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Lakers' 124-121 victory over Golden State shows team struggles in carrying momentum

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A case study involving the Lakers' undisciplined and careless nature only requires 8.6 seconds of your time. This example involves Golden State guard Stephen Curry inbounding the ball to Corey Maggette. As Maggette flashed to the top of the key, the slight contact threw off Lakers guard Shannon Brown, causing Derek Fisher to close off on Maggette to deny an open look. But that just created an open shot for Curry, whose open trey hit back iron.

The Lakers thought they avoided overtime, but not quite. Neither Lakers guard Kobe Bryant nor forward Pau Gasol boxed out guard Monta Ellis, who grabbed the rebound and then raced out to the top of the key in hopes to tie the game up. With 1.7 seconds remaining, Ellis launched a three-pointer that hit off the front rim and then twice off the back iron.

You really only need to see the final play to recognize the Lakers' carelessness, but they displayed that characteristic throughout the game. The Lakers walked away from Oracle Arena Monday with a 124-121 victory over Golden State, effectively sweeping the season series against the Warriors. But it's nothing the Lakers (49-18) should be boasting about one bit. The win gave them a four-game cushion for first place in the Western Conference standings, thanks to Denver's 125-123 loss Monday to Houston. But is this really how you want to stake your claim in the Western Conference?

"We should've done better, but we'll take the win," Gasol told KCAL-9's John Ireland. "We shouldn't worry about the mistakes we made out there and go out tomorrow and have a better game."  

WIth the Lakers facing Sacramento Tuesday, it's hard not to think they can't make similar mistakes against another sub. 500 team. The Lakers squeaked by a team that boasts a 18-48 record, has lost all but one of its eight games in March and features a roster that missed over 380 games due to injury, most recently center Ronny Turiaf (knee) and former Laker Vladimir Radmanovic (Achilles). Yet, the Lakers struggled with Golden State for most of the game. Despite shooting 58.3% and taking 20 free throws, the Lakers entered the locker room trailing 65-59 at halftime for two very simple reasons. 

The team's non existent defense allowed Golden State to employ its relentless up-tempo style of play, a formula that doesn't build winning teams but certainly gives teams fits every night thanks to the Warriors' league-leading fast-break points and points off turnovers. Rather than employ their own half-court philosophy, the Lakers chose to play NBA Jam over fundamental basketball. 

The balanced box score including Bryant (29 points), Gasol (26) Andrew Bynum (19), Lamar Odom (17) and Artest (12) no doubt spoke to the team's ability to exploit their inside presence at the expense of the Warriors' small frontline. Bryant's performance also spoke to his ability to direct the offense and score at will against Ellis. But that became an afterthought with the Lakers' 15 first-half turnovers, including five from Bryant. While Golden State scored 17 points off of those mistakes, it executed their high-octane offense with precision. The Warriors shot 52% and committed only three turnovers.  

That's why it wasn't earth shattering that the Lakers coaching staff stressed at halftime for the team to slow the pace down. Suddenly, that strategy helped spark a 16-2 run in the third quarter to give the Lakers a 79-74 lead with 5:41 remaining. All the baskets came through deliberate pacing in the half-court set. Gasol had the ball near the right block and set up Artest for the open jumper after he flashed up top. Fisher's entry pass to Artest inside resulted in him using a post up and drop step over Maggette. Minutes later, another entry pass from Fisher to Bynum resulted in an easy tip in. Fisher converted on an easy one-on-one baseline jumper over Curry.  Artest set up Gasol for an open baseline fadeway and, a play later, Fisher set Gasol up for another jumper. And Gasol made a behind-the-shoulder pass to Bryant inside for the easy layup. The patient approach resulted in the Lakers taking a 94-87 third-quarter lead after outscoring the Warriors in that period, 35-22. 

Despite holding a 119-108 lead with 3:17 remaining in the game, the Lakers made too many defensive lapses to make the game uncomfortably exciting,. Bryant's long missed three-pointer resulted in Ellis making an easy transition layup. Gasol's poor interior D led to center Chris Hunter, a former D-Leaguer, to score inside. A simple screen and roll allowed Curry to go in for a finger roll. Hunter drove in for an uncontested leaner. And Ellis' steal on Bryant resulted in an uncontested transition three-pointer, capping his season-high ninth turnover and the team's 24, leading to 29 points for Golden State. After Bronw made two free throws, Ellis breezed past Artest for any easy drive to the basket off an inbounds play. And after Bryant made one of two free throws, the Warriors had one last chance to answer on the play described at the top of the post.

