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Health, homecourt advantage and team chemistry among the Lakers goals after All-Star break

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The Lakers made a significant step Monday regarding their never-ending injury issues, with guard Kobe Bryant and center Andrew Bynum practicing and planning to play Tuesday against the Golden State Warriors.

Of course, as it has seemed to happen all season so far for the Lakers, the team saw another example of injuries overlapping each other. While Bryant and Bynum appeared to have made progress over the All-Star break with their respective left ankle and right hip injuries, forward Luke Walton will be out an unspecified amount of time because of continuing problems with a pinched nerve in his lower back. Lakers fans surely will prefer Bryant and Bynum to be healthy, but from a pure numbers standpoint and knowing that athletes are human beings too, it's never good for a player to get hurt, even if Walton's impact is fairly marginal.

The latest development raised legitimate questions whether this alters the Lakers' approach as Thursday's trade deadline is quickly approaching, especially with Dallas' recent trade to Washington that brought Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson to the Mavericks in exchange for Josh Howard, Drew Gooden, James Singleton and Quinton Ross. Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said the Dallas trade "won't force us to make a deal. I don't think it's necessary." Guard Derek Fisher thinks the team is fine the way it is, saying, "We’ve always believed since the day that training camp opened that we had 13 guys that all can play and at times deserve to play." And then there's General Manager Mitch Kupchak recently telling The Times' Mike Bresnahan it's unlikely the Lakers will make a significant trade. We'll find out by Thursday.

In the meantime, Jackson, Fisher and forward Pau Gasol say the top priority for the 28 remaining games entails ensuring a healthy lineup, a factor that could help with securing home-court advantage in the postseason, a goal Jackson said is more "psychological" but still a goal nonetheless.

Bynum is far from fully healthy. Though he plans on playing against Golden State, he acknowledged to reporters that he only felt 80%. Nonetheless, Bynum said that doctors instructed him that he's still good enough to play, but he will have to monitor if time on the court yields to any more pain and continue his treatment consisting of ice and light massaging.

It certainly beats the alternative, something Bynum knows all too well, missing 46 games in the 2007-08 season because of a left knee injury and 32 games last season because of a right knee injury. 

Though it's been nearly a month since Gasol missed six games because of a left hamstring injury, he admitted that he only feels "OK." He also said, "Sometimes I get a little tight." That was evident last week when he looked tired during certain stretches, but Gasol thought a day off last week made that not much of an issue.

Regardless of his fatigue level, Gasol averaged 21.5 points, 19 rebounds, six assists and five blocks in the  games against San Antonio and Utah. Though the Lakers had taken a by-committee approach during Bryant's and Bynum's absence, Gasol helped ensure the constant ball movement and team chemistry. The latter factor is something Gasol ranks as the second most important variable behind health for the remaining 28 games.

Fisher extrapolated on that team chemistry issue, saying "the key will be for us to try to continue to do what we were doing while Kobe was out and Andrew was out." The Lakers obviously welcome their return, but Fisher rightfully recognized that the offensive dynamic will inevitably change simply because there's two more members to add to the pie in shot distribution and ball movement.

With Bryant and Bynum the first- and third-leading scorers on the team, that pie will certainly change. But there's one thing Fisher knows doesn't have to change: "We’ll have to make sure that we’re utilizing them and taking advantage of their matchups and the guys they’re playing against. The rest of us, three or four guys out there on the floor still have to move, keep the ball moving and most importantly, it’s about that defensive intensity that really seemed to be better in those three games."

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Pau Gasol goes for two of his 22 points to help the Lakers snap Utah's nine-game winning streak with ease, 96-81, Wednesday night. Credit: Steve C Wilson/Associated Press.

 
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This is Iveson's quote about leaving his sick daughter. Freudian slip?


"I'd be lying if I told you it was tough to leave her and my wife and kids," Iverson said.


