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If There's Something Strange In the Lakers' Neighborhood...

No_zone Who they gonna call?  ZONE BUSTERS!!!

Similar to Ray Parker Jr. and your garden variety ghost, the Lakers ain't afraid of no zone defense.  But a lack of fear doesn't mean they necessarily react particularly well to them, as evidenced by last night's fiasco when Dallas busted out the look.  A 107-100 win was the end result, but as we noted last night, it didn't come without nails bitten down to the nub.  Said Phil Jackson, "When the zone got sprung on them, they had that hesitation and you end up shooting nine three-pointers that didn't go in.  That was a loss of focus, because they lost that first function of basketball, and that's penetration." 

NBA ain't heavy on zones, so when teams go there, it's often viewed as one rung above a white flag.   "After playing man to man so many games, so many years in the league, so many seasons, that's what you get used to," noted Lamar Odom.  "Usually when a team plays zone, that means they can't match up against you.  We take that as a compliment."  But receiving props is pointless if it's a potential loss omen.  As Kobe Bryant noted, the Philadelphia 76ers, who just happen to be the Lakers' guest tomorrow night, play a little zone as it is, much less "as it will be."  If they saw any of the game last night, they'll say why not try it," shrugged Pau Gasol.  Thus, folks expect to see more tomorrow, and the Lakers spent much of today's practice working their system against it.  Time was accordingly practicing attacks on the seams, how to best move the ball and end up in the right place, etc.

"Zone offense," LO quipped.

So how to go about crushin' the ol' Z?  Depends on who you ask.  Even though the zone is meant to goad outside shots, avoiding the trap doesn't necessarily equal a complete failure to launch.  "I always love to play against the zone," smiled Sasha Vujacic.  "The Zone coming out, my eyes start to shine a little bit, because that's a gift for every shooter."  And there's always a need to move the ball inside (especially with Gasol fresh off a 10-10 first half), Kobe also felt it was important not to overcompensate.  "You don't want to force it, so if the defense takes it away, we have enough weapons that we'll make them pay.  That's the same thing I do (in games).  Three guys (defending me), I just move it.  You make them pay.  Eventually, you get single coverage and that's when you bust them up."

Then again, you still want to avoid losing sight of a seven-foot focal point, especially with very little falling from outside.  "We definitely lost the three point contest," Pau Gasol dryly noted, before offering further detail of the problems.  "We just settled too much, way too much, with the jumpers, and we didn't penetrate the zone.  We didn't attack the zone.  We did not move the ball well enough to be able to break that zone down and take advantage of it." 

(I found Pau's use of "advantage" interesting, the inference being that even as an unfamiliar look, the zone is there to get exploited.  As PJ also noted, "it's one thing to say (zone).  It's harder to play it.") 

I asked Pau if it was particularly tough for him to watch that struggle as a big man not being fed and more or less powerless to change it.  (Dude can't make a post entry to himself.) Yeah, pretty much.  "I've been very familiar with zones and I know that one way very effective to break down a zone is to go inside out and move the ball.  Put it inside in the hands of the big man and then kicking it back out.  The shooters will have much better looks. But it didn't happen that much on that stretch of the game.  That's why it was a little frustrating.  We weren't converting.  We weren't making shots.  We missed a lot of threes and they were taking advantage on the other end, attacking and being effective when they made that big run.  It could have cost us the game.  That's why I was a little bit upset."

On a completely unrelated note, the most interesting play of today's scrimmage came when Sasha and Josh Powell were running down a loose ball heading out of bounds.  Sasha got there first, then tried bouncing it off Powell to retain possession.  Instead, JP turned the tables, stuffing it back into Sasha, who couldn't hang onto it.  You don't see a sequence like that very often.   

And by the way, I forgot Ray Parker also wrote this song.   I used it love it back in the day. 

AK

 
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repost!

In light of the fact that Sasha has sucked of late---yeah I admit it :-(

It's time to break out the...

SASHA BREAKOUT BANDWAGON
1. Faith

Who wants to join? Worked last year so why not? haha.

well, Gasol had a brilliant first half. regardless if he was fed or not later, in the 4th he fumbled some balls and i guess had like 3 turnover in a row. also dribbled the ball off his foot.

there is something called editing.

i'm tired to see/read interviews with both luke and LO when both of them play bad, but r the ones who give the speeches and how and what they have to do to improve.

JUST DO THE WALK

the sad part is the writers and bloggers who even let these comments to be posted, to create a new thread. how long we have to follow Luke & LO in their "INSPIRATIONAL" speeches campaign. i thought that in the NBA we have players. they sound more like politicians. and like politicians they have great IQ. :)

i want to join, Faith. Sasha breakout bandwagon.
i always thought sasha plays with his heart.

Go LAKERS!

I'll join the bandwagon, Faith.
Even though Sasha's twitter updates are really boring (am obsessed with twitter atm).
Machine just needs a little readjustment.
Anna

SASHA BREAKOUT BANDWAGON
1. Faith
2. Isang

Thanks for joining Isang!

Greetings Lakeshow Fans,

I must agree with Pau's assessment regarding the offensive approach in handling zone defenses.

Pau, being a seasoned Euro player, KNOWS how zones work...They are meant to bait teams into 24/7 JUMPSHOOTING...

The KEY to breaking down the zone is to feed the ball into the post area. This would FORCE the zone to MOVE and REACT...Therefore, better OUTSIDE shots in the perimeter are available, especially on the soft-side of the zone (vacated temporarily by the need to STOP the ball in the interior)

The Dallas game proved that jumpshot "happy" teams tend to lose games. In this case, lose FOCUS (as our lakers did)! For the most part, Dallas IS primarily a jumpshooting team that struggles against teams with outstanding individual defenders.

