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Lakers 107, Mavericks 100: Trevor Ariza helps LA avoid the much feared "Golden Earring" loss

For 24 minutes, the Lakers looked as if they'd cruise Commodores style to a win Sunday afternoon at Trevor_ariza_guards_jason_kidd_in_l Staples.  Up 12 at the break, things looked good.  Pau Gasol (20 points in the first half) was dominant, Kobe Bryant shook off a slow start and was, as Stephon Marbury might, doing his thing.  But in the second half, Dallas coach Rick Carlisle went zone, and it damn near turned into the Twilight variety for the home team.  In the end, LA got their collective act together, led in no small part by Trevor Ariza, who had his best game as a pro as the Lakers won 107-100.   A career high 26 points on 9-13 from the floor, including 3-5 from downtown.  Ariza added three steals, and played the type of defense on Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, and any other Jason in the building that has been a huge x-factor for the Lakers over the course of the season (more on that below). 

We talked a lot this week after Ariza and Luke Walton swapped starting spots about how the move didn't just have the potential to activate the reserves (didn't happen today, again, see below) but also Ariza.  He started the season decisive offensively, moving well without the ball, slashing to the rim, finishing plays and leaving an imprint on the game in a variety of incredibly efficient ways.  Some of that had been lost over the last few weeks as Ariza became more hesitant, content to spot up and shoot, and started reaching more defensively. 

Not today.  Dude was awesome on both ends, building on a strong road trip. 

Three Good:

  • Pau Gasol: The big Spaniard owned the first half.  10 attempts, 10 field goals, plus five boards and two blocks.  Pau scored on the block, he scored from the elbow, he scored on put-backs.  It didn't matter whether he was being guarded by Dirk Nowitzki or Erick Dampier, Pau scored anyway.  Neither guy could play Pau tight because of his ability to put the ball on the floor, andPau_gasol_shoots_over_dirk_nowitzki given space Pau simply shot over both of them.  Defensively, Pau played well when matched up against Nowitzki, teaming up with Lamar Odom limit the former MVP to 4-13 shooting in the first half, 6-20 overall.  Rick Carlisle tried doubling Gasol, but that helped open up lanes for everyone else on the floor.  "I told him he almost had a perfect first half," Phil Jackson said later.  The only real problem for Gasol was that he didn't touch the ball nearly enough in the second, taking only three shots.  One big reason was the zone Dallas threw at LA.  The Lakers started bombing from beyond the arc and forgot that the ball could still go down low.  Gasol noticed.  "The ball has to go inside-out to make them collapse and get easier shots.  There needs to be penetration.  We weren't doing that with some of the guys who were out there," he said.  "It's unfortunate.  We could have lost the game because of it, but hopefully we'll learn a lesson and move on." 
  • Kobe Bryant: He missed all four of his shots in the first quarter, but Kobe still had three assists as the Lakers shot 60% and rolled up 37 points and a nine point lead. From there, Kobe was 11 for his next 16, hitting three of his six triples and finishing with eight rebounds, a steal, and a block for good measure.  There are games where Kobe is a dominating factor in a game, and others where he alters the course of play in less spectacular ways.  This afternoon was more the latter, but it doesn't diminish the quality of the performance.  He was particularly effective with the mid-range game, canning J's from the elbow extended down to the baseline, often over a fairly helpless Antoine Wright. 
  • Trevor Ariza: Said PJ in his postgame presser: "His defense and ability to change things up are the difference, and that's what he did late in the ballgame that gave us the chance to get the lead back.  That was important, particularly as his counterpart, Luke (Walton) was really struggling today (Note: No disagreement from Walton.  See below)... His speed and quickness is effective on anybody.  Trevor's a learning defender.  His quickness and his speed and his ability to steal the ball is one aspect.  We even put him on (Jason) Terry tonight when (Derek) Fisher had three fouls and couldn't (play Terry physically), so now Trevor has to chase, and he needs to do a different line of defense, and that's where Trevor's growing as a defender.  We want him to be a lock down type of guy defensively.  We want him to be a type of a defender like a Bruce Bowen is known to be." 

Three Bad

  • The Bench: After two redemptive efforts in Texas (highlighted during a tough fourth quarter stand against San Antonio with Kobe resting), we saw another unimpressive night for the recently slumping "Made Men."  Just a dozen points between five guys (Jordan Farmar, DJ Mbenga, Josh Powell, Sasha Vujacic, Luke Walton) entering the game after the starting tip, and honestly, there's only so much offense one should count on from DJ.  Then again, Tacos' two points matched the individual output from Powell and Vujacic, so along those lines, he was basically shooting par.  The quintet shot a collective 4-17, notched more turnovers (eight) than assists (four) or steals (three), sank just one of their seven trey ball launches, and generally did little of note.  Except in the second half, when they steadily made a lead disappear. 

    In terms of the late third/early fourth quarter collapse, Walton deemed a poor reaction to Dallas' zone D as the culprit.  "I think we did alright in the first half as a unit.  In the second half, when they went to that zone, we did a bad job of attacking it.  We just kind of settled for passing the ball around and shooting jump shots.  That's what zones want you to do.  I think once (the secondJordan_farmar_falls_against_dallas unit was) in long enough, the starters came back in and made a point of getting the ball down low to Pau. That's when you get them shifted out of the zone and you can rebound a lot easier on the weak side.  For some reason, we weren't aggressive enough getting the ball in there."

    A fair assessment of that botch job, but as noted earlier, the second string just hasn't been consistently doing their job of late, which led to both Walton volunteering to join them for a hopeful assist (literally and basketball-y).  BK asked if that decision was made with the idea that his presence could help Sasha remain more in his comfort zone as a spot up shooter and take some traffic-directing responsibilities off Farmar.  Sure, but not as a theoretical "cure-all."

