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Lakers 115, Hornets 111 (OT): Ladies night disaster averted!

Nothing spoils Ladies Night on the blog like a loss, especially one in which the Lakers had built up Chris_paul_charge_on_derek_fisher comfortable leads only to see them disappear like a bunny in a Doug Henning act.  But in the end, the Lakers came through Friday night and sent the Staples faithful home with a 115-111 overtime win against New Orleans, saving one that nearly got away. The Lakers were the beneficiary of a rare horrible play from Hornets uber-PG Chris Paul, who on a 3-on-1 break with a three point lead and only 20 ticks remaining in the fourth barreled into Derek Fisher for a charge (right).  He could/should have done any number of things (pulling the ball out, draining clock and waiting for the foul, for example), but didn't.  Instead, the ball went the other way and the Lakers made New Orleans pay with a play that epitomized why they're a very tough team to beat:

Following the Paul foul, the ball was inbounded to Pau Gasol above the left elbow.  Kobe Bryant flashed left, drawing two defenders with him.  Nice to have a guy who merits a crowd, don't you think?  Pau looks his way, recognizes that the Hornets have... wait for it... swarmed to 24, reads the play, and makes the right pass to Derek Fisher, who had drifted back to the top of the arc.  Gasol (a supremely talented passing big) delivers the rock, and Fish (as willing to take a big shot as anyone in the Association, including Kobe) drills it.  Cue five minutes of what would be festive complimentary basketball for the people! 

No shortage of weapons in purple and gold.

More below the jump, via AK.

BK

Three Good

  • Pau Gasol: 20/12/6, including the aforementioned pass to Derek Fisher (who came up with a few huge plays).  El Spaniard hit that big 2-0 mark on 8-14 shooting and a perfect foursome at the line.  Another writer noted after the game how quietly Gasol managed to flirt with a trip dub. With a few more touches (which should be a no-brainer by now), the production could have created much more "volume."  Even if he's not literally shooting the ball each time it hits his hands, the team in general benefits from him creating inside-out action.
  • Lamar Odom: After Wednesday's "disappointing" seven rebounds, LO reverted back to recent, monstrous form for another big night on the glass (17 in all, tops amongst both teams).  It's hard to accumulate such numbers without a ton of effort, and along those lines, one snag in particular stood out for me.  After racing out to provide a great challenge on Rasual Butler's three ball, Odom recovered back towards the bucket and tracked down the miss.  In that sequence, he controlled the outcome of the entire play, reflective of the non-stop activity LO offered.   Lamar was especially good working coast to coast off misses. 
  • Luke Walton:  He inexcusably strayed too far from Butler during OT, which left the hot shooter wide open for a trey that put New Orleans within a point of squaring up the battle.  But that blunder was about all Walton did wrong.  5-5 from the floor after three quarters, with a pair of triples to boot, Luke finished the night with 14 points to go with eight rebounds and a dime quartet, the highlight being a Peyton Manning pass to hit a by-his-lonesome Kobe Bryant for a easy bucket.  He also spent a chunk of the night guarding Peja Stojakovic, who was borderline useless for New Orleans.  Quite possibly Walton's best game of the season.

Three Bad

  • The Bench:  The mob began the second quarter spotted an eight point lead, then a baker's dozen to kick off the fourth.  In both cases, neither was enough padding, the reserves finding it more difficult to score than a pock-faced nerd earning 25K/year during a visit to the Playboy Mansion.  Between Trevor Ariza, Jordan Farmar, Josh Powell, Sasha Vujacic (whose struggles meant only eight minutes of run) and Shannon Brown (getting some early PT in relief of The Machine), there were only 16 points racked off typically non-existent ball movement.  And during the fourth quarter, they were defensively challenged.  For most of the season, the pine boys have been a huge asset for this unusually deep team.  Tonight, they mostly looked unorganized.

    "They have to do a better job of playing with and off each other," said Odom of the unit he once ranked General.  "Moving the ball, getting everyone involved and putting defense first.  If you put defense first, the game comes to you and you don't have to force it.  A good or bad game is not based on just making or missing shots."   

    On a related note...

