think that Mihm or even Kwame seemed to have the foot speed to play other fours on the perimeter, but it became painfully obvious to me that the farther you get Kwame away from the basket the more glaringly uncomfortable he becomes. And I think he's quicker than Mihm. As the season goes on, other teams will see that we are weak at the one and four and exploit that. Until we improve at those spots, either with our current guys improving or getting someone through trade, we won't hang with the top teams.

LakerTom,

Other than personal bias, how can you say the Lakers are better than the Mavs? That just stinks of homerism.

kobe is a team player,

"Anyone else feel the momentum just get sucked out of the Lakers when Kobe blocked Devin Harris' layup, but then Farmar lost the ball, which led to Harris scoring an easy one? That was disheartening."

Exactly! Not once but twice!

mike

here are the early returns from the allstar voting, no surprise Yao is leading the west, and no surprise Kobe is in second place.

Lamar was not doing that bad in voting, ahead of Marion from the suns. Maybe Lamar would of gain more attention these next two month and would've of been there.

http://www.nba.com/news/asreturns1_061214.html

Phil knows full well that Iverson and Kobe can't Coexist.
1. he shoots too much,
2. He doesn't shoot a good percentage at that, a career 41% shooter.
3. He never respects his coaches, i mean he couldn't even get along with Larry Brown who got him to the promise land.

Lamar will be missed for his defense.

As you can see, the team's offense runs well because of the system, not to mention players hungry for playing time.

I say this because I really can't stand that on offense Lamar has no right hand, and no mid-range game. He's always charging into opponents.

But he's a very good defender and rebounder.

Any chance we'll see Kwame and Bynum on the floor at the same time?

i concur, Laker Tom...

given all the circumstances, i'm not disappointed in this loss but encouraged of how we clawed back in... but you just can't give up an 8-0 to start the game, go defenseless for several series and miss some chippies.

dirk was a choke artist after game 2 of the nba finals, he sure can shoot like crazy but i don't see this guy carrying a team to a championship. i'd like to play the mavs once we're at full strength, we can take them.

get well soon, LO

GO LAKE SHOW!

The Lakers need to send call the Twolves before the all star break and offer first; KB, VR, BC and CM expiring contract for KG, if the wolves refuse offer KB, LO, & CM. They would still have core of Kobe, Farmer, Luke,Bynum, Ronnie, Evans and VR if its the second scenario thats get accepted. If the wolves refuse any offer that does not include Bynum then keep Kwame. The Lakers need a consistent big man if both Bynum and Kwame develop into that the Lakers can't afford to keep them both anyway. Its all about risk, when Jerry traded Vlade for Kobe it was a rsik both worth taking. Trading for KG almost ensures 2 titles in the next 4 years.

LakerTom,
"While you expect that we would not match up with Dirk with Lamar out,"

Your words. Sounds to me like he does make a difference.
I didn't make a prediction for the first 22 games; had I made one it probably would have been 13-9 or 14-8. The Lakers did do a little better overall than I anticipated. The next 16 games? I think 9-7 would be doing very well, considering the schedule and Lamar being out.

So you are saying that the Lakers would have been 11-5 with Lamar, and they are still going to be 11-5 without him? That is the definition of "not missing a beat."

These guys are pretty boys, soft. Kwame with the cornrows, not that I have a problem, hell, I wear my hair that way, hence I am a girl. I am just thinking, shave that ISH off -- grow a goatee and play like a MAN! Smush and his "Alfalfa part down the middle??? whats that about? Go hard with yours, get grimey if you have to. Guys are too soft, look soft and play that way. Not one meanie on our team outside Kobe and Jordan, Ronny and maybe Bynum. Did you see Kobe's scowl face when he tripped and fell down and hurt his arm? Shortly after that, he nailed a crazy 3-ball with DumbDevean tryna defend! Now that's whassup! Everyone else on the team gets madd and smiles? Or do they even have a Mad emotion in their body?? Think not. Phil said it last year and I am ridin his sZaK on it too, pun intended, (LOL) we have no mean guys on our team.

