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Are the Lakers soft: A question plaguing mankind for centuries

Sibblingbullies1 If you ask Karl Hyppolite (aka "Xodus"), or simply read his take on SportsHubLA.com, that answer would be no.  Not that other issues don't exist, mind you.  But let's concentrate on the actual issues, shall we?

Take a look and see what you think.

AK

 
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Xodus,

Miss you on the blogs here dude!

Lakers are not soft like Xodus says.

Problem? PG.

In the championship years we had Ron Harper, Brian Shaw as our defense though Fisher did a good job down the stretch of the 3rd championship.

Fish's defense is solid but don't think it's lockdownable. I would trust him against Billups (who is more a shooter) than a penetrator like Rondo or Iverson.

He finally gets to the point and says:

"Jordan Farmar lacks any semblance of defensive discipline. "

Like Smush, Jordan goes for steals more. His problem is his footwork and it's getting us burned forcing bigs to rotate over to stop penetration. But that leaves the man he is guarding isn't it??

And Sasha's defensive weakness too is being exploited. So that's now TWO perimeter guys to stop and no big man can stop 2 fast guys at the same time guard his own man, it's almost impossible.

Our defense at C,PF, and SF are really good. Heck even Danny Granger had to really struggle to earn those points against Trevor. SG when KB is out on the floor is also secured. PG when Derek is on the floor depends if that guard is a shooter (like Billups) which is good or a penetrator like CP3 (which is bad for Derek).

When the bench comes at most SF is secured. What about PG and SG? Those times is when our leads get erased because of the lack of defense that those two have. Sure Jordan goes for steals but like Phil Jackson says (and he's right Eric M.!)

"Steals are not a sign of great defensive skill"

More on later.

We are not soft. Just letting the perimeter inside.

-blitz

NO

GO LAKERS !!!

Inability to stay focused - especially when it matters is a sign of weakness. Not showing up for game 7 against Phoenix or game 6 against the Celtics and getting completely blown out of the gym is a sign of weakness. The lack of toughness doesn't have to mean the lack of muscle or the will to push back. Sometimes it means sucking it in after a disappointing loss and coming back strong, or it means competing with pride at all times or the discipline to remain focused for the majority of all games.

I think some of the Laker issues come with lack of experience and will improve in time. I've said it before, I think they need a third string point guard - one to push Farmar and also in case either Fish or Farmar gets hurt for an extended period. Having a guy that can come in as a stopper at that position would help. Also, curious to see if Josh Powell could help in games when the momentum changes. The Indiana game was as much about rebounds - which there is no excuse for with this team - as it was about anything else.

Lakers have the tools, but I'm anxious for them to leap frog Boston and don't think they are there yet.

Xodus,

Nice work man...Spot on as usual. You are correct that if not Farmar then...we've got to make a change. I'm still hoping that Farmar gets a chance to play 30 minutes a game so we can find out one way or another.

It's put up, or shut up time for JF. But I think if we don't give him a "Starters Chance" we risk finding out after he is gone that he was going to be very good.

Hope the Kwame troll reads this. Although we know that facts never really matter in matters of the heart? lol

The unfortunate thing about the "soft" label is that it's vague. About as vague as someone "making their teammates better". Here are some specific things I think the Lakers can improve on to get rid of that "soft" label.

Fight in the paint. When the bigs come down the floor on offense and set up in the post, really battle for position instead of allowing themselves to be pushed out. Fight the way Kobe and Artest fought each other for position at the beginning of the second half of the game against Houston. On D, deny position. Make it a battle. If the opposing big does get position, front him and push down underneath the basket. Don't concede so many rebounds or rely solely on length. Again, fight for position. Show some hunger for offensive boards. Basically, show the opposition that the paint belongs to the Lakers.

One more for the bigs, set solid screens. Bynum is the worst culprit of not even setting a screen at all, dropping down and throwing his arms up calling for the ball. This one is on the ball-handlers as well. They need to dribble a lot closer to the bigs (who aren't supposed to be moving) and run their man through the pick so it actually does what it's supposed to.

