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Boston's Ray Allen exploits Lakers' defensive lapses


So this was the player the Celtics were supposedly trading.

Guard Ray Allen had often been the subject of trade rumors as the deadline approached. And the reasons were fairly obvious. Though he's part of the Big Three, including forward Kevin Garnett and guard Paul Pierce, Allen has shot a career-low 33.3% this season.

Yet, despite having a two of 10 effort Jan. 31 against the Lakers, he scored a team-high 24 points on 10 of 15 shooting in the Lakers' 87-86 loss Thursday to the Celtics. And after a look through the game footage, Derek Fisher's contention that Allen's performance stemmed between Allen being a good shooter and team defensive breakdowns is pretty accurate.

"Obviously he's a great shooter. Sometimes they’re not going to be really anything you can do to maybe keep him from having the type of night he had tonight," said Fisher, who largely struggled defending Allen. "But there were a few times where we didn’t defensively react the way we needed to, which allowed him in particular a couple transition threes and he got a dunk in transition. Those are points you cant give him. If he makes a shot with a hand in his face, you have to give him credit for being Ray Allen. There are some times when he was wide open and those are the breakdowns we can’t have in a game like that."

Although Fisher isn't absolved from some blame for those lapes, the film shows that the problem wasn't squarely solely on him and Shannon Brown. Though they often trailed Allen's efficient cutting from screens, rarely did the rest of the team help adjust its defensive strategy. Below is a breakdown on all of Allen's shot attempts.

1st quarter, 8:42 - 8:30

Pierce's pass inside to Kendrick Perkins went too high and bounced off the front rim, and into Allen's hands on the near corner behind the three-point line. Brown confronted Allen as he drove baseline before kicking the ball out to Garnett up top. After the pass, Allen kept penetrating out toward the far end of the three-point line, while Brown sagged inside. Garnett quickly passed the ball back to Allen, who nailed the 23-foot trey, giving the Celtics an 11-2 lead.

1st quarter, 8:05 - 8:00

On the Celtics following possession, Pierce brought the ball up the floor, while Fisher guarded Allen on the far corner. After Allen meandered to the paint, Rajon Rondo set a screen on Fisher. Fisher easily fought through the screen, but it gave Allen enough time to curl near the left block for a 19-foot jumper. Fisher caught up in time to contest the shot, but it still went in, giving the Celtics a 13-4 lead.

1st quarter, 3:49 -3:38

With Rondo manning the point up top, Rasheed Wallace set a down screen on Fisher, as Allen curled up near the right block. Fisher successfully went past the screen and contested the 18-foot jumper. But it went in again, with Boston holding a 27-18 lead.

1st quarter, 1:37 - 1:30

Allen grabbed the board off Farmar's missed three-pointer and then took the ball up the court. With Brown waiting for him just below the three-point line, Boston's Glen "Big Baby" Davis screened in front. That gave Allen enough space to sink a 26-foot three-pointer for a 30-20 lead.

2nd quarter, 6:15 - 6:07

Allen appeared to run the wing, but he flashed up top as Pierce cut inside. Allen curled around Perkins, as he set a down screen over Fisher. He moved past it, but it Allen opened space up top. After receiving a pass from Rondo, Allen's 20-foot jumper rimmed out.

2nd quarter, 5:16 - 5:09

Rondo swiped the ball from Gasol while posting up and led a two-on-one break. A simple bounce pass to Allen near the free-throw line resulted in a one-handed dunk for the 47-36 lead. Though Brown got posterized, credit Brown for confronting Allen and trying to force a bad shot. Nonetheless, Allen converted on the dunk and Brown was called for the foul.

3rd quarter, 10:59 - 10:52

With Rondo at the point, Allen cut from the baseline on the near corner as Garnett set a downscreen on Fisher, who went around Garnett's left side. After moving past Garnett, Fisher saw Rondo make the pass toward Allen on the near side and immediately cut toward him. But Fisher was slightly off balance on his penetration, while Allen easily sank a 25-foot three-pointer for the 59-51 lead.

3rd quarter, 10:18 - 10:15

Forgive me if this sounds repetitive. Perkins set a down screen on Fisher, as Allen flashed toward the free-throw line extended on the nearside. Fisher fought through the screen, but Allen again had enough leverage. Gasol didn't step up and switch on the screen, resulting in Allen making a 17-foot jumper for a 61-51 advantage.

3rd quarter, 9:14 - 9:06

After Artest's missed layup, Pierce fired an outlet pass on the near side to run a four-on-two break. Fisher and Brown were back, while Bynum was slow to get back. With Garnett in the paint, Perkins running the nearside and Allen on the far end, Rondo passed to Allen. Brown rushed out to Allen, who swished a 26-foot three-pointer for a 64-53 lead.

3rd quarter, 7:21 - 7:13

Allen cut from the far end to the paint and then flashed back on the near side. Fisher stumbled as Allen cut back outside, but immediately caught up as soon as Rondo passed to Allen. He then drove left past Fisher and made the 17-foot jumper for the 68-59 lead.

3rd quarter, 4:55 - 4:48

Again, Allen ran the baseline and flashed up top on the far end. Instead of Brown trying to run around Gasol and Wallace on their left, Brown moved up to space himself between Rondo and Allen. He recognized Brown's move and instead cut toward the far corner, while Wallace set a screen on Brown. He noticed Allen's change in direction, but he couldn't get back in time. Allen drained a 20-foot jumper for a 72-62 lead.

3rd quarter, 2:29 - 2:25

After Allen flashed up top, Brown followed and fought through Perkins' screen along the free-throw line. Allen had an open 25-foot three-pointer but it hit off the front rim.

4th quarter, 9:15

Perkins set a down screen on Vujacic, as Allen cut up top on the far side. Vujacic saw exactly what he was doing, weaved past the screen and heavily contested Allen's shot. His 20-foot jumper nipped the front rim.

4th quarter, 7:37 - 7:31

While Rondo manned the point, Allen made a v cut on the far side and Perkins set a down screen. Vujacic tried fighting through, but fell down in what ultimately led to what the team said was a grade 1- right shoulder sprain. Allen's 25 foot three-pointer hit off the front rim.

