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Sorting through the stats: Assessing the Lakers during the All-Star break

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It was perhaps too high of a benchmark to reach, given the historical proportions and the scrutiny that comes along with it.

But the Lakers entered the 2009-10 season wanting not only to defend their championship but to hold the NBA's all-time regular season record, held by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls (72-10). Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, who coached the Bulls to six titles including that season, downplayed such talk, saying it was "not important" because "it just takes so much out of you to push that all the time."

The Lakers also didn't widely discuss the goal publicly so as not to create more pressure on a lofty expectation that could cloud the team's pursuit of another NBA championship. Nonetheless, The Times' Mike Bresnahan reported in the linked story above that players, including guard Kobe Bryant, wanted this to be a benchmark.

The Lakers enter the All-Star break with a Western Conference-leading 41-13 record, far from the initial pursuit of the Bulls' record. They officially fell short of surpassing the 72-win plateau Jan. 21 in a 93-87 loss to Cleveland and of at least tying the Bulls' record on Jan. 24 in a 106-105 loss to the Toronto Raptors. But because this is an 82-game season, it's fair to say it wasn't expected that would happen before those games made it official. 

Even though many, including myself, hadn't thought the Lakers would better the Bulls' mark this season or even last season, the Lakers saw the potential in their team to do so. The Lakers lead the Western Conference, no doubt, and are on a solid pace for another championship season. Their initial goal won't ultimately define their season. But the mere fact some members of the Lakers considered the record a realistic goal shows the Lakers haven't fully utilized their potential.

Beyond it being a different era, it's unfair to compare any team to that season's Chicago Bulls, which featured a superstar (Michael Jordan), a sidekick (Scottie Pippen), a crazy but reliable specialized player (Dennis Rodman, in this case, rebounding) and a pretty big supporting cast (Steve Kerr, Toni Kukoc, Luc Longley, Bill Wennington). But in this case, the Lakers held that the Bulls' record as a hurdle to jump over for one big reason. Their identity, on paper at least, appears similar. The Lakers have a superstar (Bryant), a sidekick (Pau Gasol), a crazy but reliable specialized player (Ron Artest, in this case, defense) and a pretty big supporting cast (Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum, Derek Fisher, Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar). 

The Times' Mark Heisler raised this issue to Jackson a few weeks ago, noting how his Bulls teams were much more dominant because their identity had already been forged and the roles each player had already been clearly set in stone, a point Jackson thought was accurate. Specifically the 95-96 Bulls had the numbers to back it up. They led the league in scoring (105.2 points per game), were third on defense (allowing only 92.9 points per game), had at one point an 18-game winning streak, lost only two home games and won an NBA record 33 road games.

There were several factors that led to the Lakers not having that strong of an identity. Gasol's injured left and right hamstring sidelined him for 17 games. Bryant's nine-week avulsion fracture to his right index finger (and an assortment of other injuries) contributed to a poor shooting stretch in January. Artest brought an added defensive intensity since his arrival from Houston, but his Christmas night concussion exacerbated his already gradual learning curve with the triangle offense. There was Bynum's December dip, Odom's usual unpredictability, spotty point guard defense from Fisher, Farmar and Brown and an inconsistent bench. 

That being said, it's much more appropriate for this season's Lakers to be compared to last season's championship team because that is the ultimate goal. Heading into the All-Star break, the Lakers are 40-13, 25-4 at home and 16-9 on the road. That mark isn't on pace, however, to equal or better last season's 65-17 record, which included a 36-5 home record and 29-13 road mark. 

Last season’s squad — even with Bynum missing 32 games — led the NBA in rebounding (43.9 boards per game), and ranked second in assists (23.3 per game), second in steals (8.8 per game) and third in total offense (106.9 points per game). This season, the Lakers are second in rebounding (44.7 boards per game), 11th in assists (21.64 per game), seventh in steals (7.53 per game) and fifth in total offense (103.2 points per game). Overall, the Lakers outscored opponents last season by 7.6 points per game and allowed 99.3 points per contest, 13th best in the league. This season, the Lakers are outscoring teams by a second-best 6.77 points per game and are allowing a ninth-best 96.42 points per contest. 

Then consider the individual performances between last season and this season, including Bryant (26.8 points on 46.7% shooting, versus 28 points on 46.1%, Gasol (18.9 points on 56.7% shooting and 9.6 rebounds, 17.2 points on 52.4% shooting and 11.2 rebounds), Bynum (14.3 points and 8 rebounds, 15.1 points and 8.2 rebounds), Odom (11.3 points and 8.2 rebounds, 10.1 points and 9.9 rebounds), Fisher (9.9 points on 42.4%, 7.3 points on 38.6%), Brown (3.2 points, 7.8 points) and Farmar (6.4 points, 7.6 points). Finally the plus/minus stats among various lineup combinations show last season's squad to be much higher than what the current Lakers team has displayed at this point.

Obviously these statistics present a mixed bag. There are notable improvements in rebounding, total defense and the bench. But there are decreases in total offense and assists. So though the Lakers aren't on pace to better last season's regular-season mark, they're still on pace for another NBA championship, even if it doesn't come with bettering the Bulls' regular-season record.

--Mark Medina

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

Photo: Kobe Bryant chews on his jersey during a timeout in Boston. Credit: Greg M. Cooper / US Presswire

 
Comments () | Archives (44)

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Trying to develop the Andrew / Pau lineup while working Ron into the mix during an injury laden first half tells the story.

That was then, the now looks all good.

I don't like to post too many heart breaking videos, but I couldn't help myself here. I've cried more over this clip than Frito has chips. Yes, it was 1974 and I was 6, but the tears were real man.


