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Lakers' 96-94 loss to Orlando Magic points more to execution than effort

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With the final minutes winding down, the atmosphere at Orlando's Amway Arena featured all the elements of last season's Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Lakers and Orlando Magic.

There were missed free throws, much like Dwight Howard's two late misses that would have virtually ensured a Game 4 victory. There were also big shots, such as the two big three-pointers Derek Fisher made to help the Lakers get on the winning end.

That's why when Vince Carter made only one of two free throws, giving Orlando a two-point lead with 9.7 seconds remaining, it would've been fitting for the Lakers to cap off a similar ending Sunday in a regular-season matchup. But the final sequence went like this: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant brought the ball up the floor. Forward Pau Gasol set a screen on tenacious defender Matt Barnes up top. Howard temporarily doubled Bryant. He then went one on-one against Barnes, crossed right and then pulled up for a 20-foot jumper on the right block.

Instead of marking Bryant's seventh game winner of the season, the shot instead hit the back rim. And the result, a 96-94 Lakers' loss to Orlando closed out a winless three-game trip. 

Unlike last year's NBA Finals, the Lakers look far removed from that championship team. And with the Lakers (46-18) losing three consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 2008 when it acquired Gasol, questions are inevitably going to be raised about the current state of the team. The Lakers had that discussion Saturday coming off a 98-83 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats where players, most notably Bryant, aired out their concerns. Several writers, including myself, thought their latest effort served as a bad warning sign for the rest of the season unless the Lakers made the necessary changes.

I take away the Lakers' latest loss a little differently. The Lakers lost this time not because of a lack of effort, but because of poor execution. Surely that won't assuage the fact that they hold only a three-game edge against Dallas (43-21), a four-game advantage against Denver (41-21) and a five-game advantage against Utah (40-22) for the best conference in the Western Conference standings with 18 games remaining in the regular season. The loss also doesn't help the Lakers' chances in chasing Cleveland (49-15) for the league's best record. But I've maintained that the Lakers' pressing concern isn't how many games it wins in the rest of the regular season, but rather how sharp they look as the postseason begins.

One of the main topics the Lakers brought up in Saturday's meeting involved their defense. During Bryant's five-game absence because of a sprained left ankle, the team allowed only 86.6 points on defense, a mark that ranked second-best in the league at the time. Against the Magic on Sunday, they held Orlando to 15 of 38 shooting (39.5%) in the first half and Carter was the only player on the team to shoot. 500. Howard was also limited in the first half with three fouls. Yet, the Magic held a 52-48 halftime lead, namely because of Carter's trips to the free throw line (10 of 10). The Magic ultimately went 28 of 39 from the stripe, while the Lakers were 23 of 26. I didn't mention that to open up a debate on the officiating, which was closely monitored, but that the Lakers made a better effort on defense. But their poor execution in defending inside resulted in Orlando making frequent trips to the free-throw line. 

The effort was also there offensively, as the Lakers had only seven turnovers, a far improvement from the 17.25 turnovers it averaged in the past four contests. But the Lakers didn't see the results, shooting only 37.5%.

Bryant, who arrived to the game late because of intestinal issues, scored a team-high 34 points and seven assists. Though he shot only 12 of 30, Bryant made several key plays down the stretch. He scored 16 fourth-quarter points, made a near impossible three pointer from the far corner to reduce the lead to 95-94 with 12 seconds remaining and wasn't afraid one bit of Barnes, both whom got technical fouls to open the second half. No doubt, Bryant's shooting percentage was far from desirable and he forced shots, such as following his steal against Carter with a 26-foot three pointer with 1:29 remaining with the Lakers down three. But he also kept the Lakers in the game. 

Gasol's clip of 20 points on eight of 13 shooting and 11 rebounds marked a big improvement from the previous four games where he shot below 50%. Yet, he finished with a minus-9 rating on the floor and lost his composure when he was called for a flagrant foul on Howard after hitting his head on a dunk. That happened immediately after Howard had pushed and tugged on Gasol's jersey following Bryant's missed jumper with the Lakers trailing 79-74 with 6:12 remaining. 

Bynum, though plagued with early fouls and only five points on one of five shooting, played an efficient 20 minutes by playing well on help defense and finishing with six rebounds and four blocks. Despite Derek Fisher's 11 points coming on only four of 12 shooting, his 22-foot jumper with 3:15 remaining in the third quarter came at a critical time, reducing the Magic's lead to 85-83 with 3:15 remaining. And even though Ron Artest's woeful two of 10 stat line suggests he should work more on his shooting than dying his hair purple and gold, all of his shots were open looks. That was epitomized perfectly when he missed two consecutive shots late in the first half despite Bryant and Lamar Odom each giving him an open look.

