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Too many letdowns plague Lakers in 101-96 loss to Dallas Mavericks

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It'd be convenient to chalk up the Lakers' 101-96 loss Wednesday to the Dallas Mavericks as a consequence that comes with playing on a back-to-back. But many of the mistakes that put the Lakers on the losing end had more to do with effort.

It'd be convenient to point to the Lakers' depleted rotation, with the absence of Sasha Vujacic (sore right shoulder) and Luke Walton (pinched nerve in lower back) exacerbating the team's low energy level, a quality that may have already been low because of the road travels. But the Lakers had four days of rest beforehand, Dallas played without recently acquired Caron Butler (the team called it "reaction to medicine") and since when did fans really lament Vujacic's and Walton's absence?

It'd be convenient to point to the free throw discrepancies (the Lakers went 15-of-16 while Dallas finished 23-of-26), a factor center Andrew Bynum mentioned to reporters afterwards. But how about pointing to something you can control? The Lakers lost the battle for offensive rebounds, 13-7, they committted 17 turnovers and they had inconsistent performances throughout the game.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant had only six points on 3 of 11 shooting in the first half, but rebounded in the second half, finishing with 20 points on nine of 23 shooting along with five rebounds, two assists and two steals. The Lakers' frontline made up for Bryant's sluggish start, with Lamar Odom and Ron Artest each finishing with 11 first-half points while Bynum had eight points and seven rebounds in the first quarter. But Artest and Bynum went noticably absent in the second half, scoring only two points each. And while you may expect 31 points from Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki, you certainly wouldn't expect 30 points from backup guard Jason Terry

Be weary of the talking point that says the Lakers' (43-15) latest loss is just one game, worry about the remaining 24 contests and remember the season is a marathon and not a sprint. Aside from the fact that the last argument seems to be bolstered mostly after Lakers losses, this game was more important since Dallas is likely a team the Lakers will meet in the postseason. Don't forget the loss also puts the Lakers one game behind Cleveland (44-14) for the league's best record.

Surely there's no need to overreact. It's just that the Lakers should seize the opportunity against every playoff caliber team they meet and put together a performance they'd feel comfortable displaying in the postseason. That certainly wasn't the case Wednesday against Dallas.

Yet, despite all the aforementioned problems, the Lakers still had opportunities to steal a win. But that didn't happen either because of poor execution late in the game.

The Lakers allowed the Mavericks to take a 74-72 lead entering the fourth quarter after guard Jason Kidd hit an open three-pointer as time expired in the third period. The Lakers opened the fourth quarter with three early turnovers. And the Lakers reached the penalty mark with 7:54 left in the game.

There was plenty of time remaining, but the Lakers spent most of it just making silly mistakes. Fisher fell on the ground as Nowitzki set a pick, Terry made an open three pointer and Dallas had a 90-84 lead with 5:20 remaining. After Bryant's turnaround jumper missed with the shot clock winding down, forward Pau Gasol missed a rebound in front of him and Brendan Haywood converted on one of two free throws as the Lakers trailed 92-86 with 2:39 left. There was also Bynum's turnover in the paint that appeared to be a defensive foul. Bynum protested the call instead of getting back on D as Terry's transition layup gave Dallas a 95-86 lead with 2:14 remaining.

Odom's six consecutive points kept the Lakers in contention, as they trailed 97-92 at the 1:13 mark, but there would be no Mamba providing the Lakers with another game winner. Though the Lakers trailed 97-94 with 24 seconds remaining and plenty of time on the shot clock, Bryant immediately attempted a three-pointer that rimmed out. Gasol couldn't secure the loose ball and ultimately was called for an offensive foul. Though Bryant's two free throws on the next possession cut the lead to 99-96 with nine seconds left, the Lakers didn't press properly and fouled Nowitzki with one second remaining.

The ending marked a cold reality. There were too many areas that contributed to the Lakers loss, and there wasn't enough of an effort to fix it.

--Mark Medina

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

Photo: Kobe Bryant drives against Dallas' Jason Kidd on Wednesday night at American Airlines Center in Dallas. Bryant led the Lakers with 20 points but was nine-for-23 from the field in the 101-96 loss to the Mavericks. Credit: Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT.

 
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MM,

Maybe Sasha would have played some intense defense on Terry and held the 32 yr old Guard to only 26 pts rather than 30 pts. which could have been enough to pull out a ugly victory.

So, yeah. We miss Sasha and Luke. Well i do anyways.

I know. It's wishful thinking, but we need all our players healthy. Like i said this Dr Jekyll n hyde syndrome stuck with us till the last few regular season games,
and guess who held up the Larry O'? That's right OUR L.A. LAKERS BABY!!!!!

Chic - Actually if Sasha held Terry to 26 points, the Lakers still would've lost by one point. I see what you're saying, though, and I'm not suggesting the Lakers are better off without two players on a roster. I'm simply saying is their impact is largely marginal so to even use that as a factor is really grasping at straws. Bottom line there are so many things the Lakers could've done better to at least steal a victory, let alone win in convincing fashion

MM

Interesting post.

I think the thing that concerns me about this year's Lakers (and I think that in most games, it comes down to effort, energy and complacency), is that...

too often, we play like a good team with a great closer.
Perhaps even THE Great Closer.

Beyond that, we've had a lot of games where we've played like a good team that can play great ball... when pressed.

Now, in most games, against average opponents, that's enough to get by. Enough to get us a decent W/L ratio at this point of the season, at least. I think it's fair to say that, at this point of the season, as a general rule, we've beaten the teams we expect to beat.

But against top-notch teams...
being a good team that closes well, or a good team with The Great Closer...
isn't always going to be enough... because great teams do what it takes to put the game away BEFORE the final five minutes.

Time to kick it up a gear...
or we may find the 2010 Lakers struggling to break out of bad habits when the playoffs roll around.

Yup - the remote's taking a test flight.....

I'm so irritated right now, but still confident in our quest for the repeat.


That said - it sure would be nice to see a few less turnovers and a few more orebs.... sheesh.

Ha, my math isn't that bad.. or is it?

