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Caught in the Web: Breaking down a Lakers victory


The Lakers' 98-92 victory over the Orlando Magic certainly didn't lack story lines.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant shot four of 19 from the field, a problem that was partly traced to his already injured right index finger getting smacked early in the game. Lakers center Andrew Bynum missed the entire fourth quarter, suffering from a G-I bug that Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said resulted in him throwing up in the locker room.

And then there was the bench, led by Shannon Brown's career-high 22 points and Jordan Farmar's 11, a performance Jackson said was the reason why the Lakers won the game. Brown's performance capped off a big day in which he was  named to the NBA dunk contest ( should be plenty busy before All-Star weekend).

But the main story line of the game -- the first time the Magic faced the Lakers since losing to them in the 2009 NBA Finals -- didn't have the appeal you'd expect in a grudge match. Of course, this wasn't entirely unexpected. After all, the Magic losing six of its last nine games. And though the Lakers have been far from fully healthy and sharp (losing two consecutive games two weeks ago), they still have the NBA's best record.

More Lakers links (after the jump)

The Magic's performance on Monday only confirmed why not many were excited about this Finals reunion in the first place. Both ESPN Los Angeles' John Ireland and Fox Sports' Todd Behrendt doubt the Magic will return to the Finals this season.

--Brown's latest performance and dunk contest nomination provided the latest examples of how much he's grown with the Lakers, but the Orange County Register's Kevin Ding argues that Farmar may have a bigger role this season because he's backing up a struggling Derek Fisher.

--The Register's Janis Carr details how the Lakers paid tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, wearing gray- and-black MLK edition Kobe V Shoes.

--Though Jackson largely credited the bench for the win, Silver Screen and Roll correctly points out that the Lakers committed only five turnovers to Orlando's 12. "Even when you're not shooting well, that puts a floor under your offensive production."

--In Sports Illustrated's NBA power rankings (the Lakers are No 2 behind Cleveland), Chris Mannix cites league sources who say the Lakers have been active in trade talks in hopes of upgrading their bench.

Tweet of the Day: "Was walking behind Craig Sager and his crushed crimson jacket even had Kloe Kardashian staring. Too funny" -- DuranLA (710 ESPN's Beto Duran).

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at

Photo: Kobe Bryant tries to drive past Orlando guard Mickael Pietrus in the fourth quarter Monday night. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

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What's it gonna take for Kobe to rest and heal his finger???

He could easily have taken yesterday's game off, given himself a 6 day break, and the final score probably still would have been the same. Plus he wouldn't have re-injured it.

Honestly, his shooting is so off its painful to watch. I have nightmares about him playing the whole season like this and still having it not at 100% in the playoffs where we will absolutely NEED Mamba at full strength. Yesterday proved there are others who can carry the load in the meantime.

Bob Dylan had a line about "the warrior whose strength is not to fight." Kobe PLEASE give it a rest so you can be 100% for the playoffs and kick some Celtic (or Cleveland) butt when it counts!!

Since the "Vecsey Intrigue" was written, it seems that Bynum has improved a lot by leaps and bound, from a lazy dozy rebounder he became an active pussy cat but still a 22 year old pussy cat. There are about 50% here in the blog who go for the trade, it used to be 75% so it has greatly reduced because of his remarkable improvement. Therefore, if you continue lighting the pilot light, we get more gas, more heat from Drew's belly. Once we go back to spoiling him with too much carrots, the rabbit will go back to manana mode again of fouling, watching and just purely offense.

Having said that, we have to give credit where it is due. If the trade deadline is today, who is in his right mind will trade a productive Center? A Lakers' trade is always a cure not just for whims or fan dome, it is cure of a precarious situation either financially, athleticism or the need of the team as a whole. The General Manager should also prepare the teammates on the change itself, because it could alter chemistry, camaraderie, teamwork and self doubt. It really depends on what kind of trade? from Kwame to Pau is that doubt? It is celebration! from Vlad to Adam + Shannon? is that doubt? I say, it is discovery on Shannon and Adam remain as a project. Trading player becomes the management tool in curing contract imbalance based on performance. It is a great tool that creates fire in the midst of winter.

