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Caught in the Web: Dissecting the Lakers' 91-88 loss to Portland Trail Blazers


Game stories

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan details the poorly executed sequences that defined the Lakers' 91-88 loss Sunday to the Portland Trail Blazers.'s Bryan Chu notes that Portland would like to face the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding notes that the Lakers are increasingly worried about their play.

--The Oregonian's Joe Freeman highlights what Trail Blazers center Marcus Camby calls the team's "weird and wacky" victory.

--The Riverside Press-Enterprise's David Lassen details the Lakers' missed free throws down the stretch.

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford says the Lakers put together a clinic on how to lose a game in the final minute.


--The Times' Bresnahan details Ron Artest's struggling performance against Portland.

--The Register's Janis Carr reports that Lakers guard Jordan Farmar and his fiancee are expecting a child.

--The Orange County Register's Ding reports center Andrew Bynum doesn't plan on practicing today. Nor does he plan to play Tuesday against Sacramento or Wednesday against the Clippers.

--The Daily News' Teaford notes that Lakers guard Derek Fisher didn't take the news kindly when he was told Portland wants to play the Lakers in the playoffs.


--The Times' Mark Heisler provides some perspective on the current state of the Lakers.'s J.A. Adande wonders if the Lakers are playoff ready.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi doubts the Lakers' chances to repeat.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin argues that Lakers forward Pau Gasol is the only player on the team performing at playoff-caliber level.

--The Register's Jeff Miller argues that the Lakers' displayed tremendous arrogance during the loss to Portland.

--The Press-Enterprise's Gregg Patton argues that the game's final play made it obvious that the Lakers preferred conserving energy to forcing overtime.


--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy and Brian Kamenetzky break down the maddening final moments of the Lakers' loss.

--Forum Blue and Gold mostly gives the Trail Blazers credit for the win.

--Hoopsworld's Eric Pincus has a detailed blog highlighting the key trends of the game.

--The headline at Silver Screen and Roll says it all: "The Lakers are inventing bizarre new ways to lose."'s Mike Trudell has a complete rundown of what he calls a "dramatic, or strange ending" to the Lakers' loss.

More Lakers links

--The Times' Jerry Crowe recounts how the Minneapolis Lakers averted disaster 50 years ago during a team flight.

--Lakers Nation's Daniel Buerge compares Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

--Fox Sports' Randy Hill explains why the Orlando Magic would benefit with home-court advantage if they met the Lakers in the NBA Finals.

--ESPN's Marc Stein hands out his season awards.

Tweet of the Day: "That's a tough loss for the Lakers and a HUGE win for Portland. Even if the Blazers finish 8th, it's a mega dose of confidence." ChrisMannixSI (Sports Illustrated's NBA reporter Chris Mannix)

Reader Comment of the Day: "Can't think of one positive thing to say after that loss. The playoffs start in one week and the Lakers don't look very sharp at the moment." -- bronxlakerfan

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Kobe Bryant stumbles as he tries to drive around Blazers point guard Andre Miller in the second quarter Sunday. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (22)

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Anyone noticed how Shannon Brown often does not operate within the offense? He over dribbles and takes a lot of off balance jumpers, sometimes early in the clock; one of them yesterday Mike Bream pointed out that Gasol was wide open under the basket. I will note Brown also did a lot of things right, but the things he does wrong seems to indicate either a lack of individual restraint (and as such is an isolated incident) OR is indicative of Phil not coaching these guys as he should.

Unless I am just reading too much into it. Just seems to be that Brown's shot selection illustrates not a lot of guidance is being provided to the players.

Well, Kobe is dragging one leg due to the bad knee so that's one thing. He's been a warrior all his career so its no surprise that over time, things tend to catch up to you! The lakers still have a better chance with him on the floor than without ! The bottom line is that other players are not stepping up..Ron has to be consistent and aggressive and be able to execute shots at close range --- you just have to cash those money balls in the basket. For so long, everyone has been so reliant on Kobe and now that he is laboring, we want to str8t diss this man and say he's washed up and this, and that! Basketball is a team game so if you are truly a baller as these guys claim to be then you have to make those opportunities, however few they may get, you have to make them count. Its not about plays not being called for you or whatever excuse they uss. I don't see that with other teams, you hear players say, "I just try to make my opportunities count for however long I am on the court, I just want to make a play for my team to help them win." Our players missed multiple open shots during one spell but all anyone can say is, Kobe is losing games for the team and he is done! Yall mofos got it twisted!