    "That's part of the reason to be out there with those guys, to be able to make some more plays, but we just have to be more patient as a unit.  We gotta realize that our opportunities aren't going to be as many as when you're starting, but you can't be out there jacking up shots.  Trying to get your reps up.  Actually being out there moving the ball and playing the right way.  That's the thing in the last two years or whatever that the (bench) has done a good job of.  We gotta get back to that."

    And quickly. Five boards apiece from Powell and Walton represent a decent job on the glass, but all in all, another effort providing concern about the Bench Mob.  In particular, I felt these two were the standouts among those failing to rise...

    Sasha Vujacic: His quartet of "far line" jacks came up dry and he was 1-6 on the day, a pair of points basically the only dent he made in the stat sheet.  Unless, of course, you consider coming up -16 in under ten minutes of run a "dent" of sorts.  Obviously, every hole created wasn't entirely Sasha's doing, but the stat does reflect an afternoon where he didn't offer much in the way of intangibles beyond the box score, which I imagine explains why Phil didn't keep him on the floor much.
  • Luke Walton: Instead offering my own summary, I'll let the man himself do the honors.  After Walton had talked a bit about the bench's struggles, I noted how he also encountered trouble getting it together.  Walton shook his head, then let out a "Gee, you think?" chuckle.

    "I was terrible.  Decisions.  Every time I made a pass, it was a bad decision.  I'm just glad we won.  If we didn't win, I would have been out of this locker room at home sitting in the dark already."

    Sounds like an accurate assessment.  Walton noted afterward that the luxury of playing on a great team is having guys to lean on when you put up the occasional unabashed stinker.  When the end result is a win, it allows frustration to roll off your shoulders considerably easier.  But he didn't seem any happier about an "0-3 from the field/four turnover against one assist/goose egg in the scoring column" performance than any of the Lakers Blog faithful. 

AK

One Big Number:

  • 39.8%: That's the number Dallas put up today, despite 16 Lakers' turnovers leading to 20 points for the Mavs (generally of the easier variety).  In three of four quarters, LA held Dallas to under 40% from the floor.  They won the rebounding battle, 49-40 and blocked eight shots.  Moreover, when the Mavs were held in the half court, LA forced them into a lot of tough shots.  Yes, Jason Terry got red hot (he's pretty good), but taken as a whole it was an encouraging defensive performance.  LA cut off the lane, holding Dallas to 24 points in the paint, and swarmed anyone who managed to find his way in there.  I mentioned Dirk's lousy afternoon above.  All told, LA's inability to score in the second half/hold on to the ball obscured a pretty solid defensive effort. 

BK

Video:

Phil Jackson, on Ariza and Gasol:

   

PJ, on LA's inability to work through the Dallas zone:    

Kobe Bryant on the win, Ariza, and so on:

   

Kobe, on how the Mavs are different with Josh Howard, who has missed all three games this season vs. LA:

   

Andrew Bynum on his rehab.  He hopes to start doing light basketball work this week, and be practicing in a couple after this one.  All in all, everything is still on schedule:

 

BK

 
Comments () | Archives (74)

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This was a good, gritty win against a Dallas team that's been playing pretty well lately. Granted, I think that the Lakers have this team in a mental head-lock, but it was still a good win. Nice to see Trevor have a break-out game, too. Yeah, Luke was terrible. And that's why Trevor is starting.

I hope that Sasha breaks out of his funk soon. As in, Tuesday. Faith, can you try to have a chat with your favorite hair model?

Glad for the win. I was never worried, even when we lost the lead.

Go Lake Show!

Go LAKERS!


3 and 0 home stand in the works.

Kobe MVP

RE-POST:
Laker Tom:
Shannon Brown makes Jordan Farmar expendable.
Shannon is strong/athletic/defends.

Adam Morrison makes Luke expendable.
Adam strives in a motion offense.
Yes, I understand we don't know about his defense.
Yet, we do know about Luke's defense.
Peace.
PS: I do not need help with my relationships :)

WE DONT NEED HOME COURT OVER CAVS WITH BYNUM WE CAN TAKE THEM IN GAME 5. BUT WE DO NEED HOME COURT OVER BOSTON. LUKE, SASHA, FARMER, LO(+/-) REALLY SUCK. WHEN BYNUM COMES BACK THEY WILL GET BETTER. I THINK WE SHOULD PLAY PORTLAN FIRST ROUND TO GET THEM BEFOR THEY GET HYPED UP. GREAT GAME, MAMBA IS ALLWAYS A CLASSIC.

Just pile up the W's.

Watching the game at Staples, I was thinking how Dallas would be a great 1st round matchup for us. This team is just a straight jump shooting team. They have no post up players, Gasol can get 30 on these guys a night a not break a sweat.

I was telling my buddy that we need to just bury them early, because if we keep it close, they can make shots in crunch time. Well, we let Terry go off and lost the lead, but with the starters back on the floor lead by Mamba and some nice finishes by Ariza, shut them down and won. Dallas cannot beat us, ever, ever ,ever.

That being said, I would like to see the second unit hold on to a lead every now and then. Unfortunately, Jordan, Sasha and Luke had tough games, obviously that spells doom for our second unit. Need to push through it. We need Jordan and Sasha to get some confidence in these last 20 or so games. I keep saying it, maybe I'm trying to convince myself it will happen.

Mamba was very efficient again. Only 20 shots, over 50% and 5 dimes. Gasol was toying with them, Ariza played great in the starting role, where he belongs now.

KB Blitz, The Kobe lines over the last 3 games have been very promising. Under 25 shots, 5-6 assists. I'll take it.

