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LA Times Reporters discuss Lakers' 101-89 victory over San Antonio Spurs

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo Credits: Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times.

 
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The Lakers aren't a better team without Kobe, but they have better teamwork without Kobe. Hopefully he is paying attention. Both defense and offense also flow better with Odom and Gasol in the starting line-up.

bump...the edited version...

That play in the first quarter where LO split the double-team at the elbow, took one big step down the lane and dunked with authority was the best offensive move I’ve seen him make all season, hands down. Lamar seemed to finally realize tonight that the best way not to miss layups is to dunk the ball every chance you get. If he can carry that attitude over into his play the rest of the year there’s no doubt that the Lakers will be a better team for it.

I’ve been seeing a lot of Pau’s little jump hooks come up short lately, a sure sign that his legs are tired, as he freely admits. I’ve also noticed Bynum having the same type of trouble recently. Hopefully taking a few games off to rest his hip pointer and swollen knee will rejuvenate him a bit.

Too bad we can’t get Pau to sit out the All-Star game also, as I assume Kobe plans to, but I’m sure the league office would have a conniption fit if the Lakers tried to pull that one off. Maybe we could send them LO and Artest as substitutes for Kobe an Pau, since they’ve both been playing like All-Stars recently, although Ron could probably use the time off as well to rest his sore feet. He sure looks better lately though, so either his puppies aren’t bothering him anymore or he found some way to workaround the concrete boots problem.

Not so funny how TNT joined the game in progress, missing the first bucket and landing about ten seconds in, after showing an obligatory commercial between games of course. I hate when these networks sacrifice game time to squeeze in extra ads, even though I always fast forward through them anyway. They should get dinged in their next broadcast contract for every second of play that they miss for commercials, but I’m not gonna hold my breath waiting for that to happen since I know the league wants every dime of revenue they can get and the networks are writing the checks.

Looks like Sasha decided to show up tonight, with three bombs, two 3s, in the second quarter. Fish dropped some rainbows too, and Artest continues his season-long aerial bombardment from downtown. Shannon Brown opened the second half with a huge dunk, warming up for the All-Star weekend dunk contest I presume. Monster game for Pau, 21/19/8/5, that’s points, rebounds, assists and blocks, respectively. Wow, talk about putting up some numbers and filling out the box score!

PJ was wearing a wire and in an early huddle he calmly says, “We’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the ball.” Immediately afterwards, Doug Collins relates that the Spurs are leading the Lakers 10-0 in points off of TOs, proving once again that PJ is a master of understatement. He also told the Lakers in that same huddle that they definitely wanted to continue running Timmy up and down the court all night long, which reminded me a lot of what George Karl was telling the Nuggets the other night when the game with the Lakers was still very much a contest. He said something to the effect that they had to keep pushing the Lakers all night long cause eventually they would wear them down, and lordy was he right about that! In hindsight it was obvious that he knew exactly what he was talking about and it gave me a renewed respect for Karl’s coaching skills.

The other thing I noticed in that Denver game that really hurt the Lakers was their inability to pass the ball into the post. I counted only four post-entry passes into Drew the whole game, and he kicked two of them back out. Even when the Nuggets took Nene out to rest the Lakers couldn’t seem to get the ball into the bigs in the paint. Fish in particular has disdained the post-entry pass this entire season.

LO got the halftime interview and when asked how the Lakers are adjusting without Kobe he said, “we just go out there and do what we always do, run the triangle and be aggressive when we get opportunities.” Which begs the question of whether they really do always run the triangle, or take every opportunity to be aggressive with Kobe on the floor. I found his answer to be somewhat ironic, in a completely serious kind of way. Maybe he doesn’t watch the film with the rest of the team, or Khloe edits the nasty bits out for him at home?