4th quarter, 4:27 - 4:24

On an inbounds pass, Rondo was the inbounder, Pierce was on the near baseline, Allen was on the left block, and Garnett and Perkins lined up on the right block. When Rondo was about to inbound the ball, Allen cut to the right block and then drove inside the paint. Odom switched on Allen and forced him to miss the left-handed layup. But Perkins' dunk on the tip in gave the Celtics a 85-84 lead.

What this means

Well for one, the explanation provided by Lakers Coach Phil Jackson wasn't entirely valid. When I asked him what he thought was the root of Allen's big night, Jackson wasn't exactly complimentary of Boston's execution.

"When they can set picks like that, he’s going to get free," Jackson said. "If we can get them to call some offensive fouls on picks like that, and that depends, game by game. But when he’s getting picks like that, he pops out. But you know, Fish had a hard time. He got hot against Fish. The other guys came in and slowed him down a little bit."

Jackson was correct specifically on the play that led to Vujacic's injury, but the other remaining plays pointed more to Allen's sharp footwork and speed. In fact, most of Boston's screens created minimal contact. The Celtics often used those screens simply to throw up a temporary roadblock that, in fairness to Vujacic and even Brown and Fisher, had no trouble getting around.

Whenever Allen made a cut, Fisher and Brown were often slow in initially reacting to the sudden change in movement. Fisher and Brown had tremendous recovery time, however, and rarely gave Allen completely wide open shots. But the picks gave him a slight amount of leverage to shoot.

Make no mistake that the Lakers backcourt could've played better defensively, but there is such a thing in basketball as switching on screens and double teaming. That could've been an effective strategy whenever Allen created shot opportunities through constant off-ball movement along the wing.

--Mark Medina

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Photo Credit: Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images.

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The title of this article should be Allen exploits FISHER's defense. Fisher needs to stop making up excuses, as evident by this quote. He is a BAD defender. How many open shots did Allen get off screens? This is the same thing that happened in the Finals two years ago. Kobe guarded Rondo to play off him and roam while Fisher got lit up by Allen, who was struggling throughout the playoffs. Fisher is delusional for thinking he is a starter in the league still

D-Fish reminds me of that old grampa ...I can teach you young whiper(sp?)snappers a ting or...ooohh my back.......
well we see guys like stallone,willis,eastwood and others do it all the time they just put on that make up and keep going..oh well Fish you are close to Hollywood but makeup ain't helping..Besides no one can makeup the loss of KB24 anyways....

Btw people call Smush garbage but he averaged more than Kwame..and definately more than Fish,Luke and Sasha... heck he was more athletic too and wasn't afraid to dunk it on a fool..just like shannon Brown how we forget....


Your numbers are a bit off. I'm not sure why.
With existing guaranteed contracts, the Lakers are currently under contract for 81.7 million for next season for Kobe, Pau, Bynum, Odom, Artest, Vujacic, and Luke. Not 71 million, but 81 million (almost 82).
Posted by: LongTimeLakerFan | February 19, 2010 at 10:04 AM

You are correct LTLF. I totally blew the numbers I was looking at. I misunderstood the numbers they were displaying.

Good catch and my bad.

cue the music: Ennio Morricone - "For a fistful of dollars"

It's a small pueblo in the southwest. Dry. Dusty.
The buildings are whitewashed. The streets are almost empty.

Coming down the main drag is a fat little hobbit, with a
"hand rolled smoke" danglin' from his lips. Ridin' a cute, pudgy
burro. Sinawali sticks tucked underneath the rope belt below his fat pot belly.

the music blends nicely into: Ennio Morricone - "The Musical Pocket Watch"

The fat little hobbit slides down from the burro. Inhale. Hold it. Cough
Cough Cough. A pungent smoke from No. Cali wafts out.

Eyes bloodshot, the hobbitmage says: "I'm lookin' for a slimy polecat by
the name o' LakerTom."

Y'all know where this is goin'. The music changes to: Ennio Morricone - "For
a few dollars more"

"A few days/weeks ago you took exception to a repeat of a quote from pfunk36.
Skanky sheep lover that you are, you ignored the meat of the quote to focus
on the use of the word Gasoft.

All right you Bynum kool-aid drinkin' clown. Time to throw down. "

The hobbitmage pulls his sinawali sticks and starts his wrist twirls. Forward &
backwards. Slow & smooth like 30 yr. old scotch. Neat. Don't need no
stinkin' ice. Water is for sissies....

The day before this game, a reporter from Gasol's native Spain approached Jackson for a quick overview on Gasol. Jackson knew the reporter was Spanish – and thus seized the opportunity to brandish a sharp needle.

"He's weak. He's soft," Jackson said, smiling. "But he's a really great player."

In a gravely voice, the hobbitmage says: "Azstronut, you want some too?"

cue the exit music - Morricone: Overture - A fistfull of dollars.

The fat little hobbitmage on his cute little burro trots out of town. BynumTom
kneeling in the dusty street with tears of rage leaking down his tired grizzled
face. "Curse you hobbitmage. How long must I listen to your berate the
Even Phil has turned against me! Aztronut, will you betray me as well?"

"Of course this means nothing." Bynum Tom says in a low mutter. " I will
ignore this quote and continue to mock the hobbitmage for his disingenuous
remarks. No one will bother to read the quote where Phil Jackson calls
Pau Gasol soft & weak. I am BynumTom.I am inwincible. Gollum. gollum. "

We have a bunch of mentally weak players. Period. Kobe and Sasha(to some extent) are the only fearless players we have. The rest of them are sissies. Phil should have played Sasha at the end of the game. At least he is not afraid to take a shot.


Thanks for the breakdown so we could objectively review Allen's performance against our backcourt.

It is incredible that despite the detailed breakdown, people still want to lay the blame solely on DFish.

Read MM's breakdown again, folks. Of the 10 baskets that Allen made, 5 were made while DFish was guarding him and the other 5 were made against Brown.

But we don't want to lay blame also on Brown because we like athletes who can dunk. Geez...


Thank you very much for responding to my post to Blitz on an earlier thread in a civil manner. I agree that we can discuss and even debate all things Lakers as long as we remain respectful towards one another.

