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Poll question: Should Kobe Bryant sit out against San Antonio?

Lakers Spurs Jan 12

As The Times' Mike Bresnahan reported today, Kobe Bryant remains a game-time decision for tonight's contest against San Antonio after having an MRI today on his sprained left ankle. Meanwhile, center Andrew Bynum told Brez he "would not play tonight" after missing the second half Saturday against Portland because of a bruise to his right hip. 

As for Bryant, every week there seems to be another poll regarding whether he should rest so he can heal his various injuries.

Blame it on my lack of creativity (fair point), but it's clear that Bryant's ongoing injuries and performance with those bumps and bruises continue to add new wrinkles to the debate.

First, fans wondered whether Bryant should sit out because his shooting percentage dropped during much of January after he aggravated his fractured right index finger. As Bryant continued tinkering with his splint and played more of a distributing role, I thought concern over whether Bryant could play hurt was moot (he clearly could). It seemed more important to debate whether his role should be adjusted because of limitations from his fractured index finger. That debate blew wide open when forward Pau Gasol said Bryant's record-breaking performance against Memphis came at the expense of the inside game.

Then, when Bryant aggravated a sprained left ankle Wednesday against Charlotte, fans wondered if that five-point performance on two-of-12 shooting would finally persuade him to forgo the possibility of a third consecutive 82-game season. He seemed to answer the question Friday with 33 points on 11-of-22 shooting against Denver. But then the following night he sat out against Portland, the pain in his ankle too much to bear. 

With the Lakers coming off their first win at Portland in the last 10 games, the debate continues over whether Bryant should rest until his injuries are fully healed. I agree with ESPN 710's John Ireland take that though the Lakers managed to play rather well against Portland without Bryant, that doesn't automatically mean the Lakers can afford to lose Bryant for a significant amount of time. It's one thing to have a collective effort to fill a star's void for one game. It's quite another to duplicate it game after game.

But in the grand scheme of things, Bryant possibly missing Monday night's game and maybe even Wednesday at Utah are really just two games on an 82-game schedule, even if they are against playoff-caliber opponents and could bear tie-breaking implications for home-court advantage in the playoffs.

That leads us to the poll question:

-- Mark Medina

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

Photo: Kobe Bryant scored all 16 of his points in the first half of Jan. 12's contest in San Antonio, but he injured his back in the first quarter and left the game for good in the third. The Lakers lost to the Spurs that night, 105-85.  Credit: Brendan Maloney / US Presswire.

 
Comments () | Archives (26)

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im going to the game thats y i dont want him to sit out i payed good money for it

if he is healthy enough to go and he won't be likely to do further damage, why wouldn't anyone want him to play? these discussions are kinda stupid. all the fan can do is pray he's healthy and that the team wins. all a site like this can do is pass the info along about how he and the team say he's doing. the other know-it-all-ness is just so much stinky b.s..

REPOST

@hobbitmage

Your pen is quite mighty this afternoon. You bring up an interesting point that I believe bares further scrutiny, you said, "If teams are physical with Pau like Denver &
Cavaliers have been, how is Pau going to make the Triangle run?" First off I am interpreting this question as a quasi statement and I realize you are responding to a pretty epic conclusion posted by Jobato (one I don't necessarily agree with, the triangle flows through the whole team, not one player).


I think that this is actually a two-way street. It goes back to when Shaq was a Laker and he would have trouble in the post with aggressive, physical defenders (Ben Wallace, for example) we'd veer away from working the ball into the post and would settle for jumper after jumper, generally shooting our way out of wins. Shaq would complain he didn't get his touches, Kobe would say he should have worked for better position, ESPN would have a field day wondering when they would draw swords and duel on the precipice of Staples.


But it's not so cut-and-dry. It's not just, "Pau's not working hard enough to establish good position." It's also, the perimeter ball handlers aren't working hard enough to establish proper spacing and often don't know, or haven't demonstarted an ability to, execute the correct pass.


