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Lakers' offense lacks balance, but the blame doesn't fall on Kobe Bryant

Kobe

There's no question the Lakers (46-18) have played worse since guard Kobe Bryant returned to the lineup for the past eight games. The team acknowledged it by holding an air-it-out meeting Saturday following a disheartening loss to Charlotte the previous night. The statistics show it with the Lakers going 4-1 during Bryant's absence because of a left sprained ankle and going 4-4 since his return.

But the reasons for that dropoff are as convoluted as the Lakers' offense itself during the last eight games, mostly recently the team's 96-94 loss Sunday to the Orlando Magic. Bryant spent the first four games upon his return trying to find his lift, which ultimately hurt his shooting stroke. The team defense lacked the same intensity that it displayed during his absence. And then there's the whole area of the team playing without the same urgency, falling back to let-Kobe-bail-us-out-mode and hoping that will sweep any problems the Lakers presented during most of the game.

There's a lot of reasons the Lakers lost Sunday against Orlando, but that reason isn't Kobe Bryant. Sure, he was the one who missed the game winner and he was the one who shot 12 of 30 from the field. But he was also the one who scored a team-high 34 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter and actually put the team in a position to win. 

This chicken-or-the-egg argument -- is the team too dependent on Kobe or does Kobe force the team to be dependent on him - will never end because of Bryant's stature and because there's always new wrinkles to the debate. 

For example, when this conversation came up after he surpassed Jerry West as the franchise's all-time leading scorer, I thought there was legitimacy to the argument that Bryant's shooting tendencies had hurt team chemistry. Though his 16 of 28 clip in a loss Feb. 1 to Memphis was warranted because of his shooting percentage, I thought it was part of the reason why Ron Artest wasn't fully ready to nail the game winner (aside from the fact that his shooting stroke hasn't been good for most of the season). Bryant also capped off the previous month in January fighting an avulsion fracture to his right finger. Though he shot only 41.2% that month, he increased the amount of shots, making it harder for the rest of the team to get involved while also exposing more vulnerability to his finger. There were games he played a distributing role in the team's trip in January against New York, Toronto, Washington and Indiana, but the large volume of shots that month often came at the expense of on-court chemistry.

That's why when the Lakers went 4-1 during his absence, it became rather obvious that the Lakers played better as a team without Bryant in the lineup. The Lakers held opponents during Bryant's five-game absence to 86.6 points, a mark that ranked second-best in the league and was a near 10-point improvement from their regular season average in yielding 96.2 points per game at the time. The team's individual performances also improved during Bryant's absence. Just look at the averages during those games compared to the regular season averages beforehand: Pau Gasol (18.4 points and 13.4 rebounds, 17.2 points and 11 rebounds), Artest (14.4 points, 11.7 points) Lamar Odom (14.6 points and a league-leading 15 rebounds, 10.2 points and 10.1 rebounds), Shannon Brown (14.6 points in 37.7 minutes, 8.2 points in 20.4 minutes per game), Jordan Farmar (11 points in 21.5 minutes per game, 7.6 points in 18.4 minutes per game) Derek Fisher (9.4 points, 7.3 points) and Sasha Vujacic (4.4 points in 14 minutes, 2.5 points in 7.9 minutes per game). Lakers center Andrew Bynum (17.5 points and 8 rebounds, 15.2 points and 8.2 boards) also saw an increase, but it was in only two games since he was sidelined because of an injured right hip.

ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin, making a similar argument I'm making right now, pointed to the 28 shots Bryant took against Miami, the 21 he took against Charlotte and the 30 he took against Orlando. As McMemanin noted, that contrasts the number of attempts other teammates averaged during Bryant's absence, including Gasol (15), Brown (14.2), Artest (12.4) and Odom (10.4) . Bryant's return may have contributed to that imbalance, but this time it's not because of what Bryant has done himself.

For one, the Lakers defense allowed 97.87 points per game in the last eight games, even as Artest had solid defensive performances with exception to Sunday's game where he mostly allowed Vince Carter to score 25 points. Just like Artest's offensive numbers flourished when he had good defensive performances, the team offense dipped with the team defense declining. 

And as far as Bryant  goes, he hasn't completely shut anyone out from contributing. When Bryant scored 32 points on 13 of 19 shooting and netted his sixth game winner last week against Memphis, Pau Gasol had a solid 22 points even though he didn't make key plays late in the game. When Bryant shot only nine of 23 against Dallas, Odom filled the void with 21 points, a night after disappearing against Memphis and putting up a deferential five points. With Bryant's shot not falling against Philadelphia (seven of 16) and Denver (three of 17), Mamba played the facilitating role, with his combined 20 assists mostly benefitting Gasol and Odom inside. Bryant's shot was still flat against Indiana, but there was team balance in that game and he got his 24 points by mostly going to the free throw line (14 of 15).

During the Lakers' recent three-game trip, you've seen Bryant's shooting come back (Miami), his shooting as well as the rest of the offense suffer (Charlotte) and Bryant still producing despite being held in check by a pesky Matt Barnes (Orlando). But to say Bryant simply forced shots is ignoring the bigger picture. Not only were there forced shots he missed, there were forced shots he made, too. And there really weren't too many other options. Bynum was in foul trouble for most of the game. Gasol got 22 points, but finished with a minus-9 rating on the floor. And the shooting from Artest, Fisher and Farmar left a lot to be desired (a combined 6 of 26). 

It's been well documented that Bryant's individual play has become an issue for most of his career. That part simmered perhaps during last season's championship run, but the issue has creeped back in from time to time during the 2009-10 season. Sometimes the criticism has been warranted. Sometimes it hasn't. And at this current stage of the season, Bryant isn't the one to blame.  

--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 begins a baseline drive against Magic forward Matt Barnes in the first half Sunday. Credit: John Raoux / Associated Press.

 
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I think a lot of the blame does fall on Kobe - not because of the number of shots he is taking, or the percentage he makes/misses, but because too often he doesn't take them within the flow of the offense. And too often he clearly has his mind made up that he is going to take the shot, no matter what. That is fine if there are 2 seconds left on the clock, and not enough time to pass it and have the recipient have enough time to get set and shoot. But otherwise, it plays into the opponents' hands - they will take their chances with a contested long-range jump shot by Kobe, and the percentages bear out that that is a smart move.


One of Kobe's jobs besides selling shoes is to draw double teams and kick.
When shooters make shots, there's no good Kobe bad Kobe debate, and we're havin' parades.

Phil Jackson has not use formula for championship due to Trevor Ariaz trade to Houston. Could Morrison, Vudajicv, and Powell fill six man position due to defense and three-point shooting that Ariza did last year? Could Brown be that person, now? Jackson ran a center Bynum, Gasol, Artest, Odom, Brown, and Bryant offense would it solve his defensive problems with fast break by other teams and offensive board problems ? Who will be SuperLaker when Luke Walton is out?Will Laker's end up in fourth or fifth position? Laker Swat team for final quarter needs to become SuperLaker Swat Team. Laker's had 15 more shot attempts that Magic. Magic had 5 more free-throws made. Magic had 3 more three-point attempts. Laker's were 2-7 by Fisher, Brown, and Farmar. Where is Sasha? Where is Luke? Where is Championship?Bobcats and Heat are in fight for seventh and eighth places in play-offs from eastern conference.

Interesting to note that 12-30 is sooo bad, but if he makes just 3 more he's at 15-30, 50%, which is great. So here's another "IF" game, if Artest hits just one 3-pointer from Kobe's pass, we win! If, Farmar hits and doesn't air-ball Kobe's pass, we win! If, Fish hits that 3-pointer pass from Kobe, we win! This blame it all on Kobe is not close to fair. These guys need to hit some shots (especially when WIDE_OPEN)! All his teammates can still play Lock-Down Defense even if he shoots 50 shots a game. What I don't understand is how Bynum, Odom, and Gasol can miss from 3 feet????

EdwinG,

I always like your post and being 1 of the original laker bloggers I will respond.