I doubt anyone can watch the entire clip with dry eyes.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNmeixYw9m0


Wes

astroznut,

I appreciate you calling me on the use of "always/no one".

I was addressing LakerTom who refuses to read the "totality" of what
I write and instead only focuses on the part that supports his view.

In spite of empirical data to support my stance.

VMan,

"That was then, the now looks all good. "

Agreed.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

I'd like to present this clip as a metaphor for the present state of the blog:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDAmPIq29ro

How are you guys going to react when we get invaded by Pakistan or Bolivia?

What are you guys going to do then?

Seriously, guys. Chill out.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Ex,

you wrote: You're right, hobbit. The fact that Kobe, the best player on the team, doesn't run the offense himself, doesn't always pass when he should, that he doesn't stay in the proper position while on defense has absolutely no bearing on what anybody else does.

my response: That has got to be one of the most disgusting cop outs I've
ever read.

Please explain, in basketball lingo, how Kobe breaking the triangle offense
stops LO or Bynum or Gasol from crashing the board for a rebound.

Please explain, in basketball terms, how Kobe breaking the triangle offense
allowed him to get more rebounds than Pau, LO & Bynum.

Please explain, in basketball terms, how Kobe breaking the triangle offense
allows him to get 9 assists.

I have the Cavs @ Lakers recorded. Please give me a time stamp where
Kobe's breaking the triangle offense *CAUSES* Bynum *NOT* to go for
a rebound, but instead *CAUSES* Bynum to immediately turn around and
jog down the court.

Please explain, in basketball terms, how Kobe *SITTING ON THE BENCH*
"CAUSES" j-farmar to miss 5 shots.

I'm willing to be educated, but you've got to give me more than lame
rhetoric.

Wes,

Your awesomeness can only be measured in quantities of mega-awesomeness.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Ex,

sorry. Kobe got 8 assists & 9 rebounds. I wanted to address that in case you
used that as an excuse.

Kobe just produced 106 posts for M/M blog, so the succeeding thread shows the picture of Kobe. When is the end of Kobe talk?

Seven years ago, all scribes and advertisers were dissing at Kobe for being a criminal and all sorts of name. Three years ago another conspiracy and conniving editorial about Kobe rant. Today, the fellow hurt his ankle, fingers and back, i don't know why there so much fascination on one player. Is it Kobe or the money derived from Kobe? Just follow the money on the kobe-talk b/s and you will never go wrong in analyzing a capitalistic society hungry for mullah in spinning public interest to their advantage. The measurement used to be Pulitzer Awards, today it is the tweets, ticks and rating. It is the sign of decadence in our civilization, intelligentsia is no longer welcome, it is more of lure on self interest through robotics and outsourcing or anything that makes money.

Tonight, aside from the All Stars in D'League and Celebrity Games, there is this Vancouver Olympics. I will missing something here, there is no kobe-talk in the Winter Olympics. Oh-oh I saw ShaunWhite in the parade of athlets, he is the Kobe of X games I thought I escaped from Kobe-talk, well he is always associated with success & controversy molded for reality tv drama.

from daily.com

Bynum and Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo were among those who decided against participating. The team will hold a training camp in July in Las Vegas and then play an exhibition in August in New York before traveling to Turkey.

"I don't think that's a bad decision on Andrew's part," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "He's got to spend a lot of his summer just getting rehabilitated. I shouldn't use that word. I should say, reconditioned, after he takes a month or six weeks off.

"Andrew is going to have to work harder at this (because of knee injuries in 2008 and '09). He's going to have to be diligent about his work. The extra games, the pressure it would put on his body, he made a good decision."

my response: I only have 1 question. Why does he have to take a month off?

hobbitmage,

Arguing with Exheldovr regarding anything except politics is an exercise in futility.

Exheldovr is extremely intelligent and reasonable in his observations. He knows his stuff.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

We need to get the Trolls off immediately.
And while you are clearing off the the Trolls.
Let's clear off the Nerds starting with Jonny boy K. !!!!

And don't forget...What do we play for !!!!
Jonny Boy, good horror film on AMC tonight. You can watch it while you are playing video games tonight.

Wes

Feel your pain, dude. The score alone is enough to put a grown man over the edge.

Edwin - Completely nailed it. All these comments these past few days helped me buy a BMW today. I'm definitely enjoying the new ride.

MM

Mike Medina, you have really come in here and done an outstanding job with this blog. Unfortunately, we haven't held up our end. This was one a great community with a passion for the Lakers and a high basketball IQ. There were strong opinions, but also mutual respect.


It seems of late that it has degenerated. So many posters seem to have a strong dislike for one player or another ("old" Fisher, "soft" Gasol, "selfish" Kobe, "lazy" Bynum, etc.) and they pound on it post after post. The tone of the blog has turned negative and often bitter.


Reading this blog you get the impression that the Lakers have 3 starters (Fish, Gasol, Bynum) who can't (or won't) play defense. And the two good defensive players (Artest and Kobe) have been banged up. So this must be a pretty weak defensive team. Oddly, they are virtually tied for second in the league in points allowed per possesion, best in the league in defending 3 pointers and second in the league in rebounding. Maybe, just maybe, this glass is half full.


With a great team that is defending champs and has the best record in the West, in spite of struggling with injuries and trying to incorporate Artest and Bynum, frankly I find the tone here surprising and off-putting. I need a break from it. I'm a Lakers junkie, so I'll still read Mike's posts, but I'm going to skip the crap below for awhile. It is taking away from my Laker enjoyment, where it used to add to it immensely.


Maybe when I come back it will be fun again. Thanks to all you longtime folks who brought me insight and enjoyment.