For every run the Lakers pulled together in the second half, the Magic answered back, but none of this happened without the Lakers putting up a fight. That was also the case on defense.  After allowing the Magic to score 31 first-quarter points, the Lakers limited Orlando to 65 the rest of the way. 

To their credit, the Lakers put on a better display than in their previous two games against Miami and Charlotte. But those wanting to pinpoint that changed attitude on the meeting should really just wait and see. It really could just become an anecdote the media will inevitably exaggerate in its importance. Regardless of the origin, the Lakers at least laid the foundation for the attitude they should bring every game. Now they just have to properly execute it.

--Mark Medina

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MM -

From reading your recap, it seems as if I'll get a tad bit worried if I see a dissipation in effort over the next 5 games. I didn't get to see the game since I was at work today.

Cleveland lost 3 in a row this season, so no big deal. They also lost to the Bucks w/o LeBron, and we went 4-1 without Kobe, so I'm still not too worried (about the results).

I'm glad that they put a bit of effort into things though.

Color me NOT worried. The Lakers are ramping up their intensity on the court, and when the playoffs start, they'll be in full stride.

Go Lake Show!

And the Oscar goes to....Kobe Bryant for Best Performance in an NBA game! What a line: 34 points, 7 Rebounds, 7 Assists, 3 Steals. Best picture to the Orlando Magic, unfortunately.
It's a shame that his Supporting Actors floundered again! Let's see, Fish, Farmar and Brown were 7/23, 3 Assists and 3 Rebounds, UGH! Drew came through with another inspired game: 5 points, 6 Rebounds, 5 fouls. I will give him some credit for playing fair defense with 4 blocks. Ron, get another haircut that will help you shoot better than 2/10.
Phil, when will you start to coach? I am thinking we may give up the 1 seed?

Like that 5 KOBE-LESS game streak never happened, huh?

Since Feb 1, Lakers are 6 wins and 5 losses with Kobe, and 4 and 1 without.

That 1 point loss to Celts not withstanding, they were dominant and heck of a fun to watch.

One of the problems is that we have a tough schedule left, while Denver does as well, Dallas's is really easy. Hope we aren't gonna drop to 2 seed or worse?

Let's not forget Matt Barnes clearly fouling Kobe on that final jumpshot.

Lakers are 17-12 on the road, Cavs are 23-11, Mavericks are 21-12. Does anyone here really think Lakers can win next 5-6 games on the road without loosing one?

I watched with some interest today to see how many times Kobe passed to his teammates who tossed up clankers, Farmar even air-balled one! Wow, no wonder Kobe doesn't trust them! By the way, without Kobe's 6 Game Winners, we are sitting at the 5 seed instead of the 1 seed, 3 games up!

Even though this regular season is really dragging, like PJ said, the Playoffs are another thing altogether. We'll be ready when they start! Would like to hold on to the 1 seed however!

Bynum & Farmar final numbers are disturbing! Bynum's offense (5 points) was quite disappointed. He spent lots of time on the bench due to foul problems. Farmar's number was much worst. ZERO point, ZERO assist and ONE official turnover. Let's hope that Mitch would pick up someone to bolster the PG position.

The referees are just horrible and inconsistent in the last five minutes. They missed so many obvious fouls by the Magic especially the one when Howard grabbed Pau's jersey and led to the retaliation by Pau on the other end.

It's just one game. I hope that the Lakers maintain the game intensity displayed during the last 6-8 minutes. Much work to be done on this team before the playoff.

Without Kobe, Lakers is 4-1, with Kobe back, Lakers went 2-5. Go figure out which is better. Something must have gone wrong when Kobe came back.

Kobe took 30 shots! wow! that's way too many. He should try to limit his shots to up to 20 per game and give the rest to his teamates. This might improve the team spirit and teamwork.

Art-FL, just so you know, I do not blame you for this loss.

Posted by: Mark G | March 07, 2010 at 03:15 PM


Mark G,

Thanks man. I tried to will us a win, really I did, just couldn't do it.
There were a ton of Laker fans there, was nice to see. There were so many plays that could have turned this game, too numerous to even mention.
I like the Magic much less now than I used to.
Home next against Toronto, big win coming up.

Yes, we lost by 2 points, but the Lakers did put up a fight, which is more than I can say for what happened in Charlotte. Hopefully, as MM points out, it's a turning point in their collective mindset. Somewhere in the game, the announcers talked about "The Talk" Lakers had yesterday (btw, how homie is Van Gundy!! He was gushing about anything the Magic players did, every move, every burp, and barely a note on the good things the Lakers were doing. Seriously he should be banned from commenting on games where his brother is the coach, oh, but I digress) The announcers wondered whether there's gonna be any effect today from the Lakers airing their grievances, and one of the announcers pointed out that even if the Lakers finally decide to bring it this time, it takes time to get their execution right. Some bad habits had been formed and they need time to undo the damage they were doing to themselves. So here's to the next few games where the Lakers finally find that proverbial switch and wear their hearts on their sleeves for every single game. GO LAKERS!