Edwin it is clear to me that Kobe takes the Lakers out of the flow of the game...I see it almost every game..you don't ?? I have accepted that the Lakers will live and die by Kobe since he dominates the ball so much. With the Championship he and Phil get the benefit of doubt. BUT after this year I think changes are coming. As you know Buss went with Kobe vs Shaq due to Shaq's age and mileage.
Now it's Kobe who has the mileage and team chemistry is not there. It's not me who is only complaining, listen to Drew, Pau in what they say, even Shannon and Farmar made comments about when Kobe is out they play more like a team. Edwin how can nobody be playing to there talent? I blame PJ and Kobe, not Bynum, Pau. Just the way I see it. Sure Kobe is great but there is a reason why Magic is my all time favorite player. HE PASSED THE BALL! SHOWTIME WAS AWESOME! Now the team looks like it hates itself. Do we ever run the triangle with Kobe on the court? Yesterday at one point I think took every shot down the court. HOW the heck is the team going to stay in the flow? This is 1 fan who wants ball movement and happens to be tired of all the forced shots.


BD

Interesting to note that Michael Jordan average 5.3 assists per game and Kobe is at 4.7 per game. It's funny we don't hear people complaining that Michael didn't pass the ball enough! Also, where is all the complaining about last year when all of Kobe's teammates seem to adjust well to THAT THERE Championship!
All that being said, I do want to Kobe to re-evaluate what he could do to put his teammates in their best position to succeed this year. But I watched yeasterday those guys: Farmar, Artest, Fisher miss wide open shots that coulda, woulda, shoulda given us a win!

I love Pau. Stop complaining Pau. Try playing some defense instead of letting Howard push you around like I do my nephew. Pau chokes and is pushed off of the block and makes mental mistakes and shows weakness, but losing is Kobe's fault? The only thing I've learned in the last 3 games is that Pau continues to struggle with closing and his mistakes are even more demoralizing than Kobe's.

You know what..lets trade kobe and see how the lakers perform. Then we wont be having this debate of if kobe shoots too much. right?? Then and only then this debate will dissapper forever. Will you anti Kobe gang be happy then?? So, lets jump the ship and trade Kobe..

Ofcourse i am not in the camp of kobe shooting too much debate. If somebody thinks that players need to be in good offensive flow to be in good defensive rhythm, then they dont know what the hell they are talking about. Similarly, all the lakers players need to have this mindset that they do not need to be in offensive flow to play good defense. Good defense need good effort, moving your feet, raising your arm, move and run..pure 90% effort and 10% skill..or lets say 70%effort and 30% skiills. But still effort is a huge part. I see very often lakers are lazy on defense. Bynum doeesnt have good defensive position. Gasol doesnt contest shots. Farmer's mind is somewhree else or he is looking at what is going on with the ball then gueard his man. I can go on and on and on..

So, moral of the storry is STOP BLAMING KOBE..as long he will be a player he will take more shots than any other lakers and thats how they won championships so far. Its the other lakers need to stop being lazy and play defense. If we get 3 blocks from bynum and 3 blocks from gasol every single night, do you really thing the lakers will lose? If we can get 10 rebounds by both big man every single night, do you think the lakers will lose?

Good morning CRUE!!!

I'm ticked about the losses but not really feeling freaked out about it. I'm strangely calm. I say WE GOT THIS. This team is built for the playoffs, and I expect them to win again this year. There is NO WAY any team out there beats us 4 games in a series. NO WAY. Call me a homer. Call me an ostrich with my head in the sand refusing to see the problems. This is not the case. This team will prove who they are. They are the defending champions. They know it, you know it, and come playoff time, the rest of the league will know it too.


A final word to the sherrif - IT'S ABOUT TIME YOU SHOWED YOURSELF AND STRAIGHTENED OUT SOME TROLLS. SERIOUSLY - YOU WERE MISSED. WELCOME BACK!


GO LAKERS!!

Nothing but another title will suffice.

I've been saying for about 2 years that Matt Barnes would be a nice pickup...Orlando got a player who's willing to play....at 1.6 million per year. I was looking at the Laker salary and there are 4 guys making about 5 million each that we would not miss, Fisher (we may miss him at first, but he's gone this year or next year for sure), Adam Morrison, Sasha and Walton...there's $20 million (maybe up to $40 million of players not earning their pay, Fisher is the best of the bunch, but I had to throw him in for magnitude).....Why did the Lakers not go after Matt Barnes for $1.6 million plus, penalty, he can play, unlike players that Phil uses to fill the seats next to him on the bench. I'd rate him above Ariza. Him and Kobe going at it was great.

Mark,

Sorry to be headline focused, but I guess I don't get your point. I agree the offense lacked balance, but I would figure it's inherently obvious that the primary reason is one player takes more than twice as many shots as anyone else on the team but also shoots 40%. Or that your second option shoots 62%, but gets less than half the shots as Kobe.

Or perhaps when you say "the offense is out of balance", you simply mean that the team didn't shoot very well. If so, that's not a question of "balance", but rather execution.

My take is that as always, this team lives or dies with Kobe. As long as he's a Laker, he's going to take waaaaaay more shots than everyone else, especially in the 4th quarter. If you haven't gotten used to that fact by now, you haven't been paying attention.

This video is great fun for all music and Mouse Trap enthusiasts!

http://tiny.cc/xEHMa

Enjoy!

MM:

I agree we can not blame Kobe. He almost won the game for us single handedly again. The team though does not have flow or connection when Kobe is in. Watch 'em they all just kind of stand around on offense towards the end of the game.

Who is our #2 shooter? Don't say Pau, as he is a short to mid range Big. The fact is we do not have another pure shooter on this team. No I do not want a Glen Rice type, but if I see Farmar shoot another air ball or hit the side of the backboard I’ll chuck my 52” big screen out the 2nd story window.

The pick and roll is the Achilles heal of our defense, nothing new there. Yes we still have a three game lead, and yes it is just the regular season, but to limp into the playoffs is not where the World Champ’s need to be.

Concerned in Pasadena….

M

Donald,

"Could Morrison, Vudajicv, and Powell fill six man position due to defense and three-point shooting that Ariza did last year? "

No, Ariza's posititves were his acceleration, and reach, he wasn't a great shooter. As I said in my previous post which isn't up yet, I was hoping the Lakers would have picked up Barnes as he was available late into free agency....Yesterday was probably one of the most notable games he ever played, but if you notice he was playing while others were not. He wasn't told to do every irky thing he did, but what he did was certainly worth more than what Morrison, Powell, and the injured Machine ever could do. The Lakers should have went after him. $1.6 million = $3.2 million, and I still don't know why they were not able to shed Morrison's salary at trade time, is there an advantage to letting it ride to the end of the year, I would think not, because they don't use him anyways, and he will never be the one who comes in off the bench totally cold and hit shots. Time to watch Mitch and Jim.

Another thing that irks me is that with all the talk of the "tall trees", there are no leaves on those trees as the rim is an open target....Someone stick Borg implants into Bynum, Pau, and Lamar and tell them no layups!!!!!!!

It is never a good thing when one player takes 30 shots. The sheer volume of shots can really wreak havoc on the teams offensive flow. Other players must touch the ball. That is the fundamental core of the Triangle offense. Some will argue that Kobe had to take that many shots. It is truly a chicken-egg situation. Still rather it is out of necessity or not, 30 shots are too many for team that is supposed to run a balanced offensive system.

Do not blame Kobe. Even though Fisher is really bad this year on both ends of the floor, Kobe and Fisher are the only players with enough confidence to take shots in the fourth quarter in a tight game.

I call Pau Gasol Paula Gasoft not because I hate him. In fact, I think he is a very good player. However, it's pretty obvious that he runs and hides from the ball at the end of close games and he disappears in games against the contending teams in this league. If you are also a Dodgers fan, then I think you might understand what I mean when I say Gasol is like J.D. Drew. Drew will give you 25 HRS 100RBIS, but at the end of the season, you'll be like those numbers are "fake". He'll hit a home run or drive in a run in the 8th inning when the Dodgers are down 7 runs.