Johnny V, excellent post on why Cooper should have his number retired. I'm glad to hear some coherent reflections on why Cooper deserves his jersey up in the rafters. Remember people, 5 rings in a decade of blood, sweat and tears for the purple and gold. I will continue to lead the bandwagon on retiring Cooper's jersey.

Jon K, if you're all about playing for rings, how could you deny Coop? He's got 5 of them. Who else does besides Magic and Kareem? (Kareem has 6 actually.) I'm not saying anyone else deserves to be up there. (Kobe and possibly Shaq in time.) But, the Showtime Lakers, the Laker's that were the dynasty of the 80's and changed the game forever deserve 4 members in the rafters. One of them is missing. The other dude with 5 rings. We play for rings, right? Cooooooop.

passionate Lakers fan,

>>> Laker Tom:
>>> Shannon is strong/athletic/plays defense.
>>> Shannon's a team player; Jordan is me first.
>>> Shannon Brown will take Jordan's spot.

Not unless he suddenly learns how to shoot. I do love Shannon’s hops though and hope = he will help us in spot situations preventing opposing point guards from penetrating. Jordan is going through a disappointing stretch as is Sasha but I have confidence that they will get back to their previous excellent play. Starting seems to have really helped Ariza get his game going again. It is much harder to be a consistent performer coming off the bench than starting. Just ask Lamar.

>>> Adam Morrison will take Luke's spot.
>>> the above former has skills the above latter lack.
>>> Adam can score (28+ in college).
>>> Adam plays best in a motion offense.

I actually have high hopes for Morrison. I watched him play a lot at Gonzaga and strangely he has a lot in common with Luke – slow, white, can’t jump, but basketball smart – but what tantalizes is that he also has a big-time scorer’s mentality which Luke totally lacks. He could be a diamond in the rough for the Lakers. He may not be the #3 most talented player in that draft but the guy can shoot the ball. I am hoping that he grows back the hair and stash and comes into camp confident and pumped up.

>>> Peace.
>>> PS: i do not need you to couple me with anyone :)

Actually, I apologize for that. We’ve been blog friends for a long time and I shouldn’t have equated your comments with those of dara, whose posts don’t ever seem to have much thought behind them. I am still hoping that Jordan will break out of his slump. Sasha, too. Maybe Faith should bake him some good luck brownies and send them to him. LOL.

As for Luke, what a stinker of a game today but I give him credit for being a real team player. He may be the only guy in the league to volunteer to come off the bench, even if he might have seen it as inevitable. As I said above, Luke is a pretty smart guy and I am sure that his teammates would happily vote him a full share when we win the title.

JMNSHBO!
DNFTT!

Tom

Pretty fun game right now between Suns/Warriors.

Please sit Farmar down & play Brown.
Please sit Sasha down & play Morrison.
I don't think Terry would have been so hot with Brown.
They can't be any worse and at least Brown plays defense.
Phil please send a message to Farmar.
Please send a message to Sasha.
We know Powell & Mbenga can play but they have got to be frustrated playing with Sasha and Famar.
I say let Farmar know he has competition with Brown.
Let Sasha know he has competition with Morrison.
They can't play any worse.
Farmar is not the point guard of the future.
Mitch do not sign Farmar to a contract extension

lakers really did great in this game, hope they will continue it. well, with kobe arround the team is solid.

Great game!!!

Go lakers!

Kobe was great today. It was like you could tell he was picking his moments. Good to hear Bynum is on schedule. We WILL need him.

Luke Walton almost singlehandedly cost us that game. Odom had to be taken out near the end of the game because he had no clue about running the clock down. I don't know what's going on with Sasha but it ain't good...

Just one game but disturbing, repeating patterns that will be studied and exploited during the playoffs.

RE-POST:
Laker Tom:
Shannon Brown makes Jordan Farmar expendable.
Shannon is strong/athletic/defends.

Exactly. There is something about putting Sasha and Farmar in together that makes the second unit STINK.

I think the staff wants to see a guard out there that wants to defend FIRST, and score a distant second. Farmar definitely does NOT fit this category.

Phil needs to sit Farmar or Sasha down. I don't know which one because they are both playing very selfishly. If Sasha is hurt then he needs to sit and give Shannon a chance to learn the O. If Farmar doesn't want to run the O like a point guard should, then he can sit also.

Lakertom, Kevin Ding on Jordan:

"But that in itself is a disappointment to the Lakers, because it shows how Farmar has not progressed. When you start looking for long-term problems for this team that is well-built for the future, it's hard to find many — except there's reason for panic if Farmar isn't a suitable full-time lead guy with Fisher's contract expiring after next season.
Considering the current issues with the whole "Bench Mob" and how important he is to the future plan, monitor Farmar as much as you do fellow youngster Bynum the rest of the way. There's no doubt that Farmar's season-to-date numbers — 41.2 percent field-goal shooting, 58.7 free-throw shooting and 2.4-to-1.4 assist-to-turnover ratio — leave plenty of room for improvement."

http://tinyurl.com/c2a3wf

I think we can all agree. Even though we have faith in the dude lol.

So if Gasol had an "almost perfect first half," how would we describe Walton's game? It would be almost __________ ?

Zero for three shooting. Zero for two free throws. Four turnovers. And one assist, five rebounds.

I know AK/BK you get miffed that I do not understand his contribution. He plays within the offense so well. Today you said he has good games too. No. I replied, we get excited when he has a mediocre game.

His average assists per game is 2.5. His average Turn overs is .96. That is, more than one turn over for every three assists. That is bad.

I know people say, he is a facilitator and so passes up scoring. Look, 2.5 assists isn't great. Kobe beat that today in the first quarter. He averages 4.9 points per game. That means that no one really has to guard him.

