Lakers Now

Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

« Previous Post | Lakers Now Home | Next Post »

Would the Lakers change their approach if playoffs were like the NCAA tournament?

This was a topic that NBA TV's Kyle Montgomery, Dennis Scott and Brent Barry brought up when they were mulling over an imaginary NBA bracket that resembled more the format of the NCAA tournament.

That means there were no playoff series and all the seedings were based on overall record. Thankfully, the team's RPI and strength of schedule didn't come into play, or else they would've had a really long show. The Lakers were ranked first in the West Regional bracket, earned a first-round bye, defeated Charlotte in the "Sweet 16," won against Phoenix in the "Elite 8" and then faced Orlando in the "Final Four."

That's when an interesting debate came up. Scott and Barry chose the Magic (52-22) to advance because of its 8-2 mark in the last 10 games, including recent victories against the Denver Nuggets and San Antonio Spurs. That's when Montgomery interjected

"We're not talking about the Lakers that take a night off," Montgomery said. "We're talking about the Lakers that play full steam ahead."

Still, Scott and Barry remained unsure because of Andrew Bynum's strained left Achilles' tendon, which has kept him sidelined for the last five games. Nonetheless, Montgomery's point had me wondering if the Lakers' lack of urgency is partly rooted in the fact that the NBA's playoff format involves best-of-seven series.

If the Lakers played in an NCAA tournament format last season, they'd be nowhere close to winning an NBA title with their Game 1 Western Conference Semifinal loss to Houston. While the chances of an upset increase dramatically in the NCAA tournament, I'd actually think the Lakers would play better basketball under that format. That wouldn't mean they would be more successful given the more unpredictable nature of a single-elimination tournament, but you would be seeing the Lakers at their peak. 

That also got me wondering if that's the reason why some fans still remain optimistic about the Lakers, even through their sluggish performances this month. Do you think it's not necessary for them to look sharp as the season winds down because they can just save that for a playoff series that goes at least four games? Would you be more concerned about the Lakers if they played in a single-elimination tournament?

All these questions are pretty open-ended. So rather than run a poll, I'll leave the floor open for everyone to share in the comments section below. 

-- Mark Medina

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

 
Comments () | Archives (54)

The comments to this entry are closed.

PLAYOFFS PREP...

Think about the premise of the angle MM takes regarding the difference between NCAA tourney and NBA playoffs ~ single game versus best of seven. It has profound impact on what lies ahead, as well as what is presently happening right in front of our eyes.

NCAA tourney requires winning team to win at a 100% clip. NBA playoffs require winning team to win at as little as a 57% clip (4 games to 3). The Lakers believe, truly believe, that they can win at least 57% of their playoff games without total effort in every quarter of every game.

The point can be argued with tons of credibility, that winning a series 4-0 is much better than 4-3. But, the fact is that either spread is still a series win. And the personality of this Laker team is that they don't mind winning 4-3 instead of 4-0.

Collectively, they lack several of the qualities that drive teams to 4-0 mentality. Killer instinct hasn't been seen in this team for years. So skilled, yet often seen more as a finesse team. They don't assault you like a mugger, but instead with a smug attitude. They don't seem to mind losing a game here and there (Kobe an exception) if the trade-off is long-term winning with less than full energy.

This collective identity is bigger than the team itself. The Coach possesses the same attributes. The Owner parties with playmates (Bynum smiles). The entire So Cal community exudes the laid-back lifestyle. Hollywood, beaches, sunshine, blah-blah-blah. It's a fact that Angelenos don't want to admit ~ there is a double-standard for LA Lakers and LA (fill in the blank). Personal hypocrisy at worst, institutional reality at best.

LA Laker teams will never be known for being "lunch bucket" brigade. Style AND substance rule here. And, unfortunately, part of the smug and arrogant reality of the LA style is the "Me Worry?" attitude when others are clucking, "The sky is falling!" Some call it arrogance... some call it hubris... and presently we all call it uncalled for.

Maybe the 2001 team did "flip the switch" to go 15-1. But they did it the same way they did everything else. With a smug, "Me Worry?" attitude. If you are going to root for the Lakers, you have to accept them with all the So Cal culture they represent AND possess. It is who they are.

The only way you can know if the Lakers are good enough to win the championship is to check the scoreboard when an elimination game is completed and somebody goes home.

In the history of the NBA, the Lakers have won more playoff elimination games than anyone. Of course, they have also lost more elimination games than anyone else!

I will say this for this season's rendition of the Lakers. They have the talent to win. They have shown more reasons that they will than that they won't. So, I am going to enjoy the rest of the regular season (gotta pay the bills) games, then sweat out the playoffs, and hopefully celebrate "FO" elimination game victories.

