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Kobe Bryant deviates from game plan in Lakers' 101-96 Game 3 loss to the Thunder

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The roaring crowd stood on their feet Thursday at Ford Center, and all eyes locked in on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant squaring off at the top of the key. The Thunder had just been nearly six minutes removed from taking the lead for the first time all night, but the following sequence in the fourth quarter provided even more of a trickling affect.

Bryant drove left, dribbled behind his back and slashed right toward the free-throw line. Durant slid back, Bryant dribbled the ball between his legs and drove left since Durant gave him space. After cutting past the left elbow, Bryant pulled up for a jumper outside of the paint, but Durant swatted the ball away, raising the crowd's decibel level to deafening proportions. The play didn't just mark intrigue between Bryant versus Durant, a storyline that raised interest ever since a recent Rolling Stone article suggested Durant will soon surpass Bryant as a basketball player. It marked Durant's valiant defensive effort on Bryant where he only went two of 10 from the field in the fourth quarter. It resulted in Durant nailing a nine-foot jumper in transition on the following play, giving OKC a six-point lead with 5:11 remaining in the game. And the play prompted Bryant to start facilitating the offense instead of taking over the offense perhaps a little too late.

The Lakers' 101-96 loss Thursday in Game 3 to the Thunder isn't entirely surprising. Though I have predicted the Lakers will take this series in five games - the Lakers currently lead 2-1 -- I thought each game would be competitive since the Lakers decided two of their three-regular season victories against Oklahoma City in the final minute, the Thunder is a young-and-upcoming team and the Lakers entered the postseason playing rather inconsistently. If there ever is a game a losing team wins in a series, it typically happens in Game 3 since the home crowd is on its side and falling into a 2-0 deficit creates more urgency. So it's not entirely disappointing that the Lakers allowed the Thunder to capture the franchise's first postseason victory since relocating in 2008 from Seattle. But it's something that could've been avoided, considering the Lakers started the game with a 10-0 lead, a significant achievement that can help deflate an excited Oklahoma City crowd and set the tone for the rest of the game.

But it didn't. And when you fast forward to the fourth quarter, most of it featured Bryant trying to play hero when it wasn't appropriate. Instead, Bryant, whose 24 points on 10 of 29 shooting surpassed Jerry West for the Lakers' all-time playoff scoring record with 4,465 points, should have played to the Lakers' strengths in feeding the ball inside. Granted, Bryant's approach in Game 2 was pretty much the same, scoring 15 fourth-quarter points on five of eight shooting and largely ignoring the bigs. But those were different circumstances.

In Game 2, Bryant's shot started falling in the fourth quarter and he continued to follow suit, considering the team's inside game lacked effectivness with OKC's double teams denying penetration in the post. Bryant also went 13 of 15 from the charity stripe because he perfected drawing contact. In Game 3, the Lakers' inside game actually worked at first with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum combining for 30 points but on only 21 combined shots. Instead, Bryant opted for shots that wouldn't fall and made zero trips to the free-throw line mostly because he settled for outside jumpers. Bryant's mantra - "You just make the plays" and "I just take what the defense gives me" -- are rightful philosophies, but it's clearly something he didn't follow in Game 3. 

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And each missed shot resulted in Oklahoma City cashing in on transition. Thunder guard Russell Westbrook gave OKC an 80-77 lead with 9:26 remaining, after Bryant missed a 14-footer. Westbrook made a three-pointer after Bryant's missed attempt, increasing OKC's lead to 86-82 with 5:48 remaining. As mentioned before, Durant's dunk following his block on Bryant gave Oklahoma City an 88-82 edge with 5:11 remaining. And Durant's jumper gave OKC an 90-82 advantage with 4:26 remaining after Bryant misfired on a three-pointer. 