For 3 years Farmar has shown an alarming lack of ability to deploy the ball into the post without Pau or Drew establishing EXCELLENT post position. Clear seal, arm free, no arm-in-the-back call from the officials, he holds the ball over his head (already he's off to a bad start by telegraphing his pass) double clutches the pass and then kinda just...lobs it in there.


Fisher is better at dumping it down low, but I don't think I can remember him ever throwing a successful lob pass to a cutter or post player spinning off his man. He usually hits the rim. So if you're looking for Pau and Drew to establish EXCELLENT post position every time down, then you're probably disappointed about 40% of the game.


Pau is fantastic at establishing good post position. Andrew less so, he doesn't seal his man very well because he seems to still be lacking some lateral mobility. I'm not sure how much trust he has in his knee still, it seems lacking so far. He started real strong and has tapered off, save for a flash or two here and there. Good post position requires your team to step it up a bit in working the ball down low. Maybe swing the ball to the weak side and back, maybe try a (gasp) repost pass and try to get a fore arm in the back call (something Pau has not been getting all year).


My main point is that Pau and 'Drew just can't seal their man and wait. It just doesn't happen that way, especially when Fish isn't on the floor. If Luke's in, he can work it down low well, too, but he's been a non-factor so far this year and probably is still working his way into game shape. I figure he'll be ready come playoffs. I feel thatwhen Farmar and Brown are the in the back court, our post play suffers considerably due to their inability to establish it in the offense?


I definitely agree that one game does not a trend make are domo origato Mr. Jobato needs to maybe see how the trend looks in, say, 2 weeks or more.


Whatcha think, mang?

Jamie Sweet:

You wrote: "Pau is fantastic at establishing good post position"

NOT...toooo soft and light weight thus can be easily to pushed as demonstrated by Shaq

Drew is injury prone, lack maturity, in consistent and overall soft..perhaps not ready for prime time

I am not sure if this Laker team has anything left in the tank, they look beat and back court is questionable at best..

Both Denver and Cleveland are hungry and look good..

Remember when the NBA wouldn't schedule games on Monday?

KOBE NEEDS TO REST and HEAL!~

Center - Pau (40 mins) DJ (8 mins)
PF - Lamar (40 mins) Powell (8 mins)
SF - Artest (38 mins) Luke (10 mins)
SG - Shannon (38 mins) Sasha (10 mins)
PG - DFish (33 mins) Farmar (15 mins)

This is a team that can hang tough and probably go 1-1 before the break. That gives Kobe 10 days rest! (12 if he lays out against the Warriors who we can easily beat, especially if Drew is back). Even if we go 0-2 we still have a 3+ game lead over Denver and a healthy rested team for the stretch run!

Is it worth losing that possibility just for having a better chance to go 2-0 or 1-1? Compared to 12 days rest for Kobe's ankle, back, and finger???

No! No! No!

I hate to brake this to you Monk but tell me who DOESN'T Snaq push around in the post?? Also are you seriously comparing a 360 lbs. monster who eats medium to large size 4 legged creatures as an in between meal appetizer to Pau who's natural position is Power Forward.

Do you even watch games or do you just regurgiate the tried ESPN Bull***t. Pau is stupid good at sealing off his man when posting up. He ussually has to give up position to catch bad entry passes from Farmar or D-Fish. The entire team need to get better at learning to dump the ball down low.

Hell I have even seen both Pau and Drew seal off people ask for the ball only to watch it get swung the other way for a 3 pointer with 12 seconds left on the shot clock.

I don't care if we had freakin Dwight Howard in the middle. If he has to continually give up position to chase bad passes in to the post you would be screaming that Dwight is soft because he is getting pushed off the block.

ASLO Please stop kidding your selves into thinking Pau can pile on the muscle and turn into a Snaq or D Howard type player. He is RETARDED Skilled for a PF. Name a current power forward who has handles, a back to the basket game with a soft touch around the rim, has a face up game with a sweet 15 foot jumper?