Usually when we defend well and play tough, we win, when we play soft, we get dropped. I don't know. I want to see consistency and by January I would hope we have found that.

I hope everyone realizes that the only reason L.A is being discussed with A.I on ESPN is for ratings. ESPN just wants the big L.A market to read their articles. The caption this week said it all on ESPN insider: "Lakers interested in A.I". When you read it, all they say is one stupid quote by Phil saying that Buss always wants to being MVP talent here.

Its a load of garbage to make you go to their website and pay for insider.

Lakofan,

See, that's why I simply don't care who makes the All-Star team. Pau Gasol and Chris Mihm have 132,00 votes (along with 0 games played) between them. And they STILL deserve a spot on the team more than Francisco Elson, who has somehow acquired 33,161 votes for averaging a whopping 5 and 5.

Francisco Elson??? Are you effing kidding me? Who did it come down to for those voters? Him or a write-in for Travis Knight? haha

AK

LakerTom,

I predicted we would start the first 20 games 13-7 and we went 14-6, I really didn't come up with something for the first 22, but how about 14-8? Still, I'm one game off.

As for the next 16 without Lamar, I say we go 8-8. Playing teams with PFs who can step away from the basket and not getting dominated on the boards are both going to cause a ton of trouble. Plus, we'll finally get tested on the road.

DollarBill-

I agree. If only because this is a game the Lakers very well might have lost even if LO plays. It's not like Dallas in Dallas is a gimmie. They still put the ball in the hoop. Now they have to shore up the defense. It's going to take a few games, for sure. And the good news is they've built up a little cushion. They could be in big trouble without Odom, but it's too early to judge. Especially after a game against Dallas, who, because of Dirk, present matchup problems for an Odomless LA (as it does many teams). Don't freak out yet. Give it a few games (hahaha).

I think it'll be interesting to see how they respond on the next road trip. Houston on Friday is a tough game, but Washington is one they need to win. After that? There are no easy games on the road.

BK

Mike T,

I was excited to watch and see how Kwame would play last night with LO out and playing against Dirk and an elite team and I was thoroughly disappointed. I think he came out flat and disinterested (4 boards, no blocks?) and really made me take a step back in my belief that he could develop into a four.

It's amazing how people can watch the same thing and see two totally different things. I felt Kwame was completely ineffective last night.

CONSIDERING WE WERE PLAYING DALLAS, IN DALLAS,
ON THE BACK END OF A BACK TO BACK, AND LOST BY
NINE POINTS, THE INITIAL IMPRESSION IS "NOT TOO
BAD."

Max,

If I'm not mistaken, Vlade Roman is on trade restrictions. So your first scenerio wouldn't work. However, your second one would but I still question given up Lamar Odom. From Minnesota's perspective, they probably wouldn't want to take on an ailing Chris Mihm and an inconsistant Kwame Brown.

Again...Why would you want to trade away Lamar Odom?

HOWEVER THE FEELING OF DEJA VU WAS UNMISTAKABLE.
IT FELT LIKE THE LAKERS OF 2004-2005 AND THE FIRST HALF
OF LAST YEAR. ESPECIALLY WHEN KOBE STARTED FORCING
THINGS IN THE FOURTH QUARTER. HE WAS BEING DOUBLED
TEAMED 30 FEET FROM THE BASKET AND HAD HIS MIND
MADE UP THAT HE WAS GOING TO SHOOT. I HOPE THIS IS
NOT WHAT WE'RE GOING TO SEE FOR THE NEXT 20 GAMES
BECAUSE IT WAS UGLY. LIKE WE'RE RIGHT BACK WHERE
WE STARTED FROM, A YEAR AND A HALF AGO.