To Bryant's credit, he eventually changed to a facilitating role after he knew his shot wasn't falling. He had three fourth-quarter assists and the improved ball movement resulted in Derek Fisher nailing a three-pointer, Ron Artest sinking two jumpers and Lamar Odom drilling a three-pointer. Bryant also made a key play in the final minute, grabbing a defensive rebound, running down the court and converting on a layup to cut Oklahoma City's lead to 98-96 with 13 seconds late. But it was too late.

The Thunder secured the win, after sinking three consecutive free throws, and made 27 of 34 free throws. Meanwhile, the Lakers went 10 of 12 from the stripe, a line that would've increased had the Lakers, including Bryant, looked more inside . 

In some fairness to Bryant, other elements contributed to the loss. The Thunder outrebounded the Lakers 53-39, scored 23 fast-break points and featured four players in double figures (Durant's 29, Westbrook's 27, James Harden's 18 and Jeff Green's 10).  Odom continued to be a non factor (eight points in three of seven shooting with a plus-minus rating of (-10). He played tentatively and unfocused, a habit he perfectly illustrated when he settled for two three-pointers before the end of the first and third quarters instead of driving to the basket as well as when Westbrook posterized him. And most of the Lakers reserves, which finished with 14 points on five of 16 shooting, could barely hold their own after Bryant sat for the final 3:58 of the third quarter.

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But lots of this loss should be pinned on Bryant's fourth-quarter play, which featured him bailing on the offense instead of bailing out the offense. It's a shame, considering Fisher and Artest vastly improved their shooting numbers. Fisher had 17 points on five of eight shooting after finishing the first two games on six of 22 shooting. Artest finished with 11 points on a five of 10 clip after averaging in the first two games only six points on 28% shooting. Those numbers were possible because the Lakers went inside first, with the inside-outside game better serving a shooter's rhythm. But that approach went away, partly with Bryant trying to take over the fourth quarter. 

I don't doubt Bryant's ability to dominate future games just like I don't doubt Durant will bounce back from an eight of 24 shooting night. But in Game 3, those players approached the game much differently. Durant compensated his poor shooting by grabbing 19 rebounds. Bryant compensated his poor shooting by...well, continuing to shoot. He kept forcing something that wasn't there until the final minutes of the game when the outcome had mostly been decided.

Even though Bryant has largely held this reputation of playing selfishly for most of his career, that mindset actually doesn't accurately reflect how he's mostly played this season, with exception to when he shot too much in January. With injuries limiting him and defenses focusing on him, Bryant took a very pragmatic approach the rest of the season and found other ways to leave a dominating imprint on the game. There's also been times where he's had to bail out the Lakers' ineffective offense, what with his six-game winners and his fourth-quarter dominance in Game 2 against Oklahoma City. But in Game 3, Bryant tried applying that same mentality on a night the offense mostly worked. And though he eventually shifted roles, it was already too late. 

--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 walks off the court after a 101-96 loss to the Thunder on Thursday night in Oklahoma City. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Photo: Thunder forward Kevin Durant blocks a shot by Lakers guard Kobe Bryant in the fourth quarter Thursday night. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant reacts after getting called for a foul while defending Thunder forward Kevin Durant in Game 3 on Thursday night. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

 
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Hey MM,

Mistake in the headline - Should be Lakers "deviate"

Amit

Amit - Hey thanks for the catch. We made the change

MM

hey MM

how about mentioning that with 3:11 left in the 3rd and with lakers up by 9 or 10, PJ took Kobe out.
inserted the scrubs.
Faux Pas was not aggressive and assertive to ask for TOUCHES.
LO was MIA all the game.
both him and Pau got outrebounded
it ended the 3rd with 75-74 lakers and the last 6 points were 2 3's where Shannon and farmar where nowhere to be seen
PJ started the 4th with the same team

when was the momentum lost???????????????

ouchhhhhhhhh- I do mention that in the story too. But the Lakers still had the lead at that point. The momentum started turning for the worse in the fourth quarter

