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Not pretty enough to qualify as ugly... but effective enough

A nice way to describe tonight's 96-83 win over the Trailblazers, actually.  About as picturesque as Tara Reid pre-makeup the morning after a drinking binge, with negatives plenty to be found in the mix.  Two points apiece from starters Derek Fisher and Luke Walton, neither of whom brought much to the table.  A seriously sluggish first quarter, featuring little in the way of makes (37% from the field) or energy (a 13-7 rebound deficit and defensive lapses from every Laker starter).  Foul trouble limiting Lamar Odom to just ten minutes and two points in the first half.  And four quarters full of Lakers getting visibly annoyed by the Portland's physical nature and some calls not coming their way (by the end of the third quarter, I was expecting Pau Gasol to shank LaMarcus Aldridge).  Said element often led to a loss of composure, which in turn led to ball movment and anything inside-out eschewed for quick, frustration-fueled, off-target bombs. 

A far cry from how the game would have been played in "Utopia Arena."

But by the time the smoke had cleared and it was all said and done, the Lakers pulled it together, got their fourth quarter mojo working (spotlighted by Kobe Bryant's 11 dagger points) and demonstrated just how good this purple and gold team has become.  Yeah, it wasn't particularly impressive if you're looking through a "we must dominate 24/7!" lens.  But at the same time, it's easy to win when you're steamrolling from the opening tip off and never looking back.  But real teams prove their mettle by facing tests.  Tonight, the Lakers stared adversity in the face and refused to blink.  That's what this Laker team did tonight.  And they did it as a team.  Obviously, Kobe's 30/9/7 reflects a dude putting up some quality stats (more so in the second half, where he racked 22), but despite only Gasol joining him as a double figure starter, The New Jack Bauer didn't make it happen alone.  Jordan Farmar put up a career-tying 21 points off the pine.  Sasha Vujacic and Ronny Turiaf combined for 20.  And even though he didn't score much, Odom hit the glass hard, especially when it counted most (8 boards in the final frame).

In the end, tonight's victory was kinda like taking Robitussin for a cough.  It tastes like crap going down, but once enough time has elapsed for the elixir to kick in, the benefits to having taken a swig become abundantly clear.

AK  (The breakdown and copy is below)

The Good:

  • Winning Ugly: The Lakers have been blowing through teams these days like revelers at Studio 54 through through their coke on a Saturday night in '77.  Tonight, nothing came easy.  The Lakers were behind from the start, had very little of the offensive flow to which we've all grown accustomed, were a step or three slow defensively, and generally looked out of sync.  But after getting down 15 in the first, they slowly chipped away and never let Portland get full control of the game.  When it got down to it in the fourth, L.A. pulled away.  Yes, the Blazers helped them out, losing offensive discipline and butchering some easy opportunities, but in the end the Lakers took control of the game when they had to.  Not every win is going to be pretty.  The final score makes this look like a Lakers blowout, but anyone who watched knows differently.  Still, all that matters is the W.
  • Jordan Farmar: Playing big minutes for an ineffective Derek Fisher (see below), Farmar scored 21 points (tying a career high) on 8-10 from the floor.  He was a spark that helped the Lakers erase the early Portland lead, and in the second half again came on quickly for Fisher, and played through to the end.  He was aggressive going to the hoop, pushed the ball in the open floor, and launched confidently from downtown.  All in all, it was a very big game for Farmar.
  • Sasha Vujacic: Playing big minutes for an ineffective Luke Walton (see below), Sasha buried four big threes over the course of the night, including three in 21:01 of second half run.  The nearly 32 minutes of total PT wasn't a career high (back in '05, Sasha logged 39 minutes in a roadie against the Blazers), but it was the most he's played this season and is an indication of the kind of confidence PJ has in him these days.  More and more often, you'll see Sasha playing important, late minutes.  The starting rotation didn't work, so PJ went with his reserves down the stretch, with very positive results. 
  • Late Glass Work: After three quarters, the Lakers were being outrebounded 35-28 and were especially vulnerable to offensive rebounds for the Blazers.  The rebounding disparity helped explain why LA was locked in a two point game despite the Blazers sitting on 2-15 from downtown (they'd finish 2-20, by the way), and shooting 36.5% overall.  In the fourth, the Lakers tightened up considerably, outboarding Portland 13-6, and limiting them to one offensive rebound.  L.O, who was plagued with foul trouble all night, led the way with eight boards.  Portland's shooting was so bad that they were unable to climb back into it without all the second chance opportunities. 

The Bad:

  • Early D, Early O: The Lakers were sluggish early, particularly in the starting lineup.  Portland was up in their collective grill, and the Lakers didn't respond well.  Catch, look around, pass.  Defensively, they were beaten to loose balls, outrebounded, and outplayed.  Fortunately, they stayed close and used good play from the reserves to get back into it.  But early, everyone was beaten defensively, from Kobe on down.  Portland was able to generate clean looks, whether coming off screens, beating people one-on-one, or simply dumping the ball to LaMarcus Aldridge on the block. 
  • Luke Walton, Derek Fisher: +/- ratings can often be deceptive, and generally should be seen as a guide or clue to the flow of a game, not necessarily the gospel, so to speak.  Generally.  Tonight, the disparity between LA's success with those two on the court vs. on the bench was massive.  Walton and Fish both clocked in at -19, Farmar and Sasha at +32 and +35 respectively.  We all know a strength of this team is the ability to plug players in when others aren't playing well, and Tuesday night that certainly was the case.  To see these guys struggle isn't all that surprising.  Walton has been fighting it all season (we talk about that a little in the postgame audio) and Fish certainly has had some ups and downs.  But it's fair to say that both were pretty brutal tonight.