It was near the end of the third quarter when the Lakers got six offensive rebounds on one possession, and Artest ended the spree by throwing in a bank from the lane, getting fouled and making the FT to complete the and-one, that’s when I knew the Lakers were gonna win this game, even though they were only up by eight at the time. In the between quarter interview, right after that sequence had occurred, PJ said that he wasn’t happy with the way his team was rebounding, go figure. If his guys were within earshot I would think he was just fuckin’ with ‘em, but I don’t think they were. So either he was scoping out some babe in the crowd while the Lakers were playing solo ping-pong off the backboard or he just couldn’t think of anything else to complain about. I’m guessing it was the latter since we all know PJ never wants to be seen to be at a loss for words, or a smart-aleck remark in a sideline interview.

Another great, complete team victory. The Spurs looked as discombobulated as the Lakers were before that win over the Blazers the other night. Which just goes to show that every team goes through highs and lows over the course of the regular season. The players know this, and the coaches know it as well. It’s the fans, sportswriters, and rabid blog scribes that are the ones who seem to forget. It’s amazing to me that professional athletes can keep their objectivity amidst the adrenalin-fix of the competition, and thus become much less emotionally involved during the course of a game than the fans. They almost always reserve their emotional reactions for the aftermath, and generally hide even those from public scrutiny. There’re a few folks around here who might learn a thing or two from their example. No worries about tantrums tonight though, as my southern belle ex-girlfriend used to say, “we’re in high cotton now babe!”

Throw It Down Shannon Brown!

The boys played with energy and hustle last night. Everyone on the floor contributed. Nice win, indeed.

Go Lake Show!

This suggestion that Kobe cannot/will not/does not play team ball is beyond ridiculous! I hardly don't want to dignify that with a response but I will. You don't win multiple rings without being able to play within a team concept. He has proven that and those that keep beating the ISH outta a dead horse need to get off that man's jock strap! We are def not a better team WITHOUT Kobe. We have the talent to do what we have done the last two games and they are making a conscious effort to execute the game plan. They are more focused. I am happy the team is playing well yes, and I admit I was one who did not think we had a game in us without him because of how they were all playing. Everyone has STEPPED up because they HAVE to so that's that. But to keep harping on Kobe needs to sit back and watch and learn while he is rehabbing his ankle and whatever other nagging injury is insane. He has been in the league for 14 years, you don't think this man, arguably the best to ever lace them up, doesn't know how to play team ball?? Get outta here with that bogus garbage.

This is gonna help us in the playoffs and I am happy these guys handling their business.

Good morning,

What a welcome re-set our Lakers are experiencing! Guys we knew had talent stepping up and playing to their capabilities.

None of us can know what it must be like playing night after night in Kobe's shadow. Seeing Mamba do the impossible on a regular basis makes me question myself, and I'm not even a Laker. The Blazers and the Spurs have experienced a rejuvenated Lakers team, energized by the challenge and freedom to play their game in the absence of their leader. Whenever Kobe returns, it's up to the rest of this squad to bottle the confidence they have acquired and continue making their own individual contributions.

It's also up to the coaching staff to hold the entire team to this level of performance.

There's another re-set many of us have been calling for. It requires Phil Jackson to be willing to do the unexpected. It worked for Sean Payton when he called the onside kick in the Super Bowl. It very well could lead the Lakers to the trophy they aspire to in June. I'm talking about a re-set of the lineup. Return Lamar Odom to the starting rotation. Give Jordan Farmar the opportunity he is craving. Having Fish and Bynum come off the bench gives the 2nd unit the stability it needs, while the starting unit benefits from the speed and chemistry it has not found under the status-quo.

Kobe's absence these last two games has revealed the promise of new possiblities. The preceding games including the road trip weren't just a symptom of a winter malaise. They were a message that this Lakers team the way it was configured needed a re-set. The coming All-Star break presents an opportunity for this team to let its potential break through in the second half of the season and the playoffs. It's the clearest path to a return to the Coliseum for another championship celebration in June. Go Lakers!

Lakers can beat the Jazz the same way on Wednesday.
Its ball movement, defense and hustle.

Without Kobe, everybody else gets extra shots.

They love Kobe not playing club....
LO, Artest, Brown, Farmar, Sasha, Gasol

Edited in more ways than one apparently. Damn, I really didn't think the mods would read the thing all the way to the end. I guess the trick is to put the naughty bits in the middle of your post if you want to avoid the language police.

