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Caught in the Web: Lakers in an uncertain phase as regular season winds down

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The Times' Mike Bresnahan analyzes what's made Kobe Bryant such a clutch shooter.

ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin provides some good data showing how Mamba delivers during crunch time.

The Daily News' Elliott Teaford outlines the areas of improvement the Lakers need to make.

Lakers forward Lamar Odom has a Q&A with...himself. Not really, but it's a one-on-one interview on his website. Something tells me booking that wasn't really hard.

Commentary

The Times' Bill Plaschke argues that if the Lakers don't improve their sense of urgency work ethic, they won't repeat as NBA champions.

Dime magazine's Austin Burton tries to answer the seemingly unanswerable question: How do you stop Bryant from hitting a game-winning shot?

True Hoop's Henry Abbott cites lots of numbers showing why that taskis far too difficult.

ESPN NBA analyst Tim Legler debates whether or not Bryant is a ballhog. 

Slam Online's Todd Spehr reviews Roland Lazenby's book on Lakers legend Jerry West.

Blogs

The Orange County Register's Janis Carr doesn't like the Lakers' attitude.

ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky analyzes the adjustments the Lakers made in deploying Bryant in the offense.

Tweet of the Day:"I love you. Pass the salt babe." -- RealLamarOdom (Lakers forward Lamar Odom to his wife, Khloe Kardashian.

Reader Comment of the Day:"It's time for Andrew to man up every night. It's time for Pau to stop whining and start TAKING HIS GAME. It's time for Lamar to channel that anger about trash talking to the court. It's time for Ron to remind the NBA why he's Ron. It's time for this team to rise up to the level we know is in them......otherwise, it's a few more weeks of Kobeball before a 2nd round exit." -- utzworld

--Mark Medina

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

Photo: Even with the Staples Center crowd going wild, Kobe Bryant plays it cool after hitting his sixth game-winning shot of the season, this one against the Raptors on Tuesday night. Credit: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times.

 
Comments () | Archives (58)

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The only thing I think about the critical comments are that there should be a better way to do it than through the media. Kobe was pumped when Pau came over and you'd like to think that Pau would talk to Kobe about how he (Pau) could be better used to help the team. I still think that Kobe is all about Rings and not so much else. Otherwise he'd toss up 40 shots a night and lead the League in scoring. I like Pau and hope he is big in the Playoffs, but still trying to remember the last Game Winner, Game Tying, or just Big shot the Pau has made? I can remember several misses. But, don't get me wrong, Pau is super and Lakers need him, but I too, the Weak no Speak phrase.

Too late or couldn't help us to sign Bruce Bowen? Thinking that putting him out there with Ron, wow, could be tough. Also Bowen probably shoots 3 pointers better than anyone we have on our bench. Just a thought?


Tim Legler analyzing Kobe,

inaccurate verb.

I just read the review of Roland Lazenby's biography of Jerry West.

One thing I found interesting about it was I remember Jerry West talking about first meeting Kobe Bryant and getting to know him and West concluded, "He's so much like me."

Very interesting, but not entirely surprising.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

The only person who can stop the unstoppable unstoppableness of Kobe Bryant's last shot is Kobe Bryant.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Who the heck is this joker Neil Olshey who is now the Clippers' GM?

A former actor? Huh? Really? {Shakes head in complete frustration.}

If Donald Sterling had a brain, he'd hire Bill Simmons as his GM. Bill Simmons may be a Celtics troll, but the guy understands basketball.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

THE SPEECH –
I don’t know what to say really, 3 months to to the playoffs and it all comes down to today. Either we heal as a team or we are going to crumble. Inch by inch play by play till we’re finished. We are in hell right now, gentlemen believe me and we can stay here and get the crap kicked out of us or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell. One inch, at a time. Now I can’t do it for you. I’m too old. I look around and I see these young faces and I think I mean I made every wrong choice a middle age man could make. I uh…. I pissed away all my money believe it or not. I chased off anyone who has ever cared for me. My wife, MJ, Kobe And lately, I can’t even stand the face I see in the mirror.You know when you get old in life things get taken from you. That’s, that’s part of life. But, you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out that life is just a game of inches. So is basketball. Because in either game life or basketball the margin for error is so small. I mean one half step too late or to early you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow or too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in ever break of the game every minute, every second. On The lakers , we fight for touches, On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us to pieces for that touches. We CLAW with our finger nails for that touch. Cause we know when we add up all those touches that’s going to make the freaking difference between WINNING and LOSING a RING, between LIVING and DYING. I’ll tell you this in any fight it is the guy who is willing to die who is going to win that touch, And I know if I am going to have any life anymore it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that touch, because that is what LIVING is.
Now Kobe, I can’t make you do it. You gotta look at the guy next to you.
Look into his eyes. Now I think you are going to see a guy who will get that touch for you. You are going to see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team. because he knows when it comes down to it, you are gonna do the same thing for him. Now words going around that the Lakers are soft. You gone sit back and let them call us soft and punk on your fellow Laker Or you gonna draw a line and take a stand, The next time some thug stuff is attempted against a member of this team Ron Ron I want you to tear the guys freaking arm off. Pau I don’t care if you get a Flagrant Foul or are kicked out of the game, the next time one of those thugs try some rough stuff , You wanna know what you do ? Here's what, they grab your arm, you break their arm, They pull a clothesline, you break their freakin neck. They send one of ours to the hospital, you send one of theirs to the morgue. That's the Laker way, and That’s a team, gentlemen and either we heal now, as a team, or we will die as individuals. That’s Basketball guys. That’s all it is. Now, what do you gonna do?