The Mixed:

  • L.O.: In foul trouble all night, Odom wasn't a factor offensively.  But what could have been a total disappearing act turned around in the fourth, when he led a late push on the glass.
  • Kobe Bryant: (Remember, folks, I grade here on a sliding scale. 24 is held to a higher standard...) and early, he wasn't sharp.  Defensively, he had some trouble sticking guys like Travis Outlaw and Martell Webster, whether coming off screens or one on one.  His shot was off in the first half (3-9), though he did dish out five assists, and was particularly good finding open men as Portland's D collapsed on penetration.  The third quarter T he picked up was a momentary loss of composure... but the good thing about Kobe is that a slow start does not a slow finish guarantee.  He laid down the throttle in the fourth, pouring in 11 points.  Overall, in the second half Kobe scored 21 points and pulled down six boards.  Fair to say that 24 helped right the ship as the game went on.  Interesting audio from him about his thoughts on the MVP. 

AUDIO:

BK

Sasha Vujacic

On it being a good thing having a win where grinding it out and coming back was necessary
"Probably, it is.  It was a good test for us.  A mental test for the team to see how we are and how good we become.  Portland is a good individual team and they know how to play.  They play good defense."

Ronny Turiaf

On the game's physicality

"Give your hat to the Portland Trailblazers.  They play physical but it wasn't that much (more) physical than other teams.  Not really.  Joel Przybilla pushes you pretty good.  He's a low gravity guy, so it's difficult to move him.  But it wasn't more physical than Boston or anything like that.  Playing Shaq.  It was fun.  It was a good matchup.  We can't win easy all the time, so it was good to grind that one out."

On how he'd grade the Laker defense
"I'm gonna say they scored maybe 32 points in the second half.  (Editor's note: Either Ronny had a chance to check out a stat sheet before talking to the media or he'd be great at counting cards in Vegas.  Either way, right on the nose)  So I think it's pretty good.  After an "F" in the first half, I'd say it was a B+/A- in the second half."

Blazers Coach Nate McMillan

On getting ejected after arguing a no-call against Travis Outlaw

"We've seen this for the last couple games.  And I know that's going to happen. The intensity of the game this time of year is something that we're trying to teach our guys to play through.  But some of the grabbing and the holding that was going on out there, I mean, you gotta call it.  It's hard for players to play through some of the holding and the grabbing that a Boston or a Lakers team, they get away with (against) a young team like this."

Note: I thought this comment was interesting, since every reader on the live blog was screaming about  Blazers getting away with murder, that nothing was getting called in favor of the purple and gold and how the refs clearly don't like the Lakers, because they never get any whistles.  From McMillan's perspective, his team can't win specifically because the Lakers are favored.  I'm not saying the  blogosphere was entirely wrong, as there was definitely some unpenalized pushing and shoving on the Blazers' part.  But to some degree, I guess it all depends on how you're rooting.

AK

 
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Mike Rice (commentator for Blazers) said, "Laker fans are not knowledgeable"

First to post woooooooooo!!!!!

LAKERTOM ON 96-83 WIN OVER PORTLAND . . .

My first thought when the game ended was game ball for Jordan Farmar. With the other Lakers starters other than Kobe suddenly cold, Farmar stepped up and backed Kobe’s 30-point night with 21 points of his own on 8 of 10 shooting, including 4 of 5 from beyond the arc. What impressed me most, however, was the way that Jordan took the ball to the hoop and didn’t back down. I don’t know if it was Kevin Ding’s inspirational article that got Jordan fired up but the Lakers really needed Farmar’s offense tonight as he sparked Lakers comebacks in the 2nd and 4th periods. Jordan also had 2 assists and just 1 turnover in 24 minutes. I will be interested to see what everybody says.

With Fisher, Walton, and Odom all ice cold from the field, the Lakers were fortunate to win this game. Besides Kobe and Farmar, Pau fought hard all night to end up with 15 points and 10 boards. Saddled by a couple of terrible calls after great defense, Lamar also battled hardily and really took over the boards in the last 5 minutes of the game. His 11 boards were critical to the team surviving against a strong Portland effort. What was clearly obvious, however, was the Lakers need for Andrew Bynum on the boards and on defense. Pau is a fine defender and plays smart but he doesn’t have the body to dominate the boards and defend other bigs down low like Andrew does.

Finally, another MVP performance from Kobe in my opinion: 30 points, 9 boards, and 7 dimes, not to mention clutch baskets or passes to Farmar (or Sasha or Ronny, who both also came through off the bench to save the day). I also have to agree with Kobe that the refereeing in this game was terribly one-sided. What the hell happened to the home team getting some breaks. The push on Kobe’s dunk on the lob and the blocking call on Lamar for his second foul were just terrible calls. The LakeShow may be getting love from the media but so far we are still getting jobbed by the zebras.

Bottom line, we got our 9th win in a row, even though we did not win the boards for the third straight game. We had three starters score in single digits but three bench players come up big for a combined 41 points. That’s how a championship team does it. It may not always be pretty but they get it done. Way to go, Lakers. 10 and 11 coming up on Thursday and Friday. Keep the pedal to the metal. No mercy on the opponents.

Tom

To be fair, to start the fourth quarter, the lakers had shot like five free throws compared to 17 or something. I mean, they weren't playing that passive... the discrepency was pretty ridiculous.

How odom manages to foul someone when he is on the floor no where near them is interesting in and of itself.

Regardless, it was good to see them regather and collect themselves. In the past I think they have let officiating affect them to the point of not being able to get back into the game. I agree, this was a really important win to show the growth and maturity of this team.

well we are wearing purple colored goggles.

But seriously, it's wacked.

Go Sasha! Go Lakers!

Good morning all.

Wanted to post this from earlier thread so since it was an old thread I am re posting and adding.