Please mark these words:
Jordan Farmar will badmouth Kobe if he leaves the team this summer. You can just tell this arrogant and selfish player will let the world know why he did not put up bigger numbers. To me, Farmar is nothing but a Smush Parker clone.

ex-

as much as i enjoy your humor and come back lines, you were indoctrinated by the K Bros. not surprised u r one of the very few posters on that site.

the name of the blog says it all: land o'lakers. more butter, more butter. give it to Gasol, Faux Pas to orchestrate the offense and to make good choices. like in the toronto game when he was by himself with the back to the basket and he passed out to shannon and farmar with few sec. on the clock shannon missed a 3 from the corner and the pass to farmar was deflected out of bounds. with 3 sec left kobe had to be the saviour. he did not make the long 3 after the same predictable PJ play that any coach in the knows by heart. (all the players aligned on the FT line) same play happened again for the win with LUKE making a terrible inbound pass!!!!!!!! yes, kobe missed the shot. but hey, the TEAM had touches. for everyone. except no W.

that was the GAME when Kobe screamed at Gasol: shoot the frickin' ball.

that after the Cleveland game when OUR diplomat missed the 2 FT's and later DID NOT BOX OUT varejao, so Artest committed the so called foul and the game was over.

in Memphis, Kobe honored Artest with the buzzer beater. clunk

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"the blame does fall on Kobe - but because too often he doesn't take them within the flow of the offense."

like the shots he takes after Fish, farmar and UPS are dribbling for 20 sec and in the last moment give him the ball to bail them out? is dribbling on the same spot for 20 sec the FLOW that you r talking about?

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yes in the past kobe had many forced shots. and he has a few these days. but not too many. how many shots Fish and Artest had yesterday in the FLOW? after 3 qt. each was 2-10. with all the FLOW and all the TOUCHES. even when Kobe has a catastrophic game, what is very rare, he shoots better than 20%.

the only shots Fish and Artest made yesterday were because of the FLOW and the assists that came from KOBE? re-play it on your DVR. 2 were from the baseline. the same FLOW did win the game against DENVER.

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you remember why we lost in Miami. because Fish fouled out and your BOY Farmar came in who wanted to be a hero. Kobe was hot and in a FLOW making every shot. Miami played from behind basket by basket. Kobe passed to AB. fumble. and Farmar, the HERO tried to create FLOW on the left side of the court. pass to LO. badly missed jumper. at that moment, because Miami made all their shots, the lakers played from behind. on the next possession Farmar penetrated and missed and Gasol did not secured the OFFENSIVE reb. with the ball swatted from his hands. indeed FARMAR created a lot of FLOW. no W

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i was listening to the Cats commentators on my feed. they were shocked when in the 2nd or 3rd qt. for like 6 minutes Kobe did not TOUCH the ball. they were shocked and almost outraged about the situation. our adversaries. we know how that FLOW ended with lots of TOUCHES between Farmar, Fish artest, LO and Faux Pas.

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go back to Land of Butter and Butter Fingers. you and the K Bros are a good team. there is lot of FLOW (not too many posts) and a great sense of humor. imported from St. Louis. show me Land. and maybe you can comment on more posts on Faux Pas as Faux MVP.


exhelodrvr,

>>>I think a lot of the blame does fall on Kobe - not because of the number of
>>>shots he is taking, or the percentage he makes/misses, but because too often
>>>he doesn't take them within the flow of the offense.

And I would disagree with that. I agree that there are times when he's not taking them within the flow of the offense. But usually those Kobe ISO quarters come up because the "flow of the offense" seems to be leading to a loss.

For most of the first 3 quarters of yesterday's game, Kobe played within the flow of the offense. And that got them a 6 point deficit that wasn't really that close. Orlando was CLEARLY outplaying the Lakers. Defensively, both teams were playing well, but most of the Lakers were more offensively stifled than Orlando was.

Artest 2 for 10 in the first 3 quarters? not good

Bynum 1 for 5 in the first 3 quarters? very Kwame Brownesque

Fisher 3 for 11 in the first 3 quarters? And this is one of the guys that complained that Kobe was dominating the offense too much.

And Farmar who's mostly played well lately finally had an off night, going 0 for 4, though they were actually +2 with him on the floor.

And although Pau did shoot pretty well (5 for 9 in the first 3 quarters), he definitely let Dwight Howard get into his head. But he did have 3 turnovers to go with that. Most of the rest of the team cleaned up their turnovers in this game, but not Pau.

The thing is, if you play Kobe ISO, most of the time it improves your chances of either getting a good shot or free throws from Kobe (if they single team) or getting a good open shot for someone else if they double team him.

The Lakers as a team shot 52% for the 4th quarter. For the rest of the game, playing "within the flow of the offense" while Orlando packed the lane, they shot 32%.

I'm not saying they should play Kobe-ball all game every game. Nothing of the sort. Teams would adjust to that and it would really wear Kobe down.

What I'm saying is, if you're working the triangle and the other team is managing to shut it down (I'd say 32% shooting is shutting it down), then you need to forget about the triangle and try something else. Pressing to turn defense into offense works against some teams. Clear out one side of the floor and pick and roll would work against others. But having Kobe initiate the offense works against most teams.

The one thing I would fault Kobe for in this loss is his choice of shot for the last shot. I think he should have either tried to shoot a 3 and end it there without going to overtime, or he should have gone straight to the rim.

I know Kobe could have gotten past Barnes. That means he either attacks the rim and takes his chances with Dwight Howard (with 4 fouls), or if several people collapse on him, he kicks out to Fish or Shannon or Pau and gives them a wide open shot.

Taking a fairly well contested 20 footer doesn't maximize the risk-reward thing. At best he gets them to overtime.

But other than that, I thought once again Kobe picked up the team and carried them on his back to turn a game they were losing into a chance to win it that fell just a little bit short.

oucch,
Kobe shot 40%. And most of his shots were not after someone else dribbled away most of the shot clock. Way too often, the team lives or dies based on Kobe's shooting percentage, when that doesn't need to be the case. What so many of you don't seem to get is that playing within the offense, he would get close to as many shots, but they would end up being higher percentage shots.

>>>But otherwise, it plays into the opponents' hands - they will take their
>>>chances with a contested long-range jump shot by Kobe, and the percentages
>>> bear out that that is a smart move.

Depending where it's from, they'll usually lose that bet. Though Kobe's not that great on 3 pointers (other than from the left corner, where he made that late one over Barnes). But for long 2-pointers, Kobe's above 46% from most areas of the floor. And inside 10 feet, he's over 48% from most of the floor.

From where Kobe shot that last 20 footer, he's shooting 56% for the season. That's almost as high a percentage as Pau shoots dunks (57%). So if Kobe passes the ball from there to Pau at 6 feet out from the basket, the Lakers are statistically LESS likely to score than if he takes a contested jumper from 20 straight out.

VMan,

>>>When shooters make shots, there's no good Kobe bad Kobe debate, and we're
>>> havin' parades.

Exactly. Farmar is hitting 43% of his 3-pointers this month, and over 40% since the start of January. But in yesterday's game, when Kobe drew the defense and kicked out to him, he missed.

Unfortunately, Artest is badly slumping in March (19% on 3's, 32% overall). But he'll get out of his slump. In January and February, he was over 40% on his 3-pointers.

If Artest and Farmar each make 1 more shot yesterday (which would still have been bad shooting nights for both of them), then the Lakers win it. If they have good shooting nights, then it's a 10 point victory for the Lakers.

So even with the 3 game losing streak and the 5 & 8 vs top teams in the league, I'm not too worried about the Lakers yet. When the playoffs come, they'll show their true colors and fight their way through to another championship.

>>>Could Morrison, Vudajicv, and Powell fill six man position due to defense
>>>and three-point shooting that Ariza did last year?

Last year, Ariza shot 32% on three pointers for the season.

This season, Sasha is shooting 35% on his 3's and Powell is shooting 43% on his 3's. Also Farmar is hitting 37% of his 3's, and Artest is hitting 38% of his 3's for the season.

So to answer your question, yes. There are plenty of people who are shooting the 3 much better than Ariza did last year.

Ariza only got hot on 3-point shooting for the playoffs, where he hit 48%.

I'd say it's perfectly possible that Sasha or Farmar or Artest could get hot for the playoffs and give them that extra boost on 3's.

Oh, and by the way, though Luke has barely played this year, he's hit 50% of his 3-pointers for the season.

some serious meat to this thread in general, and i want to come back and read it when time allows. Just for the moment to respond to FCM- i don't argue with your rationale, and I wanted to emphasize that i don't so much want to decide where the line is, I just want to know that there is a line somewhere.

