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Lakers 110, New Orleans 99: Feeling seven up, they're feeling seven up

I'm not sure that lighting does me any favors.

Anyway, the breakdown, plus heaps of video, is below...


Three Good: 

    -Andrew Bynum: One sign a player had a good night? Part of his postgame interview centers around trying to figure out exactly what went wrong on his one miss from the floor. After a little searching, Bynum as able to remember the one miss in his 10 attempts. "Oh, it was a jump hook! And you know what happened on it? It was short, because I didn't come on (with) balance. I stepped too far across, and had no lift. I had my right foot in front of my left, instead of being parallel to the basket." And there you have it. The final line- 21 points, nine boards, three dimes in only 33:44 of playing time, was obviously productive, but I also liked the way Bynum moved aggressively on the screen and roll at the other end. There were breakdowns at times (Phil Jackson notes as much in the video below), but clearly Bynum is making a more concerted effort to be active in that aspect of the game. It's the sort of thing that'll help him earn more PT in late game situations, or at the very least make PJ feel comfortable with the possibility.

    -Derek Fisher: Seven assists in 24 minutes is certainly nice, but the five steals indicate how active his hands were. Fish stepped in front of passing lanes, knocked balls loose, was credited with a blocked shot, and did a decent job using his strength against the lightning quick Darren Collison. NOH's rookie PG still managed to score 20 points on 7-14 shooting, but also had four turnovers to go with five dimes. Overall, Fisher's game has come around in the last couple weeks after a brutally slow start. He's directing traffic well, starting to knock down perimeter shots with greater consistency, and has played a major part in the run of solid defensive games thrown down by the purple and gold (seven straight wins, seven straight games where the opposition failed to crack the century mark).

    -Kobe Bryant: With Gasol back, Kobe has done a great job exerting influence without consistently needing to do it in the most overt way (scoring). More Michael Corleone, less Sonny Corleone (which, by the way, also makes Kobe far less likely to be gunned down at a toll booth by Barzini's goons). As it was against New Jersey a couple nights back, Kobe had the range from the perimeter, found creases into the lane, and set up his teammates effectively. Best of all, he sat down for good having only worked just over 32 minutes.

Incidentally, Ron Artest also had a nice game. 16 points on 6-8 shooting, in only 27 minutes. He continues to improve over the early weeks of the season. Jordan Farmar had some strong moments, as did Lamar Odom, who finished with eight boards and six dimes in only 24:31. (LO also suffered from some wonky shot selection when he hung out at the perimeter, but clearly wasn't passive all night offensively, because passive people don't do this:

Poor, posterized Hilton Armstrong.


One Big Issue (Depending On Who You Ask):

If any sticking point prevents John Q. Laker Fan from getting "Repeat" tatted across his or her chest during this dominant stretch of victories, it's a trend of fourth quarter leads decreasing as the Laker bench is emptied.  Tonight was no different, as the Hornets managed to chop an eighteen point lead down to eleven over the final five minutes and change.  PJ said after the game that he would've kept the reserves in no matter what, emphasizing a theme consistent with The Zen Master's career.  Bail out plans may suit the government, but not his coaching approach:

    "I was going to suffer the consequences tonight," insisted Jackson.  "I thought it might be a 10 (point) game with two minutes to go, and it ended up being an 11 point game and we stayed at that level for the rest of the game. That is the area that gets to be tenuous, but I thought one way or the other, they've got to take responsibility for it, that crew that was out there... That's surely a teachable moment, a loss is, for sure. But there's a responsibility for what your actions are, too, that's important for guys to have to take some credit or responsibility for how they play."

Given that Laker fans often- and by "often," I mean "always"- expect perfection from their purple and gold, there's been predictable grumbling of late over the reserves' inability to maintain big leads.  It is important, however, to frame the issue properly, which hasn't always been the case from where I'm sitting.  To me, the question isn't so much the second unit maintaining leads as the third.  When Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar and Lamar Odom- the Lakers' true "bench," for all intents and purposes- have taken part in meaningful PT, they've generally kept the pace established by the starters (and it helps, of course, that they're playing with starters).  When tonight's lead evaporated, Farmar and Brown may have been on the court, but they were joined by Adam Morrison, Josh Powell and Sasha Vujacic, all inserted cold into the action.  With all due respect, HUGE difference.

As I stated during Monday's practice report
, I'm not all that worried about those guys being able to hold down the fort in truly critical moments, because they're not gonna be asked to do so.  But even if you don't agree, some slack probably needs to be cut, because what they're being asked to do isn't very easy.  Asked if the issue was confidence, Kobe immediately shot down that notion:  

"I don't think so.  I think finding their identity is going to be.  It's tough coming off the bench, getting sporadic minutes here and there.  It's tougher than it looks.  But they'll figure it out.  They figured out last year.  They'll figure it out this year." 