I wont lose any sleep over this loss. If there any more experiments left in PJ, I would like him to play kobe at the 1 and brown at the 2 with LO, Pau and Drew.
I'm gonna go dream that starting lineup and see if we win tonight.


GO LAKERS!

Caliphilosopher
Wow I'm so impressed that you used the word tautology when you came across my "Dead Weight is Dead Weight" comment.
How can I or anyone else hope to match your intellect. You are obviously a learned scholar, oops that's another redundancy, Sorry.
I am but a humble Laker blogger cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin van-guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition.
Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it's my very good honor to meet you and let me call you Cali

yeah, another tough loss which we could have easily have won. kidd's 3 pt shot to end the 3rd qtr. really hurt. then the lakers get real sloppy to start the 4th qtr. by turning the ball over 3 straight times. getting out rebounded on the boards, esepecially the offensive end of it. c'mon, jason terry 30 freaking points. would someone please play some defense out there. as the announcers were saying, he's been struggling with his shot. nothing like the lakers coming into town to cure his shootting woes! bynum, artest AND gas-oft, way to show show up in the second half. gas-oft please take a firm grip on the rebound and defend better against dirk, despite the fact kobe was off his game a bit, i don't think that hurt l.a. what hurt them was the lack of chasing down the rebounds, it seem the mavs were getting every loose ball. yeah, dallas shot 10 more f.t.'s and the refs screwed us on a few occasions, but still we couldn't get a stop or a big shot when we needed down the stretch. great game lamar, you've must have seen my blog from last night! ha ha.

Sorry Laker fans - you just aint repeating this year. Haven't had one solid win against a good team. Kobe is awesome but rest of your team stinks.

You won't make it past teams like Denver and Mavs - let alone Cavs and LBJ!!!

You're one and done!!! Too bad your lame GM didn't get KH or someone who can actually play as PG. Feel bad for Kobe because he deserves better than the crap he's been dealt. Good team on paper but no heart!!!

Go Cavs!!! We'll get Z back and shut down your twin geeks again!!

Yo, besides the Lakers lack of offense and energy there was one call at the end when Pau Gasol lost the ball out of bounds after Kobe missed the shot that would have tie the game at 97. It clearly shows Haywood knock it off the hands of Gasol and that the refs would award the ball to the Mavs. That's messed up! Lamar you played solid but it was just not enough as Kobe and your teammates let this game slipped right out of your hands. I expect the Lakers to revised their game plan and show up aggressively against the Nuggets on Sunday. A team they lost to without Carmelo Anthony the last time. Just go Lakers and hope to pray for the repeat!!!!!!

Game notes...


Pregame:

The Mavericks are a recently refurbished team and this will be their first test against the Lakers with the new personnel. I fully expect Dallas to be the third seed in the Western Conference Playoffs once the dust settles on the regular season. They’ve got a potent front line and Dirk is the closest thing to Pau’s talent in the NBA right now. Caron Butler is not playing tonight for the Mavs due to an adverse reaction to some medication.

ESPN Wednesday night game in Dallas: Dave Pasch on play-by-play with Mark Jackson the analyst.


First Quarter:

Lakers starting five - Bynum, Gasol, Artest, Bryant, Fisher
Mavericks starting five - Haywood, Nowitzki, Marion, Stevenson, Kidd

12:00 - Bynum wins the tip, giving the Lakers possession to start the first and fourth quarters.

11:47 - Lakers score their first points of the game on a pair of FTs by Fish after he was fouled on a jumper from the left point. Lakers lead 2-0.

Drew has 4 points on a left-handed hook in the lane and a put-back off of an offensive rebound. He also has two defensive boards along with a couple of questionable calls against him by the refs. The first looked like an and-one but he was called for traveling, with very little evidence, and the other was a three-second violation when he was camped out on the right block waiting for Pau to make a move in the lane. Drew also got beat down the court by Haywood once but otherwise is playing good defense. Fish has a three, Ron has 5 points and Pau made a shot over Dirk after Dirk did the same to him on the other end. Kobe has taken only one shot and missed a wild runner from the right mid-post after forcing his way down the lane. That one didn’t really look like part of the offense but perhaps more of a desperate need to get off a shot.

05:11 - Mavs timeout as Stevenson scrambles to the floor for a rebound. Lakers lead 14-12.

Fish gets to show off his defensive skills against Kidd, who he can keep up with. Bynum gets another bucket in the lane on a right-handed hook and now has 6 points and 4 boards. Kobe missed his second shot and still has not scored. Pau lost Dirk on a pick-and-roll off the left elbow and Dirk made him pay by drilling another jumper. Ron’s keeping Marion quite on offense.

03:07 - Timeout Lakers with the score tied at 16.

Substitution: Odom in for Gasol, Brown in for Artest and Farmar in for Fisher out of the timeout.

Drew put some defensive skills on display as he disrupts three missed layups by the Mavs. The first by Terry, which he blocked, the second against Haywood and then near the end of the quarter on a Kidd drive. He also got another offensive rebound and put-back and ends a very good quarter for him with 8 points on 4-4 FGs and 6 rebounds. Kobe is 0-4 FGs and starting to look a little frustrated. Farmar made a nice and-one on a two on one break and LO made a bucket on a drive as the Lakers lead 23-20, as Kidd misses a three badly as Farmar get a piece of it, to close out the quarter.

PJ says that Kobe missed some easy shots and the defense was a little slow but otherwise they had an OK quarter in his short sideline interview.


Second Quarter:

Lakers lineup - Gasol, Odom, Artest, Brown, Farmar
Mavericks lineup - Najera, Nowitzki, Marion, Terry, Beaubois

11:21 - PJ calls a quick timeout after Farmar fouls Terry as he makes a layup off a blow-by on the left baseline. Lakers behind 25-23 as Terry completes the and-one by making the FT out of the timeout.

11:02 - Lakers first points of the quarter on a three from the right point by LO off of a pass from Shannon at the FT line. Lakers back up 26-25.