BUT I will say this...Pau has had a crazy case of the "Kwame Hands" lately.

Shalin [sic] Monk,

>>>Both Denver and Cleveland are hungry and look good..

Yep, they sure do. Just like they did during last years playoffs before Orlando knocked off Cleveland and the Lakers beat Denver. Most of the pundits were picking Cleveland to in it all when they had the best record and were sweeping through the early rounds. And many of the pundits were also picking Denver to beat the Lakers after they pummeled their opponents in the playoffs.

How teams look during the regular season only partially indicates success in the playoffs. Yeah, if the Lakers were playing like New Jersey right now, you could say they're in danger or losing to Cleveland or Denver. But until those teams actually show that they're capable of beating the Lakers IN A 7 GAME SERIES, they're just meat on the way to another set of rings.

Yes Kobe should sit out. He has been up and down offensively, which everyone talks about. But he has really struggled on defense since the ankle. So resting is not as hard on the team as it sounds. Plus some other guys have to step up take responsibility. That's a good thing.


Best thing for Kobe - rest and heal. Best thing for Lakers - Kobe rested and healed. Maybe you beat the Spurs, maybe not. Won't matter much come May.


A win in February? Nice. A healthy Kobe?


Priceless.

Answer #5 is the winner. Don't even question it.

Kobe should, Andrew shouldn't.


Wes

From Charlie Rosen today at 12:45 EST

Question:
Point guards who play good defense seem to be rare in the NBA. Who do you think are the best in this category? – Peter Chan

Answer:
The reason why there are so few good defenders at this position is that point guards are the most difficult to defend. They’re usually the quickest and fastest players on their teams, as well as the best ball-handlers. Plus there are several types of defenders: One-on-one stoppers, ball-snipers and team-defenders.

Here are my candidates: Marcus Banks, on those few occasions when his head and his game are in synch. Shannon Brown. Derek Fisher still plays terrific position defense. Willie Green. Kirk Hinrich. Lindsey Hunter for short rotations only. Royal Ivey is probably the best all-around defender at this slot. Kyle Lowry. Chris Paul is strictly a gambler and a sniper, but does both with a modicum of success. Rajon Rondo. Dwayne Wade, when he does play the point. Earl Watson, when he’s not playing too fast. And Delonte West, because of his sheer toughness.

My comment:
With all the talk about our PG position and the PG defense here on the blog, I thought I would throw this in here. To some extent, I have the sense that Charlie knows it's an issue we are thrashing around with. You think somebody put him up to this or do you believe his sincerity?

As a 27-year Laker fan, I've had the pleasure of watching Kobe play his entire career in our colors. Nothing feels better to me than watching that man play the game; it's the universal fixer at the end of a tough day. However, my selfishness will not allow me to want him to play tonight or any time before all-star break. HE NEEDS TO REST. If we are serious about re-peating (and I most certainly am), we need The Black Mamba as healthy as we can get him. Denver and Cleveland are out for blood, this year. Knowing Kobe, he would disagree but that's just because HE IS KOBE. Gary Vitti, I'm certain, would agree with me.

Bynum, on the other hand, needs to be on the court. He's the most frail player in pro. basketball (not just the NBA). He may be the least respected big man in the league and seems to lack all heart for the game. I love Andrew but having a center like Shaq sort of spoiled me. Geez, even "Stone Hands" Kwame Brown wasn't this frail...

Drew is injured again?

Dang, its a good thing he's not injury prone or it might happen often.

charlie rosen and phred agree, fish does play pretty good position defense a lot of the time, which is the about the only time i agree with him on most things, so we can enjoy our heresy together.

on the other hand, what? most of those guys play about six minutes a game, if that. Here's another heresy; good defense in the nba mostly comes from guys who are able to play and contribute to a good offensive system, even if they can't play offense by themselves, cause otherwise they shouldn't be on the court.

p ang- funny

I'd like Kobe to sit out until after the break. As has been said, a healthy Kobe later is much more valuable than a few more W's now...