Fortunately for the Lakers, their lapses on the final play didn't cost them like all the other ones did. But it shouldn't make the team feel any better for averting defeat. 

--Mark Medina

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

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant finishes off a dunk over Golden State's Chris Hunter and Anthony Tolliver in the first half Monday night. Credit: Ben Margot/Associated Press.

 
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jimjoyce, lemme ask you this since you are a bonafide Kobe hater,

Sure Kobe does have his problems but then again why hate him and laugh at his EVERY mistake? Lemme bring up two legends that you wish were on the team: Magic and West.

West had 9 finals appearances and how many rings? 1. Courtesy of Wilt Chamberlain if you want to make 3 of Kobe's rings as Shaq won rings. He choked despite having Elgin Baylor and in the end Wilt Chamberlain yet couldn't even win AT HOME in Game 6 and 7 of the 1971 Finals. The only reason he does have a Finals MVP is because the NBA felt bad that he didn't have a run and gave him that trophy when it should have been Russell's. As a Laker fan would you LAUGH at West choking all those years? How he could not win against Russell with WILT and ELGIN and GOODRICH? I"m sure if you laugh at Kobe for being a selfish ball hog then you are laughing at West for being a LOSER.

As for Magic Johnson do you remember 1984 Finals when James Worthy CHOKED in Game 2 and turnover the ball that led to the Celtics victory? Or how Magic dribbled the ball instead of taking the lost shot in that game? Or in Game 4 when Magic let Parish steal the ball and bricking two free throws that led to the Celtics winning in Game 4 did you laugh at Erving for that? And for that Kobe tantrum in the Summer of 2007 how about how Paul Westhead was thrown out of his job because of Magic since Magic wanted to up the tempo and was booed by Laker fans for being a selfish brat for not liking his coach?

I understand you do not like Kobe and I'm not forcing you to. You can dislike Kobe for being an arrogant, selfish ball-hog. By laughing at home though you guys bring disgrace as LAKER FANS since 1) Kobe Bryant is still an LA Laker and 2) Unless he does an Iverson where he just gives up on his team and forcing the Lakers to trade him he still plays for the Lakers. Forgive me but what are you doing in here laughing at Kobe's 8 turnovers (why not add how Bynum got 8 turnovers and laugh at him) makes you no better than those Laker fans who threw those hand foams on Christmas.

"Youknow what's awesome and frustrating at the same time?"

When you get bandwagon Laker fans like Todd and jimjoyce laughing at one of your players.

Those two don't even deserve to be posting.

Posted by: KB Blitz
--------------

Blitz.

please throw in LA Guy in there too. for some pocket change.

because of all the above Kobe haters were happy about Kobe's career TO in this game, let's see the top 10 in the NBA

1 Monta Ellis , GSW 4.1
2 Steve Nash , PHX 3.8
3. Gilbert Arenas , WAS 3.7
4 Kevin Durant , OKC 3.5
5 Dwight Howard , ORL 3.5
6 LeBron James , CLE 3.4
7 Deron Williams , UTA 3.3
8 Russell Westbrook , OKC 3.3
9 Dwyane Wade , MIA 3.2
10 Stephen Jackson , CHA-GSW 3.1


14. Kobe Bryant, LAL 3.0

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

whowwwwwwww. all the great PG's. all those MVP candidates that some Lakers fans r salivating for. all the wannabe's.

enjoy the list

"carelessless"

is that in translation the less of the less of the less of the less mark medina?

Most of us are saying "We committed 24 TOs, we're doomed" etc etc..

How about looking at it with a +ve side: We WON even after committing 24 TOs.. Check if any team would have managed to pull a W by doing 20+ TOs, be it against Cavaliers or Nets.

That being said, I would also say we need to take care of the ball better!! During a sequence in the 3rd qtr, we turned over the ball to Warriors on 7 consecutive possessions, that was really sick. Cant do that against the Nuggets or Jazz in a playoff game...

Another rumble is that we're playing down to the level of the opposition. While this is partly true - we also need to see the other side of the coin. For all the teams in the league this year, their game against the Lakers is THE GAME of the season for them. They wont worry if they lose against the Grizzlies, they want to win against Lakers. Every team brings their A+++ game against Lakers, and its suffocating for us.

If we play our B+ game, then we should win 11 of the rest 15, and can finish with a 60-22 record, which should get us #1 in West (but wont get #1 overall)

Also, once we reach the stage where there are 3-4 games left, and have got the #1 seed in the west (but may not #1 overall), we can sit Kobe/Pau/AB for alternate games and let them take some much needed break!!