LO hits another bucket on a driving layup and Pau gets a layup off a break on a pass from Brown after he picks a clean steal from Terry on the left defensive point. Farmar had an and-one of his own after giving up Terry’s earlier but missed the FT and also threw up a couple wild FG misses. Artest added a driving left-handed layup.

08:00 - Mavs timeout after a defensive rebound with the Lakers leading 36-32.

07:24 - Officials timeout to wipe some blood off of Beaubois’ nose with the Lakers still up 36-34.

LO hits a twenty-footer from the left wing.

06:48 - TV timeout with Lakers ahead 38-34.

Mavs get three shots on one possession and it ends with Terry hitting a three from the right point.

06:01 - Bryant in for Brown, Fisher in for Farmar and Bynum in for Gasol after a loose ball foul on Pau with Lakers up 38-37.

Fish penetrates along the right baseline and drops in a layup. Ron gets a driving layup in the lane and afterwards a defensive rebound. Drew gets his shot blocked by Haywood on what he thought was a foul but makes up for it on the defensive end with another block, his ninth rebound and then forces a missed layup by Haywood. LO picks Dirk’s pocket and makes a short turnaround jumper in the paint. Kobe finally gets on the board with two makes, a patented fall-away on the right baseline and a little uncontested set shot in the lane.

01:59 - PJ calls a twenty, which ends up as a full timeout with the Lakers leading 48-41.

The Lakers close out the quarter horribly. After Drew gets beat back down the court by Haywood again, who dunks, Kobe makes a driving spinning layup after weaving through the lane. Kobe then gets the ball on the left point and is double-teamed but instead of dumping it to Drew, who’s open on the block, he drives into four Mavs and throws up a wild shot that misses. On the next possession he gets an offensive rebound off of LO’s miss but misses the put back. The final Laker possession of the half ends with Ron missing a three from the corner off a pass from Kobe.

The quarter ends with the Lakers up by one, 50-49, as the Mavs reel off a 9-2 run to win the second frame.


Halftime:

LO’s line: 11 points.
Ron’s line: 11 points.
Drew’s line: 8 points, 9 rebounds.
Kobe’s line: 6 points on 3-11 FGs.
Fish’s line: 5 points with a three.

Kobe missed his first five shots on some easy looks and forced the action unnecessarily at other times as he looks rustier than he did in his first game back from injury last night. The Lakers shot 51% for the first half and had 34 points in the paint, 18 more than the Mavs. Excluding Kobe the Lakers shot 20-34 FGs. Obviously the perimeter defense needs to improve in the second half.


Third Quarter:

Lakers lineup - Bynum, Gasol, Artest, Bryant, Fisher
Mavericks lineup - Haywoood, Nowitzki, Marion, Stevenson, Kidd

Lakers start out the third horribly as they extend the drought with which they ended the first half, missing nine straight shots and having the Mavs complete a 14-2 run, before finally making a bucket.

09:47 - Lakers first points of the quarter as Fish drills a three. Lakers trail 55-53.

Interesting factoid: Fish is playing his 339th straight game, which is number two among currently active players behind Andre Miller.

Kobe starts an offensive assault with a fifteen foot jumper from the right wing, a seventeen footer above the left elbow and a twelve foot jump shot on the right baseline after a pass from Drew off the high post. The Lakers are running a lot of sets through Drew on the elbow and he has been passing most every time he sees the ball. Drew has blocked both a shot and a pass for turnovers in the paint on defense. Ron also deflected a pass that resulted in Fish breaking away and drawing a clear path foul on the Mavs, and making both FTs. Pau’s having a tough time guarding Dirk.

06:40 - Odom replaces Gasol as Mavs shoot FTs. Lakers trail 62-61 as Dirk makes both FTs.

Ron and Fish combine for a turnover at the offensive end and Marion abuses Kobe on the right block for a Mavs score before Kobe hits from the top of the key. Kobe now has 8 points in the quarter.

05:27 - PJ timeout as Marion scores of the left block and is fouled by Ron. Lakers trail 66-63 as Marion misses the FT.

Substitution: Gasol in for Bynum coming out of the timeout.

Pau immediately scores under the basket off a feed from Fish on the pick-and-roll. Ron beats Marion to the tip on a jump ball off of a defensive rebound. Mavs are showing disdain for Pau by resting Haywood with Drew and putting Najera out on the floor to guard him. Ron makes both FTs after getting smacked in the face on a drive.

02:48 - TV timeout after a Mavs foul puts them in the penalty. Lakers trail 69-68 as Pau makes 1-2 FTs.

Pau’s starting to take advantage of his defensive mismatch and now has 9 points in the game. The teams trade turnovers as the Mavs now have 16.

01:09 - Brown and Farmar in for Ron and Fish as the Lakers still trail 71-70.

Pau hits Shannon cutting down the lane for a layup. Kobe gets his second defensive rebound but turns the ball over at the other end. Pau gets caught spectating on the Lakers next offensive possession and gets withering looks from both Kobe and PJ. Kidd hits a three at the buzzer to end the quarter and the Mavs lead 74-72, which means the Lakers have lost both the second and third quarters by close margins after winning the first.


Fourth Quarter:

Lakers lineup - Bynum, Odom, Artest, Brown, Farmar.
Mavericks lineup - Haywoood, Nowitzki, Marion, Stevenson, Kidd

Drew fumbles two chances with the ball on the post in one possession and the Mavs end up with FTs at the other end, as the Lakers turn it over their first two times down the court.

11:06 - Lakers’ first points of the quarter on two FTs by Brown. Lakers trail 76-74.

Bynum’s second foul as he blocks Haywood’s dunk attempt, but both FTs are good. LO throws an entry pass well over Drew’s head and out of bounds before grabbing a rebound on the other end and taking it all the way down the floor for a layup.

09:41 - Kobe returns for Brown and Fish comes in for Farmar as Jordan commits the Lakers’ third team foul of the fourth quarter. Lakers trail 78-76.

LO picks up the Lakers fourth team foul on a driving Dirk in the lane. It’s not a good idea for the Lakers to be out of fouls this early against the Mavs, who are the best FT shooting team in the NBA. Drew gets the ball on the right mid-post and kicks it out to LO before getting a return entry and hitting a hook shot from the baseline for his tenth point, he almost looked like Kareem on that one. He then comes back down and pressures Terry into missing a three but the ball goes out of bounds to the Mavs.