My point? Well, we should play Ariza A LOT MORE MINUTES. At least people have to guard Ariza. At least his D is solid.

Ariza averages less assists and more turnovers a game. But people do have to guard him on offense and he plays defense like a dickens. Plus his game is getting better. Is Walton getting better. LO also has a worse ratio, but again, he brings something good, rebounds and points. There is no added bonus to Luke's small contributions.

Again, we can - on any given night - expect an Ariza explosion. Walton has never had an outstanding game.

Finally, yes, we should start Ariza. But at the end of the game Ariza is known for making BIG defensive plays. I am sure his steals per last five minutes is higher than for the first 43. So, we should also finish with Ariza.

And Luke does not bring much to the table ever. And I love him. I wish him well because he is a Laker. But I would hope that rather than covering and talking about his IQ and how he works within the offense and distributes so well we could just be honest about it.

Luke is not an asset. We are lucky when he isn't a disaster. Everyone should stop the cover-up. Stop pretending. Stop enabling.

GOOoooOOOO LAKERS!!!!

I always wonder what could have been had we picked Monta Ellis instead of Von Wafer.....(Monta Elllis was picked right after Wafer)

http://www.nba.com/dleague/losangeles/statistics/

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

GO LAKERS!

SCARY GOOD PART 2…

Fans of other NBA teams are already starting grumble and fret as they watch in agony as the fortunes of the Lakers seem to grow every day. This week they watched the allegedly “soft” Pau Gasol, the Lakers All-Star power forward now playing out of position at center, clearly outplay Yao Ming, Tim Duncan, and Dirk Nowitzki in the Lakers last three big wins.

Phil pushes a button and pulls a switch and inserts Trevor Ariza into the starting lineup and like Magic he responds by breaking out of his recent slump, posting a career high 26 points and outstanding defense in the Lakers hard fought win over the Mavericks this afternoon. Other teams have always counted on attacking Vlade or Luke on defense in the past but now they are confronted with Ariza’s defense. If Trevor can really keep playing like this, it is going to make the Lakers that much more difficult to handle.

I have to admit that I never thought that Trevor could shoot as well as he has. If he keeps this up, he will have answered the question as to who should to the bench when Andrew is ready to start again. I didn’t see how Phil could keep Luke in the starting lineup and send Lamar to the bench but Ariza’s play has flipped the dynamic. Next year’s starting small forward now become this year’s starting small forward, which really helps on defense.

Finally, Andrew Bynum looks guarantees that he will be back before the regular season is over, as he says “to make us that much better.” LOL! I mean how much better can this team be? They are hands down the best team in the league right now without Andrew. You could almost hear the collective sigh of defeat on the other team blogs that Andy and Brian keep trying to stuff down our throats (jk :) Really, it’s all over but the games.

Andrew will complete this team. He will make every player better because of the domino effect it has on the team. There is no deeper or more talented roster in the NBA:

1 – Fisher, Farmar, Sun
2 – Bryant, Vujacic, Brown
3 – Ariza, Walton, Morrison
4 – Gasol, Odom, Powell
5 – Bynum, Mbenga

We should win out this month. Drew should be back for the Rockets on April 3rd.
Lakers win ship. Kobe wins dual MVPs. Phil wins COY. Mitch wins EOY.

We are on the cusp of greatness, people. Let’s enjoy the great ride.

JMNSHBO!
DNFTT!

Tom

mikefloss,

Michael Cooper was a Great Laker.

No argument.

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

GO LAKERS!

Faith,

Pretty tough being Sasha and Jordan supporters right now but I suspect we will be both be raising toasts to our boys as we celebrate the parade on Figueroa. Both have proven that they can be valuable role players but neither has shown they have what it takes to start. It’s way too early to panic and once Andrew gets back, Ariza has probably played Lamar back to the bench, where we really need him to back up Pau, which should invigorate the Bench Mob again. It’s the Andrew Bynum domino factor. It will especially help Sasha because all of those 3-pointers he is taking now will be wide open shots with Drew there.

Tom

LakerinBC,

>>> I think we're underestimating what we're missing not having Andrew as
>>> last line of defense. We are so much better with him back, not for the offense,
>>> but for the defense. Lakers will sweep Mavs 4-0 in the first round.

I think you are 100% right. Drew will have the ultimate domino effect on this team. Excellent post. Thanks.

Tom

Bravo JohnnyP! Bravo!

>>> Peace.
>>> PS: i do not need you to couple me with anyone :)

Actually, I apologize for that. We’ve been blog friends for a long time and I shouldn’t have equated your comments with those of dara, whose posts don’t ever seem to have much thought behind them. I am still hoping that Jordan will break out of his slump. Sasha, too. Maybe Faith should bake him some good luck brownies and send them to him. LOL.

As for Luke, what a stinker of a game today but I give him credit for being a real team player. He may be the only guy in the league to volunteer to come off the bench, even if he might have seen it as inevitable. As I said above, Luke is a pretty smart guy and I am sure that his teammates would happily vote him a full share when we win the title.

JMNSHBO!
DNFTT!

Tom


Posted by: LakerTom | March 15, 2009 at 06:25 PM

And I consider you a friend (love reading your post).
Shannon may not be a good shooter.
However:
a) he will penetrate (which helps Sasha's game).
b) he will play defense.
Regarding Jordan:
2nd season in a row playing bad during March-April.
Playing at 180lbs does not help.
Jordan (and Sasha) hang their heads when missing shots.
They must learn to get back on defense.
Adam has a chance be another VladRad.
Hopefully, Mr. Morrison is not a space cadet.
Peace.
PS: did not take your comment persoanal.
Hence the smiley face :)

kbros....

Please enlighten the uninformed....What is a "Golden Earring" loss?