Tom Daniels

Tom - Thanks for the feedback. I really appreciate and I'm glad you enjoy reading the blog. But the name is Mark, not Mike.

Anyway, I'm sorry the tone of some the posters have turned you away. As a moderator, I approve all comments so long as they're free of profanity, ethnic and racial slurs as well as personal threats and attacks (criticizing someone's games, no matter how unfair you may find it doesn't exactly fall in the category so I can't help you on that end if there are posters who think that way). That being said, I have the mindset that lots of forms of media falls on the market place of ideas. In this day in age, while there is free flowing information and a forum for anyone to share an opinion, ultimately the general public will decide through their interaction that the whatever content is being provided is legit it or not.

Rather than say enough with this, I think it's better to share your views so that your voice is heard. I'm not just saying that to generate more clicks (right Edwin). I'm saying that because I want this to be a forum where everybody feels comfortable sharing their viewpoints, even if they are wide ranging and diverse.

MM

Good Morning Everyone,

Jon K. - Hahahaha, Theres nothing like Kevin Bacon telling everyone to remain calm while All hell breaks loose. Perfect scene for the state of the blog. I, for one, feel much much better about where the team is headed after the all star break because of one little thing: Cohesion. I get the feeling we are going on a run the likes of which haven't been seen since 2000-2001. I almost feels the same, but we will have to wait and see. In the meantime, let's all breathe a sigh of relief that the first half is over and prepare for the second half after some halftime adjustments....

Tom Daniels,

I enjoyed your post.

Trolls only succeed when we become corrupted by their idiocy.

This happens every year and it will happen again.

Just know that if we hold fast and let the Lakers victories do the talking, eventually they'll go away and we'll be left the last ones standing.

Read the posts of those people who understand what is going on and ignore the posts of the chicken littles. That's all it takes.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Jon K - absolutely CLASSIC. You hit the nail on the head there, bro...!


Tom Daniels - all you really need to do is scroll past the lunatic ravings of the idiots. You know who they are - just scroll on by. Don't let the morons detract from not only your pleasure of reading the good & intelligent stuff on here, but our pleasure of reading your stuff as well.... Be a GHF kind of guy.

Mamba24 - THANK YOU for the bandwagon. It really needed to roll - maybe we can run over some trolls with it? Cuz that would be awesome LOL!

hobbit,
"That has got to be one of the most disgusting cop outs I've
ever read ...Please explain, in basketball lingo, how Kobe breaking the triangle offense stops LO or Bynum or Gasol from crashing the board for a rebound."

LOL!

Several comments:
1) You seem to imply by that that Kobe is immune to criticism because other players are making mistakes, too

2) Pros and cons of the other players have been discussed on numerous occasions, including over the past several days

3) It's human nature that players who are frustrated at one end of the court let that affect their play at the other end of the court. The more mature someone is as a player/accepting of their role on the team/focused they are, the less that happens. I wish that weren't the case, but it is.

4) When the triangle is run properly, players tend to be in better position for rebounding and defense, more so than with a lot of other systems. When Kobe, or someone else, "breaks" the triangle, players aren't in as good a position for subsequent events.

5) I hold Kobe to a higher standard than the other players on the team, precisely because he is so good. He should be the one always pushing that they stay within the system, not the one who most often strays outside it.

Jon K,
Thanks. BTW, I responded to your question about the raven in whichever thread that was in; not sure if you saw that or not.

Since we're bring out the heavy hitters, I have one from 1977. Get past the intro of this clip, then behold the most heart wrenching dinosaur love song of all time. I remember singing this baby for a month in 3rd grade, because it's a forlorn goodbye...to the last dinosaur...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q59NSJN8AqA


Wes

Great article on Shannon Brown on USA Today, here's the link http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/2010-02-09-timeout-shannon-brown_N.htm

I really hope he wins it tomorrow night.

hobbitmage,

"Please explain, in basketball lingo, how Kobe breaking the triangle offense
stops LO or Bynum or Gasol from crashing the board for a rebound."

I know you weren't talking to me specifically, but I would like to take a crack at this one...

It seems fairly obvious to me that when Kobe calls out Drew, or Pau, or LO, to set a pick for him on the perimeter and then jacks up an outside jumper instead of using it to drive to the hoop, as he should, then whoever set the pick is left way out of position to effectively crash the boards. However, when Kobe does use the perimeter screen to drive the lane then the man who set the pick can trail him in and thus be in excellent position to rebound a miss. At least that is one counter-example to your premise that I see fairly often.

As to calling you out of universal specifiers...you're welcome.

Actually this blog is much better than many when it comes to negative comments, obscene remarks and childish rants. There have always been trolls on any blog, so we just need to scroll down and go on. Some of the bantering back and forth is actually amusing. Some random thoughts...
I think Artest will prove his worth when the playoffs start with a more slow down pace and defensive intensity that usually marks play-off style basketball.
I'm a little worried about Bynum's proneness to injury, but this year is much better than the last two. I'd like to see him get into a rhythm once the playoffs start. I think he can be a big asset if he'll focus more on defense.
The bench is looking much better. Hopefully they'll contribute some much needed energy come playoff time.
Unless Sasha comes around, we really could use another shooter off the bench.

Mark, I am sorry if you have been lumped under the heading of the "hungry media", well you have done an outstanding work in running the blog and allowed poster to create their own niche of interests. However, if you try to retrace your threads for the past 10 days, it seems that Kobe is always part of your headlines. You never interject in this blog and join the conversation, the most you do is answer question or say new thread is coming. There are plenty of termites creeping in your blog. Of course, nothing is racial or political but at least intervene by giving your personal opinion and move on.