The Lakers strongsuit I feel this year is their inside and mid-range game lead by Gasol and Bryant respectively. With Bynum coming soon, the Lakers are a team that is loaded both in the INSIDE and OUTSIDE game...

I suspect that once Bynum returns, his presence, whether rusty or not, is going to help the second unit on the defensive end and rebounding. This will allow guys like Farmar and Vujacic to RUN in transition to their sweet spots...Whether it's Odom or Walton coming from the bench as well along with Bynum, there existswithout question "legitimate" scoring threats all over the floor.

So far this year, teams have done a pretty good job of scouting these guys (parricularly farmar and Vujacic) without the benefit of Bynum. This is why the bench has been pretty LIMITED this year in terms of their AGGRESSIVE nature offensively.

Like LakerTom says, "The BEAST is the key!"

Believe me, Bynum will CHANGE that situation playing with the second unit. The Lakers have already proven their effectiveness with Gasol at center and Odom at PF...

The BOTTOM LINE: The Lakers have a whole lot of WEAPONS at their disposal!

As long as they CONTINUE to play with a sense of PURPOSE while UNDERSTANDING what's at stake, I see a REASON for the season come June...

Laker pride through ALL and ANY ADVERSITY!

Jon K,

When the Lakers win the title, that's when I'll say "ok we are fine".

Zone Defense

First off lets get this clear: most NBA teams don't use the defense. Lakers at first attempted to use it more but found out it's limitations and switched more to the Celtics defense of help defense coming and the double coming far away to help. Most teams don't use Zone because 1) It is weak against great passing teams 2) Against dribble penetration it is weak to the outside and 3) Defensive rebounding is goes down since there are less boxing out and that gives the opposing team more chance for offensive rebounds.

In Game 7 of the 1988 Finals commentators were puzzled why Riley did not use the trap defense as much even though it seemed to work against Detroit. Riley knew of it's limitations one of the reasons why in 1992 while coaching the New York Knicks he called the 1-2-2 defense "dinky".

Second the ways to beat the zone (from most effective to least effective, also could be argued as more difficult to do to easiest thing to do).

1. Ball movement (the triangle offense is actually great against these defenses)
2. Dribble penetration (might work might not)
3. Shoot over it (the least effective way).

Zone defense is perfectly designed against 1) Dominant Big men (mainly on those who has poor passing abilities) and 2) Pick and rolls when the penetrator is more likely to take it to the whole rather than pass it. Pau may have complained about not getting the ball but the zone defenses is designed to take away the pass to the big man, one of the reasons why Shaq back in 01-02 was annoyed by the rule changes since he could get doubled even without the ball. And 2) It works against guys who simply use a screen and roll and penetrate to either take it to the hole or pass it outward. At Cleveland, Lebron missed tons of makable shots near the basket even though the Lakers didn't have Bynum to alter shots. Against dominant big men and penetrating perimeter players zone works best against.

Puzzled viewer: Then why don't we run zone defense more??

Didn't I say already? It has its limitations! Besides most other NBA offenses aren't as simplistic as the Cavaliers who run basically screen and rolls for Lebron 90% of the time! Offense rebounding for the opposing team would go up also. It's actually amazing for Lebron to be quite successful with such a simplistic offense.

Besides which defense against Lebron was more successful the help man to man defense when Bynum was in or the zone defense? I'd choose the help man to man defense since it was a blowout in the end (17 point lead).

When the Mavericks used the 2-3 zone, the Lakers played right into it. Farmar couldn't get the entry pass into Gasol and instead of passing it around to get the ball into Gasol's hands he tried to penetrate his way and he was very unsuccessful since he can't shake off his defender well (which is surprising considering his speed) and is forced to use screen and rolls more which played right into the zone's hands. Luke also was unsuccessful in passing the ball as much. Powell was constantly covered and not moving around to get a pass to reduce pressure against the ball handler. And Sasha fell for it the most with him shooting long range jumpers that 1) Didn't go in and 2) caused long rebounds to go the Mavericks way and burn the Lakers in transition.

In summary for the Lakers to beat the zone next time they must run the triangle offense more efficiently to get better quality shots and make the opposing team pay for playing a zone. This will work 75% of the time and even if there is a miss, the chance to get an offensive rebound is increased because there is less boxing out by the opposing team. Dribble penetration is 50/50. It works great against the zone and helps outside shooters be free but only if they can penetrate the zone enough fast enough. If the zone collapses quickly then the penetrator will be forced to stop or if he tries to go to the hole will have a very difficult shot to make even though close range shots have a high % chance to go in. If they try to do what Sasha did and simply shoot over it, then they will face a similar fate that they did when Carlisle went to 2-3 zone. Shooting over it without dribble penetration/ball movement will work less than 25% of the time since there will be still some contesting of shots (not as much as man to man defense) and most times those balls won't go into the hole.

The NBA uses mainly man to man defense. It's in College (Howland doesn't use it though he should at times) and the international game that use zone defenses more. The Defensive 3 second rule makes Zone defense much harder to run overall than in college and internationally since the referees will blow the whistle more times for defensive 3 seconds than they had for illegal defense (Defensive 3 seconds is much easier to call since it is in just the paint while Illegal Defense was almost the entire half court). So most times the Lakers won't encounter it. When they do see it though, they should play to their triangle offense more instead of accepting the invitation to shoot over the zone. The zone will get busted by great passing teams. Showtime Lakers, 80's Celtics, 90's Bulls would have beaten these defenses so bad. (One of the reasons why I say the 80's/90's are much harder than the rules of today).