IF WE PLAY 20 GAMES W/O ODOM, I'M THINKING WE
GO ABOUT 10-10. THATS TAKING IN CONSIDERATION THAT
WE'RE PLAYING MOST OF THE GAMES ON THE ROAD.
WE STARTED AT 14-6 BEFORE WE LOST ODOM. SO THAT
WOULD PUT US AT 24-16. MOST YEARS THAT WOULD PUT
YOU AT 4-5 IN THE WEST. THIS YEAR IT WOULD PUT YOU
AT 7 OR 8 SEED. HARD TO BELIEVE. THE EAST HAS
NOTHING OUTSIDE OF DETROIT AND MAYBE CLEVELAND.
ORLANDO HAS ALREADY STARTED TO SLIDE DOWNWARD.

stargazin,

When Kobe went "Kobe" at the end of the game I knew we were done. You can totally see that no matter what they throw at him he is going to shoot, and I know the rest of the guys feel the same way because they all sat around and watched and we gave up any chance at a win. It's going to be interesting to see what Kobe really thinks about his teammates now that LO is out and he probably thinks he needs to do it all himself.

Andrew Z,

Kwame Brown isn't the issue. Luke Walton is the issue. Josh Howard scored 29 points. 12 in the 1st quarter. That's on Walton. Kwame Brown scored 5 point early and was pulled from the game. Why? Because Dampier got an easy basket? James Worthy showed it on the Worthy spin. Kwame got doubled picked and Smush Parker didn't cover. But what does PJ do...he pulls Kwame. It looked like Kwame might go on a roll at that time. But it doesn't really matter because Josh Howard scored 12 points on Walton. And Nowitzki scored 11 on Vlad Rad and Brian Cook. That's just the 1st quarter.

mike

Ron,

Vlad is tradeable on Friday. December 15th is the first day free agents signed in the summer can be traded.

Andrew Z,

"I felt Kwame was completely ineffective last night."

Well, maybe...but that's what happens when you run the offense through Luke Walton. Kobe Bryant I can understand...but Walton? That throws the offense off. Especially in the triangle. It makes Brown a non-factor.

mike

Okay I just have to vent about something that I read on Sports Illustrated written by S.L. Price. The tiltle of the article is Sportsman of the Year. Truth be to told I have no problem that the Wade is the Sportsman of the Year. My problem is that on page 52 of that article Stan Van Gundy is given absolutism when he's quoted that he's the best player in the league right now and also that during the Lakers run of 3 championships that Shaq was the lead guy and not Kobe, but that last year Dwane Wade was the lead guy for the Heat and that's what sets both players apart. First of all Wade is not even in Kobe's realm of crazy sick. Secondly take Shaq out and look at what kind of team they have. And thirdly, when we had Shaq, Shaq was in his prime offensively and defensively speaking. Over the next few years Shaq hasn't been as dominating due to his foot problems. So last year Shaq was relegated to still be a huge defensive threat but offensively Wade was given more of the offensive slack. Wade is a great player but to imply that he's better than Lebron or Kobe is just plain nuts. That's all I have to say.
P.S. Sports Illustrated talks about balls but they don't have any.

I was about to comment on predicting what the Lakers record would be in the next 20 games however, I found myself unable to do that. I'm too much of a fan to except a lost and would predict the Lakers to go 20-0.

THAT FOURTH QUARTER LAST NIGHT DEMONSTRATED TO
ME JUST HOW MUCH ODOM MEANS TO THE TEAM AND THE
FACT THAT HE CANNOT BE TRADED. DEFENSE, REBOUNDING,
SCORING AND FACILITATING ARE ALL THINGS THAT HE
BRINGS TO THIS TEAM. ODOM IS ONE OF THOSE PLAYERS
THAT MAKES EVERYONE AROUND HIM BETTER. OUR WEAKNESS
WILL NOW BE MORE EVIDENT AND WILL BE EXPLOITED.

Thanks Andrew for the correction.