DJ,

I have to agree with you. Farmar threw up some hideous shots, even when wide open. And what was that foul on the other end of the court just as the Magic were bringing the ball up. Was that really necessary?

Hmmm, 12-30.

And that includes taking the third quarter off to pout.

Meaning 16 shots in the fourth quarter alone.

Tell me, what offense were they running?

And Vince Carter, Orlando's leading scorer: Who was allegedly "guarding" him?

If you don't think the Lakers have internal divisions over the way I Eat First is playing, then you just don't have a clue.

One of the Lakers need to do a Scola on the opposition. Last year, Derek Fisher sent the league a message when he blasted Luis Scola and incurred a game's suspension in the playoffs. We see wannabes like Matt Barnes running roughshod on the court all the time. Friday night it was Felton who hit Kobe in the head with a forearm. I don't advocate unsportsmanlike play, but if the refs won't do their jobs....well...

I nominate Phil Jackson for the role. After years of Zen-like control and coolness, can you imagine if PJ went off one game, Jerry Sloan style? Brian Shaw and Gary Vitti holding him back? The refs would be in such shock that the Lakers would probably get all the calls for weeks afterwards. LOL!

Seriously, I was glad to see Pau get a tech and the team getting testy and angry. Now, somebody needs to step up, take one for the team, and do a Scola!

I can't believe I'm writing this, but I actually am not really worried, per se. The Lakers have, historically, sought to peak at the end of the season. They've tanked games around this time in previous years, and they've put it together when they had to. That's not to say it will work this year, I'm just saying the Lakers have done this in the past. Not only that, I actually prefer a sort of underdog role going into the playoffs. Let other teams start writing off the Lakers; I think the Lakers do better when their backs are against the wall. So, yeah, I'm not concerned about what is happening right now.

With that said, I'm still worried about two teams; the Denver Nuggets and the Cleveland Cavs. I don't care about the Celtics, nor the Magic, nor Dallas. From my analysis, the only two teams that can straight out beat the Lakers in a seven game series are the Cavs and the Nuggets.

I don't care about having the best record in the league. I won't even frown if the Lakers take the #2 spot in the West. Why? I don't want a 1st round series against the Portland Trailblazers, another team I fear, but not as much as the Cavs/Nuggets.

The good thing is that the Cavs have to get past some good Eastern Conf teams to reach the finals, and I'm not certain they can do that. Likewise, my true concern is the Denver Nuggets. Yes, the losing streak sucks, but in actuality, it really doesn't matter. It's all about the playoffs, the 2nd season.

And Denver...I really, really fear them.

Artest is clearly much better when he posts up than when he bombs away from 3-point land. I would have liked to see Artest cover Barnes on a few occassions...

Kobe you need to stay in the offense and dribble drive in each quarter rather than switch betweeen facilitator and scorer.

Anyone doubt that if it was a playoff game Fisher would have Scola'd somebody that was setting a pick on him?

Also Lakers need to find plays to get Bynum some isolations
against Howard. If Bynum can score a few times each half on Howard, he wil stay motivated.

Like Alfred E. Newman said, "What me worry?" Let's see how the next 5 games go. I predict 5-0...

Nice assesment, Mark, I too thought the Lakers played with as much heart as they did a week ago when the Nuggets came to town. The Lakers, as a team, need to stop griping and waiting for a call to go their way. It's just not going to happen and even if it does, it's not going to be enough to win these games.


They are playing with their minds and not their hearts, they are losing the poise that got them wins in tough, boisterous arenas. Maybe being top dog is too hard for this particular Laker team. Maybe they need that under dog, chip on your shoulder, us against the world mentality that you can't get back if you're the World Champs and everyone's picking you to win it all. Although even that talk is starting to quiet down.


You have to wonder if all the what-not surrounding the team is getting to some of the younger guys who haven't been playing too well, lately. You would think that winning would always sort of be the priority, but there seems to have been an unusual amount of bally-hoo and gabby-gab going on, especially the internet (no surprise there). Perhaps they are feeling not so much the fatigue of the games but the fatigue of the scrutiny that comes with:
A) Playing in LA
B) Playing with Kobe
C) Playing under Phil
D) Being the World Champs


These are reasons, not excuses, but it may be wearing on guys who haven't had to weather this storm before.


But today, they lost a close game. Sure Farmar and Fisher could have played better D, Kobe could have hit a shot or two, Matt Barnes should have been thrown out 3 different times and Lamar could have been slightly more assertive. But, as Mark said, they did play with a lot of fire and that's something to take away on a positive note.