-KB Blitz

AK
YOU PLAYA YOU!
THE OTHER WOMAN?

I believe in Sasha

Hi Faith...

Sign me up for the Sasha bandwagon as well, please...
and add my wife, Cherish also...

I personally think that Sasha's main problem is that he hasn't learned to control his own tempo yet...makes it hard to feel the tempo of the game, and make adjustments...controlled chaos, as my old DI used to say, as opposed to just chaos...

Go Lakers

The facebook one isn't all that great either. But the youtube videos are good lol. Esp the beach one.

SASHA BREAKOUT BANDWAGON
1. Faith
2. Isang
3. Anna in Bondi
4. Chad

All right we're rolling along! Still taking passengers though lol.

Faith

Yeah.Im for the SASHA BANDWAGON!

BUST SOME THREES SASHA!!

"BUSTIN MAKES ME FEEL GOOOOD"

I will join Faith and Isang on the Sasha bandwagon. He should cut his hair and sell it in auction before the game tomorrow w/ Sixers. Beware of Iguodala, he's tiger on the loose, if Sasha can corral him to single digit production, that's success.

Faith add me to the sasha breakout bandwagon....just give him oily food and sugar then he'll breakout guranteed - or maybe not -tha pretty boy

Isang.... sheesh is that the Sasha breakout wagon or the sasha 'come out' bandwagon LOL!

Bustin' makes me feel good.

SASHA BREAKOUT BANDWAGON
1. Faith
2. Isang
3. Anna in Bondi
4. Chad
5. ChicNstu
6. Mr. Edwin Gueco

toot! toot! (train horn haha).

Because teams tend to gear their defenses around minimizing Kobe's opportunities, there is usually a bigger disparity between Gasol and whoever is guarding him, than there is between Kobe and whoever is guarding him. Pau's shooting what, 55% so far this season?

SO SEND THE FREAKING BALL INTO GASOL!! (Hey, I'm a poet and don't know it!) And then everybody else move without the ball. If he doesn't have a good shot, he will get the ball to someone who does.

If the opposition adjusts, then let Kobe be the focus.

SASHA BREAKOUT BANDWAGON
1. Faith
2. Isang
3. Anna in Bondi
4. Chad
5. christopher blake
6. ChicNstu (clever name by the way)
7. Mr. Edwin Gueco
8. Kiwi

(typo on the last one. Apologies mothership, K bros, Benicio.)

Faith - add me to the wagon, Sasha's been in a shooter's slump, he's about due.

i think tomorrow will be a good game. 76ers are a good team so we cant be easy on them. Kobe will have 40+

haha, i'll join too Faith. because as a player i can really relate to him too right now. =P

THE ARIZA FACTOR…

Phil Jackson’s decision to start Trevor Ariza has completely changed the dynamic of the Lakers’ likely lineup rotation once Andrew Bynum is ready to return as the starting center. Assuming that Ariza continues to thrive as a starter, this means Lamar Odom for sure will be returning to the Bench Mob when Drew is ready to return to the starting lineup.

Knowing how Machiavellian Phil’s brain works, you have to wonder if all of this switching starters stuff is just part of a pre-conceived master plan that he dreamed up one night while stoned on natural herbs and spirituality in some remote Montana Indian smokehouse. Seriously, it is very likely that Phil intended for Ariza to move into the starting lineup this year and has been grooming him all along, using Luke to keep his starting spot warm.

It would also have been embarrassing for the Lakers, Luke, and Lamar if anybody but Luke went back to the bench when Drew returned. Now, with one push of a button, Phil has left Lamar in the position where it is obviously in the team’s best interest for Lamar to return to the bench even though he would prefer and probably plays better as a starter. Hopefully, Lamar will continue to play well and Phil will reward him with starter minutes.

I have to admit that I was a little skeptical of the move originally because Trevor had not been playing well ever since he suffered that concussion but so far the move has been a stroke of genius as Trevor has used the opportunity to start to break out of his slump and has played extremely well. While I am sure he will struggle at times and may not shoot as well as he has, he has a definite chance to lock up the small forward starting position.

With all the talk on the blog about defense and the Bench Mob, think about what Phil did. In a single brilliant stroke, he not only solved the Lamar Odom dilemma but also went a long way towards solving the defense and Bench Mob problems. With Ariza starting, the Lakers defense is going to much stronger, especially when Drew is back to man the paint. Kobe, Fish, Trevor, Pau, and Drew are going to be a very formidable starting lineup.

As for the Bench Mob, nothing like getting back Lamar and Luke to solve their problems and get them back to being that killer force that actually increases rather than loses leads. Lamar, Luke, Jordan, Sasha, and Josh are surely the best second unit in the league and the talk again will be whether they could actually beat some other teams’ staring lineups. Once Bynum returns, the dominos fall and everybody can go back to their own positions, the roles that Phil had conjured for them well before the season had even started.

So it looks like next year’s starting small forward had become this year’s starting small forward. While I think we may miss Luke or Lamar’s ball handling and playmaking skills at times, I think Trevor’s defense, energy, and scoring will make up for it. It’s been a while coming but I think most of us are happy with the development. Phil is a genius. I think this move may end up being the move that locks the team into 10-player deep high gear as they streak down the stretch toward an invincible 16-0 sweep in the playoffs.