08:37 - Mavs timeout as the Lakers are still playing catch-up, trailing 80-78.

Drew gets rebound number eleven on the defensive end before being banged hard off his move and called for traveling again. He’s got a double-double but is being abused by the refs.

07:54 - Gasol replaces Bynum as Dirk makes a couple of FTs. Lakers behind 82-78.

Pau hits a fifteen foot jumper from the left wing before losing Dirk at the other end and having him score over Fish. Artest and LO are both fouled on the same offensive possession and Lamar makes both FTs. Dirk frees himself again and sinks a straight away jumper as Kobe fouls him. The Lakers seem to be having some difficulty rebounding the ball right now.

05:52 - Timeout as the Lakers fall further behind and trail 87-82 after Dirk completes the and-one with a FT.

Mavs go into the penalty and Fish makes both FTs.

Kobe’s line: 14 points on 7-18 FGs (0-1 in the 4th) and 4 rebounds.
Fish’s line: 12 points on 4-4 FTs.

Kobe makes a FG and grabs a rebound back on defense. Pau misses a jumper short from the right elbow and looks like his legs are tired, but then grabs a rebound on the other end. Dirk’s hot and someone needs to slow him down somehow. Lakers are giving up way too many offensive rebounds since Bynum went out.

02:39 - Timeout Lakers after a foul by Pau on a put-back off of an offensive rebound by Haywood. Lakers still trail 93-86 after Haywood misses 1-2 FTs making the Mavs 10-11 on FTs for the game.

Substitution: Bynum in for Gasol out of the timeout.

Drew get a beautiful entry pass on the block but inexplicably loses the ball without getting a shot off. LO takes the ball on the right point from Kobe, as he saves the offensive rebound from going out of bounds, and drives down the post for a right-handed layup as he is fouled.

01:56 - Gasol replaces Bynum as LO completes the and-one with a FT. Lakers losing 95-89.

It’s looking mighty grim as Terry hits another perimeter jumper for the Mavs, but LO comes back down and nails a corner three off a kick-out from Kobe driving down the heart of the lane. LO has 10 points in the fourth quarter alone as the Lakers finally get a stop on an offensive foul.

00:57.0 - Mavs call timeout as Kobe knifes down the right post for a layup. Lakers close but still trail, 97-94, and here comes another tight finish.

Lakers get an important stop but Kobe misses a three from the left point at the other end and the Lakers are forced to foul. They manage to make Dirk pass the ball but still end up fouling Terry, an 86% FT shooter who makes both.

00:15.9 - Timeout Lakers who are desperately behind 99-94.

Kobe jukes Marion and gets fouled.

00:09.9 - Brown in for Artest as Kobe makes both FTs. Lakers down 99-96.

Someone screwed up ‘cause the Lakers can’t foul until Dirk is grabbed with 1.8 seconds left and of course he makes both FTs ending the game. Lakers lose 101-96.


Postgame:

Lakers didn’t look very good tonight and Kobe appeared to show some rust. Oh well, Kobe giveth and Kobe taketh away. LO had a big fourth quarter but it wasn’t enough as Pau didn’t do much and Drew was pretty much shut down after his big first quarter. The Lakers had 17 turnovers for the second straight game and once again failed to reach the 20 assist threshold as a team. They were outrebounded 41-36 and 13-7 on the offensive end, a huge discrepancy. The perimeter defense was piss-poor and Mavs had a big advantage in threes and FTs.

The Mavs didn’t have a turnover in the fourth quarter and I think that says as much about the Lakers’ defense as it does about the Mavs flawless offensive execution. After a good looking first quarter, sans Kobe for all practical purposes, the Lakers wilted severely and never regained their form. They gave up a lot of uncontested outside shots against a very good perimeter team and took a beating for it. This one wasn’t pretty, it was an ugly loss.

LO’s line: 21 points on 8-11 FGs including 2-2 from three and 3-3 FTs, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
Kobe’s line: 20 points on 9-23 FGs.
Drew’s line: 10 points on 5-8 FGs, 11 rebounds but 5 turnovers (including 2 travels and a 3-second violation).


I just want to comment on all the lame posts that Fisher is an awful point guard..Do you know what's funny? All the stuff Ive been hearing "Fisher is done" "Fisher cant stop anyone" "Fisher sucks" "Fisher cant stop quick point guards"..on an on! Laker fans have been saying that since 2000! Yes! remember when Mike Bibby was lighting him up? Every said Fisher couldn't play then..But you know what? He has 4 rings since then! Maybe he knows what he's doing!

Honestly I think letting point guards eat him up is a strategy that he and Phil do to take away other aspects of an opponents offensive rhythm. Don't believe me? Ever since Phil jackson got here, Fisher has constantly let point guards drive past him but yet we always win and he has 4 rings to prove it.

Honestly, when are the playoffs starting? I can't watch these pointless games anymore.

Snow Board freak....

It must be a thrill to support your ring-less team..
It must be fun watching Lebron storm of the court after every loss like a 8 year old kid...

Wow, what a team to support....

You should stick to world of war craft.....Or try knitting....

Win a title first...Then at least you have walked the walk......

You sound like a suns fan that stopped dropping by last season.....

So when the finals are over and you still are ring-less....go snow boarding...And take 23 with you.....Maybe you can shake his hand..

The funny thing is that although the Lakers are obviously struggling right now, I think they are poised to go on a big winning streak soon. I’m not sure when it will start or how long it will last but they certainly can’t continue to go on like this for the remainder of the regular season. Most everyone knows that we’re better than what we've shown lately and it’s about time the Lakers proved it. Not just to their fans or the rest of the league but to themselves.

It’s past the time for PJ to start driving these guys harder and faster to get them primed for the playoffs. The Lakers have one really tough game scheduled in their next twelve and that’s against Denver at home on Sunday. I expect them to beat Denver like a drum and hopefully roll into the end of March and their toughest stretch of the season with a long winning streak. If they do that then they should be able to capture six or seven during that brutal stretch that begins in a month and carry the momentum through their last four games and into the postseason.