It seems that the mods are speed-reading these things. For the benefit of those of you who haven't been trained in that fine art, it involves scanning the first and last sentences of every paragraph, so be forewarned 'cause forewarned is forearmed.

lakersrydeordie - so your whole argument is that Kobe is a great player, therefore he must be playing team ball?

There has been ample evidence that the Lakers play better when one player isn't taking all the shots, and the Laker's coach, veteran players, many columnists, quite a few commenters on this blog, and the results of the last few games have confirmed this. Just yelling , "Kobe is GREAT!" doesn't prove anything. He was never taking this many shots when he won the first 3 championships. And he was averaging more assists too. Heck, he wasn't taking this many shots last year. We need to keep shouting at him (like Phil does all th time) that he DOESN'T NEED TO.

exheldovr,

"The Lakers aren't a better team without Kobe, but they have better teamwork without Kobe."

Once again, you have succinctly described the situation with startling accuracy.

Now, the thing EVERYONE has to focus on is "How can we have better teamwork with Kobe (and Andrew) on the floor?"

THAT is the key to Championship.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Exhelo is right, they do have better teamwork without Kobe and this is not surprising to a lot of people: I mean we do have 3 current/former all stars still playing.
Now nobody is saying that they don't need Kobe, just that we want him to play more within the offense. Can Kobe do it, yes. Has he done it, yes, at times. The issue is does he do it enough, and that's what everyone is really arguing about it. Does Kobe break the offense too much, or just the right amount? A lot of people on here think that to win another ring, Kobe has to better use the other talent the Lakers have.
The only problem with arguing ad nauseam about the issue is that no one, on either side, is going to be convinced by arguments from the opposing camp. I don't think it matters what stats are brought up because at some level, it's really a subjective call. But, somehow I'm guessing that won't stop us.

The bashing on Kobe is so .... 2004/2005/2006/2007.

If I understand things correctly:

Kobe is responsible for Bynum's lack of mobility.
Kobe is responsible for Phil's substitution patterns.
Kobe is responsible for LO not rebounding.
Kobe is responsible for D-Fish shooting 1-6
Kobe is responsible for for LO going 2-7

And this is why Tex told the non-Kobe players: he who does not hustle will
be substituded. Becausee Kobe caused all of this including nuclear weapons
in N. Korea & Iran, the great depression & the fiscal stimulus.

Btw, it was a great game last night. Glad for the win. Glad to see players
hustle on offense & defense.

Another great win. Kobe is a warrior, but sometimes playing hurt is BAD for your team. The Lakers get two wins by playing five healthy guys and letting the warrior recover. It would be foolish for him to play against Utah. They will be, at worst, 2-1 without him and he will get a long spell of rest and be able to be healthy post All Star game.


I do NOT think Kobe is a selfish player. But sometimes his freelancing style throws off the other guys. And when Kobe is hurt he gets so mentally intense he tends to freelance more, probably more than he should. It is good for the team to play without him now and get used to running the offense and finding their spots. Twice Artest ran nice curls to the hoop off Gasol in the post and Pau found him for layups. That is there all the time in the triangle.


Kobe is great, and he is soooo effective freelancing. But he needs to pick his spots more and play effectively within the offense. MJ used to play in the offense for 3 1/2 quarters. This team is so talented and versatile and the triangle spreads the floor well for them. Pau rimmed out on some chippies that hurt the % last night, but they got good shots. Add Kobe to the mix and they could kill teams,


Here's to a win in Utah without Kobe and a post All Star run of wins with a healthy team.


Tom Daniels

Some of this comments here is completely ***ing ridiculous:

"This suggestion that Kobe cannot/will not/does not play team ball is beyond ridiculous! I hardly don't want to dignify that with a response but I will."

Hey man get a life! This guy only knew how to play teamwork and won championship while with Shaq, and afterward he is just a one man show. Believe it or not!