Lakers – NBA Champs,
Phil Jackson – COY.
Mitch Kupchak – EOY.
Kobe Bryant – Double MVP
Andrew Bynum - TNGLC

JMNSHBO!
DBFTT!

Tom

Add me to the Shsha bust out bandwagon. Remember Sasha, shooters always keep shooting and shoot their way out of it!

Faith,

Just as an FYI. We only post bandwagons once a day. We don't repost every time someone new joins. Space conservation.

Thanks

AK

To Faith:
Just bought a ticket on the Sasha Breakout Bandwagon. Can we meet in the dining car?

To Kambrothers:
Just want to assure you that your writing and management of the blog is highly appreciated.

OK AK. Thanks for letting me know.

Everyone you'll be added by the AM. Thanks for joining, and let's keep this going lol.

I don't understand the Lakers keeping ticket prices the same for next year. The Lakers sell out virtually every game(there may be some single tickets here and there, but am I supposed to go to the game by myself?) and the only way to get tickets are paying 10x face value on some scalper site like Craigslist or Stub hub. The Lakers business minds are a bunch of tards for selling something they could easily sell for 2-3x what they're selling it for. Maybe with the extra dough they would have been able to use the mid level this year or not give away Vlade. Vlade is a space cadet, but at least he's can shoot the 3 and stretch out the zone.

Also, ironically, raising ticket prices actually HELPS people get tickets for less. If prices are just high enough to prohibit scalpers(less profit and greater risk of having to "eat" expensive tickets), then there may actually be some tickets left to buy at face value. I don't think raising the ticket price at least 25% for next year would prohibit the Lakers from selling out almost all their games if they keep playing at this level.

AK


I wish you, BK, Gasol, and Phil would stop trying to make Gasol more valuable than he is. Gasol is exactly what we thought he would be.........a skilled big man that complements KOBE.......by being able to catch the ball and finish........THAT'S IT!!

Gasol is not a closer or a go to guy down the stretch.....accept it!! The Lakers DID go in to Gasol and I believe on two successive possessions he fumbled the ball and the other time he held on to the ball too long as Dallas guards got digs in the post.

As I have said many times before Gasol is the beneficiary of the double and triple teams Kobe recieves. Gasol is not the type of player that can put a team on his back consistently. In the second half of that game Dallas decided they would play Gasol a little tougher and as a consequence of the guards getting in their digs it left lanes open for Ariza and Kobe, both of whom came through.

Personally I thought Gasol held on to the ball too long at times when he did get the ball and should have kept it moving. The real problem is the combination that Phil had in the game at the beginning of the 4th quarter......and the fact that he stayed with that combo too long.


On another note I am getting increasingly tired of using the term "bench". The "bench" didn't play well..........Our "bench" needs to get better. That term diminishes individual accountability.........WHO ON THE BENCH SHOULD STEP UP THEIR GAME?

Josh Powell has been extremelly productive off the bench or starting playing excellent basketball when his number is called. Yesterday he played 16 minutes, pulled down 5 rebounds, was 2-2 from the line, played tough defense and had no turnovers.

Mbenga has been very active on defense off the bench and although he played sparingly yesterday in his 4 minutes he managed 2 points and 1 rebound.

Josh and Mbenga have both contributed off the bench because both play smart and more importantly........they understand their respective roles.


So instead of saying "bench" let's name names......JORDAN FARMAR, SASHA VUICIC, AND LUKE WALTON...... they were like the three stooges out there yesterday

Ex,

Pau's FG% while in general accurate take his time at PF when he was less near the basket. HIs FG% from both PF and C is 56.8%.

As PF: 55.1%
As Starting Center: 59.9%.

I'm not kidding. That is his FG% as a center. His FG% when he joined the Lakers were an outstanding 58%. None of the great PF (Duncan, Garnett, Nowitzki) had more than 55% from the field and with all 3 are primary post threats so they play like centers because their centers are not real post threats.

I agree with you Pau should be the primary post threat with scoring that much ppg with 59.9% from the field is impressive! Even considering his time at PF which lowers his FG% to 56.8%, that is ranked 5th in the league!

Even though Bynum will be better down the road Pau is in his prime and is more skilled than Bynum. Pau for now should be the primary post dude as he is a far excellent passer than well anyone on this team save for Kobe, Luke, and possibly LO.

-KB Blitz

Should Michael Cooper feel "slighted" because LA has not retired his uniform, and 4 players have worn #21 since his career ended?

No, not at all!

It`s par for the course. This is how the Lakers usually treat ex-players after they`ve "spilled their blood" for the team, and are no longer useful to the club.

Five players wore #25 {including Kupchak} after Goodrich was shown the door.

In 1983, ten years after Chamberlain retired, the Lakers issued #13 to the "great" Dwight Jones to wear for 32 games.

Shameful treatment!


I haven't really followed the 76ers but don't they like to get out and run a lot? I just read some thing on Thaddeus Young who says they like the new coach because he just lets em run and gun.

If that's the case, the Lakers should have an easy time considering they have the best offense in the league. Our fast break D is a little suspect though. Anything less than a blow out will be pretty disappointing tomorrow.

Lamar = Finals MVP

GO LAKERS

The Machine needs to get a badly needed tune-up. Sasha wake up and smell the napalm buddy, we are at war for playoff home court. But I can't put all the blame on Sasha alone I'm also going to blame it on the wig that he's sporting. Maybe by cutting or trimming his lettuce he'll start shooting lights out and once again become the Machine that we all love to watch go to work.