Farmar expressed similar sympathies about the "degree of difficulty factor" in play, noting how the third string was matched up against Hornets in the rotation, which gave the latter party an advantage of already being part of the game's flow: 

"The (Lakers) who are put in the game sit down for three hours and then get into a game, where (the Hornets) the whole time they're in a rhythm, they're trying to come at us, they're trying to get their stats up and all that kind of stuff. We're trying to play a system where it's not like you can just spread it out and go by them like they do us, but we're trying to work together. Missed timing here, missed timing there, the shot clock's against us, we take a bad shot, they run out. It's definitely a lot tougher than it (looks).

In practice, we beat the first team every day. I'm just playing-- but we beat them some days. It's really competitive. The starting five are the world champions. They're the best five in the world, so if we can compete with them and beat them on occasion, we should be able to handle (late minutes) as well. We just have to continue to play for each other, get comfortable, and try to get the guys who just get into the game to go up and down, get into a lather, and then make the right plays."

Bynum's take felt a little more "tough love," but probably wasn't without merits.  "They really gotta start running the triangle more, getting organized.  That's a big issue."  Granted, it's considerably easier to make the offense hum with the team's most talented players and two seven-foot focal points, but when during troubled times, there's a reason "bread and butter" is often a recommended meal. 


Interesting Quotes:

PJ, on the rotation: "We have a really good eight man rotation that's going right now. We have to figure out how to get a nine-man rotation in there, but it's working at this level. Usually we like to get at least nine guys in the rotation to keep everybody hungry and active to play good basketball."

Jeff Bower, Hornets coach, on why it sucks to have to play the Lakers: "Their size and the quality of their size and the depth of their size is a problem for every team. It was a problem for us. Their deep post ups were hoard to handle, they were big factors in the free throw differential, which was a huge thing to overcome."


Kobe, on the winning streak, goals, and tacos:

PJ, on the bench taking responsibility, and evaluating the game:

PJ, on Farmar's growth, getting starters rest, and having the W.C.'s best record (the lead question asked about JF using clock late in the game, rather than looking to find more points):

Odom, on the winning streak, beating lesser teams:

Shannon Brown, on what the reserves need to do late in games:

Comments () | Archives (35)

The comments to this entry are closed.

I agree pretty much. No doubt the bench at the end sucked on a galactic level, but given the fact that LO and Farmar were out, I won't lose any sleep over it. However, I hope Phil will torture the bench in the amount they deserve.

watch out for the game against miami on friday. lakers have not won a game on friday this season.

@peter tang: but they've never lost a game with Pau this season as well!

Wonderful article.
Indeed it's like you stole all my thoughts about the game (just that you write 10000000 times better than I could ever afford to about these things), and also those thoughts came all in line and listed exactly like I would have listed them.

Yes, I also thought Bynum did an excellent job tonight. That's exactly how I look forward for him to be, not only about the statistical merits, but - most importantly - about committment and the strategy of the game.
Good day, Beasty Boy. Good Day. The Vision is right there to be shaped from your eyes.

I'm also happy for Fish. I know there's always controversy about him... but that is some piece of controversy I won't be likely to join anytime soon.

I LOVE PJ for what he said about keeping it up with the bench tonight, no matter what.
I SO agree: we have to build up all people for the playoffs. It's a long term thing and we can't baby-sitter kids. We have to test them give them their strenght of responsabilization, and just make them feel part of the team, cos they MUST if we want to win.
82 regular season games, plus the All Star ones (ehi!!! Pau GOTTA BE IN .. don't fool me now...), well, we have to be smart and sharp about using our energies and build up confidence.

Always remember that the goal isn't the regular season: it's the RING.
I'd rather take some slap in the face during regular season, work on it as a team and then be a juggernaut in the finals rather than have zero trouble in the regular season and then a BAD, very nasty surprise as the playoffs sneak in.

I believe everything comes to perfection through a rollercoaster of things. So let's face them and let the Bench Mob burn itself when it's time to.

Ah.. of course from all this reasoning I wasn't meant to be referring to Sasha.
To me he's not anymore dignified to be a Laker and as I made it clear during tonight's live game's chat (morning for me) I am ready to diss him every single time. I smirk and evil-ish laugh out when I take into consideration PJ's attitude toward him now. Totally spot on.

Make him feel like the waste he has chosen to be.
And then throw him away as soon as possible.