Many of us are not used to this kind of environment. I'm critical to so many players but normally a few posts would suffice to air personal point of views. Unfortunately, in this blog lately nobody want to agree to disagree. They just keep on going on and on like a preacher convincing you about his beliefs and his religion. There are so many Sir Charles in this blog. As a moderator, I think you should intervene to end the discussion by provide factual rationale to end it not promote it. Let's cite on Kobe-talk, what new craps (pardon my language) has not been covered about this player?

Anyway, it is just my observation thread after thread the story is almost the identical. Why introduce another thread if there is nothing new? Just my point of view M/M, nothing personal.

FYI: There will be NO GAME DAY PRAYER submitted to address the trolls. Why? Because it's not necessary.

They infested us during the Kwame/Smush/Cook era. Surely y'all remember Steven/Tarugo and his "Kobe Is The Cancer" rhetoric. We stood our ground. We endured their taunts. They left.

They infested us during the Trade Me/Don't Trade Me summer of 2007. We stood our ground. We endured their taunts. They left.

They infested us after losing the Finals in 2008. "You're Not Jordan" chants in the new Garden, "Tell Me How My @$$ Tastes in the club, bold proclamations of rematches where we'd get swept and the whole nine yards. We stood our ground. We endured. They left.

They even infested us after the GLORIOUS SUMMER OF 2009 - putting imaginary green asterisks all over our victory and attempting to rain on our (literal and figurative) PARADE. Didn't have to stand any ground, then. The 15th Banner draped across our chests said it all. They left.

O ye of little faith. You dream of an imaginary world in which everybody loves the Lakers and everybody kisses the groud that Kobe Bryant walks on. Please understand: even if we did beat Cleveland, even if we did beat Memphis, even if we didn't get pimp-slapped by Denver last Friday, even if we WERE ON PACE TO SURPASS THE BULLS 72-10 RECORD...

...the trolls would still be here.

No matter what we do. If we repeat...if we 3 peat...if Ted Green's hope comes to fruition and Kobe gets his 7th ring, THE TROLLS WILL STILL BE HERE.

GET OVER IT!

UNITE! Unite as a family and as a Blog. The same thing that got us through before will get us through again. Stand your ground. Endure their taunts. And, for God's sake, SUPPORT YOUR TEAM AT ALL TIMES! Knock off the Old Fish/GaSoft/Kobe Is A Ballhog crap and STAND BEHIND YOUR TEAM. PERIOD.

And they will leave. Like they always do.
But be on guard. New trolls will come. Like they always do.

Things are getting better Tom D. The conversations are flowing again, and with that, things will improve. What does Leonard Cohen say in "Democracy"? Something about how where the night comes in, so the light comes in. My point is that you only need one good post to make up for the bad ones. That's the power of an inheeant goodness of communication.


Wes

"Anthem"--Leonard Cohen


The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.


Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.


We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government --
signs for all to see.


I can't run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they've summoned, they've summoned up
a thundercloud
and they're going to hear from me.


Ring the bells that still can ring ...


You can add up the parts
but you won't have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.


Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.


Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.

Woops....in "Anthem" not "Democracy"....


Wes

Glad to see it's mostly the regulars posting today.

The huge bloated infestation of kobe-haters was really starting to fester and reek.

Here's my view of the whole thing...

-This season Fish has shot poorly in 63% of the games.

-Pau has missed a ton of games with injuries and has rarely been at full functionality.

-Artest has had problems with concussion, planar fasciitis and learning the triangle.

-For the first couple of months of the season, Jordan and Lamar shot poorly.

-Luke was out with injury for most of the season.

These are all clear obvious deficiencies. Primarily, they were offensive deficiencies for the Lakers, as their defense was playing well.

Kobe, who had backed off his offensive game last season to help the team, saw that the team needed MORE offense from him. In fact, I'm sure Phil encouraged him to shoot more. And for the most part, he was shooting well - 50% in November, 48% in December. And the Lakers had the best record in the league, so the closet Kobe-haters merely mumbled to themselves a bit like the guy with the stapler in Office Space.

But then Kobe got injured. And injured again. And injured again. But while he was getting all these injuries, the Lakers STILL had other people out with injuries and not performing well. Artest was missing games. Pau was missing games. Fish STILL couldn't hit shots. When Pau did play, Bynum would fade into a low level producer.

So Kobe continued to TRY to carry the team. And he didn't always succeed. And the Office Space guys started to raise their mumbling to a higher level. "Kobe is a ball hog" "Kobe is hurting the team" "Ko-me".

And then a bit of a transformation happened. Pau got healthy and picked up his game. Artest started getting a little bit more aggressive in the offense and chipping in more. Farmar got his mojo back (33% in October, 39% in November, 43% in December, 48% in January, 50% in February), Shannon Brown came out of a cold December (39% in December, 50% in January), same with Lamar (42% in December, 49% in January).

And for a few games, Kobe continued to be more aggressive on offense, and the Lakers lost. And the Kobe-haters started coming out in droves. Vs Cleveland, Kobe took 31 shots and the Kobe-haters screamed it from mountaintops. But they didn't mention that Pau and Artest and Shannon Brown all shot lower percentages that game, and that Bynum was worthless vs Shaq. It was all Kobe's fault.

And versus Toronto, Kobe only took one more shot than Pau (and made one more). But Kobe missed 3 shots in the last minute, which turned a 2 point lead into a 1 point loss, so it must be Kobe's fault. Forget that Shannon Brown turned the ball over and Pau fouled Bargnani and Turkoglu to give up the last 3 points. It had to be all Kobe's fault.