Why can't I stop looking at Kobe's forearm in the pic?

Nice photo, and not because of Kobe ;)

The fact that Bill Plaschke is writing negative articles about the Lakers is the best Lakers' news I've heard in a while. If there is a better reverse barometer than Hand-Wringing-Bill, I am unaware of it.

Jon, I agree about Kobe and West to a certain extent. I think though that the era they grew up in and their socio-economic backgrounds also make for some interesting differences between them.

Pau is a main key to repeating, along with Bynum.
Bynum seems to be coming out of his 40 game slump, hopefully Pau's will not be as long.

I have hardly even read the blog the last week, I was afraid what I might see. I went back to posting on HuffPo just to lighten up my mood.
-
Mamba24, if you're not too tired and you have the time, put me on the I support Gasol bandwagon, we're not winning a title without him or Kobe. I'll take any seat I can get. Thanks in advance,

MG

BLUESKY… “Psycho and KB blitz, Both of you are wrong about Bynum…” Thanks for having my back, Bluesky. Some bloggers just have to have a whipping boy to thrash. That’s not how to support your team.
- - - - - - - - -
BRONXLAKERFAN… “I've gone back and watched film of Drew when he was really playing well right before his two knee injuries. In comparison, he just doesn't have the same lift or foot speed. He's also heavier. I think Drew needs to drop a little weight while maintaining his strength and improving his conditioning. In order to reach his full "potential", Drew needs to get into the best shape of his life.”
-
You see the same thing that I do. Drew is obviously not completely confident in his knees and has adjusted his game to playing close to the ground instead of above the rim. He probably won’t have the athleticism we remember until next year, when he should be fully recovered mentally and physically from his injuries.
- - - - - - - - -
MICHAEL H… “Keep fighting the good fight. You are absolutely right. Blitz never gives Andrew credit when he does have success. He has invested to much of his ego into his critiques and he unlike yourself and others on the blog will never give props to a player they do not appreciate even when they do well.”
-
Now that’s what I call having my back. Aloha and thank you, Michael. You hit every point that I would have and a couple I probably would have missed. Great job. Blitz has become a shell of the poster he once was. You would have to classify him now as a “volume scorer” who shoots a very low percentage. Reading his following two posts actually makes me feel sorry for the poor guy. He must be living in Disneyland.
- - - - - - - - -
JUSTANOTHERMAMBAFAN… “Laker Tom - thanks for posting back. We've gotta hold down the fort against the slings and arrows....!” Thank again to you, Justa. You have always been a great blogmate.
- - - - - - - - -
Tom

Anyone,

has aztronut quit posting his summaries? I haven't seen any recently.

MAMBA24… Great job on THE SPEECH. It’s time to put up or shut up for these Lakers. Please add me to the I support Pau bandwagon. Pau was our second best player last year and truly shed his soft label with a great performance in the Finals so it’s not like he hasn’t done it before, same as with the rest of the Lakers team.
-
While most NBA teams are hoping that their players will take their games to the next level and do something they have never done before, the Lakers are just hoping they can get back to the level they played in the past. Anybody with a brain knows the odds of the Lakers doing what they have done before is far greater than the odds of Dallas, Denver, Orlando, or Cleveland to do something they have never done before – win the title.
- - - - - - -
Tom

Mamba24, the speech....it made me speechless. Bravo.

Mark G -

I don't know. I haven't seen aztronut on here lately either. Hope everything is ok.

if i recall correctly, aztro said he was going to be out for a week or so with something work related.

MM

yes, astroturf is becoming curry

"Why can't I stop looking at Kobe's forearm in the pic?
Posted by: Magia32 | March 11, 2010 at 12:05 PM"

First of all, get a life, Magic32 was/is a regular blogger, why do you wish to show lack of creativity, or subvertly confuse people, in the meantime, I ask Mr. Medina to ask this blogger to explain his choice of name, to stop the use of the name, and to prevent this from happening in the future.

If I made that comment, I would be accused of being a "homo" as I did make a comment that Ron Artest's shorts seem a tad tighter, but it's his choice. Homophobe!!!!!

Kobe Bryant is probably down to about 205 lbs, down from over 230 lbs, years ago, in the early years of his career. Fortunately he did not lose considerable strengh due to the loss. He chose to lose the weight to increase his speed for defense. His arms are almost as big as they were when he was bulking up, going against players like Pippen who was in Houston at the time.