Mike

MM,

excellent questions! my .02 cents:

you wrote: While the chances of an upset increase dramatically in the NCAA tournament, I'd actually think the Lakers would play better basketball under that format. That wouldn't mean they would be more successful given the more unpredictable nature of a single-elimination tournament, but you would be seeing the Lakers at their peak.

my response: No, they wouldn't play better basketball. Why? They have
coasted for most of the season. Their timing/execution is off. They haven't
figured out how to play defense. D-Fish is a liability. There are games when
collectively, the Lakers can't spell "bucket" let alone make one. Gasol has
played soft the entire year. Bynum has been focused more on offense than
defense. Kobe has a broken finger.

you also wrote: Do you think it's not necessary for them to look sharp as the season winds down because they can just save that for a playoff series that goes at least four games?

my response: I think most of the fans are counting on a 7 game series to give
the Lakers adequate time to wake up and play winning basketball. I am not
a believer. I hope, but I don't believe. I have a hard time believing that after
playing the "wrong" way for the entire season, they are magically going to
start playing the "right" way. I have a hard time believing that Fish, Farmar,
Brown & Artest will be consistent in the playoffs with their outside shooting.
I have a hard time believing that Bynum will not be a foul magnet. I have a
hard time believing that Pau will not play soft. I have a hard time believing
that the defensive coaching obligations will be adequately addressed with one
less coach. It feels like they haven't been all year. I have a hard time
believing that Kobe will shoot 60% for the entire stretch of the playoffs.
[ note: Kobe's 60% offsets the shooting woes of D-Fish, Artest, J-Farmar, &
Brown. ]

hobbitimage - you have some great analysis right there, but I want to clarify one point, which I should've made clearer in the post. The reason why I think they'd play sharper under an NCAA format is that knowing they'd be headed for that format, they'd make sure they'd play sharper

MM


Interesting MM, I believe they would play with a much greater sense of urgency if they were faced with a single-elimination tournament...they'd almost be forced to.

Btw, thanks for choosing me for reader comment of the day a few days back. I don't have access to a computer on the weekends so I don't get to read the blog and I usually print older posts on Monday evenings and then read them when I get home from work, that way I don't miss anything.(lol)

The following quote from the Black Mamba from last May only confirms my feelings about this team's personality.I guess this is who they are and we as diehard Lakers fans will just have to live with it for the foreseeable future...as frustrating as it may be.

"Bryant was quick with a quip about the ridiculous swings in the final four games, saying: “We’re bipolar.”

http://lakers.freedomblogging.com/2009/05/17/lakers-cant-be-bipolar-in-offense-defense-either/16963/


And from that same article, some comments from Pau:

“We learned that if we play hard every night and we’re ready to compete, starting on the defensive end, we’re going to give ourselves a chance,” Gasol said. “Hopefully we’re going to carry that into the next round and to a championship. That’s something we need to do consistently, no matter what, no matter where we play. And that’s going to set the tone, and that’s going to make everything else easier.”

http://lakers.freedomblogging.com/2009/05/17/lakers-cant-be-bipolar-in-offense-defense-either/16963/


Hmmmmm, doesn't seem like much has changed from last year..now does it? Perhaps, there really is no need for concern after all.(LOL)

MM,

you wrote: The reason why I think they'd play sharper under an NCAA format is that knowing they'd be headed for that format, they'd make sure they'd play sharper

my response: You were clear. I don't think that they'd play sharper
regardless of the format. They have played with a sense of entitlement the
entire year and after admitting that they've been coasting/"lacking urgency"
we see the same exact behavior as before. Consider this: Phil wanted them
to go 5-0 on this road trip. They've already lost 2. 1 to the hornets who aren't
even going to the playoffs. They might lose again. One of the following is true:

1. They don't know how to play the way the coaches want them to play. It's
hard to believe since they just won a championship, but there it is.

2. They don't want to play the way the coaches want them to play. We have
a ton of evidence to support this from the players themselves.

3. They don't believe that playing the coaches' way will cause them to win.
Some evidence to support this from the players themselves.

If you can think of another option, do tell.

hobbitimage - you're right that the lakers haven't really changed their approach even after redefining their goals. first it was 72 wins, now it's 60. and that 5-0 trip? yeah they're 2-2 so far. i think why they would react differently is the same reason why the lakers won in game 7 against houston. they knew there was no tomorrow. the lakers say all the right things and all that but deep down inside they feel like these games really don't matter at all (even if they do).

MM

M2,

>>> It's not the same interview he did with KCAL-9, but he sounds like he's still hammered.

If you were Bruce Willis, wouldn't you be?

I do believe that the Lakers would be playing with a greater sense of urgency right now if they were facing a single elimination tournament. As it is right now, they believe that they can sharpen up their games in the easier early rounds of the playoffs. The biggest problem with that theory is that this year there may not be a single "easier round" with the quality of all eight playoff teams right now. As close as the standings are they could easily end up facing a team like Denver in the FIRST round. The Lakers would have to sharpen up their game really fast in a series like that. While I do believe that they will play the way they are capable of in the playoffs, this is a very dangerous precipice they are walking right now.

Rick - I know I think I specified that the video was a different interview. Hah I'd prolly be hammered there even if I wasn't Bruce Willis. We're not criticizing here. We're just laughing at his interview.