Lakers are lacking something in defensive execution this year. Could the departure of Rambis have something to do with it?
Defense was Kurt's bailiwick last year. This year it's a coaching committee. Many times, committees don't work as well.
We might need a dedicated defensive coordinator.

3 losses in a row?

YAWN...

Somebody wake me up when the Playoffs start.

Jonny boy K let us know when you get done crying.

Let me play the what if game. Now, we all want the team to repeat. And we all know that this team has holes - 1. (taking away Kobe) the weakest guard rotation in the league possibly, 2. lack of toughness at the 4-5 position, 3. lack of outside shooting.

What if we want another chip? I suspect that Buss and Mitch would keep everyone together, and see if we can 3-peat with 99% the same group. And we'd be subjected to another season of Fish and Farmar.

But what if we did not win? That may supply a lot more motivation to management to make significant changes and frankly, I really, really want guards who don't get outplayed 90% of the time, and 1-2 backup bigs who can knock people on their behinds rather than being the ones on the ground.


Horry doesn't hit THE shot, miracle in the 4th doesn't happen against Portland, a point here, a point there and the Lakes have like 4 or 5 less championships. It takes talent, effort and luck.

Last year, shots fell, Kobe was efficient, Pau schooled opponents. Got 18 games to get that back.

It's gonna be a fight to the finish and then some.

Obviously, Artest left his meds in his Charlotte hotel room.

I guess he didn't know that CVS has a 24-hour pharmacy and they have a nationwide database.

Here's the address in Orlando:
7330 CURRY FORD ROAD
ORLANDO, FL 32822
Phone: 407-282-6090

I guess it's too late now.

Five-years of bad luck for the Lakers for signing this lunatic.

Excellent post, MM!

My step-father, great guy, Celtics fan, ex-player, keep saying: "It's all about the play-offs! You guys are #1, why are you complaining?"

I noticed we were able to make the plays but...the last shot was always bad. As MM pointed, we just need to put the d** ball inside the hoop.

Laker fans should be a bit concerned.

Kobe is showing some minor signs of aging: more frequent injuries, shot getting blocked more often, shooting more jumpshots instead of attacking the rim, etc.

I'm sure that the Lakers are still one of the top 2 teams in the league and are still the odds-on favorites to get to the finals, but their win percentage away from LA is not as impressive as it should be.

If they have to work too hard to maintain the #1 seed, they may be in trouble.

Bynum is frequently injured.
Gasol, Artest, and Odom have a tendency to disappear at crucial times.
Kobe has a tremendous amount of mileage on his legs
Fisher can't stay in front of fast point guards and the backups are not stable.

JOHNNYV… LOL. Forgive me for my senior error. You might say I have become a little defensive about Drew. The problem is that I had read your post earlier and forgotten the reference to Wilt, who was my original NBA hero. In truth, my favorite player of all time was surely Magic, even over Wilt and Kobe, although as we know Kobe is not yet through so who knows. Anyway, the point was that I share d the same reverence to Magic that you did. Like Wilt, he was a once in a century player. The joy he played with is quite a contrast to the grit of Kobe or clownishness of LeBron. He would be the first player picked in the HOF draft.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
HOBBITMAGE… OK, you want stop misrepresenting my and other Bynum fans positions and your other ingenuous tricks and have an honest discussion, then I will stop the insults. You would think that would be a fair proposition but I am not sure you can be fair. You seem happier when the team loses because you think that enhances and validates your theories. Is that not correct? Would you rather that Andrew fail than succeed? That we lose than win? Please let us know because from your previous behavior I might have gotten the wrong idea.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
TOM

Kobe's amount of shots were not the problem. He got good looks on probably 27 or 28 of the shots at least. The rest of the team can not compliment Kobe with good jump shooting.

Pau Gasol does not want to "Go GET IT". His numbers today were a joke when you consider his real impact. 20 and 11 was as quiet as a church mouse. He just can't push through it. His will to win is questionable. He's still looking for cutters as oppose to using all of his array of offensive skills in an aggressive way. Unbelievable!!! Also, it looks like the talk with Charles Oakley did no good.

Everyone talks about the Lakers defense. I think it's fine or at least far more potent than a punch-less offense. The Lakers do not have the shooters to spread the floor anymore. The Lakers struggle to score 100 points which makes the defense mandatory.


That KOBE-LESS 5 game streak never happened, huh?

Since Feb 1, Lakers are 6 wins and 5 losses with Kobe, and 4 and 1 without.

That 1 point loss to Celts not withstanding, they DOMINATED, had a ton of fun playing, and I had a ton of fun watching.

Yeah, they did play with much more determination than last two, but losing that way may be even worse for them in the long run. At least they had the excuse of NOT flipping the switch. This game, there is no excuse.