Wes

HERE’S HOPING THAT…
- - - - - - - - - - - -
… We can make it through the rest of the regular season with no injuries and head into the playoffs healthy. Injuries are the only thing I think can derail this team from another NBA championship. We need our banged up players to get enough rest to get back to full health. It’s hard to build chemistry when the lineup and rotation are always changing.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
… Kobe Bryant reprises his role for Team USA in the last Olympics and dedicates the rest of the regular season to playing great team defense, sharing the ball and working within the offense, and finishing with his killer closes when needed. We all know Kobe can be MAGIC. Doesn’t mean he won’t still lead the team in scoring but the ball has to be shared more.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
… Andrew Bynum slowly gets confidence in his knees and unleashes the Beast that lurks within. Drew needs to be quicker and more decisive on offense so as not to stop the ball. Defensively, it’s time he started blocking more shots and dominating the boards. Someone needs to give Drew a copy of the Making of the Beast to remind him what he can do.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
… Pau Gasol gets his second wind both mentally as well as physically. Mentally, Pau needs to remember to be aggressive on both offense and defense and to stand tough when confronted with physical defense. The offense should run though Pau every time down the court. He has shown that he is our best second option individually but maybe first from a team aspect.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
… Jordan Farmar continues his stellar play. I firmly believe Jordan has taken his offensive game to a new level, finally learning how and when to utilize his speed and staying enough under control to finish consistently at top speed. The confidence has spread to his defense. We may well be looking at the next starting point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
… Phil Jackson will end the practice of running the type of isolations that end up with every body just standing around watching Kobe face up his man. The times when Kobe has the ball and every eye is focused on him by the defense are the IDEAL times to cut to the basket. Kobe should allow his teammates to make the situational decision to cut or not to cut.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
… Shannon Brown will now get his real game back to fundamentals. What Shannon brings is better physical defense and the ability to finish at the rim. I would like to see more of that than this dribble, dribble, spot up jump shooting. Banking on your shooting to get a new or bigger contract ain’t going to work, ShanWOW. Don’t forget what got you in the dance.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
… Lamar Odom’s stellar play is due to his newfound maturity as the result of being a happily married man. I am caught between a rock and a hard place with Drew and Lamar because I don’t want to see either’s minutes cut yet they are the obvious pivotal pair. Maybe the answer is Pau playing fewer minutes to conserve him or Lamar playing some point forward.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
… Derek Fisher finishes out the year with steady play and then decides to hang up his sneakers to become an assistant coach next year under Phil Jackson. Assuming Phil stays another couple of years, the Lakers would then have a successor with the charisma, pedigree, and purple and gold heart needed to coach the Los Angeles Lakers.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
… Ron Artest heals and is in full health heading into the playoffs. Had he not had the injuries, I think Ron might have had a good shot at DPOY using the same criteria that got KG his award – transforming a team’s defense and playing lock-down individual defense. Not only that but Ron is the team’s most dependable 3-point shooter. Even Kobe knows that.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Tom

Fisher speaks really well..If you watch the interviews,its clear to see and hear who can hold themselves well..His head doesn't flop around and sway when he speaks....He would be good at teaching some of the younger players how to speak.

Wes,

Lakers exploring another PG like Earl Watson to avoid luxury taxes exposure. Is there anyone here subscribed to truehoop rumors on ESPN Insider.

Farmar is OK but Earl Watson is a Bruin Champ. Speaking of Bruins PG, Darren Collison is now practically running the Hornets offense. What about Russel Westbrook of OK, he's next to Durant. Our FarWOW will be the Lakers starter, I've been hearing that for the last five years while ShanWow is accused of dribble-dribble. Lmao!

"We must reinvent a future free of blinders so that we can choose from real options". - David Suzuki

What's up with Luke and this pinched nerve thing?

Weird.

Get thee to a chiropractor!

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Derek Fisher is awesome.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Marky Mark,

I must admit I was a bit skeptical when you took over from the Kamenetzky Brothers, but, man, you've been doing a very good job.

Nice.

Of course, there still is a lot of room for improvement, but I think your prolific nature and the quality of your writing is someting special.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Laker Tom,

I love your writing.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Seriously, does anyone think that we need some miracle "piece" to complete this team?

We just need to play as a team.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Wes,

"This is Iveson's quote about leaving his sick daughter. Freudian slip?"

Mayhaps.

But, then again, I don't have any neck tattoos. I may never know.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Jon K. - Thanks a lot for the feedback, especially given your historical perspective on the blog. Would love to get your thoughts on how you think it can improve. In the meantime, glad you've been enjoying it so far.

MM

Last season Luke said, "put me on the bench." This week he said, "Ouch, play with out me!" We love you Luke and your IQ!!

GOOOOoooOOOOO LAKERS !!!!

On pti the guys were talking about the trade for studamire to cavs and said it doesnt matter the lakers are gonna win the championship no matter what and that trade would only make the cavs a favorite to make it to the finals but not win it. AS I WAS WATHCING THEM I WAS LIKE THESE GUYS DONT EVEN WATCH OR PAY ATTENTION TO GAMES THAT ARE BEING PLAYED. How can they say that the cavs kicked are butts twice and let along them saying we will win the championship it's as if that there is 100% chance we will make the finals, last time i checked denver kicked are butts two times and dont say we were hurt when they beat us without carmelo hot shooting or not denver is scary.

what im trying to say is that the media is making us feel we are the sh$& and its 100% sure we will make and win the championship. I just dont want any laker fan feeling like that, i want all the fans to take games one at a time in the playoffs and know that it will be a grind like no other if were gonna make out alive at the end.