Anyone watching the NO / Magic game? The Hornets have got on the most gawd-awful uniform on that I've ever seen. Who cares how they play? They should be given the L just cuz of those uni's.... hideous...

yeah, i had a ton of stuff i wrote in response to questions from like three days ago, but i've been busy, i haven't even finished watching the replay of the portland game, although i might catch up tonight, cause i don't think i'll be getting the SA game.

So i'm skipping all of that and just jumping right in. My response to the poll question; dammit, Mark, i'm a guy who watches basketball, not a doctor. Beats me. Whatever makes sense medically, i would say, not what makes sense basketball-y.

the most frail player in pro basketball? you mean, the most frail who has played as many games as he has? Kind of dubious, don't you think? i mean, if a guys that frail, how could he be doing as well as he is?

anyhoo, whatever. thanks for posting your comment, enjoy your moment before LakerPangloss chews you new one. : )

Repost:

@ hobbitmage,

I have also attended a seminar with Bustillo and studied a lot of his material. I've been involved for many years with the more ancient form of "modern day" Muay Thai, called Muay Boran. Tony Jaa uses some of it in his latest movie Ong Bak 2. I've had the privilege of meeting Tony Jaa when I spent some time in Thailand some years back and I hope that he will get an opportunity to bring his craft to the U. S. like Jackie Chan and Jet Li. He's the real deal.

It's been great incorporating different styles such as Muay Thai(Muay Boran), Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and some Gracie's grappling as well. I'm just thankful for the discipline and great principles it has brought to my life.

Escrima is another great art and I wish you all the best with it.

Last of all, go Lakers!!!


Posted by: Nemaia Faletogo | February 08, 2010 at 05:55 PM

The Infamous El Guapo:

You wrote: Do you even watch games or do you just regurgiate the tried ESPN Bull***t.

Are the games televised? My info is all heresay

Jamie Sweet,

Hola!

Excellent post! Let's go:

you wrote: "If teams are physical with Pau like Denver &
Cavaliers have been, how is Pau going to make the Triangle run?" First off I am interpreting this question as a quasi statement and I realize you are responding to a pretty epic conclusion posted by Jobato (one I don't necessarily agree with, the triangle flows through the whole team, not one player).

my response: Yes & No to the quasi statement. Which I guess makes it a
quasi statement. My first inclination is to ask them, are you going to pass
the bottle this way after you finish? However, I'm willing to learn. There
have been a number of bloggers who regurgitate the mantra: inside-outside
basketball. I've seen very few of them address factual issues. Such as Pau's
lack of conditioning. Such as he's playing soft. Such as his shooting has been
off lately. I have posted excerpts from articles by sports writers who have
noticed/commented on the same things, yet the inside-outside bloggers
ignore this & continue the mantra. Perhaps that's why it's a mantra ... :)

You wrote: I think that this is actually a two-way street.

My response: I tend to agree with you. There was an issue with Shaq in that
Kobe started to lose respect for Shaq because Shaq wasn't taking the game
seriously. ( in my opinion ) I think the toe incident and coming into camp
straight from Krispy Kreme was bothering him. I don't think he feels that
way about Pau.

This is what I'm *really* trying to figure out. From everything that Kobe has
said, he thinks the world of Pau. Last year, they played great together. So ...
What would cause things to change? JimJoyce & others would say that Kobe
was is and always will be a ballhog. The numbers just don't bear that out.
So I keep trying to answer the question: Why are they not playing the same
as they did last year? If Kobe was a ball hog, he wouldn't keep passing it to
Artest. However, he is passing it to Artest. He is passing it to D-Fish. He has
passed to Bynum. So ... What's going on?

Then I started looking at Bynum & Pau in December. I also started looking
at other C's/players. I found that Bynum/Pau weren't fighting for position.
At least as far as I could see.

