Caught in the Web: Lakers try to move on from loss to Denver Nuggets
So how to react to the Lakers' 126-113 loss to the Denver Nuggets?
Silver Screen and Roll doesn't want you to panic, but thinks the latest loss raises concerns about Pau Gasol, point guard play, offensive efficiency and Phil Jackson's substitution patterns. Forum Blue and Gold takes a more 'it was them, not us' approach arguing, "when a team that is as explosive as the Nuggets finds their groove the way that they did in the second half, not much is going to knock them off their trajectory." After all, when a player in NBA Jam got on fire, any shot was a good shot.
The Lakers surely would like to hit the reset button. Though they have an immediate chance to turn it around tonight against Portland, a) that doesn't escape the Lakers' latest problems and b) they haven't done exactly done their best at the Rose Garden.
Nonetheless, Jackson says he isn't going to "berate" his team, but ESPN Los Angeles' Andy Kamanetzky makes a fair observation that Jackson's apparently calm attitude doesn't necessarily reflect the rest of the team's reaction to the loss.
Just look at Bryant's frustration level. Look at Ron Artest nearly considering throwing a punch to Joey Graham. Look at how close the Nuggets (34-16) are to the Lakers (38-13) in the Western Conference standings.
That's why Denver left the win with a soaring amount of confidence. With the Nuggets already beating the Lakers twice in the regular season, Coach George Karl to think his team has a "respectful belief" they could beat the Lakers in a playoff series.
More Lakers links (after the jump)
--One of the only positives that came out of the Lakers' game against Denver was that Bryant scored 33 points on 11 of 22 shooting despite nursing a sprained left ankle that left him as a game-time decision entering the contest. ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin hopes that will end the debate regarding whether Bryant should rest or not.
--Knowing Bryant, he would want to play all 48 minutes in the NBA All-Star game. "If we were playing them Tuesday after the All-Star game I would," Western Conference and Denver Coach George Karl joked. You may recall Karl also coached Bryant in the 1998 All-Star game, and the main incident that sticks out in his mind was when he waved off Utah's Karl Malone in a pick-and-roll.
--Bryant wore the latest Kobe Zoom V shoes against the Nuggets, but the O.C. Register's Janis Carr says not all of Mamba's teammates were impressed with the new kicks.
--In letters to the editor to The Times, sports fans debate where Bryant stands among the all-time Lakers greats. There's been plenty of this conversation before, but it never hurts to get more voices.
--ESPN 's Marc Stein offered a theory on Bryant's refusal to sit out any games beyond his unquenchable desire to compete all the time. Writes Stein: "One theory in circulation: Kobe Bryant is determined to play in all 82 games, no matter how badly he's banged up, to send a message to Lakers management that the delay in finalizing his long-anticipated contract extension is an insult given how durable Bryant is even at age 31."
--Trade Talk. Though ESPN's Chad Ford (insider subscription required) reports that Toronto appears reluctant to trade Chris Bosh, he says the likelihood the Bulls will trade Kirk Hinrich is pretty high.
--It's rare for basketball fans to speak of forward Lamar Odom within the same breath of Larry Bird, Chris Webber, Kevin Garnett, Oscar Robertson, Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor. But Odom is five assists shy from becoming the eighth fastest player in NBA history to get 3,000 assists and 6,000 rebounds.
Tweet of the Day: "Finally at team hotel in POR, Odom insisted that some staffers get into elevator 1st. Another simple reason every1 likes Lamar." --LakersReporter (Lakers.com Mike Trudell)
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Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant drives for a layup over Nuggets defenders Arron Afflalo and Nene in the first half. Bryant drew a foul on the play. Credit: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times.