Anybody who doesn't feel committed to the Lakers (especially when we're not speaking about out of league players, you know.. but even in that case actually) doesn't deserve our love, nor our compassionate support in hard times. Because WE ARE committed to the Lakers, and we know what that should mean in somebody's heart and mind. Sasha has none of it, and it showed tonight as well.

Roll on to Friday. Wow... I will attend Muse's gig in Turin and then roll on my hotel room to catch the Lakers. It's gonna be fun. Ad most importantly.. test-mattering.

Let's go boys ;) Show us what you're up to.


I certainly agree that Shannon and Jordan are developing and looking a lot better as this season gets going. Add LO and you have a good eight-deep.

I also think PJ is right that it would be nice to go nine, and I haven't seen anybody looking like #9. And we all know there will be injuries over the course of a season. Someone, Sasha or Powell most likely, will have to play some real minutes at some point.

My problem with the scrubs (and I have always called them the scrubs, I know this is third string) has been that they get beat largely on hustle, not precision. It is giving up offensive rebounds that has been largely responsible for the incredible shrinking leads, from what I have seen.

Oh, and they are playing the other team's scrubs. They haven't been playing the starters or anything.

And yes, I know this is a high-class problem. I'm not stupid. How a team protects 15-20 point leads in the fourth quarter is a nice issue to have. This team is playing at a very high level.

But PJ needs to know he can pull his starters with six minutes to go and a 20 point lead.

I worry about Tex's health, watching at home and seeing basketball played such the wrong way.

This has been a great run. Pau is back. Artest is finding his way. Fish is playing very well. Bynum is doing what he needs to. The focus on defense is there. Time to start playing real teams and get a real measure.

Tom D.

Getting Luke Walton back should stabilize the Lakers bench. It's his brains that have kept him on this Laker team during these slow/injured last couple of years. He helps keep the offense spread which results in good shots. He plays decent defense on the other end of the floor. I'm not too worried about the very end of the Laker bench giving up leads in garbage time at this point in the season. I do like how Philly-Faddle was going to let them win or lose the game last night.

I can't wait to see the Lakers/Cavs game. Ron Artest is going to make life tough for Lebron.

Free Sasha.

Good morning,

First, props to AK and BK for a spot-on breakdown and analysis above. Just as important, the coach and the players all said the right things for the cameras. Comparing this group with units of the recent past, it's clear how far we've come from the days when critical minutes were eaten up by VladRad, Brian Cook, and Kwame Brown. Sooner or later, when Josh Powell, AmMo, and Sasha are inserted for 4 or 5 minutes at the end of a game, they'll figure out how not to squander the good work by the rest of the team.

Again, Tuesday night's game chat was also a thing of beauty. BK's reporting on Jeanie Buss taking photos of fans with Khloe Kardashian speaks volumes about how closely the Lakers are tied to the Hollywood mystique. The side topics, some of them chatted in French, reveal a group of dedicated sports fans who defy the conventional wisdom about one dimensional interests.

Moving forward, the #1 job of the players on this team is to stay healthy. The juggernaut is building steam game by game. It's a beautiful thing to watch. Go Lakers!

One reason i think we tend to lose our 4th Q leads, is because @home, no opposing team wants to be taco'd . . .

Look how hard the last two teams were trying not to be taco'd.

I agree that we need to have a deeper bench for the regular season. Once the playoffs begin I think an 8 man rotation is fine, especially with the versatility of so many of the players. Kobe, Gasol, Artest, Odom and Brown can play more than one position. I think we mostly need a quality back-up at the three spot. Maybe when Luke gets back, it will help. It would be nice if Ammo stepped up or Sasha. Powell and Mbenga seem to do fine with extended minutes in case of an injury to one of the bigs.
No worries...for now.

Run the triangle? Do you need to run the triangle with 20 pt leads, especially with third string players who may not grasp its intricaces as a unit? Maybe practice running out the clock instead...

After the game, on the previous thread, I had a short post previewing the next cycle of the Tiger Woods saga. This morning came audio of a voicemail left by Tiger, saying "My wife went through my phone and may be calling you"

And now, Tiger's first public statement, "I have let my family down."

None of this is pretty. But now that Tiger has accepted responsibility, may I suggest that those of you who've attacked the media for the message consider that only Tiger has let you down, too. It's not the end of the world. He's still the world's greatest golfer. He will continue to delight us on the course. And we will come to accept that the world's most famous athlete is also merely a man. Our fallen idols make each of us better in some unexplainable way.

So if Kobe is Michael Corleone, does that make Pau Tom Hagen?

AWW YA got my tix for Fridays game. Driving 6 1/2 hours to the game, hoping the blow out doesn't happen till about the 10th minute of the fourth.