REPOST

IMO need Bynum to start. He may work a few games coming off the bench but then he has to start.
He is a very dominant center and need to acclimate him into playing with Pau before playoffs.
We need to fly once the playoffs fly and not trying to incorporate AB into the rotation.

New

LTLF I think you responded to Edwins comments about Critter. I think you said something to the effect that you were attacked for your views by Critter fans.

I was and am a Critter fan and wished we still had Critter and would have hoped we would have sent Coby instead. However I never attacked you or anyone but just stated my opinion.
I however was attacked by an idiot who said I needed Pysch (SP?) meds and said I was not an astute Laker fan. I replied to that but the reply never not posted. I guess it was blocked.

I just wanted to clear the record that even though I am a Critter fan I never attacked you or anyone. I only attack when I am attacked.

Sorry to all I don't always spell check so sorry for the typos.


In the LA Times today:

The Good

Plaschke coming round to basketball realism and abandoning facile moralizing.

The VERY VERY BAD

Simers outdoing himself in stupidity by filling an entire article with stupidity he claims he didn't want to write. There is a good side to this though: he's given away his game as a curmudgeon who thinks feeble and gratuitous sarcasm about everyone other than himself is the highest form of wit. The article was a compendious and patronizing blanket condemnation of:

1. Lakers fans
2. The Lakers themselves
3. Phil Jackson
4. Every other sportswriter on the planet
5. Intelligent journalism in general
6.Every other team in the NBA (including the Suns, who are lost in the mass of losing teams the Lakers are supposed to beat every time).

Isn't there any way of making this guy accountable to something other than his own ego?

It was nice to see the Lakeshow pull out a close one - though it won't qualify as such, it was closer than the score indicated. Portland got ICE COLD in the second half, certainly in part due to Lakers D, but not entirely. They hit a few of those shots and we're battling until the end.

But the biggest concern should be our depth. With our supposed "deepest bench in the L" we can only run 8 guys out there effectively right now (no one wants to rely on Mbenga or Karl I presume). All of a sudden, there will be some minutes piling up on our regulars, and I expect to see some wearing down of the troops over the next month since none of our injured players are expected back soon.

On that note, any update on Vlad...I've heard day-to-day but I've also heard 2 weeks.

Anyone?

Still, good job staying in a game when the starters were dragging. A win is a win.

And that makes 9 in a row.

KOBE FOR MVP!!!
KOBE FOR MVP!!!
KOBE FOR MVP!!!

Well, I thought the first half the ref's were biased against the Lakers. To some extent, I think it was reversed in the later half.

I find it interesting that he compares us to Boston. I don't think we're as physical as Boston. Certainly, not without Bynum. I may just be biased against Boston, but I thought the Celtics played dirty against the Blazers and injured Roy on purpose.

In any case, I don't think the refereeing is very good in the NBA anyways. We had a referee that was gambling and throwing games on purpose. We had another referee that challenged Tim Duncan to a fight. (Crawford got reinstated by the way). We have referees that hang out with players after games. But then the players and coaches aren't really good at talking with the referees anyways.

http://hoopshype.com/columns/officiating_arnold.htm

I think the problems the Lakers had in the first half can be put down to one thing: Staples has become a foreign country to them. They've been doing so well on the road, it's the road that seems like home. They were intimidated by the unfamiliar atmosphere.

DID CHINA MAKE THE DECISION TO SHUT DOWN YAO?

I was listening to J.T. the Brick last night on the way back from watching the game with friends and he claimed that the Chinese government was behind shutting Yao Ming down because they wanted to make sure he was available for the Olympics in Beijing this summer. China was worried that if Yao continued to play for the Rockets, he would have been in danger of missing the Olympics entirely, which would be a disaster for China.

Don’t know if there is any truth to this but you do have to remember that Chinese players actually have to have permission from their government to play and also have to contribute part of their salary to the government rather than just paying an income tax. At any rate, it will be interesting to see if this angle comes up at all or whether J.T. was just blowing smoke. If it’s true, tough luck for the Rockets and it might make teams hesitate a little when it comes to drafting players from China.

Tom

is it too late for Sasha to get 6th man award?

bloggers=deluded, mcmillan=objective.

right, gotcha. the way I saw it, the refs were pretty hard on the lakers the first half. the secong half, they were pretty much laying off, unless a coach decided to unload on them. but then I'm probably crazy and biased.

AK, don't you mean BLAZERS coach Nate McMillan?

=P

KOBE BRYANT AND THE LAKERS NOW FAVORITES TO WIN THE 2008 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP

Maybe it's that impressive 8 game winning streak or the fact that Kobe Bryant and his LA Lakers have the third best record in the league tied with the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers were now a 2-1 favorite to win the 2008 NBA Championship at Sportsbook.com.

Andrew Z – Man, I wish we both hadn’t stupidly not placed our 30-1 bets for the Lakers to go all the way. First time since the 3-peat that I didn’t place a bet. Now, we will have to do it again next year to not to jinx us. It’s like we have to take one for the team. lol.

Tom

jma,

Thanks for the pickup. Between his time playing for and coaching Seattle, my first instinct is always to think of Nate McMillan as a Sonic.

AK

sashhhaaaaaa!!!!!!

come on!!! all you guys can see are the positives... don't you realize how weak they are on defense? they're lucky their shots fell... if they didn't we're done. DEFENSE = championship!!!

REPOST OF A REALLY GOOD ARTICLE

Check out this great, in-depth analysis of statistics in context:

http://www.respectkobe.com/?p=18

The author at RespectKobe.com shows why you can't just compare two players statistics straight up. So, when evaluating field goal %, rebounds, assists, etc., he shows that Kobe is a MORE EFFICIENT shooter, a better rebounder, and at least as good a passer as LeBron.