I dont really care what people says,all that matters is we win and we move on.So people stop bashing our team and just support them for their quest for another title.To all the lakers haters troll your just envy because your team are not good enough to win a title even though their good in regular season but self destruct in playoff time.Go KOBE,Go Lakers 2009-2013 NBA world champion.After all said and done KOBE will be the greatest player of all time.Despite all his injury still he perform like nobody else.What if KOBE is healthy what will happen to NBA?Lebron,dwades,melos are nothing their just a pretender as long as KOBE around.....

Mental lapses being shown by the Lakers is a symptom of fatigue. Not game fatigue but the season long length of 82 games. It's always a challenge for defending champions. I bet the players can't wait for the playoffs to begin. If you're the defending champs you don't even want to go through a mind numbing regular season.

it wasn't the Lakers lack of defense that allowed all those run outs, which made the game close. it was the rushed offense that led to turnovers and bad shots, that hurt the Lakers. it's just another W now.

there's a new game today. there's always hope that the next game begins a winning streak that's the greatest ever, or at least enough to propel the team to the title...

please try to refrain from cackling like old hens(to no one in particular)...

besides, Nellie ball has always been like that. he still rarely wins because even though many points get generated, the law of averages almost always catches up to him. his teams are scary, but they still lose in the end. the run-n-gun nuggets had the same problem.

ohhhhhhh -- lol it was carelessness on my part.

MM

I understand you do not like Kobe and I'm not forcing you to. You can dislike Kobe for being an arrogant, selfish ball-hog. By laughing at home though you guys bring disgrace as LAKER FANS since 1) Kobe Bryant is still an LA Laker and 2) Unless he does an Iverson where he just gives up on his team and forcing the Lakers to trade him he still plays for the Lakers. Forgive me but what are you doing in here laughing at Kobe's 8 turnovers (why not add how Bynum got 8 turnovers and laugh at him) makes you no better than those Laker fans who threw those hand foams on Christmas.

Posted by: KB Blitz

Way to go KB Blitz,
These are not Laker fans. How can you be a Laker fan when you hate on their best player? LA Guy (the blog hog) back on this blog because Kobe had 8 TO's?

The NBA should reduce the length of the regular season.

Teams should not be playing more than 50 games. What's the point in seeing one team play with another for the hundredth time? The bottom line is it's all business even though the length of the season makes the games boring and the players tired.

Stephan, Mud, Adrian - Good basic posts all. We recognize the team's history against teams like GS and other Nelli coached teams and also recognize that no matter how badly our guys played, they came away with a W. Everybody plays up for the Lakers and occasionally the Lakers play down to the other team, making for a rough night for us fans.

Laker Tom - Hope that this edge of your seat game was worth it for all 3 generations and provided a fun anniversary.

DFish - you finally showed your true colors with the "Faker" comments. You don't just hate JonK and Fish, you're a troll that needs to fade away.

whowwwwwwww. all the great PG's. all those MVP candidates that some Lakers fans r salivating for. all the wannabe's.
enjoy the list Posted by: ouchhhhhhhhh | March 16, 2010 at 12:40 AM

NOW THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!! OUCCHHH! OUCHHH!
OUT FREAKIN STANDING!

This was a fun game to watch! I liked how Pau had a good stretch in the 3rd quarter, he seemed really in sync with the offense.

I also liked Lamars 1 arm rebound in the 4th quarter! Also liked his floater in the lane.

Not sure about why anyone would complain - the Warriors play a unique and crafty style of game, a look that the Lakers don't see often (and won't see again this season).

It is too bad folks just don't kick back and enjoy games like this. Ain't nothing wrong with a shoot-out on a Monday night!

kensey

DFish - you finally showed your true colors with the "Faker" comments. You don't just hate JonK and Fish, you're a troll that needs to fade away.

Posted by: Jolly Ranch

I'm already fading away. Because it is impossible to educate any of the biased
Lakers fans that the final score in the game isn't the only thing that counts. I love these guys that say...oh we won the game so let's bury are heads in the sand. The Lakers were predicted at the beginning of the year to be a dominant team, and yes they have a dominant record. But for the talent they have, they are probably one of the most underachieving teams in the NBA this year. Bottom line...night in and night out they have not played well on defense. The bench most nights has not been impressive. Kobe has bailed them out with amazing shots. They will be very dependent on other teams making mistakes in the playoffs. Not on their own play. If Denver doesn't make the same mental mistakes this year, they will beat the Lakers.