Once again, MAGIA32, could you get a less-confusing name? Perhaps Magia is Spanish for magic, and I respect that, but you should respect Magic32.

Concerning the Laker bigs, Bynum and Gasol, I think they need to play with their feet further apart, it would help stabilize their position. They would not be as easily knocked off balance. It would also create bigger/wider obstacles for the opposing guards to dribble to do their layups, in the long run, this may tire them out and they may miss a layup.

astro-turf came here to promote 2 things: Pluto and Bynum besides being condescending and patronizing regarding the "morals" and the "ethics" of the bloggers. i'm surprised Justa did not call him a NEWBIE. maybe because it was on his side? (as opinions)

Pluto is NOT a PLANET

Bynum is NOT a BEAST

astro-turf vanished like a falling (shooting) star (like Ariza?)

veni, vedi, GONE

Mark G,

"The fact that Bill Plaschke is writing negative articles about the Lakers is the best Lakers' news I've heard in a while. "

True. When it comes down to it, Bill Plaschke is usually wrong.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

MM

this is a really great picture. just reminded me of a movie that was made around a famous painting. i want to write an essay. i'm too slow w/typing and need lots of self-editing. the sun is shining so better be outside. i will get back later with the writing and the reference to this.

watching the video of the buzzer shot, i was intrigued if the GUY in white T-shirt actually wants to/did hug Kobe. the camera cuts. obviously kobe knew that the game is not over and he did not celebrate and on other clips that show the continuation after the shot will show how he turns around and start defending.

i could not ask for a better angle. tks.

humanomaly,

Dude, what are you freaking out about? Take a deep breath.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

From Dave McMenamin @ ESPN Los Angeles
"Bryant has hit 26 winning or tying shots in the last 10 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime since the start of the 2000-01 season. In that time, Orlando's Vince Carter is the next closest with 20. Bryant has as many as Paul Pierce (13) and Dirk Nowitzki (13) combined or Tim Duncan (13) and Anthony (13) combined, take your pick."

Wait where are Princess Jimmy's game saving numbers if he is so "clutch"??? Does this mean that Melo(who should have won rookie of the year over Her Higness) is better in the last seconds of a game than the "Queen Clutch"???

By the way this post goes out to that D-BAG LA Guy!!! Read the numbers and weep...it expands to 10 seasons instead of 7 and your hero Jimmy isnt even in close!!!

Mamba my mamba brother from another mother great speech!

I'm a Laker fan first and foremost. So of course I want Pau to succeed. With him playing at the top of his game, we're champions again. I want on the bandwagon, I just want Pau to put up his best game night in and night out regardless of touches, etc..... and shut up talking to anybody about your teammates except your teammates. That goes for Kobe, Lamar, Fisher and anybody else. Shut-up and bring it every game and we got this!

Jon K., much respect my brother, much respect. Your humbleness, honesty and integrity in one of the least optimal situations for someone with your skillset is something to learn from.

What do we play for? 4 more chocolate chip cookies! LOL!!!!

Go Lakers!

MAMBA 24,

I can feel the intensity on your speech. Whew!!! Is it Friday yet? I have a feeling this will be a great weekend. I got my weekend started early, my boss rewarded me for half a day off today for working hard the last 3 days. We're trying to build a science building for a university. I guess my engineering skills are being appreciated now. I don't work on Fridays which is always good and it will be a game day tomorrow. And then Saturday is a BIG day for all the Filipinos because it's game day for Pacman.

BTW, please include me on the Ron Artest bandwagon. We need the Ron Artest who battled with Kobe last year in the playoffs. Let RA off his leash, strile fear and attack those who barks especially at our home floor.

My bad.... It should read "strike fear"

MM… Actually, the last word from AZTRONUT was that he was quitting the blog because of all of the trolls. I asked him to reconsider but it appears that he was serious. Hopefully, he will return after a little vacation.
- - - - - - -
Tom

humanomaly (29 minutes),

Request denied.

before i dress: Faux Gasol complained about PJ that he is making critical comments in the press about players. in an ironic move, Faux Pas started to complain in the press about TOUCHES. indirectly about players.

if he really wanted to complain about Farmar and Shannon not passing, he should have name them. he is "considered?" the second option and as a starter could have solved this easily in the locker room, with PJ.

but he played the "NO NAME GAME" and because kobe's # of shots, the blame is ALL ON KOBE. that is the perception on any Lakers BLOG.

the big irony is that on any Laker blog, people r complaining about Gasol and his play lately: week, wuss, soft and even sissy.

pfunk36 is partially not correct: after the memphis game, indeed, PJ, Gas-none and Fish complained about KOBE?PJ does not plots with Gas-none. on the opposite: PJ is a great master of plots and sending subtle messages. and because Gas-none complained in the press about PJ complaining in the press, PJ reverted his stance:

1. in the Dallas game Gas-none after playing like a rag-doll was benched and he looked like a wet cocker spaniel covering his face with his ears. obviously Gas-none did not get the message