If statistics interest you, you'll really enjoy this article. If you ever make comparisons of two players using stats, you should REALLY read this article.

KOBE 4 MVP

WE MADE THE 40 before the 20 !!!!! WOOHOO!!! TRALALALA !!! GLIBAH!

absolutely a solid win tonight. I figured they might either get over confident, tired, or lose concentration and that seemed apparent today.

Remember, when the Lakers played those crappy teams and got the 7 game win streak, you knew that they were feeling the effects of having to keep winning. Of course Bynum's injury has something to do with that loss against Phoenix, but its the reality of a winning streak. Luckily for LA they get Miami, Portland again and I think the Clippers and Kings next. However, they cant sleep on Miami who just blew out the Kings, and Portland can be better at home. Plus Sonnybelfast might cook some rotten hamburgers and try to poison Kobe like that one playoffs.

By the way, I saw Nate McMillan this morning and he's a super nice guy.

Also I think you'd find this funny. A friend of mine saw Greg Oden carrying Steve Blake's gear today heading to the practice facility. Even with the injury, Oden gets the rookie hazing.

Hey guys,

Check out this article (with responses) about Nash being overrated. It was linked off of nba.com's Maurice Brooks's Race to the MVP page.

http://www.emptythebench.com/2008/02/25/is-three-time-mvp-
steve-nash-overrated/#comment-9923

The writer puts forth an interesting argument. I think it's imcomplete (and post my thoughts later as to why), but that it's a strong argument against Steve Nash as the multiple MVP and likely Hall of Famer.

I couldn't agree more on Farmar. The Lakers just struggled horribly and Farmar, every moment he was in the game, gave us a huge lift. Thank you Jordan!

Turiaf had a good game too. As we struggled and I was grumbling in public about our performance (and I'm in the Bay Area), I was thinking to myself that when we need it, Turiaf gives it. On nights like this one, it's great to have him on the team. When we were playing fantastically, he didn't play as well, but he also wasn't needed.

I agree that it was good to see us win a tough one too. It showed character. Good teams win when they have to come from behind, when they have to adjust to players having off nights, when the calls go against them, and when the other team beats up on them physically.

I'm impressed how well we're doing with our nearly continuous injury issues. Pau has fit in perfectly and this was Odom's worst game since Pau came and it still wasn't so bad. Someone mentioned Odom's second found call being sketchy. I thought the blocking foul that was either his third or fourth was unforgivably bad too.

Can we ever get healthy? An unhealthy Luke Walton is a D-league player. No Mihm, Ariza, Radmanovich, or Bynum, damn. And Kobe's whole hand is screwy.

if the wheels don't fall off due to injury, i still think this team is the real deal. remember back in the day when the team could just turn it on and play crippling defense? tonight the shots weren't falling, portland did everything they could and there was even some help from the stripes in the first half, but in the second half the easy buckets were gone. something to build on....

50 before 20?

NO WAY!!!!!!!!! Too Easy!!!!!.

55 before 20 should be an easy goal.

60 before 20 is more like it now that Simmers and Plaschke are eating double-crow

60 before 20
60 before 20

Mamba24, start a bandwagon

This is EXACTLY the kind of game this team needs now and again!

Reality in the NBA isn't winning by 20-point blowouts, but grinding out wins even when a team isn't playing their best.

In the end, the team showed it has the intestinal fortitude to get the job done regardless.

This win did a lot for the their playoff future!!

GO LAKERS!!!

AK,

"Said element often led to a loss of composure, which in turn led to ball movment and anything inside-out eschewed for quick, frustration-fueled, off-target bombs. "

Which is exactly why it was disappointing to see Kobe lose his cool the other night. He sets the tone for the team - they need to learn to play through those periods without letting it affect them.

We're winning games we normally loose.

Wes

That was a tough, gritty win last night. When so many things seemed to be conspiring against the Lakers (lack of energy, lack of offensive flow, the lack of rebounding, the spotty refereeing) it was good to see the Lakers pull this win out of their hats.

Normally, I don't usually complain about the refereeing, other than a few calls here and there every game. For the most part, I think it's decent enough. But last night's game was one of the exceptions. It's been a while since I've openly screamed at the television, specifically because of the refs. I'm sure any reasonable fan was doing much of the same.

Lakers need to learn from this game and keep from letting down the next two games. I think they will do well because of it.

Go Lakers!

Refs aren't the only nemeses to send Laker players to the sidelines. So are bouncers. Check out this link on TMZ:

http://www.tmz.com/2008/02/27/laker-forward-gets-swat-down-at-villa

Semper Fidelis,

Sasha is playing well, but he's nowhere close to deserving of the 6th man. I think this year is a lock for Manu Ginobili.

I believe that is the first time I have ever seen Tara Reid and Robitussin referenced in the same column. Did someone dare you to do that, or was it on your "bucket list"?

Good Morning Charles---Good Morning Everyone

As Usual Laker Tom's assesment of the game is spot on and almost exactly what I was going to write--Farmar was a big difference in the game--and he's only going to get better folks.

Again, a game like the Clipper game where we didn't play particularly well in the first half and some of the 3rd, but like someone said before, great teams manage to pull these kinds of games out--we couldn't rebound to save our souls in the first half--mainly because Lamar was out in foul trouble---he dominated on the boards down the stretch---I just wish he would eliminate that offensive foul he thinks he has to get every game--keep your shoulders up Lamar!