    Phil Jackson's use of the second unit: Letting players "work through" problems on the court has been a PJ staple throughout his career, and in the bigger picture, I see the merits to this approach.  Often more than individual wins and losses, a season can be molded by moments. If players can pull themselves out of a jam, that can bear bigger fruit down the road.  Fruit worth risking a loss at times.  But even by those standards of design and patience, Phil extended a lot of rope to a group that wasn't merely struggling to hit shots, but to play in any sort of rhythm.  I understood riding this out during the second quarter.  But by the time things got even worse during the fourth (and relying on just an official time out to regroup), it felt like Phil was trying to force a result that clearly wasn't happening.  At the very least, I'd have subbed in a couple more starters, if not a wholesale swap.

    Phil said after the game that he didn't want to give guys a quick yank and possibly kill their confidence.  Point taken and understood, but I doubt this result did much to boost their egos, either. Sometimes, you just gotta cut bait.

    (There's video below of PJ's explanation of the strategy.)
  • Kobe Bryant (during the first four quarters):  In OT, dude was brilliant, notching 11 points off some terrific work posting up various Hornets.  Unfortunately, he also spent the regulation quarters doing a lot of hucking and almost as much missing.  10-26 from the field during those frames, Kobe forced a lot of shots off stagnant iso action, often making himself the equivalent of a one man band with half the instruments playing off key.  This wasn't just a matter of a few possessions where Kobe went decidedly one on one.  By the end of the first quarter, he was already 2-9 and setting a continual tone.

    Kobe also seemed overly geeked up at times, barking at the refs over a non-call that didn't merit a whistle and giving New Orleans two easy points on a silly goal tending call that appeared to be him blowing off some steam.  A play like the latter is anything but characteristic of Bryant, but during a night where he was struggling, frustration often appeared to get the best of him.  Again, kudos for pulling through huge during the last five minutes (and at the line, where he sank 12-12). But the redemptive effort was also in order.

AK

VIDEO:

Phil Jackson, on (among other things) screen and roll defense, the final play of regulation, and Kobe's performance:

   

PJ again, talking about his substitutions in the fourth quarter:    

 
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Well, they did their very best to throw the game away, but couldn't succeed like Chris Paul in that department!

A seemingly off night for most of the Lakers delivers a W against an opponent as dangerous as NOH? I'll take it every time!

Hi from Europe

I know a win is a win, but:

48:41

Minutes Gasol was playing this game

If Phil J. needs this amount of time from Gasol I am almost sure Lakers dont win the ring this year

But PJ keeps doing nothing about this

Greetings Lakeshow Fans,

Looking at the BIG PICTURE towards the playoffs, why don't the Lakers just pick up a proven veteran rumored to be available and READY...BIG SHOT ROB!

It all comes down to his SIZE, SMARTS, and EXPERIENCE (familiarity with Phil's system and playoff burn).

Well, Robert Horry FITS that mold (can play some minutes at the PF position and allow LO to play at the SF at times. Sometimes, even at center. In essence, the Lakers become a BIG team with his 6"10 frame). A team can never have enough BIGS, especially come MONEY time.

Based on what teams will try do to the Lakeshow from here on out (running exclusive pick-and-roll and dribble penetration without Bynum in the interior), Robert Horry, despite his age (38), can add a savvy dimension on both ends of the floor for key stretch minutes when things get chippy.

He's been known to play the pick-and-roll well offensively/defensively and set solid screens throughout his career. D is probably what the Lakers need from him for the most part. I'm CONFIDENT he can deliver this aspect of the game for the Lakers.

Overall, RH just has that KNACK for WINNING and MAKING BIG SHOTS...That's a player worth HAVING AROUND! PROVEN and BATTLE TESTED...

Besides, the Lakers have not identified a veteran PG with size they can bring in up to this point, which doesn't seem like a big concern to them at this time (as the triangle does not need a true PG to run it...However, a defensive PG would be nice).

I'm sure title hungry veterans Kobe and Fish will welcome him with much JOY...Believe me, no opponent is going to disrespect Horry's UNCANNY ability, regardless of his age and being out of basketball for about a year..NO WAY! He should be refreshed and ready to GO...

Just ask the Celtics about how P.J. Brown turned out...Hmmm...

BOTTOM LINE: Mitch, bring him back HOME for another crack at a RING! This would be #8 for him (the NUMBER of fingers MVP24 plays with now). Fate or coincidence maybe? Imagine when Drew comes back in the mix...