MM

It's funny, but I was remembering how there have been more than a few repeat Championship teams that have been touted as invincible (2001 Lakers and 1995 Rockets come immediately to mind) that have entered the playoff rounds tuckus to the wind. But they were either gritty (Rockets) or extraordinarily dominant and focused and had been playing maybe a little too much rope-a-dope during the regular season (Lakers). Either way, prior to the playoffs their chances to go all the way were roundly questioned and written off by a few, fans and pundits alike.


These Lakers, one could argue, more resemble the Houston team of the 90's than the Shaq-centric Lakers of 2001. This team has been bitten by the injury bug big time, hasn't struggled as much but has more talent in their starting 5 than the Rockets did, and we're incorporating a new veteran player.


Some folks might not know that Clyde was traded mid-season to Houston and had played basketball in his youth with Hakeem 'the Dream' Olajuwon. Paralells? A few. We're still meshing with Artest and he and Lamar played in High School whilst Glide and Dream played in college so their idea of each others game was more refined. The Shaq-centric Lakers really did just loaf through the regular season but certainly had a switch they could flip. It was Shaq and even though Hakeem had unstoppable shots, Shaq was an unstoppable man. There would be no one man guarding him it was always doubles or more and Shaq was still so quick that even slight ball fakes got guys jumping, reaching, sliding basically way over-playing him for either easy passes or easy dunks and usually a foul. Like 4 team fouls in 2:30 minutes (less if Arydas Sabonis was guarding him) so now let our shooter start driving to the rack and forcing help and he'll go to the line all night.


Both of those teams won rings after coming into the playoffs as pre-season favorites (as every Champion should be if they retain the core players that won it the first time) but eventually came into the playoffs with question marks over the locker room. I would go out on a limb and say the 2001 Lakers had a more impressive road to the ring, but that the Rockets were the more impressive champions. As a Laker fan I had felt from the beginning that the Lakers should win again. Glen Rice wasn't that essential.


Paralells? Alright, a couple. So what do we do? How do we, as fans, respond to this quandry about what our team will be? Well, I'll tell you: we rock our days, slip into our nights, turn on the game and root for team when they play. We can add positive vibes to the ethers and pray that the legs have some juice left, that the release is pure and on target and that a ball or two bounces our way. Because no matter what those champions did, these are our Champions. Sure, sure, they're frustrating.


But love often is...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-SaKbx3x_s&feature=PlayList&p=2E8E7C1236A272D8&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=20

I'd also like to go on record as being more concerned if it were one and done. I would want to see a much higher level of execution. This team seems like it has to measure it's opponent and there's no room for error in one-offs.


More heavy weight than welter weight.

Interesting experiment, too. I kind of wish the playoffs were seeeded solely on record, regardless of conference or division. The best teams should be there.

M2,

My snarky reader comment about Bruce Willis, posted only with the intent of posting a snarky reader comment, really wasn't worthy of your thoughtful, intelligent response. But I appreciate the love.

Rick - Hah sorry I didn't recognize the sarcasm font. Yeah amazingly still as hammered as the KCAL-9 interview. I love it.

MM

A huge Purple & Gold shout-out to someone I consider a dear friend, even though our only contact is on this blog.

Justanothermambafan, I hope your knee surgery goes swimmingly well, and the gain exceeds the pain. Be back among us in good health and good spirits as soon as possible.

This team was built with Drew as starter and an 9 man rotation. With AB out, its a patchwork 12 man rotation. Team dynamic is slightly off kilter. Too much thinking.

I want to add to Rick's comment. Justa, I hope your recovery has gone well. We look forward to hear from you soon.

MM

@hobbitmage


You can put me down as a point #3. Actually, I'd amend it slightly: they know that playing the 'right way' will allow them to win they just seem bored and un-motivated to do it.


Now I'm wondering if, somehow, a format like that could, you know, change the reality we live in and actually make the Clippers better.

NCAA format for NBA? Its like amateur boxing's 3 rounder against the pro's 10 rounder. One cannot appreciate skill and finesse of the Pacman or SugarRay or Ali in 3 rounds. Imagine the Rumble in the Jungle in 3 rounds?

DEFENDING THE PICK AND ROLL …
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Let me begin by saying that I was never a great player in my day but I consistently won against better players time after time because I knew how to run a sweet pick and roll. Run perfectly, a pick and roll is close to impossible to stop much less defend. Those of you who played the game and were pick and rollers will know what I mean. Smart teams and players run pick and rolls because they work.
-
I’ve never liked how the Lakers defend the pick and roll. Having your big man jump out and disrupt the ball handler and then try to scramble back to pick up the rolling screener is as certain to result in disaster as playing Russian Roulette. That is not something at which most big men excel. If the timing is off or the rotation a second slow, the screener is going to end up getting an easy layup or dunk.
-
Personally, I think you need to mix up how you defend the pick and roll in order to break the offense’s tempo and rhythm and create a sense of unpredictability on defense. With some players, the defender should never go under the pick. With others, they should always go under. Some players like LeBron and Wade should be doubled and trapped every pick and roll to force the ball out of their hands.
-
Rather than have their big men attack and then retreat when defending a pick and roll, I would rather see us go all out and try and trap the ball handler, much like Ben Howland’s UCLA teams try to do. Sticking with the double team is a lot easier for your big man that trying to scramble back into the paint to pickup the rolling screener. It eliminates the errors of hesitation which plague our players.
-
The other defensive adjustment I would make is to eliminate the corner 3, the highest percentage and easiest 3-point shot in the game. Unless the opposing player is someone who can’t shoot the trey, I would instruct our defenders to stay with their man and not help on penetration. I would rather give up the 2 points than allow outside shooters to stop dropping 3-point bombs. Just say no to corner 3’s.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