By the time the Lakers lost to Denver, the closet Kobe-haters were foaming at the mouth. Nevermind that Kobe shot 57% for the game. He took 28 shots, so it must be his fault that they lost. It wasn't the 1 for 6 shooting by Fish. It wasn't the 1 for 3 shooting and 5 fouls by Bynum, it wasn't the 5 turnovers by Artest, it wasn't the 2 for 9 shooting and 5 fouls by Odom. It was all Kobe's fault, clearly.

And then came Denver. The Lakers lost. Kobe shot 50% and only took 22 shots, but again it must be his fault. It couldn't be that not one of Derek, Shannon, or Jordan could trouble themselves to stay at home with Chauncey Billups to prevent him from making 9 3-pointers. In the minds of the closet Kobe-haters, it was all Kobe all the time.

And Kobe's injuries became just too much. So he had to sit out.

And his teammates did for him what he had done for them. Every single player on the Lakers stepped up their games and played as hard as they could. When's the last time you've seen Lamar play that hard 3 games in a row? When's the last time you've seen Sasha hustle this much?

And they were fortunate enough to face a team riddled by injury (Portland) and an aging and slow team (San Antonio) and one low-level playoff team at full strength (Utah). And they won. So the Kobe haters gnashed their teath, and they ROARED. "See how much better the Lakers are without Kobe?" they cried!!

I haven't seen this much bile since KL Beast got banned and Gunner and Mike T went away.

But it'll settle down. Either Kobe will return, or the team-sans-Kobe will hit a roadblock and lose a game... or two... Either way, I think this outage will help the Lakers who played through it. Hopefully, they'll keep up this intensity when Kobe returns. Kobe ALWAYS plays with that level of intensity. If Lamar would and Farmar would and Bynum would and Sasha would, then this team could become a juggernaut.

Edwin - And on that note, you're right a new post is indeed up.

Thanks for the feedback. I see your viewpoint in not wanting information regurgitated. My viewpoint is there's always new developments in ongoing stories. In an 82-game regular season, there's always going to be topics such as Kobe's finger, Fish's poor shooting, Artest getting acclimated, can AB stay consistent, etc, etc. that will be ongoing. But that doesn't mean I should just ignore it because I had already addressed it once. There's always new developments that add new wrinkles and snapshots to the debate.

That being said I've shared my opinion on the Kobe situation in numerous posts regarding his finger, whether he should rest it, what role should he play, is he giving Pau enough looks, should he sit out the All-Star game, etc etc. Those are all different topics and while they may be on Kobe, the subject matter is slightly different and brings different nuance. Throughout all my posts, all my opinions are presented with some statistical analysis and weighing the other side. There may be disagreements among posters, which is fine, but I never just spew an opinion.

It's fair if you want me to interact more (it's really just finding enough hours in the day to do everything) but I don't want to engage in an arguing match to tell people they're wrong (that's what everyone in the community is for). I have at times intervened to point out when certain facts are being left out or misunderstood. But I feel my role as a moderator is to kind of be a traffic cop, and not an enforcer. If that makes sense.

Love to hear your feedback

MM

phred,

I tried to post this last night but it inexplicably never made it through...

If you drive by here later today check out this link, it could be your theme song...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00367TQ5E/ref=dm_dp_trk6

it's all about...well, you know.

Edwin Gueco,

"Unfortunately, in this blog lately nobody want to agree to disagree."

Come on, Edwin, that's my whole schtick practically! I live to agree to disagree.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, nobody includes an awful lot of people and anytime you use universal specifiers you're most likely going to be wrong. Such as in this case, where using myself as a counter-example disproves your point. I hope you understand what I'm getting at here. I intend no personal offense.

Amen, utzworld.... amen.

exhelodrvr,

I missed the post about the raven. Sorry.

I would have liked to read it.

Can you actually go out and just buy a raven as a pet? Do you keep it in a cage? Somehow that doesn't seem right.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

utzworld,

Amen.

We're not going anywhere.

Trolls exist only to be vanquished.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Kobe is a competitive lunatic. Kobe has a huge ego.

BUT MORE THAN ANYTHING KOBE WANTS TO WIN AND THAT DESIRE TRANSCENDS ALL OTHER QUALITIES IN HIS PERSONALITY.

After the All-Star break, it's going to be like the kids from "South Park" smashing boars in the forest.

No mercy.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!!

Tom Daniels,

Your posts are always eye openers, full of reason and truth. PLEASE keep on posting!

Utz,

"Stand Your Ground and Unite" Exactly how I see it.

Welcome back sir!!