Farmar has been a Laker for almost three years now and yet he still show continuous signs of poor play. Bynum showed his reason for being a franchise player in his third year. Farmar has been given enough time to make his case. It's time that the Lakers part ways with Farmar

Monta Ellis was picked right after Von Wafer? Damn. That would've solved those PG issues in the Smush era right and quick, boy. I also wish we would've kept Von Wafer. He's turned into a player, and is certainly better than Sasha right now. He's improving, too.

"But that in itself is a disappointment to the Lakers, because it shows how Farmar has not progressed."

I wonder which party was the correct one in that one argument of "Fisher vs Farmar"?

and number 2: Mr. Sasha Chokacic:

"Long before Sasha Vujacic missed 3-point shots on three consecutive Lakers possessions early in the fourth quarter, interpreting Dallas' zone defense as a personal invitation to play "Around the World," Jackson had reached a season high in frustration with Vujacic. After Jason Terry scored on a 15-footer early in the second quarter, Jackson called a timeout, got in Vujacic's face and went Bobby Knight on him with a shockingly hard slap on the butt as Vujacic moved past for a seat on the bench."

Sasha played only 9 minutes and was 1-6 (0-4 from the range that he is "so" good at). And he cries that he wants more PT (understandable really) when in limited minutes he shoots bad and plays poorly?

Maybe instead of sending Faith's brownies to him Laker Tom that Sasha be shown of his choke job in Game 4 of the 08 Finals.

-KB Blitz

Yeah, Luke's game was just terrible. Every time he got the ball I was screaming "NOOOOOOOO!" I like Luke, too. But today was just the worst.

Great win! I love this team! Glad to hear Drew's coming back soon, and we'll have a little time to integrate him again. Monster game from TA. Dude, he plays better with the second unit. No two ways. And Sasha? If he makes a basket now I'm shocked. Don't know what happened to that guy but man, he's slumping hard.

GREAT game from Pau. I love his game. Can't wait to have him back at the 4 though. Kobe was his usual Mamba self. I never get tired of watching him.

Staples was rockin' those last minutes! There's something awesome about that place when the crowd finally decides to get into it. It's amazing.

I LOVE LA!

I was terrible. Decisions. - Luke

How can you get angry on great Luuuuuke when he indulged into self criticism and volunteerism at his own expense? This is similar to asskissing when we were in high school w/ teachers to compensate for bad class standing. In some way, he erases his bad footprints on the sand by being forthrightly honest. However, repeating the same mistakes lead to blunder. Like in golf. if you don't ask someone to critique your swing, you keep on repeating those chicken swings at any links. There has to be a resolve from the young man to stop doing the same mistakes. He got a good coach in College, Lute Olson, I'm sure he can seek advice from him and pay him for that advice. He has a HOF Dad and very generous in rendering advice to young players, I'm sure he will coach his son for his own good and also improve the quality of the new version of Walton's.

One reason also why he makes a lot of T/O, his passes are too bold and dangerous in the crowd of defenders that the receiver has to catch it in time or else it becomes a sure turnover. In the Spurs game, Gasol was great in catching Luke's passes and turned them into assists. If it were Powell or Mbenga getting those passes, it could have been a T/O., there goes the high IQ mentality, he's on a different frequency with his teammates. I don't know, do they rehearse those passes during practice or just a spur of the moment decision during the games?

btw, I really, really don't like the fact that Farmar and Sasha are "out there jacking up shots. Trying to get your reps up", according to Luke. Phil needs to sit em' down and have a good long direct talk with them. This year is for rings, screw your numbers.

They should look at Ariza. Volunteers to come off the bench so that others feel better, and works his butt off on both ends. He's 'getting his rep up' by playing team ball. People notice when you're jackin'. Thats no way to make yourself look better.

what about kobe playing defense on jason terry...waow, that was beautiful...even his defensive game is one of a kind...

like van guardy said, "one of the best basketball players who have ever walked down this earth"

kobe is a living legend, hands down...

Laker Tom,

You can't automatically say that Bynum's return will help Sasha out.

I found that even when Bynum played with the 2nd unit that Bynum much like Gasol is currently, being ignored by Jordan and Sasha and Trevor when he was with the bench mob.

Jordan and Sasha: Playing for statistics. This earns bigger $$. Sasha feels his production is not equal his pay so he does too much.

I'm more than happy Jackson got into Sasha's face and went all Bobby Knight on him. The dude deserved it.

Kobe needs to be more assertive in his teammates as in raising his voice instead of acting always nice. Yell at them Kobe!

-KB Blitz

Grant Hill's a free agent if I'm not mistaken next year... any interest here?

Sasha is pressing, Farmar seems lost.

Both these guys are having trouble, but Farmar's troubles worry me more. Being a point guard, he should be able to help the team without getting to caught up in the fact he's not scoring the ball well. Unfortunately, his lack of scoring seems to effect his decision making. Not getting other guys off, not playing good D, not a solid presence on the floor right now. This has got to change.

Sasha's funk doesn't really worry me. He's a shooter who has been pressing. He's getting limited clock and seems to try and impress when he's in rather that just play his game. I would like to see Phil give him a little tick with Kobe on the floor. Might help him get his rhythm and confidence going. We need Sasha to be the machine again. I think he's still got in him.

Let's not throw these guys under the bus yet. Remember , Jordan was playing good ball before he went out with his injury. I think he'll get his game back on the next roadie. Players seem to work out issues on the road.

Retire Coop's number! Super Stud. Coooop!!!


Dang, people are upset that bench players played like bench players? As Robin would say "Holey moley, Batman!".

NO MVP FOR KOBE IT IS BAD BAD LUCK I HAVE A BAD FEELING. I DONT WANT HIM TO WIN IT IS BAD LUCK. IM JUST SAYING....