I'll just say that one reason I didn't post a rebuttal to certain fans that were bashing Kobe and calling for him to be traded is because after watching Kobe for 14 years, he really has nothing more to prove to anyone, especially fair weather fans on this blog. There have been bashers from the beginning of his career, but it hasn't changed Kobe or the Lakers a single iota.

This is why I find it a waste of time trying to write something on the greatness of Kobe to some fans who just flat out hate him for some reason or another. Kobe's resume and championship pedigree speaks for itself, period. As Kobe once put it in his own Nike commercial, hate him for this and that, but know that he's also loved for the very same reasons(paraphrasing his quote). Hate him or love, he's still the best Laker and player possibly ever to play this game.

Have a great evening Hobbit. Peace.

"I've never heard or read anything from Bynum saying or thinking that he's the best center of all time or best center in the league right now."

You misunderstand the sarcasm in those quotes Nem. First off those are not really digs against Andrew Bynum. Yes there are stupid things he does off court not being discreet about the playboy incident (the kid deserved it but should have done better not to draw attention to himself). What those are sarcasm remarks are for are the fanatic fans of Andrew Bynum who has no IQ in what they are saying (I know you are a big Andrew Bynum fan and while people do make fun of you for that I don't since you are more level headed than most Bynumites).

The previous months has been a roller coaster ride of Bryant vs Bynum fans. For starters the Bynum fans, mainly the ones who say Bynum is already a beast and that he's a better option than Kobe Bryant (like Todd and STAPLES 24) and declare him already as the alpha dog. What makes Laker Tom and I split on the issue of Bynum is that he already believes Bynum is ALREADY there. He gives no criticism of Bynum (even though he says he does which rarely I've seen save for one thing where he suggested to bench Bynum after a poor December), blames other players/coaches for Bynum's faults 95% of the time, and for those who don't share his optimism are Bynum bashers and he acts as immature as Mike T. with KWAMAY BROWN (though LT is more correct than Teniente). When LakerTom goes at it though he seems more like the Liar Liar Pants on Fire variety than the Wilt Chamberlain fan I like.

So those are digs against the Fanatic Fans of Andrew Bynum mainly those who overrate him. I mean seriously the "22 years old" thing gets so tiring when other players who are better than him are leading teams to success while he is a big contributor, at the time being is riding Kobe's and Pau's back to success yet his fans give him all the credit and no blame (not saying you don't Nem because I know you do which I give credit to you for). Most Bynum fans view him as a solid role player who is important part of the Lakers. Those comments against Bynum like "he's the MVP already" are simply discreet digs against the Fans who overrate him. Don't take it from me, also ask Hobbitmage (whom we agree on Andrew Bynum) about how I felt about Trevor Ariza. Ariza was an important part of the 09 title run but I didn't view him as a possible future All-Star the way Hobbit felt. Fortunately we got past that and we agree on more things than not.

Again I don't think that's how Bynum feels like (though an article from Charley Rosen at the end of 09 season suggested that Bynum and his fans believed him to be the 2nd option) he's the MVP or whatnot. What does frustrate many Laker fans is that he doesn't give as much effort on the overall game particularly when he doesn't get his touches. And simply put when he is more focused on offense on an offensive power team makes him like the square peg trying to be fit in the round hole and if it doesn't work it's the hole's fault always and not the square peg also. To be fair though I will put a more positive analytical (that means it won't be saying Bynum is a beast but won't be negative either) post about Bynum soon. I owe it to Jon K. anyways especially after all the "Clipper sucks today...Clippers will suck tomorrow...Clippers will suck forever" things I've done to him.

Thanks for your concerns Nem.

>>>Btw people call Smush garbage but he averaged more than Kwame..and
>>>definately more than Fish,Luke and Sasha...

Delusional recollections of Smush. sigh.

When they played comparable minutes, Luke outscored Smush. Luke also shot a higher percentage on 3 pointers, overall, and on free throws than Smush, and had almost twice as many assists.

The season after Smush left, Derek Fisher played a comparable number of minutes and out scored, out shot, and out assisted Smush as well.

Sasha has never been given the sort of minutes that Smush was given, or I'm sure Sasha would have outscored him as well.

You really have no correct memories of Smush if you think that he was ever better than ANY player on the current roster, including MBenga and Powell.

Looks likle the Cavs will lose back to back games. Good for us. If we just could have got that Celtic game, but, that shot by Fish was no where near going in.


If Brown, Farmar, Fisher, Walton, and Sasha are available to cover off the ball shooters. Sasha is the best to use. Farmar and Fisher are too short to cover guys like Ray Allen. Brown is ok, but Sasha really knows how to bug shooters. He just annoys on defense.

Cavs blown away by Bobcats..... 110-93.

- Their "big-time" addition Antawn Jamison has a GREAT game, 0-12 (yes, thats ZERO off TWELVE FGAs) for a TWO whopping two points!!

This Cavs loss make me feel a lot better and wipes off some pain of the heart-breaker loss yesterday...

And what, to add icing to the cake... Thugs lose to Wizards 97-107... How can you lose to Wizards, that too by TEN points.... and Spurs lose to 76ers... :-))

Tyrus Thomas played pretty ok...Don't ya think?..6 dam blocks and the Cavs drop another..

Oh yeah and the Wizards sort of woke up as well.

Cavs and Thuggets lost, hoping Celts to lose as well. Lakers resting and so does Kobe, I feel good about that.

I am actually rooting for Magic to win against Mavs. I think they are the only team in the East who can beat the Cavs in the playoffs. VanGundy sure know how to beat Cavs, plus I like Dwight except for last year Finals. They are playing well lately. Their key in winning the East is how well VC will play.

After the 4:10pm, finally M/M rested. He got tired of reading posts after posts somehow he fell asleep zzzzzzzz and dream of Kobe, Fisher, Mamba24 snowboarding in the Olympics..... @7pm he's still sleeping or maybe having dinner with his girl friend. What is our agenda between tonight till Tuesday? well another exhausting rehash of everything, if it has something to do with the Celtics... again puleazzze flush it.