AZTRONUT…
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Excellent points as usual about Phil and Jordan. I don’t think Phil has a problem with Jordan personally, just as I don’t think he has a problem with Drew. It’s more that there is truth in the criticism that Phil doesn’t like young players. Or more specifically, doesn’t trust them.
-
Think back to how he handled Kobe the first time around. In a way, it was not different from how he is handling Jordan and Drew. Limited praise, earned playing time, and patient and consistent repetition of the same messages: Play the game the right way. Do the little things.
-
With young players, Phil takes a longer view than even his typical season-long view. I have chaffed many times about how he has held Drew back and yet I realize that his philosophy and method is exactly what supremely talented young players need to develop their potential.
-
Phil is a master manipulator who many times has allowed teams to actually lose games in order to make a more important point and help build a championship attitude and chemistry. I think he has choreographed this entire crisis related to shot distribution and efficiency.
-
It’s so proto-typical Phil. Rather than order Kobe and the team to pass the ball more to Pau and Drew, he is masterminding the entire situation such that the pressure is now on Kobe and Drew to totally fit into the team oriented style that Phil knows the team needs to play.
-
Just good fortune? Or some form of perfect storm? Hardly! This is Phil Jackson at his finest smiling like a Cheshire Cat that just ate the canary and heading fearlessly into the tunnel of the second half of the season confident that his team has the right message and stuff to win it all again. As many of us have said, if Kobe and Drew can blend their talents into the team game we saw the last three games, then the Lakers will be near unbeatable.
-
Back in the real world, I think Jordan will end up finishing some games and maybe even play more minutes than Fish but I can’t see Phil making a change. Fish would have to pull a Luke. I do think, however, that Farmar will get a $2.8M qualifying offer, however, and maybe even a promise of a chance to start to motivate him to stay with the Lakers as Fisher’s successor.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Tom

Seriously, does anyone think that we need some miracle "piece" to complete this team?

We just need to play as a team.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Posted by: Jon K. | February 15, 2010 at 07:41 PM

=================================
Not a miracle piece but a solid piece like R. Westbrook to score run and defend at pg position.

JUSTALAKERFAN
- - - - - - - - - - - -
LOL. Actually, I like your idea. We could do it with Fish, too. Give us some new blood in the coaching corps and free up roster space and money for younger players. Now we don’t have to trade guys to get rid of them. Instead, we promote them. The true American way. LOL.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Tom

The biggest variable going into the 2nd half of the season will be the play of one Andrew Bynum. With Yao Ming out for the year, Drew should've been a shoo-in for the All-Star game. Instead, he has faltered badly through long stretches of the year and has failed to show that he's worth All-Star money at this point. It's been a disappointing year so far, to say the least.

If Amare does indeed go to Cleveland, I think Cleveland becomes the favorites to win the title this year. And if we face Cleveland in the Finals, Drew is gonna have to step up and not get bullied around by the likes of Shaq and Varejao. Contrary to what some on this blog say, Drew isn't a power player, but he shouldn't get beaten up by aging centers and scrappy power forwards. He needs to step up so that (1) we can win the title this year, and (2) he can be the key piece that brings LeBron to LA.

JustaLakerFan,

"Not a miracle piece but a solid piece like R. Westbrook to score run and defend at pg position."

That would be a miracle.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Derek Fisher is awesome.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Posted by: Jon K.


Why is he awesome !!! ? Have you watched him attempt to play basketball this year. Why do you write that type of nonsense !!! Fisher should stick to public speaking...because he sure can't back it up on the court !!

Cavs speaking to Warriors about Maggette.
Maybe the Suns cooled off.Sorry,thought twice about that really dumb move.

JustaLakerFan,

"Not a miracle piece but a solid piece like R. Westbrook to score run and defend at pg position."

That would be a miracle.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Posted by: Jon K. | February 15, 2010 at 08:34 PM

=================
Lol, no not a miracle but hella of a pick up. ;-))

Two trade rumors on espn -

Lakers are trying to trade for Earl Watson (didn't say who they were trying to trade for him)

and Lakers, Portland, Chicago in a 3-way deal:

Lakers get Hinrich

Chicago gets Adam Morrison, Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw, and Juwan Howard

Portland gets Tyrus Thomas and Sasha Vujacic

Effectively for the Lakers, it works out as Lakers trade Sasha and AmMo for Hinrich.

Don't know if there's any shred of truth to either of the rumors, but there they are.

More details on the 3-way trade rumor...

Yahoo sports reports:

"The Portland Trail Blazers were telling teams over the weekend they had a chance to acquire Los Angeles Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic and wondered whether teams might have an interest in obtaining him. This prompted several executives to suggest the Blazers were working on a three-team trade, including one Eastern Conference general manager who had been told the elements of the package included Thomas and Vujacic to Portland, the Bulls’ Kirk Hinrich(notes) to Los Angeles and the Lakers’ Adam Morrison(notes), another expiring deal and a first-round pick to the Bulls.

“What has, or will kill this,” one GM said, “is that Portland just won’t take Vujacic on.”

So it sounds like the whole 3-way thing may just be speculation.

Trading Sasha directly for Steve Blake works as well in the trade machine. Perhaps the Lakers were just trying to make a deal that would cut a million off salary.

Omega,

>>>How can they say that the cavs kicked are butts twice and let along them
>>>saying we will win the championship it's as if that there is 100% chance we
>>>will make the finals, last time i checked denver kicked are butts two times a
>>>and dont say we were hurt when they beat us without carmelo hot shooting
>>>or not denver is scary.