Mark, do we have any report out there on how many games Kobe will miss if he opts for surgery on that fratured index finger and also the pinkie ligament problem?

I'd say after Boston's game on 1/31, he should rest and let Pau, Drew, Artest and LO take care of the business of the season. Kobe should miss the All Star Game, we need a healthy Kobe during the playoffs.

With regards to those MLK black edition shoes.....they don't match with white socks, it should be black socks. At first, I thought LO was a grade school kid playing b'ball. Maybe purple and gold would match the uniform as well but with white socks, there is problem on contrast.

Gotta say...

I love the fact that Andrew was suffering from a "low energy level" and "G-I issues"... but that he still pulled down 8 boards in 21 minutes. I also thought he made some nice moves in the post last night (you can tell how much effort has gone into his footwork) - all positive developments after what I'd consider a fairly below par stretch through early January (particularly on the rebounding front).

One thing I do love about Andrew's performance this year: he may not make the All-Star team (and shouldn't, there have been better centers in the West, statistically), but he's shown the capability to not only play at an All-Star level, but also to truly dominate the post. That can only be a good thing in years to come. So, let the rumours fly; I can't see the Lakers trading Bynum, for Bosh or anyone else. And once his consistency picks up, and the kinks of the Bynum/Gasol tandem are ironed out, we'll really be on to something.

The really frightening thing is...

I don't think the Lakers have played that well this year (except for in brief stretches and 3rd quarter defensive lockdowns)...

and here we are... leading the league.

Very impressed by Shannon's play tonight, too. Not surprised, but impressed. And Jordan... actually played with not only some form of discipline (his decision-making has been quite good lately), but with his usual spark and energy.

Things are looking up.

On the GI bug, you posted a LOL Blog of the Kbros. Mark, are you getting a courtesy call from ex times mates on possible promo of their blog. Is there a remorse that they want to come back? Supposing they come back, will you be Conan or Leno?

You can't assume Kobe taking the day off would have resulted in the same game result. Scrapping Kobe from a game means it's one person(the best played in the team) the opossing team doesn't have to plan for. Kobe alters the game, even if he is having a bad shooting night because independent of that bad game, the opossing team will never stop guarding him with extra effort, because they never know when he will get hot and turn a game around.

Brown & Farmar were both sensational last night. Both added a much-needed spark to the Laker offense, both played tough D and caused turnovers, both hit their shots. It is these types of games that one can see the changing of the guard taking place - from D-Fish to the terrific tandem.

Still though, I'd like to see Farmar handle the offense a bit more effectively, on made I remember him waving Gasol up from the backcourt, who ran ahead to set a pick at the three-point line for Farmar, who ran around it and threw up a wild three-point shot. He does that a lot, at least once or twice every quarter he plays it seems, if he could limit those type shots and take the ones that either he can penetrate and get a layup or get within the flow of the offense then that would make him a more solid player.

Brown has been improving a lot of movement and playing within the triangle offense. He clearly recognize when the defense sagged off of him, and coolly hit those big shots he did in the 2nd quarter. His shot has for the most part been falling all year, his decision making is improving, his defense too. If the Lakers either use Farmar in a trade scenario, or lose him to free agency in the offseason, Shannon will cushion the blow by showing he can step in. He is still learning the point guard position, but the triangle doesn't need a 'pure' PG to run effectively. Shannon is quick, can break a team down off the dribble and has shown to be able to knock down a shot if the defense lags. Of course, he's got those incredible hops. Nice job by him and Farmar last night!

