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Caught in the Web: Lakers head back on the road again, beginning with tonight's game at Phoenix

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Practice reports

The Times' Broderick Turner says tonight's game against Phoenix is a good time for the Lakers to start getting their swagger back.

The Orange County Register's Janis Carr highlights the Lakers' serious tone as of late.

ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin focuses on the Lakers' concern regarding its pick-and-roll defense, and how that will present an additional challenge against Phoenix.

The Riverside Press Enterprise's Dan Weber on how the Lakers are trying to close out the regular season on a good note.

The Arizona Republic's Bob Young reports there will be a few absences from the Suns roster tonight, including guard Leandro Barbosa (right wrist injury) and center Channing Frye (fight)

Blogs

Bright Side of the Sun previews the Lakers-Suns game.

ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky presents some revealing evidence to show the Lakers' offense this season is not as dominant their championship teams.

Forum Blue and Gold really just wants the playoffs to start. It's safe to say that, for better or worse, the Lakers feel the same way.

Basketball Prospectus' Kevin Pelton dissects the Lakers' slump.

NBA Fanhouse's Brett Pollakoff sees the Lakers' matchup tonight against the Suns as a good test for both teams.

Lakers.com's Mike Trudell has an insightful Q&A with veteran guard Derek Fisher.

Meanwhile, Silver Screen and Roll provides strong evidence showing Fisher's game has struggled this season more on offense than on defense, though both areas need to be sharpened.

More Lakers links

The Times' Mike Bresnahan shares reasons beyond the matchup why he'd like to see the Lakers face Phoenix in the playoffs.

Charles Barkley tells Sports Illustrated's Dan Patrick that Kobe Bryant's game winners specifically against Toronto and Miami were based on "luck" and that he's not comparable to Michael Jordan.

NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper says the Lakers' current state of adversity will ultimately benefit them in the long run.

CBSSports.com's Jarney Eisenberg explains why the Lakers are frustrating for fantasy owners.

Young sees a wild Western Conference playoff race shaping up.

Tweet of the Day: "All 200 responses said u hate Kobe more the Jordan cuz of his ego mostly and that the lakers are our rival" -- JaredDudley619 (Phoenix Suns forward Jared Dudley)

Reader Comment of the Day: "I don't know if it's injuries, age, or just too much BBall the last 2 years, but Kobe and Gasol, both looked gassed to me. The other thing is outside shooting. We can't seem to hit our open 3s and it seems like teams are throwing a lot of zones at us. They just need to win the West and forget about catching the Cavs, get healthy and get some chemistry going for the playoff run." -- Mark G

--Mark Medina

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

Photo: Despite numerous reports suggesting otherwise as last month's trade deadline approached, forward Amare Stoudemire remained in a Phoenix Suns uniform. Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images.

 
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While everyone is freaking out, I'm getting ready.

This is how this works. We stumble, everyone smells blood, thinks that the king lion can be brought down and jumps in, and then we remember why we're the king lion, and we rip out their throats gleefully... BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT WE DO!

We get bored without the opportunity for carnage.

Give them hope... and then take it away. THAT is the Lakers way.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Has everyone forgotten that we've got Kobe Fricken Bryant on our team and we actually can play defense?

It's not going to end well for the opposition.

Everyone is looking forward to the playoffs for a reason.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Phil Jackson's concern about the pick and roll...

...he talks about in his book "The Last Season".

You Laker fans would be better for it if you read his book.

http://www.lapl.org/

There's so many copies available at your local LA public library.

All the same problems the Lakers are facing this season is a rehash of what they faced in the 2003-2004 season. It's so similar it's eery.

I also just finished the book, and I have a theory as to why Kobe is the way he is.

It has to do with his dad and his playing days in the NBA, and the fact that Kobe went straight to the NBA after high school.

"Teamwork is a nebulous thing. It is as ephemeral as love, disappearing at the latest insult" (The Last Season 1).

Mamba24, throw me on that Phil, do it now BW. While everyone is blaming the players, I think its time Phil remembers that these guys are young, and he's got no Horrys, Cartwrights, or old statesmen on his team to regulate the egos. Put these guys on notice to put up or shut up.

Mamba24, throw me on that Phil, do it now BW. While everyone is blaming the players, I think its time Phil remembers that these guys are young, and he's got no Horrys, Cartwrights, or old statesmen on his team to regulate the egos. Put these guys on notice to put up or shut up.