Calm down. Regular season wins are not the same thing as playoff wins. Last season the Lakers swept Houston during the regular season, yet went to 7 games against them in the playoffs. And in the same year, the Lakers got swept by Orlando, yet beat them pretty handily in the playoffs.

Denver and Cleveland are very good teams. But until they have actually shown their mettle against the Lakers in the playoffs, these regular season wins are just practice games.

JLF,

>>>Not a miracle piece but a solid piece like R. Westbrook to score run and
>>>defend at pg position.

Sure. Right.

And I'm sure Oklahoma City will be happy to give up Westbrook for Adam Morrison (since we don't have Kwame Brown to trade).

If Russel Westbrook plays for the Lakers this season, I will eat my shoes.

>>>If Amare does indeed go to Cleveland, I think Cleveland becomes the
>>>favorites to win the title this year. And if we face Cleveland in the Finals,
>>>Drew is gonna have to step up and not get bullied around by the likes of Shaq
>>>and Varejao.

So what, Cleveland is just going to bench Amare for the finals?

Amare is a huge defensive liability. And the Lakers have regularly shut him down since they've had Pau and Drew to defend him.

That's the thing. All these guys Cleveland is pursuing are much worse defenders than Varejao or Shaq. I'd be more intimidated by Cleveland if they stood pat with what they have. Amare makes them LESS scary, not more scary. Same with Jamison.

The wolves now hold the key for a trade involving Sasha..
They have the contracts to send to the Bulls.

"That's the thing. All these guys Cleveland is pursuing are much worse defenders than Varejao or Shaq."

Doesn't matter. Amare is by no means a great defender, but he gives them an offensive punch that they're missing in the frontline. Adding Amare gives them a much more balanced frontline - the best frontline in the East and one that could definitely hang with us.

If his hamstrings are still tight - Pau should strongly consider Yoga. Seriously - will solve the problem.

I can't recall Kobe ever having a sprained ankle before - high tops vs. low top sneaks?? Surprised no one has been talking about that.

Losing Luke hurts - while as a starter or key reserve - he has limitations, but as a 4-5 minute per game reserve - he's pretty solid.

unrelated to injuries and just because I was thinking about it - the fundamental outlet pass has become a lost art. Anyone out there remember Bill Walton or Wes Unseld and those outlet passes? I haven't seen one rebound, pivot, outlet pass to a spot all season - at least not anything close to how those two used to execute. I wonder why that aspect of the game seems to have disappeared?

DKWSFO

I really think if the Lakers do add Heinrick, they will automatically become 3 times better defensively,,, Imagine, (kobe, Artest and Heinrick) along with Pau, Bynum and Odom with one of those two down low....killer defense = CHampionships.... Mitch pull it off.... only if someone will be willing to take on Luke's horrific contract.... Talk about stilling money......

LakerTom,

I agree that PJ is tough on young players, as Morrison is finding out at the peril of his career. As you say, he’s usually right in the ways he uses them with respect to the best long-term interests of the team and the ultimate goal of winning championships.

I’ve been reading Instant Replay where Jerry Kramer expounds on Lombardi’s coaching philosophy, and what he stressed repeatedly was that perfect practice and practice and practice...makes for perfect execution under pressure. This equates to experience and was why Lombardi was tough on young players too, in fact he typically tried to break them in practice so that he could build them back up in his image, or toss them aside.

The concept was that the harder you work at something the more difficult it is to quit when the chips are down, and that is the value of experience according to Lombardi. He had an existential hold over his players because he demanded perfection from everyone, especially himself.

I don’t have as much belief in the existential power of PJ as you seem to, but I do agree that he is a master manipulator. I also agree that he probably won’t go into the playoffs with both Bynum and Farmar in the starting lineup because of the value that he puts on experience, but he probably should. Bynum should realize that Farmar may be as much, or even more of, a threat to his starting role as LO’s inspired play of late, as he tries to fine tune his game as the regular season winds down.

I do think that Fish could well be more effective coming off the bench, since he has lost much of the quickness he used to have as a younger player. He still knows how to play effective defense but he’s not always capable of keeping smaller, quicker PGs in front of him. Fish may find that this part of the game is a bit easier when you let the other guy run around the court for a while and get a bit winded before you try to keep up with him.

That being said, I’d still rather have Fish in at the end of the game, especially if we have to take the ball out of bounds with 0.4 seconds left needing a game winning shot...

Portland got Camby..The Wolves hold the key's still..

Couple thoughts:

Hinrich for Sasha & Morrison - DO IT NOW! Sasha has shown his pesky side of late, but Hinrich would be a much better fit for the team, is a very good defender and is nice shooter. He could be a perimeter threat for the Lakers, any defender that sags to double off of him would run the risk to get burned. He could be the Lakers best jump shooter, outside of a healthy Kobe that is.