MM

yes, PJ always talks about game plan. but that is theory and it is in the locker room and on the court side

how about what is happening on the court?

how about what is happening after the OTHER team makes adjustments?

obviously PJ STICKS to the GAME PLAN that is already OBSOLETE once the game starts

what is happening with the game plan INSIDE OUT when there is no INSIDE. where were our bigs?

pau was close to the 3 point line.
even bynum was outside / remember the big block of his shot from 15 feet?
LO was BEYOND the 3 point line all night

so how come the INSIDE PRESENCE was pushed OUTSIDE

how about the TOUCHY TOUCHY overpassing and the tentative shooter not even AIMING toward the basket and passing in the last moment to KOBE?

aren't all those elements part of the GAME PLAN?

maybe the GAME PLAN was not GOOD enough?

i know that there is no good food in OKC (maybe), but i know that

where is Russell
where is Westbrook
where is russell
where is westbrook

D.FISHER got dizzy again and was eaten for dinner. licking his chops.

where was the game plan against Fisher being TORCHED. i know he can give VETERAN, 14 year in the league interviews at the HALF TIME. Fisher jinxed the LAKERS

every paragraph u have is Bryant this and Bryant that. i thought that r 5 players on the court OFFENSIVELY and DEFENSIVELY

and like 6 coaches on the BENCH

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DID YOU ENJOYED the 3's by KOBE till the 3:11 mark in the 3rd? or you did not see that because u were having internet problems?

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r Fishers intangibles the most stupid plays/fouls he makes at the end of the most games? is it too old, tired? or just a SAVVY veteran?

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is this the LAKERS blog or KObe watch BLOG.

did u ever mentioned that Faux Pas every-time he is missing a shot or he can't secure an OFF reb. is scratching his nose, arguing with the refs or scratching his but?

he barely PEDALS back to defend?

that OKC's transition game puts the Lakers defense 4-5 because Gasol never makes it under the basket?

that the team is already at disadvantage against a speedy game? actually is more like 3-5 because Fisher is just the highway cone and RUSSELL has no problems going around?

how come RUSSELL posterizes a few times a game both FAUX PAS and LO ?

or that is part of the game plan also. or just Kobe's fault.

MM

that was a pretty lame comeback

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ouchhhhhhhhh- I do mention that in the story too. But the Lakers still had the lead at that point. The momentum started turning for the worse in the fourth quarter

MM

Posted by: Mark Medina | April 23, 2010 at 12:25 AM

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the lead was 10. it ended with 1. and if there r a few more seconds in the 3rd THERE IS NO LEAD

the momentum was lost in the 3rd.

the crowd was screaming.

the thunder became a hurricane with lots of lightening DUNKS and rainy 3's.

great pic of Kobe at the top.

watch out OKC.

you never seen the real THUNDER in OKC. on Saturday at an arena near YOU!

ouchhhhhhhhh - here's why the fourth quarter was more significant. in the team's first 13 possessions, bryant was the last person with the ball in his hands in nine of them. only one of those possessions resulted in a made basket

MM

The press in LA has got to be the worst or at least the writer of this blog. No matter what happens in the game LA Times writers will give it a negative slant and usually against Kobe. Face facts this Laker team is not that talented and without Ariza they don't get easy baskets. The bigs on this team only play hard on offense and they lack any kind of mobility in transition defense. With Kobe not a hundred percent the flaws of the rest have become ever present. Last year they would put up a bunch of points but this year there are too many average nights for everybody not just Kobe. There is something not right about this team and it has nothing to do with Kobe taking too many shots. Maybe the writer of this blog can call out the other players on the Lakers to play up to the standards of being on a Laker team. The game is way too hard for this team forget about shooting percentages, double doubles etc and look at game impact and you will see that this team lacks impact players.

Te Kobe-centric turn this blog has taken is sickening.