For all intents and purposes, it's the Lakers YEAR!

Laker pride through ADVERSITY!

PJ must show more line up flexibility. He left the bench in the game against the Hornets too long in the 4th quarter. In PJ's defense, he didn't know that Josh Powell was going to think he was the 4th quarter number one option on offense.

Paul has turned into the worst little big punk, dirty cheap shot player in the NBA.
He hit Kobe in the back with the ball on purpose (something w/c s/d have gotten him a T), then he tripped KB with this legs. And in the middle of that, he tried to trip Lamar by stepping on his feet from behind.
Paul became popular due to his skills and that's fair. But he's now using his popularity as a shield to to act out like a dirty street punk. He didn't even come over and congratulate any of the Lakers after the whistle, something w/c even Lebron or Wade do. Seems his head has gotten really big. And as usual, journalists are too scared to call him out.

Hey K brothers, I don't think you ever created a topic for our very own El Spaniard being named FIBA European player of the year 2008.
Shame on youz.
If even the Laker jornos are not going to represent Pau, he's going to be underrated, underappreciated forever.

That game was......ahhhhhh.......welllllll

ummmmmmm....


.......

Road Trip!

What's up with Sasha? That guy can't BUY a field goal right now! He does seem to be aggressive on defense, but not enough to make up for his misses.

I liked seeing Shannon Brown. He seems like an exciting prospect.

LUKE WALTON! It was hard to miss his outstanding play. THAT'S the Luke I have been waiting for. I like the guy (I know alot of you don't). He might be getting paid too much and he has off games, but last night's game shows what he's capable of. With Radman gone, he just may be establishing himself as a good and tradeable commodity as well as a decent contributor during a long season where decent guys are needed.

I'm still not convinced that Walton will play many minutes in this years playoff run though. Once we get to the good teams in the third and fourth rounds...I think Lamar replaces him and Luke goes to the second and third units.

Lakers looked ordinary team defensivley..Not going to beat Spurs or Celts..

They miss Andrew in the middle..

K Bros - No video of PJ's s-bomb when discussing Kobe?

The thing about having Shannon Brown out there is it gums up the offense. That's not a slight against him or his ability. When you have 4 players very comfortable in the triangle and add a fifth who doesn't know quite where to go and when, it either slows things down, puts them out of sync or forces them to run a watered down version of it to accomodate the new player. It becomes less than instinctual. There was a noticeable shift in the speed of the offense when the starters came back on the floor in the second quarter. They were able to do things quicker than the second unit and it's usually the other way around.

"If you hear any noise, it ain't the boys. It's ladies night"

http://tinyurl.com/aotuxv

Good Morning Charles....Good Morning Everyone...

whew that was a close one (said Custer)...

Jackson's propensity for leaving players to "figure it out" almost cost us---hopefully the investment in the players learning experience will pay off in the future...

we tend to let teams back in games with poor decisions and long (missed) shots (those two things go hand in hand, as it were, seemingly) and giving up three pointers like they were going out of style...

the whole thing could have been avoided, of course and as usual, if we had MADE OUR FREE THROWS---is it really too much to ask? apparently

we did actually ran what looked like a real play at the end of regulation to give us the tie---thanks Fish...

lucky for us Lawler's Law held true...

I do wish we would concentrate a little more on the defense end and know who we are playing---we constantly left highly effective three point shooters so alone they got anti-clostriphobia..(not to be confused with anti-constipation)...

another aspect of concentration (and maybe constipation)I would like to see is in giving up the other kind of three point play---I am always yelling at the TV "IF YOU ARE GOING TO FOUL THEM, FOUL THEM!", which means either let them score a two or foul them good enough (but not dirty) so they have to get the two at the line...

and after the foul is called keep going to prevent a shot..i.e. you can only get called for a foul once (provided it's not dirty, Posey)...

it's kind of like the addage in soccer (which I also coach, besides basketball)--"you can let the player go by or the ball, but never both"---okay, maybe not totally applicable for B-ball, but you get the idea...

I really hate that reach in crap and the quick take your hand away trying not to get caught---I know that is a hard thing not to do but it still rips my craw...

can't wait until Sunday...