Earl Watson for Jordan Farmar - Jordan, love your tenacity and it would be a hard trade because of his youth, but it would be an upgrade. Jordan in my eyes isn't a starter on a championship team. He still takes too many ill advised shots, and his pace during the game is too rushed at times, leading for turnovers. Earl Wats0n is more efficient and I think would be a better fit, I could see him as a starter too - something I can't see Jordan doing with the Lakers.

MOVE THE LAKERS SHOULD LOOK AT:

I've been saying since the beginning of the season, the Lakers should look to acquire Nate Robinson of the Knicks. He probably could be had for a Farmer/Sasha type package, there is enough veteran player and coaching leadership to keep him in line. He is a major talent, the Lakers could harness his abilities and make a darn good PG out of him, I could see him becoming Chris Paul-lite if they groom him correctly.

I've read that the Nets have sent some signals that Devin Harris may be available, he would be another great fit. The Lakers would then have the PG of the future, and probably wouldn't have to give up more than some kind of combo including Sasha/Farmar/Luke and maybe a draft pick.

Basically though, the Lakers could either use a shooter or a PG. Hinrich, Watson, Harris, Robinson would be all pretty good choices if they would only give up from the group including Morrison/Farmar/Sasha and maybe a pick or two. If the Lakers could get a Devin Harris though, I'd do that deal in a heartbeat!

Can you imagine a backcourt of Kobe (28ppg) and Monta Ellis (26ppg)? Its West and Goodrich all over again.

dkwsfo,

you wrote: I can't recall Kobe ever having a sprained ankle before - high tops vs. low top sneaks?? Surprised no one has been talking about that.

my response: Kobe has definately had ankle sprains before. He's just played
through them. An article on Kobe's toughness, earlier this season, specifically
mentioned how a reporter thought he wouldn't play due to his ankle being
the size of grapefruit. Of course, Gametime came and Kobe was laced up. It
may have been one of the sacramento series/games in the early 2000's.

Boy, why are the Cavs acting all desperate to get seemingly, "ANYONE" cuz its nearing the trade deadline and they have the best record in the league and all this "chemistry" and love for one another, this, that and a third"?? Seems like if they can get ANY new player, they are gonna do it just for sake of doing it..Maggette now?? All of a sudden, they are on his jock?? Next it'll be Nate Robinson, David Lee, whatever name they can think of!!!!

Perhaps they don't have confidence in the team they have..

Kobe's had several sprained ankles -- Finals years ago dkwsfo:

against Indiana -- he missed one game and then professed to the media if there wasn't a sniper to stop him from playing the next game he was gonna be available to play!

He sprained an ankle badly years ago against Cleveland, got undercut on a jumpber and it was a wrap!

Being a bball player, he's had several ankle sprains I surmise some more severe than others -- he just has a higher tolerance for pain than most/many..But yeah...I don't think it's the sneaks - high or low, some things are simply inevitable imo..

Is it even possible to get Heinrich and Watson?? That deepens the bench mos def and Heinrich can play off guard if necessary..Money-wise not sure it works since I am not up on the inner-workings of the CBA and all that salary stuff..

Any ole ways -- just throwing it out there. Kapono is buried on the bench in Philly and i am wondering if he can still hit an open shot but he probably makes too much greenbacks for our taste also!!

What Lakers problem is going to be solved by a trade?

Lakers 2 biggest problems are:

1) Defending quick point guards
2) Ball move movement and shot distribution

Solutions:

1) Farmar more minutes
2) Kobe playing within team framework

Kobe comments don't sound like he understands that he heavily contributes to the problem ...


"One of the things we talked about is everybody playing with a bigger sense of urgency. I think that happened," Bryant said. "As soon as I went down, it was, 'OK, we have to step up, we have to play because we can't rely on Kobe the last two minutes of the game to win the game for us. We've got to step up and play from the opening tip and play with that championship urgency.'

"I think it's a blessing in disguise so when I get back, everybody already has that sense of urgency that they've been playing with."

Game Day... nuf' said.

Keep that pre ASG break music playin'.

Lookin' forward to a long string of double digit Ws.


Laker Tom, you know I'm as big a supporter of Farmar as you are, but here's another "yeah, but" about him besides his reactive defense...I'm not sure he can keep up his dynamic style and tempo that we saw the last 3 games when Kobe's back in the lineup. Kobe likes set-piece plays, Farmar thrives on shake and bake. The two styles totally conflict with one another, so if somebody's got to lose, guess who it's going to be.

I hope I'm wrong. I would love to see Farmar and Kobe work it out. Actually, I think Kobe's game would improve if he allowed Farmar to dictate the tempo. Lately, Kobe has been getting trapped and stripped a lot because teams have started figuring out set trapping strategies to crowd and block him. In Farmar's up-tempo, cutting type style, Kobe would get freed up a lot more for open jumpers or solo slashes to the rim. It'll be interesting to watch how these two sort it out.

lakersrydeordie,

"Boy, why are the Cavs acting all desperate to get seemingly, "ANYONE" cuz its nearing the trade deadline and they have the best record in the league and all this "chemistry" and love for one another, this, that and a third"??"