Demoralizing

Lakers are 3 and 5 this season when Kobe shoots 30+

MATT BARNES, YOU DA MAN! About time someone stands up to Kobaby, elbow for elbow, hack for hack, push for push, grab for grab and not have the refs make all the calls for Kobaby and the Lakers.

Yes Kobe had great numbers but he is the reason we lost.

He's hogging the ball, taking all the shots, there's no ball movement and his team mates are uninvolved.

He's a volume shooter but has a horrible percentage. Yes he makes last minute shots but if he's the only one taking them, he's gonna get lucky sometimes. But I bet Derek and Horry have better percentages with winning shots!!

The Lakers will not win this year, not with Kobe playing like this.

Hopefully this will mean he doesn't return.
His skills are dimishing and he's an Iverson, TMac, Webber, Steve Francis, Allan Houston... waiting to happen. With all his injuries and mileage, I don't see him lasting beyond 1 or 2 years.

By next year if we go on a losing streak all you adoring Kobe fans will probably want to run him out of town a la TMac

As a Lakers fan my greatest wish is for Phil to sit him for 4 or 5 games and see what happens

Bet we win!!!

Dr Buss should trade him while he still has value.

"That KOBE-LESS 5 game streak never happened, huh?

Since Feb 1, Lakers are 6 wins and 5 losses with Kobe, and 4 and 1 without.

That 1 point loss to Celts not withstanding, they DOMINATED, had a ton of fun playing, and I had a ton of fun watching."

Sociopath-24

u r pathetic. i'm happy you had fun watching the TEAM playing. actually the only important game was the Celtics game. did you had as much fun in the last 7-1/2 minutes of the game when the TERAM was not able to score a basket except a put back by LO? the Celts have a pretty good defense, don't they? and the TEAM was nowhere. all the great players of the TEAM can't buy a basket in 7.5 min.? the great Gasol and the wannabe HOF LO? the future of the franchise, AB the Beast? intangibles and veteran leadership not transforming in 2 points? no dunk of the night for UPS? post up by RON? no fast break and penetration for JF? no 3 by Sasha? did we missed Luke's IQ?

and there were thousand of touches for everyone in the arena. even for the towel boys. but no BASKET scored with all this potential. now let me tell you. that is real fun. i want to watch that type of fun 24/7. and record it on the DVR. and as LakerTom will do, thinking positively should score 2 points in 7.5 minutes.

u see, those 7.5 minutes defined who the real TEAM is. and not the 4-1. with no roy, with SA scoring 35 pt. in qt 2 and 3 after scoring 31 in the 1st. with Utah on back to back after a rough game against the clips and arriving late back in town. and yes, they barely passed by golden state. whowwwwwwww, 4-1

the only sociopath is YOU. 24 hours a day. sorry you won't have fun anymore. stop watching.

Hmm ... I'm not watching most of the games lately but I've seen quite a bit in the past and reading through the posts some things are clear ...

1. We're not playing well together. Mamba faithfuls are quick to point to the game winners, the rest of laker nation is screaming 4-1 without kobe
2. Health is still an issue, I'm reading stuff like Kobe shows up with intestinal issues
3. Artest brings a certain toughness element to this team that we probably never needed. Winning a championship is proof enough that we're as tough as nails despite the naysayers. With certain dudes prone to sleepwalking ... cough, odom, cough bynum and cough phil jackson (yup i said it and u dnt believe me as pfunk36) ... Ariza's hustle and effort is missed more by this team than the added toughness we got
4. PG woes, the whole league knows it and we constantly get attacked at that position. Not only do our PGs have a tendency to defer to kobe on the offensive end and simply become spot up shooters, they get butchered on the defensive end on a regular basis.
5. Our 2nd best player needs to demand the ball more. I'm not going to come out and call Gasol soft, I like his soft touches. What I hate is how he loses confidence when we go to him and he turns the ball over when he's hit every now and then. The opposition wants us to stop going to him, he needs to realise for every turn over he should ask for the ball twice as hard. For every foul not called he should go to the post even that much more determined. Ask for the freakin ball dude, don't wait till after the game and go umm umm I didn't see the ball. Well we see your body language in the games and we're asking do you really want the ball?
6. The beast, can we trade him already? Before nobody else wants him. Like really is there anyone here that wouldn't swap him for Nene, get on their knees and say thank you lord. Ok ok that's kind of blasphemy, being a laker fan these days means you'd rather eat dirt than root for any thugget.

So I've dished out a lot of us woe be us ... what needs to happen to fix all this then?

Pray that PJ retires after this season if only so our 3peat is a bit less painful than this. Like really this team needs a task master, someone to push them besides kobe. But in the meantime I say if you're going to go zen might as well go all the way. Rest the team, rest rest and more rest. I'd put more focus on that than the regular season standings.