LET THE CRAB GET IT, LET HIM ENJOY IT AND THATS ALL HE WILL GET.

KOBE HAS BIGGER DREAMS.

Dang, people are upset that bench players played like bench players? As Robin would say "Holey moley, Batman!".
Posted by: p ang

That's because we've see Sasha and Farmar play much better before. Like last year, and the beginning of this year.
Ariza went into a slump after he got concussions but he seems to have snapped out of it and has come back better than before.
As Laker fans, we are pulling for Farmar and Sasha to do the same thing.

Coop looked snazzy in the postgame show on ABC7, wearing a nice bespoke sports jacket. But he had a rather interesting proposition for the Lakers lineup. He thinks Ariza should go back to the bench because it has lost considerable energy and scoring punch after LO and TA moved to the starting lineup.

His candidate for starting SF? Morrison!! Does he make sense or has Coop lost it?

Exactly how we played against Boston in that game 4 loss. We still have not learned anything from last year.
In our 3 peat era did we have players on the team making bone headed decisions like Lamar and Walton(today)? I don't see how we win thsi thing short of a miracle. Lamar is not going to change, Luke is not going to get any better, our bench is not going to get any better from now till the play offs. We cannot play lazily and expect to turn it on at some point. It does not work that way.

"I was terrible. Decisions. Every time I made a pass, it was a bad decision." - Luke

Actually, this game was not as bad as when he inadvertently knocked a defensive rebound into his own bucket against the Rockets in 2007, eventually costing the Lakers the game.

http://tinyurl.com/cwdm8j

AK/BK: How come there is always more real information and substance in your blog than in the front-page articles by the beat writers and columnists?

Kudos to Luke for taking responsibility for a miserable game today. It's just one game, and he's shown he's a lot better than that.

The thing that annoys me the most is that Gasol was 12-13 and Kobe was 11-20. WHY CAN'T GASOL SHOOT MORE THAN KOBE. I'm a huge Laker fan but is this just a regular season phenomenom or will we see Gasol shooting more in the playoffs. Let me repeat 12-13. Lakers did play in the flow of the triangle however when a guy is this hot he should shoot a little more than 13 he should have to force some shots. I would say that he needs to shoot at leasta minimum of 20 times every game.

Laker Tom,

>


So far, most of Shannon Brown's minutes have come at the one spot, not the two. I wonder if he's being groomed to to take Jordan's spot. He is taller (6'4) than Farmar and Phil likes big guards.

If KOBE does not win the MVP this year, they should just give him the MDP award.

Heck, he has been the MDP for the last 5 years or so except last year of course, when those same critics, media and haters finally ran out of excuses to justify not giving him the MVP Trophy.

Kobe is the Ultimate MDP (Most Devalued Player) of all time!!!


BrownMamba24

Come on forget about the MVP trophy. Let Lebron have it already or even Wade who has done the job as well. We all know who the real MVP is (Kobe Bryant) but Lebron has done a heck of a job with the Cavaliers in the east as well, don't take anything away from him. Kobe already has his MVP, while he would love to win another one he has his sights on other goals.

Would you rather have a regular season MVP trophy or a Larry O'Brien trophy with a Finals MVP for Kobe?

Lebron is great and if he wins the MVP let him have his due. Just pay more attention on winning the ring and the Finals MVP.

-KB Blitz

CAN ANYBOY TELL ME WHY KOBE IS ALLWAYS INJURED OR SICK WHEN HE PLAYS THE CAVS? I CANT FIGURE IT OUT BUT HE HAS HAD SO MANY INJURYS WHEN HE PLAYS THEM. ALMOST LIKE TWO GAMES MAYBE HE PLAYED HEALTHY AGIENST CAVS WHEN LEBRON CAME INTO THE LEAGUE. IS IT BAD LUCK? I HOPE HE DOES NOT GET INJURED. EVEN THIS YEAR HE DISLOCATED HIS FINGER THAN HE HAD THE FLU. OTHER YEARS BROKEN RIST, SPRAINED KNEE (OUT FOR 14 DAYS) SPRAINED SHOULDERS. WHAT IS GOING ON???????

Trevor Ariza's updated 3 point%: 32.8%
Sasha "Choke-a-cic" Vujacic's updated 3 point%: 34.4%.

Trevor on his way on surpassing Choke-a-cic's 3pt%.

Very interesting. A primary slasher who soon will out shoot a primary shooter. Trade away Sasha if Trevor's shooting % is better than Sasha's. Got better defense from Trevor than Sasha's show off defense plus can shoot around the same. Sasha owned by Trevor.

-KB Blitz

anyone think putting jordan farmar in the starting lineup might make him more disciplined on the court with kobe? and derek fisher with the second unit more veteran leadership and patience?

Will MORRISON be back next year?? THANKS!!

AK/BK
"Sounds like an accurate assessment. Walton noted afterward that the luxury of playing on a great team is having guys to lean on when you put up the occasional unabashed stinker. "

LoL ... more like he's always leaning on the team ... pfunk36 is always griping about how PJ loves Luke so much and it dawned on me that one of the reasons he has a decent +/- ratio is cuz he's been getting to run with the first team ... now Ariza has that opportunity and the difference is clear ... besides his skin color, I really dont see what Luke brings to this team ... yeah i said it

Thanks lakers for taking out the mavs - although lamar did what he could to save the mavs' day.

SUNS put up 154 pts in regulation last night in GS - quite a show, especially since it eclipses anything D'Antoni did in his tenure.

Is it possible that Phil Jackson welcomes a Round One series with Shack and the SUNS?

Good Morning, Laker Nation!

It's time for...