One last thing, didn't it seem last night when Vince Carter barely got touched and ran off the court, he may have been faking? The Lakers had made quite a run and he was powerless out there, besides he only hit one shot at that point (I believe), one that Artest had come off of him to double team in the post that left him open. He had been able to do nothing when Artest was on him. I think he may have some of that T-Mac injury overreaction-ism in his blood. I mean, they are cousins, maybe that type of thing just runs in their family tree??!?

Overall nice win, Lakers almost let it slip away in the 3rd quarter but I never felt that this game was in jeopardy. The Magic looked better with Courtney Lee, Rafer Alston and Hedo Turkoglu than they do now, Charles Barkley is nuts if he thinks they have a shot of coming out of the east if Boston is healthy - but that's a big 'if'...


SOME OF THE “Ol’ farts” posed the question and wondered about LakerTom: “LT is the best fair weather optimist blogger, yet he calls everyone not going with him as fair weather. He comes out only when the sun is shinning bright and Lakers are winning huge where Drew was the best player. When they're losing, he goes on hibernation, it takes a while to bring back to that blog sync post that is ingrained in his writings. Once he gathers himself, surely he is on the spot that the Sun is about to shine again. lol! “


LakerTom also known as BynumTom, adored and revered by his followers (Staples, #4, CornerJ, MM, Zaira, Nem... and many others and you know who you are!!) has once again retreated to Thyangboche Monastery in the wake of Bynum’s poor performance against superman Dwight Howard. As we speak LakerTom is seeking Truth and an answer that he can share with his beloved diciples. His adorning fans wait with much abated breadth, in silence and hoping that their teacher will impart wisdom upon his return from enlightenment. In the meantime these fans are left speechless and anxiously await their teacher’s return.

Thyangboche Monastery :

I wonder where all the super talk of battle between Bynum vs Howard has gone to?

Wasn't it Doug Collins who kept on saying that GASOL was the one who kept bothering Howard and not the Big Mouth?

Staples 24 out to be ashamed to be even comparing Dwight vs Bynum to Floyd and Pacquiao.

Gasol the Spaniard BEAST who keeps his game in stride while Bynum gets coddled around with a GI infection.


Laker Tom is one of the blogs best people and when he isn't smothered by his love for Bynum is one of the best analytical people next to Jon K. I really respect the dude for he and I agree on almost everything save for Bynum which is the only thing separating us.

Don't diss the dude man. He may be over his head over Bynum but he's one smart blogger.

If Howard can consistently hit that bank shot, he will really be a load to deal with.

KB Blitz:

Staples24 one of the blogs best people and when he isn't smothered by his love for Bynum is one of the best analytical people next to Jon K.

Don't diss the dude man. He may be over his head over Bynum but he's one smart blogger.

Just as you are smothered by your love for Pau.

Bynum held his own last night...Dwight got a couple of lucky bounces that he converted into easy scores and he hit a couple of experimental, unexpected jumpers. Then Drew got sick in the 2nd half and couldn't answer the bell for the 4th Q. Drew is an easy target, but his continued development is one of the keys to a Laker repeat.

- Shannon is slowly turning into this year's version of Ariza. We have to remember that the dude has been a Laker for LESS than a year, who is basically playing his first real NBA minutes of his career, while joining a team that is competing for a title. His ability to come through in this pressure packed environment just shows much mental fortitude Shannon has. Unlike certain players who rarely or never improve their game from year to year (i.e. Luke, Farmar, Sasha, Kwame), Shannon will continue to improve as his minutes increase. It's going to be a fun ride watching his game develop.

- This team would be in deep trouble if Lamar wasn't re-signed last summer.

- If you seriously think that the team would be better off without an injured Kobe, than you need to understand that basketball is about more than just shooting. Kobe's injury is obviously affecting his FG%, but he is still draws plenty of attention, which opens up the floor and gets easy buckets for his teammates. Kobe is also the coach and the play caller on the floor, as well as an all-NBA defender. I would like Kobe to rest and heal like many of you, but if Kobe and Phil think that an injured Kobe can play and help the team, than I'm going to trust their judgement. I think they've earned it.