Come playoff time, kobe can play more PG (as he usually does anyway when the going gets tough) and force feed Gasol the ball, find fisher/brown on the wings for open shots (yup they become crappy SGs, but better a crappy SG than a crappy PG), find Bynum for easy lobs and play lock down defense with a motivated Artest. And umm of course all of laker nation needs to get on their knees and pray Odom has a few games where he's that monster that the opposition can never be ready for cuz they're never quite sure when he'll show up either (yup, every clouds got a sliver lining)

If we can salvage say a 5-6 record in the stretch of 11 road games we'll see this month I call that success, especially if the team gets rest. Come playoffs, we'll be ok. See regardless of what you might say about kobe and his old ass knees, no matter how much you want to drool over lebron's passes or durantula's claim to the throne, one thing is certain ... kobe's will to win is still right up there with the rest of the league ... the complacency you see will not be an issue otherwise somebody's getting stabbed in their sleep come playoff time

24 + 16 + [3|1]7 = The Purple Tinted Golden Age

This is our freaking time ... best record in the western conference ... nobody said this would be easy ... scream your lungs out at the games and your tv sets ... be grateful these ain't the smush parker days ... I'm repping purple and gold, proud mamba faithful and there's no team I'd rather root for than the lakers and there's no player I'd rather lead us than kobe ... and yes we love you too Gasol ...

Troy,

"And Denver...I really, really fear them"

Dude don't fear them ... Denver wants us the same way sacremento used to want us ... some chics just like getting spanked I guess

Ah, I still remember watching the Oregon Ducks beat UCLA in 2002 at the Pit. After halftime, Matt Barnes was late coming back into the game. Seems he had managed to spill what I will generously assume was water down the front of his shorts. He played the whole second half with a wet spot on the front of his drawers, except I think he might have gotten ejected late. Anyway, we won by 30. I wonder if he still remembers that game every now and then and feels that horrible feeling of old embarrassment that springs from such painful memories.

Man, it cheers me up just thinking about it.

Family,

Lakers will be fine, I repeat, Lakers will be fine. I agree with Avery's Johnson assessment during halftime that even if the Lakers lose three in a row, they're still the champions and will be fine. He did point out at the end of his statement though that the Lakers problems are on defense. Surprisingly Jon Barry agreed with AJ as well.

I may just be an optimist, but until someone knocks them out in the playoffs, they're still the champs!!! If it happens(which I highly doubt), then we'll answer the questions and deal with the problems. When we do repeat, these will all be seen as bumps on a road to glory. Purple and Gold forever!!!

Tom L.

[The Lakers will not win this year, not with Kobe playing like this.
Hopefully this will mean he doesn't return.His skills are dimishing and he's an Iverson, TMac, Webber, Steve Francis, Alan Houston]

Lmao .... so you realize the collective number of championships those dudes have won is ... wait for it ... wait for it ... 0 ... but yeah we get it, Fisher had more to do with does victories than kobe did

Look for the umpteenth time is his will to win ... a will that has seen him survive harsher criticism than the lame ass argument you threw out there ... and frankly speaking in a profession that's all about winning, i'll pick the dude whose most determined to win

My dude will sleep with ice wrapped all around his knees for 48 hours straight if that's what it takes to keep up ... lord help the team that backs us into a corner during the playoffs ... 81 points wasn't a fluke ... we saw the frustration on mamba's face that night ... if he's got to drop 30 dimes to get a win, he will ... i'd rather see 82 on denver though ... and then have George Karl come out and throw his entire team under the bus by salivating over how his coaching life would be so much easier if only he had a player half as good as kobe

We got this laker nation ... we're the defending champions and last time i checked, they've got to beat us in the playoffs before they can take our belt ... y'all keep asking what will happen IF we don't get it right ... start asking what will they do when we get focussed for the playoffs ... what will they do when odom puts the blunt down for a few weeks and goes it's showtime

We got this

@ Laker Tom:
It's all good. Very cool that we both got to enjoy Magic that way. I'm so glad he's still doing well healthwise. Actually, that too is amazing. Pehaps a testament to his positive outlook.

Sociopath-24,

"Lakers are 3 and 5 this season when Kobe shoots 30+"

First off now that's a great freaking screen name. Cuz if we're being honest, you've got to be a sociopath to hate on Kobe and there's so many of you out there ... good 2 c one of y'all man up and call it like it is

As for the 30+ shot stats, I'll rephrase it another way ... with over 60 games played kobe has only indulged in his thirst for blood on the offensive end only 8 times ... now if that ain't curbing your so called weaknesses, then i don't know what is ... now anybody got a stat on how many games bynum hasn't showed up for?