A new topic will be discussed again till temper rise up and holy water will be dozed by M/M w/ rapid new threads faster than Bode Miller's downhill skiing.

This is the Life Carousel that goes on in the Lakers Blog, please make your DER, PER, SER, KER, LBR brief and concise because attention caters only for 2 hours, M/M will render the cut.....guys, next thread is coming. Cut! LMAO, the dissertation is short lived now its thesis defense belongs to the archives.

Edwin - you have me all figured out lol. no one is preventing you from commenting on old threads. in fact many do it. and we have all posts dated back to when the blog first started and it's categorized my month.


Here's the perfect scenario, going forward.

It looks like Luke is done for the season, perhaps even opting for surgery. This is the perfect opportunity for Fish to go to the coach and be the leader so many give him credit for. "Coach," he should say, "without Luke the bench mob will have to go the rest of the season without one of its key veterans. You need a veteran, and I volunteer. I'm only good for limited minutes anyway, so put me with the bench mob where I can help you the most. If Jordan's ever going to get his chance to prove he can be a starting point guard, there's no better time than now."

Everybody wins. Fish gets himself out of the line of fire; he's not stupid; he knows he's no longer the starting point guard the team needs. The elephant is in the room and everybody's been afraid to say, "look!" Farmar gets to play with the guys who give him his best chance to be effective; no more having to come in when there's a deficit and feel he has to make something happen and force things.

The team has young energy among the starting five and a point guard who can go to the basket when the defenders are all worried about our bigs.

Until now, it's been "if it ain't broke don't fix it." Like I said, the elephant's in the room. It's broke. And the Laker's can fix it in a way where everybody wins. Let's do it. Go Lakers!

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Let me start by saying that I think it makes great sense for the Lakers to give Farmar a chance to start at point guard. Fish is obviously not getting the job done at level he has performed in previous years and it would be good to find out now whether Farmar is our next point guard. Frankly, I think Jordan would excel given the chance and replace the speed we lost with Ariza.
What I want talk about today though is WHY Phil may be right in continuing to start Fisher. There are two good reasons why the Lakers may NOT make a change at starting point guard: (1) Phil values and trusts Fisher’s experience over Farmar’s youth and speed and (2) he does not want to take a chance on making a change that could negatively affect team chemistry.
Let’s look at the first reason. We know that Phil is comfortable with Fisher and believes he still contributes strongly to the team playing well. He definitely has great faith in Fish, who has definitely earned it. Who’s he going to look to at the point in the playoffs? Fish is still his guy. He likes how he runs the team, trusts that he is going to make the right play, knows how clutch Derek is. In his defense, he knows Fish better than any of us. He has a knack for great perspective, viewing a player over his career. Bottom line, he doesn’t think Fish is done.
When I read all the posts slamming Fish for his defense on Ray Allen I have to laugh out loud. Ray Allen is a future Hall of Fame player with one of the quickest, sweetest jump shots ever. He is probably the best player in the league at properly cutting off screens. There is really nobody on the Lakers other than possibly Kobe who could stay with Allen through all of those screens. That’s why Kobe never guards Ray. We don’t want to exhaust Kobe doing that.
As for the second reason, Phil definitely does not want to make a change in the starting lineup, especially based what he view may be short-term evidence. He has resisted it with Andrew and is now doing it with Fish. Starting is a bigger thing than most fans realize. As much a team player as Lamar Odom is, look at how he has struggled coming off the bench. Fish is a very proud player and while I think he would respond gratefully, he would be hurt.
Fish is also an immensely popular player and co-captain. He is also the president of the players association and will be a major player in the upcoming CBA negotiations. Who is to say that demoting Fish might upset the great chemistry on the team. At any rate, it might be prudent to stand pat and make the change next year rather than removing one of the best leaders on the team and a clutch player who just might repeat his performance off last year.
Anyway, that’s a decision that I still trust Phil to make better than any blogger including me.
- - - - - - - - - - - -


Thanks for the breakdown but ....

Team defensive lapses talk is for chumps. Reality is D. Fish is too slow to defend quick guards, too short to defend big guards and can't get through screens fast enough to defend shooters off picks.

What is D. Fish's excuse for his offense?

D. Fish is all media and no game.

Rick---Nice idea. Just one problem. Unlike Luke, DFish has a HUGE ego. ROOM-sized.

He's not the cute modest little Derek Fisher we used to know and love in the early days.

Those Kobe-wannabe drives to the basket are no accident.

He sat when he was a youngster, and he expects the youngsters to sit now.

KB Blitz,

Thank you for your response. Well spoken. We may not agree on everything, but at least the respect is mutual.

I am a fan of Bynum simply because he's a Laker and I hope that he can live up to his "potential", another word or term I'm sure that many on here are tired of hearing. Truth is, I cheer for any player(even Kwame Brown and Chris Mihm believe it or not)that plays center for the Lakers because I would like to see them succeed and help our team win. When Kwame was our starting center, I was really hoping that he would finally blossom and show why MJ was so high on him, but he didn't and it's sad to see how things have turned out for him basketball wise(after all, it can't be all that bad since the man is a millionaire). Ditto for Mihm.

We all know that this great organization has a rich history of great big men like Mikan, Wilt, Kareem and Shaq with very few stop gap centers in between. That's why some fans on here, including myself were and are still holding out hope that Andrew Bynum can be that man, especially after what we went through with Kwame and Mihm. The jury is still way, way out on Bynum and he certainly needs to prove that he isn't only about offense, but about defense, rebounding, hustle and heart.

Pau Gasol is our best big man hands down and I'm hoping that Andrew can learn some things from him(especially how to become a deft passer from the post).

I'm hoping that all of our Lakers are clicking and playing at their best when it matters most because the bottom line is winning.

BTW, my favorite Laker now and forever is Kobe Bean Bryant!!!

Have a great evening!!!

Go Lakers!!!

Critical PJ decision influencing game outcome.

3:36 85-84 Derek Fisher enters the game for Jordan Farmar
3:36 85-84 Shannon Brown enters the game for Sasha Vujacic

Sasha was hurt, so maybe

Shannon plays better with Farmar.