2. in the Toronto game the is the "infamous" play where Kobe dribbled between 2-3-4 players and gave the TOUCH to Gas-non. Faux Gasol had to make the layup but with his pants full, he MISSED so badly the BANK layup that actually the ball went from the left side, over the rim and hit the right side of the board. not even touching the rim

PJ yanked him immediately. Lakers had a comeback with him on the bench. on 3 blogs/live chats i was following fans were begging PJ to keep him on the bench.

later from Kevin Dings twitts and also from the camera man showing Gasol turning his head toward PJ to re-enter the game at each whistle, WE KNOW that Gas-none was begging, like a puppy, to play. he thinks he IS ENTITLED to be on the floor in the last minutes of the game.

as Bynum learned it, ONE have to earn it. ( no free rides)

finally PJ put him back. to the rage of staples and bloggers all over the bloggosphere, he let Jared Jack to pass him for a layup and later he left BOSH open for the tying 3. (the funny part, how many others observed is that he ran to the basket for the rebound - nothing BUT NET)

WHEN WILL GAS-NONE get THE MESSAGE?

ps1: to paraphrase "Troll Man": if u play weak, no RIGHTS to speak

ps2. this is a partial response to the "The Moderator" ( thanks for adding me as a cheerleader or bench-warmer to your list - more comments to come)

some of u r at the office and the blogg is a good distraction. i'm going to get my 15 minutes of sun exposure to get my Vitamin D. and to enjoy other distractions.

LakerTom, Cali, MM,

I had a feeling that he might have left. I did see the post that MM mentioned saying that aztro had a gig, but I understood that to be for just that particular night. I'm sorry if he has truly left. I thought he was one of the most eloquent writers on the blog.

Hey Oucchhh,

LOL to the astro-turf name for that one dude. Very nice name more funnier than Bynum Tom is. Here's a story titled "The Dipper, the Bynum, and the 3 Bynumites".

The 3 little Bynumites go for a walk promoting Bynum is a Beast and is the MVP of the league and that Kobe is only good as a closer and becomes false prophets of Kobe Bryant then meet a 7'0 obstacle in their way. They bow down and chant "The Beast Bynum" when they look it is in fact Wilt Chamberlain. The Big Dipper demands "Who is this chump change??". The one they call Blue-sky goes up and says "you can't compare Bynum. He's not athletic as Howard or you but he's better than both of you" Wilt laughs and throws down a 37.6ppg rookie year average on blue and makes him feel blue and chants "wow the beast is doing only 14ppg". Aloha Mike then goes "Astro-turf might not be here but I"m here to back him up. Bynum would average 15rpg+ if he wasn't with a softie like Pau and Odom who yet get more rebounds than the beast" when Wilt brings up a b-ball and slams down on Aloha saying "Hrmph my buddy Luke Jackson still got digit digit rebounding and I was averaging 24 rebounds per game so say aloha to that beast" then Bynum Tom challenges the Dipper and says "I used to worship you but I found a new man in Andrew Bynum. Bynum is the future of the NBA! He's the MVP He's the...." then Bynum Tom realizes he's being lifted by his arm by Wilt who then screams "That's enough of that crap" and all the 3 Bynumites go screaming away for their precious Bynum not realizing Andrew Bynum was nearby watching the whole thing. He asks Wilt "Are they gone?" which the Dipper nods his head. Bynum speaks with relief "Man I did not know those fans were dissing your legacy by calling me a Beast Wilt. I'm sorry I had to have fans like them". The Big Dipper says "It's no problem Andrew. I know how good you are and you are a big contributor to your Laker team. Make the Lakers proud especially the Mamba and the Spaniard and the Zen Master and maybe the Candyman as well. Just remember not to be a big mouth and control your rabbid fans. Calling you a beast hrmph, no offense but you still could put up better production". "Yea I know, you are the beast and it ashames me for them to label me as when you are. I'll play harder and not diss your legacy". Wilt responds "That will do pig, that will do".

Stefan Martin:

Please do not underestimate any NBA team, especially Grizzlies they are a very good team that are rising so fast to the top (in near future). The reasons that we are losing are exactly these thoughts!

Rick Friedman:

You forgot to add that Karl Malon was the best power forward ever live, and he is a true definition of an excellent power forward that others need to be compared to. I am a true fan of him!

LakerTom,

I have consistently posted about character & hustle.

I'd like an honest answers from you.

Phil Jackson said: When I asked Coach Phil Jackson whether this team had the same consistent urgency of last season, he said, "I don't think so. ... We don't have that. ... Not that we can't reclaim it at some point. ... That's what we're trying to do."

Jackson later added, simply, "The urgency of playing well has not struck us yet."


Q. Do you agree with him?

Another honest question for you.

I have repeatedly called out the efforts of Bynum & to a lesser degree Pau.

Q. Given what PJ said, did my comments have merit?

Pertaining to Bynum ...

Andrew Bynum, who helped snapped the Lakers out of their funk with a 11 points in the third quarter, said in TV interview that the team is playing with an air of overconfidence and tend to get lackadaisical in their play.