For the backcourt, fight through screens. Lay a shoulder on opposing bigs and create some contact. Put it on the refs to call a foul even. Just don't shy away from the contact which puts them even further behind the play.

For everyone, get a mean streak. Pull some nasty moves every once in awhile (not the Reggie Evans on the ball foul). Get the opposition complaining about what's not getting called. Robert Horry, Rick Fox, Horace Grant, John Salley, Dennis Rodman-style.

I would say they are soft, both mentally and physically. If you don't believe me, just believe their head coach, Phillip Jackson. He mentioned more than once, after last year's lost to the Celts, that the Lakers were soft mentally and physically. I don't know how this can be doubted.

I think the problem here is that a lot of people are substituting the easier to say "soft" for the real answer.

"Undisciplined"

I believe the problem with Phil's rotation at the end of games is he doesn't put back in all of his starters. He goes with a makeshift lineup with Ariza and Odom, last game he had Farmar in. The first and second teams play extremely different styles and have been conditioned to do so during the first part of the season so when you try to put them mixed together at the end of games they have trouble gelling for those few minutes they are playing together. Plus the emphasis at the end of games is Kobe so if he's driving the teams collapse on him because Odom and and Ariza are not shooters so they really don't have to defend them. Phil said it himself the other day, Vlad is starting so he can spread the floor, then why isn't he in there when the Lakers need to score down the stretch, he appears to be a better free throw shooter as well than Ariza or Odom. Also I still believe the first teams defense comes out of their offense. Ariza is a good defender, everyone knows that but his early offensive success from the beginning of the season has everyone thinking he needs to be in there in crunch time but he is a liability in the scheme of what needs to be done. The floor needs to be spread so Kobe can operate and when it's not he struggles because 2-3 guys are defending him down the strech. Especially in last game when Vlad was so hot from the field he should have been in there.

Go Lakers!

Lakers have the ability to win the championship this year.

How bad do they want it?

I love my Lakers but they are still SOFT!

Point and case:
Ariza in the Indiana game was laid out going in for layup and nobody did squat.

In fact I am still looking for the first HARD HIT on the season. DVR don't lie!

BD

Great article link, AK. I'm pretty tired of the "soft" argument, since it's not much of an argument to begin with. These Lakers can play lock-down defense when they focus on it, as we've seen at various points in this young season. They're still finding their way through defensive rotations, but I think it'll come.

The guard play is really the only glaring weakness this team has right now. Both Fish and Farmar tend to shade opponents toward their off-hand, which is a strange defensive philosophy. Are they simply trying to funnel them toward our seven footers? I'd much rather see both guards play straight up defense, to stay in front of their man.

Pau isn't soft. The man is a seven-foot Spanish weapon, and though he might not weight 320 and push people around, he's got other facets of his game that are WAY more important.

Go Lake Show!

Good column, X. Agree completely.

The main issue is focus; that is completely controllable by the players.

I suspect that Farmar will improve from his recent play, but the only possible alternative that I can see (for this season) is Sasha or Kobe, and neither of those exactly thrill me. Sasha would be an upgrade defensively, but a drop-off offensively. Kobe would be an upgrade offensively and defensively at PG, but that would mean a dropoff at SG. So I think it best to stay with the Farmar/FIsher pairing, and look for some improvement from Farmar over his recent play.

K bros, I could not figure out how to comment on the SportsHub site.

so many have an agenda other than enjoying the competition when it comes to a team like the Lakers.

little men try to make themselves bigger by indentifying with the success of a team, and littler men try to make themselves big by finding fault and exposing the failure of a team. of course, the same applies to the individual athletes.

most TV and movie humor involves watching someone else(a "loser") suffer.

it's really strange when the local media, whose job it is to promote things like athletic, sporting, and entertainment events vilify the exact people and events that they are paid to promote. this seems to have several interesting side effects.

1. the media figure, i.e. sportscaster or writer, can call himself "independant", as though his career didn't depend on writing or commenting about said subject. he is seen as being a maverick, beholden to none, when he is a lackey still.

2. as with the rubbernecking for a car wreck, bad publicity is often better than good publicity. have people really been conditioned to enjoy disaster better than joy prosperity and happiness? yes, it appears so.