Really though I don't even want to throw the rest of the lakers under the bus ... it's a long season and we've got the best record. So what if we can't beat orlando during the regular season, same shyt happened last year, and y'all know how that story went ...

I mean if the green weenies still think they've got a shot, wtf is purple and gold nation doing losing their spine

until they get kicked out of the playoffs, they are fine.

let's be real here, I don't see them getting kicked out of the playoffs.

LakerTom,

[Would you rather that Andrew fail than succeed? That we lose than win?]

We want Bynum to succeed and we want to win. You boy is one of the reasons I'd love to have a van gundy coach us or a Pat Riley (pls lord make Riley happen) ... cuz lord knows certain people need to be whipped into shape

You promised us a beast lakertom, we're tired of seeing an old shaq come in and man handle us, we're tired of seeing nene look like a young shaq when denver comes into town, and we're tired of dwight howard reminding us who the true beast is

So quit making excuses for Bynum ... manup and call your boy out for his lackluster season ... I'm tired of seeing flashes of greatness, Lamar Odom already has the flash in the pan department covered ...

Your boy needs to stop thinking that his offensive stats define him, come in the game and hold the forte down defensively ... simply put our guards should be able to funnel other guards into the paint knowing that nobody wants a piece of Bynum ... instead what I see is a dude that's increased his offensive repotoire but still looks confused on the defensive end ... to me that's what you call misplaced priorities ... say what you may but Gasol (when he wants it) is our best post option and odom is the second best, what we've always hoped for is not another offensive threat in Bynum (I mean it's great we can go to him and that he shows up, but really when it does its just another reason for Gasol to crawl into his shell) ... what we need from Bynum is kick ass defense ... and I've rarely seen that side in his game ... he needs to understand that is his #1 priority .... you're supposed to be the next great laker center dude, hold down the freaking paint ... no layups allowed is the name of the game ... dont be eager to sprint down the court for the lob ...

if they're going to score in the paint, it should be a facial dunk on Bynum, not some touch foul dude, there should be no layups period, no touch fouls, just dudes posterizing Bynum, and if he's as mean as shaq he doesn't even need to get posterized. Shaq will clobber you real hard in the paint before he lets you get a dunk on him and everybody knows it which is why nobody messes with him. When Bynum clobbers someone, he puts on a mean face for one play but a few plays letter you can already see him apologizing with his body language ... like dude I'm sorry, i really didn't mean that ... man the F up Bynum, this is the NBA ... no boys allowed

Pau...the "balance" you're looking for can be accomplished with you being more aggressive (same goes to Bynum). Go for rebounds more agressively, my friend. Kobe is going to get his shots but if you make yours at the percentage you're supposed to make (since you're a big man and your shots are supposed to go in more frequently from closer range), maybe you'll find more balance. The last few games of sub 50% FG% is not going to cut it. It is also your job to do some of the other intangibles - playing good defense, especially on pick and rolls, being active on offensive rebounds. stop worrying about the offense and how the balance is - that is NOT your main problem! it's the other things, including toughness!

Segeboy,

You're making all the right points brotha. Lakers will be fine, but we need more production out of Bynum. The most frustrating part of Bynum's game is his inability to stay out of foul trouble. If he was getting hard fouls by contesting dudes at the rim and being overly aggressive, I'd be fine with it. But dude gets the dumbest, laziest fouls I've ever seen. Grabbing guys because he's out of position, leaving his feet when all he needs to do is stay down and raise his timber, pushing guys in the back who are trying to establish position. These type of fouls are just retarded and are making me wonder about dudes heart and concentration. He never seems to be fully focused unless he's the main thing out there. Also, when he sits on the bench, he's always laughing and doesn't seem to take things that seriously. I know what Bynum is capable of, but I've only seen it when he was trying to prove he could be a beast. Unfortunately, he got hurt in both seasons when he was becoming a beast. Now that he's paid, I wonder if that beast will ever come out again. I hope so.

ps. Farmar is the worst defensive guard in the NBA. Dude just gets torched every game. You know PJ is frustrated beyond belief with his inability to make stops. Fish at 36 is still a much more productive player on the whole than Farmar.

Lake Show will go on a winning streak starting on Tuesday. Mark my words.

Lakers players miss shots because they FEEL Kobe doubting them.

Kobe has a tendency to do this. He has the tendency to make his teammates doubt themselves. This is not something new to the team, and is often not talked about because teammates that feel this feeling don't want to be looked upon as weak.

Another problem with Kobe is that he gets into this mode where he needs to take over the game near the end of games. What happens when this happens? All the other players start to stand around and watch.

The question is --- where does he get this "take over the game" mode?

MICHAEL JORDAN.