I really dig the crap out of our team...

" Here comes the Sun King"

"did he look like a Scotsman?"

AS ALWAYS, AS EVER, YET ANOTHER GREAT DAY (AND SEASON) TO BE A LAKER FAN !!!

GO LAKERS !!!

Good Morning, Laker Nation!

It's time for...

Jon K.'s Early Thoughts That He Has Put Some Thought But Perhaps Not Enough Into Yet:

1. I hate Ohio.

2. So, I spent a good part of last night's game trying to repeatedly extricate myself from conversations (of in no way my initiation) from various alcoholics who would stumble up to me and repeat the same statement over and over and over again, just re-arranging the words for the sake of diversity. I would politiely state, "Hey, I'm a big Lakers fan and I'm trying to watch the game. So, I can't watch the game with you talking to me like this."

To which I'd receive the retort,"You're a big Lakers fan?!?!"

"Yeah, I am."

"Ahhhhh...." and after that pause the person would continue to ramble on with bad breath about how some other guy had disrespected him and how he was going to kick his butt and how some woman at the bar had big breasts and whatever. It was awful.

3. After being distracted for much of the game by one of two stumbling drunks bantering into my ear and invading my personal space, the fourth quarter rolled up and I started to get worried. In the last minute of the game, I got up from my seat and walked over to my occupied lucky bar stool. I told the person, "I apologize, but I need to sit here. This is my lucky bar stool and the game's on the line. The game's almost over. It'll just be a few minutes." The person sitting there was confused, but I was rather insistent and he deferred the seat to me. As I sat down, I was filled with confidence and chuckled lightly to myself. Yes, I have completely committed to the madness that is the lucky bar stool. It's for the good of the team.

4. Twenty seconds later Derek Fisher hit the three pointer for the tie. I laughed aloud and clapped. I told the person who was previously in the seat, "I'm going to be here for a few more minutes." However, I knew the game was now going to break our way.

5. With Fisher's shot, the attention of the bar turned to the game. And with their attention began an avalanche of vocal insults against Kobe Bryant. I seems that last night's crowd was a bunch of Cavs fans and I learned that the person whose seat I had just taken played on a team with LeBron when he was a kid. The insults against Kobe were childish and obscene, but I didn't let them bother me and I chuckled to myself after each obsenity was followed by some equally obscene statement of adoration of LeBron James. "The only person who compares to LeBron James is Jordan!" Stuff like that.

6. As Kobe took over the game in the fourth quarter, the LeBroniacs' reality became highly agitated as their fragile worldview began to collapse. People moaned in disbelief as Kobe's shots fell. I smiled in glee.

7. The leader of the LeBroniacs who just happened to be the person whose seat I had just taken bumps into me as the game rolls to a close and asks me with great energy, "Who do you think is better LeBron or Kobe?"

I respond a little blandly, "I personally think Kobe is better. I think he has more advanced skill set."

He guy almost falls back with my statement, as if someone had just informed him that his mother had died, "NO WAY!! NO WAY!!! NO WAY!!!"

Le Lead LeBroniac procedes about how LeBron James is 24 and better than Jordan or anyone else to ever play the game, I interject, "You watch too many commercials."

This doesn't go over particularly well and the guy becomes highly agitated. I'm trying to extricate myself from the conversation, but this guy's worldview seems so shaken that he just won't let up.

Eventually, I grab the guy by the lapel, pull his face close to mine, stare at him intensely and state, "Listen, this isn't a conversation I'm interested in continuing, okay?"

"Okay, okay, sorry, man."

I say goodnight to my friend whom I train in martial arts with who also happens to sometimes bartend there and I leave.

8. Thirty minutes after returning home I get a call from my friend the bartender. He tells me that the bar is STILL in a tizzy because I said that Kobe is better than LeBron and puts the guy I was in a conversation with on the phone. The guy begins calling me out and telling me to go back to the bar to fight him. I'm sitting there watching "The Usual Suspects" in my pajamas shaking my head in disbelief.

I call the guy an idiot and tell him I'm not going back to the bar to fight him and I hang up.

Another day in the life of Northeastern Ohio.

Urgh.