3. the common man, i his half-somnabulistic haze, repeats the worst of this "reporting" incessantly, like parrots. the worse the news(for the "losers") the more raucous and gregarious these folks become.

certainly, when one is a fan of a sports team, one wants news and information about the team. certainly, some news will be good and some bad.

all this talk of softness and defense, when it's about the actual competition(including the result of that competition), makes sense. it's great to talk about the team that you're a fan of.

enjoying failure of others to avoid dealing with one's own failures is just stupid and indicates a disconnect from reality. it has nothing to do with athletic competition, with a good game that is enjoyable and is the point of the competition. this is what a sports fan roots for, what the inimitable Rasheed Wallace referred to when he said "both teams played hard". naturally, one wants one's team to be victorious in that situation.

enjoying the team's success because one thinks that the team's success somehow raises one over others without one having done any work one's self is equally stupid and delusional. if the team, as a whole, does things "the right way", which includes getting the needed talent to do things "the right way", then in a fair competition, that team will win, assuming that it doesn't face another team of the same or better quality.

this is athletic competition. just because there's a league doesn't mean that all teams really compete. some just go through the motions. on any given night, any of those teams may compete and become a worthy adversary. for the teams that truly do compete, however, there's no shame in loss. SOMEONE has to be the loser, another the winner and the roles are not permanent, EVER.

well, that's how i see it, sort of. there are a lot of trolls, posers and weenies, not to mention intelligence operatives(it's in the federal budget) on this here internet. what a noise.

They are soft because they give up too many offensive boards. UTAH out rebounded us on the offensive glass.
They just did not have enough scorers..Our bigs, Gasol and Bynum just do not know how to box out. Odoom is always think of catching the ball and igniting a fast break. When the game is on the line we just don't know how to rebound.

Second Unit Muscle = MARK BLOUNT

S.U.M. = 6th Man of the Year


STRIKE ONE:
*Blitz

(*) Huge asterisk! Thinks scoring is a second unit 5's responsibility is primarily scoring and probably hasn't watched many Boston games this season.


MARK BLOUNT!!!!!!!!!!!!

whats going on with the lakers defense? is it that teams have adjusted like andrew said, or have they just gone away from what Kurt Rambis had implemented?

Go Lakers

I agree that PG defense is our #1 problem. When it comes down to crunch time, what about having Ariza out there to guard the opposing PG, along with Bryant, Odum, Bynum and Gasol? That would also solve our getting killed on the offensive glass.

**** That "not soft" article...I have to disagree ***
Is this Karl Hyppolite really Xodus from the blog? ...

Anyway, this article is painfully bad IMO because:
#1 it doesnt concretely attack the "soft" issue.
It's like watching Skip Bayless argue, they constantly revolve around satellite issues rather than attack the point and analyze.
#2 It uses very poor statistical analysis to back up points.

First off let's define why the Lakers get called soft:
- The Lakers reputation is that if you push their bigs around and make it difficult for them to get on the post then they just STOP shooting. It's wen faced with tuff D they would rather chuck 3s and jumpers than continually challenge the D since that's easier than trying to force your way in the lane.

- On D for us, It's that the opposing teams can penetrate and directly ATTACK our Bigs for easy layups and fouls. And it's that you can crash the boards on our Bigs and if you push them enough they'll fold.

- Mentality wise, a soft team relies on its offense to the point that if that gets taken away, they dont play good D.
If you are a team that relies on offense to win, then thats a soft way to win games.

So when asking if the Lakers are "soft" or not, just ask yourself is the above true? All of it at once, of course not...but it creeps up on us and reinforces the reputation.

Let me try to go through the "satellite" points this article makes and why I disagree:
CASE 1:
"people once again screamed that the purple and gold were “soft,”....Of course, everyone ignored that Lakers outrebounded the Pistons and outscored them in the paint."
REBUTTAL 1: Associating "soft or not" by overemphasizing one stat (rebounds here) is really bad BUT what's worse is distorting stats and using them incorrectly. That's just poor journalism.