I wish I could effectively communicate to you the degree of fear and paranoia regarding the potentiality of LeBron James leaving Cleveland. There is this irrational belief that if LeBron James leaves the Cavs will immediately revert to a CBA team. It's curious indeed.

When I've inquired to multiple people about these trades, the response is always the same[ish]: "We've got to get LeBron a ring so he'll stay!" or "We've got to build a team around LeBron that he'll stay for!"

This guy is literally (and I mean that "literally") more important than any other factor in Northeast Ohio culture. It is cult-like.

So, these kinds of irrational beliefs born of paranoia will lead people (including General Managers) to make odd decisions.

That's what's going on.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

lakersrydeordie,

To elaborate more on my last post, in Ohio there is an engrained cultural practice of "graduating from Ohio" in which when someone makes it (taking over your family's company doesn't count), they leave the state for greener pastures to "realize their personal creative dreams."

Sure, a lot of them return, often to raise families and such, but it's considered something of a rite of passage for the best and best educated to leave the state to build their careers, create entrepeneurial ventures, or engage in creative growth.

It's just the way it is.

Since LeBron is from Akron, there's this unspoken fear that he'll give in to his Ohioan instinct to emmigrate to another more cosmopolitan state. The culture here has really screwed itself. They've elevated this guy to demi-god status at the same time keeping him distinctly Ohioan in their minds, thus committing him to act like an Ohioan--which means he'll leave as soon as he reaches a certain degree of success/provided with a major opportunity.

It's weird.

So, yeah, that's what's going on. And Ohioans aren't very good at "doing nothing." They like to be active all the time, even if that activity is often poorly thought out. It's just the way it is.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

SIGN COBY KARL!!!!

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Marky Mark,

Any possibility we could have a new thread that addresses the "reality" of all these trade rumors?

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

If Russel Westbrook plays for the Lakers this season, I will eat my shoes.

Posted by: Long Time Laker Fan


LMAO - make sure you post the clip so we can all watch!!

Guys a new post is up.

Jon K - Definitely a good suggestion. I'm planning on doing a chat, similar to a podcast, with Mike Bresnahan after the game today and part of that will involve trade discussions. He's obviously locked in more than I am so he could speak to that with more authority. Even though there's lots of reports regarding possible trades, Brez's story a few weeks ago indicated based on his talk with Mutch Kupchak that the team doesn't plan on anything major. That doesn't mean the team won't trade anyone, but nothing dramatic. We'll have to see though.

MM

Todd,


"Kobe comments don't sound like he understands that he heavily contributes to the problem ..."


"One of the things we talked about is everybody playing with a bigger sense of urgency. I think that happened," Bryant said. "As soon as I went down, it was, 'OK, we have to step up, we have to play because we can't rely on Kobe the last two minutes of the game to win the game for us. We've got to step up and play from the opening tip and play with that championship urgency.'

"I think it's a blessing in disguise so when I get back, everybody already has that sense of urgency that they've been playing with."


I agree with you. Fisher's comments makes more sense. Kobe's comments are immature, covering up his ability to make his teammates better and cririzing his teammates about not showing urgency when he is around playing. Kobe has not learn anything from the last three games. It is sad.


Kobe has not even been back yet and he has already reaped his teammates even after a stellar work the last three games. What kind of leader is this?


Kobe's commenst should have been...


Thanks to my teammates, they performed very well in my absence. I will make every effort to make sure the performance of the last three games continues and does get interrupted. Drew and I will focus on defense to bring up a notch.


We all bleed purple and gold! There will always be another Superstar who will wear a Lakers jersey, but there is only ONE LOS ANGELES LAKERS!

Thanks for the reminders on Kobe's past ankle sprains - now I remember clearly.

Old age doesn't serve my memory well :-)

I always wondered about whether or not a sneaker could actually prevent or lessen a sprain. Having had several - was always looking for the cure that I never found.

DKWSFO

Kobe's comments showed how he has been spoiled by Laker fans for way too long and way too much.


We have to put and end on Kobe's understanding of what truly happens out there. Kobe needs to get back on earth ground.


Kobe has no sense of him affecting the team negatively of TEAMWORK chemistry. Unbelievable.


His teammates including the true leader of this team, Fisher has said it. Gasol the 2nd most important piece has said team play is valuable, the COACH preaches it, the triangle system is designed for it. How come KOBE can not utter the words teamplay is what we going to need to get us a ring.


The Mavs trade is all about chasing the Lakers. Good trade for them. They got closer to us.


Cavs already are a great team with 13 straifght wins. Adding Amare without loosing Shaq and Varegao, what? they want to be over the top of the Lakers.


A frontline of Shaq, Amare and Lebron.


I hope this trade does not happen. Amare and Lebron's too big, too athletic, too strong.

A couple thoughts-

*I was dissappointed in Shannon Brown's dunk performance. I think the pressure and expectations got to him. But if he would have finished that first one handed running 360, that would have been siick. What was funny was Kobe's reaction after his second attempt. Kobe didn't even look at him. Kobe didn't want to be a part of that weak stuff. Kobe treated him like he treats Pau after he shows some softness. Like a red-headed stepchild.