The team is in trouble because they are not executing for 48 minutes and we are weak in overall talent after 6 players..

Andrew is probably not going to come back and be able to give us whatever and nobody else has taken a personal responsibility to step up consistently off the bench..

We have problems beyond Kobe. You all need to recognize!

Posted by: lakersrydeordie | April 12, 2010 at 06:47 AM

This is so true, the part with no plays being called for a great point..I posted about this b4 in regards to Pau and Fisher throwing kobe under the buss.(oops lol)also posted that Ron ron isn't exactly workin out so far..(again meanin as good as he should or could be)anyhow case in point you never heard chauncy calling out Melo or anyone calling out dwight or lebron..but these guys had to prove to everyone they could stand up to Kobe. however the blame starts with ones self b4 you say he/she did or didn't one should say I... this definately starts from the top ie..phil while som may want to talk about tanking games for tactical reasons many times this season and in the past phil has lost games for his weird subs or lack of..and that last play with pau..that was amazing all I could do was laugh..
btw the article above for once doesn't have a direct reference to Kobe..whether positive or negative...

The 'threw the game' theory is crazy, but I'll admit that the thought seeped into my head when Kobe missed the free throws and when Sasha got most of the PT. Looks like Sasha is Phil's mental subject du jour. First he was in the dog house, next he gets Ron's minutes.

Phil is up to something....

-EVERYBODY NEEDS TO check out the Land O' Lakers blog link and see Kevin Arnovitz's breakdown video!!-

Portland's defense is what caused Pau to take that last shot.

Batum may be on of the League's best defenders on Bryant. Watch and see what I mean.


We have problems beyond Kobe. You all need to recognize!
Posted by: lakersrydeordie | April 12, 2010 at 06:47 AM
Do I have to say it? OUT FREAKIN STANDING!!

Dan the man -

I agree: Batum is clearly one of the league's better defenders (as far as wing players are concerned). I still think he has a little ways to go as far as what KG did in his last year with Minnesota.

I wouldn't mind having him on the Lakers, but that type of speculation is for after the season ends, whenever that may be.

Comments regarding bench production are misguided.
Blazers bench played 94 minutes, Lakers bench played 55 minutes.

Its expected more minutes results in more points. Especially if a bench players like Webster and Fernandez get extended burn and find their rhythm.

Farmar was 0-5 which happens when you only play 14 minutes and have end of shot clock field goal attempts.

Biggest problem is not the bench -- its FISHER and perimeter defense.

Seems like Phil didn't even comment that Fish was getting ripped to threads by Andre Miller. Did anyone beside me see Miller abuse Fisher on drives to the basket in the 3 quarter? Miller went baseline and made Fisher look impotent.

Fisher also commits stupid fouls and makes dumb plays. Farmar, Brown and Sasha must bite their tongue in film meetings when they see Fisher getting torched ....

Haven't seen on court play that reflects Fisher's veteran presence making the Lakers a better team (sorry Mark). Based on stats and visual evidence Fisher sucks!

My fellow Laker fan, Brother Wallace:

Frankly speaking I have been disillusioned with our team since the ASG, there were opportunities to beef up the line up and we didn't make any move. Kobe has been injured throughout the year. Nobody remembered now the pinky that he played thru last season, olympics to this season then more injuries sustained as such the Mamba moves we are familiar with becaume a little earthworm's wiggle. It does not stink nor it has venom power. As such Lakers became a laughing stock. I go both ways, I jeer at the cheer leaders in this blog as well as those posters that maligned the team like vermins on dark corners. They call themselves Laker fans, yet does not offer any tangible solution. Worst, are those who personalized this blog as if it is their toy or hubbies, they are Laker fans in passing.