In the Detroit game, The Lakers outrebounded Detroit 43-42. Wow. So are we to conclude that because we outrebounded Detroit by ONE , we AREN'T soft? Of course not. That's a insignificant stat in this game.

What's more significant is the free throw disparity: Detroit shot 34, LA shot 16. Because of that the FG% as bad: Detroit shot 50% LA shot 42%.

But let's look at the stats within the context of why LA lost the game (as to not misuse the stat): L.A. lost because they became a jumpshooting team due to DET's interior D, because Bynum/Gasol got pushed off their sweet spots and the Laker shooters start chucking instead of forcing the paint action (kobe/fish 16-46 from field, vlad 1-6,sasha 1-4,farmar 3-7 INSTEAD of letting the BIGs shoot Pau 6-11, Bynum 3-7, Odom 5-5).

So did the Lakers lose "soft" that game? It seems so. If you watched the game, you have to admit basically the Lakers lost cuz they werent physical enough and they stop attacking the basket and fouled penetrators instead of challenge them.

CASE 2:
"They become prone to defensive lapses by relying on offense to carry them before eventually locking in for a quarter or so to earn a 12-15 point win. "
REBUTTAL 2: So does that not start to signify a "soft" characteristic? Defense should be the sole thing that doesnt change game to game. If your team mood is governed by O, then you are kinda soft. It's the reason why we call GSW soft or we use to say Phoenix was soft. The Lakers ARE good enough to get away with it cuz their offense is so good but at some point you have to play consistent D to win.

But the crux of a soft reputation is a team that likes to fire away jumpers and 3s in hopes of building a big lead and often ignoring the inside game. When the Lakers do this, we are soft.

CASE 3:
"Why? Because the Lakers aren’t soft. You don’t beat two physical San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz teams in the playoffs- without your starting center to boot- if you’re soft. You don’t rip Houston a new one this season if you’re soft. You just don’t. "
REBUTTAL 3:
One of the worst things you can do as a sports analyst is selectively use stats or selectively pick games to make a point.

Why would you say the Lakers were undermanned when San Antonio was hurt as well (Ginboli?)
Why would you mention Utah/Spurs as evidence when Boston handed it to us by physicality?
What's beating Houston in the regular season have to do with anything? They aren't that good.

When you are a offensive team and one as good as the Lakers you CAN win soft. Winning or Losing doesnt signify if you are soft or not. It's HOW you win and HOW you lose.

Against Utah, the Lakers masterfully used Utah's physicality against them to gain a FT advantage the whole series. That was EXCELLENT. The Spurs chose to single Kobe. You'll lose that way everytime. Kobe can out-OFFENSE you all day.

I'm proud of the Lakers for those playoff wins but as a fan am also ready to admit that we won those series on OFFENSE instead of defense. Also, I can admit that Boston beat us by:
- taking away our offensive efficiency through Kobe
- challenging our bigs on our defense (perkins, powe?!!!) and negating anything our bigs could do on a 1-on-1 basis.
- continually hacking, fouling, pushing and getting EASY buckets to the point where we wore ourselves down.

So my final verdict is that the Lakers WERE a soft team at the end of last year. We won by offense. That was a soft way to win. We almost got there but got exposed in the Finals.

Also, we are making the transformation from SOFT to NOT SOFT victories but its not all the way there yet. Too many games we just STOP playing D cuz we can score enough points.

I'm hoping L.A. can shed the soft label, but the only way to do that is to play tough relentless D in the playoffs and never let up on teams. We'll see.

"If you don't believe me, just believe their head coach, Phillip Jackson. He mentioned more than once, after last year's lost to the Celts, that the Lakers were soft mentally and physically."

Exactly. If the coach says it, it's true.

This article is dead on. The problem is PG and will be the main reason I dont think the Lakers can win it this year unless a trade is made to improve. I also dont think they will make a trade because MK and PJ want to see what this version will do first unless of course the team really starts to struggle which I dont see happening until the playoffs. We are going to continue on as is because "why mess with something that is working" and then we will get punked in the finals.

Fish should be a backup point guard at this point in his career and we need to see what we can get for LO to hopefully replace JF and make them the starter(unless of couse the trading partner would take JF and filler instead of LO but I dont see that happening). I truly believe that Josh Powell can replace LO in the rotation and would turn out to be a better fit with THIS particular team. Powell actually plays with an edge that is desperately needed out on the floor.