9. Shannon Brown is a keeper.

10. I'd like to start a Shannon Brown and Josh Powell "Lakers For A Long Time" Bandwagon

11. Luke Walton played really well last night. Even Luke haters have to admit that.

12. I hope someday that Derek Fisher's uniform hangs from the rafters at Staples.

13. A lot of crazy injuries around the league. Looks like now the Suns won't be making the playoffs and the Celtics won't have the best record in the East.

14. So, Lamar Odom sure has raised expectations for him. I hope he's ready for that, because he's now playing like we originally expected him to play. That means we now expect him to play like that from now on.

15. In all fairness to the bench, I saw what I thought were some odd rotations/combinations out there on the floor. It's only to be expected that those combination of players may not yet be at a level where they can intuit the movement of other players, thus locking up their play a bit.

16. Lakers: Best team in the NBA.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!

Awesome game. Another W to the league-envying record.

We did play bad for quite some periods, letting big leads disappear, but the greatest thing about our team is the self-belief that we can win from any point - irrespective of the momentum or point differential.

How in the world can you be the top-team in the league, and be ONLY 3rd in the "Power" Rankings??

We're below Celts and Crabs in Hollinger's rankings... Oh well, its because we're the Lakers, isn't it???

"The Few, The Proud, The Lakers".... Go Lakers!!

I'm a huge Kobe fan. But one thing I hate that he does is once he turns the ball over or is fouled he rarely rushes back on defense. He didnt start doing that stuff until Gary payton played with him.

"Come on Mamba, your better than that"- Mark Jackson

Can we all just be thankful to have a solid veteran like D. Fish? The guy plays hard every damn game, and he's no stranger to taking--and making--big shots.

Kobe was definitely forcing it last night. He's in a bit of a shooting slump (his shot looks flat), and I could tell that he was trying to work his way out of it. He was particularly effective going to the hoop, and I was glad to see him use that tactic in the OT.

All in all, a fun game to watch. A stat apropos of nothing: the Lakers are 7-0 when Baby Outlaw watches the game with his dad.

Go Lake Show!

I thought the Lakers had a bad night but were able to pull it out anyway. Hopefully the T-wolves & OKC games will help them get back on track.

As annoying as not calling timeout can be I think that Phil is willing to let them lose a game or two to prove his points. Unfortunately NBA players tune out a coach much easier than most people can ignore their bosses.

Avery Johnson & Terry Porter wore out their welcomes by continuously b*tching about defense or rebounding.

Kurt Rambus always says they continuously harp about defensive rotations, closing out 3 point shooters, etc. If so, the players sure seem to tune it out at times.

By letting the players "try it their way" and if they do lose a game, Phil can then use the loss to more forcefully refocus the team with a chance they'll listen.

At least that is what I choose to believe rather than the alternative that Phil doesn't watch the games much and spends much of his time on the bench daydreaming.

"In both cases, neither was enough padding, the reserves finding it more difficult to score than a pock faced nerd earning 25K/year during a visit to the Playboy Mansion."

Wow....that's bad.

"finding it more difficult to score than a pock faced nerd earning 25K/year during a visit to the Playboy Mansion."

Sounds like a great idea for a reality TV show!

Johnnyv - nice post. Luke seems to be getting his confidence back. The guy's a decent role player but I think it's fair to say that his game came close to bottoming out there for a while.

Jon - that was hilarious! First, that you took your stool back, and then the descriptions of the various dudes you were dealing with. Great stuff.

LakerinBC,
"He hit Kobe in the back with the ball on purpose "

There is nothing wrong with that play; you see it in both soccer and basketball if the defender turns his back to the person bringing the ball in. It's actually a smart play.

Lakers fans - we are witnessing greatness. Regardless of injuries and erratic play - we are able to grind out victories against teams that are giving us their best shot. Kobe is playing the best basketball of his career - when his shot goes flat, he drives to rack, he passes out of every double team, he makes the defensive play, and he is calling for he ball in the post to facilitate the triangle (witness his play against Posey last night). LO is playing like he is in his free agency year, Fish provide leadership at the point, Powell has more than made up for losing Turiaf, Ariza continues to improve every day, likewise Farmar, Walton provides a steady hand, Vujacic is a deadly spot up shooter, and Gasol is arguably among the best 10 players in the league. When Bynum gets back - it's over for everyone else.

lakers sth-

I'm afraid we had to edit around that one, unfortunately. It was a great line, though.