Pfunk36,

"AK, I wish you, BK, Gasol, and Phil would stop trying to make Gasol more valuable than he is. Gasol is exactly what we thought he would be.........a skilled big man that complements KOBE.......by being able to catch the ball and finish........THAT'S IT!!"

I imagine you're among the only people on the planet who thinks Pau brings that little too the table, but hey, you're entitled to whatever opinion/agenda you want.

"Gasol is not a closer or a go to guy down the stretch.....accept it!!"

Aside from you ignoring many big contributions in various games all season (Boston, Cleveland, etc.) and Gasol's ability as a closer has nothing to do with issues that came up yesterday in the late third/early fourth (not to mention zero to do with what I actually wrote), solid point.


"As I have said many times before Gasol is the beneficiary of the double and triple teams Kobe recieves. Gasol is not the type of player that can put a team on his back consistently."

Of course Pau benefits from having Kobe out there. When did I ever claim otherwise? Who wouldn't benefit from that? Do you plan on bringing up anything else painfully obvious that nobody would ever argue against to begin with? In the meantime, being helped by Kobe's presence doesn't take away from how much Pau helps the team- not to mention Kobe- in turn. I have no clue what your point is.


"In the second half of that game Dallas decided they would play Gasol a little tougher and as a consequence of the guards getting in their digs it left lanes open for Ariza and Kobe, both of whom came through. Personally I thought Gasol held on to the ball too long at times when he did get the ball and should have kept it moving. The real problem is the combination that Phil had in the game at the beginning of the 4th quarter......and the fact that he stayed with that combo too long."

Maybe he did hold onto the ball too long a couple of times and had a couple bobbles, but it doesn't change the fact that the second unit didn't look in his direction enough. And what was being referenced happened with Kobe and Trevor off the court, which again makes what you're saying totally irrelevant. Even if you think Phil stuck with that unit too long- and that may be the case- it's an entirely separate issue from the one being discussed.

Seriously, what was your actual bone of contention with the post itself? Do you disagree with what's being said about ONE way to help offset a zone? Did you take issue with it from a basketball philosophy? Or do you simply resent that badly people thinking Pau actually helps this team, since it cuts down on your chances to drone on about Kobe doing it all by himself, that he has no all-stars, etc. Whatever the case, you talked a WHOLE LOT, but didn't really say much of anything.

Finally, was that "bench" rant specifically directed at me as well, because I actually did call out Sasha and Walton- whom I felt were the two worst by far last night- in the postgame wrap. Or was that just a general lecture to the masses?

AK

Tom, you might be the last Laker fan in America who believes Drew will be in the starting unit when he returns. Phil's going to work his minutes in gradually, and he'll probably peak at 24-28 minutes per game. I can see the possibility of his starting if we play Boston in the Finals, but that's it...and I don't believe Boston will make the Finals.

Drew is going to come back with the second unit (plus both Lamar and Pau in the big man rotation) and destroy the opposition's backup center at both ends, forcing them into double coverage. This will lead to wide-open shots for our guards, wider driving lanes for Jordan and Lamar, and easy high post baskets for Pau. This Laker team will be a playoff juggernaut, just like the 2001 postseason.

ok add me up to Sasha's breakout bandwagon! cmon dude, you can do it..slow down!!

With all due respect to our dear friend, Faith, we need more than a Sasha Breakout Band Wagon. We need a Bench Mob Breakout Band Wagon. We need the entire 2nd Unit to pick up their game and fulfill their potential.

We all want Sasha to do well. I know he can. But he'll be even better when everyone on the floor with him is getting the job done. Basketball is a team game, and as the MVP demonstrates every night, there is no "I" in TEAM.

So, here goes the Bench Mob Breakout Bandwagon. I yield the driver's seat to Faith. I'm happy to ride shotgun.

I should clarify after reading my previous post that I don't believe Drew, Pau, and LO will play at the same time. I think it will be something along the lines of Pau 36 minutes, LO 32-36 minutes, Drew 24-28 minutes. Our second unit would consist of Drew, Sasha, Jordan, Luke, and Pau/LO. And if Sasha's ineffective, we'll see Kobe mixed in with the second unit at times.

DT - The Lakers not raising ticket prices is primarily for the season ticket holders who represent a certain minimum guarantee of ticket revenue for the year. We have to commit to paying for the entire season before it even begins and they need to ensure that we're going to want and be able to. We represent 75% (I believe) of the arena. Sure, you're going to get people willing to pay way over face value to make those few special trips to games but that's not the same as shelling out $1000+ minimum per year per seat and those are the people that the organization counts on for 50% of their revenue.

Kobeblitz,
Thanks; I hadn't realized his shooting was that much better at C than at PF. That just strengthens the case behind getting him the ball, and to a slightly lesser degree, Bynum, when he returns. (Not quite as good a shot, not as good a passer, tends to take too long to make a decision, but definitely improving in those areas.)

K Bros - Tonight I listened to both your podcast with Hollinger and the Lakers Insider show with Roggin on 710. Thanks for providing the extra Lakers-centric content that we hunger for.

It's sad that there's still so much dead air on the Lakers Insider show. I don't know who is at fault but every segment ends with about 5-10 seconds of dead air followed by Fred thanking the guest(s) for coming on. Hopefully the show will find it's rhythm soon. The segment that I've come to enjoy the best is when Fred has Trudell on. As much as it's nice to hear the various guests' opinions, Mike is the only one who is speaking from the pov of someone who is around the organization constantly and who everyone doesn't have their guard up against (like they do against reporters). He gives some great insight into what's really going on with the team.