An upgade at PG is needed to truly be the favorites to win it all. Short of that, as much as it kills me to say it, I see Boston repeating.

How many teams would love to be soft enough
to be 16 and 2? If we're soft, not many teams can claim to be the opposite (hard?). If we're soft, the vast majority of others are softer.

GOOooOOOO LAKERS!!!

ex,
"The main issue is focus; "...

If focusing on D is a issue that to me qualifies as a soft characteristic.

If your focus in a game is breakable that makes you soft.

BTW, I have been absent from the blog. Miss me?? Anyhow, I was in Washington DC. I was walking around at night and saw the lakers on television in a store in front of a mall. I came in and saw the score and tried to enter the mall. The woman stopped me. It's not a Mall its the Washington Wizards' stadium!! Really? Wow!!!

I tried to buy tickets, but they had stopped selling them. It was the third quarter and we had a twenty point lead. When I got back to civilization, I was shocked to find we only won by two (and that Indiana had beaten us in my absence).

Good to be back.

GOOoooOOO LAKERS!!!

"I would say they are soft"

Good thing the world does not revolve around Troy because while he is entitled to his own opinion (and PJ's for that matter) the 1st Unit is not soft though the 2nd unit is certainly making Troy's point true. But for most part:

Troy you are wrong. If you keep up this argument then say Tim Duncan is soft (I dare you too and if you say he isn't soft then there goes your argument).

"In fact I am still looking for the first HARD HIT"

Why the hell do you want a Flagrant Type 2 Foul BD?

Oh yea the Kobe suspensions back in 2006-2007. True they weren't Flagrant but look at how the NBA loves to be not as physical as the 80's and 90's.

Surely you like having our players suspended (and us losing).

"Sasha would be an upgrade defensively"

Ex, Sasha got toasted as PG defensively back in 2005-2006 and they were quick and fast. He is so slow footed that he had to be switched to SG since most of them are slower than the normal PG. But the last 3 games he got TOASTED. He is not a defender, I thought people would see that when Ray Ray who is not a penetrator blew past Sasha Vujacic in Game 4. Neither Kobe nor Trevor would have allowed that!

"Pau isn't soft. The man is a seven-foot Spanish weapon, and though he might not weight 320 and push people around, he's got other facets of his game that are WAY more important."

Exactly but ppl like Troy says he garbage (wrongly).

" Ariza is a good defender, everyone knows that but his early offensive success from the beginning of the season has everyone thinking he needs to be in there in crunch time but he is a liability in the scheme of what needs to be done. The floor needs to be spread so Kobe can operate and when it's not he struggles because 2-3 guys are defending him down the strech. Especially in last game when Vlad was so hot from the field he should have been in there."

I agree fully, I wonder why Hobbit insists Trevor is someone who can space the floor (Not as good as Radman but still his point that Trevor has a good jumper).

And Lakers_sth,

Me talking to other fans, they are reporting the opposite the things you say about the "getting away with fouls" kind of things. From 76ers fans to Raptor fans, they keep complaining to me that the Lakers get away with so much defensively and offensively as well.

Now that junk is out of the way I'll say this:

The PG position will probably be the biggest weakness and teams will take advantage. Our best defense comes against big men (who don't shoot from 3 point land), and from penetration into the paint (not high screen and roll). The 1-2-2 trapping defense we do will prevent big men from being dominant but gives us up against small lineups since they would love to shoot.

Derek is good defensively like I said but more in lateral terms. He is more focused on his man and only steals when they expose the ball. That being said Fish weakness is against penetration guards, it's been always his weakness since his prime days. Derek though is our best defensive guard and while he is not that well against penetrators he is still better than Jordan Farmar. Plus oddly Xodus points out he lost something offensively as well.........I do disagree with him when Derek is shooting 46.6% from 3 point land (career high so far) and is shooting around the same number of attempts as he did last year from long range.