The other player I felt that brought a lot of energy and helped us over the hump last night was Ronny---I still say he needs a lot more playing time

I can't stress enough how crucial it is to keep both Ronny and Sasha this summer (and ariza would be nice as well of course)

I am getting tired of having to mention a certain someon'e contract that HAS to go--he's the same guy that can't shoot an open mid range shot that apparently Phil got almost as sick of as me because he yanked him right after he clanked an open shot early in the 3rd---yee fricken haw-- I will give you a hint his name starts with a P, has a U and a K and ends with an E. I am still rooting for him (though it's quite difficult at times) but I am definitly rooting for him to be gone on draft day---trade him straight up for a deep 2nd round pick and some crackerjack...

maybe our 15th spot should go toward a SF who can actually shoot an orange orb into a red iron ring from 12 to 14 feet---please Vlad and Ariza get well soon

Sorry for the ranting---from now on I will try to accentuate the positives and not mention he who should not be mentioned--I started with this post in just spelling out his name--future posts will not refer to him at all---unless he does well--oh...like I said....

Have a great day everybody

GO LAKERS!!!

''The real value of a super player is that he makes other players better,'' coach Phil Jackson said. ''You can see the apparent emphasis of Kobe's game to get other people involved and make the rest of his team better.''

Voila and in turn guys play with confidence and make shots.

Well the first quarter was not that great but you new it would hapen at some point in this run. Walton subing for Rado and not able to get in flo and make open shots, that boy needs a shooting coach. Then you look up at monitor and all sudden its a tie game and second unit is taking over ( thank Jordan Farmar Rony and Sasha ) then walton comes back in and down at half. But seriously you could feel Lakers where a better team and would have no probelm figgering it out and would win in the end.

Nice win for this team, it will be harder if Roy is playing.

http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/
la-sp-plaschke27feb27,1,7670330.column

Is there anyone else other than me that thought it was funny how the steamers and confetti just randomly shot out during the 4th quarter?

Also,I don't know if they showed it on tv, but at the game a second set shot out around 5-10 minutes after. It brought me laughter to an otherwise frustrating 3 quarters of basketball.

My thoughts were as follows:

Lakers took a standing 8 count in the 1st quarter. THay came out sluggish and got burned. Prior Lakers teams, i.e. last years team could have easly packed it in and said "Thanks, but we don't fell like playing that hard tonight." (Direct quote by Brownie and Smush). This year, however, is a different story. They re-grouped and pulled it to a manageable 5 points down for the 1st half.

It was great to see how the Lakers responded to a challenge! They have been on a roll as of late and playing with great confidence (which is nice to see, don't get me wrong). But the teams that they are playing, come playoffs, are going to give the Lakers their best punch every single time down the floor. The Blazers gave it to them in the 1st and half of the 2nd. However, they shrunk in the 3rd and 4th. Blazers were less physical and timid. Playoff teams will be physical and confident ALL 4 QUARTERS!

In the end, I'm happy with the W. However, I'm more happy to see how they responded when the chips were down and everything was going against them (Especially how LO responded with foul trouble). They responded and slammed the door.

I think they can look back on this W, as a wake up call for how physical they need to be night in and night out.

And guess what, Bynum is back in 3 weeks and Ariza in 4!

Just in time to have about 10-12 regular season games of Lakers at 100%. This wat they can learn how this whole thing will mesh! I'm almost like a kid in a candy store, I'm so excited.

Go Show!!!

Wow, Plaschke writing a pro-Kobe column. The basketball gods have undeniably instilled favor upon our Lakers.

It is getting really old watching Luke stink it up. He needs a shrink not a shooting coach. Wasn't he leading the league in 3 point% last year? He's gone completely in the tank. Probably a genetic defect form his acid dropping dad. Too much Grateful Dead music as a child. PJ should go with a shorter rotation against the good teams. Luke seems to be consistently making the bad plays at the wrong times (which will cost us against the top teams) and has me screaming at the tube. What is it going to take to snap him out of it? Maybe he should take himself out of his own Fav 5.

Simers is the king of douchebaggery.

I'm taking a poll here. Does anyone like the writing style of T.J. Simers?

GO LAKERS!

Who believes Kobe when he says he doesn't care about the MVP?

Not me. lol

NO MVP? NO PEACE!

GO LAKERS!

"I'm taking a poll here. Does anyone like the writing style of T.J. Simers?"

NO!

Jon K - put me down for a NO!
(and good morning!)

DK--

I think you're right about Ginobili, as much as I hate to think or say it, the Dodgy Argie is shooting the lights out. I do also, however, think Semper was only kidding.

Does T.J. Simers actually earn a salary or does he pay from some giant trust fund to actually write for the L.A. Times? Does he maybe have scandalous dirt on L.A. Times executives or something? The guy is a TERRIBLE and WHINEY writer. He just plain sucks. The K Brothers are clearly better writers and I would argue that a third of the contributors to this blog are better writers than this loser.

I mean, he wrote an article today on how it's difficult to find something to write about. THIS IS LOS ANGELES!

If the guy is bored about writing about the Lakers, the Clippers, the Bruins, or the Trojans... write about Pepperdine, LMU, CSULA, UCI, CSLB..., if that's not enough, find one of our incredible high school sports programs and find an inspiring story SOMEWHERE in there.

The thing about sports is that it's inspiring reading about people doing their best or rising up to the challenge of overcoming obstacles. I GUARANTEE YOU that there is at least 100 stories out there in the L.A Basin that make for good, inspiring, even dramatic story-writing.

And T.J. Simers is complaining about having to write about the Lakers. What the hell is this guy's problem? How is he earning a paycheck?

He should be a fricken journalist, make some phone calls and do an investigative story about ANY of the major or minor programs in this sports mecca and find something interesting out there.

If I was Cartman from 'South Park' I'd march right into L.A. Times Central Office and kick T.J. Simers in the nuts.

GO LAKERS!

its hard to believe anything Kobe says to the media, he always looks and sounds fake to me.

and BTW those same "scrubs" many fans were referring to poor Kobe had to play with last year helped the lakers come back and win the game

Turiaf
Farmar
Sasha

Guess they arent as bad as some fans and Kobe thought.