Here's a question. What the heck is up with A Martinez? The guy really has a weird perspective and comes out of left field with some of the things he says. Tonight he asked if the Lakers would actually try to position themselves for a more favorable first round match-up. What?!?!? He said that maybe the Lakers should move Ariza back to the bench so they won't have to pay him starter money to re-sign him. He's just so "off" with some of the stuff he comes up with. I hope that 710 lives up to being the home of the Lakers next year. Right now, it seems a little like amateur hour.

Dude,

>>> Tom, you might be the last Laker fan in America who believes Drew will be in
>>> the starting unit when he returns. Phil's going to work his minutes in gradually,
>>> and he'll probably peak at 24-28 minutes per game. I can see the possibility of
>>> his starting if we play Boston in the Finals, but that's it...and I don't believe
>>> Boston will make the Finals.

It will depend on Drew, not Phil. If and when Drew really gets back to the level he was playing before the injury in January, there is NO way you can keep him out of the lineup. His play will demand it, just like it demanded that he become the #2 option after Kobe on offense in January. The only real question is what Drew will we get for the playoffs. I’m hoping it is the Beast. If it is, he will start. If he isn’t, then he will come off the bench. In any event, he will start out off the bench to begin. Where he goes then will be up to him. No disrespect to Pau, but the Lakers are a far better team with Drew at center. Pau will only start at center if Drew is not ready to go. Only a fool would think otherwise.

JMNSHBO!
DNFTT!

Tom

Something that was discussed on 710 tonight and is being discussed a little bit on here is the notion of whether players should start or come off the bench. It's been thrown around a lot. The most common names are Drew, LO, Ariza and Luke. But the pros and cons about whether someone should start come mainly from an assertion that I don't believe holds true - that starters only play with starters and bench players only play with bench players.

The only time the starters all play together guaranteed is at the beginning of the first and third quarters. The entire rest of the time it's a MIX of starters and reserves determined by foul trouble, fatigue, performance and match-ups. This isn't hockey. There aren't line changes. This will especially hold true during the post-season. My guess is there will never be less than 2 starters on the floor at any time other than garbage time. So, if LO comes off the bench it's irrelavent. He'll be in the front court with Pau or Drew at all times. You know why Ariza plays well with the starting unit? Because he's done it all year at various points in just about every game.

blitz,

>>> Even though Bynum will be better down the road Pau is in his prime and is
>>> more skilled than Bynum. Pau for now should be the primary post dude as
>>> he is a far excellent passer than well anyone on this team save for Kobe,
>>> Luke, and possibly LO.

There you go again, blitz. I thought we had put to bed the foolishness that Pau was a better center than Drew or more valuable than Kobe. The Pau lovers are more vigilant than ex in his most GHE days or Zakee when we had Smush. The Spanish fans act like it is a national insult if Pau is not always lionized and knighted. While Pau is not “soft,” he is nevertheless a finesse rather than power player and at times does or cannot respond appropriately to aggressively physical defense. It depends on the matchups.

Was it George Karl or Kobeblitz that claimed that the Lakers were a better team with Pau Gasol at center. Dunk, Layup, Dunk, Layup, Dunk! That’s Pau on defense at center. As for who should be the #2 option when Drew returns, look at the record in January when Drew was breaking out. He was the Lakers #2 scorer and option and was showing a power low post game that Gasol could never duplicate. If Drew gets back to the level he was playing before this year’s injury, Pau will have no option but to be the #3 option.

And remember, I’m the guy who told you Pau Gasol was #1 power forward in the game and your boy Duncan was the FORMAR #1 power forward in the league. But as Pfunk rightly contested, enough is enough with the Pau love. Call him 2a if you can’t face the truth, but he is not the center that Andrew Bynum already is at 21. He is a power forward. And will be the #3 option on defense. You don’t have to believe me. All you have to do is watch what happens when Drew returns. It will set the pecking order even for you.

Enough of the haterade on Jordan, too. You go way beyond criticism, blitz. You are treating a valuable key player on the team as if he were Smush or Kwame. Why do you guys always need a whipping boy? Dump on the Bench Mob because they can’t play like starters. Man, there is a reason they’re the Bench Mob. In our case, it’s because they’re on the way up but not there yet. In Boston’s case, they’re on the way down and trying to make a last grab at a ring. You’ve lately become unbalanced and voracious, my friend. How about some joy for a wonderful season and love for a great Lakers team, blitz?

JMNSHBO!
DBFTT!

Tom

Faith I want to join the bandwagon. Sasha's one of the reasons I make a point to watch Lakers basketball: he makes things REAL interesting.

faith,

sign me up for the sasha breakout bandwagon too! :)

oh yea Laker Tom,

Charlotte Game the Bobcats had layup after layup after layup too and where did *you* put the blame? "on the perimeter" players like Kobe, Walton, Ariza, Sasha yet *no* blame to Bynum. So why do you not do the same when Pau is guarding the post as well? I guess that puts double standard to Pau doesn't it? Oh wait I can also remember how Bynum's screen and roll defense wasn't as good and was part of the reason why the jumpers fell and you went off criticizing who dared to criticize that aspect of the game?

And truth be told Duncan is still the number one PF in the league. People say "father time has caught up to Duncan" well Duncan is still averaging 20 and 10 the Spurs are still the number 2 in the West without Ginobili. Even with Ginobili though they have no shot of beating the Lakers when Bynum was there.

And where was Bynum when he was outplayed by Dwight Howard? I was glad that Bynum did not wilter like Sasha and finally took it himself to stop making excuses for himself and come out like a man and took a better emphasis on defense.