*
I SUPPORT KOBE BRYANT – BANDWAGON
*
(01) JUSTANOTHERMAMBAFAN – OWNER - I am completely disgusted at the State of the Blog recently. We have been infested with a strain of Kobe-Hater-itis that is not only contagious but especially virulent. The blog needs to be innoculated against such an agressive disease ASAP.
(02) CALIPHILOSOPHER – DRIVER - Justa - Thank you. Really, thank you for that.
(03) SEGEBOY(THE SHERIFF) - Dude seriously? What you think this is an espn blog? Save this crap for the birds cuz this here is mamba county. Kapish. Finals mvp, go by that, give him the benefit of the doubt based on that. Take a step back and think to yourself, 2 consecutive a. as some have mentioned, why not look at the other players and challenge them to be this aggressive when kobe's back and not revert to asking him for bailout shots. If memory serves me right this was the mindset of last year's squad
(04) JOHN MAILA – RIDING SHOTGUN - leave kobe alone and dont post here haters
(05) HECTORARTM – Kobe for Lebron? NO! Why would you trade a proven champion vs someone who
has never won anything? Leave the Lakers alone the way they are.
(06) WALLACE - I share your passionate defend of Kobe. These pundits think after 3 wins in a row after Kobe sat down to nurse his injuries, this team has a better chance of winning the championship! I said to all of you a few weeks ago, without Kobe, this team will not win a Western Conference Finals let alone the NBA Finals.
(07) RICK FRIEDMAN - . I've never seen such an infestation of no-nothing morons. Euthanasia is too kind. Hang them on a gallows constructed in front of Staples Center so we can stone them. Who the hell are all you people? Where did you come from? Disciples, friends, and relatives of Ted Green? Or does Ted have 87 email addresses?
(08) VMAN - Again, playoff basketball Kobe is historically different from reg season Kobe. He'll come back doin' all the things mentioned in the article... as he's done and rarely gets credit for. AND btw, Lebron, DWade, Coach K et al, deferred to Kobe in the game that would be unthinkable to lose. Given similar circumstances, ya think Pau and Lamar are thinkin' gimme the ball and get the hell outa the way? When you can do it all, the hard part is deciding when to do what. Kobe will fit right in when he gets back.
(09) DJ - Couple quick things. Do you all remember the Gold Medal game? Watch the last quarter (or last 8-10 minutes of the game). No Kobe, no Gold!
(10) DAVE M. - Justa, I agree about the recent trend here on the blog. I don't think it's limited to Kobe however. I've noticed an increase in nastiness in general, whether aimed at players, coaches or those who post here. On the one hand, there's still plenty of great stuff to read and I have the utmost admiration for way too many bloggers to single out by name. On the other hand, the water seems to keep getting deeper and murkier.
(11) HOBBITMAGE - All of the Kobe haters focus on the number of shots Kobe has taken and they forget the rest. Call a spade a spade. You can cherry pick your 3 games where LO has shot the ball well while we play "team" ball & I can cherry pick 3 games
where we couldn't play "team" ball because our players couldn't shoot
a dead fish in a barrel.
(12) MITCH R. - I am amazed at how many idiots occupy this blog. Yeah, blame Kobe, the guy who has been instrumental in four NBA championships for other players shortcomings. Brilliant. No, he is not perfect. Yes, there are times when he overshoots. He is still in the top two in the game at the very least.
(13) TSPHERE - A further remind is the anecdote at the first team meeting to start training camp of the 2007-2008 season, where the hapless Lakers were wondering if Kobe wasn't going to be traded and absolutely nobody believed in the Lakers' future. Kobe stood up and said, "I'm Kobe Bryant and I'm here to win a championship". 9 months later they were in the finals, which they actually could have won, but for a psychological shock caused by seeing Pierce in a wheelchair in game 1 and an inexplicable meltdown in game 4. (Concerning Pierce in a wheelchair, something similar happened the following year when Yao was declared out for the remainder of the playoffs and the Lakers suddenly forgot how to beat a diminished team they were already dominating).
(14) MAYOR OF KOBE TOWN - Interesting line of thought, but completely wrong. Another in a long line of Kobe haters trying to get his 15 minutes. Where is the article questioning why Kobe's teammates didn't bother to play with this much effort and heart when Kobe was on the floor? Where is the article calling out the rest of the team for being lazy and relying too much on Kobe and only stepping up to play hard when he goes down for a few games?
(15) HEH8MEN1 - As a few astute commenters have intimated- play HARD and HUNGRY when the Mamba's in the PIT; and they'll ALL get FED.
(16) C-ROD - Ok, I'm tired of hearing this argument about how good the Lakers are withouth Kobe. What folks fail to mention is the number of times the "bench mob" when given minutes, come into the game and blow the Lakers' lead. This has happened countles times, frankly this wouldn't inspire me to trust them. The difference now is that the "bench mob" is solely responsible for scoring etc. they don't have Kobe to come in and clean up their mess. I mean let's get real, I haven't seen Sasha, prior to these last 3 games, come in and play like a professional and I think that's the KEY here these men are professionls getting paid good money to practice, train and be ready to play when called on. How many of us wait idly at our post in our respective jobs waiting for our lead/supervisor to be out in order for us to step up?! Give me a break.
(17) STANLEY WOODS - What an absolutely pathetic blog post. Kobe is the most unappreciated athlete in all of sports, and for the home paper to write such drivel about the reigning Finals MVP is quite honestly a joke. So the Lakers won 3 games (1 of which against Portland that was playing without Brandon Roy or Greg Oden, an old Spurs team that hasn't been playing well in weeks, and against Utah (their best win) that has no center to guard against Pau). Also remember, Kobe has not resigned and can test the free agency this summer. Are you trying to drive him away? What would you write about then? Lamar's candy? Maybe about MannyWoods post-roid decline? This Kobe led team was in first place when he sat down, even after playing his all through injuries, and carried the team on his back when Pau missed 17 games to start. How about Nov. 1st through the 12th. they won 6 games in a row, WITHOUT PAU GASOL, and Kobe scoring very efficiently in the post on over 50% shooting. (Once Pau and Bynum came back, there was no more room for him to play in the post, and so he moved back to the perimeter where he ultimately got re-injured) OR, how about November 17th to December 11th, where they went UNDEFEATED for 3 weeks WITHOUT PAU, and Kobe was the NBA Player of the Month Oh yeah, one more important thing that I have learned over the years from reading the internet: As soon as someone says. " don't get me wrong I am the biggest Kobe fan in the world" I immediately know they're not.
(18) PSYCORP - WHY CAN'T THE LAKERS PLAY HUSTLING LOCK-DOWN DEFENSE LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME, WITH OR WITHOUT KOBE?