With regards to those MLK black edition shoes.....they don't match with white socks, it should be black socks. At first, I thought LO was a grade school kid playing b'ball. Maybe purple and gold would match the uniform as well but with white socks, there is problem on contrast.

Posted by: Edwin Gueco | January 19, 2010 at 12:35 PM
I am also confused on the choice of home uniforms. My understanding is that gold is the regular home color, except when the home games fall on Sundays AND HOLIDAYS, in which case white (introduced in 2002 to honor Chick) uniforms are used.

Is that all you have to defend not trading Bynumb?
this guy was non-existant last year in the playoffs, got burned over and over again last night (sorry, don't buy the flu excuse)
He doesn't run the floor let alone get off the floor, he's injury prone and even experts like "The Logo" say Bynum and Pau are not a good combo. This has been proven regularly this season.
Noah has reach his potential? Here's a guy who has made tremendous improvement in 2 1/2 years. He is 2nd in the league in rebounding, a good passer and a high BB IQ, not to mention he has a championship pedigree.

How many times have we heard Nine Rings saying he wants Bynumb to concentrate on defense. Sounds to me like Noah is what PJ wants Bynumb to aspire to become.

Lets look at the Hinrich and Pargo, again "Get your upgrade upgrade"

So bring a little more thought to the debate about trading Bynumb instead of "the potential of a 22 year old" who has done little in this league besides getting injured and playing like he's making 1.5 million a year instead of 15 million.


Assuming you're a guy, don't you have man-love for Pau also?

Somewhere in the background, the extras in spain start chanting:

Spaniard! Spaniard! Spaniard!

There is only one Dwight Howard in the NBA and I think I mentioned he is the best ceneter in the NBA right now.

He uses his speed against Bynum, Drew will learn to counter that and use his length against Dwight.

It was pretty obvious Gasol was doing a better job of containing Dwight last night, so it is just proper for the Coach to keep him on him.

Every game has a plan to succeed.

In one game all you Bynumm bashers are already taking away all the positive things he did the last two weeks? What kind of a Lakerfan is that? Tell me.

How often is Bynum has been dominant in the paint, when the plan of the Coach is for him to get the ball everytime down low, like what Van Gundy did last night for Dwight.

Bynum could have done the same and having more post moves than Howard he would have given Howard problems as well. What was Bynum's field goals percentages? Is it 4 and 19? again tell me please.

Bynum, also seems to respect Dwight maybe even idolize him as shown how friendly he is to him after the game hanging and chatting with Howard.

Even with the game plan of Orlando ball down low in the first half, Bynum still did well on the other end. Just the call of the refs did not go his way at times. Like the block of Dwight on Drew, the ball was on its way down.

Well, Lakers won. I am happy. Gasol did well on Howard, I am very happy. Brown improving in front of our eyes, awesome.

Match ups, Howard is speed. Better match up for Gasol.
Perkins is rough. Better match up for Bynum.

This is why I keep saying Bynum, Gasol and Odom is the envy of the NBA.. Lakers strength is exactly this, the valuable interchange as the need arises for it to succeed.

This team is a delight to have all these options.

Go Bynum! Go Lakers!

What are you smoking? There is a reason Bone Head Baby Bynums doesnt paly in the crunch times when the Lakers need defense. To repeat is to repeat what happened last year. Bone Head sits and LO and Pau take over. Bynum plays no defense unless you call watching the center just shoot or dunk on him or the (cant stop counting) lay ups he gives up. Repeat. This Baby will be a Laker bust even in another 5 years!!!

PS. Bynum doesnt play well with Gasol because one plays defense, rebounds, runs down the floor and the other picks up stupid fouls, plays no defense, slow jog, and is a baby on the bench not even paying attention to the game so he can learn. BRING SHAQ BACK!!!