I’d really like to see them go 22-2 the rest of the way and I don’t think that’s asking too much given what we all know they’re capable of, but I’m willing to settle for 19-5 and I’ll be disappointed with anything less than that. I still say that 65 wins would pretty much guarantee the best record in the NBA and 60 would do it in the west. 17-7 or even possibly 15-9 should get us the number one seed in the conference but these guys need to aim higher than this and build up some major mojo heading to the playoffs.

Kobe’s been back for a couple of games now and that should be enough to shake off the rust he’s shown. Drew is becoming more consistent, especially on defense, and appears to be over his hip and knee issues, at least physically. Pau has shown that he can play through whatever fatigue he might still have and LO is having a relative renaissance of sorts. Farmar and Brown form a good combo off the bench and I see PJ going with an eight man rotation in the playoffs unless Luke comes back healthy and can contribute to moving the ball around the triangle effectively. Fish is our ace in the hole. This should all be enough for a repeat despite what any other team might do.

The postseason starts now! No more cruising, no more pacing, twenty-four games is a playoff primer. It’s a dress rehearsal for the real thing and the time to rest on our collective laurels is over. The sense of urgency we all feel needs to be inculcated into each individual player and collected into the coherent whole. If the Lakers have been playing to put off ‘til the day after tomorrow what they should do today then it’s time to remake the future into the image of another championship, post haste. Let us give them Henry’s St. Crispin’s day speech and rouse the souls needed to try the times and make those that stand in our way bend to our iron will once again...

http://blog.shakespearegeek.com/2008/07/st-crispin-day.html

...just going by memory, #23 doesn't shake hands.

MM,

Have you calculated Bynum + Gasol FGA / Bryant FGA for the season?

Last nite against Mavs the ratio (8+9)/ 23 1 indicating a win was likely.

Good morning,

Not waking up feeling any better about the loss to Dallas. As Benjamin noted above, "because great teams do what it takes to put the game away BEFORE the final five minutes." For to much of what I saw, the Lakers were just going through the motions.

Posting on my Facebook page after the game that the loss made me cranky, Dallas sportscaster Newy Scruggs, a former colleague of mine, responded "come on rick...it was a back to back. not easy."

It's hard for me to share Newy's spirit of generosity when those back-to-back's were all the Lakers played over a six day period. Newy's newly rebuilt Dallas Mavericks played well. The Lakers didn't seem up for the challenge. A shortage of rebounds reflects low energy. An excess of turnovers reflects a lack of mental involvement.

Also, for once, the coach seemed more involved than his players. Phil usually puts the pressure on his guys to figure things out and make things happen. He was active throughout the game, but his message never got through. That, too, is disappointing. A chance to catch the Cavaliers for best record was a missed opportunity.

To sum it up, I'm still cranky. Talent is a terrible thing to waste. Bah, humbug. Go Lakers!

MM,

(Repost. Blog acts strange when posts contain greater than or less than symbols)

Have you calculated Bynum FGA + Gasol FGA / Bryant FGA vs. Lakers wins and losses for the season?

Last nite against Mavs the ratio (8+9)/ 23 LESS than 1 indicating a loss was likely.

Against the Grizzlies ration (8+18) / 19 GREATER than 1 win was likely

If Kobe stop shooting the ball so much and get his teammates more involved the Lakers would be unstoppable. Kobe's biggest asset (his competetive nature) is also his biggest downfall.

The Lakers don't need him averaging 28ppg. If he scales that back to 23 or 24, and get Pau LO Drew & Artest more involved; this team could at least 3 more titles.

MM,

Where is the D. Fish interviews from last nite?

D. Fish always has a reason (other than his slowness) why he gets smoked, this time by Jason Terry.

Phil gives D. Fish 35 minutes against the Mavs yet says the bench didn't play that well.

D. Fish is hurting the team -- bad.

Has Phil noticed D. Fish can't check a coat!

Don't care about .4 history its past. If previous production is the rationale then Lakers should sign Big Shot Robert Horry who wants to play this season.

We have a new defensive approach responsible for 4 chips and six finals... totally genius!

It's called matador defense

Brilliant, never realized it was all part of the plan

All lakers team, but specially Pau look like they are playing 80%, waiting for playoffs or sthing. Pau thinks too much in his new girlfriend, he looks so damn unfocused, he plays by pure mecanic.

Go Cavs!!! We'll get Z back and shut down your twin geeks again!!Posted by: Snowboard freak | February 24, 2010 at 11:42 PM

WAHAHAHHAHAHA ROFLMFAO!!! STOP IT PLEASE! HAHAHAHHAHA! OH SWEET JESUS when Z gets back.. Never in my entire life have I ever read anything so ridiculous hahahahhahha!! Please, please...OH THE HUMANITY!!!

Snow Board freak....You should stick to world of war craft.....Or try knitting....So when the finals are over and you still are ring-less....go snow boarding...And take 23 with you.....Maybe you can shake his hand.. Posted by: From a distance | February 25, 2010 at 02:32 AM
LMAO!!!

@AZTRONUT, Another Magnificent game summary sir. Thank you.
Mamba24

The Lakers have the second best defense in the league. But, our defensive scheme suffers from one glaring weekness; the inability to cool a hot-shooting team. Almost every "bad" loss this season has been to a team that has gotten hot and we were unable to stem the tide.

We have absorbed nights when an individual player heats up; we throw RonRon or Kobe on them. But, when the team gets hot, look out!

Eastern Conference teams have a remidy for that. Start beating them up until they can't raise their shooting arms above their shoulders by the fourth quarter. We aren't that kind of team.

Usually, last year for instance, when that would happen, the Lakers would go into Offense Overdrive and go man0-e-mano, shot-for-shot, bucket-for-bucket until one team blinked. Last season, more times than not, it would be the other squad. Last year's team could play every type of game there is.