(19) JOHN LAKERS - Dont tell kobe what he should do TED GREEN and i dont know you either, do kobe know you? so if we breakdown all the 51 games played this season with kobe one by one, we should held liable all the lakers player who are lazy, cant make shots, cant make free throws at crunch time, cant rebound, push around by bigs of other teams, cant make layups, too many to mention, kobe is not perfect but i saw all the lakers game this season, he would average 8 assist a game if his teammates make those easy shots he dishes, now the lakers is successful without him on three games and THE TRADE KOBE is the discussion now, he should fit himself like he was from D LEAGUE to the lakers, wow kobe is the smartest of all the lakers, i hate to say this but pau is pushing kobe under the lakers org, DID PAU hear anything pau from kobe if he made mistakes, NO only "you are the most skilled player in the nba", kobe have graduate from all of this kind of issue, this should be an issue at all, how about we right FISHER CANT GUARD other guards, LAMARS inconsistency, PAU high TO AND FLOPPING
(20) CHUCK - Instead of worrying if Kobe learned anything about his team, maybe you should ask one simple question; why did his team choose these 3 games to play with passion, hustle and aggresiveness. Why did it take an injury to Kobe for them to wake up and realize they need to play hard every game, with or without Kobe. You can't have it two ways, you can't complain about Kobe taking the majority of the shots, yet sit there and watch him bail you out time and time again. One other little thing, I see how you left the fact that Bynum has been missing for these 3 games as well, yet you didn't seem to mention the fact that the Lakers are a better team with him. Nice job Teddy!
(21) LAKERS PRIDE - So, where are all these new named LakersBlog "fans" suddenly sprouting out from?? Looks like they're all ardent BSPN/media followers, who can't stand the thought and sight of Kobe's greatness. Once Kobe is down and Lakers play, all those trolls come here and start croaking and throwing trash on Kobe and spewing their hatred on him. So guys where were you all when we were winning, thanks to Kobe?? Where were you, when the "rest of the team" was stinking wen Kobe was on the bench taking a 2-min break. Why did PJ had to re-insert Kobe innumerable times late in the 4th qtr, to save the game?? Why could not this "team" play "team ball" and not let the double digit lead dwindle to a one-possession game??? That is Kobe's fault too?? Is he ball-hogging even when he's not on the field?? So, stop the crap that we're good without Kobe and all such stuff. Enjoy the wins when they come w/o Kobe, coz the opponents are not going to remain the same forever!
(21) : ZairaAmaterasu - trying to' assume Kobe's feelings and projects. Without knowing what he's keen at. Kobe dies to' win RINGS man. He doesn't need to' hear from you about that. He is always focused on that always. And about Lamar, and Pau and their skill, I remember like a month ago whom else??? Ah, yeah... KOBE pushing them and praising them saying they Are so talented they can do all. Hardly the praise of somebody blind or dismissive of them both, I think. But all this is wasted breath.
Keep the anti Kobe routine.Must be' the new Black on catwalks, right? This article is ridicolous and makes me feel in one of BSPN garbage cans online.
(22) MAMBA24 – IF THIS CRAP CONTINUES I SAY WE KOBE FANS PERFORM A MASS EXODUS TO FAITHS’S BLOG
(23) AZTRONUT - The Lakers apparently play better team basketball without Kobe Bryant." I'm calling BS on this supposedly "reasoned" response. Let me tell you why; in statistics, and by that I mean mathematical statistics, the minimum sample size for a significance test is 30, by convention. That's right 30, at minimum. You've got 3 samples you're working with and on that basis you call your leap of extrapolation "reasoned"...BS! So, please tell us all what the basis is for your claim that this is a "reasoned response" without resorting to the fallacy that 3 samples allows you to claim your analysis results in a conclusion of any significance. I believe that "reactionary" or "purely impulsive" is a much better description of your analysis, and are apropo in characterizing the resulting fit of your conclusion to the available data.
(24) GLAC100 - Kobe does ball hog but its because for most of this season he's been the only Laker on constant attack mode. Whats he supposed to do when vs Cleveland the ball goes into Gasol at critical points and he wusses out with a weak ass attempt? When Bynum checks out for entire games at a time? Or when vs the Bobcats, N Mohammed drops 23 pts and 17 rebounds agains Gasol and Bynum? N Mohammed!!!!
(25) TOM - Kobe has won 4 NBA title his way. Continue doing it. When you lose someone like Kobe or Jordan (when he went to pursue baseball), the thing that happens is that the team is still good (in the triangle). Wasn't the Bulls a horrible referee call away from the NBA Finals? Jordan won three more titles when he came back.
(26) FEARLESS - Did you totally forget about the games earlier this season where the Lakers were totally dominant and efficient and flowing when Pau was out? Why have you not also written a diatribe that says the Lakers player better team ball without Pau? The sample size of non-Pau domination is roughly 5 times as large as the sample size of non-Kobe domination. Though I have no idea of who you are, your first impression gives you no credibility. BTW, Kobe shot better without Pau than Pau is shoting without Kobe. What does that mean?
(27) KOBEFAN IN CUPERTINO - "And why, in the last four minutes of every single close Laker game, must Kobe seemingly take 80% of the shots in crunch time? Or is it 90%? " - If he gives the ball to LO, he'll either clank the rim or blow the lay-up. Worse, he might get fouled and miss one/both FTs. - If he gives to Pau - same, he'd get cold feet/hands and fumble the ball or miss FTs (Cavs game) Also, find out and tell me which team lets the 3rd/2nd best player to take the shots when the game is on the line??
(28) I-HEART-LA - I dont care if its a blowout or a 1 point at the buzzer win... a win is still a win. Big picture, kobe doesnt need to change his game that much, other players just have to be consistent with what they do. If you want a passing kobe, then what youre getting is Lamar v2.0. Id raher have the killer instinct kobe anytime.
(29) KOBEFORLIFE - Don't ever forget-Kobe-is and will always be the GOAT! Don't you know he organized this whole i'm injured thing-so LamPaul and others would show some B@lls. How do you think it feels when he gives his Heart and Soul in every game and the rest are happy getting a check and just trying every other play or two? He's showing them that they could do it-sometimes-even without him. But they need to show fortitude and dauntlessness every night every time! The Mamba does. Don't ever wish him to go away-don't ever badmouth him-never doubt-have faith and courage that our Hero will always come true, will always prevail! Long Live the Mamba!!!!!!!!!
(30) LONGTIMELAKERFAN - Those infected need to say 10 Hail Kobe's and a few Our Phil's as soon as is
>>>humanly possible.
(31) JON K - Please put me on the "I support Kobe Bryant Bandwagon."When Kobe gets back we're going to tear the guts out of every team that dares defy us.
(32) DFISH - This Blog should be officially closed. Who are these no nothings that want to get rid of Bynum ! Kobe ! and Gasol !
(33) MANDO - Now that the Lakers have won 3 games, a lot of people are saying Kobe has been the problem. Actually, when Kobe played with Lamar and Pau as center last year, they were unstoppable. I think the problem is Bynum clogging the middle, giving little room for Pau to operate. And truthfully, Lamar is better as a starter than off the bench.
(34)