In fact the writer from that pro kobe site called them D-league players. Thats when a writer loses total credibility.

AK- Kobe's defense in the 1st half of games since the break has been terrible , he gets beaten off the drible, then goes for a steal from behind , doesnt block out his man and generally is playing center field on D. Glad to see its pointed out and rightly so.

Well - last night the Lake Show pulled it out, put it on & showed it off. At first they looked like they forgot what game they were playing (I was screaming at the TV - it's BASKETBALL guys, but don't think they heard me). But then they responded to the half time wake-up call PJ must have given them, and then showed the Blazers what being a Laker is all about. Agreed it will not be that easy against playoff teams, but still a good win with a lesson (hopefully) learned.

Another note is how poorly Luke (aka Puke) is playing of late. I'm on his side - he's a Laker - but he needs to pick it up or the confetti (that was toooo funny) will not be falling for him (unless it's to celebrate his departure). Harsh, I know, but on the other hand I also know he's a veteran, he's a Laker (said that before) and knows what it takes to win. Have no fear - I believe in LUKE!!! He will prove the haters wrong and we'll be celebrating his high basketball IQ before the start of the REAL season.

GO LAKERS! KOBE FOR MVP or NO PEACE!

Mamba24 - where are you??!!!

Don't put your Laker flags back on your cars until Phil tells you so.

Voila and in turn guys play with confidence and make shots.

Posted by: Laker Lover | February 27, 2008 at 07:44 AM

This lifeform can read but has an inverted lens for a view.

Anyone else miss Vlad last night? I'm telling you the key to the offense running smoothly is a reputation shooter in the small forward position? Kobe and Pau couldnt run their pick and roll because the Trailblazers clogged up the driving lanes, why...no threat from outside. Even if Vlad's not hitting his reputation would cause the defender to stay closer and remove that extra guy from the lane, then Kobe and Pau can go back to work. Phil is starting to realize this his comments are starting to reflect about Vlad starting over Luke. That's why I have a small concern when Bynum comes back about Odom moving to that spot, is he going to be the shooter that draws the defense from Kobe, Bynum and Pau? The other thing about Vlad is he's been playing much improved defense and he's bigger than Luke, for example last night against Outlaw he may have thought twice about shooter over the larger defender.

Maleke,

HaHa.

I have my flag in the trunk and am waiting until we get the green light from Phil.

Floyd,

I understand your frustration and so many other fans in this blog, just hold on, extend that patience a little more, we have no alternative but to play him because Lakers are spread out too thinly due to injuries. Realistically, we are only 7 and half players and two on bench PJ has no faith to play DJ or Cobi on short span of time, however if you rely too much on this mystical player (who is only one half) that you referred to, WE LOSE. I'm greatly concerned on Kobe, Fisher and Pau their health should be reserved during the playoffs but because we are playing with few players, they have to play long minutes. (That is not good, a tired body can be knocked out by a good boxer in the late rounds.)

Since 2005 we have been commenting on "scrubs" so far we eradicated three, two have improved and one still lingers along the pipeline for success. He blocks the flow of the game with those ill-advised T/O's, missing open shots, contaminates other good players like Fish and in some other games Farmar and Turiaf as well. BLOGGERS DON'T LIE, they call what they see that is inappropriate. Many of us may have our own fandome on players and general optimism with the team. Diehards are often annoyed by criticisms but let's be honest to ourselves, Without these bloggers, Smush-Kwame-Cookie would still don purple and gold. Some of us have tendency to close our eyes, ignore realities, they just want to focus on a GHF. We want to accommodate the weak, the paltry and the underachievers and up to what point? perhaps when Vlad & Ariza come to rescue. So if people expresses their frustration, to the diehards pls. don't be annoyed, self-criticism can also be the key to success. (This is like having a house key that is rusty, we need to clean it, polished it, before it can fit the door lock. Without those preliminary efforts we get rid of the key and the door will remain close.) So the fans of Luke Walton, be patient to constructive criticisms of frustrated fans. It is sad why we go to competition with inherent handicaps?

Justlakerfan,

On your recent post where you mentioned my name...

While I'm a fan of Critter, I just make my own comments and would not want to influence the opinion of others. Like you, I also answer back when provoked or insulted. It turns me off when some people claims that they know everything other than what is normal. I learn every day from everyone's point of views.

LakerTom,

"Andrew Z – Man, I wish we both hadn’t stupidly not placed our 30-1 bets for the Lakers to go all the way. First time since the 3-peat that I didn’t place a bet. Now, we will have to do it again next year to not to jinx us. It’s like we have to take one for the team. lol."

Thanks for the salt in the wound, lol!

To be honest, I'll take the Lakers winning it all with no money coming my way in a heartbeat. Maybe if they do I'll make sure NOT to bet on them ever again since it seemed to jinx them.

Frank Rizzo,

Flat NO, T. J. Simers is a buffoon, taking advantage of the weak editorial board of LA Times Tribune. The old days are gone, they are now at the mercy of billionaire Emperor Sam Zell. It is very sad to this fate of the Pulitzer paper.

I am hereby boycotting TJ Simer's columns from here on forth.

His bloated ego is a complete joke.

I cannot stand this guy!

Bring back Adande!

From Bill Plaschke article:
http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-plaschke27feb27,1,7670330.column

This is a sentence that pretty much sums up the Lakers success and Kobe finally getting the recognition as one of the best players in the game right now and worthy of the MVP award

"He has showed that if the Lakers surrounded him with better players, he would be a better leader."

Kobe has always been able to lead. But you need better talent to succeed.

pk-in-the-mesa : yeah I agree, it WILL be diff with Roy in the Portland lineup, as the same would be true if Andrew, Trevor and Vlad Rad were in the lineup for us as well as Odom for Portland..Next year's matchups are going to be interesting!!!