AK,

you don't care who makes the all star team, but Lamar did care, he wanted to be in the all star game. Oh and by the way you colleagues do care, since they always say, '5,6,7... all star ----' to them and to certain players it is important.

But yeah I get you, you would even get votes if you were on the ballot, haha.

You have family , your mom would vote for her son, your girlfriend, your brother and so on, so you would have votes without even playing basketball, hahaha

About Luke Walton:

I neglected to comment on Luke’s game last night during my earlier post. Although he scored 13 points, Luke obviously had a sub par game, hitting only 3 of 13 shots, but still was very aggressive going to the basket and made 7 of 8 free throws. Without a doubt, Mike T is right that Luke’s defense against Josh Howard was not great. Combined with the inability of Radmanovic or Cook to really defend Dirk, it was easy to see how the Mavs could shoot 60%.

Despite last night, I am still very high on Luke as a key to this team. He is quickly developing a strong game going to the hoop and only look for him to improve. His defense will still be tough against certain types of players like Howard but what he brings to the game in terms of his basketball IQ and ability to cut and move without the ball are important assets.

We will find out how good this team is during the next 16 games without Lamar. I still think that we can go 11-5 during this stretch, which would continue our pace to 55 wins. This team is still growing and has so much upside that it is hard for fans to believe it is for real. We need our centers to dominate inside and Luke to step up as the #2 scorer with a high percent during Lamar’s absence. If we do, then it will only make the team better when we get Lamar back.

Tom

Lakofan,

Oh, don't get me wrong. I'd love to see LO make it. He's having a very nice season, it's important to him, and he's a great guy on top of it. I hope he gets in.

But given that not being selected as a Western Conference forward is hardly a slight (sooooo much competition) and there are jackasses voting for Francisco Elson simply because he plays for their team (or they have very odd standards for what constitutes a great NBA player), it's also hard to get too worked up about.

AK

Okay we lost by nine points and here's mostly why in my opion.
Luke 3-13
Kwame 2-7
Kwame should have made all 7 of his shots. if he had we would have won by 1 point.

Luke should have made at least 5 easy baskets. If he had we would have won by 1.
But here's what they should have at least had based on those missed easy layups.


Luke 6-13
Kwame 5-7

If they would have had that we should have won by 3 points. Those were easy as missed opportunities. And with Lamar limiting Dirk, we would have probably beated this team by a cosirvative 8-12 points. This team is doing the job defensively.

ANDREW- JUST LOOKING AT THE LAKER OFFENSE, WITH REGARD TO KOBE, IT WAS A TALE OF TWO GAMES.
HE PROBABLY OVER DEFERRED IN THE FIRST HALF,
SCORING ONLY 5 POINTS. IN THE SECOND HALF HE JUST
TRIED TO BE THE ENTIRE OFFENSE. HIS 18 SHOTS ATTEMPTED WERE DECEPTIVE BECAUSE HE WAS FOULED
SO OFTEN AND SHOT A LOT OF FREE THROWS.
WATCHING THE FOURTH QUARTER WAS LIKE TRAVELING
BACK IN TIME AND IT WASN'T A GOOD TIME.
IT SEEMS LIKE WHEN YOU'RE GETTING DOUBLED AND
TRIPLED TEAMED SOMEONE HAS GOT TO BE OPEN.

Andrew:

Thanks. OK, the GHF prediction is 11-5 and the GHE prediction is 8-8. Let's see what really happens.

Tom

Yeah but KG gives you better defense than Lamar, better rebounding and is good for 3 or 4 assists per game. The only drawback is the age other than that KG is an upgrade. I'm sure if send Bynum and keep Kwame, Kwame emerges as a Ben Wallace type player with KG alongside much like Ben did with Rasheed.

WALTON'S GAME IS DEPENDENT ON THE PRESENCE OF ODOM
IN THE LINEUP. HIS LOOKS WILL BE LESS FAVORABLE
WITH ODOM OUT OF THE LINEUP. WALTON WILL BE HARD PRESSED TO SCORE MORE POINTS WITH ODOM OUT.