Over the last two threads, I was wondering if you were in fact reading all the posts you cleared. I am not a prude by any stretch of the imagination, and my humor tends toward the darker side, but I did count at least four instances of words which i am sure are not allowed, at least one instance mocking mental illnesses, one which suggested that someone should have been aborted, and one which simply stated "PAU IS A CANCER" over and over again. And frankly, none of my friends or relatives have ever died because of Pau Gasol, so it seems like a grossly unfair comparison.

Perhaps a solution would be simply writing a response to the author of the comment and suggesting they come up with another way of saying the same thing?

Too much talk about numbers. Too less talk about the health of relationships.

The best teams will have the most healthiest of relationships on that team that go more than surface level...

...that go more deeper than simply voicing opinions to each other in a closed door setting. Closed door lashing out of opinions is not team building. It's just a dump of emotions.

Second --- many of you focus too much on stats.

I guarantee that NONE OF YOU who play basketball casually, EVER KEEP STATS on yourselves.

Ever wonder what your shooting percentage would be? Too scared to see what the numbers would be right?

Laker's got robbed and PJ gave the theives the key to the house.
Bunum haters say forget offense rebound and play D. I saw play all. But then Drew plays strong D and was our most dominant big but gets touch fouls called against him and again PJ lets him sit on bench in the 4th quarter. Play Drew especially when he is hustling.

Refs were horrible all night on both teams but more so on game changing fouls called/not called on Lakers. Barnes tried to intimidate Kobe and Gundy said Kobe did not flinch when Barnes fake passed the ball to Kobe's face. Point is why was there no taunting foul called. Barnes hung on rim after dunk and that is ok if you are trying to protect yourself and other player by not landing on them. A safety thing. Yet Barnes hung on rim and launched off to create contact on Kobe and no foul?

They attack rim and jump into AB and he gets foul called, we attack rim (not enough) and Kobe jumps into Howard to create foul and no foul called on Howard.
During game PJ is asked about the Drew fouls and says he needs to play Pau more minutes and Drew played like this last years finals. Huh?

First Drew was not 100% last year and came back too soon but gets no credit for that. Second Pau is tired and PJ trying to make house cat into tiger. No Pau is finese player and that works for us as well as him. Why not use Mbenga to get physical with Howard? Why not attack Howard who was playing ith 5 fouls? No action Jackson.

Team too reliant on Kobe to bail them out when it should not have come to last shot. Attack the rim and go right at body of shot blocker? Howard would have fouled out. Bet if Kobe had 5 fouls Gundy would have sent everyone at him to get him to foul out.

PJ quit putting blame on players and look into thr mirror to see where the problem resides.

All this complaining like the Lakers aren't the defending champs... Team is not much different from last year, where they even needed a kick in the behind to get in gear here and there...remember Houston?.. I think you guys are reaching here... lost two close games, and another to a team who always beats us... who cares

>>>Bobcats and Heat are in fight for seventh and eighth places in play-offs from
>>>eastern conference.

The Bobcats have won the season series vs Cleveland. They have been a much better team than a 7-8 seed since they got Stephen Jackson incorporated. In games since January, the Bobcats are 18-13, including wins over Cleveland, Miami, Memphis, Houston, San Antonio, Phoenix, and the Lakers.

The Heat are a really up and down team. They have no consistency, but they have beat Denver, Orlando, Utah, Atlanta, Phoenix, Houston, and Memphis in addition to the Lakers. And they had to take the Lakers to overtime and get a cold shooting night from Pau to pull it off.

The Lakers are fine. They had a couple of slip up games to reasonable playoff teams.

>>>Sure Kobe is great but there is a reason why Magic is my all time favorite
>>>player. HE PASSED THE BALL! SHOWTIME WAS AWESOME!

Point A: Magic was a point guard. Kobe is a Shooting guard. Their jobs are different.

Kareem didn't average as many assists as Kobe does. Does that mean that Kareem sucked? Just because Kobe doesn't average as many assists as the best point guard in the history of the game doesn't mean he's a selfish player or anything like that. There were games when Magic took more shots than any other Laker as well.

Point B. Magic was passing to better players overall.

was passing to Kareem (the greatest scorer in the history of the NBA), James Worthy (one of the top 50 in the history of the game), Michael Cooper (a career 47% shooter), Byron Scott (a career 48% shooter), etc, etc.

Though Pau and Bynum and Fish are pretty good guys, they don't measure up to the collection of players that surrounded Magic. If you replaced Kobe with Magic, his per-game assist numbers would be a couple lower.

i rly tnk it's both kb & the team fault b/c kobe there was lot of time for him to pass d ball at the corner was artest i know he is d best but who guarentees his shot wud hv gone in. trust your team kobe. well the team has to start believing on their self not only kobe.I lub d lakers and i feel shame that the defending champs aren't showing why they won last year come on i wud hate if lebron wins it start playing and stop losing.

Interesting article.

I both agree and disagree. I think, first of all, that this year offers a unique caveat to the "Bryant throws the team out" argument, in that the avulsion fracture has, at times, caused Kobe to work and perform as a volume shooter. In this league, that is rarely a good thing (See Hughes, Larry; or Stackhouse, Jerry). It throws out team chemistry, and certainly contributes to the "stand around and watch Kobe" syndrome that the Lakers suffer from at times.

HOWEVER...

with that said, I think that the majority of our losses this year have come as a direct result of a lack of energy and effort, rather than any issues caused by Kobe himself. I can't tell you how many times this year I've wanted to see Rony Turiaf jump up off the bench and bounce around slapping blocks and grabbing rebounds.

Someone mentioned Gasol failing to box out on rebounds in an earlier post. There have been many, many times this year where both Gasol and Bynum have failed to box out the opposition (even GUARDS) and have lost rebounds as a result. I even recall Mark Jackson whining on a broadcast last year about wanting to get Dale Davis into the game, because "at least he'd put a body on somebody!". I can relate, Mark, I can relate.

Ultimately basketball is not a complicated game. It all comes down to performing. Execution. Energy. Do the simple things, the fundamentals.

The Lakers at present strike me as a team with a wealth of talent (at least in the starters), but just not enough players willing to get down and dirty and do the things that need to be done in order to win a championship.

Look at the Celtics (please don't hit me) and their late-season acquisitions in 2008. There is a good reason why that team won a championship. Yes, they had some great individual performances, and some great team defensive performances... but they also had players that were willing to do the little things. PJ Brown is perhaps the ultimate example of that kind of player. He never had blow-your-mind stats or dominating performances, but he altered shots, contested, rebounded, and banged with the best of them, night in, night out.

I should stop ranting.

Lakers, make me happy. Bring Alonzo Mourning out of retirement. Then try to show me another passionless performance.

>>>HOW the heck is the team going to stay in the flow? This is 1 fan who wants
>>>ball movement and happens to be tired of all the forced shots.

I'll say this again. AS A TEAM, the Lakers shot 32% for the first 3 quarters yesterday.

AS A TEAM, the Lakers shot 52% in the 4th quarter playing Kobe ball. With all Orlando eyes focused on Kobe, the whole team shot better.

So this was a case where "the team staying in their flow" was much less effective for the Lakers than Kobe dominating the ball and initiating the offense every time down the floor.

REPOST:

Greetings Lakeshow Fans,

Wow! It's obvious to see that when things aren't going right for our Lakers, the world is coming to an end for most folks. If I may put a positive spin in all this...Here's the deal...

Like I've always said, ADVERSITY keeps "winning" and "losing" in great perspective. It either brings a team "together" or "apart." The Lakers are nowhere "apart" like most people think.

Phil knew since day one that repeating wasn't going to be easy. What most fans don't understand is that this Lakers team has NOT been healthy ALL year playing together. It really shows in their play from game to game whether its playing with a busted finger/s, pulled groin/s, knee pain, back pain, ankle pain, flu, etc..Their injuries and illnesses have been strangely happening simultaneously. Oh well...

Furthermore, looking at Phil over the years, he typically starts "cracking the whip" per se in the last 10-12 games of the regular season to fine tune things.

With this in mind, don't think for a second that other teams in the NBA aren't taking notice.

It's no coincidence that quality teams like Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, and Orlando went out and signed/acquired personnel before and during the season via trade for ONE and ONE thing ONLY... to stop the Mr. KB24 express.

Here's what I mean...

Cleveland...Jamario Moon
Orlando...Matt Barnes
Dallas...Caron Butler
Denver...Aaron Afflalo

You see, when it comes down to it, these teams had no choice but to improve drastically. After all, who wants to be an "O"fer when it comes to winning championships and spending big time money. For these teams, it's NOW or NEVER...