What are we hoping now?

That those injured get healed in two weeks time. That those not injured but have mentally and psychologically needs boosters would wake up to realities. Whether they are going to be with the Lakers next season or not, they have to fulfill their obligations to their present employer or at least impressed their future employers. If they continue on a downward swing making poor decisions game after game, their tenure in the NBA would be short lived. Lakers are looked upon by other teams as a model employer. Therefore, it is not to their advantage to get revenge by playing dam-dam as a washed-up and has-been Laker. If they have a sustainable brain to think, they can defend, rebound, assist and do something worthwhile for a few minutes out there. Don't keep on bricking shot after shots or contribute to turnovers. It is really very frustrating for long timed watcher to watch immature and inept players.

hey you are not a born loser, you belonged to the team of Baylor, Chamberlain and West followed by Johnson, Jabbar, Goodrich and Worthy. Mentioning those names should send chills to the spine of Artest, Farmar, Brown, Sasha, Fisher, Odom , Powell, Walton to play an inspired and emotional basketball. I also believed Andrew is being reserved for the playoffs, if that is the case then hone up skills in free throwing, defense without fouling, study the moves of the greatest Centers than just sitting there idle and wishy washy in fleecing the Laker management.

Then, this.....yeah sigh, I'm a Laker Fan (another concocted name of cowards) stating the obvious that the loss yesterday was BIG TIME!.......For avid watchers in this blog, all losses were all BIG TIME. We cannot compete with handicapped players out there. That is obvious. Losing to Orlando Magic on home court advantage is the LEAST of Laker worries. Unfortunately, these dude generations are either hyper or hypo, there is no cool dude in the middle.

Our greatest concern are the following : Is there enough time for Kobe's index finger to heal? Is there enough time to teach Fisher, Farmar, Vujacic and Brown to be consistent and help the Lakers rather being destructive on their presence to the team? Is there enough time for Luke Walton to contribute as a veteran since 2004 till 2013? Do you have any shame in getting something out of nothing from this team since 2004? And finally to Artest - THIS IS IT this is the culmination of your dream to get a ring. With your presence how can you contribute gems to that 2010 ring or you 're busted plain do-nothing Hollywood star struck junkie? We need your guts, the fighter RonRon you are known for, not influenced by professional Laker brickers.

Hey conspiracy geniuses. If they missed the free throws on purpose
why even go for the rebound like Pau did and throw it out to Fisher ?

A few threads ago, somebody posted what I thought was the most intelligent thing I've read in some time. It was about how the Lakers have been tanking games to avoid certain 1st round matchups.

I completely agree, and it makes sense.

No way this Laker team beats Portland in the 1st round, and they know it. So, losing to the Blazers get that team out of that 8th spot, and the Lakers avoid them 1st round. I don't feel comfortable with Oklahoma City being #8 either, but I'll take them over the Blazers. There's only two teams in the west that can be the Lakers in a 7 game series; the Denver Nuggets, and the Portland Trailblazers. Anything we can do to avoid playing those games is a must-do.

Look, the NBA is all about matchups. There are certain teams that just matchup better with the Lakers. The Cavs have the same problem (Charlotte, Atlanta, and to an extent, Orlando).

The Lakers don't match up well with Denver, Portland, Boston, and Cleveland.

In a strange way, I think PJ knows what he's doing. Nevertheless, I still don't think the Lakers get out of the West this year.


I must admit that I am a bit confused with the Lakers right now, though I am hoping for the best come Playoff time. One thing about Kobe playing in the last two regular season games may be about getting his timing back, etc. We need him sharp in the Playoffs.

Good morning,

Wake me when the playoffs start.

Good night.

Not sure there is a Lakers line up with Fisher, including a line up with Bynum as an effective post presence, that will enable the Lakers to repeat.

Kobe simply can't carry the load and overcome Fisher's liabilities.

Last year, I said Fisher was the problem --- and he was.
Kobe, Gasol etc, simply overcame Fisher's terrible play and won anyway.

Don't think its possible this year.