Justa:

I hope for a speedy recovery for you. Sorry for not participating in the live chat for the last two games. I punished myself after the pathetic loss against OKC last week and vow not to watch another road games on this trip. But I do read every single posts and MM's thread.

Take care buddy.

MM: regarding you scenario above. Yes, the Lakers could play better under NCAA format but again, unless they change the way they play (Like Hobbit eluded to), they could fall against #16 seed team such as OKC, Jailbalzers or SAS in the first round. Those three teams has excellent and fast PG which cause this Lakers lots of problems this season. Beside Kobe, non on the Lakers on this team display the highest intensity levels to springboard themselves in the coming playoff. Not to bash the coaching staff, they can't seems to tune Farmar & Brown to play "SMART" ball and contribute to the team when the starter (DFish) is struggle! For our PG issue, I blame first, the players, then the coach and finally the management who decided to stay put and not making any move when they have the chance. Why do we need Ammo on the bench when we could get Hinrich from Chicago? I'm sure Chicago would deal Hinrich to the Lakers for the expiring contract of Ammo and Sasha.

This team CAN NOT turn on once the playoff start like the 2001 team with Shaq. That team has a much better role players who know how to play the game. This current team is full of wannna-be!!!

I'm starting a roll call for Sasha to get some minutes for the rest of the season. Sure, the machine is not as good as last year but he displays more heart than Farmar and Brown. Who's with me?

I couldn't agree more Wallace....I've been saying all along, Farmar & Brown's tandem will not work well, especially when they are up against talented guards, these two lack defensive skills, they are prone to shoot first before passing the ball to open teammates..for sometime we've been enthralled by Brown's high flying stunt w/c some laker fans admire, not bad but that's not what we need...we need substance, consistency, passion, knowledge of the game, when to shoot or pass....jackson should now use Sasha, he does not play well bec. he is sitting on the bench all season long. Yes, he was offline last year but whenever he plays though for 3-5 mins this season his defense is still there and recently he is passing the ball well, looking for open teammates and really played well....give this guy a chance for he's proven his worth for the many playoffs the lakers had especially those struggling years...

Hola crew ;)

No, I didn't die.
I just packed a fair amount of sleeping hours under the belt.
I felt none I could have written down could have summonize anything that did happen against the Hornets (or that is happening in this lazy last branch of the regular season).
So I just decided it was time for me to read, and SLEEP.

I guess some sleep is also what Lakers lack.

Not properly "physical sleep".
I mean more a kind of brush off of all tensions gained from these months, a moment where they can just back off and erase, and start it again.

I am not concerned.
Someway I know they can start a new chapter with the playoffs.

Sure, maybe a different formula could shake them.
But it would be really the way to go?

Motivations are the trickiest, most difficult impulses to get and mantain in sports.
In team sports, the variability of any of the players approach make the difficulty of thate xponentially greater and growing, game after game.

It's not merely what ONE or TWO players feel inside and show on court: it's the way their will and wish are consistent and MATCHEABLE in the same way, at the same time.

Which is why to win after a loss is easier.
It's because it's easier for anybody involved to define the target and to decode the feeling inside to reach that target.

It's a case of "I've been slapped on my face, hurt in my pride, and put down: now I will show you, world, that I'm none of that loser you think I am."

This was the feeling last year.

That was our drive last year.

It can be our drive THIS year.

This is the drive of OTHER teams this year.

This year Lakers know (just like they were knowing last season) that this team talent-wise is the best.

They know through experience that they can switch on/off and still going.

That is a double sharped knife: it's true, and they know they can try and save energies (mainly mental, which are the ones really important actually in playoffs); at thge same time, this year they have led too easily into self-complacency confiding in that skill they do actually have.

I know many here are blaming the coaching staff for this failed attempt of mantaining a greater focus during regular season.

Given that I would like to see how any of those complaining would deal with a combination of egos like the one laying in the Lakers Realm, and see how easy might be to adjust that, I actually think what really has weakened also that attempt at more defined intensity still the fact we are dealing with bothering healthy issues from the whole season going on.

I know: also last year.

But not this way, not this recurrently, not this spread among ALL of our guys, and moreover, again... last year the heart band-aid we were wearing over our spirits and that sense of compelling resurgence to broadcast for all to see was covering these kind of minus.

It was the primary imput and it was the greater of need any one there was having.

If you have ever played sports... you know and feel what I am talkin about.