BK

Laker Fan 24 ,

"That game was......ahhhh.......wellll

ummmmm....


.......

Road Trip!"

exactly my thoughts!! :) lol!!

AK,

"the reserves finding it more difficult to score than a pock-faced nerd earning 25K/year during a visit to the Playboy Mansion"

OUCH!! i know the bench was bad!! but c'mon!! :)

LAKER GURU FROM INDIA

I have never posted on here before (read every day), but I have so many thoughts about last nights game that I can't avoid it.

First of all, it's interesting that over on Hornets blogs they act like they won because this game is going to give them momentum. And over here, we act like we lost, yet the Lakers won. Just an interesting observation.

Now, I love the Lakers and I like Kobe a lot, but every time he touches the ball, I say to myself, "No Kobe ball, please." He's the best talent in the NBA, but I hate when he forgets about the other guys. This offense runs on passing, cutting, screens, etc. I love the ISO every now and then, but not consistently, and that's what Kobe was doing most of last night.

I don't think Phil made a big mistake keeping the bench in longer than people wanted after the collapse because he was expecting the starters to dominate when they came back in like they did at the end of the second. The reserves lost the lead and the starters came in and took it back. However, in the fourth, the starters had NO movement. There was no cutting, passing, etc. No inside-out game (which should happen almost every time). That killed them from regaining the lead and putting it away in the fourth. They also decided not to play defense with energy like they did when they came in half way through the second quarter. I thought the game was over when down by 3 because I was afraid Kobe was going to take a bad shot to try to tie. Thankfully, Gasol hit Fisher for a NICE 3. I love Kobe with a game-winning/tying shot, but not last night.

If the Lakers focus every possession on getting it in to Gasol and working the cuts/screens/passes, they would average 120 a night. I can't stand multiple possessions in a row where Gasol doesn't get a touch.

On another note, I would like to join the Shannon Brown bandwagon. He didn't hit his shots last night, but he had energy and passion. You can tell he is super excited to be out there with the best team in the NBA. His shot will start falling and his confidence will go up up up. I love Phil for giving him minutes out there with starters. Kobe and co. will pick him up and make him better. Then he'll be ready to go with the second unit.

Lastly, I'm not a Walton lover or hater, but I love the ball in his hands. I am always confident that he will make the right play when he's got the ball in the high post/elbow extended. Every now and then he does something stupid, but more times than not he makes a great pass or a good, solid move. Last night he was aggressive and the Lakers needed that from him. It was the first game this year that I couldn't believe Phil was sticking with Ariza (my fav. player -- that kid can play) in the fourth with the rest of the starters instead of bringing in Walton (which he did shortly after). He had a great game.

Go Lakers!

Jon K, way to represent! For standing your ground in hostile territory, I commend you.

But then again, you must be used to it by now...

KG out 2-3 weeks....

i dont think we ll get our revenge on the celts this year.. oh well.. guess we have to make do with sweeping the crabs!!

LAKER GURU FROM INDIA

Jon K.,

Craziness at the bar. Kudos to you for standing up (sitting down) for our team. I can't believe the guy wanted to call you and your "friend" allowed him to do so. What a bunch of silly drama.

I'm glad you had a chance to vent. I'm sure next time at the bar will be interesting. It's okay to lie to other irrational sports fans, btw. It's silly that you are in the position.

I'll give you credit for the win. Thanks!

BK,
Do you really think the women at the Playboy Mansion are that shallow?

ok there are some misguided Laker fans here so here are some responses:

dilvish,

Pau played 48 minutes because of OVERTIME. Kobe played 45 minutes. Chris Paul played 44 minutes. And yes Pau has been played more because of how inconsistent Powell and the bench at times is. Against Atlanta they stepped up and Pau got rest. Jordan and Sasha struggled against Golden State. THE WHOLE DAMN BENCH STRUGGLED AGAINST NEW ORLEANS!! When your bench struggles you have to put back your regulars!!

Ordinary Team,

I don't know where you have been for the last month but:

WE BEAT THE CELTICS WITHOUT BYNUM ON FEB 5TH!!! We also beat the Cavaliers as well without Bynum. Spurs are a question mark though they are without GINOBILI! for a little bit so that game is winnable very much.