Believe me, KB24 has no reason to feel intimidated by "anyone" or any "team." Come playoff time, the pressure cooker of "winning" gets quite hot for most teams/players. We ALL know that this "second" season is quite like no other.

Here's another take on the "so-called" KB24 stoppers/talkers of recent memory...

Matt Barnes resume...ZERO championships KB24...4 Rings

JR Smith resume...ZERO championships KB24...4 Rings AND...

Raja Bell (for old times sake)...ZERO championships

The present scorecard in the Larry O'Brien sweepstakes is quite clear...

To these guys, the only way to defeat LA in a playoff series is to "trash" talk KB24 and show how manly they are (for the record, Raja did succeed but never made it to the promise land).

If I were these two guys, I would think twice in the playoffs, especially JR Smith. An angry KB24 is the worse any team can face. Trust me!

Well, all I know is that when the dust settles, I expect the Lakers and either Cleveland or Boston to play for all the marbles.

Boston I say? Yes! They too, like the Lakers, have heard all the nonsense for months now. It's all about managing health and momentum.

Relax folks...The Lakers, according to analyst Jon Barry, are too good of a team not to show up and do damage in the playoffs. After all, CHAMPIONSHIPS is what our Lakers play for and nothing else.

3 game losing streak? Oh well, that's life. I expect the Lakers to make a late season push, play well in the playoffs, and win it all come Finals time. Why not?

Laker pride through ALL and ANY ADVERSITY!

Gotta believe through it all...Peace.

LTLF

"The one thing I would fault Kobe for in this loss is his choice of shot for the last shot. I think he should have either tried to shoot a 3 and end it there without going to overtime, or he should have gone straight to the rim."

i totally agree with your response to ex- (like ex-Laker Blogger) and for bringing up the stats. i have no patience for that. more for those of you who do all the research

yesterday i had a big conundrum regarding the outcome of the game. of course i wanted the Lakers to win, but i'm tired to give credits to the myth that the TEAM did not lose 3 in a row because of Mr. Faux Pas. (especially after all the terrible games he had starting in cleveland). so yes, i kinda wanted the lakers to lose.

but i enjoyed the comeback that kobe put together. let's not forget that we were one Fish foot touching the 3 point line and one Kobe foot touching the 3 pt line from a tide game and overtime. (they both made the shots that were downgraded from 3 to 2pt.)

and no, i'm not buying too much in the rumors that kobe wants to make the game difficult and to bring it to a dramatic finish just to be the hero ( if it is tru, more props for him because he singlehandedly can lose and win a game - 1 against 9 on the court, 3 zebras and 2 coach teams) and yes, those buzzer beaters stick into ones memory and Lakers fans psyche for days.

i made this intro to ask a mischievous question?

Did Kobe REALLY wanted to make the shot to tie the game? ha had a mischievous smile on his face after missing and was very casual.

or he just wanted a casual shot and have the 3 game losing streak BRANDED on paper, especially after weeks of Faux Pas's complains in the media. like : Take that Gasoft, NO TOUCHES FOR YOU. AND STFU

and i enjoy it one way or another. Gasoft has to go on with the program and understand his ROLE on this team. he is still the 0-12 loser from memphis. and his complains r getting really annoying.

Jason F,

>>>Sorry to be headline focused, but I guess I don't get your point. I agree the
>>>offense lacked balance, but I would figure it's inherently obvious that the
>>>primary reason is one player takes more than twice as many shots as anyone
>>>else on the team but also shoots 40%. Or that your second option shoots
>>>62%, but gets less than half the shots as Kobe.

Okay, are we going to talk about statistics, or what actually happened in the game?

What about the fact that "your second option" turned the ball over 3 times? The Lakers scored 0 points on each of those possessions, just like when Kobe missed shots.

And yes, Kobe shot 40%, but he also drew 8 free throws and made all of them. And he also got 7 assists (compared to only 1 assists for Pau).

So having the ball in Kobe's hands was MUCH more effective overall than having the ball in Pau's hands.

Most of you are missing the point. Kobe Bryant cannot do this by himself. When he overshoots, it's because he feels the team needs this from him. It doesn't matter what we fans say, or what the media says. If Kobe Bryant feels his teams needs him to shoot, he'll shoot. If you remember the year he scored 81 points, he was averaging 30 shots per game. That was not a good Laker team that year, and he had to shoot because the Lakers had no competent shooters.

The solution was suppose to be Pau Gasol. He was the one that was suppose to take the pressure off of Kobe. He was suppose to be the team's other go-to guy, the other all-star, the 2 in a 1-2 Laker punch.

And yet, what has happened? What happened to that guy that was suppose to dominate the paint. That guy that would challenge Kobe for high scorer on the Laker team. The guy that would thoroughly frustrate our opponents. What has happened to this guy?

I'll tell you. He's become a bumbler. He doesn't catch the ball cleanly, so he fumbles passes and loses rebounds, which lead to the other team scoring on transition. He doesn't put up big numbers, and he doesn't make the timely shot. Other teams don't have to focus in on anyone else in the closing minutes, because they know Kobe is the only Laker who is a threat. The entire philosophy behind why the Lakers picked up Gasol has been compromised because Pau has failed to live up to his potential.

Is this his fault? It's up for debate. But when he plays weak during key moments of the game, and then criticizes Kobe in the safety and comfort of the locker room after the game- man, that ticks me off.

So, as I said before, when Pau publically apologizes to Kobe, when he proclaims he is not worthy to be considered the Laker #2 option, when he seeks professional therapy to overcome his mental weakness, and when he learns how to be an on-court thug from Charles Oakley, then I will lay off of him.

Until then, he deserves every bit of criticism he gets. Period. End of story.

>>>No I do not want a Glen Rice type, but if I see Farmar shoot another air ball
>>>or hit the side of the backboard I’ll chuck my 52” big screen out the 2nd story
>>> window.

You're attacking the wrong guy. Farmar had an off game vs Orlando, it's true. But since January, Jordan has hit 48% of his shots and 41% of his 3-pointers.

If you want to complain about bad shooting, try Shannon Brown, who's only been hitting 30% of his 3 pointers in 2010.

Or try Ron Artest who was good in January and February, but has been badly slumping in March.

At least give blame where blame is due.

humanonly,

You seem to be trying to rewrite history.

Yes, I'd like for the Lakers to have picked up Matt Barnes as well, and 1.6 mil is very reasonably for him.

But the Lakers didn't SIGN Morrison instead of signing Barnes. They acquired Morrison to dump off the even WORSE contract of Vlad Radmanovic. It was purely a move to save money. They didn't choose to pay Morrison, they chose to pay him less than they'd have had to pay Rad.

And Josh Powell makes half of what Barnes does, and is capable of playing PF, which Barnes is not.

In Sasha's pre-contract year, he hit 44% of his 3-pointers and had a reputation of getting into players heads and getting them to lose their cool and get thrown out of games (exactly what Barnes was TRYING to do vs Kobe).

At Barnes' position, SF, the Lakers have Ron Artest and they thought he would have been backed up by Luke, so they probably didn't see the need for Barnes.

If Mitch Kupchak had a magic crystal ball that told him that Luke would miss most of the season with injuries, maybe he would have gone out and tried to get someone like Barnes, but hindsight is 20-20.

If you are so prescient, then predict right now what moves the Lakers should make to improve the team for next season. And then next season we'll commend you on your prescience (or possibly mock you if the player you wanted to add falls flat on their face). :-)

>>>Other players must touch the ball. That is the fundamental core of the
>>>Triangle offense.

Let's put it this way. Assuming the Lakers got exactly as many touches in the 4th quarter and played like they had for the first 3 quarters, which was mostly triangle, then the Lakers would have lost the game by double digits.

While I agree that it's great to run the triangle most of the time, there are times when it breaks down. Orlando was packing the lane and not allowing much to happen in the lane for the Lakers. This was forcing them to shoot a lot of wide open outside shots, which they were missing.

In other words, the "fundamental core" was leading them to a loss.

When they switched to Kobe initiating the offense in the fourth, the team shot 52% for the quarter, much more effective than in the first three quarters.