Kobe this, Kobe that, 9 out of ten entries are about Kobe. People in this blog often refers derisively to Cleveland a "The lebrons". And then pproceed to worship Kobe to such a ridiculous extent that then the Lakers should also be called "The Kobes"

It is boooooooring. This is a team game,and even more so this year when the edge Kobe possessed is so greatly blunted that when he tries to take over he is very often decrimental to the success of the team.

If our team, as presently constituted, has to depend on this old and hobbled version of Kobe to shoot 20 times every fourth quarter, then the playoffs are over. It´s just a question of the round when it´ll end. Kobe cannot do it consistently any longer, he lacks the phisical skills.

Kobe being a distributor/playmaker, charging Odom with full responsibility for being a difference maker, pounding it to Pau and Andrew... that could be a recipe fro success.


I blame kobe's teammates in the 4th. when they were given the ball with 14 sec. on the shot clock, all they did was dribble the ball for like 8 sec. then gave it to kobe with around 5 or 6 seconds left.

Also it was a great move by Brooks putting durant on kobe. Artest isnt a very good offensive presence to post harden/sefalosha. And if they continue to do that, theyre gonna need Lamar Odom to show up, which, if it happens, Ill be willing to throw a freaking parade for him

Also, the thunder are a good team...it was a good win for them, but the lakers are better. I dont expect harden to go off for 20+ nor do i expect durant and westbrook to go off for 60 together. We're fine and bill plaschke's wrong...like always

Sam - If you've read my other posts on Kobe, you would notice that I'm very measured regarding his game. You will also see in earlier posts today that I take to task Lamar Odom, Ron Artest and Derek Fisher. So it's not a matter of centering on Kobe and ignoring everything else. I'm just observing what I see. And what I saw in Game 3 was that Bryant's want to take over in the fourth quarter proved detrimental to the team.

MM

Solid post Mark. I think you broke the game down very well. It's nice to see someone analyzing the shortfalls that occured during the game instead of the free throw complaints that littered the comments section.

Bay in LA - Thanks for the compliments. It's much appreciated. Are you new to the blog? Forgive me for asking. I just haven't seen you post much and I wanted to introduce myself if you are indeed a newcomer.

MM

¿Gasoft? Not too bad today.
17 pts 15 rbs 6 ast 2 tp
First half resting only 1 minute...
42.46 mts on floor.
Sure, he was the worst player.

the game did not have in the 4th 13 possessions. yes Kobe made bad decisions.

he stopped shooting at the 5 min. mark with the Lakers down by 6 or 8. after that he had 4 assists and made lots of passes. he had one more shot, the layup at the end.

what happened during those 5 minutes? FISHER GETTING TORCHED. LO Finnaly made a shot, the 3 brings the game to 5. RUSSELL answered with a 3. Ron made a long 2 ...and so on Fisher gave Russell another 3 point play with the stupid foul.

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so the 4th started with the 13 bad possession but the game is 48 min. and 4th qt. is still 12 min.

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for example: if the score is tied 60-60 and kobe misses 20 shots in a row, BUT the team defends and the other team does not make any point, after 20 bad Kobe shots the score is still TIED.,

so, where WAS the TEAM during those 13 POSSESSIONS ON DEFENSE?

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it's not like the Lakers were down by 20 after those 13 possessions. and it happened AT THE BEGINNING OF THE QT.

NOT AT THE END OF THE GAME

and by the way, what happened in the other 4 possessions? did anyone score? or they just executed the game plan and they r excused? like the TOUCHY TOUCHY game. if there r enough TOUCHES around, the coaching stuff and the TEAM is pleased and happy and the missed baskets or no points does not count. the GAME PLAN was executed.

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how about the end game possession with 13 sec. left. a game designed for FARMAR to shoot the 3? i would even trust more JP for that.

i'm happy that they did not DEVIATE from the brilliant game plan.