I smile when I hear remarks about these players "not willing it enough".

They DO want it a lot.

But to feel that will and then being TIMED with that wil and moreover find a COMMON timing of it in all of our teammates is such a difficult, perfectly teasing chemistry to achieve it's simplistic to assume one just has to "willing some" to be factually shown on court.

Am I digressing out of recincts?

No.

The point is this team has the most talent and skill of the whole lot.
This team wants to win and KNOWS what it takes.

These are the GOOD odds.

Sadly, this team is not healthy enough yet to show that predominant material we're made of.
But we're recovering, and if we do recover ENOUGH (let's ay to a good 80-85%) we still the team that most easily is led to another parade.
Yes. It takes just that from us.
But that has to be put on the plate.

That is the Negative odd.

Will the rest of this regular season solve the doubt and make a choice between the two odds?

No way.

It's just some more basket to watch.

I don't read anything in it.

I can't, cos not even my players read anything in it.

I know that patience is not often a skill of the sport fanatic, but gotta preach some of it anyway, unless you don't like to be torn in your feellings and have bitter soul too constantly.

Tonight I will be interested in watching the game, cos Atlanta is playing nicely this year.

I think we will win.
But that won't really matter.

I just hope we do cos the two games after I won't be follow the games (shame on me, shame on me...) cos I am in a very romantic Easter Holiday and we probably don't get to watch tv there.

So Lakers... be cute on me and play decently today, okay?

I am a faithful one.

This team proved me I am right in being mre faithful than not.

So there you go.

Have all a great day ;)
Later , Z. :)

NCAA format?
Does the top seed play at home all the way through or are all games played in a neutral sight?
If the Lakers get all the home games then I think they make it to the final 2.
And where is that final game played?
Anyway. that's just fantasy BBall talk.

Don't forget folks, we get home court all the way through the west.
The Lakers play much better at home. Much better.
Do you see any west team winning a game 7 in LA?
I don't.

If any team in the west is going to knock the Lakers out it will need to be in less than 7 games by maybe stealing game 1 or 2 and winning all their home games.
No one will beat the Lakers in a game 7 in LA.

The great thing about the insatiable march of technology is that it often leaves inexpensive art, like used $1 vinal albums, in it's wake. I missed the whole Springsteen thing growing up, but with the help of $1 vinal album section at my local music store, I found this great love song from Bruce to his car:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HFht4MPiPs


Wes

Interesting question, MM. Would the Lakers change their approach/urgency? Yes. But would this mean they would "win the tournament"? No, it wouldn't. Reason: this team is not built to win individual games, it is built to grind out a SERIES against any opponent...3 out 5, 4 out of 7, whateva.

As I've pointed out before, the Lakers' signature characteristic is that they can be assembled and re-assembled in more situational combinations than any other team in the league. So you might be ambush them in one game or a couple of games, but it's really tough to win 3, and darn near impossible to take 4 from them.

That doesn't mean that any particular combination is invincible. In fact, this is a fatally flawed team (at PG, and no consistent shooter for 3s) in a fixed rotation. That's exactly why we get embarrassed some nights by lower ranked teams who have a hot night. But in a series, Phil keeps sending waves of combinations at them until he finds their weak spots and then relentlessly exploits them to win the series.

I love the Lakers with a passion, but I can be brutally honest about them. And the truth is that this is not a great team. The Magic-Worthy-Kareem teams were great teams. This Laker edition is a versatile team with one truly great player...a Swiss army knife team with lots of very useful tools and really sharp, badazz blade for survival. And that's it...we're not going to crush every team in sight, we're going to survive every series.

Understand that basic fact and you can better handle the frustration of the individual game clunkers against inferior opponents.

hobbitmage i just wanna pointout gasol started really strong this season, when he came from eurobasket, but his level droped down as hell after few months, and now his level is rising up. Its obvious that gasol needed a rest, physically he has been playing most of the season under mininum of energy, but now he is back so im sure its not a casual fact, it was planned like that, so i dont think gasol softness will be a problem, and im sure he is highly motivated.

I said few weeks ago, when everybody was blaming gasol, something a spanish expert in basketball said: "during this years following his carreer, all i know, is that at the end, on the overall , if u stay on gasol's side u always win" and i still think the same.

If the Lakers do lose in the playoffs, particularly the first round, many of you here are going to look very silly.

I'm still in the camp that says the Lakers, and any team for that matter, just can't change into a championship calibur team simply because the games start to count.

We will see...

*** LETS ROLL ***
The Lakers roll the dice, what will the outcome be, will it be craps, or a lucky victory
7 is the number, of games left to play, before this regular season, finally fades away
Listen Laker fans , No need to hedge your bet, Roll with Phil & Kobe, a payoff you will get
First get the regular season, over & out the way, blowout the Hawks, then the rest of the NBA
Have Faith Laker Bloggers, be Fearless instead of sad, We’ll win the title, because Kobes Bad
Even if Princess Jimmy, does get every call, It doesn't mean nothing, Lakers will still win it all
The Freakin LA Lakers, will continue dynasty4, because winning rings, is what we play for
This games for Justa, havimg surgery Oouchhh, don’t get 2phatt Justa, get up off that couch
Yes they will win, because that’s what they do, Freaking LA Lakers, I’m freakin proud of You.