I agree with John Morris. Once Luke Walton returns, Phil will have his ninth in rotation. With the exception of DJ and maybe, Josh Powel, the third string should be called, "the Expendables".

Free Sasha.

Posted by: troy | December 02, 2009 at 06:33 AM


The .99 cent bin doesn't mean free!


peter tang -

Yes they have won on a Friday this season -

Friday Nov 6th vs Memphis

It was the only Friday win so far out of 5 tries (including pre season) so the pressure is definitely on!!

FIsher's strong play seems to coincide nicely with Gasol's return.

"One reason i think we tend to lose our 4th Q leads, is because @home, no opposing team wants to be taco'd . . .

Look how hard the last two teams were trying not to be taco'd."

What does that do to the opposing teams confidence as they enter Staples Center?

Knowing that they will not be playing for a "W", but will be playing for tacos.

Teams will give the Lakers huge leads in hopes of playing the scrubs in the 4th and denying tacos to the Laker faithful.

Hey, one more time. Lets give Jim Buss props for the Artest/ Bynum moves. I know Ariza looks like an all-star, but I'll take Artest and his sponge-like desire to soak up all the dirty work on the team. We needed the Artest personality more than we need Ariza's outstanding finesse game.

And what's up with Bynum's hook shots? They aren't quite at Kareem's level of beauty, but they're pretty darn effective. Every game I see Bynum play--at 23 years old nonetheless--makes me feel better and better about this franchise. We almost had Sean May, guys. And even Ariza's play says something about our Lakers. He was a toss away that we got for two average roll players, but under the team's tutelage and medical supervision, he was repaired, redesigned and made into what he is now. This says a lot about this wu-tang school of west coast basketball that is the LA Lakers. Or are they Shaolin?


Troy you say Free Sasha, I say Free the Tacos!


Comments on last nights game and the bench, #1 is the issue of the total inability and or desire of the scrubs to feed the post and RUN the offense. For the majority of the fourth, Bynum was out there, having shot 90% from the field, but looking like a 7 foot ornament, while Farmar, Brown, Sasha and Morrison jack up long range contested shots, shots with long rebounds, that give the other team a fast break. #2 Blown defensive assignments and turn overs by the scrubs. #3 Missing Walton hurts, because although Walton has his faults, running the triangle and feeding the post are not two of them. In the large scheme of things this does not matter that much, In the playoffs, the rotation will tighen, it's just that we would prefer 48 minutes of pretty basketball to 36.

"So if Kobe is Michael Corleone, does that make Pau Tom Hagen?" Posted by: Ophelia

Does that mean that Phil is just as much a father to Pau as he is to Kobe? And how about Sasha as Fredo? Ya know - weak and stupid. (Oh, I kinda hated to write that, it feels so mean, but it was irresistible.)

"Leave the gun, take the canolli."



"With all the weapons this team has, imagine what they would look like with someone like Magic Johnson orchestrating the show.

Magic was never threatened by the greatness of his teammates, he thrived on it, because their own greatness gave him the opportunity to shine even brighter himself. Kobe? Well, it's a very different story."

With Magic, Odom would have been 3 time all-star already. With Magic Bynum and Artest will be all-star as well this year. Kobe is just not cut out with making teammates better, but he does win championships and the Coach plans the way he plays..

Jordanaires, Kobenaires, Magic's teammates. Simply said.

With Jordan and Kobe, role players get good oppurtunities (chances) because they command so much attention which is part of the game plan by Phil, but not the same way Magic make his teammates successful.

Kobe Bryant modelled himself obviusly with Michael Jordan. Nothing wrong with that as he is just the greatest player ever. But, Kobe could have chosen to model himself with Magic Johnson, would have not been bad either.

Charm ... Jordan had it! Magic had it! Kobe does not have it, that is why there are so many haters.

I know, Mamba. Here's the transcript:

Ron Artest, the often-controversial Los Angeles Lakers' forward, told a magazine interviewer he used to drink alcohol at halftime of NBA games.

"I used to drink Hennessy ... at halftime," Artest said in an interview with The Sporting News, which is publishing the story in its Dec. 7 issue. "I [kept it] in my locker. I'd just walk to the liquor store and get it."

Hennessy is a French cognac.

Artest said he drank while he played for the Chicago Bulls, where he played for his first three seasons (1999-2002). He has since played for Indiana, Sacramento, Houston and the Lakers.

He was a member of the Pacers when he was involved in a fight in Detroit that spilled over into the stands. He was suspended for the rest of the 2004-05 season, which turned out to be 73 games. Artest told the Sporting news that the brawl "wasn't my fault. ... I don't see anything I could have done different."