This year's team can't quite compete in a real shoot-out. We have no dead-eye shooters not named Kobe. The funny thing is, the roster is basically the same. People just aren't shooting as well this season as they did last season. It just isn't happening. The only guy shooting better or the same, is Kobe.

Both Fish and Brown are good to shoot well about once a week. That is 2/3 or out PG crew. Farmar is a little more consistent, but not much. And, he still turns the ball over too much to be a consistent 4th quarter guy.

This bodes ill in the regular season, not so much in the playoffs, except that the regular season affects home-court in the playoffs.

At any rate: SUX

--FEARless

I just want to comment on all the lame posts that Fisher is an awful point guard..Do you know what's funny? All the stuff Ive been hearing "Fisher is done" "Fisher cant stop anyone" "Fisher sucks" "Fisher cant stop quick point guards"..on an on! Laker fans have been saying that since 2000! Yes! remember when Mike Bibby was lighting him up? Every said Fisher couldn't play then..But you know what? He has 4 rings since then! Maybe he knows what he's doing!

Honestly I think letting point guards eat him up is a strategy that he and Phil do to take away other aspects of an opponents offensive rhythm. Don't believe me? Ever since Phil jackson got here, Fisher has constantly let point guards drive past him but yet we always win and he has 4 rings to prove it.

Posted by: zen

Zen,
Are you related to Phil Jackson ? Do you think Fisher's 4 rings have anything to do with playing with Shaq, Kobe and Gasol ? Luc Longley had 3 rings with the Bulls...but I doubt he will be eshrined in the NBA Hall of Fame !!! How many rings did Fish win on Golden State and Utah ? Phil Jackson is definitely smart...but even he would laugh at this ridiculous suggestion that this is a strategy. Every player gets old and has to retire. Fish and Jackson just refuse to admit that Fisher is killing the Lakers. The Lakers have tons of talent so they can still win most nights when Fisher has his usual pathetic performance. But you are not a real fan because you want to stay with this stiff becuase of loyalty.

BEST RECORD IS A BEAUTIFUL THING , BUT MOST TIMES IT DON’T WIN THE RING
The Nuggets are coming this Sunday dear, Do you see me trembling in fear.
Are they a good team? Yes they are, If not for the Lakers they would go far.
Best records are fine for a playoff run, But do you remember back in 2001
56 – 26 was the record we had, We limped into the playoffs looking quite bad.
The Lakers were running on fumes into the Playoffs, then suddenly they just really took off
What did they do, they won 12 in a row, and if not for A.I. would have swept the playoffs for sho.
The seasons to long after Finals Back to Back, that’s a lot of games for a body, that’s a fact
Just ask MJ the bald one for goodness sake, After his 3-peat the bitter one had to take a break
The third leg of both 3 peats were really rough, After each Jordan retired & like Kobe he was tough
So we don’t want to wear out in useless games, Then get in the playoffs and pull up lame
This is not an excuse for lack luster play, just a note that with Phil the Bulls played the same way
After having won 10 of these things, I trust Phil knows how to get a team set to win a Ring
This is not bragging on 10Rings or a foolish boast, It’s the design of a man who has won Finals the most
So their play is nothing but a cyclical thing, When the circle is completed we will have another ring

Aztronut,

Great summary, as usual. However, the rebounding discrepancy is being characterized incorrectly. The Laker bigs had their hands on as many as double the rebounds that they actually secured. Pau, Drew, and LO all had numerous rebounds taken away or were somehow fumbled away and turned into turnovers.

Fatigue has GOT to be a factor in that. Those three do not normally remind us of Kwame Brown and his brick hands. In fact, the scouting reports of all three mention how well they can all catch and handle the ball. They three are all celebrated for their "soft" hands. What we saw last night was completely out of character.

Well, that is stating the obvious, since the Lakers are also #2 in rebounding efficiency in the league.

What this post means is that of the reasons we lost last night, rebounding and turnovers are not systemic. Under normal circumstances, all other factors being the same, we would have handily won that game.

As such, the Mavs better not read too far into their victory.

--FEARless

LakerTom,

Aztronut wrote: LO had a big fourth quarter but it wasn’t enough as Pau didn’t do much and Drew was pretty much shut down after his big first quarter.

my response: Do you have a problem with him saying that Drew was
shutdown? You have taken exception to a lot of posts from KB Blitz &
myself about Bynum's lack of production and effort.

Just curious.

i feel like a lot of the blame for the loss should unfortunately be put on kobe. as much as i love him and respect what he does, nobody ever really slams him when he messes up. i can think of at least three instances off the top of my head (and there were probably more) where a stupid shot or pass by kobe led to fast break points on the other end. why is he still taking these ridiculous shots against 2-4 defenders? why isnt phil jackson actually doing something about it? why is he allowed to take 23 shots in a game when the second most attempts taken is 13, then 11, then 8, ESPECIALLY on a night when he is shooting under 40%?

the lakers need to run their triangle, unfortunately when kobe is on the floor, he has a tendency to constapate their offense; all the shots he takes makes the rest of the team stand around and watch because kobe is not going to pass the ball - granted he has a tendency to do the opposite, im a HUGE kobe fan, i just hate seeing him get on his BS, get frustrated and lose games that should have been won.

If I were the Nuggets, I'd be pretty confident about getting a win this Sunday. Posted by: Scott | February 24, 2010 at 09:09 PM
If I were the Lakers, I like most every sports forecaster would be pretty confident about getting a Ring in June.

The only thing that really frustrated me about this game? BYNUM. He is loafing. Loafing down the court, not getting back on defense. He seems engaged only on the offensive end, and that's not going to get it done.

Yes, I'm sure his hip hurts. But I know there's an inspired man from the Congo sitting at the end of the bench that is ready to sprint down the court, to contest every shot. If Bynum only wants to play on one side of the court, I think he might be better served sitting on the bench.

Sorry, LT. But that's just the truth.

Go Lake Show!

aztronut, dude, about your posts...love them, but they answer my musings about what Tolstoy would have written if he had a Twitter account. I mean compared to your epic posts, "War and Peace" seems like a tweet...a real tweet. I know what you're thinking...this guy's full of Bolshoi. Nevertheless, I commend you on your finding an outlet for your wordsmithing on a night when there was apparently no bingo in AZ.