Olf,

Quit whining. Jackson was very active in that game and was on the referees heels about this very questionable officiating (both sides were given bad calls really). JACKSON DOES NOT WANT TO LOSE HE WANTS HOME COURT ADVANTAGE IN THE PLAYOFFS!!

-KB Blitz


I defintely do not agree it is Kobe's fault. You can say Kpbe did not shoot a high percentage tonight.

But I am 100% sure if Kobe did not play tonight, Lakers will lose by 20 tonight no matter what they do.

Paul Gasol is useless if Kobe is not on the court, just like he did when he was in Memphis.

It is very simple: in current lakers's team only kobe can create space and opty for other players.

Wow..talk about a tough audience! I had to work last night and only got to watch the game this morning. Then I read the live blog and it sounded completely different from what I had seen.

People, the Lakers have the best record in the league. As such, they attract the best effort of every team that they play. Teams measure themselves against the Lakers. Yet, our team is beating teams back with regularity.

The bench was uneven last night, to be kind. To say that they sucked would be more accurate. Kobe's performance was uneven, too, but he did not suck. His major problem came about,IMO, because he constantly set up on the pinch post and tried to post up taller players. Both Posey and Butler are longer than Kobe. Kobe's offense was too predictable and by posting up, he allowed Posey to get away with the subtle fouls and knees and holding the Posey thrives on. Simple solution was for Kobe to face his defenders and run screen and roll with Pau. Despite an "off" game, Kobe was only 2 shots shy of the magical 50% average for the night and that figure could have been attained if the zebras had a better night. One thing I believe we all can agree on is that the referees last night REALLY sucked.

Kobe worked the game last night. Despite being cold early, he was able to come through in the OT big time. And his presence was instrumental in setting up the game tying three by Fish. And, speaking of Fish,the man was HUGE on both ends of the floor. Despite being only 3-10 from the floor overall, and 2-7 from beyond the arc, Fish made his at the right time. Big, big shots. Percentages don't always tell the story.

All in all, the Lakers beat back a game Hornets squad on a night when the Laker bench was mediocre and Kobe was merely human. I'll take it every time.

Gasol is not top. 10 in the league, he is top.10 because he became Kobe's teammate.

And mostly the court defence is focued on kobe, he got many easy shots/dunks in every game.

The L.A. vs LA game last night was the worst officiated game I've ever seen in ove 60 years of watching basketball. There were bad calls and no-calls against both teams. I initially thought that one of the referees must have had a bet on the game, but the charging call against CP3 kind of evened things up. Paul and Deron Williams of the Jazz have perfected the art of running into their defender and getting a foul called. They rarely are called for an offensive foul. I think when you try to run over your defender, it's YOUR foul. The league needs to address this problem and consider a rules change.

Dara,

You could make an argument that the Lakers could potentially lose any game to a good team by 20 points if Kobe doesn't play and that doesn't mean that Kobe can't play badly. He took bad shots throughout the first three quarters and left Butler open from 3 way too often because he's not a big enough name for him to pay attention to.

If Mini-Me can get a Playboy bunny as a girlfriend, then anyone can, if he's(or she I guess these days) is rich and famous enough.

CP3 may be a better passer than Deron, but there's no doubt that Deron is the best overall point guard in the league. That guy is tougher, and is more clutch. And CP3 played really dirty last night. That was a deliberate trip on Kobe and I agree with previous posters that it looked like a WWE move.

I don't think the offense should go through Walton unless he's on a smaller player. He posted up Peja on a couple of occasions but wasn't very effective. He's best when guarded by smaller guys, moving without the ball, or giving or passing to other players in good position to score. His 3 point shooting has improved alot in the 2nd half of the year.

AK

Your inspiration has reached new heights... did Ladies' Night have anything to do with it??? :} GREAT STUFF!!

DFish was the unsung hero last night. As always KB, LO and El Conquistador came through. In spite of it all, the game as well as both leads was shot to hell, but not for Derek. Once again he demonstrated his greatness as a leader and as a seasoned warrior who never concedes defeat. DFish is the ace up our sleeve for making game-on-the-line-buzzer-beater shots! (Last night's shot was a déjà vu of DFish's 0.4 Buzzer Beater Lakers vs Spurs Game 5 2004!!!) DFISH - LAKER4LIFE. And as Jon K. recommends: 'May we retire your uniform and hang it from the rafters at Staples among the other LAKERS Greats!