So in this game:
triangle = 32% shooting for team
Kobeball = 52% shooting for team

LongTimeLakerFan,

you wrote: I'll say this again. AS A TEAM, the Lakers shot 32% for the first 3 quarters yesterday.

AS A TEAM, the Lakers shot 52% in the 4th quarter playing Kobe ball. With all Orlando eyes focused on Kobe, the whole team shot better.

my response: I know. Everyone who talks about team ball never prints
the stats of the rest of the team. I've made your same argument far less
eloquently.

Ok, keep blaming kobe for a 12 man game. You all that gets on kobe for trying to keep his team in the game are sick. If you treat ur children, the way you treat kobe, then I see why most of our youths look up to someone name 50 cent and miley cirus or whatever. We do not know how to be supportive anymore. the neighborhood us to raise the kids. we cant do that because we are not sure of ourselves. How can we support kobe, when we only look at the failure. This team has been winning its butts off. Kobe making them lose, kobe shooting to much, pau gasol is soft, lamar is not in the offense, artest is not doing enough. They are in first place, barely. I support my team day in and day out. I have never blamed kobe for trying to win. The year kobe stop shooting so the team could have their shots they got mad at him and said he quit. Kobe dont suck as a ball player, you all suck as fans.

The arguments for Kobe hogging the ball get thrown out the door when the team does even worse when kobe comes out. LA will frequently get an 8-10 point lead, and then they'll rest kobe and that lead quickly diminishes.

The amount of hesitation in the offense and their recent lack of success has to force Phil's hand to make a lineup change. Odom in for Bynum. Allow the youngsters (farmar & bynum) to play with the 2nd unit against 2nd tier players. Odom will help move the ball, but the team has to be more confident and sure in their actions. All the hesitation by Pau, Artest, and Odom ruins the flow of the offense.

Hmm, Kobe is getting bashed and Gasol is getting bashed ... not a good sign when our 2 best players are getting hate from all angles ... again, I repeat we've got this ... but umm let me try to allay your fears by breaking it down softly this time around

When Gasol says he's not getting enough touches, he is not saying I want to be the best player on the team. All he's saying is we've been successful with Kobe getting him touches and even last season he had his moments when he shyed away under pressure but somehow Kobe kept coming back to him (lol, that's the gee I'm just glad you're not kwame brown syndrome). So all Gasol is saying is even when my body language says I'm fading away and I don't want the ball, pls walk over and pat me on the butt. Tell me you need me, tell me to man up, use your nifty skills to get me easier looks and I promise you that if you lift me up when I get down on myself during games, I will come through for you and the team. Yes I get scared out there but you guys pointing that out or abandoning me doesn't help and pls stop asking me to demand the ball, I'm freaking scared, just force it in my hands and scream something motivational like "may the force be with you".

So I say the solution is simple, establish a pecking order. Kobe do your thing, so long as you don't throw it up more than 30 times, we're good. To every other player feed Gasol the ball when in doubt. Frankly speaking we want Gasol getting 20+ shots per game even if it is at the expense of Farmar and Fisher or should we say especially if it is at the expense of our PGs.

Kobe rocks, we all know that. Come playoffs he'll do what he does best, he'll bend his game over backwards to makeup for other players deficiencies. He'll be PG when we falter at that position, he'll lockup small fowards when Artest fails to, he'll feed Gasol the ball when nobody else can, he'll find Odom when he's streaky, he'll get the crucial rebound when we need it and as he proved in game 4 last year, he'll even play center on defense when our bigs are nowhere to be found (everyone mentions how howard missed 2 crucial freethrows in that game, not many commend the shooting guard that had the presence of mind to foul him hard enough)

So really even without a pecking order, we'll be fine in the playoffs ... just don't ask a man some of you are quick to call old to start attempting to do it all during the regular season as well ... allow him to just do his own share for now and besides a lil losing will give this team the humility it needs to make another championship run

phred

i will try to be tactful and minimal: please do not bring your own personal issues and request to be made the laws of the blog.

yes, hitontown suggested to me that i should have been aborted. do i care? no did i retorted? no

LOcker room cancer is an expression used by many fans, teammates and writers in sports and other team contexts. yes, and no one dies of being a locker room cancer. the worst what happened to them is to be out of the NBA and exported to China - see smush.

same expression is for mental midgets or brain midgets. refers to their IQ as players. we have LUKE who is the opposite. :-)

does not refer to their real IQ as a person. at the same time i believe that Arza is/was a little slow and i belive the same about Shannon. listen to his interviews rambling the same phrases and lines for the past year. watch his un-decisions on the court or his DECISION how to lose the dunk contest. let's don't be brain fogged by a dunk or by some block that makes the NBA or ESPN highlights. they r in the business of showing highlights and not lowlights. and any scrub in the NBA is qualified for their 15" of fame.

now for other issues, there is xanax, prozac and other stuff, there r shrinks and maybe many long years of daily psychoanalysis that many times fail.

as i told Mamba24 a few weeks ago, if you want to dish it on the blog, you have to learn to take it. and obviously you like to dish it and give grades on english writing. now deal with "mental issues" too. if it is too hot, stay out of the kitchen. or just grow a thicker skin.

and like lately Mark Medina or FCM will provide us with many posts a day so we become so confused that easily we can forget what/who was ABORTED on the previous thread.

and yes, i agree, Gasol was and it is still tactless in calling out Kobe in each of his interviews especially after delivering mediocre and sub-par performances starting with the game in Cleveland. and like you blames anyone else.

YES, PAU GASOL IS BECOMING A CANCER

and yes his attitude was/is/will be a Faux Pas

I'll put it this way Laker fans.

When you're working at your own specific place of work...whether it be as a(n)...

accountant
blogger
sales rep
programmer
or laborer...

...What gets YOU working HARDER and more EFFICIENTLY?

Is it reading and improving the STATISTICS you see about yourself after a day's work?

OR

Is it the team building, company morale and collaborative encouragement type stuff between you and your fellow coworkers?

The point about Kobe putting up the highest numbers is besides the point. If Kobe wasn't on the team, the team's scoring average may drop 1 or 2 points, but the share of scoring would merely shift to the other players. In other words, the team's scoring average would take care of itself EVEN IN THE ABSENCE OF KOBE.

Which leads to my next point.

Kobe's value is not the number of points scored. It's the other intangibles:

Clubhouse vibe.
Practice work ethic.
Pushing his teammates.
Being the face of the franchise and the duties that come with it.
Marketability.

This is his real value.

Not his basketball skills.

One last point about his closer role. The closer role is a double-edged sword, because on the one hand, you're placing your complete trust in the best player on the team to win the game for you.

At the same team, your choice of using such a player means that you DON'T trust the other players.

Ever wonder they feel about not being TRUSTED?

Hey LTLF:

Jordan (Not like Mike) Farmar
I disagree with your comments; remember his stats do not tell the whole story. Yes, Farmar has shown signs of greatness and then has been invisible. He misses shots at critical times during the game. He gets burned on defense way too often. I for one will be pleased to not see him in the Purple and Gold next year.

------------------
Ron Artest has not shown much except for Denver last week. I am pretty sick of the whining about the Trevor trade so I am not going there. Shannon frustrates me too at times, but overall I would put him in the game over Farmar. My point is very simple; we do not have a consistent shooter other than Kobe. Everyone in the league knows that. What really drives my crazy is the rest of the team does not move and cut; they seem to only watch Kobe do his thing at the end of games. We are missing one piece right now, without it = trouble in the Playoffs. If Ron, Pau, and Lamar get consistent, and someone off the bench can contribute more than occasionally we will be alright.

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

If you saw the great HBO documentary about Magic and Bird Saturday night you will be reminded how hard it is to repeat as champions even with teams as loaded as the Lakers and Celtics were in the 1980’s.

M

ABC’s coverage of the NBA in a word sucks! I do not want to see Ron Artest's Hair dresser interviewed especially on a National televised game. More reason for the folks in the mid West and back East to think we are freaks. Well, I am a freak, FREAK for Basketball-Laker Basketball!

M

LTLF,

<<<

How about both? ;-)

<<<

"MY" second option? What do you mean "my"? Are you actually arguing with the notion that Gasol is the Lakers' second option on offense? Are you trying to suggest that he's not, and saying so is just "my" deal?