*I caught some of the Kardashians with Lamar. It was pretty much making me sick to my stomach with all his lovey dovey stuff he was doing. That guy Scott is an idiot too.

*I don't like the idea of Lamar starting over Bynum.

*Earl Watson would not be an upgrade over Farmar because he cannot shoot the ball. He would be a total liability on offense. I think if Jordan Farmar were a Pacer, he'd be the starting point guard over Earl Watson. Farmar is the better player.

*I agree with LTLF about Amare to Cleveland. Right now Cleveland looks scary with Shaq playing the way he's playing. Varejao and Hickson also fit right in to what they do. Adding Amare would just complicate things over there. I hope they pull the trigger on that one.

*If we could get Hinrich for Sasha/Morrison, that would be another coup for Kupchak. Hinrich could help out, but he wont be starting over Fish.

Go Lakers!

Let trade Bynum, Farmar, and Morrison to Raptors for Bosh and Jack

JLF,

>>>Not a miracle piece but a solid piece like R. Westbrook to score run and
>>>defend at pg position.

Sure. Right.

And I'm sure Oklahoma City will be happy to give up Westbrook for Adam Morrison (since we don't have Kwame Brown to trade).

If Russel Westbrook plays for the Lakers this season, I will eat my shoes.

Posted by: Long Time Laker Fan | February 15, 2010 at 10:10 PM

===================
LOL
Yes Kwame is gone but remember he got us Pau.
Now Ammo, Farmar, and Sasha for RW could work for them but I don't know if works under CBA.

They get Farmar to replace RW and an expiring contract this year and next. There could be 3 team variables to make it work so it can happen but right now unlikely. Hope is the key. If it goes down boil your shoes as they are easier to digest that way. ;-))

EJK

>>>Doesn't matter. Amare is by no means a great defender, but he gives them an
>>>offensive punch that they're missing in the frontline.

But the whole essense of WHY Cleveland beat the Lakers both games this season is that they shut down the Lakers offense. In the Christmas game, the Lakers shot 36% (Pau shot 5 for 11, Bynum 2 for 5, and Kobe 11 for 33). In the January game, they held the Lakers to 39% and barely beat them (Pau shot 5 for 14, Bynum shot 3 for 5, Kobe shot 12 for 31).

So take Varejao or Shaq out of the middle, and Pau shoots 8 for 14, Bynum doesn't get in foul trouble and shoots 6 for 10, and Kobe shoots 12 for 20, and the Lakers win going away.

Anything that reduces the Cavs defensive intensity improves the Lakers chances of winning. Putting Amare on the floor takes a ton of pressure (not to mention weight) off of Pau and Andrew.

EJK,

>>>Adding Amare gives them a much more balanced frontline - the best
>>>frontline in the East and one that could definitely hang with us.

Yeah, look how effective Amare and Shaq were as a front line with two time MVP Steve Nash passing to them.

Cybercozmix

>>>Earl Watson for Jordan Farmar - Earl Wats0n is more efficient and I think
>>> would be a better fit, I could see him as a starter too - something I can't
>>>see Jordan doing with the Lakers.

Maybe 5 years ago Earl Watson, but not now. That would be a terrible trade for the Lakers.

>>>MOVE THE LAKERS SHOULD LOOK AT:

>>>I've been saying since the beginning of the season, the Lakers should look
>>> to acquire Nate Robinson of the Knicks. He probably could be had for a
>>>Farmer/Sasha type package,

No. Not at all. The Knicks will not take on ANY salary in the future, thus no Sasha. They'd probably take Farmar/AmMo, as they're both expiring deals and Farmar is better than any PG they currently have on their roster (including Nate), but again, that would be a terrible deal for the Lakers.

>>>He is a major talent, the Lakers could harness his abilities and make a
>>>darn good PG out of him, I could see him becoming Chris Paul-lite if they
>>>groom him correctly.

You've got to be kidding. Nate is absolutely nothing like Chris Paul. Nate is to Chris Paul as Smush Parker is to Magic Johnson.

>>>I've read that the Nets have sent some signals that Devin Harris may be
>>>available

But not until the draft lottery, and only if they get the #1 pick in the draft and can draft John Wall (which would make Harris expendable).

------

In short, I think you're way off in your suggestions. While the Lakers might consider giving up Farmar as a piece in a trade for Hinrich (which I'm not sure they would), they definitely would NOT give him up for the likes of Nate Robinson or Earl Watson at this point.

They might try to trade for one of those guys, but not at the cost of Farmar. Farmar is clearly the best PG on the Lakers roster at this point. So if they trade him, they would have to get back a PG who is definitely better. Nate is an undersized SG, not a PG. Watson used to be as good a defender as Hinrich, but not so much any more, and Watson is only a 27% 3-point shooter.

come on Kurt, do this.
MaSha needs a colder and less flashy location than LA to put her career back on track, and Sasha can help the development of your guards in the triangle. not to mention the fact that next year is a contract year, so he'll probably shoot 40%.