“Right now…people (teammates) are looking forward to the playoffs but that’s not really what you want to be doing right now,” Bynum said. “You need to start sending messages now, so when people (opponents) see us in the playoffs, they’re a little discouraged.

Q. Do you think it is possible for Bynum to "start sending messages" when he's
a acting like a foul magnet [ PJ's words in Orlando ] & not boxing out/fighting
for rebounds?

Q. Do you think Pau's play shows the urgency that PJ talked about?

humanomaly (29 minutes)

I think Magia was referring to the Laker girl, if I'm not mistaken. Why is that so bad?

Go Lakers!

Mark G
"I thought he was one of the most eloquent writers on the blog."

funny how this is coming from U. and some days ago a whole thread was about U 2 complementing each other:

Mark G: you had a great post
astro: no, your post was better
Mark G: u r the only one who caught that play
astro: funny u seen that too
Mark G: it was monumental
astro: yes, it was the most sublime play of the game
Mark G: did u see Bynum block on billups
astro: what a block, what a swat. even DJ never did that
Mark G: you r such an eloquent writer
astro: i really enjoy every line you make, every breath you take
Mark G: so do i
astro: lets sing a song together

------------------------

in his play by play, astro-turf mentioned how INDEED, ron ron had "MANY" good defensive plays but Bynum's BLOCK on Billups what something historical, nothing to compare with ron ron's defense. Bynum in 5 years made a huge block. let's build him a pedestal in front of staples.

even after all the press was talking about ron ron's defense, especially after the denver's game, only astro and Mark G had the above conversation. how pathetic. the Bynum colored contact lenses where only allowed for only 2 guys on this blog. no one else in the BB world.

---------------

astro did not have a gig. he just did some custodial job with his team and was aired on PBS. (i'm sure the TEAM work was done many months in advance. PBS, as budget concern and fundraising is like 2 years behind with all the projects from inception, approval, COMMISSION, completion. PBS is not on call. not your CNN. or sports center. let's don't be so NAIVE.

and by the way,

PLUTO is NOT a PLANET ( astro's TEAM subject)
Bynum is NOT a BEAST (LakerTom, please don't rush to add me to your side just from one game-yes, with Toronto he had some merit and i was very happy to point that out - but it was just a game - let's see what happens in denver, atlanta when we r closer to the playoffs - CONSISTENCY

BLITZ… “The 3 little Bynumites go for a walk promoting Bynum is a Beast and is the MVP of the league and that Kobe is only good as a closer and becomes false prophets of Kobe Bryant then meet a 7'0 obstacle in their way.” This is another perfect example of how you intentionally distort the positions of myself and other Bynum supporters. I have tried over and over to have reasonable honest conversations with you to no avail. If you had any sense of pride or respect for other bloggers, you would not post such misrepresentations, even in the guise of a little joke. In truth, the joke is on you every time you make another ridiculous post. As far as I am concerned, this was the last straw. You are now on my permanent DO NOT READ OR RESPOND LIST.
- - - - - - -
Tom

@ Mamba24

PLEASE put me on the Pau We Believe In You Bandwagon as El supporter of el spaniard! Me gusto, me gusto!

Posted by: lakalova | March 11, 2010 at 03:22 PM

Exactly, thank you.

Reader Comment of the Day:"It's time for Andrew to man up every night. It's time for Pau to stop whining and start TAKING HIS GAME. It's time for Lamar to channel that anger about trash talking to the court. It's time for Ron to remind the NBA why he's Ron. It's time for this team to rise up to the level we know is in them......otherwise, it's a few more weeks of Kobeball before a 2nd round exit." -- utzworld

Mark,

That was really a good choice for reader comment of the day. While there are lots of good one's, that one really hits the mark.
Can you get that into the Lakers for them to post on the wall or something!!

Kevin McHale on the Defense of the Lakers Bigs
------------------------------------------------------------

The L.A. Lakers defeated the Toronto Raptors 109-107 in the featured game of NBA TV's "Fan Night" on Tuesday. Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 32 points on 11-20 field goal shooting, dished off a team-high six assists and nailed the game-winning jumper with less than two seconds remaining; Bryant scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, including six of the Lakers' final nine points--and that kind of sustained production in the final 12 minutes with the game on the line is more significant than Bryant's final shot, even though that coup de grace will no doubt be replayed countless times. The fact that the Lakers repeatedly need for Bryant to be so extraordinarily productive and efficient just to win games against mediocre teams belies the commonly held myth about the extent of the Lakers' depth.

The game itself simply reaffirmed what I have said regarding the Lakers' roster but the most fascinating part of the broadcast was a brief interlude that took place during a timeout. NBA TV played a soundbite of L.A. Clippers' color commentator Michael Smith reminiscing about his days playing with Kevin McHale on the Boston Celtics. Smith recalled that McHale--who now works for NBA TV--would "script" his first five post moves of the game (much like former San Francisco 49ers Coach Bill Walsh went into each game with a script of offensive plays). NBA TV's Ernie Johnson asked McHale about this and McHale confirmed that he essentially scouted every low post defender in the league and came up with a script for each one based on that player's strengths and weaknesses. McHale might hit him with a jump hook first and then the next time down the court he would fake the jump hook and spin baseline. McHale worked against his defender's tendencies and instincts to get the defender off balance and hopefully tag the defender with a couple early fouls; McHale quipped that if a defender had two fouls in the first quarter then the defender would play "7-11 defense": stand still with his hands straight up in the air (as if he were in a 7-11 that is being robbed). McHale would then shoot right over the top of him and tell him "That 7-11 defense is not going to work."