Again Laker Tom, I love being a Laker fan but I'm not a Laker Fanatic. I don't go blindly and say that Pau Gasol is the number one PF in the league yet hasn't even accomplished what Duncan has in his prime or Garnett Or how that Bynum may have lit up the defensless Clippers and now he's a beast while an old man Shaq did the same thing against the Raptors who had Bargnani (not known for great defense).

And who was the one who bailed the Lakers (and Kobe) during that game in Boston when there was no Bynum and Kobe couldn't hit a pea in the ocean?

10-29 Kobe Bryant 26 points
10-14 Pau Gasol 24 points

At least two layups Kobe got blocked first by Garnett and one by Perkins and who bailed him out? Pau Gasol! And I remember well that because of my analysis video on that game. (I can show it to you if you wish).

In other words, Pau had the same amount of points as Kobe (2 less) yet required 15 less shots and only missed 4 in comparison. Now not saying Pau could have dominated against the Celtics by himself but the point is that fanaticism may make a person's view point different than what really happened.

In other words, Pau Gasol in that game disproved anyone who had thoughts about his "softness". He handled Garnett and Perkins just fine. And Pau handled 7'6 Yao Ming just fine and helped deny the ball even though Yao had 6 inches over Pau and could shoot over him quite well.

And I would still take Duncan over Pau in PF even today. Duncan who was able to hold Shaq for 6-16 shooting compared to 13-18 shooting against Pau. Jee the "best PF today" couldn't handle Shaq while an aging Duncan still could?

And yeah the Jordan haterade when I don't even do much criticizing of Jordan since that one time in December. I'm not the only one who feels that Jordan's game has gone down though:

"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."

Unlike Ding though I don't say "Farmar doesn't seem like a full time starter in the future" I still give him a chance though he is making the case less and less. At least I don't call Farmar an "idiot" or even say "Fire Farmar" like Dara does even though his/her Role player hate is so funny since it is pathetic.

In other words: I'm mild in comparison to others. You are targeting a starving dog when there are hungry lions out for Farmar's head.

I could understand though if it was Sasha and not Jordan.

Once again Laker Tom, but pardon me please if I remain a Laker fan who doesn't go all the way with the worshiping my favorite players which does include Kobe, Pau and Bynum. (The only dude who I would worship besides the one in my religion is Wilt Chamberlain). I know they can win the title this year I honestly do. Yet I don't let it go to my head and think happy thoughts 100% of the time.

And really Laker Tom, don't try me really for both our sakes. I don't have any argument with you but if you persist with the "layup dunk" argument that you give about Pau being at center I will bring up games where the same thing happened when Bynum was the center and yet there was dunk dunk layup layup drill.

-KB Blitz

Good morning Laker Family!

Well, what a way to start the day than with a Smush Parker interview where he dogs Kobe big time. BUT we all know we're not going to give it too much weight because it's Smush first, and second, the only guy willing to interview his is Boobie on Boobie's Bench. Completely hilarious!

http://tinyurl.com/c2ps7w

Love it when he says he's got some thing going on but doesn't want to give it away. Hahahahahaha

Smush....shut the Uck up dude...go play at rucker if they'll let you.

against the zone:

Move the ball, especially inside out (strongside guard to post, where a double team is needed causing the zone to react, then kick to weakside guard or strongside corner) and the zone has to move and eventually will get misshapen, creating openings.

Also 12 foot jumper straighaway is almost always a hole in the zone.

Ball movement and player movement will exploit the many holes in the zone and the lack of personal responsibility for players, who can move about and get "lost" by the zone.

nobody better be wearing that puke color today. I MEAN NOBODY!

Re Ray Parker, Jr.

I think he also sued Huey Lewis on grounds that the (rockin') tune "I Wanna New Drug" was a ripoff of "Ghostbusters." [Good luck getting those two out of your head. You're welcome.]

I'm not sure who won the lawsuit. I do think that, at least a little, we all lost.

Kobeblitz,

You're an intelligent and insightful blogger, but I do not understand why you are nitpicking so much right now. Yes, individual Bench Mob players have had some down games recently, but you are COMPLETELY missing the forest for the trees.

We are ahead of San Antonio BY NINE GAMES in the lead of the Western Conference. We have the best record in the league. Andrew Bynum will be returning soon. Overall, this team is healthy.

How can you be writing posts at this time which are primarily negative? Doesn't that seem a bit odd to you?

Enjoy the ride.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!

Please add me to the "Sasha Breakout" Bandwagon.

The kid's got heart.

The kid's got brains.

The kid plays defense.

The kid has an amazing shot.

The kid has energy.

The kid loves being a Laker.

The kid hates the Celtics.

The kid's got a great nickname.

What's not to like?

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!

In the spirit of Kobeblitz, I will nitpick a bit here.

I would like the Lakers to be winning by a larger margin, if only so I could see Shannon Brown, Adam Morrison, and {GULP!} Sun Yue get more minutes.

In the playoffs, who knows what could happen? We might need these guys to contribute.

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

GO LAKERS!

Sometimes Lamar Odom should just shutup... Seriously...

We all *think* he cares, but he speaks as if the way the Lakers play is 100% gravy and no improvement is necessary. Winners constantly improve. See Kobe B., See Tiger Woods.

This is the quote that I dont like:
" "Teams are going to go on runs and sometimes you give up a lead," forward Lamar Odom said. "We expect it." Then, after a pause, he added, "We kill them at the end of the game."

Give Up A Lead? You expect it? I'm not sure I like that "wilt to pressure" mentality. How about fight for a lead to the end? How about never let up on a team? How about counter good play from the other team with good play from yourself?