Artest told the Sporting News that he has tamed his admittedly wild lifestyle, but still likes to "party and I have fun."

"When I was a 19-year-old father, whew. I was a single pimp! I was wild," he told the magazine. "A lot of marijuana and alcohol -- even before [that age]. ... I [still] party and I have fun, but not like I used to. I used to drink every night and party every night."

He also criticized NBA referee Joey Crawford, who was on the floor for two games of the 2009 NBA Western Conference semifinals. In Game 2, Artest was ejected after an altercation with Kobe Bryant. In Game 6, Crawford also officiated and the Lakers won 89-70 to close out the series.

"Joey Crawford basically said, 'Who cares about the Houston Rockets? Kobe Bryant is on the floor,' " Artest said, according to the Sporting News

This is fine. He's not drinking now. Now, he's in his Malcom X back from Mecca stage. He's a changed man.



>>> I know Ariza looks like an all-star, but I'll take Artest and his sponge-like desire to soak up all the dirty work on the team.

Amen. Beautifully said.

Oh c'mon Crazy Pills, keep your mouth SHUT!!

Is he trying to distance himself from Laker fans, especially with that Joey Crawford comment. Did he forget that Kobe is now his teammate??

Oh, and he plans to have his first boxing match in 4 years. Did he forget he has a 5 year contract?


RonRon, just focus!


Or at least so he thinks!! Way to keep pouring salt in his flesh wounds phil... Hahahahaha... Sorry still so amused by his comments still can't contain myself....

I think it's kind of touching the way the crowd cheers for Ammo whenever he gets the ball. It's not mocking him I believe. I think people appreciate his quiet demeanor and genuinely hope he succeeds.

Sasha, on the other hand....

Do you think Phil got on him after that dumb 3 pointer he took instead of running out the clock? He acts like the star guard that is being punished by the coach for missing practice by having him play with the scrubs. Guess what Sasha, YOU are the scrub. Play team ball please.

I can't help it ... I try but I can't ... I have a huge feeling for this Lakers team. It's so big it really don't matter when they do lose because it only makes me look forward to the next game more.
This is the first Lakers team I actually spend time looking forward to watching play, and enjoy watching play to the point where I am glued to the tube. And when I can't see the games live, I watch and read every report and account I can get my peepers on. I actually stay up or wake up to check scores when I can't get live reports.
The last time I have a love like this was when Showtime was in full effect but back then except for an occasional CBS weekend broadcast I had to track the team through the newspapers. Today I am hooked 24/7.
This is a very versatile team. It can run with the fleetest and grind it out with grittiest. They can beat you every which way and Sunday.
Every game a new wrinkle emerges. The entire team, players, coaches, officials, ancillary personnel and even the bloggers are special. I am even optimistic about the bench.
The ninth man in the rotation will be Luke, and even his critics have to admit that he's proven to be a steadying influence. Sasha has lost his spot to Shannon Brown.
I'd like to see extended minutes for a squad of Bynum or Pau, LO or Ron Ron, Kobe, Shannon and Jordan against Indiana or Golden State ... I bet it would set some kinda of record.
It is important that there is a in game bench and a garbage time bench. The live game bench is fine ... it's the garbage time bench that's a problem right now.

BOY LIFE IS GOOD WITH NO LUKE... it has been absolutely stress free laker basketball.. No luke means complete and total domination... I know this coincides with gasol being back but don't anyone deny lukes absence is absolutely correlated with all our blowouts...

Without luke playing esp playing with our starters lakers seem to have no vulnerabilities for opposition to exploit. We're like a well oiled machine and the opposition is just completely demoralized knowing we have no weak links... lakers are taller longer stronger faster and bigger without luke

Luke is not there to take any minutes away from artest or kobe or shannon and our rotations are just crisp and airtight and even phils lookin like a genius now that he's not obligated to play his fav son

But I won't deny lakers would not be losing our big leads with luke... He is still the undisputable king of garbage time and there's no way he would let our 20 pt leads with 5 minutes to play get away... Hahahaha

This is fine. He's not drinking now. Now, he's in his Malcom X back from Mecca stage. He's a changed man. wesjoenixon | December 02, 2009 at 09:32 AM


Come one now, how many of us don't drink at half time?
I don't see Pau as Hagen. Pau is as much muscle as he is brains. There really is no corresponding GF character for Pau, maybe Vincent Mancini from GF III?

lakerfaithful72. i am curious. do you mean you have been a laker fan since 72.? if so, buddie, there are two of us.
i also hope you are right about never losing with pau. i am just cautious; that's all.



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