Had the Lakers won last night, everybody here will be giddy and would not paint any bleak scenarios. When the Lakers won against rockets, lots of people are predicting championship but this time they lost one game, the other group want to trade all the serviceable players. Can we make up our mind while LO is in the rehab? Everybody is testy even on a non factor stats of AK.

Here is the point, Lakers coaching staff should review the tapes of future opponents and design an effective strategy to win games in order to compete with Phoenix in the Pacific Div. Secondly, analyse the assets of players as well as the liabilities whether they would need to get another temporary player to cover a particular position. I have bright hopes on our Laker team if they can beat the Rockets without LO and be competitive with Mavs for three quarters despite b2b games,well we can accomplish great heights on our road games by not panicking. It's just a matter of executing the plays and finishing them. Free throws are very important and Mavs beat us on those stats. What is needed is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!

Hi all,

I just wanted to put my 2 cents in on this AI business. The only way I would even considered it (and I am sure this does not work under the salary constraints) would be to give them smush and Mihm's expiring contract (maybe) any other seldom used bench players and draft picks. Draft picks being the key since this team is going to start going deep into the playoffs and who are we really going to get in the first round the next 2 years. I know this is fantasy, but truthfully I really do not care if we get AI and I believe this team is going to win a championship in the near future. So unless we can get AI for basically nothing (draft picks and scraps), then it should not even be a consideration.

I was also wondering if Phil is trying to make other western conference teams nervous about the Lakers getting AI, and forcing these other teams to try to not let AI come to the Lakers. Thus taking a western conference team out of the playoff race with the AI learning curve and chemistry issues. Just a thought.

Phantom
Go Lakers!

Mike T,

If you really believe what you write...I feel sorry for you.

I read about 2/3 of your "Jackson's..." and at that point I had read enough. I couldn't take anymore because simply put...your analysis from last night couldn't be farther from the truth. I have realized what it is that you do after each game. No matter what transpires or what the outcome is...you always spin it to fit your already preconceived ideas about each individual on the team.

What could be a meaningful piece of journalism (as you would hope), is nothing more than a overly-opinionated fan's viewpoint...run amuck. You mentioned once before that your "goal" is to have your posts reach the Lakers' organization in hopes that they find you to be insightful and knowledgeable concerning the Lakers and the NBA in general. What do you think they will think if every posts is in the same direction. You minimize the things that would contradict your beliefs while at the same time overstating the things that strengthing your beliefs.

I don't know...considering the single-mindedness of some of the current writers out their, perhaps you will reach your goal. However, that is a very poor way to get there.

ex

I think the Lakers would have gone 13-3 over the next sixteen games with Lamar and 11-5 without him. We will miss him and maybe that will cost us 2 or 3 games but I still think we will be fine. I am not as afraid of playing on the road as everybody else. I think Phil has said that if we are playing well, it won't matter if it is road or home. And I like the fact that it is easy to adopt an us against the world attitude on the road. I do think back to back always affects how a team plays more than home or road, if you are a good team, which the Lakers are.

Tom

Edwin Gueco,
Practice, where here talking about Practice? Practice you'all, Practice?

Max

I only ask why trade Lamar because understanding that KG is a better player and I agree, but both Lamar and KG would compliment each other quite well. Since I was reminded earlier that after Dec 15th, trade restrictions are lifted, I could possibly agree with your first scenerio. But I still question why Minnesota would take on a inconsistant Kwame and ailing Chris Mihm. However, Cook and Vlade may be worth it if L.A. threw in a draft pick. Maybe?

Lakofan,

You wrote: Luke also penetrates the lane, he did it last night, but he was not getting any calls. He was frustrated, because he was driving in and in a couple of times he did get fouled and no call.

You're right, Luke didn't get the calls. But still, I would like to have seen more dribble penetration and more ball movement, like they had in the Houston game.