THE KING OF BELFAST
Sonny Belfast I’m sorry to say, the Lakers must beat your Kings today
A very good poster who sticks up for his team, When you critique the Lakers you never are mean
I am ambivalent about this game tonight, I hope the Lakers win but the Kings put up a good fight
Sorry your team is a tune up game for us, One day soon the rivalry will be back on I trust
Stop by any time, you represent your team well, In a year or two, I hope that you, see your team jell
Time for me to put on my game face, I’m sure you’ve seen, the awfully mean, Trolls all over the place
I don't consider you Sonny any kind of Troll at all, you’re just a guy, who gets high, talking Basketball
Your comments are cogent, Not bitter or mean, I’d like to say, you’re OK, Welcome back on the scene

Good morning,

The quality of some of the post-game comments here mirrors the quality of the game. You'd think every turnover brings out a new knucklehead. OK, the game sucked. The Lakers couldn't run up and down the court and chew gum at the same time. So what? We won.

The goal right now is to get to the post-season unharmed. Every win, however ugly, bolsters confidence. We *KNOW* what the Lakers are capable of. The Lakers know what they are capable of.

Yes, there were too many lapses. Yes, I had to put the defibrillator on standby for Justanothermambafan during the game chat. Yes, Phred, I, and others broke out the alcohol earlier than we might have otherwise. It was one of those nights against a Don Nelson team that always gives us fits, but folds right on cue.

Tonight is another grind-it-out game. But ARCO no longer rivals the Rose Garden as a rabbit hole. [Note "Alice in Wonderland" reference.] If we need to have the paramedics on standby and open another case of vodka, so be it. Go Lakers!

I don't know. I wasn't really bothered by last night's WIN.

I think the combination hitting Lawler's Law so early, utilizing the lucky barstool, and Stephen Curry playing like a madman just seemed to put things in context for me.

Did we play the Warriors' game? Yes.

Why? I don't know, but it seems like they dupe a lot of teams into doing that.

Hey, at least we had a balanced scoring attack and it didn't seem like everyone was just standing around watching Kobe.

24 to 5 turnovers? That's an anaomaly. So, this game should also be viewed as such.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

DFish,

A Lakers fan does not refer to his/her team as "the Fakers".

Thou art a troll and you know it.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Well, the Clippers lost AGAIN.

I'm beginning to think that German bookies are paying Chris Kaman to miss shots.

Urgh.

Go Clippers!!!

GO LAKERS!!!!

Ok, let's be realistic here. Lakers are not playing great basketball for a while now. They are very lucky to have the 2nd best record inspite of poor plays, thanks partly to Kobe's 6 buzzer beater heroics. I agree with some who suggested that if they play the same type of basketball in the playoffs they will not be successful. As a fan, you can only wish that the best is yet to come.

Whatever it is, I hope the Lakers can figure it out, unless they learn to accept and take responsibilities they will not improve their games. Accept and recognize theproblems, learn from them and take it to the court. Let your games do the talking, no more lip service. Laker fans want more action less talk. Remember, winning cures everything.

GO LAKERS

Am I a troll or chiken little after posting this?

The NBA should reduce the length of the regular season.

Teams should not be playing more than 50 games. What's the point in seeing one team play with another for the hundredth time? The bottom line is it's all business even though the length of the season makes the games boring and the players tired.

Posted by: Max Johnson | March 16, 2010 at 07:23 AM

How bout they shorten the season to one game. That's right, one game. You won't have to worry about injury or fatigue. One day of basket ball...we'll call it The BasketBOWL. I like it!!

Ugh, seriously. It's entertainment. Enjoy it!

Go Lakers!!!

Am I a troll or chiken little after posting this? Posted by: Jeanette | March 16, 2010 at 08:17 AM

You're just a Laker fan enjoying the Roller Coaster Ride.Right now it's in a dip, But it's starting to climb back up getting ready to take that final plunge to the Finals. So enjoy the good & bad Sister Jeanette, it's what makes the ride fun. When it's over you'll be awarded a bright shiny Ring.
Mamba24

Well, the Clippers lost AGAIN. I'm beginning to think that German bookies are paying Chris Kaman to miss shots.
Posted by: Jon K. | March 16, 2010 at 08:06 AM

ROFL!!

Jeanette,

you wrote: Am I a troll or chiken little after posting this?

my response: If Shrek can be an Ogre, be likable and get PAID, you can
be Lakers troll & want your team to play better.

Some of referred to me as a troll also. Why they would think hobbits are
trolls only shows their lack of education on the import things in life ....
but I digress.

Come sit next to me. I'm trying to get to LA for the championship parade.
Want some popcorn?