Not sure what PJ was thinking when he put in a cold shooting no defending D. Fish at crunch time.

LT, my friend, I don't totally discount what you have to say about Fish, but haven't you been watching all season. I have League Pass and don't think I have missed a game. His shooting isn't good. His defense isn't good. He gets blown by by nearly every point guard in the League. Can't make a lay up without getting it batted back. It's just the facts. I don't dislike Fish at all, but it would be worth a try to see about starting Farmar or Brown. Have Fish run the second unit with Lamar. Now is the time or I agree not till next year. I guess I'm in the now camp to try.
One more thing, just to show I'm not just for that change, maybe Kobe may need to adjust to a more, GULP, LeBron way of play. He might give the ball up more and give his guys a chance to prove they CAN make shots with him in the lineup. Again, just thoughts

cybercosmic @06:05 from previous thread. All I can say is amen on all counts. A lot of people, some from these blog cannot see beyond their hate on Kobe while professing their love for the Lakers. Kobe is not Magic, not Jabbar, not Jerry West, he is what he is. Love him or hate him.


Why don't you or MB or BT ask Phil why he keeps Fish out there when it's obvious he's not able to guard the opposition point guard and his shooting is woeful? Yeah, I probably wouldn't have the guts to myself, ha, ha, but you guys get paid to ask questions.

DJ - Appreciate the suggestion, but please let me make one thing clear. I think I can fairly say on behalf of MB and BT that neither them nor I are "afraid" to ask Phil questions. I would also say that most coaches and players understand that tough questions come with the territory and understand they must be asked so long as they're done in a fair manner.

Anyway to your question - Through Fish's struggles, Phil has been asked several times about his philosophy on wanting to keep Fish out there. His perspective is Fish's leadership and veteran maturity is a calming presence. He also hasn't felt fully comfortable giving Jordan and/or Shannon with having a starting role. Obviously both have made strides, but one only needs to look at the Boston game to see that Shannon is not fully ready. Jordan has earned more minutes, but Phil sees him as a good spark plug. His style of play fits that bench mold and with his energy sometimes leading to bad decisions etc, he doesn't want that to start the game.

Fish and Phil have both acknowledged his shooting problems and his defense. Phil says the defensive structure is set up so that Fish should get helpside since his age can be an inhibiting factor.

The bottom line is this: Phil thinks Fish's good qualities (good teammate, leadership, stability role) do more good to the team than his bad qualities (shooting and defense) do bad to the team. Obviously against Boston, that led to a loss. But with all the talk about poor point guard play, the Lakers are winning the West.

I hope that answers your question.

To those arguing that this was a 'bad' loss, there is more to the game than to label every victory as good, every loss as bad. That is a pretty simplistic view, and simply isn't the case. This was a 'good' loss if there ever was one.

First of all, look at the Celtics. Boston is overplaying their 'big-three' (old-three is more like it) instead of cruising towards the playoffs as they have been claiming to be doing all year. Well, we're less than two months away, Garnett is limping, Pierce is showing he can't remotely carry them anymore, Ray Allen is sporadic as he's always been. Wallace is still doing what he does best though, picking up T's. They are desperate for wins, they've suffered more meltdowns in this calender year than any other NBA team, more come-from-ahead losses. They couldn't miss in the first half, but couldn't shoot a pea in the ocean when the game matters most, the fourth quarter. They didn't score a point in the last 3+ minutes, and still it came down to a missed call in the final seconds to squeak out a win over a Lakers team missing the best player in the game, easily the best closer in the game.

Lakers got a loss heading into a 4-day off period - which will give the coaching staff a lot of material to grind the team on. A loss in which the team self-destructed on offense in the final minutes. Where was Pau demanding touches? D-Fish? Other than choking on that last-second shot which didn't have a chance to go in, he pretty much did nothing. I didn't see him whining about his touches after the game last night.

Kobe though has been resting for almost 3 weeks, compare that for instance to the Celtics who are burning out their senior citizens. He will be coming back fresh and renewed. The Lakers too just showed the world the value of the Black Mamba (for those many people which need reminding, including on this very blog...). Kobe is the undisputed leader of the Lakers, that was so clearly demonstrated in last nights game. The Lakers are a good team without Kobe, a playoff team. Kobe makes them a CHAMPION!

More important than showing NBA fans out there what Kobe means to the Lakers, it proves to all his teammates what they are missing. I just can't imagine those 'I'd like more touches' whines have been dimmed for the rest of the year.

So, to those that have a more well-rounded view of things, that keep perspective not on just day-to-day standings but on longer-term trends and sees games not as individual wins and losses, but can see things on a wider scale, and can identify things based on long-term following of Lakers/NBA/sports - those people can identify that this loss isn't quite as bad as it seem on the surface. There are wider things at play, believe me the Celtics know better than to leave L.A. smiling and cheering, if anything their hearts are probably lower than ever because they basically choked, the Lakers though were missing their heart and soul and Celt's couldn't finish the deal, only helped by a missed call and a team without a last-second shot taker (who happens to be one of the best in the history of the NBA).

On a night that LeBron bricked his last-second shot, the Lakers can take this loss as a body-blow that shows their opponent as being pretty weak. You know, like in boxing, where a boxer stands in the ring and taunts their opponent, sticks out their chin and tells them to smack it? Then they get hit and sit back and smile and laugh, like saying 'thats the best you got'? Well, that is similar to what happened. Perhaps, the boxer loses that round, but they just KNOW that they got their opponent beat.

So, to Mamba24 and those few others on this blog that have it CORRECT, this was a 'good loss', and it reaffirms those that REALLY know basketball that not only do the Lakers not have much to fear from Boston, but when the BLACK MAMBA returns then watch out - the Lakers are TAKING BACK THEIR THRONE!!!!!

I don't think it makes much sense to bench Fish now and start Farmar.

First off, the lineup that closes games is more important than the starting lineup. LO may come off the bench to start games, but he's going to be on the floor in crunch time. I think we'll see more of Farmar closing out games also, as he continues to improve and Fish continues to decline.

Secondly, what makes our bench the Bench Mob is the change of pace that they bring to the game when they come in. Fish wouldn't be able to push the ball up the floor the way that Farmar does. Plus, I like the chemistry that Farmar and Brown have developed on the floor.