Regarding the turnovers, you're not being objective. Gasol averages 2.1 TO per game. So on Sunday, he had one more than average. Kobe OTOH averages 2.9 TO per game. Thus, Pau had as many turnovers on Sunday as Kobe averages. Certainly when I look to Sunday's game, my first thought isn't "Gasol had waaaaay too many turnovers!"

<<<

Funny how you weren't that generous with Bynum. When discussing his game Sunday, you focused on his FG's and omitted his FT's made.

<<<

LOL! How you get that from the above is a mystery. Kobe missed 18 FG's, whereas Pau missed 5 FG's. Kobe had 1 TO and Pau had 3 TO's. Now, maybe my math is a bit off here, but from the way you chose to evaluate it (# of wasted possessions), that's 19 wasted possessions from Kobe and 8 from Gasol.

Now personally, I don't agree with that sort of approach, but those are the terms YOU set up. And based on your own terms, we should be looking squarely at Kobe to figure out why we struggled offensively Sunday.

My take OTOH is that, yes Kobe took some bad shots, and took too many and that affected the balance and flow of our offense on Sunday. But that's only part of the story. We were also killed by the fact that once again, no one on this team could hit a perimeter shot. Orlando simply packed the paint and made sledding rather tough on our bigs and dared our backcourt and SF to shoot....and they didn't step up to the challenge.

The good news is, we played harder and showed a pretty good level of intensity and toughness. If we keep that up through the rest of the season, we'll do exactly what I figured...2nd best in the NBA, 1st in the West, and ready for another appearance in the finals.

My Goodness.

Some of you Laker fans need to realize something.

Kobe is simply a product of business. He is simply a human being who came into the league in '96 with hopes of being a good player in the league. What the NBA and Lakers did, however, was USE HIM as a product of business in order to RENEW THE NBA BRAND and make the Lakers' owner, and other owners around the league, happier in the process.

KOBE was used to replace the tail-end and exiting MICHAEL JORDAN.

KOBE was used as a transition piece in the whole business pie that is the NBA.

This was important for the NBA because it was a shifting of a BRAND --- from JORDAN to KOBE.

I also guarantee that the Lakers owner and management told Kobe things like he too can be the NEXT BIG THING in the league. All KOBE had to do was to practice hard, and the rest would take care of itself.

So far so good.

The problem was --- Kobe was put into the spotlight at age 18.

It was simply too early.

His head got too big.

And with all the early success, and the fan adoration, and all the attention and media requirements and magazine ads and national interviews, Kobe felt invincible.

He felt like the King of Basketball.

And the only thing Kobe needed to work on was HIS BASKETBALL skills, BECAUSE IF HIS BASKETBALL SKILLS DID NOT MATCH HIS HYPE, THIS WOULD BE MOST EMBARRASSING TO HIM...

...and it wouldn't be good for the owners and the NBA itself.

So what does Kobe do?

WORK WORK WORK.

He wins his first championship his 4th year into the league.

He wins more.

Here's the real reason why so many fans adore Kobe.

TIMING.

TIMING OF WHEN AND HOW HE ENTERED THE LEAGUE.

Jordan wins two more titles but is on the verge of exiting the league.
Not many high school players entered the league at that time.
There was really no internet at the time.
No internet means lack of knowledge on KOBE.
No google.
No facebook.
No twitter.
No blogging.
No youtube.
Nothing.


Kobe simply became the NBA's and Laker's marketing department DREAM BUSINESS AND MARKETING PIECE.

With Kobe, and the nation of unknowing fans, KOBE was used to win over the consumer base.

The NBA is a business. If interviewing Artest's barber means more viewership of the non-sports fan...

...they will do it.

If you watch basketball in terms of a business, it always makes sense.

ouchhhhhhhhh,

Dude! You are incindiary, but when you are right, you are right. Other teams around the league are often flabergasted when they see the stretches of games where the Lakers go completely away from Kobe. Listen to a Cleveland broadcast, or a Celtics broadcast or a Jazz broadcast. None of those cities quite understands why Kobe's own fans continue to want him NOT to shoot.

No other Title contending franchise thinks it is better for Kobe to shoot less, or dominate less. On the night you mentioned, Kobe didn't miss a shot for the entire later part of the 4th quarter, nor in the overtime until his very last three (which was inconsequential by that time). LO, Fish, Pau, Farmar, and Drew all had critical mistakes and/or turnovers at the close of that game. And, guess who set them ALL up to be the hero? Kobe. Guess who put them in a position to be the hero? Kobe.

People look at Kobe's assist statistics and criticise him for not passing the ball. Kobe lost out on 5 assists, at least, during that latter parts of that game. As it was, he still had 6, didn't he? That is a LOT for a shooting guard. He should have had a double-double and the Lakers should have won.

Touches or not. If you are going to complain that you would do better than Kobe (which is what you are saying when you infer that your team lost because you didn't get enough of the ball), then when the opportunity arises, you should come through.

Pau has missed both free throws in late-game situations three times this seam (If I remember correctly). All three plays, was Kobe setting him up with a pass and the opportunity to be the hero.

Pau has wilted in all three situations.

Pau might be shooting 62% from the floor (just like he's hittin 80+% on free throws), but I know he's not shooting that well in the 4th. Probably not close.

Pau, if you are going to claim that you are a better option, then you should come through and win some games for us. Only two people have won games for us this season, Kobe and Fish. I wonder why they are the two most maligned players on this blog?

BTW, there were no game winners during the stretch when Kobe was out.

Good post, ouchhhhhhhhh,

--FEARless

BD,

"This is 1 fan who wants ball movement and happens to be tired of all the forced shots."

If that is the case, fair enough. I respect what you perceived contrary to what I have seen. What I see is that Kobe is passing the ball to his teammates for 3 quarters, even Marc Jackson says that. Unfortunately, he is not explosive as he was in the past. The guy is still having some problem with two busted fingers, ankle pains which don't disappear it needs a lot of rest. This is also the reason why he could not defend that much in a way, he's protecting his fingers. Well, in your point of view, it is not only Kobe to be blamed but also PJ. That is a fair comment. Being the coach, he should try to encourage ball movement. Are you also saying too that Kobe is not following PJ's instructions?

Curry,

Clubhouse vibe.
Practice work ethic.
Pushing his teammates.
Being the face of the franchise and the duties that come with it.
Marketability.

Kobe is not Magic Johnson. Pushing his teammates, he did that before and some scrubs rebel like Atkins, Parker, Shaq, Farmar and lately Gasol tho' Caron Butler agrees with him. LO and Shannon are very quiet at Kobe. They all moved in the same page. Face of the franchise, has he put shame to the franchise since the rape case? He ranted in 07 and many fans agree with him. Lakers were run by scrubs at that time. The league agrees to what Kobe has perceived that Mitch was shortchanging the value of the superstar by surrounding him with scrubs like Kwame, smoochie, lukie and cookie. Kwame is a project of PJ that big body concept on the middle, they traded the talented Butler without Kobe's knowledge because it was perceived as a duplication of #2.

Gasol, Bynum and Lamar are not LOST CASE but my gosh, they have to show up in games. They don't need to rely on Kobe at all times. If Kobe is a ball hog, then they should assert their role as follow-up or tell Kobe to pass it to them when they are doubled teamed. It is all about communication. In any organization, if there is meeting of minds, frequent exchange of ideas, harnessing the positives than the negatives then everything is solved. However, if the ego is massaged like: "I need touches", "they don't call fouls", "I'm not worried"..... well, those have been downfall of great leaders in the history of the world - PRIDE and POMPOSITY.

One thing that really bothers me is the current offense we play in the fourth quarter: give the ball to Kobe and let him go one on five. This makes it way too easy for the defense to force the team into shooting a low percentage. If Kobe manages to shoot, half the time they are high degree of difficulty shots or forced. Why isn't there more ball movement encouraged like in the first three quarters? I blame this on Phil. I understand that Kobe feels like sometimes he needs to shoot every shot in the fourth, but this is just bad basketball.
I don't understand how this team looks like they have just been thrown together and haven't been playing with each other for almost two years.
If they don't figure out how to play a balanced game, each and every game, come June, we will be reminiscing about last year's parade.