Exhelodrvr,

"I believe that is the first time I have ever seen Tara Reid and Robitussin referenced in the same column. Did someone dare you to do that, or was it on your "bucket list"?"

Just good old fashioned artistry, sir. Or as I call it, "a typical Tuesday night." haha

AK

Lakergurl - do you have something to add to the conversation or is this just another personal attack?

Lakers are Loving the Way it feels to continue winning..Like they say, winning breeds confidence. I noticed Farmar, Sasha, Ronny, Pau and even Lamar were all on the same page as Kobe as far as grinding that game out against Portland in the fourth quarter. They were scrappy and basically just upped their intensity and closed the game like it was supposed to be done..Experience has def taken shape with this Laker team and its very exciting watching it all unfold.

RydeOrDie baybee!

I dont know a single person who like TJ Simers OR Bill Plaschke, not a single person I have talked to (here on the blog or elsewhere) like what they do.

They are total HACKS< I agree they must have some good blackmail dirst on someone to still have jobs.

Andrew:

You're right. If the Lakers go all the way, we will have to withhold future bets. Like you, give me the championship and I'll be happy. Until the next year, that is. lol.

Tom

brandonc- there is a difference between poor writing and not sharing the same opinion as Simers or Plashke. If they were true hacks in writing they wouldnt have a job.

Laker fans should understand the difference between a difference of opinion and poor writing.

IN RE SIMERS--

You guys are all correct. As much as I try not to waste my time hating the hater, I just can't bite my tongue when it comes to this guy. I get he's trying to illicit responses to his idiotic ramblings, but, man, this guy just wrote a scathing editorial about the Lakers ragarding how he didn't want to write a scathing editorial about the Lakers. What a self-reflexive, onanisitic F-Tard!!

I remember back in the 3-peat days he even griped that watching the Lakers win was good and all, but they won in "boring" fashion.

AK, BK...what say you?

laker lover you do not know what you talking about you a kobe hater you just mad you can never be kobe

No Laker Lover, they are not just people who express unpopular opinions, they are BAD writers.

They do not know most of the time what they are talking about. SIMERS EVEN ADMITTED IN ONE COLUMN HE DOESNT WATCH LAKER GAMES, YET CONTINUES TO BASH THEM?!?

They constantly attempt to stir controversy to get readers ala Peter Vescey.

When Shaq was a Laker and got into a fight with Brad Miller in CHicago AFTER Miller and Oakley tried to rip Shaqs head off, they threw Shaq under the bus, saying he should be a convicted felon all the while completely ignoring that Miller and Oakley who neither one tried to make a play for the ball (Hack a Shaq) had both assaulted Shaq. THey are HACKS! Biased talentless pricks.

I dont mind a guy who tells it like it is even if its not what you want to hear, Chick Hearn did it all the time. But Plaschke and Simers dont do that, they are HACKS!!

JustaLakerFan,

>>>I just wanted to clear the record that even though I am a
>>>Critter fan I never attacked you or anyone. I only attack
>>>when I am attacked.

I wasn't pointing the finger at anyone specific. There were
several posters like you, presumably, who just stated their
preference that we should keep Crittenton to build for the
future (which is a reasonable argument). And then there
were some others (can't recall who) who were calling me an
idiot and a hater and telling me that Farmar was never going
to amount to anything so we needed Crittenton.

And they're perfectly welcome to have that opinion, and
they still could turn out to be right. Farmar could start to
get ineffective (not likely) and Crittenton could turn into
an all-star.

The reason I brought it up was because I was once again
getting criticized for even daring to mention that the Lakers
might actually trade Lamar after the season in order to
reduce the luxury tax burden. It's a controversial topic,
and I don't shy away from controversial topics. I'm willing
to take some flak for it. I've also taken flak for defending
the play of Farmar, Sasha, and Luke this season. So far
two of the three have picked up their games (c'mon Luke,
get your act together :-).

Anyway, it's all good -- state your opinion, call me an idiot
if you like, it's not going to bother me or stop me from posting
my opinions here.

LakerLover,

You wrote:

''The real value of a super player is that he makes other players better,'' coach Phil Jackson said. ''You can see the apparent emphasis of Kobe's game to get other people involved and make the rest of his team better.''

Voila and in turn guys play with confidence and make shots.


My response:

Please explain the first 5 or 6 game losing
streak last year. Please explain the second 5 or 6 game
losing streak last year. Was Farmar &
Bynum's hard work this summer meaningless?
Are you suggesting that Bynum could have continued
his mediocre work out schedule of the previous year
and he would still be as good as he is now because
Kobe is passing the ball more?

*I* think that the "observation" that Kobe is more team
focused this year is a crock of pig poop. [ This
summer those numbers were talked about. alot! ] This
"observation" demeans the work ethic that Farmar,
Bynum & the rest of the Lakers obviously have and
the hard work that they obviously put in. it also
negates the obvious personnel upgrade at the
pg position and the C position && the health issues.
Did you see Kwame in the C position after Bynum
went down? Do you remember the Boo's in
the Staples Center as he failed to finish time after
time?

let's be honest. Last year we had 1 all star & no
other all-star caliber player. Lamar, as a Laker,
has NEVER flourished as the #2 option. This year
we have 1 all-star player & 2.5 all-star caliber
players. [ Fisher, Gasol, Bynum, & Lamar as the
#3 option ]

After 2 years of carrying the Lakers, Kobe screamed
for help. He got it! Mitch Kupchak deserves every
award imaginable for:

1. Refusing to make bad trades IN SPITE OF the
tremendous pressure Kobe, the fans & the
media put him under.

2. Making some significant draft choices. [ Farmar
Crit, Sasha, Bynum, Turiaf ]

3. Pulling off the Gasol & Ariza trades!

As much as I love Kobe, and I'm definately a Kobe fan,
it's *NOT* all about Kobe!!! Give *everyone* their due!