PLEASE DO NOT LABEL ME AND I WILL NOT LABEL YOU.
I'M A REALIST AND A DIE HARD LAKER FAN AND STILL
BELIEVE THE LAKERS WILL WIN 50 GAMES( IF ODOM ONLY
MISSES 4 WEEKS). I STILL BELIEVE THE LAKERS WILL MAKE IT TO THE CONFERENCE FINALS(IF ODOM FULLY RECOVERS). I DO NOT LIKE THE LABEL GHE.

Mike T,

I have to say, when we're in a position where we have to run our offense through Luke Walton, it isn't the ideal situation, but due to injury it's what we have to do. But to say we should have run it through Kwame is just as bad. Offensively he was horrible last night. He couldn't hold on to the ball and couldn't finish at the rim. Going against shot-blockers like Diop Kwame often struggles because he doesn't elevate much on his shots around the rim.

I think it's safe to say that although we are deeper this year than last, many of the players on our team have a way to go before we can call ourselves elite. The drop-off from Kobe and LO is too severe for us to miss one of those guys for an extended amount of time and come out on top. You could take one of the big players off the Spurs, Suns, or Mavs and they still would be a good team, but do that to us and we end up with Luke Walton as our #2 scorer and talks of running an offense through Kwame Brown. Not music to my Laker fan ears.

I agree with those saying that one loss should not result in mass panic. I continue to remember the statement Phil made several years ago..."You are never as good as you appear to be when you are winning, or as bad as you appear to be win you are losing." The Lakers lost one game last night against a solid team. It is not grounds to throw in the towel or move to a proverbial "Plan B". Sometimes it seems like people on here believe that the Lakers should win all 82 games in a season. For those that believe this...let me let you in on a secret...they aren't going to win all 60 of their remaining games. I know that may shock you...if you need a moment to gather yourself I understand...but no team in the league this season is going to win every night. As good as Phoenix is playing right now (considered by some to be the hottest team currently), they are quite possibly heading to a drop off point later in the season where they will lose some games. It is the nature of a long season. I don't even look at that anymore, because once you understand the nature of the post season, you realize that it's all about how you are playing THEN. What I look at now is how the Lakers matchup with each of the other teams...where the advantages and disadvantages are present. That is what will be key in the playoffs.

Some must have forgotten that the Lakers lost 3 times to the Suns last season before beating them the final game and then going on to take a 3-1 lead over them in the playoffs. That wasn't a fluke. Nor did the roster change significantly (JJ was added) by the end of the season. The roster didn't change, but the rotation, knowledge, and rhythm all changed by the end of the season. The same players weren't playing the same, they were playing better.

I am looking forward to the playoffs this season and expecting similar types of improvements over what we currently see now. I still believe as I did in preseason, which is that the current roster is good strong enough to win a championship.

Why the surprise at last night's loss? Odom was no longer in the line-up, meaning everyone needed to build new reflexes, an unlikely accomplishment in less than 24 hours, especially against Dallas with Nowitzki. Also, the Lakers folded in the the 4th quarter, a predictable event after the Houston game the night before, which didn't end as smoothly and comfortably as it should have. Finally, we shouldn't forget that Dallas was coming off a humiliating loss and was driven to kill, but even then had to wait till the Lakers ran out of gas to take a safe lead.

Imagine this same game was thr third game of the conference finals and the healthy Lakers finished the season best in the west and with a 2-0 advantage. Everyone would have expected Dallas to win at home, without the added advantage of a back-to -back for the Lakers and with Odom in the lineup. And yet the Lakers (mainly Kobe) nearly pulled it out before running out of gas. What's more, Kobe spent the first half experimenting with new combinations, which didn't really work, and the Lakers fell behind by 12 points (9 at the half). Even with the meltdown in the middle of the fourth, the Lakers played the half even after again dominating the critical third quarter.

All in all, it was an honorable performance.