BLAH ! Give me a break,Kobe is a part of the problem,with him taking 30 shots how can anyone else get into a shooting rhythm but him,Give Gasol or Bynum or anyone else on the team for that matter 30 shots and guaranteed they'll score more than 34 points,when he was out the ball rotation was so much better,with him in he dominates the ball way to much,this is not andone streetball it's the nba. I've said it all along when Kobe takes less than 20 shots were a lot better,look at the games since he's been back,when he shoots less we've won,Kobe is great no doubt but it's time for him to realize this is a team sport,let someone else shoot more,score more sometimes,ain't like we don't have the talent,and for those who critize Farmar and Bynum,get a life,these guys are the future whenever we get a coach who plays to their strenghts,Bynum is a scorer but Phil only wants him to concentrate on defense,Farmar is a slasher but the triangle would make chris paul look bad. My point is Kobe holds and dribbles the Ball way to much,open your eyes Laker fans and you'll see what I see ! Laker for Life !

montez1599

look at Kobe's shooting percentage in the 4th quarter, then look at the rest of his teams percentage, if you have a DVR then look at how many wide open shots that Kobe assisted on that his lakers teamates completely missed. in the standard triangle they headed into the 4th down 10, yet with Kobe ball in just one quarter he brought them to the brink of winning and would have been a win had any of those 4 wide open jumpers by his teamates (in the 4th alone) fell. Someone else needs to prove themselves worthy. Either Pau needs get much tougher or LO being more consistant, Kobe needs a Robin to his Batman.

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!!!

Mark: It sounds like you need to go back and watch some film. You need to compare two things:

1. Are the Lakers running the same offense with I Eat First in the lineup as they were when he was out for five games?

2. Are the Lakers playing the same defense?

The answer is easier regarding the defense: For too much of every game, I Eat First doesn't play his man, but instead falls back into the lane. There's no excuse for this. The Lakers played fine defense when each Laker guarded his man. In contrast, when I Eat First lays off his man, it breaks the defense down, because (i) his man is open and (ii) that forces others to try to compensate.

Regarding the offense, you'll need to look more closely. The important question is NOT "Is Kobe passing or shooting?" Rather, the important questions are:

1. Is the point of attack the same?

2. Is the ball in his hands more than it was in any other player's hands while he was out of the lineup?

3. Is he occupying the same position(s) on the floor as Shannon Brown was while he was out?

I can assure you that the ball is in his hands more, that he is demanding the ball more, that the point of attack is entirely different and that he is in a different position on the court. Which means that the other players will also not be in their accustomed positions in the offense, and so the offense will break down.

As Jerry West himself said in an interview a few weeks ago: The Lakers don't have an offense, they merely try to get the ball into I Eat First's hands in certain spots on the floor.

When he is out, then they do run the offense, and can run it well.

But you will need to become a better student of the game before you'll be able to see this. You should put in the time and effort with film study. It will make a big difference in how you see the game.

jim joyce - i respect your opinion, but it might be better not to jump to assumptions. i DVR every single lakers game and rewatch it for the very reason you outline. there's been several posts i've had when it's warranted where i've dissected certain plays or breakdowns that proved to be the difference in the game.

you are right that the ball was mostly in kobe's hands. but you can't jump to the conclusion that means he was responsible for the poor offense. although he led the team in shots, there were others who shot worse even when they had open looks. No doubt, Bryant's 12 of 30 stat line isn't great at shooting, but his points came in spurts. for example bryant had a great first and fourth quarter so it's warranted for him to have the ball the majority of the time. when bryant wasn't shooting well in the other quarters, other teammates were involved. but aside from gasol and brown's slight contributions off the bench, no one else filled the void offensively. as i mentioned before in the game wrap, their problems against orlando were rooted more in execution than anything else.

MM

Kobe is what Kobe is, that is why the Lakers are successful. It does hurt the team when an organization is so dependent on one person but it is a problem everyone else in the NBA would like to have. It falls on the rest of the players to man up and perform to overcome this tendency. As usual, what I see is a group of guys all too willing to defer to Bryant, sometimes that takes them out of the flow of the game. The stats will bear me out, many of the Lakers play better when Kobe is out because they aren't so afraid to try and/or fail. Jordan's Bulls had the same problem. The thing that has changed this season and is painfully obvious, Artest's game does not accommodate the Lakers needs as well as Trevor's did.

KOBE KOBE KOBE,Keep making excuses for him,there's no excuse when you're losing,bottom line is they played alot better offensively and defensively when he was out,look at the shot's taken during that span(5 or 6 players got 9 shots or more),look at the points scored during that span(5 to 6 players in double figures),look at the margin of victory during that span,look at the ball movement during that span,If KOBE can play the way they played when he was absent this team would be unbeatable but will he do it,I think not

I have an idea. Let's trade the whole team except Kobe.
We will save on cap space, the Kobe lover's will be happy and Kobe can shoot every shot. His appalling lack of Defense at the 3 pt line will be easy for every one to see as well. Plus he gets to take the last shot every game....his favorite shot.

The problem is that the Lakers just can't make their shots, pure and simple. Everyone is in kind of a shooting slump. For those people who say Kobe is not playing a team game, you have not been watching very carefully. He is passing out and his teammates are just not making any shots. Gasol needs to be more aggressive and look for his shot more. He is in the worst funk of his Laker career. He's got to step up and prove that he is worthy to be an All-Star.

Mark---It's really simple: If the ball is in one man's hands more when Kobe is playing, that means the offense is running differently than when he was out. And then you need to ask the question: Why?

It suggests that he is not willing merely to play the role of any other player within the offense.

And if that's true, it means the offense CANNOT work the way it's supposed to. And that means it doesn't work the same way it does when he is out, for ANY of the players on the floor.

As I've said, the issue is NOT whether I Eat First is shooting or not. The issue is whether the way he plays, and the positions he takes on the floor, stop the offense, because of his refusal to play it the way it's designed. It prevents EVERYONE from getting the shots they normally would when the offense is played correctly.

And as I've also said before, this is one of the ways I Eat First makes his teammates worse than they are: By preventing them from playing to their capabilities.

And when Pau Gasol diagnoses the team's malaise as not playing team ball, you know this is what he is talking about.

jim joyce - i totally understand your point, but to say kobe hasn't passed the ball upon his return is inaccurate. he had eight assists against philadelphia. he had 12 assists against denver. he shot well against memphis, had the game winner in the game and pau gasol filled a complementary role. his shot didn't fall against dallas but he got LO involved. against indiana, there was balance. miami he had a good shooting night while everyone else struggled. charlotte everyone was bad. orlando - lakers, including bryant, had wide open shots. they just didn't go in. as you can see all of the games since bryant's return have varied in its nature based on how the game went.

MM

Mark---Whether he passes the ball is just not the point. The point is whether he controls the ball to an extent that it takes the Lakers out of their offense.

Again, the question is a simple one: Do they play the same offense, with the players in the same positions, making the same cuts and passes, with Kobe in and Kobe out. I can assure you they do not.

This can be subtle. Let's take two clear examples to show you what I mean.

Back in the Shaq days: Did you ever wonder why the Lakers never ran the fast break, despite having a great rebounder (Shaq) and a great finisher (Kobe)? The answer is simple: When Shaq got the rebound, Kobe would be out on the wing ready to initiate the break. Shaq would pass the ball to Kobe, but not, however, before counting to two to let the defense get back. So, by the time Kobe got the ball, the opportunity for a fast break was over, and the Lakers had to wait for Shaq to get up the court to play half court offense, or risk playing four against five.

In the present: Ever wonder why the Lakers today do not fast break much, despite having some very athletic players? The answer again is pretty simple. When the Lakers rebound the ball, Kobe is again in position to be passed the ball. Since he runs the team, the ball is passed to him. But instead of looking to push the ball, he now holds it for a count of two to let the defense get back. Since there's no reason any more to push it, he takes the ball up court himself, controlling the tempo, having all eyes on him as he moves up court, and then moving himself into position to the point where he will initiate the offense.

Take some relatively subtle things like this, and you can see how one player can control the team's play, making them play in a way that does not make the most of their capabilities. In the triangle it's again really simple: If one player is out of position, the others' cuts will be thrown off, and the result is that even if Kobe passes them the ball, it may be in a sub-optimal position compared to where it should be if the offense were run properly. The only way to see this is to directly compare how the offense ran in the games he was out to the games he has played recently. I can guarantee you will notice a difference.

Again: The issue is NOT is he passing or shooting. But rather, is he respecting the offense, or subtly subverting it?


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