As for our beloved Lakers, I fear this isn't going to end well. No matter how much you love and admire Kobe, and I certainly do, there is undeniably something about his presence with this particular combination of players that just isn't clicking. The chemistry just isn't working. After seeing the amazing way the Lakers played without him, and then seeing the utter mediocrity of the last two games with Kobe back in the lineup, you don't have to be a "Kobe-hater" to at least think, if not openly say, something just isn't right.

Is it Kobe? Is it the rest of the guys? Is it Phil? All the above? Who cares? It's just not working. And at this point, it's Phil's job to try something different. Shake up the lineup. Shake up the rotations. Do something. The monotony of having EVERY game, regardless of whatever team we're playing, stay within 4 pts of one another the entire game, and then have a frantic last 2 minutes for the win or loss based on heroics has GOT to stop.

Phil, you're getting many Benjamins to figure this kind of stuff out. Do it.

zen,

I appreciate your points about Derek Fisher. As you may well know, I am a huge Derek Fisher fan and it irks me to no end when bloggers treat this player who has so significantly contributed to the Greatness of the Jackson Era Lakers with a complete lack of respect. It's awful.

That much said, I have noticed a certain lack of focus with Derek this year that I don't quite understand. He seems to be trying to do too much on offense and has been rushing layups and outside shots and, as a result, he's been missing too many shots.

It's not just Derek. Artest has been doing the same thing... as does Lamar occasionally.

I think Phil needs to lead the team through some meditation drills for as good as they are there are three key factors in which the team greatly can improve:

1. Focus

2. Flow/playing relaxed but with energy

3. Synergy

These are issues that need to be addressed by our coaching staff because they are primarily mental and emotional issues, as opposed to physical and intellectual issues.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Litotes -

Apparently you do movie quotes as well. Should I be impressed?

From a distance,

"Win a title first...Then at least you have walked the walk......"

Cav Nation is a culture of new money.

They have no class and no respect for anyone else. It is entirely possibly that their team will completely implode next year as LeBron leaves for New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or Miami, but LeBroniacs talk as if they've won more Championships than Boston and the Lakers COMBINED and are completely unbeatable.

It's beyond annoying and I will gain a deep and abiding satisfaction when we beat them in the Finals this year OR Orlando knocks them out of the playoffs earlier.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

The truth is the truth:

AB and Mr. Soft man are they good. Mr Soft make the statement that they need to raise there level of play. My thought as well staring with you Mr. Soft. This season you cannot defend, you miss 4-5 two feet shots, and you cannot hold on the rebound. Then your side kick if he just slow down a bit made he can make a move to the basket that he can complete. Maybe he need to go what Kareem taught him. No that would be to hard for someone who is mentally challenge, those moves that he is using will not work against a good defensive center,AB is to slow. We just do not have what it takes at this moment, need to fix our inside game to many shot out side one two dribble then the shot, no flow this year.

From a distance -

Let's not down play the intricacies of knitting. Holding the needles keeps me from throwing heavy objects at the TV while watching games like the last two. A fuzzy little slipper does much less damage than the airborne remote.

So, what was worse last night, the inability to secure a rebound or the refs "letting them play"?

JR

Todd,

I don't travel for the road games. So that's why I don't have any postgame video from Fisher (or anyone else for that matter). I'll be on the road for the playoffs though.

I'll calculate the Bynum/Gasol/Bryant stuff when I have a moment later today.

MM

Guys,

Also, a new post is up

MM

CornerJ,
"Is it Kobe? Is it the rest of the guys? Is it Phil? All the above? Who cares? It's just not working. And at this point, it's Phil's job to try something different. Shake up the lineup. Shake up the rotations."

At this point, I think that they should move Bynum to the bench and put Odom back in the starting lineup. For whatever reason, the team doesn't flow as well with Bynum, and I don't see that as something that will be fixed in time for the playoffs. Other possibilities are switching Farmar and Fisher, but (IMO) Farmar has not shown that he would be much of an, if any, improvement. Artest doesn't fit in smoothly with the offense yet, but defensively he is doing well. If Walton wasn't injured, playing him more would be a reasonable option, but his injury has taken that away, which means there isn't an option for replacing Artest.

The Lakers can't win a title without Bryant or Gasol. I don't think they can win without Odom. They can win without Bynum.

You guys call yourselves fans!? I'm die hard purple and gold! It must be nice to complain about a team who is 1/2 game back of the best record in the NBA and playing in a harder Western Conference, went to back to back conference Finals, were the world champions last year. Lets take a look:

Cavaliers next 4 opponents: Boston (without Paul Pierce thumb injury) Toronto, NY, NJ and Detroit. (What a joke schedule!!)

Lakers next 4 opponents: (They just played Dallas) Philadelphia, Denver, Indiana, and Miami also throw in Charlotte, Orlando and Phoenix the following 3 games.

I can remember last year everyone said the Cavaliers were gonna sweep through the Eastern Conference playoffs yet if it wasnt for the 3 point prayer from LeChoke they would have gotten swept by Orlando.

Remember Purple and Gold its not how you start but how you finish.

Litotes---Is your real name "Harold Bloom"?

Hmm. Per usual, interesting commentary from all after last night's loss.

It blows me how Jason Kidd has all of a sudden become a 3pt shooting champion....Against US! Jason Terry usually murders us and he did that again....Fish is inability to guard anything moving certainly HELPS!!!

Shannon and Jordie look like Rookies -- ballhandling and everything, from simple "entry" passes are challenges for them. And of course, Fish too.

People have always said the TRI doesn't need a true point guard but hell, who is gonna get the ball into the post if our playmakers like Kobe, Lamar and Artest and Pau don't?? Our point guards don't have that capability. Period.

When Pau did have shots he threw up some weak as volley ball like ISH.

I want to see RonRon consistently post up smaller players and make them pay! Again, go up hard, two hands, and dunk the ball!!

Andrew seemed more concerned with outbattling Brendan from an offensive standpoint, and he got off his game after a couple calls went against him that he deserved!