I wonder what guard out there could guard opposing point guards and shooting guards. Kirk Hinrich. It is a shame the Lakers did not acquire him. Now the Lakers are stuck with an inadequate point guard who should be playing at YMCA instead of the NBA. If Fisher was not part of 4 championship teams, I would characterize him as a piece of trash right now.


>>> [Re: Jordan] "His style of play fits that bench mold and with his energy sometimes leading to bad decisions etc, he doesn't want that to start the game."

If one were to assemble a reel of only play by Jordan, his "bad decisions" for the most part come when the team is behind, or he's surrounded by two or three players who can't be depended on to create or even make their shot. Except for the one recent game where he had five turnovers, his TO's are way down. Funny, if Kobe has 4 or 5 turnovers, nobody says anything. When Kobe's on the court, he's the predominant ball handler. Most of the time when Jordan is on the floor without Kobe, Jordan is the predominant ball handler. The guy with the ball is the guy most likely to commit a TO.

Jordan's decision-making has come miles, this season.

Phil pigeonholing Jordan would be a more likely reason for Jordan to leave the Lakers this summer than money. The one thing most obvious with Kobe injured is that for the most part the bench guys play better because they know they're not going to get yanked for the smallest infraction. The whole psychology of limiting minutes has caused Sasha to lose confidence and Jordan to force things, trying to be a hero. For all of PJ's strengths, his in-game decision-making has been a killer throughout his Laker tenure. Even he will admit that's the weakest part of his coaching chops. Yet he refuses to change.

No one knows how good Farmar can be if he doesn't get a good long run as a starter. Phil is stifling his growth at a time when it's clear he needs to make a change. Unlike Laker Tom, I don't trust Phil to make the best decision.


Appreciate your feedback and I didn't mean to imply you guys were afraid to ask. It would just be somewhat uncomfortable, I would think, especially for me. It is interesting to think that a player that probably costs a team 10 points a game is, none-the-less, a valuable calming factor. So I guess Phil will start and play Fish for, well, how many more years? When does that value become non-valuable? He probably could be calming for years. I guess I am really arguing with Phil, ha, ha. I guess I can just sit back and enjoy the Repeat!?! I have been a Laker fan since Elg and Jer (was very young then) and hope they do! Thanks again for your reply!

Wow, people are really down on D-Fish. I wonder how many of you are down on him simply because of his missed end of game shot against the Celtics's? How many wouldn't be bashing him right now had he made that shot?

Look, D-Fish doesn't win or lose games for the Lakers - at least on the offensive end. He is an almost flawless facilitator that is extremely proficient at running the triangle offense. His defense continues to be his main deficiency, particularly against speedy guards. But this is nothing new, this goes way back to his early days with the Lakers, when he was picking up a charge or two a game it helped offset his lack of defense, but nowadays it's down to a couple charges a months he's picking up. Rondo lit him up, as most speedy guards do. He is great against the stand-up, physical PG's but nowadays those are a dying breed.

Farmar isn't a long-term solution in my eyes, and he very-well might be gone this upcoming offseason due to the Lakers being way above the salary cap. He is a nice bench player, a decent role-player that fits in well with the bench-mob. He isn't a starting PG, at least not with a championship-aspiring team like the Lakers are.

I don't know if Devin Harris was available, but he would have been a decent pickup. Nate Robinson even. But Farmar is nothing more than a bench player on a championship team.

So here we are, with D-Fish, Farmar and a player that is super-athletic, but more suited to 2-guard in Shannon Brown. Frankly, D-Fish so proficiently runs the offense, the Lakers have no choice in my mind to keep him in as starter, substituting him out early when speed point guards start lighting him up like a candle. Yes, this is definitely the twilight of his career, but he still is a very nice veteran presence on offense and the Lakers bread-and-butter is their efficient offense (especially when the Black Mamba is healthy).

I'm slightly disappointed that the Lakers didn't make a trade-deadline move for a point guard, but I'm sure that will be addressed in the offseason. Jordan is probably gone, D-Fish may be heading to a spot at Phil Jackson's side as an assistant coach (no doubt the zenmaster comes back) as soon as next season. This is getting ahead of ourselves though, in poker you gotta play the hand your dealt, the Lakers - unless they pick up a waiver-wire type PG which is 99% certain they won't based on their salary cap situation - will have to go to war with the troops they have at hand. So, no, this isn't the perfect situation, but it was good enough to get the job done last season. Yes, the PG position is worse than it was last year, but it's going to have to be good enough since the cavalry most likely isn't coming...

MM - I enjoyed reading your comments about Fish and about PJ's perspective. Fish has been a streaky player as long as I can remember. He seems to have slumps each and every season, this one is admittedly pretty bad. Still, he fills a role and I have to respect Phil's reasons for sticking with him. I have noticed an uptick in Farmar's minutes and he seems to be responding well. If I have an argument with Phil's rotation strategies, it's his tendency to put Fish back in when the bench is on a momentum swing. As a fan, I'd stay a little longer with the guys that are getting it done. Then again, the team's record speaks for itself so I don't lose any sleep over the substitutions or lack thereof.

You guys keep talking about Fisher as if he has lost a step in his age. How can he lose what he never had?

I've watched Fish since he came into the league, and let me tell you, Fisher has ALWAYS been a average NBA guard, and this is at best. And this goes back to when he was backing up Nick Van Exel. Fish has never been a competent outside shooter, he's never averaged a lot of points, he's never been a quick type of guard, and he's never been a defensive stopper. For those of you who remember Fish back in the day, surely you will agree with me.

What you guys don't get is that Fish, during our Championship run, had Shaq, Kobe, and other players, to mask his average skill set. But now, Fisher's average skill set is just being exposed, and everything thinks he's losing something. No, he's not losing anything. He is now what he's always been.

Again, Fisher has never been too much better, or worse, than he is now. He hasn't really changed, so there's no need to keep commenting on his age.

Plain and simple...

Phil will NOT make the right decision. He has shown this time and time again regarding starters, minutes, closers, and rotation. Kwame over Bynum. Smush over Farmar. Luke over Ariza. Fisher over Farmar.