On another note, WALTON was also a pleasant surprise at last... at least for this game anyway.... KEEP IT UP LUKE! I truly hope he becomes the talented player we all believed he could be. He played good basketball last night. Maybe that's what PJ sees in him that less trained but more passionate eyes fail to see. I love how PJ gauges the different combinations that may surprise him - and the entire world that's watching history in the making. I trust his methods completely and agree with Olf's opinion:'letting the players "try it their way" and if they lose the game, Phil can then use the loss to more forcefully refocus the team.' I personally respect that and completely support it. The reason behind it all is that The LAKERS are a very young team - their attention span is extremely short and like most younguns...(Farmar, Sasha, etc.) they think they know better until they acknowledge themselves that they need direction (especially from s/o who has 9 rings to prove he knows what he's talking about!!!). So let the Zen Master do his thing! What do we Play for?? RINGS and GLORY!!

GOOOOOOLAKERS!!!!

Pau plays so intelligent this year, for sure his best NBA seasson by now but i don't get why the ball don't go alwys to him so he can triangle.

When playing against teams like Hornets or Utah (with great passers) we need to pass the ball to our big men or give it to DF (our veteran).

Kobe is an star so he will always have bad days which are gonna look horrible but then at the next game he usually plays at his best.

in response to:

"Paul has turned into the worst little big punk, dirty cheap shot player in the NBA.
He hit Kobe in the back with the ball on purpose (something w/c s/d have gotten him a T), then he tripped KB with this legs. And in the middle of that, he tried to trip Lamar by stepping on his feet from behind.
Paul became popular due to his skills and that's fair. But he's now using his popularity as a shield to to act out like a dirty street punk. He didn't even come over and congratulate any of the Lakers after the whistle, something w/c even Lebron or Wade do. Seems his head has gotten really big. And as usual, journalists are too scared to call him out.

Posted by: LakerinBC | February 21, 2009 at 08:01 AM"

During the all star game when they had CraP3 miked up....I noticed the way that he talked to his fellow allstar teammates, he was talking down to them and he was talking as if he were the only "starlet" there....he was acting like Magic Johnson. but Magic would only do that because he earned the right to act as the leader. With C. Paul, however we're talking about a young flash at this point....to me...until you've won something (college or pro championship) or, clearly can do things that no one else can....then you are just a peer in that given situation. Granted point guards are supposed to be the leaders, but his attitude was so arrogant, I had to think about it and now I read thiis poster's opinion (I havn't watched the game yet) and I think there must be something going on inside his head. I guess when he nearly won the MVP last year, I guess he had been automatically elevated up to the level of KB and LeBron....personally, I like the play of D. Williams of Utah better. Let's keep our eye on this guy, because it's not how you handle winning, it's how you handle losing......As i recall when they getting the Redeem team together, CP3 was pretty ordinary until the big boys showed up...

>>I'm still not convinced that Walton will play many minutes
>>> in this years playoff run though. Once we get to the
>>> good teams in the third and fourth rounds.

Did you not watch the Lakers games in Cleveland and Boston?

Luke started both games, played 30+ minutes in each and they
had no problem winning.

>

Did you not watch the Lakers games in Cleveland and Boston?

Luke started both games, played 30+ minutes in each and they
had no problem winning.


Good point LTLF. To be direct, I think Luke would do "just fine" in a big playoff series. If you recall last season, Luke didn't do well when we got into the better playoff teams. Yes, I recall that he was hurt and I hope he does better this year.

One thing I have learned watching the NBA for many years is that when Playoff time comes, it's like a second season. The skill set of the average player becomes ordinanry and the skill set of the high caliber player becomes extraordinary. I am thinking of James Posey in last years playoffs. Look at the demand he was in after the season.

All I am saying is that what Walton is doing now may not serve us as well as we get deep into the post season. HOWEVER, we definately need good guys to give us minutes until we get deep into the post season.

I may be wrong about Walton. Maybe he will evolve into this years Kurt Rambis and we win with him. But I am guessing that Phil may want Lamar to start against the tall, long teams.


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