Bynum is a out-of-position crybaby who Brendan Haywood pretty much outplayed. Bynum has been in the league long enough not to have such a lack of self-control and composure that he exudes on the court. I realize a player is not gonna agree with every call but damn it, when its plainly obvious you are walking a country mile every time you're in the lane, while taking forever to decide what move you are gonna make, instead of going up hard and dunking the ball ---- ummmmm. You are asking for trouble. Dunk the ball, a couple things may happen, you get fouled and an and-1, or you get the basket, or a foul or no foul but take that chance! Seems like he is playing very unfocused ball. Taking strolls in the lane for 3 or more seconds then buggin out when he's called out on it! Then he wants to go and throw a hissy fit. Accept it and run down the other end and D-up!!

No ref, I don't care who it is, wants to see a player up and down in a temper-tantrum like manner protesting every single call and barking all the way down the court at the ref! He has this total defeatist (sp? disposition and dejected body language when shots and calls don't go his way, he is pretty much done the remainder of the game thereafter! I am tired of seeing it and he needs to grow the hell up. I wonder if he even gets embarrassed when he sees his behavior on film. He should. For real. Andrew is a hot mess right about now, and clumsy as all hell. What happened to his footwork he used to have?? Hurt hip, knees, whatever. He's on the court and when you play, you are expected to perform. I hope he gets it together sooner rather than later. Playoffs are not far off and we def need to fine tune some things so we can position ourselves for another trophy!!

Thing is, even when we don't play as a "TEAM" or our best ball, we still have ample opportunities to steal games..That shows our true talent and skill level because other teams have to play pretty much mistake-free all game to have a chance. We just need to step it up a notch and be that way consistently...

Oh well. Looks like we aren't even looking at Larry Hughes as there are rumblings he wants to go to MJ's team..I was just kinda hoping we could add someone, or do something...I guess doesn't think we need some type of insurance policy for the long haul.

Still, I love my Lakers are imperfect as they are!!


I'm very upset about this loss cause I live here in Dallas and now I have to listen to these Mavs fans until the playoffs cause now they feel they can play with the Lakers. Tired of hearing excuses about everything. I though it was a heck of a statement by Gasol when he was asked, "Do you guys coast too much in games?" 'Yes'!!!!! What the @#ll is that about? We just saw this last year during the season and the playoffs and they're doing it again? Denver is hungry and feels they are better. Dallas is scary, and Utah and Portland who knows. Fellas its time to step up your game (Bynum who got manhandled by Haywood, step up and earn your money you whined about last yr), (Odom when are you gonna play consistent ball that we know you can play), (Artest will you please play that thuggish ball we really need since none of the big men know how to lay out the point guards who drive the lane), (Fisher is the contract status or have you really lost your game?), and the whole team is starting to make me sick with the way you play in big games against opponents who want to see you go down. Lets go LAKERS and get it together cause the road does not get easier anytime soon and some you will still be saying the same thing "We're gonna be ok, just a few minor adjustments". NO FELLAS IT WON'T WORK THIS YEAR IF YOU DON'T START DOING IT NOW!!!

And I feel they need to sign (don't laugh) Robert Horry to a ten day contract because I believe he is in shape and ready for someone to call him. And please sign another guard whether it be Larry Hughes or someone out there management. No outside shooting will cost this team dearly in the long haul cause Fisher can't buy a bucket even if he went to store and purchased it himself

FEARless,

"Great summary, as usual. However, the rebounding discrepancy is being characterized incorrectly. The Laker bigs had their hands on as many as double the rebounds that they actually secured."

I think you're being a bit hyperbolic here...

"Pau, Drew, and LO all had numerous rebounds taken away or were somehow fumbled away and turned into turnovers."

Now that's a statement that I can agree with...

However, despite what others around here may claim Drew still had a big night on the boards and definitely got the better of Haywood during his time on the court. Bynum had 11 rebounds in 29+ minutes, which would translate into 18+ if he played the entire game, which is nothing to snipe at. He also played tough defense in the paint even if he did let Haywood beat him back down the court twice, that's two (2) times. Your teammates are supposed to cover your back in those situations but no one covered for Drew on those two occasions last night.

As to Pau and LO, I can't rationalize their performances on the boards or under the basket on defense last night at all, so I'll leave that task to others if it is doable...

"Fatigue has GOT to be a factor in that."

I'm not buying that! Personal opinions, which is what this is, are hardly ever the definitive answer to anything. No disrespect intended but I think that perhaps the situation is a little more complicated than you are trying to make it out to be...

"What this post means is that of the reasons we lost last night, rebounding and turnovers are not systemic....As such, the Mavs better not read too far into their victory."

I can agree with you here too, let's not panic. Let all of the blogster bedwetters have a good cry, which I will try to ignore, and let's move on to the next game and win!

mamba24,

"Another Magnificent game summary sir. Thank you."

You are very welcome...

MM,

Maybe Sasha would have played some intense defense on Terry and held the 32 yr old Guard to only 26 pts rather than 30 pts. which could have been enough to pull out a ugly victory.

So, yeah. We miss Sasha and Luke. Well i do anyways.

I know. It's wishful thinking, but we need all our players healthy. Like i said this Dr Jekyll n hyde syndrome stuck with us till the last few regular season games,
and guess who held up the Larry O'? That's right OUR L.A. LAKERS BABY!!!!!

Posted by: ChicNstu | February 24, 2010 at 10:55 PM

=====================
I think Sasha would have gotten into Terry's head and made him less effective and IMO more than 4 points worth as he would have made Terry give the ball up.

Why all the hate for Kobe from other posts? Remember he was out for 18 days and needs to get back into rotation with others and they have to adjust to him. I feel confident we will gel at play off time.

And yes we need all our players healthy.

Another putrid game by Fish. Can't drive, can't shoot 3s, can't defend, and now he showed he can't shoot midrange jumpers. PJ needs to be skewered for closing games with him. As for Bynum, he's just a lazy bum who won't put out effort to rebound. His contract needs to be restructured so he gets paid by the rebound. Maybe that will motivate his lazy a$$.


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