By the way I am not a follower of Lakertom. I had my disagreements with him as well. But it does not mean we cannot agree on other topics. But in the case of Bynum, I believe Bynum is already dominant in the offensive end at the age of 22. When he learns to use his length if the defensive end, what will you people say then?

Bynum's favorite player is Tim Duncan, he loves his fundamnetals.

Has Bynum improve year after year? Has his fundamentals gotten better?

Does anyone remember when he used to use only his right hand?

He has had two major injuries, has he come back better? Can you really call him lazy, getting back to form and performing well. How many times hes had double-doubles early this season? You talkin about TWO major surgeries?

Playing with a Gasol and Kobe, being the 3rd best contributor in the team. What else would you ask from him?

Remember Odom, we kept ex[ecting him to be no. 2, then no.3 , the no.4, in this team's production.

Bynum has already done that at the age of 22.

And you are not happy about Bynum? What's wrong with you?

lakerfan - you forgot to include me in the "old farts" who are fans of LT. I'm not sure why it would be considered wrong to be a fan of anyone's writing... especially given that this is a blog within a newspaper. Crazy me.

I have found the solution to a method of shutting down Bynum's Offense. Insert Farmer and Brown into the line up and his offense goes in the dumps. The joy boys don't know how to feed the post and don't seem to want to learn, no matter how it hurts the offense. They want to dribble around and jack up three's. They don't help Pao much either.
Also, the lakers don't cut off the post correctly. The purpose of the cut is to wipe your man off on the post, as done superbly by Orlando last night. When you wander thru the lane 6 or 8 feet away from the center you have no chance of getting a decent pass and shot.
Finally, I was a center in a small college with weak guard defense. It is discouraging to be continually attacked by guards knowing fouls will be called at the slightest touch by the mean big guy. So I know how Bynum feels when most of his fouls come on other guys men.


Here are some stats for you.

is averaging 11.1 points... up from 6.7 last year... a 39% increase
averaging 12.3 rebounds.... up from 7.6 last year... a 38% increase
averaging 2.3 assists... up from 1.3 last year...a 44% increase

is averaging 15.6 points... up from 14.3 last year... a 9% increase
averaging 8.4 rebounds... up .4 from last year.... a 5 % increase
averaging 1.4 assists..same as last year.. 0% change

Extrapolating, and taking into consideration a learning curve, and upper limit ... NEXT YEAR

Noah will average 14.5 points, 14.5 rebounds, and 3.3 assists
Bynumb will average 17 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists

The fact is, Bynumbs statistics have not increased with any significance over the past 3 years and with the exception of scoring, has decreased from 2 years ago.

Noah Noah Noah save us from the 3 year Bynumb flood

Enough Bynum talk. If I hear his name one more time for anything other than hustle on the court, I'm going to vomit.

But I do like the fact that mitch is looking to upgrade the bench. I'd make a trade every year if I were a GM. I just like the influx of new blood/ideas that a trade brings.


How many times have we heard Nine Rings saying he wants Bynumb to concentrate on defense.

Posted by: Troll Man | January 19, 2010 at 03:55 PM

Actually, that would be 10 rings, which is 10 more than you have. Get your facts straight before you start troll-ing here.


There's a new post up. I also forwarded to management your request to have a purple & gold background. I'll keep you posted on that.


Congrat Shannon

I'm hearing what sounds like a lot of excuses for Bynumb

1. There's not enough rebounds to go around
2. He hasn't fully recovered from his knee injury
3. If he got the ball more, he would score more
4. If he got the ball more, he would play better defense
5. If he got the ball more, he would hustle more
6. If he got the ball more, he'd be an All-Star
7. He has an upper respiratory problem
8. He has the flu
9. He's only 22 years old
10. PJ is stifling his progess
11. Kobe is stifling his progess
12. Pau is stifling his progress
13. The refs keep calling fouls on him that aren't really fouls
14. When Jordan and Shannon come in they ignore him

Jay Jay,

"What's it gonna take for Kobe to rest and heal his finger???"