Jon K.'s Early Thoughts That He Has Not Put Too Much Thought Into Yet:

1. THE POWER OF THE LUCKY BARSTOOL COMPELS YOU!!!! Okay, things are getting really weird now. So, I went to my local bar to watch the game, but for some reason people were there watching soccer (SOCCER?) on the main television. So, they put the Lakers game on a side television, at a very odd angle from my lucky barstool. So, I did not sit down on my lucky barstool. (I arrived in the third quarter, watching the first half from home.) Soon thereafter, Dallas went on their 20-2 run and took the lead. I thought to myself, "This is ridiculous" and returned to my lucky barstool, cricking my neck as a result to watch the game. Suddenly the game turned around and the Lakers re-gained control and victory was ours. I know "IN REALITY" the lucky bar stool probably has no meaningful output on the Lakers victories, but it sure feels like it. 29-1 when watching the game from the lucky barstool seems, ummm... well... unusual.

2. The Lakers--WHEN THEY WANT TO--can really play phenomenal defense. It's pretty amazing. The problem is that it seems like they don't always want to play defense. I've NEVER seen them actually play focused defense for an entire game. It's odd. When they want to, they're one of the best defensive teams in the league, but it seems like they choose otherwise. I don't quite get it.

3. The Kobe guy is pretty good.

4. There's this tall, lanky Spanish guy on the team. He's pretty good too.

5. Luke was awful last night. Nice to see that he was able to openly admit that. That's a positive at least.

6. Celtics lost again. Countdown to Stephon Marbury Losing It '09 underway!

7. I was about to lose my ever-loving-mind when the Lakers turned the ball over three consecutive times in the fourth quarter AFTER getting the rebound and then just throwing the ball out of bounds. Good thing we won the game or I would have run through the streets of Ohio smashing car windows and screaming.

8. That Trevor Ariza guy, ummm... he's pretty good too.

9. Wow. Clippers actually won at the buzzer. That's strange.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tommorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!

The Bench Mob is trying to imitate the rest of the league - since seemingly every other team has a bunch of sharpshooting 3 point artists. That's the only possible explanation for their performance. I find myself screaming "STEP INSIDE THE LINE AND TAKE THE FRIGGIN 2 POINT JUMPER!" very often while watching games.

We need not be surprised. After all, this is the X-Box/Playstation generation on the court where, years before The Bench Mob stepped on an NBA court, they spent endless summers draining 3's playing NBA Live 03 for hours at a time.

JohnnyP -

"His average assists per game is 2.5. His average Turn overs is .96. That is, more than one turn over for every three assists. That is bad."

Actually, that is good. Not only is it good, his 2.4 A/TO ratio is extraordinary for a forward. In fact, it ranks him 3rd amongst small forwards, one spot ahead of LeBron James. He's ranked ahead of Dwayne Wade, Paul Pierce, Caron Butler, Devin Harris, Mo Williams, TJ Ford and *gasp* Kobe Bryant (1.87 A/TO) just to name a very small few. Only two guy on the Lakers have better A/TO ratios - Derek Fisher and Sasha Vujacic - two spot up shooters. Did he have a bad game with turnovers yesterday? Yep. But don't allow one game to cloud your judgment.

Luke Walton isn't a lot of things as a basketball player, we all know this, but never use his A/TO ratio as a knock against him.

I believe the "Golden Earring" moniker for the potential loss is an oblique reference to their 1983 single "Twilight Zone."


SPeaking of Michael Cooper:

Some of you may have heard his opinion yesterday that Trevor is better suited to the bench as he was. His defensive energy changes games off the bench says Coop and Phil by the way.

No big news, but his suggestion for who should start was an eyebrow raiser.

Adam damn Morrison.

OK, it's not "stop the presses" but it's not like Coop doesn't have coach cred.

Gotta admit it would be fun to see AM run with Fish, KB and Pau. If the 2nd unit gets any worse, it might just happen.

utzworld,

" After all, this is the X-Box/Playstation generation on the court where, years before The Bench Mob stepped on an NBA court, they spent endless summers draining 3's playing NBA Live 03 for hours at a time."

Wow. I never thought of it like that.

And all these players spend hours playing video game versions of basketball.

Holy cow. You might really be onto something.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!

VMAN

Starting Adam isnt a bad idea.All this guy needs is a boost of confidence. We see what starting Trevor has done for his confidence. We have a few games left to get some role players offense ignited (sasha). Pull more levers and push more buttons Phil. Hey try shoveling some coal into the furnace. That will get the fire going.

GO LAKERS

SB Pimp-

That is correct.

BK

Good morning CRUE!

Wow - was I ever glad they pulled it out last night. I wonder how many members of Laker Nation would have been buying a new TV if they had lost, what with the flying remotes and all....sheesh - can we make it any harder on ourselves?? I thiink PJ wants the 2nd unit to toughen up, learn to play together when under pressure, yadda yadda yadda, but COME ON. They need to get their head in the game instead of up their collective asses.

Jon K - when you move back to LA you have BETTER BRING THE LUCKY BARSTOOL WITH YOU. Seems like we need IT more than we need Socks - LOL!

Game day tomorrow - can't wait!

GO LAKERS!!!

mothership

some new comments are listed but not posted? ?

if you're actually reading posts, please delete this one.

Oh me oh my.

http://tinyurl.com/d4xbom

Smush talks about Kobe, not favorably either.

BK,

I think your day's dread should be pre-empted with that last link I just put up haha. Lots of chatter.

I'm sorry if this has been discussed here...I havent been around.I have a spurs fanatic friend giving me the Lebron MVP thing big time and I'm sick of it! I want some objective opinions please!

So far as I see it

1) statistics beyond a certain point are meaningless for superstars - its all about your role on the team and how the team is constructed.