I think Kobe made the most succinct point, when he said, "We won't face any teams that play like this during the playoffs." (or something like that) in the post game interview.

Yes, the Lakers barely handled Nelly-ball last night. But there aren't any teams that play like that in the playoffs, because teams like that rarely win enough games to MAKE the playoffs, and even more rarely win a playoff series (hats off to the Baron Davis led Warriors)

I've gotta give Monta Ellis MAD props for his defense on Kobe. He picked Kobe clean 3 or 4 times. Just took the ball from him and went on a fast break.

But other than that, I felt the cause of this loss rests in the hands of the Lakers' bigs. They were trying to be TOO fancy on offense. Lamar trying to one-handed tap a rebound into a pass instead of just grabbing the ball. Bynum trying to pass cross court through traffic. Over-passing until they get a 3-second violation. And they were not rotating well on defense most of the game. The Warriors would pick and roll at the top, and the Lakers' big would show, but then would just stand there while their man rolled straight to the basket and got a pass for a dunk. And of course, there was Pau and his inability to make free throws.

The thing is, the players who were hurting the team the most (Bynum, Kobe, Lamar) were also the ones that were scoring the most. So it's not like you could bench one or two players and clean the whole thing up.

I hope all the hand injuries clear up soon. Brown's shooting has been appalling, and they've barely been playing Farmar with his injury.

...

But on a good note. Fish seems to have found his shooting stroke a bit more lately. The last couple of games he has shot sparingly, but he's made better than 50% of his shots. We could reallllllly use Fish being hot for the playoffs.

Hey guys a new post is up with links. I'll gladly repost anything.

MM

last night's game as far as turnovers: an abberration..ISH happens and not to keep beating a deadhorse, but we are far from a "perfect team" -- and this time of the year everyone is exhausted and injured or both.

Just be glad we won and know that we still have something to work towards -- it can only had motivation in the long haul ..we are not a finished product -- but right now, we don't have to be!

Go Lakers -- Love you, regardless!

MAMBA24, I am just ranting. You know that I am a certified Lakerholic. I have hypertension and this roller coaster ride is not good for my health ****LOL

hobbitmage,
I have one week of my vacation days reserved for the parade this year. There should be a parade at all cost!!!

Greetings. Thank you Mamba for the kind words.

Don't feel bad if the Kings give you a taste of the future tonight. We are playoff bound next year. Reke (ROY) is currently one rebound short of consecutive triple doubles (taken out of the last game with 6 minutes left) and the rest of the team (albeit young and mostly inexperienced) are very talented, athletic, and tough (something we've been missing for some time). Even without another high end first rounder, and a ton of cap space at the end of this season, things are looking good in Sactown. In Petrie we trust.

I'm quite busy here in Thailand but catch basketball on the internet whenever possible (which is most Kings games), but rarely post, as you know. If you make it to the finals this year, good luck against Dwight Howard and company.
Go Sacramento Kings of Basketball!

Sonnybelfast

Jerry West is a legitimate Hall of Fame player, not simply a scorer who got in on numbers only. He has made major executive contributions to Lakers championships. His Laker draft selections were terrific. Excluding Brian Cardinal, his overall impact as an executive is exceeded by Red Auerbach only. His player/executive career impact is exceptional. That said, as a player, West is quite simply not in the category of Kobe, Magic or Kareem. If West had achieved Kobe's success to date, all factors included, many in the general public would consider him better than Jordan.

I'm quite busy here in Thailand but catch basketball on the internet whenever possible (which is most Kings games), but rarely post, as you know. If you make it to the finals this year, good luck against Dwight Howard and company.
Go Sacramento Kings of Basketball! Sonnybelfast Posted by: sonnybelfast | March 16, 2010 at 09:25 AM

Thanks Sonny! Yes you have a nice lil team, with a couple of the right pieces it might not be that long before they are back. Any way be careful, you know you are in EarthQuake territory. Post when you can brother & stay as classy as you always do.
Mamba24(Larry)

Go Lakers -- Love you, regardless! Posted by: lakersrydeordie | March 16, 2010 at 09:16 AM

NOW THAT, IS A LAKERS FAN...OUT FREAKIN STANDING!!!

All I can say is that it would have been a lot worse if the Lakers lost. Last year, if memory serves, the Dubs beat Boston and it took a last second shot by LeBrawn for the Cavs to beat them at Oracle. It's just the way this team plays...a helter skelter style that's exciting year after year, but produces a consistent losing record...year after year.

Very fun game to watch, nice street baskeball.

Our D was bad, but hey, our offense was good and I take the win.

We made the KEY shots.

Cheers.


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