Further more the LA Times sells papers to make money, Simers and Plaschke lose money for them, I for one cancelled my subscription years ago because of them, and many of my friends as well

That is an indication that they are not quality writers. The times should know better.

Rick Friedman,

Thanks for the link, and funny too. Ronnie Turiaf thought he is so popular and do not need any reservation at a club. Unfortunately, those bouncers don't watch basketball games, this is a big city lots of things to do. Besides, Ronnie looked like a Santa Monica homeless who would like to gatecrush a club. He should go there in Limo with a pretty lady on his side, with emissaries making arrangement in advance, that's how LA people entertain themselves lots of fakery and make believe huh!

"Lakergurl - do you have something to add to the conversation or is this just another personal attack?"

Probably just pointing out that you read every Laker article with your one-sided anti-Kobe biased opinions. And you choose to post up comments that reflect this even though your comments are (for the most part) very inaccurate.

hobbitmage - so you are saying Phil is lying or you disagree with his assessment, even while thinking he is the best coach in the league?

hobbitmage,

Could not agree more. Kobe would have loved to have these teammates 3 years ago. He would have been deferring to them, and getting everyone involved back then. The talent level simply wasn't there. Once they put the work in, stepped their game up, and added a few more pieces into the mix, Kobe now has a group that he can work with. He is more than happy not having to drop 60+ points for them to win. This is what he has been wishing for.

Farmar is not the same Farmar as last year.
Drew is not the same Drew
The machine is making shots outside of practice
Pau is not Kwame
Fish is not Smush
Radman is actually paying ball, not snowboarding

Kobe could not put the work in for them, they had to get motivated to do it. Kobe was probably a big factor that helped motivate them. Kobe was a leader to them, by showing them a stellar work ethic, and how he puts countless hours in the gym and weight room.

Congrats for each of them for stepping up and working hard to improve their game. They should be proud of themselves... especially Farmar, Andrew, and the Machine.

Ken,
I agree about Odom following Bynum's return - as a group, Bynum, Odom, and Gasol don't provide much of an outside threat, and their perimeter defense is mediocre. Very good inside offense and good rebounding offset it somewhat. It will be interesting to see how PJ handles it.

LakerTom,
No matter what happens this season, you're not going to get those same odds next year!

Lover,

Phil was making a statement about how Kobe is approaching the game, your the one who twisted it to suit your hating ways.

Dude... your lost. Go become a Suns fan.

I put 20 down for the Lakers winning it all during pre-season. I figured I was throwing my money away at the time. HaHa. Now its looking like a pretty good bet.

But I didn't get 30-1 odds. :(

frank rizzo - did u see what B Shaw said about Kobe, that this year was his most valuable to the laker team? What is Kobe doing different this year vs other years?

By your logic, anyone being critical of Kobe is not a laker fan and by extension anyone being critical of Arod is not a Yankee fan. I cant think of anything less ridiculous.

If anything kobe apologists should go to kb24.com since this is a LAKER blog not a Kobe blog.

Since the acquisition of Gasol, in addition to Odom blossoming to the player everyone thought he could be, plus the soon reinstatement of Bynum, and of course Kobe, and the deadly outside shot weapons in Lute and the European twin torpedos -Sasha and Vladimir, the Lakers have that "certain" strut and "aura" that reminds me of the 80's dynasty, and the back-to back-to back-to "almost back" Kobe-Shaq show in the late 90's.

You know, when at the beginning or early in the season, all Angelinos and Laker fans alike, KNEW that the Lakers were going to WIN the NBA title even before the play-offs began? The only question back then was WHO would be their opponents in the finals, even though it didn't matter and we all knew of the eventual outcome. GO LAKERS, just win baby! Bring on the Celtics...hey, why not? Imagine a Celtic-Laker final again? HELLO....

Laker Lover

where you perhaps involve in the Colorado incident?, and that is why you hat Kobe so much?
Is your middle name Cancer?
Go away and stop hiding behind the Laker Lover name.

luke should have acknowledge that he sucks!

Wow
I guess i am not the only one who wants TJ to go back to SD or Denver, he is a very unhappy man thats all i can say.

Justlakerfan,

On your recent post where you mentioned my name...

While I'm a fan of Critter, I just make my own comments and would not want to influence the opinion of others. Like you, I also answer back when provoked or insulted. It turns me off when some people claims that they know everything other than what is normal. I learn every day from everyone's point of views.

Posted by: Edwin Gueco | February 27, 2008 at 09:25 AM

Edwin, LTLF

Edwin I mentioned you because the comments were posted to you by LTLF about Critter fans attacking him. No complaint with you.
LTLF
I also stated as you said I made my argument that I believe Critter would be a stud developing but no knock on Farmer. I figured I would have liked the two as our pgs when Fish retires. You clarified that some Critter fans attacked you and I think they are idiots for that.
We all are Laker fans but we may differ on what we think is best for the team. I for one will not ever resort to calling you an idiot (or anyone else unless attacked first) as clearly you are not. I appreciate your thoughts and gives me another perspective to look at things when we differ. And glad when we agree as at least that validates that there is someone thinking as I do. I enjoy your posts and keep them coming.


"I'm taking a poll here. Does anyone like the writing style of T.J. Simers?"

NO!

Posted by: frank rizzo | February 27, 2008 at 09:03 AM

Well I don't really care what he thinks as I think of two cliches when I don't like what he says.
1) Consider the source
and
2) Only a fool takes another fool seriously.

Need I say more?


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