I dont like the mentality of "They are going to make some runs and get the lead, that's OK".

Maybe, he was mispoken. But giving up 15 pt leads should NEVER be in the cards.Let's talking about minimizing opposition runs and playing well throughout the game.

Only Lamar Odom.

damn, smush is a fool!
check out what that scrub is saying about Kobe:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=7adyWRtWoFM

Faith - Add me to the Sasha Bandwagon !!! Forever!!

And yet another celeb star falls out the competition with an injury. Dancing with the stars is quickly becoming the worlds most dangerous sport.

LakerTom,

"As for who should be the #2 option when Drew returns, look at the record in January when Drew was breaking out. He was the Lakers #2 scorer and option and was showing a power low post game that Gasol could never duplicate.'

Uh...this might be some of the most selective memory we've seen in a while. Yes, the Lakers were something like 5-1 when Bynum broke out. Unfortunately, you're conveniently forgetting we're an .800 team team with Pau as the best post option. Obviously, we're a better team when Drew is playing like that but the point is we're elite whether he plays like that or not.

And I seem to remember SEVERAL layup drills with Bynum on the court as well, most notably the Charlotte game which was in the middle of his breakout. I know you're a big Drew guy and hyperbole is your M.O. but to suggest that Drew's 20 games of excellent play mean he's more important than Pau is absurd to anyone who hasn't already made their decision before looking at the facts.

Good morning Mamba24 & morning CRUE!!

GAME DAY BABY!!!! Man - you gotta LOVE being a Laker fan!

Faith - I'm down with the Machine Breakout bandwagon. Anything for you - lol!

Let's go peeps - attack the zone - rest the starters in the 4th - bring out Shannon, AMo & Sun - sic Congo Cash on any opposer - WIN BIG - EAT TACOS!!!!!

GO LAKERS!

Faith, I'd like to join the "Machine must break out of slump of shoot" bandwagon!

Wow! I can't believe these Laker fans stating "oh Drew is the #2 option, or Pau will be #3 option...blah blah" and vice versa. Listen up Laker fans, why can't you guys cheer and support each and everyone on the team? Why do you guys individualized players as if one is worthy than the other? Isn't basketball a team game? Without Pau, Lakers won't be #1. Without Kobe, Lakers won't be the top dog in the league! Why can't you guys just accept that? When Drew gets back, he will definitely help the team. But cmon, Drew is a good player but nowhere near as skillful as Pau nor as basketball savvy. Any basketball lover can see that. Drew needs to prove himself that he can be consistent and productive for an entire season! Don't get me wrong, i love Drew but he needs to get a 100% healthy before he can get to be a starter again. I hope he does that this year!

Hey Faith, thanks for the extra title of Mr. but just call me Edwin w/o the title, not really that old, still young enough to keep up with the nutty people in the blog. As long as I'm younger than LakerTom, I believe I will always remain young. haha!

I would like to join also on Rick F. campaign on the bench mob bandwagon. We may have been critical of their performance lately in several threads, now we have to give them the chance to shine and prove themselves. We need every Laker to perform superbly in the playoffs, it is a team effort not reserve for only few outstanding players. The strength of a rope depends on the every fiber intertwined with each other, the support strings have a big role to play to hold on the inner part. It creates confidence, stability and creativity when all parts are working together as one. If Lakers have an effective second unit, Kobe, Pau and Drew as well as Odom perform the tasks assigned to them, then Phil Jackson becomes the "Archimedes of our time, he will say, give me a place to stand and I will move this team to the top of the world."

Pfunk:

To say Pau's game is only catch and finish is like say kobe is only a good freethrow shooter....

C'mon man that's ridiculous

What happens when a machine is malfunctioning?
First, we try the obvious, gently using minor adjustments.
If that didn't worked, we all, at least once in a lifetime used the plan "B", punching and kicking it to work.

Give Sasha some "B"!!!

GO LAKERS!!

I actually have a theory about the bench mob and why they
tend to give up leads.

If the Lakers get a 15 or 20 point lead, Phil will often put 5
bench players on the floor at once. At best he starts the 4th
quarter with 4 bench players and Pau or Lamar or Drew.
But the team that's 15 or 20 points down keeps their starters
on the floor (or more of them anyway), trying to get back in the
game.

For example, in the Dallas game, the Lakers started the 4h
quarter up 7 points, with 4 bench players and Pau. But
Dallas kept Jason Kidd and Jason Terry on the floor, along
with two good subs in Brandon Bass (16.38 PER) and
James Singleton (16.71 PER). And while they're pretty
good subs, Farmar and Vujacic are no match for Kidd and Terry.

So anyway, my theory is that the Lakers subs usually do
very well against the opponents' second unit, usually do
poorly against the opponents' starters, and usually do VERY
poorly against the opponents' starters if the Lakers have a
lead and it's the 4th quarter.

So it's partly talent level (Kidd+Terry >> Farmar+Vujacic)
and partly mental (Lakers bench thinking "what's the big
deal, we'll just cruise" and opponents' starters thinking ("If
we push really hard, we can get back into this game").

Corollary to my bench mob theory.

The solution is that in the finals, PJ can just shorten up the
number of minutes the bench mob plays and keep 2 or 3 starters
on the floor at all times.

That way the mental aspect will still be there ("we'll just cruise"),
but at least the talent level will be in the Lakers' favor.

Hey LakerTom

Great analysis, but using your 2nd team
of Lamar, Luke, Jordan, Sasha, and Josh

who plays center?


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