Pau Gasol certainly has good low post moves and Andrew Bynum has improved in that regard but instead of offering indirect public complaints that they should be getting the ball more it would be nice to see those two seven footers consistently finish with authority around the rim and properly position themselves defensively on the screen/roll plays that have been killing the Lakers recently.

Bynum had a strong game against the Raptors (22 points on 8-12 field goal shooting) but here are his field goal percentages in his previous 10 games: .727, .467, .625, .625, .563, .429, .750, .556, .333. .200. It is great that Bynum had three performances of .625 or better but he also had four games in which he shot .467 or worse. Considering the number of spoonfed dunks and easy putbacks that Bynum gets as a result of Bryant being double-teamed, Bynum's shooting percentage should be much more consistent. Moreover, the Lakers' coaching staff is concerned that Bynum's effort defensively and on the boards seems to be directly linked to how many points he scores.

There are subtle--and not so subtle--signs that Coach Phil Jackson is not pleased with Gasol's game right now. Jackson recently cut short one of Gasol's postgame media sessions in order to have Gasol speak one on one with Charles Oakley, one of the NBA's top enforcers in the 1980s and 1990s. Jackson also responded to the Lakers' three game losing streak and Gasol's pleas to get the ball more by playing Gasol for just 30:31 versus Toronto, Gasol's fewest minutes played since February 1; Jackson sat Gasol for virtually the entire fourth quarter. Gasol finished with 17 points and nine rebounds but he shot just 4-11 from the field, including an airball layup after a slick dish from Bryant plus another point blank miss at the end of the third quarter; Gasol's whining after that play earned him a technical foul--replays showed minimal or no contact on the play, certainly not enough contact to prevent a seven footer from scoring--and a seat on the bench next to Jackson. Here are Gasol's field goal percentages over the previous 10 games: .357, .583, .444, .556, .588, .429, .545, .364, .357, .615. Just like Bynum, Gasol has been inconsistent: five games of .545 or better but five games of .444 or worse.

Bryant's shooting has been inconsistent since he broke the index finger on his shooting hand in December but--unlike his bigs--he shoulders the added responsibilities of being the team's primary playmaker and of being the only player on the team who is willing and able to shoulder the offensive burden in the fourth quarter. Bryant tries to involve his bigs in the offense early in games but he understandably calls his own number down the stretch if those guys are not being productive.

If Gasol and Bynum scripted some plays a la Kevin McHale, induced their defenders into "7-11" mode and finished strongly around the hoop then Bryant would not have to save so many games at the end. Instead, it seems as if they are content to go through the motions, wait for Bryant to swoop in to the rescue--and then complain afterward that they did not get enough touches. Pat Riley once referred to "the disease of me," the way that overinflated egos can prevent a team from repeating as champion; the Lakers won the title last year with Bryant as the clear first option on offense, Gasol as the second option and everyone else getting scoring opportunities based on how the opposing team dealt with Bryant and Gasol. Bynum played fewer than 20 minutes in 15 of the Lakers' 23 playoff games last season and he scored in double figures just five times--Bynum was a role player, not a key contributor and certainly not an offensive focal point. We have already seen Pau Gasol be the lead guy on a team for six years, make the All-Star team once and fail to win a single playoff game; we have seen Andrew Bynum go along for the ride as the Lakers won a championship. Those guys need to remember exactly what the Lakers' winning formula was last year and fill their roles as opposed to getting delusions about what their roles should be.
--------------------------------

Source: http://www.20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/

Ouch,

Yeah, I'm not even sure how I got into of your posts. I don't normally pay attention to you or your posts for the obvious reasons, but I happened to see my name so of course I stopped to read this one. Since I don't read you, I'm not even sure how to respond.

I'm sorry your parents didn't pay more attention to you.

Are we good now?

ouchhhhhhhhh!

Mind Games!
History repeats itself...

Phil Jackson: The Zen master who won 10 championships and carving for more but there comes the hurdle the paycheck of $12 million and personal relationships (like and dislike) that is putting obstacles for his future success and inroads into an organization for his immediate future.
Kobe: The next Micheal Jordan "The clutch" wants to win it all by himself.
Paul Gasol: Pretending to be tough both physically and mentally
Andrew Bynum: Kid in a man's suit
Lamar Odom: Often lives in his own universe but once in a while lands on the planet earth and plays reasonable good basketball games.
Ron Artest hype-red mentality either hot or cold defensively and offensively, always somebody has to remind him what his role is and what he supposed to do...
Fisher Monk in a Lakers Uniform, his talk is determining his role than his plays.
The bench is caught between proving themselves and inability to prove themselves when the situation presents itself.