*
MORE MINUTES FOR THE SASHA (THE MACHINE) DON’T BE MEAN – BANDWAGON
*
(01) WALLACE – OWNER - I'm starting a roll call for Sasha to get some minutes for the rest of the season. Sure, the machine is not as good as last year but he displays more heart than Farmar and Brown. Who's with me?
(02) MAMBA24 – DRIVER – I’ll take that ride with you Wallace. In fact I’ll drive the Van.

In case you missed it yesterday
Mamba,
So, I have noticed that you have Troy listed on your roll calls. I would imagine it is for the "other" Troy as I have only been here a little over a week. Where it's a little confusing is that I have been using Troy instead of Troy B on the game chats since that is my myspace name (maybe I should just use an entirely new name, hmmm assasin? I'll think about it). Anyways I would like to be added to future rollcalls/welcome please, I am a lakerholic and I'm here to stay. Also add me to the get well Justa bandwagon, this blog's not the same without you brother.

Non-sequitor:

I'm watching MSNBC today and they're talking about teens. Only 1/3 of American teens can presently read at a PROFICIENT (not excelled, proficient) level.

Wow.

What are they listening to?

Rap music. The dumbest music America has ever produced and representing the absolute worst of African-American culture. It's so sad.

I'm amazed that a culture that produced John Coltraine's "A Love Supreme" and Percy Sledge's "When A Man Loves A Woman" now celebrates no-talents like Lil' Wayne and Kanye West. It's absolutely tragic.

I invite you to compare the melodic structure of John Coltraine's "Giant Steps" and then compare it to Beyonce's one-chord melody of "Soldier" and I'm sure you'll see that something is going very, very wrong in America's ability to appreciate aesthetics with any degree of complexity.

Once a culture loses its ability to appreciate aesthetics intelligently, the next thing that collapses is the ability to maintain ethical standards, as aesthetics and ethics are intimately tied to one another psychologically.

To say I'm concerned is a massive understatement.

I'd love to find the music industry executives and music journalists that pushed Rap music upon our culture and hang them by their toes.

Anyhow, is it game time yet? I really could use a distraction from the fact that American culture is bicycling blindfolded towards a cliff whilst whistling Beyonce's "Soldier."

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Good morning,

Here we go again. The slog through another end-of-regular season game, this time in Atlanta. The final installment of a nightmarish 5-game road trip. Since the Lakers were blown out to sea by the Hornets' hurricane, only Kobe has broken the code of silence imposed since the Monday night blow-out.

"It's important for me to put my foot on the gas and have in our mind's eye the kind of urgency that we need to play with in order to defend [the championship]," Bryant told NBA TV host Ernie Johnson and analysts Kevin McHale and Chris Webber.

http://bit.ly/a4qYRa

Right on! Actually, I have another thought about where Kobe might want to put that foot, but I won't go there.

Kobe's appearance on NBA-TV has been the lone exception to the news blackout since Monday. No pronouncements from Mt. Jackson. No Tuesday practice for traveling beat reporters to sniff around and take the team's temperature. Sure, there was word Luke is scheduled to practice on Thursday and that Andrew likely won't play this weekend, but other than those two breadcrumbs, only silence.

That leaves some of us only the Monday night images of Kobe punching a chair with only seconds left in the game, coaches and players screaming at each other, and a host of angry facial and body contortions on and off the court.

This blog's Mark Medina and its former host Andy Kamentzky wisely saw the need to inject some humor into the conversation. M2 treated us to another Bruce Willis clip, and AK to an hilarious Caron Butler clip.

http://bit.ly/bUU36d
http://bit.ly/cN1Pw3

So, what gives? Since the final buzzer on Monday night, every breakdown has been chronicled. Every player has been bashed in one post or another. Half the team, especially the bench, has already been projected into exile before the playoffs even begin. Potential successors to Phil are already being named.

Whoah! Not so fast, buckaroos.

When you're flying and the plane hits some turbulence, you fasten your seatbelt and count on the captain to navigate his way out of it. You bet on the crew to deal with it and land the plane safely.

If you're a regular reader, you already know my confidence in Captain Jackson and his coaching crew in the cockpit is at an all-time low. We'll find out soon enough if he is Captain Queeg or Captain Scully. But in the meantime, the Lakers are still enroute to that NBA Finals destination. I'm still betting on a safe landing, a trophy ceremony, and a parade. Go Lakers!

So, Sasha's not getting enough minutes because he's arguing with Brian Shaw? Do I have that right? Does that make sense? It doesn't make sense to me.

By the way, Ron Artest needs to forget that he's a role player on offense and start aggressively trying to score.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Sorry for all the typos on my post above, but an iPhone at an airport is an iffy proposition for long posts.

And mamba24, put me on the Sasha Bandwagon as Gunner Re-Loader. He's our only pure shooter and I want him re-loaded for the playoffs.