2) Kobe has had a great season and been totally clutch.The lakers have won every big game and Kobes been right there when they've needed a lift physically or emotionally.Hes played a near flawless season.I can see if you hadnt followed the context of the lakers why you might not realise this - but seriously the guy has been phenomenal.I do realise I haven't watched Lebron as closely so this is slightly unfair but I think it is hard to argue lebron's season does have some flaws which are....

3) The cavs are at best going to be 3-4 against celtics,lakers,spurs while the lakers are 5-1.

4) The lakers are 2 - 0 vs cleveland meaning in real terms that if the lakers get the best record by a game or two I dont see HOW Kobe does not win the award.I just dont.I think its too close to call and just like Kobe and Chris paul last year the guy whose team finished the season off and grabs home court at this point should win it.It is tangible and makes sense especially when home court advantage is very likely to decide the finals.

5) The arguments about Lebron having less at his disposal as far as teamates go just doesnt wash with me.Thats why they lost two games to the lakers and dont get the best record? ..the lakers were hyped up by the media and the support cast had one all star appearance between them.I find the 'what you dont have' argument ,especially when considering 65 plus win teams, pretty abstract and particularly subjective at best.The cavs have guys who play their roles and get it done plus a load of vets and former all stars.

The NBA's best record is the clear way to solve this.

any thoughts please??? I am happy to be enlightened if I so require

thank you


.

I like Ariza starting with this current unit.

When Bynum is back, there may have to be several changes.

(Whether, Bynum starts, does Luke go back to starting. If Bynum is slowly integrated as part of the mob, then I say keep Trevor with our current starters)

Start Adam Morrison?

This is crazier than the people who wanted to start Chris Mihm (who by the way, went out for the season shortly after we traded him).

I was looking at the playoff brackets and I really like how they are arranged right now. Let's end the season TODAY!!

The "other" bracket consists of Utah, Portland, San Antonio and Houston. This means we will face ONLY one of these teams in the WCF. I like that scenario.

"our" bracket consists of Denver, New Orleans, and Dallas with us. This means we play two of these three teams with Dallas guaranteed (again, if the season ended today).

A pretty easy road to the finals comparatively speaking. I mean it beats playing Portland in round 1, Utah in Round 2 and San Anonio in WCF, which could just as easily happen depending on what happens this last month of the season.

I hope this seeding holds up.

And before someone responds and says "who the hell cares who we play, we're the best" Why not do this the easiest way possible? However, for the championship I change my tone. I WANT BOSTON AND NOONE ELSE and I don't care if it may be more difficult. The perfect way to end the season.

Keep in mind - the reason Luke was put on the "bench mob" was NOT because Ariza's play earned him a starting position. It was because the bench was playing very poorly as a group, including Ariza. You Luke haters like to ignore that minor detail when you are coming up with your conspiracy theories.

Wow Faith

Nice find.He went well out of his way to stick it to Kobe.I can't quite believe this

SBPimp & BK...

Thanks for the explanation of the "Golden Earring" reference. I guess I listen to too much jazz, because I'd never heard of that group until I googled "Golden Earring". LOL!

Faith...

Hard to believe that Smush would be dumb enough to burn NBA bridges behind him and attack the world's greatest player. Then again, how smart can a grown man called "Smush" be?

Thanks kiwi.

Bronx, exactly lol. I get the feeling he was probably aiming to get into a team that hates Kobe...you know something in the line of the Suns.

But man, he's nuts.

Man, people are being ridiculously hard on the bench mob right now.

Yes, they stunk it up yesterday.

But have you already forgotten their contributions in beating
BOTH Texas teams on the road?

Did you already forget the fourth quarter of the San Antonio game? Let me refresh your memory. The Bench mob started
the 4th with an 8 point lead, let it slip to 4, but then built
the lead back up to 12 before Kobe and Fish came in to
seal the deal.

Kobe and Pau are all-stars. They are going to contribute
a lot pretty much every game. It's very rare for them to have
an off night.

Lamar and Fish and Bynum are not quite all-stars because
they're less consistent than Kobe and Pau. They might have
a spectacular game one night and a complete flop the next.

Everyone else (including Ariza) on the Lakers is a step below
that. They're good players, and they'll contribute something
most of the time, but they're going to have some stinker games
as well.

Have you already forgotten that Ariza shot 0 for 6 and had
3 turnovers in the Lakers' loss to Denver? Or how about
his 0 for 6 vs Memphis or his 1 for 4 in the loss to Portland.

Or how about Lamar's vanishing in the last 3 losses. There
was the bad shooting (5 for 17) vs Denver, then the reluctance
to shoot (2 for 5) versus Phoenix and Portland.

And what about Powell? 0 for 2 vs Dallas, 1 for 5 in the loss
to Denver, 1 for 3 in the loss to Portland.

And Fisher? 2 for 7 in loss to Denver, 1 for 7 in loss to Phoenix,
1 for 3 in loss to Portland.

The point is, there are only two Lakers you can expect to
have a great game EVERY game: Kobe and Pau.

The rest of the team are good enough that if any 2 or 3 of
them have a good game, that's usually enough to supplement
what Kobe and Pau produce.

So get off of the bench mob's back. They're going to be good
enough to win a championship, and probably more than one.

Hold on... hold on... WHY would we want to start Adam Morrison?

This sounds like crazy talk to me.

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

GO LAKERS!

Taliq,

>>>. now Ariza has that opportunity and the difference is
>>>clear ... besides his skin color, I really dont see what
>>>Luke brings to this team ... yeah i said it

Well, at least you're man enough to admit that you're a racist.

12 points from the bench isnt good enough. Playing Adam with the bench isnt good enough, If we start Adam maybe..just maybe that will get him rolling. Then back to the bench to help a much needed group.

GO LAKERS


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