To me defensively the biggest weakness is Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic. I already posted this quite a few number of times lol but Jordan simply doesn't have defense skills beyond steals and to a certain degree taking charges. He is the fastest guy on the team yet he doesn't take charges as much as Derek does oddly. Pick and rolls take him out easily and once he is taken out defensively he is passive in every way (the reason why he looked like a D-Leaguer against Deron Williams). When we blew those leads defensively who was the PG that started the runs? Jordan Farmar. I already posted his ball hogginess on the offensive end but on the defensive end he simply doesn't care anymore when things didn't go his way.

Sasha is the other weakness. Sasha may have the intensity of Doug Christie (who here remembers him?!) but he doesn't have Christie's lateral quickness and speed. He was lucky that GINOBILI! had a bum ankle that allowed him to keep up with him or the series would have been different. He is too slow (how the hell did he allow his man to be open against Washington?!) and when his confidence is low he is the water torture that he was 2 years ago.

Faith, choose another man, I hear Pau is single! :D.

If we had Farmar and Sasha play some actual defense (and less ball hogginess) then Troy wouldn't be Stoudewhining about how falsley soft we are.

-blitz

Blitz,

I need a calculator or an abacus to add up all of your posts making the same point. The coaching staff still believes in JF, and they're the only ones who get a vote.

As many times as you've posted, I still see the inconsistent play of LO and Sasha as bigger concerns.

Tonight, the team returns to Staples Center. I'm looking for a better performance from all of the above.

Nice one by the forever infamous Xodus.

Phil Jackson needs to each practice with seated candle meditation. It will focus the team.

I'm dead serious. Sit the team in a circle. Put a candle on a stool in the center. Turn out the lights. And have the team sit in silence for 15 minutes staring unblinkingly at the candle.

End the meditation with three handclaps from Phil Jackson, turn on the lights, and start stretching.

I guarantee you, after two to three weeks of this practice all the Lakers mental lapses and scattered focus will disappear and this team will begin to develop an iron resolve.

Seated candle meditation, Phil! Get it done!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!

Soft? No. Pliable? Perhaps.

I liken this laker team to a piece of wood that has been steamed for a while; right now it's still a bit malleable, but once we get the form right, and become steadfast with what we're doing, we'll harden up more than people thought.

I'm hoping that point comes before the new year though.

I'm not one to second guess a coach with nine championships. But I do wonder at times if the Lakers so-called "softness" and lack of focus doesn't stem in part from the laid back attitude of their head coach. I think that sometimes you have to relate to young players on a different level than you would if you are coaching a team of veterans. Maybe I am second guessing Phil! It took Kobe a long time to figure PJ out...I can see that some of the young guys on the team are still trying to do that.

Blitz - "Me talking to other fans, they are reporting the opposite the things you say about the "getting away with fouls" kind of things. From 76ers fans to Raptor fans, they keep complaining to me that the Lakers get away with so much defensively and offensively as well."

I'm watching the Indy game and their announcers are talking about how Perkins pushed Hibbert line-backer style from one side of the paint to the other giving KG an open lane directly to the basket. The other night I watched KG do the same thing. Literally grab a big, drive his feet and move him out of the way while Rondo went in for an uncontested lay-up. Utah is similar with the type of things they get away with inside (while flopping when met with the same moves on the opposite end).

We all know that the refs let more go inside, especially when it's crowded and tend to call touch fouls on the perimeter. Even if the Lakers are currently getting away with more than Toronto and the 76ers are, I think they can get away with more. Based on what I've seen anyway. If the refs start calling it tighter then they'd have to adjust, but until they do, I don't see anything wrong with pushing the envelope and seeing where that line is.

LakerKev,
"I agree that PG defense is our #1 problem. When it comes down to crunch time, what about having Ariza out there to guard the opposing PG, along with Bryant, Odum, Bynum and Gasol? That would also solve our getting killed on the offensive glass"

The problem with that lineup is the lack of ball handling and outside shooting. What you gain in defense you give up in offense. The big leads disappearing and the focus issues are as much a problem with the offense as with the defense.

What's funny is that some Laker fans dont look outside the box.

If the Lakers WEREN'T your favorite team would you call them soft?