The group was hungry for the title in 2009 and hungrier for power in 2010...

The other teams are seeing the chunk in the armor, taking advantage of it not because Lakers are beatable as a group but because they are beatable as individual players.
Yes, the team won 4-1 when kobe was not in the rotation why because nobody told them what their roles are suppose to be or pecking order and it is easier to win few games when their is no pecking order but the equation changes when you start to decide who the leader of the group should be...even without Kobe in the picture.
Like it or not Phil is playing the same mind games he played in Chicago when they decided to dismantle the team and relieved him of his duties...
Yes, Kobe is not the easiest person in the world to play with but you got no other choice but buck up and play...like it or not Kobe is going to be the GO TO guy.
This group of Laker players have to work within themselves before it is too late not only for this season but immediate future because coaching might change and a few players but the core can't be replaced because it took a while to get the groove (which is the envy of the basketball world) and also because this particular group have lot in common that you can ask for...basketball mind, game and toughness.
Can Kobe mend himself a little bit for the sake of bringing cohesiveness in the group?
Can Gasol realize his limitations?
Can Andy mature as Magic's Howard?
Can Lamar stay longer on the planet earth?
Can Artest keep his head down and play defense and shoot 3 pointers and free throws? and
Can Fisher stop preaching and start shooting 3 pointers consistently?
Is this power struggle temporary or permanent? is dependent on coaching staff and the players alike...
The toughest journey has just begun...

HOBBITMAGE… “Phil Jackson said: When I asked Coach Phil Jackson whether this team had the same consistent urgency of last season, he said, ‘I don't think so. ... We don't have that. ... Not that we can't reclaim it at some point. ... That's what we're trying to do.’ Jackson later added, simply, ‘The urgency of playing well has not struck us yet.’ Q. Do you agree with him?”
-
Yes, I do. I think the team has been complacent, overconfident that they can turn it on when the playoffs come, and as a result have not played with the urgency that Phil and most of the fans want. I also think that there is some internal friction between Kobe and Pau at this point, not so much due to Pau’s comments but more to do with his weak recent play. In the end, this is a problem that every team that wins a title faces. Nevertheless, I still think this is the regular season and Phil will and the team will iron out the problems and peak heading into the playoffs. Basically, I think that is what we are all hoping for.
-
“I have repeatedly called out the efforts of Bynum & to a lesser degree Pau. Q. Given what PJ said, did my comments have merit?” First, I think there have been games when Drew has not been involved and where his effort as a result was less than what it should be, which is understandable considering how young he is in terms of actual basketball experience. We also have to remember that different players of different size and skills have different motors. Did I wish that Drew had a motor like Dennis Rodman or even Chicago’s Noah? That would be great but how many players in the league, especially 7-footers have that. Drew’s demeanor reminds me of Kareem’s demeanor during his playing days, when he was always chastised for not hustling.
-
So to answer your question, I do think your comments have merit but tend to be too black and white when you are talking about human beings. I also think that hustle and lack of hustle tend to be contagious. When Drew and any player is involved in the offense, I think they play better defense. You and I obviously do not agree on this issue. To me, players who can focus first on defense are either truly rare individuals or guys who can’t play a lick of offense and thus have no option. Did you ever play the game? We all like to score. Finally, I don’t think Drew has completely recovered mentally and physically from his injuries, which is sometimes the reason he doesn’t seem to hustle all the time. He has never played this many games before.
-
“Q. Do you think it is possible for Bynum to "start sending messages" when he's acting like a foul magnet [ PJ's words in Orlando ] & not boxing out/fighting for rebounds?” Actually, I think “foul magnet” was your interpretation of Phil’s comments, which I think were designed to motivate Drew to be more careful. In fact, just the week before Phil said he should have taken a technical to support Drew against poor ref calls. Bottom line, I think Drew is starting to send a message with his play the last two games. He definitely has been more active and altering opponent shots.
-
“Do you think Pau's play shows the urgency that PJ talked about?” Absolutely not. We are seeing the 2008 version of Pau when we need the 2009 version. One thing that really irritates me is seeing Pau not even try to block shots when perimeter players penetrate for fear of drawing the foul and sitting. Right or wrong, Drew seems to prefer to take a hard foul rather than letting the guy score. He just needs to find a balance to stay in the game but still protect the rim. In the meanwhile, Pau needs to man up or Kobe is going to stop passing him the ball completely and instead feed it to Drew, who is at least finishing with power rather than tossing up weenie shots like Pau has been doing. I think Pau is just exhausted from too much basketball.
-
How were those responses, hobbitmage? We may not agree 100% but in truth we’re not on opposite sides.
- - - - - - -
Tom

"Mamba24,

The thing is about sports and competition is that it is one of the last healthy avenues where men can explore their primal instincts and be rewarded for it.

As a person, I am generally a kind and trusting person who labors to see the best in people first and to forgive people for being human--which ultimately means being imperfect and destined to make mistakes. That's who I am.