But there is also a more fundamental question that already existed with a healthy Lamar. Phil Jackson's Lakers typically have problems in the fourth quarter because PJ likes to start with the second unit even if it means snapping the momentum the first unit has created in the third (and getting that momentum back isn't so easy). They already needed to work on that transition into the fourth and maybe experiment with lineups and sets specifically designed not to lose momentum and to let the key players rest. Without Lamar, they need it even more. It isn't an easy thing to do, and impossible to experiment in anything but game conditions. Now it's even more difficult because when Kobe rests, there's no other key player to leave in (that was usually Odom's role).

In the last three games the Lakers have had superb third quarters (the key to controling games) and weak to semi-disastrous fourth quarters. It's the coach's job to make adjustments, but we also need to remember that the players will need at least a few days to start building new reflexes. It's when you're tiring in the final stretch that reflexes pay off.

DID ANYBODY ELSE NOTICE THAT EVAN'S PLAYING TIME
WAS AT SMALL FORWARD. ALSO HE SEEMED TO BE ASSIGNED
TO GUARD DIRK. ANYBODY????? THAT SEEMED REALLY STRANGE. REALLY EXPECTED MORE PLAYING TIME FOR
RAD-MAN AND RONNY.

After reading so many posts on here it is clear that everyone sees our players and their contributions to the team differently. Not even Kobe is viewed by everyone on here the same. It's pitiful but is expected.

The bottomline is that when you take out the main facilitator of a team, the team will suffer. It's not about all of the crap (excuse my language) that is being thrown out in here by ones attempting to be analytical. It is simply, our main facilitator is out, and the team is going to have to adjust. However, that is not a bad thing. IT is quite differently a great thing. The Lakers are not playing to simply have a great record at the end of the season. They are playing to win a championship. These types of situations are great for teams trying to win a championship.

On a different note, I am surprised that no one has mentioned the Phoenix game from last night. I found it especially interesting with how the ending transpired. After reading so many posts a day ago about Phil's choice of taking his starters out along with posts criticizing the Lakers for letting the Rockets come back, we had what could be considered the other side of the argument. Mike actually left a couple of his starters in the game and yet the Heat come back on them in similar fashion. He called a timeout...yet the Heat kept coming and made it quite interesting. He ended up bring back his starters and just like the Lakers, the Suns won it. However, my point is that I believe that more was accomplished overall and in the long run the way Phil did it than Mike.

stargazin,

I was blown away that Evans had Dirk as a defensive assignment. The only thing I could think of is that Phil knew they would use Dirk to draw Kwame or another big away from the hoop and cripple our already shotty rebounding.

I have to say, Dirk Nowitzki might be the toughest guy to defend in the league. There isn't a shot on the court the guy can't make. He will post you up, nail the three, and can even take guys off the dribble. All at 7 foot!! No wonder Cuban wouldn't give him up in the Shaq trade.

Andrew Z,
I don't think Kwame has the desire necessary to be a great rebounder/all-around defender.

JJ- WHAT'S PITIFUL?? THAT WE ARE ALL ENTITLED TO
AN OPINION??? AND THAT OUR OPINIONS ARE CRAP???
OH YEAH, ONLY JJ GETS IT. THE REST OF US ARE PITIFUL? WE'RE ALL INDIVIDUALS, OF COURSE WE HAVE
DIFFERENT OPINIONS.

JJ,

"After reading so many posts on here it is clear that everyone sees our players and their contributions to the team differently. Not even Kobe is viewed by everyone on here the same. It's pitiful but is expected."

You think it's pitiful when people have different opinions? Maybe I enjoy revelling in the suckiness of thoughts, views, opinions, and debate, but if we all saw the things the same way and all just said the same thing we'd have one post and then everyone sitting around saying "yeah, right on, what he said!!".

Maybe you meant to say it's pitiful that we all don't see things the way YOU see them, which you feel is the only way to see things.

Please, correct me if I'm wrong. Thank you.

 
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