Eurotriple,

Hola/Bonjour!

you wrote: i just wanna pointout gasol started really strong this season, when he came from eurobasket, but his level droped down as hell after few months, and now his level is rising up.

my response: If by the start of the season you mean the "preseason", I don't
count that. If by the start of the season you mean October/November .... he
had a hamstring pull/strain and didn't play. If you mean after October/Nov ...
we played a lot of home games and we played a lot of non-playoff caliber
teams. When you say his level dropped down ... did you correlate that with
teams who started playing him physically? As soon as he started getting
pushed around he tanked.

you also wrote this: Its obvious that gasol needed a rest, physically he has been playing most of the season under mininum of energy, but now he is back so im sure its not a casual fact, it was planned like that, so i dont think gasol softness will be a problem, and im sure he is highly motivated.

my response: After getting a Silver medal at the Olympics Pau came back &
crushed for the entire season. Is it your contention that the Euro
championship is significantly harder than the Olympics? I would think that
they are comparable in wear/tear on the body. The Olympics did not
significantly affect any of team USA and seems not to have affected any of
the foreign players. The Euro championships seem not to have affected any
of the other foreign players except Pau.

finally you wrote: "during this years following his carreer, all i know, is that at the end, on the overall , if u stay on gasol's side u always win" and i still think the same.

my response: Actually, at Memphis, this statement is false. Wasn't he 0-12 in
playoff games in Memphis?

Hey guys a new post should be up rather shortly.

Jon K - Hey man can't let that comment about Willis pass. Can't approve anything that involves gossip or innuendo.

MM

Hello Mark,
thanks for your good work on the blog...i have something i want to ask..the issues plaguing the Lakers have got to be more than the often given reason "lack of effort just because they don't care"...that reason is correct without a doubt but doesn't suffice to explain why there have been quite a few letdowns..bad ones...you yourself mentioned that there wasn't a switch they could flip to make the problems disappear magically when playoffs come around..they might be the most talented team in the league but the others are not far behind..other teams have productive point guards..guys like Howard who are consistent in blocking shots...rebounding..the trio of "Bryant,Gasol,Odom" and Ron-Ron,Bynum are the core of our "talent" but they aren't consistent except for Bryant and Gasol..and Ron on the defensive end..man for man..we can make an argument that our team is most talented but not by a landslide...our road record isn't stellar this season..we have hardly beaten any elite team in a convincing fashion...something needs to click for the Lakers to really come into their own...if the aforementioned reason was enough..the losses like the ones to thunder and hornets wouldn't have left Bryant seething....and PJ disgusted...
Prady

Hmmm. One of my posts has vanished....


Hmmm.


Wes

Mark,

"Hey man can't let that comment about Willis pass. Can't approve anything that involves gossip or innuendo."

How is it gossip if I'm relaying actual experience?

I actually toned it down heavily and took out the REALLY salicious details.

It's not gossip when it's true.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Jon K - I'm just following the Times' guidelines

MM

PradyinLA - Thanks for the kind words and I'm glad you enjoy the blog. You're right. The Lakers' problems have more to do than just effort. That would obviously be entirely simplistic. Some of the problems include, the team's lack of offensive chemistry between of guys shuffling in and out of the lineup because of injury, injuries themselves, turnovers, the team's defense on the perimeter mainly at point guard (Derek Fisher, Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar), the team's defense on the pick and roll, Ron Artest's understanding of the triangle offense and very poor bench play. I think the positive things have been the chemistry Kobe, Pau and Drew (when he wasn't hurt) have established, Lamar's consistent work on the glass and inside/outside scoring and Artest's defense. Even though the challenges I mentioned before about the Lakers have contributed to some of their losses, I obviously think the biggest factor is the effort. No one can win 82 games. No one, so far, can win more than 72. But there were a lot more losses the Lakers had just because of playing through the motions than any of the problems I listed above. Obviously the Lakers would like to correct those problems, but they're not severe enough I think where it will make or break the season. The Lakers' effort, on the other hand, I think could determine how far the Lakers go in the playoffs.

MM

To all:

Any NBA team can beat any other NBA team on any given night. The best of seven is another matter entirely.

Facts: Artest is a great defensive player but does not have Ariza's intangibles. Gasol is a tall 4, not a 5, and the non-contact style of European basketball doesn't lend itself to winning NBA championships. In the NBA Finals last year, the Lakers won the "critical Game" which they could have lost. Take away that Lakers victory, and the outcome of the Finals last year could (not would) have been much different. This year, Dwight Howard will not be as stupid. Throw into the mix the obvious: Kobe is not the player he was five years ago. What are the Lakers left with then? A Kobe who is one of the best five players in the world. Is it good enough to win the NBA Championship again this year in light of his broken fingers and excessive miles on his body? No. Does that mean the Lakers will not win the NBA title? No. So what gives? Simply this: The Lakers that have to step up will determine whether they repeat. Who exactly? Farmar, Brown, Fisher and, yes, Gasol. Will they repeat? I don't know.