I second Rick Friedman's "reset, Phil" suggestion of a new starting rotation of Kobe, Pau, Artest, Odom, and Farmar. The Twin Towers experiment is over and should be filed away under "Next Year...Maybe". Right now, the above lineup would unquestionably be the best out of the chute. Phil can still tinker in spots, like he often does, to take advantage against a mid-game situation. But the whole team needs to know: "This is the starting lineup statement: we're coming at you fast and hard from the start."

Great game last night. When Kobe returns and with the flow of the offense everyone will be more open. Most teams direct there defense to the side of the floor that Kobe is on. Meaning more open shot for others player. Go lakers the time has come to whup on those teams that will try to deter us.

lakersrydeordie:

How old are you, I think you are too young to know what you are talking about. In Basketball like any team play, you win by team effort, and if you don't, you are in a wrong sport.

LA GUY -- whatever!

Tom Tom -- to hell with you!

Tom Tom : I am not a guy for your EFFN information! And I don't know you either as a blogger on here so go to hell already!

I don't need any of you newcomers on here to validate my posts. So skip my posts and go back into your hole fly by night fan!

CornerJ,

>>>I second Rick Friedman's "reset, Phil" suggestion of a new starting rotation
>>>of Kobe, Pau, Artest, Odom, and Farmar.

I third. Pau and Odom works much better than Pau and Bynum, and Farmar is playing better than Fish at this point.

And the bench is still very strong with Bynum, Fish, Shanon Brown, and a suddenly resurgent Luke and Machine. I still think he should stick with keeping at least two of Kobe, Pay, and Artest on the floor at all times, but I agree that that starting lineup would be the best the Lakers can currently put on the floor.

DID ANYONE ASK WHY THE LAKERS WON SEVERAL GAMES WITHOUT GASOL? I THINK IF YOU R GOING TO ASK IF THEY ARE BETTER WITHOUT KOBE THAN U SHOULD ASK THE SAME QUESTION ABOUT GASOL PLUS ITS ONLY BEEN TWO GAMES,TRY ABOUT TEN GAMES THAT SHOULD B ABOUT THE AMOUNT THEY PLAYED WITHOUT GASOL.KNOWBODY TALKS ABOUT WHEN LEBRON TAKES OVER OR CAMELO ANTHONY WHO SCORES MORE POINTS THAN KOBE AND THEY HAVE A BETTER TEAM.

lakersrydeordie - who is a newcomer? I've been posting here for four years. Unless you changed your name, I've been posting longer than you have.

I agree with Rick Friedman:

"Return Lamar Odom to the starting rotation. Give Jordan Farmar the opportunity he is craving. Having Fish and Bynum come off the bench gives the 2nd unit the stability it needs, while the starting unit benefits from the speed and chemistry it has not found under the status-quo."

thx Rick!

barbara:
Please fist of all stop yelling, and for complain about those two other guys you need to check their newspaper not LATIMES!

"KNOWBODY TALKS ABOUT WHEN LEBRON TAKES OVER OR CAMELO ANTHONY WHO SCORES MORE POINTS THAN KOBE AND THEY HAVE A BETTER TEAM."

also get a spell checker!

lakersrydeordie :

See who is talking you can't even discuss in a civilized manner without swearing! Is this all your defense for proving your point!

Tom Tom -- to hell with you!

Tom Tom : I am not a guy for your EFFN information! And I don't know you either as a blogger on here so go to hell already!

And for sure you are not a girl, because girls do not talk like this except b**ches!

There has been ample evidence that the Lakers play better when one player isn't taking all the shots, and the Laker's coach, veteran players, many columnists, quite a few commenters on this blog, and the results of the last few games have confirmed this. Just yelling , "Kobe is GREAT!" doesn't prove anything. He was never taking this many shots when he won the first 3 championships. And he was averaging more assists too. Heck, he wasn't taking this many shots last year. We need to keep shouting at him (like Phil does all th time) that he DOESN'T NEED TO.

Posted by: LA Guy | February 09, 2010 at 08:11 AM

And you know so much.........are you kidding me?

What are you trying to say Ret Force? I'm not sure what point you're making. My post was just repeating how many other people have been saying the same thing and pointing out a couple indisputable statistics. Where did I imply that I "know so much"?


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