If you saw a team that is vulnerable in a certain way, you would call them soft.

We called GSW, Phoenix,and Dallas soft for years.

Soft can win, it's just vulnerable and the soft label just means we are vulnerable to losing a certain way....

The Lakers wont be soft by game 82. But the way we let teams come back, lose focus, and give them easy baskets that is soft.

Rick F

we already know your love for JF. don't need an abacus to measure it

but

"The coaching staff still believes in JF, and they're the only ones who get a vote."

they believed also in
Kwame
smush
luke walton

that took the lakers very far

i don't mind soft but i prefer

Malleable, figuratively speaking

lakers_sth...

Like you, I watch the Celtics' games a lot, looking for ways that they can be beaten. Boston is borderline dirty at all times, offensively and defensively. In addition, they harass the referees about every call. Most of the Lakers' are just not like that.

Watching the Celtics play D, I've come to the conclusion that the best way to attack them is with quick ball movement and cutting to the basket. They play a zone and constantly chase the ball. They will surround whoever has the ball with up to three men hoping to disrupt the play. The other two players will drop back towards the basket in case the player with the ball makes a play.

Obviously, they are not easy to beat. They surround the paint with their zone and that has the additional benefit of having all five of their players in good rebounding position. I think that the Lakers' offense can beat the Celtic defense if the Show executes it properly.

GO LAKERS!!!

Pacers with a slight lead with 4:00 to go in the 3rd.

kobeblitz,

Pau is a perfectly adept offensive force, so long as the Lakers are ahead. He's a front runner player. Any time the Lakers need to play from behind, or if the game is close, Pau disappears.

The problem is that Pau is easily intimidated. He's intimidated by a challenge (be it performing when the Lakers are behind, or a thug center/power forward gets in his face). This is why so many people, including Phil Jackson, considers him to be a soft player.

Kobeblitz,

Also, yes, Tim Duncan and the Spurs have won championships, but Tim is not soft. Granted, he's not thuggish and rough, but he's not soft. Pau Gasol is soft, mentally and physically. During the championship runs, Tim was a go-to guy, a defensive presence, and a rebounder. Pau is a stat-padding front runner. During key games, you can't count on him to do anything that Tim could do.

If you are trying to compare the mediocre Pau to the legend Tim Duncan, you are revealing a seriously flawed notion of the game.

bronxlakerfan - Boston's offense is more of a weakness for them than the Lakers' defense is a weakness for them. Meaning that it would be easier to stop them from scoring than focusing on scoring on them.

Tonight, Indy played neck and neck with them using a lot of the same trapping zone that the Lakers use. The difference down the stretch was that Indy couldn't stop Boston when they shift their offense into making you try to stop Paul Pierce or Ray Allen without fouling them. One thing Indy did that also worked for them is they got Rondo and Allen in foul trouble early. Boston can't get away with the junk they pull on the perimeter b/c the refs call it much tighter out there.

Mentally, sometimes. But I would really phrase the question as "Are the Lakers Young?". I'd rather have undisciplined with a 1st rate coach than disciplined and old. These games are blessings, its hard to learn when you are winning all of your games.

Hey, a win is a win. You know the Lakers are gonna improve as the season gets deeper. We still have a month and a half until the All-Star Game!! And the Lakers aren't even doing THAT bad.

17-2 !! ARE YOU KIDDING ME??
We are toying around with the best start Lakers franchise has ever had, and fools want to blow up THIS TEAM??

Eric M.,

Man, you used to be so together, but you've lost me. You want to trade L.O. for a point?? Did I suddenly just wake up back in 2006?? I hope not.

Hopefully, when I'm done with this post, I can go to my doorstep and pick up my Times Sports Section and still find my Lakers sitting comfortabaly at the top of the West!!

Our team is fine ladies and gentlemen...so go out and show it!!

Derek Fisher PROVED last night that we have a point that can take us back to the promised land.

The fact that a majority of the problems at the point are mental, and it's Derek Fisher's mind that has to fight through it is almost a comforting thought!!

He talked for 2 days about coming out and kicking some ass. And what did he do?? HE CAME OUT AND KICKED SOME ASS!!

dan


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