This current five-game road trip... I said if they don't win four out of five they won't win the NBA Championship. They are two and two going into tonight's game against the Hawks, which they could lose. So, at best, they'll go 3/5, at worst, 2/5. Either way, does this last five games performance show the grit necessary to repeat as champions? No. Still, the Lakers didn't do well against Orlando last season...except in the Finals. But don't expect Cleveland to fold like last year. I don't think Orlando can beat Cleveland this year in a seven-game series. That means the Lakers will face Cleveland in the Finals. The Lakers record against the Cavs this year? 0/2...

Terry Dawson

@CORNER J, Will do brother.
*
TROY B, my apologies I put it on but I forgot to get back to you. Check row 15 at the end of row. Again my apologies to not getting back to you bro.
Mamba24(Larry)

*
MORE MINUTES FOR SASHA (THE MACHINE) DON’T BE MEAN – BANDWAGON
*
(01) WALLACE – OWNER - I'm starting a roll call for Sasha to get some minutes for the rest of the season. Sure, the machine is not as good as last year but he displays more heart than Farmar and Brown. Who's with me?
(02) MAMBA24 – DRIVER – I’ll take that ride with you Wallace. In fact I’ll drive the Van.
(03) CORNER-J - put me on the Sasha Bandwagon as Gunner Re-Loader. He's our only pure shooter and I want him re-loaded for the playoffs.

The Lakers' effort, on the other hand, I think could determine how far the Lakers go in the playoffs.

MM
Posted by: Mark Medina | March 31, 2010 at 08:20 AM


I still disagree with you about the effort and urgency stuff Mark.

I see effort in their games, I see sweat and tired players. Obviously they are putting forth effort.

I still think it's more a matter of skill and focus.
By focus I mean concentration on playing correctly, when to pass, when to shoot, where to be on the floor, awareness, basically what to be doing when. In other words, focused.

You can usually see focus in Kobe's face more than any other Laker.

Loss of focus results in the poor passes, turnovers, missed shots, etc etc.

The other element I mentioned, skill, is just obvious. A skilled player/team is going to win most of the time, but not always. Sometimes they will play another very skilled team, maybe not their equal but one more focused and the more focused team will win.

Effort and urgency without skill and focus won't get them very far.

Mamba24,

Agree we should be seeing more of Sasha.
Play him enough to give him a confidence boost.

Effort and urgency without skill and focus won't get them very far. Posted by: Art-FL Laker Fan | March 31, 2010 at 08:44 AM
*
NOW THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!
Mamba24(LarrY)

"he displays more heart than Farmar and Brown" - Wallace, re: Sasha

I absolutely agree!

Good shooting or bad shooting, Sasha plays with HEART.

Larry, please put me in the bandwagon as the Ball Boy.


LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

Lakers will crush the Hawks by 10 points or more.

Our leader have spoken, it's time for some playoff type action!


LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

*
MORE MINUTES FOR SASHA (THE MACHINE) DON’T BE MEAN – BANDWAGON
*
(01) WALLACE – OWNER - I'm starting a roll call for Sasha to get some minutes for the rest of the season. Sure, the machine is not as good as last year but he displays more heart than Farmar and Brown. Who's with me?
(02) MAMBA24 – DRIVER – I’ll take that ride with you Wallace. In fact I’ll drive the Van.
(03) CORNER-J – GUNNER RE-LOADER - put me on the Sasha Bandwagon as Gunner Re-Loader. He's our only pure shooter and I want him re-loaded for the playoffs.
(04)
(05) ART-FL LAKER FAN – RIDDING SHOTGUN - Agree we should be seeing more of Sasha.
Play him enough to give him a confidence boost.
(06) JOVBATZ44 – BALL BOY - he displays more heart than Farmar and Brown" - Wallace, re: Sasha absolutely agree! Good shooting or bad shooting, Sasha plays with HEART. please put me in the bandwagon as the Ball Boy.

PREACH JOVBATZ44, PREACH!! Make the Hawks Obey!!

MORE MINUTES FOR SASHA (THE MACHINE) DON’T BE MEAN – BANDWAGON
*
(01) WALLACE – OWNER - I'm starting a roll call for Sasha to get some minutes for the rest of the season. Sure, the machine is not as good as last year but he displays more heart than Farmar and Brown. Who's with me?
(02) MAMBA24 – DRIVER – I’ll take that ride with you Wallace. In fact I’ll drive the Van.
(03) CORNER-J - put me on the Sasha Bandwagon as Gunner Re-Loader. He's our only pure shooter and I want him re-loaded for the playoffs.

Posted by: Mamba24 | March 31, 2010 at 08:28 AM

======
Please add me as now is not the time to hold grudges. Time to fight opponents united.


Connect

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video

All Things Lakers »

Your database for all things purple and gold.

Find a Laker

Search a name

Select a season

Choose one of our lists



Categories


Archives
 

About the Bloggers


Bleacher Report | Lakers

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More Lakers on Bleacher Report »



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists:


In Case You Missed It...