Let's see... Kwame started until the day he was traded. Smush started up through game 81. Luke started until even Luke himself couldn't stomach the stupidity.

Basically unless forced - Phil will NOT make the right choice.

I'm with Rick on this one... and been saying it since about week 2


you wrote: Phil will NOT make the right decision. He has shown this time and time again regarding starters, minutes, closers, and rotation. Kwame over Bynum. Smush over Farmar. Luke over Ariza. Fisher over Farmar.

Let's see... Kwame started until the day he was traded. Smush started up through game 81. Luke started until even Luke himself couldn't stomach the stupidity.

my response: KWAMAY Brown over Bynum? I assume you are talking about the 06-07 season. In the beginning of the 06-07 season Kwamay was actually playing decent basketball before he injured his ankle before going back to Kwamay the Bust. In addition wasn't it the 06-07 Bynum that earned the wrath of Kobe Bryant in Summer 2007? Sure Kobe was very unprofessional about it but he was right....that Bynum played like a BUM and his play sent him to the pine where he was even worst. The fact that Kwamay starting over Bynum showed how bad Bynum was playing.

re: Smush over Farmar. Wasn't it Smush who averaged 11ppg that season? Smush may have been bad but Farmar wasn't the Farmar of today! In fact he was so bad in his rookie year. Remember Farmar and Sasha were benched more for a while in favor of Shammond Williams and Aaron McKie because Farmar's and Sasha's play was HORRIBLE.

re: Luke over Ariza. That one is a maybe but considering how Ariza was much effective with Jordan Farmar and one of the reasons the bench mob got its name was the fast break that Farmar led along with Ariza (Sasha was the odd one out). And it wasn't as if Luke was playing horribly as he did this year. Luke was decent starting (he was by no means a star) and for a while Ariza was having a bad string of games in the bench. The move of Luke was to get Ariza out of his funk and well it worked.

re: Fish over Farmar. That is very debatable. In Farmar's sophomore year the beginning he played well but was overwhelmed in the 2nd part of the season and Deron Williams owned him that year. In the 09 title run Jordan Farmar after a nice November went down particularly after his surgery. There were even some grumblings that his spot was going to be take by Shannon (and it's very possible still). And until recently Farmar has been very average until the last few games. Sure Derek Fisher was horrible in a 1-9 shooting against Boston but Farmar didn't look that much better with a 2-7 shooting airballs just like D-Fish and getting out dueled by Rondo when they matched up.

Does Phil have his mistakes? Yes! All coaches do! WHO would you take over Phil? Doc Rivers? Byron Scott? Mike Brown? The *only* coaches I would probably take over Phil are: Gregg Popovich, Jerry Sloan, Rick Adelman, and MAYBE Larry Brown. But hey they are coaching other teams!

I'm not trying to make you like Phil. Some do some don't. But make at least an argument that is MUCH better than you just wrong Timmay.

Hobbitmage, sorry but I just had to steal your format.

troy: "What you guys don't get is that Fish, during our Championship run, had Shaq, Kobe, and other players, to mask his average skill set. But now, Fisher's average skill set is just being exposed, and everything thinks he's losing something. No, he's not losing anything. He is now what he's always been.

Again, Fisher has never been too much better, or worse, than he is now. He hasn't really changed, so there's no need to keep commenting on his age. "
Very well put. I remember those days that D-Fish used to back up Nick Van Exel, I remember when Derek used to comment on how he'd like to start, but was fine in whatever role the Lakers needed. I really like Derek Fisher 'The Person'. I love D-Fish 'The Veteran'. Derek Fisher 'The Ballplayer' though is struggling, and would be a great presence coming off the bench such as B-Shaw did, or Ron Harper did on the 2000 team.

Problem is though, Farmar isn't starter quality in my opinion. He hasn't been able to corral his erratic nature, too often he continues to take ill-advised shots. Too often he also seems to miss obvious passes he should be making, the same types of passes that D-Fish effortlessly makes.

So I agree with all that people are saying. Totally agree with troy's post which excellently sums up the present-day Derek Fisher on this team. However the Lakers don't have an adequate replacement. I've been writing on this blog off-and-on for 2 months about looking at Nate Robinson or Devin Harris, I now really wish that Mitch had made a move. The point guard position is clearly the biggest weak-point on the team.

Shannon Brown is more suited for 2-guard, his handle isn't PG quality and he still is somewhat stilted within the triangle. I'd almost rather see the Lakers play Lamar at point forward than hand over starting PG to Shannon.

I don't know if the Lakers can scour the D-League for a quick defensive-first type PG that they can put in at Morrison or Mbenga's spot in the lineup, Joe Crawford or Coby Karl are a couple of old faces that come to mind. I just can't see Mitch doing that though, it would give the appearance of desperation and so glaringly point out the Lakers weakness to the rest of the league (not like they don't already know...)

I guess it's clear that this is the hand the Lakers will be playing, if it is then I'm not sure which is a better choice, Farmar who might be gone at the end of the season or D-Fish who lacks the depth around him to help cover up his deficiencies...

Everyone! Chill the frick out!

All this constant panicking at the drop of a hat is really getting tedious.

We lost by one point when a timeout should have been called and our super-duper-impossibly-incredible-leader was out injured... and now everyone is practically calling for hard working members of the core of our Lakers FAMILY to be put before a firing squad and then torn apart by wild dogs.

It's just insane.