Some injury that won't allow Kobe to walk.

Kobe will not rest his finger. I know that. You should know that. Laker Nation should know that. It's Kobe.

The only reasonable option is for all of us to find out Kobe's mailing address and begin sending him pints of Dit Da Jow as a useful suggestion.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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


Troll Man,

We're not trading Bynum. It's not happening. Stop harping on the matter.

Think big picture.

Sure, the kid's not Kobe. Who is?

But he works harder than Shaq. Is smarter than Shaq. And is more open to learning than is Shaq.

Is he immature? Yes. Does he lack fortitude? Yes.

Has he by my estimation had fricken flu symptoms FOUR TIME this fricken season? Yes. (The guy should take some darn echinecea. Jeez.)

BUT the kid is one of the best big men in the league (top 10 by my guess) and he's young and should improve.

Within a couple years, he should be in the top five big men in the league and that, combined with our lineup, should be the difference.

Bynum is not the key figure in this year's Championship, but he is to the future.

Be patient. Patience is good.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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


About bynum he's playing more of afraid than heart in playing the likes of Howard, Shaq and other physical player... If he wil do that he can't be a great player, Great player have great heart, smart, brave and dominance always in their mind... For kobe a reminder not to put this white bandage in his finger it's better the flexible black color...why..? the opponent team target always his finger by slapping hard always...Did you notice that... the white color is easy to see to target... that all folks..!

Only Kobe knows what he feel, If Kobe wil rest the lakers are vulnerable, He attract defense, he's the center of defense for opposing teams... playoff start now, we don't wait for another day, Lakers wants to win more games to etablish homecourt advantage... We pray that in short period of time his shooting will back... Go lakers.

Bynum held his own last night...Dwight got a couple of lucky bounces that he converted into easy scores and he hit a couple of experimental, unexpected jumpers. Then Drew got sick in the 2nd half and couldn't answer the bell for the 4th Q. Drew is an easy target, but his continued development is one of the keys to a Laker repeat.
Posted by: bronxlakerfan | January 19, 2010 at 03:17 PM

You are right he is an easy target, simply because he plays basketball(7'1)and really doesn't try defensely I know he's 22 still young, but he try very hard offensely and has plenty of offensive sklls....too young to play defense? believe me defense wins....I will give him the benefit of doubt. When we lose Kobe takes too many shots, doesn't make his team mates better. All these guys are getting paid million and someone has to make them better totally amazing

John K,

I agree with you on Bynum. However, I would place him higher than top 10 right now. Have you seen what this kid does with the ball? He hands are so amazingly soft. Most of his lob dunks he only catches the ball with his fingertips. He sort of lays the ball in -- guiding it, really. In slow-mo it is obvious that he's really laying the ball in. They look like dunks in real time because he grabs the rim after the ball is in.

This is uncommon dexterity for a guy that big. Dwight Howard will never be the offensive force that Bynum is already. However, Bynum can become as good as Dwight on the defensive end if he ever desires to be.

The kid is special.


I am a terrible person. I Love Boston and the Celtics.
My team is old and won't win it all this year but that's ok because the Lakers are a better team.

Garnet is on his last, er, leg.
Allen is a role player at best and is 34
Pierce is a shell of himself
Sheed only takes 3's now and is running on fumes.
Rondo learned how to shoot a jumper from Ben Wallace.

merry christmas

7. He has an upper respiratory problem
8. He has the flu

Posted by: Troll Man | January 19, 2010 at 06:37 PM

So the fact that he has a ailment that was out of his control is an excuse? Really?

That's just dumb.


I agree but I think Bynum was better than Howard on defense as AB played excellant D pre injuries.

As somewhat oldtimer I will show old video as proof. Remember making of a beast?

Not only watch his dunks but pay attention to his blocks and altering shots.

He is getting his confidence back on his knees and his defense will go back to excellance as before.



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