You also wrote this: Fisher is better at dumping it down low, but I don't think I can remember him ever throwing a successful lob pass to a cutter or post player spinning off his man. He usually hits the rim. So if you're looking for Pau and Drew to establish EXCELLENT post position every time down, then you're probably disappointed about 40% of the game.

Good point on Fisher.

You also wrote this: Andrew less so, he doesn't seal his man very well because he seems to still be lacking some lateral mobility. I'm not sure how much trust he has in his knee still, it seems lacking so far. He started real strong and has tapered off, save for a flash or two here and there.

My response: It may be his mobility. His knee was bothering him in Portland.
However his play after Pau came back has made me *very* uncomfortable.
His comment about the "politics" of the all-star game just seemed like a
complete wuss-out. Finally, I have a hard time with the effort that he's put
out after watching Artest & Kobe play. He doesn't *seem* to want it the same
way they do, and I just don't get that. You can see it when he lopes up the
court. You can see him not wait to get rebounds. It *seems* like all he cares
about is offense. I'm not saying this is true. [ that's for your LakerTom ]
However, when you compare his play to Joakim Noah ... Man! What a
difference in intensity.

Tonight will tell us much.

Lakers basketball! I love it!

Trade Bynum - he's a bum! Bosh is so much tougher...i know he gets hurt too - but Bynum practially has more games NOT played than played. And now he's pulling in a huge salary. He is just potential...Bosh is ready NOW. Kobe needs a loaded team NOW.

Awesome post Hobbitmage! I love it when I can read a post like that and learn something. This place and you guys are something.

I will tell you that when I look at old Bynum vidoe on youtube, he looks much more mobile. I think's it's true that he isn't yet back all the way from his injuries. Maybe Phil will begin playing Bynum off the bench until he regains his strength and lateral movement (next season?) and limit his minutes until he regains full health and flexibility.

Of course if all that's true, then there is some defense for his attitude and "fight" not being what we wish it was. Tough to play all out when your knees aren't quite right.
hmmmmmmm.

With all the talk about our PG position and the PG defense here on the blog, I thought I would throw this in here. To some extent, I have the sense that Charlie knows it's an issue we are thrashing around with. You think somebody put him up to this or do you believe his sincerity?

Posted by: JohnnyV | February 08, 2010 at 05:01 PM
-
I think there is some truth to this. As some bloggers previously posted, even Aaron Brooks could not guard Aaron Brooks.
-
And the problem is even amplified, in a way, in the triangle offense. The prototypical triangle PG would bring up the ball, make the post pass and then wait in the wings to create the spacing. The opposing PG does not have to expend too much energy on defense, as compared with having to guard other PG who would penetrate. Thus, the opposing PG would have more energy on offense.
-
Even an all-star defense-minded PG like Gary Payton was frustrated with the triangle. A 21-year old Tony Parker was running circles around the 35-year old Glove. He wanted to post up against Tony 'to get back at the kid' and wear him down some. But a PG posting up is a sacrilege in the triangle and Tex and PJ would have none of that.

Kobe really needs to rest up and watch how the team is playing perfact team ball without him.

Remember in 2001 when he was injured and sat out a few games, he saw how the team was playing perfect triangle basketball, then came back, quickly incorporating himself within the triangle and the lakers went 15-1 in the playoffs and won the championship beating Philly in 5 games.
Shaq even called him the best player in basketball at that time.

Sometimes time off where you get to watch from the sidelines can really help your team become better when u return.

Kobe really needs to rest up and watch how the team is playing perfact team ball without him.

Remember in 2001 when he was injured and sat out a few games, he saw how the team was playing perfect triangle basketball, then came back, quickly incorporating himself within the triangle and the lakers went 15-1 in the playoffs and won the championship beating Philly in 5 games.
Shaq even called him the best player in basketball at that time.

Sometimes time off where you get to watch from the sidelines can really help your team become better when u return.


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