Have some guts, some faith in your team, some respect and chill out.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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


Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow...

well, jackson is not going to be the head coach next year if Lakers don't will it all this year. I'm sure the next coach will NOT play fisher as a starter

Where as a win just might have put that championship in peril. Sounds crazy but think about it and the war that has been waging on the Blog the last few weeks. That's it. I've said to much

Posted by: mamba24 | February 19, 2010 at 04:50 PM

Hey, I get your drift, good point.
And last night Cavs lose, Nugs lose.
I feel better now.

not defending smush put he was what he was especially when u look at what he made compared to what luke.sash and fish made or make,,maybe that's why he pouted so much anyhow fish or luke neva scored more than 11..per nor smush..and again they made more and obviously are looked on as better players so they should produce more...neva was about defending smush was scritly showing how subpar all those players are performing..

one more thing everyone needs to get off the .4 cause it was a great play but ultimately it didn't lead to a championship.. now last year that shot that tied the game in orlando that's something....

yep D-Fish is a good talker, that's what kills me... when he was talking along with pau and phil about team ball and getting back to team ball he was trying to prove a point he ain't afraid to speak out against none of em want to take responsibility for the loss. the three of em should have said this is a game we definately could have use Kobe to close.. we sucked now lets get back to playing ball...
tjis is what this is about putting your money were your mouth is doan't remeber smush running to the media..remember chucky atkins ask gm kobe... alot of these guys mainly the damn coach like to talk smack to the media and hang out the superstar,but never say you know what I blame this one on me,it was my bad.. and they are the ones with the big saleries and bigger egoes..

Jon K,

Enjoy the Cleveland stories, but it has me wondering, might the below be a theme of yours of sorts?

Here is the explanation for the Derek Fisher controversy.

Fisrt, Derek Fisher is what he is. The reason why Phil doesn't bench him is that Phil knows what he gets with Fisher.

Phil knows Fisher isn't going to stop any of the quicker PGs, but then again, nobody really can. I detailed this years ago on this very blog, during the Smush Parker era, when I was defending his defensive play. In today's league, it's virtually impossible for any PG to stop, or even slow down, an opposing team's PG. First, the PG is the most skilled position, and these guys have been homing their scoring skills since grade school. As a friend of mine who coaches high school bball once said, every basketball player starts out as a point guard. It is the default position in all of basketball, and it is where bball skills are developed.

Second, there's just too many big, physical players in the NBA that set picks on defending PGs. The top PGs in the league are at the top because of their OFFENSIVE skills; not their defense, which brings be to my true point:

Derek Fisher isn't expected to be on par with typical PGs on playoff caliber NBA teams. It's just that simple. Again, the NBA PG position is truly a shooting guard position that requires penetration for dishing, and scoring skills from the outside and mid-range. Fisher has never had the quickness to penetrate, and he's never had a consistent shot from the outside or midrange.

And Phil knows this.

In the triangle, there's no true need for a penetrating guard; movement and cutting dictate scoring opportunities. And on prior Phil Jackson teams, there's been proficient scorers that can do damage from the inside and out, which means an offensive game from Fisher was never really needed.

Which brings me to my conclusion. Phil Jackson wants Derek Fisher in the game for his maturity, his leadership, and to keep Kobe Bryant in check. Phil doesn't expect Fish to stop opposing PGs, he never has. Phil doesn't expect Derek to average 20 ppg, he never has.

What Phil wants of Fisher is to try to stay in front of opposing guards and funnel their drives into Laker big man territory, where in prior years, both with the Bulls and with the Shaq era Lakers, Phil had a defensively-efficient big men to stop penetration. But we don't have that now, despite Phil's pleads to Andrew to play better defense. We don't have a front line (Andrew, Pau) that is tough, or defensive minded enough, to cover for Fisher, as Phil dictates in his scheme.

Also, Phil doesn't expect Fisher to score a lot of points, as he has Kobe and Pau, and to an extent, Andrew, to score the points. Phil does expect Fisher to hit KEY shots, and to an extent, Fisher has done this. Whether or not he does it come playoff time will remain a mystery.

So you see, Phil isn't moving on Derek Fisher because Phil's mindset and strategy is vastly different than what most of us fans see, and this is the source of our frustration on this blog.

Derek is more of a strategic presence, as opposed to what we fans have come to expect from other PGs in the league. Phil isn't concerned about Derek's play of recent because Derek's play of recent is no different than Derek's play of all his career. Phil is concerned about his age and durability. But apparently, Fish has convinced him that this shouldn't be a concern.

All this is why the Lakers didn't aggressively pursue a PG on a trade. In Lakerland, and if Phillip Jackson's world, all is well at the Laker PG position. So, do we trust Phil's vision on this?

Alas, this is the question...

You guys keep talking about Fisher as if he has lost a step in his age. How can he lose what he never had?

I've watched Fish since he came into the league, and let me tell you, Fisher has ALWAYS been a average NBA guard, and this is at best. And this goes back to when he was backing up Nick Van Exel. Fish has never been a competent outside shooter, he's never averaged a lot of points, he's never been a quick type of guard, and he's never been a defensive stopper. For those of you who remember Fish back in the day, surely you will agree with me.

What you guys don't get is that Fish, during our Championship run, had Shaq, Kobe, and other players, to mask his average skill set. But now, Fisher's average skill set is just being exposed, and everything thinks he's losing something. No, he's not losing anything. He is now what he's always been.

Again, Fisher has never been too much better, or worse, than he is now. He hasn't really changed, so there's no need to keep commenting on his age.

Posted by: troy | February 19, 2010 at 10:56 PM

All you supposedly Laker fans and experts please read this post closely. I know most of you don't like to read the truth and the facts. But there is not one sentence in this post that isn't the truth. Yes, Fish has hit a few big shots in his career. Do most of you know what it takes to run the offense the Fisher way? He makes one little safe pass...that is all he really does. It takes zero skill to be Fish in the triangle !!! Zero !!! Fish has a 40% career FG% on mostly open shots. So anyone that thinks he was a great shooter earlier in his career is grossly mistaken. The great play of Shaq and Kobe masked the deficiencies of Fisher in his early years. It is about time this all time great has been unmasked !!!

I think Farmar deserves a chance to start. Fisher is such a non-factor. Doesn't win games, doesn't loose them. I guess that's all Phil expects. Farmar can make the other team actually pay attention.

Lakers should start Farmar, or they should have traded him. I have a bad feeling about next year. Farmar is gonna leave, and start for another team - and come back and burn us. I see this happening.

Fish should continue to play all of the critical end of quarter/game minutes. But Farmar should start.

Watching Sasha vujacic games against Celtics, he showed that he was a rugged defender.Allen was scoreless when Vujacic guarded him.I think he could manage to stop all the quick guard to score.Give him another chance to prove himself,he is very quick.



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