>>>Is it even possible to get Heinrich and Watson?? That deepens the bench
>>>mos def and Heinrich can play off guard if necessary..Money-wise not sure it
>>>works since I am not up on the inner-workings of the CBA and all that salary
>>>stuff..

They could probably manage to pull that off. But are you going to take minutes away from Kobe? Shannon? Farmar (with how well he's played lately)? Or do you think Phil will suddenly bench Fish.

Getting Heinrich makes sense, but only assuming that Phil would be willing to give him most if not all of Fish's minutes. Shannon and Jordan have been reasonably productive lately. Fish, not so much.

>>>Any ole ways -- just throwing it out there. Kapono is buried on the bench
>>>in Philly and i am wondering if he can still hit an open shot but he
>>>probably makes too much greenbacks for our taste also!!

Love Kapono's shooting, but I have to say he may be the worst defender in the league. And this season, he's only hitting 38% of his 3 pointers. If Phil doesn't play Sasha (a reasonably good defender) much, why would he play Kapono?

>>>A frontline of Shaq, Amare and Lebron.

Yeah, I'm really scared. Especially with the way that the front line of Shaq and Amare dominate the Lakers with the best passer (and two time MVP) in the league passing to them.

Oh, wait.

It was the Lakers dominating the Suns when Shaq and Amare played together.

That's right.

>>>Earl Watson would not be an upgrade over Farmar because he cannot shoot
>>>the ball. He would be a total liability on offense. I think if Jordan Farmar
>>>were a Pacer, he'd be the starting point guard over Earl Watson. Farmar is the
>>> better player.

100% correct.

Watson used to be one of the best defensive PGs in the league, but he's slowed down a step. He's still a little bit better than Farmar, but his offense is so much worse that Jordan's better overall at this point.

LTLF:

Thanks for your replies..You are correct about Kapono -- no defense -- like that's really what we need??

I didn't think about the minutes issues if we were to add guards in Watson and Heinrich -- would never take minutes away from the Kobester ...I doubt Mitch'll do anything anyway and after the replies about Watson, not sure I am feeling him anymore either!! :o(.

"Fisher speaks really well..If you watch the interviews,its clear to see and hear who can hold themselves well..His head doesn't flop around and sway when he speaks....He would be good at teaching some of the younger players how to speak.

Posted by: From a distance | February 15, 2010 at 07:17 PM"

When Fisher was in his first few years, he wasn't much of a player, he didn't have his jumper yet because he did not have that injury that sat him out and limited him to practicing shooting, he was always just flopping, he was like a bowling pin on the court, trying to draw a charge, he didn't get many back in his early years because of the "rookie stigma"....but I did notice he was always ready to do the post game interview for the team. I scoffed at it back then, but now I realize what it has led to. Derek Fisher has always been an intelligent man and player. I think he deserves a position in the organization when he hangs it up.

staples 24: Here's hoping you're wrong, even though I'm afraid you're right.

WOW Jon K:

I did NOT know it was that DEEP in Ohio as far as the King was concerned..Geez - okay..Now I get it..Seems like some sick ISH depending on who's reading!!!

Imma leave it alone for now on..

Thanks for the in-depth explanation..

Is it me or does Portland has a plethora of guards perhaps thats why they wouldn't want to get Stuck with Sha-Sha -- who I could see in NY with D'Antoni since he absolutely adores guards. I could also see Sha-Sha in Golden State..Sasha wherever you can hoist shots up with abandonment -- maybe even Orlando since they like 3 point shooters....Redick game has improved but I don't see how he would fit, or maybe he would??? I could envision Sha-Sha on a different coast though, never want to play our former players three or four times. Besides, former players seem to have career days against us.

All this speculation -- all these other teams are going for the kill and I can see Mitch just chillin' in the cut -- no trade just going with the group we have..I would be cool with that..Its just exciting to think about we maybe adding a new piece is all.

LTLF,

You are missing the point. When Amare gets traded to the Cavs, they will still have Shaq and Varegao. Cavs only giving up JJ Hickson.

So, they can have Shaq and Amare and Lebroniski. They still have Varegao to bully Gasol.


I hope they do not get Amare for almost nothing...

Lebron and Amare running the court. That is not scary?


Both are athletic, both are big, both are strong, both can finish extremely well, that's dominance. Even Gasol and Artest will have a hard time stopping it.


Playoff teams needin to improve are all looking for one thing. BIGS!


To counter Bynum, Gasol and Odom.


Still, it is nice for NBA teams to chase the Lakers and Lakers just standing still waiting a worthy opponent.


I voote no trades for the Lakers. Except Kobr should focus on team play and perimeter defense. That is all the improvement we need.


Kobe needs to improve and set a good example.


Haywood and Butler to Mavs.


Camby to Portland.


Amare to ??? I hope not the Cavs, pleeease!


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