Prediction is that Phil will start Farmar or play him major minutes in a Lakers elimination game. Phil won't make a change until its too late.

As LTLF said, "Farmar should have started in December" to see if he was the answer. As is, we don't know the answer, we sure know the problem --- TERRIBLE point guard play.

Guys a new post is up. Edwin, you had some great insight there. I think that's a reader comment of the day nomination.


All right, all you Off-The-Bandwagon So-Called Fans can tell me I'm delusional or hitting the pipe. But, if the next few days play out the way I think and these matchups occur, then the Lakers (especially with Bynum back on the floor and LO back on the 2nd unit) have the ability to work their way back into the NBA Finals.

My thoughts are that Dallas, Denver, Phoenix and Portland will each split their last 2 games while Utah, OKC and San Antonio will win out. Resulting in the 1st time in NBA history all 8 playoff teams in a conference will have 50+ wins.

So here's my predictions for Western Conference Playoffs...

First Round Matchups:

1. Lakers v. 8. Blazers (Lakers in 6--7 if Roy comes back healthy)
2. Mavericks v. 7. Thunder (Mavs in 7)
3. Jazz v. 6. Spurs (Spurs in 7--Utah went 4-0, but hasn't played revitalized Spurs at all (Last Game was Jan. 20th))
4. Suns v. 5. Nuggets (Suns in 7)

Western Conference Semis Matchups:

1. Lakers v. 4. Suns (Lakers in 5)
2. Mavericks v. 6. Spurs (Mavs in 7)

Western Conference Finals:

1. Lakers v. 2. Mavericks (Lakers in 7--KB24 finds a way)

NBA Finals: Too Soon To Tell Matchup...

It's been a grueling 2nd half. For a while Lakers fans were underestimating the team's problems. Now we're back to freaking out, but I think this is all pretty simple:

With a reasonably healthy Bynum the Lakers are still the team to beat. Without him they might lose in the 1st round. Why?
--This team is slow and can only play one type of game - they have to funnel ballhandlers into the middle on defense and rely on their bigs because they can't matchup on the perimeter. Although Bynum isn't the greatest defender, you can't push him around like Gasol and this makes all of the difference. The only guys with true speed are undersized and not very good: Farmar and Brown.
---When Odom starts, there isn't a single guy on the bench who commands respect.

Whatever happens, they've given it their best this year and the upcoming offseason will provide them with tons of opportunities to upgrade. While everyone is jostling for the big names they can look for guys like Billups, Livingston and other dudes to fill roles. If they have a HUGE deal up their sleeves then great but I don't see it happening.

Yeah, that's right: let's get Shaun Livingston in purple and gold and show the Clippers what they gave up on.

Lakers are still the greatest.

I was at the game yesterday , sat 15 feet from the Lakers bench and can assure all of you , Lakers gave it 100% and still lost to a team with their best man out (Roy).
Some people are probably watching some other Lakers team , because they clearly see different things out there . For me , its a team which will not repeat , I am sorry. Fisher just gave up a layup in the most critical time of the game because he is too old to defend. Kobe was BAILED OUT because he committed an offensive foul on the AND ONE play in the end , just watch the replay in the highlights.
Still hope we can win , but clearly , its a team in trouble.

Go Lakers.

@Edwin Gueco...


East Nyboer,

"Yeah, that's right: let's get Shaun Livingston in purple and gold and show the Clippers what they gave up on."

Dude, I would LOVE to see Shaun Livingston in purple and gold!

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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


Lakers could've picked up Shaun Livingston this season for peanuts. He's a big, long guard just like Phil likes. I'm sure he would've chosen to become a Laker over a Wizard.

Hopefully, Mitch K. will make the effort off-season...

Got to have a peak amidst my very busy schedule.

@Mang Edwin, outstanding post. You are truly the most passionate among Laker fans in this blog. Did you know that I wish to meet you when I get a chance to visit LA? I would be very happy talking to you about our Lakers. Talking to you through this blog is like talking to my Dad who by the way was a very passionate Laker fan. I miss him so much, he could have cheered me up during this time. But if he was still alive and blogging, he will be a chicken little *LOL



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