Posted by: #4 | March 12, 2010 at 10:52 AM

And before anyone calls me out on Fisher being an elder statesmen, he is of that same cloth, but he's done it for the past couple of years. The message gets old after awhile.

We get bored without the opportunity for carnage.
Give them hope... and then take it away. THAT is the Lakers way.
What do we play for? RINGS!!!
Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.
GO LAKERS!!!!
Posted by: Jon K. | March 12, 2010 at 10:28 AM

As my mamba brother would say OUT FREAKIN STANDING, Jon K.!!!!

On the screen roll...

...from "The Last Season"

"The other longtime nemesis, the screen roll. We did an excellent job of defending it in the Sacramento game, not allowing Bibby to get behind the screens, but we must become more consistent. The Kings will find a way to adjust, and the Spurs, who we will probably meet in the playoffs, will run it with Parker and Duncan on almost every possession..." (139).

That Kevin Pelton article is tremendous and right on point. It quantified all the things that our eyes have been telling us lately.

Laker offensive production this season is down across the board. Kobe, Gasol, Fisher, Artest (as compared to Ariza), and Odom are ALL having worse shooting seasons than last year. Only Bynum has seen an uptick, and even that is minimal.

But the even more damning statistic, I believe, was the one that showed that the Lakers, traditionally in the top few teams in % of baskets as a result of an assist, are now below average.

Put these two tidbits together and I think it's pretty clear that an abandonment of the triangle offense has led to insufficient ball and player movement which has led to more isolation plays which leads to more difficult (often outside) shot attempts - hence the lower shooting percentages across the board.

The answer is clear: Run the offense! Move the ball, and, equally important, move without the ball! Ball movement is pointless without player movement. Too often this season, players have complained about the ball not moving, without realizing they're not helping the cause by standing and watching. IMO, you have no right to complain about the ball not moving if you're not going to move yourself!

This is an issue for Phil to address, and I have faith that he will, I just wish he'd get to it already. Time is running out to right this ship.

"All 200 responses said u hate Kobe more the Jordan cuz of his ego mostly and that the lakers are our rival"

Huh?

I wonder if this guy knows how to chew food with his mouth closed.

The Suns aren't our rival. The only true rivals we have are the Celtics and the Spurs.

The Suns are just some team we beat up on, who occasionally have got a good punch thrown our way.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Jon K -

We are the Suns rival. It's just that they're not ours. If that makes sense.

*
WHAT EVER IT IS PHIL, DO IT NOW! - BANDWAGON
*
(01) WESJOENIXON - OWNER- Thought it was Phil time a few weeks ago. I was wrong, this is Phil time. Time to pull out the secret lineup, go from power to speed and finesse and back. Guys with 10 rings, have 10 rings for some reasons other than the roster. Whatever it is, Phil, do it NOW.
(02) VMAN – DRIVER - I'm definitely down for the Do it NOW wagon
(03) MAGIC PHIL – RIDING SHOTGUN - Who wants another ring? I DO! C'mon PJ! My kid needs it!
(04) #4 - While everyone is blaming the players, I think its time Phil remembers that these guys are young, and he's got no Horrys, Cartwrights, or old statesmen on his team to regulate the egos. Put these guys on notice to put up or shut up.
(05) MAMBA24 – Yes kind sir, please do it now. We would like another ring please
(06) JON K. - Yes, this team is extraordinarily talented, but it is also Phil Jackson's best opportunity to put the critics to rest and prove what an incredibly talented coach he truly is.
(07) PUDDLE - IMO, you have no right to complain about the ball not moving if you're not going to move yourself! This is an issue for Phil to address, and I have faith that he will, I just wish he'd get to it already. Time is running out to right this ship.

This is a big game tonight, and I absolutely expect a win. Does Amare really play center? If he goes one-on-one with Bynum, I expect Bynum to overpower him. No excuses tonight. Win or else.


Wes

Hey guys (gals), I know it's probably too late in the day, but could Bruce Bowen help us at all? May be a better three shooter than what we have and is a big guard that can really D-up. Just asking your thoughts?

Hmmm. I just had a Jack Handy, or, a deep thought. I was just thinking, what could be the worst possible nicknames for some of these laker players? Here's a few from the inner workings of my mind:

Kobe "Frikin Fried Chicken" Bryant. That's pretty bad, and so pretty good in this context. How about Gasol...Gasol "The Vanilla Green bean" Gasol. That's just dumb. How about Sasha "How Much is the Corned Beef" Vujicic?