BUT I also have egotistical, even violent, elements to my personality.

In athletics, I (with very rare exception) played fairly. I don't cheat, but I want to DESTROY my opponent. I want to punish them for thinking that they can compete with me, for thinking that they can be better than me and I never gave up.

In football, you can hit someone with every ounce of your being and get a standing ovation for that? How awesome is that? You can't do that in real life, but one can channel their full competitive physicality on the court and on the field and, when done by the rules, you are rewarded for that--both emotionally and by society.

Kobe gets that. Watch him play. He embraces the full spirit of his competitive nature without excuses, without compromise, without apologies on the court... and that's why he's as Great as he is.

The rest of the team needs to learn that it is okay to completely submit to that competitive instinct (something that is so often shamed in our society) ON THE COURT. The court is a different world, and thank God for that.

On the court you can punish your opponent without regret or hesitation. Off the court, one must relate to their opponent with empathy, compassion, and kindness. That's how it not only is, but should be.

The Lakers have been given a rare gift, the HONOR of being able to channel their inner competitive spirit without compromise. What a tremendous gift. Now they better live up to the responsibility of being given that gift.

Champions are won without apologies.

If anyone thinks that they're going to take what belongs to us, they've got another thing coming.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!"

Posted by: Jon K. | March 11, 2010 at 10:31 AM
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Very good post. Are you Korean by any chance?

ouchhhhhhhh....

"lets sing a song together"

I actually laughed aloud.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Curry,

No, I'm Slovak/Irish/Ukrainian/Dutch/German/Croatian/English/Hungarian/Polish/Slovenian/Ruthenian (but overwhelmingly Slovak/Irish/Ukrainian/Dutch).

However! I do love Korean barbarque! That stuff is awesome!

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

I'm so happy that Lakers Girls exist. The world is better for them.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Jon K,


I get so frustrated with the Clippers. Even though I'm a Laker fan 1st, I'm also a Clipper fan because they're from Los Angeles, and I love every team from my home town. But don't tell me (Mr. Sterling) that you're trying to win now as you dump your coach/GGM and two of your top players. I don't but it.


And there's one sure thing about Phil. If a player who once started has lost his role in the rotation during the reguklar season, that player wiull absolutely be re-inserted back into the rotation at his old muinutes oce the season has about 2-3 weeks left.


I've seen it every year. So, my point is that Sasha Vujacic will be seeing about 20 min a game as the season draws to a close, and this will hopefully lead to his regaining the old confidence that made him so effective. Count on it. His minutes will drastically increase form about now forward, and God knows we need the outside shooter.


Wes

"I have tried over and over to have reasonable honest conversations with you to no avail."

When you take cheap shots like Twiddle Dee and do other name calling I don't consider in any way "reasonable". I for my part did not do any cheap shots yet you couldn't stop and when get back you go crying again. I can have so many good conversations about Bynum like I do with Nem and Andrew Bernard but you just can't handle the truth and take a child tantrum when you got a little dose of it back to you.

" As far as I am concerned, this was the last straw."

I thought the last straw was 2 months ago and I did my part on not taking cheap shots yet you do after this game against Toronto and you go crying all the way home when I respond back. Don't be hating when you break the peace and get back a little joke in return as Phil would say its Karma. Didn't I say think with your head and not with your emotions? You fail at that with Andrew Bynum. Bynum should be ashamed of you for being like that. I still consider you a good guy....just a nut when it comes to Bynum.

Great photo on this thread. Kobe and a cheer leaders cheeks!

LakerTom, Cali, MM,

I had a feeling that he might have left. I did see the post that MM mentioned saying that aztro had a gig, but I understood that to be for just that particular night. I'm sorry if he has truly left. I thought he was one of the most eloquent writers on the blog.

Posted by: Mark G | March 11, 2010 at 02:15 PM

===================
I agree and hope he returns and ignores the Trolls. He offers so much more than the trolls.

Yes, one thing we can all agree on is that the Laker cheerleaders are a good thing.

Wesjoenixon,

"I get so frustrated with the Clippers. Even though I'm a Laker fan 1st, I'm also a Clipper fan because they're from Los Angeles"

You and me both.

I have no idea who this new joker is that is their new GM. It is strange, indeed.

Go Clippers!!

GO LAKERS!!!!

Where did that photo come from...thats awesome!

U guys are all sik crazy. Kind of like my-self. I almost read every post and surprisingly agree w/ the majority of whats being said, even contradicting statements made about Gasol. My man mamba couldnt have said it n e better with the al pacino 'any given sunday' speech. Its either we unite as a team or sink as individuals. Yes our lakers havent been playing up to par but i beleive they still have it in them. . .mannn... look @ us, all considered adults, but yet were full of anxiety like a fat 3rd grader required to run the mile for PE class. Tonights game is infact a huge one for us. Lets not forget the effort our lakers put forth when the real king of basketball was sidelined for 4 games. The tenacity of that team needs to mesh w/ kobes tenacity when all are on the floor together. No excuses. As Pau used to say it "LETS GO!"


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