Tom, don't go away. I don't post often, but read the posts regularly. You're one of the voices of reason and passion on the board. I share your disgust with the bandwagoners and trolls who have spilled like toxic ooze out of the ethos. They wail and spew their venom instead of grasping the joy of a team that can rise up with 40% of their starting lineup out! We all know Kobe's a one of a kind. Like front row Jack at Staples, he's got his share of character quirks. Most bigger than life people do.

And so do everyone of us. Where would we be if we expected the same perfect performance out of ourselves that we do out of our Lakers? Honestly, I have nothing but admiration for every single one of our guys. Isn't it great to see Mbenga throwing down and The Machine starting to hum again? And what a way to go into ASG break! Seems to me that we've got the BIG MO heading into second half and playoffs. So Tom, even when you're discouraged about "the community", remember there's all us of out here in the "silent majority", like you, who love this team come hell or high water. Stick around. Please.

But it doesn't result in as good an outcome as could occur. And anything that negatively affects the outcome is justifiable grounds for criticism. Whether it's Kobe, Phil, Pau, Derek, etc.

It probably costs the Lakers several points a game, which would make a very significant effect in the W-L record. Enough to make a difference between winning a title or not? Who knows, but it certainly decreases the likelihood.

Posted by: exhelodrvr | February 12, 2010 at 09:01 AM

Ex, this is a much better effort. However, I am (as I always do) speaking of fairness of criticism and not always accuracy of criticism. I do that because I am a card carrying Homer and I am unashamed of it. So I know that this effects my opinion of things.

What I see as unfair is that other franchise players are absolutely given carte blanche when it comes to whether or not the run their teams' "system". I really don't think LBJ taking 13 consecutive shots was in the Cav's system. Maybe I'm wrong on that one.

I've also seen many players on teams opposing the Lakers have just one guy shoot all the shots for up to an entire quarter.

Then, these "bean counters" will say Kobe is only shooting %25 of the last minute shots, while conveniently including those "percentage buster" last second shots Kobe takes when his team mates suddenly give him the rock at the end of the shot clock. When those shots are subtracted, his percentage is actually above the league average.

When the picture is taken in as whole, the results are pretty good. A championship, if I remember correctly.

BTW, no other big time star shoots as many "percentage buster" shots as does Kobe. Not Even Close.

Of course you are correct if you are implying that Kobe's game needs to shift. Everyone knows that. Kobe's games shifts about this time every season. I see nothing that tells me it wont again this season.

I preach fairness and patience.

No other star get vilified like Kobe does for doing the exact same things. That is what I don't understand.

--FEARless

@LongTimeLakerFan

AMEN!

--FEARless

You can't compare the present Lakers to the 72-10 Bulls team. At that time, the rest of the league was a joke compared to now. I recall that when Dennis Rodman was asked how they could win that many games, he said that there were a lot of bad teams in the league.

As for comparing this year's Lakers to last year ... the various injuries, particularly to Kobe, Artest's plantar fasciitis, plus Pau missing 17 games, is the obvious difference ... and they are still 41-13. Plus, the heavy home schedule to start, then an unprecedented 8-game road trip that started in Cleveland. The Lakers typically come together on the road ... they really haven't had the chance to do that other than that 8-game trip. Now, that seems to be paying dividends, with the wins in Portland and Utah.

Otherwise, all else beyond the Lakers themselves is not equal this year and last. The Western Conference is generally better than last year. Looking at some of the Laker losses, Dallas and Denver are both a bit better at this stage of the regular season. Memphis is a good team now (terrible last year), the Clippers are (at least before this week) more competitive. Utah is arguably better. In the east, with respect to the only teams to which the Lakers have lost, Toronto is certainly better, Cleveland is better (or at least caught the Lakers at a better time twice this year than either time last year).

There are not many games so far that are terrible losses, under the circumstances, other than on Christmas (Lakers weren't 100% physically or mentally), the recent Denver game, which was one of those hot shooting nights for Denver that happen occasionally (and no one beats them). Others were on back-to-backs or at the tail end of 4 games in 6 days, 5 games in 7 days.

No reasons to worry.

Thanks for this post.I had a great time reading this post.


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