Hmmm.


Wes

Tonight is a challenge, not so much Suns, but are we going to step up now or slide, lose HC, and start back up in the Playoffs? Go Lakers!

No rivalry exists between the Suns and the Lakers. The Spurs are the only team in the Western Conference to have gained a remote amount of respect from me as a Lakers fan because of their system, their ability to get/retain/replenish talent and leadership, the recognition of how to build a team from inside-out and for the playoffs, and the absence of gimmicks or shortcuts such as a 7-seconds or less or Nellie ball to substitute for an offensive/defensive system. They, for the most part, haven't looked over their shoulder at the Lakers to define what they do (though they did so this year, to their detriment).

Other teams, such as Phoenix or Sacramento, have been flashes in the pan. Able to do something for a year or 2, but unable as an organization to continually compete.

Utah, of course, has been pretty stable, but hasn't been able to acheive anything past the 2 finals appearances. This decade, they've been relatively benign...able to play tough or whatever cliched blue collar adjective you'd like, but never able to win big.

So no, you won't find the sort of rivalry hatred for the Suns in me personally. Younger Lakers fans with shorter memories might, but I'm pretty dismissive of that they did mid decade. Fact is, the Lakers bookended their eras in Championships, and I think they probably hate the Spurs more.

Do any of you see what Barkley said about Kobe's "lucky" game winning shots?
Many years back he signed an auto and took a pic with my son, so I am grateful to him, but come on Chuck! You (Charles) can protect your buddy MJ, but that's no reason to demean KB. Hopefully KB has another 8 years to play, so it's not fair yet to compare careers. I do like discussion on the Best ever player, but I am not so sure one can't make a case for these: MJ, KB, Magic, Bird, Cap, Russ, and Wilt.

DJ, I think he could help us. I respect the guy for how he defended teams. That short corner 3 would help us out if he's still got it.

However, I'd probably just sign him just so we can get him out of the studio and so he could take off that stupid bowtie....

It's getting so that Charles Barkley is becoming an even bigger buffoon. And I mean "bigger" both literally and figuratively. Word on the street is that Taco Bell pays him off in chulupas for those commercials he does! I absolutely refuse to watch "Inside the NBA" as long as he is in its mix.

Coming down the stretch, the only thing that I want to see from our Lakers is playing with all out effort and togetherness. Too often, we see the tentativeness of a group within the team that seems afraid of failure. In one of Stevie Wonder's songs there is a line that says "failure only meant that you didn't even try". Fear of failure can paralyze the efforts of even the most talented team. If the Lakers as a group give their best, we can all live with whatever results. Half-hearted, tentative, fear...these words have no place in a champion's vocabulary.

GO LAKERS!!!
SUCK THE FUNS!!

Phoenix as a team has been trying to re-invent basketball ever since D'Antoni was the coach. It wasn't until they began to start Lopez and moved Stoudemire to his proper position at PF that this team found itself. Lopez gives them the size that they need to truly compete in the Western Conference. And he's not that bad of a player. He really competes. Our Laker bigs need to bring their hard hats tonight. The Lakers need to send a message tonight...to themselves. They need to eliminate the self doubt that has been sabotaging their efforts of late.

GO LAKERS!!!

hey guys a new post is up. It's on the poll results that I listed on Thursday. Some very revealing stuff.

MM

Ah yes, the high screen and roll. Amazingly, it's still a complete mystery to Phil for reasons unknown, when any decent, defensive coach (OK, I get it, THAT is the problem for Phil) knows exactly how you stop it cold. Or, just get game films of the Celts, because they're the best in the NBA at shutting it down.

Namely, our big can't just slide laterally to take the cutting guard, he must jump out early and push him hard back up court. This stops the guard's penetration and makes any entry pass to the rolling screener much more difficult. This even allows our trailing guard to sometimes assist in doubling and trapping their guard. It's an aggressive tactic and mindset, and those teams that take to it generally play tighter, in your face defense everywhere on the court.

By contrast, from the time Stockton and Malone were embarrassing us over and over, till now, our Lakers play a very passive, lateral sliding approach to the screen and roll, which easily splits our big and our trailing guard. So teams just keep banging us with it, and we keep letting them.

I mean, come onnnnn. This isn't rocket science. Anyone who's played for a good defensive coach can do this.

Let's go, Lakers! It's time, baby!

O ya eric wright, the team is not championship material, but they have the second best record in the NBA, and are playing like crap. Do you watch any basketball?


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