LakerTom,

you wrote: HOBBITMAGE… OK, you want stop misrepresenting my and other Bynum fans positions and your other ingenuous tricks and have an honest discussion, then I will stop the insults. You would think that would be a fair proposition but I am not sure you can be fair. You seem happier when the team loses because you think that enhances and validates your theories. Is that not correct? Would you rather that Andrew fail than succeed? That we lose than win? Please let us know because from your previous behavior I might have gotten the wrong idea.

my response:

1. Thanks for responding.

2. you are weak. Your logic is flawed & pathetic. Seriously. I don't mean to
call you names. I actually mean that your logic is flawed and pathetic.

To be clear: I have quoted your own words to make sure that I didn't
misquote you. You have not acknowledged that I've done a "cut and paste"
of your own words and instead say that I misrepresent you.

Let's get past that. These are the facts as verifiable by looking at past posts.
80% + of your posts regarding Bynum over the last season have been nothing
but hyperbole. It is for that reason that other posters have addressed this
issue.

ex. segeboy said: You promised us a beast lakertom, we're tired of seeing an old shaq come in and man handle us, we're tired of seeing nene look like a young shaq when denver comes into town, and we're tired of dwight howard reminding us who the true beast is

re: my other tricks. hmmm.... This is the definition of trick.

trick n. An act or procedure intended to achieve an end by deceptive or fraudulent means.

I have posted links to 99% of all articles that I have quoted from. Please
explain how that is a procedure intended to deceive. Please explain how that
is a fraudulent means.

If you want an honest discussion I would be happy to have one with you.
As I have had with KB Blitz about a number of topics. As I have had with
Art -FL LA fan.

Here is a topic for "honest" discussion. Phil Jackson has called Pau weak &
soft and introduced him to Charles Oakley. What's your response?

Bynum was in foul trouble. AGAIN. against D-Howard and Phil stated that it
was the same as last year in the finals. What is your response?

LakerTom,

ps. regarding: You seem happier when the team loses because you think that enhances and validates your theories. Is that not correct? Would you rather that Andrew fail than succeed? That we lose than win? Please let us know because from your previous behavior I might have gotten the wrong idea.

my response: You have gotten the wrong idea. Other posters have understood
that i want the team to win. I am interested in the validation of my theories
because I'm actually trying to understand the game. If my theories don't work
then I get rid of them. That should have been obvious over the last few years.

I wish us to win a championship and I have been clear about that. We can't
win with the way we've been playing. That theory has been validated by the
actions of Kobe & Phil & the losses. I hope this is clear enough for you.

Do you know why the Lakers won't win this year?

Because they have become too elitist of a team.

The only person I see with true workmanlike qualities is Pau Gasol.

All the rest become elitist minded at one point or another during games.

Magic said recently the hardest thing facing these Lakers in their quest to repeat would be dealing with the egos after being success last year. I believe him because these Lakers don't seem to be having fun this year. If you are constantly complaining about balance and shots distribution then you are not playing basketball freely. These Lakers have forgotten their place starting with Gasol, who had his chance to lead a team in Memphis and could not wait to get away from the responsibility. Now all of a sudden he needs balance and ball distribution to play effectly when all he really needs is to be reminded he is not the star in LA and never will be. The guy needs to play basketball and stop complaining about everything. Calls he did not get, shots and whatever just play. His numbers are fools gold. He never actually impacts the game. Yesterday he was out there running back and forth without really doing anything. Now he is entitled and playing second fiddle is bothering him. Unbelieveable. I have more faith in Odom than Gasol and that is saying something. They all need to make adjustments Kobe included but really they need to return to their roles in order to succeed.

This game was a step in the right direction, although they need to take several more steps in that direction if they are going to win the title. Right now they're probably behind the Mavs and the Cavs.

Why do you think the Lakers were 4-1 during Kobe's absence and won on the road convincingly? This season, Kobe seems to be a liability. Since Kobe has come back they are 1-4 on the road with uninspiring basketball. With Kobe in the lineup they are not utilizing the triangle. Kobe is baskeball's version of Brett Farve as the gunslinger. He can make or brake you. If I were the Lakers, I would seriously reconsider before extending his contract. I think he is past his prime with too many miles on him. It's time to move on and plan for future as in replacing Kobe with a quality point guard, something this team has lacked for quite sometime. I would not rebuild, because I believe the rest of pieces are still there with the exception of DFish. It already has been proven that this need can win without Kobe, just add the right pieces and we might be unbeatable for years to come.

What's interesting is that the writers in Orlando said just the opposite: "Victory over LA points more toward effort than execution".

Barnes' twittered after the game:
"No such thing as a (Kobe stopper) he's the badest man n the league. He had 35pts 2day. I jus try 2 make him work 4 every point. Respect!!!"

Respect Matt Barnes back!!!


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