Farmar for the 3. off the bench. did PJ wanted Farmar to REDEEM himself like he wanted FISHER in the PORTLAND game? is this still NBA or just THE NEW SELF ESTEEM THERAPY league. UPS had his redeeming moment at the end of game 2. i missed FT and one shot blocked. not surprised he rushed today and had a JUST air ball 3.

i hope game 4 is the Get Luke REDEEMED game. that will be fun.

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Posted by: Are the lakers a team or a one man show? | April 23, 2010 at 01:24 AM

ask NO and chris paul

or

miami and wade

or melo and nuggets

or roy and blazers

how about the ultimate

cavs and le choke

ouchhhhhhhhh - the game plan was to get the ball inside. as far as the 13 possessions, look at any running play by play along with the box score. or just rewatch the game itself. you will see what i just pointed out to be the case, that bryant had the ball last in nine of the first 13 and only one of them resulted in a made basket

MM

mark medina

u have a great talent to respond only with what fits your cause. good politician. not surprised you defend Faux Pas and Fisher.

how can be the ball passed inside? the OKC DEFENSE WAS UP-FRONT DEFENDING THE BIGS

the bigs on the court were like ( and i will repeat this 4 U):

"pau was close to the 3 point line.
even bynum was outside / remember the big block of his shot from 15 feet?
LO was BEYOND the 3 point line all night"

where is inside? WHO was inside? please enlighten me. where to INSIDE ? iffffffffffffffffffff there is NO ONE INSIDE? to post up

how can one play inside out if there is no inside/posting? and the passing lane r covered and cut down? and ron, fish, lo farmy and ups CAN'T MAKE a post up pass or play inside. (i know the answer - kobe is the best scapegoat for the writers and especially for PJ)

and when the ball was getting inside, the scared PAU (no contact 4 me, only TOUCHES) were passing the ball outside and the players were tentative to TAKE the shots. actually in many situations they were not even AMING toward the ring. extra passes. seconds left on the clock. no one takes shots. give it to kobe. he will throw it.

U R repeating just the same mantra and u r not answering or giving any solutions or answers.

yes, ity was a GAME PLAN. but it was NOBODY INSIDE.

yes, it was at the beginning when the OKC was not awake. till the COACH OF THE YEAR made the adjustments. and the INSIDE DISAPPEARED. so did the game plan. because PJ did not make re-adjustments. and the game plan was POOR.

my question is: WHERE WAS PLAN B?

Lakers need to play with two balls, one exclusively for Kobe and one for the other guys.

Here's three things I see in the box score:

1.) Why are we shooting 31 three-pointers (making only 10) when we have two 7-footers (who shot 61%) that no one on the Thunder can match? The triangle is designed to exploit mismatches. I'm a fan of using it.

2.) Why is Kobe shooting 29 shots still (making only 30% again) when he has a broken finger, swollen knee and a bum ankle? Just stop. Get Odom and Bynum going and warmed up for the next series.

3.) OKC shot 34 free throws. LA shot 12. We lose by 5. Nights like these make me laugh at David Stern's lecture about protecting the refs.

The way they sounded in the press conference and the way they played, which was a lot like their last regular season game against Portland, it almost looked like they WANTED to lose on purpose.

They wanted to lose too Portland because they didn't want Portland to become the 8th seed and to have to face Portland. That's why when Kobe missed those two free throws at the end of the game, they were laughing on the bench. And that's why Fisher fouled on that 3 to make sure Portland won.

The reason why the Lakers would want to extend the series is that if they swept, the Lakers would not get to play another game at home in this series. An extra home game would mean another extra $5 million profit for this year. Considering they were SELLING their draft picks to make a million here and there shows that they may be capable of doing something like this. Because they're well above the luxury tax, if they want to use their MLE next year, that's an extra $10 mil next year they have to come up with. They can make that back in 2 games by letting the series go a few extra games.

i thought u r just a FAUX PAS fan

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Lakers need to play with two balls, one exclusively for Kobe and one for the other guys.
Posted by: karmaniac | April 23, 2010 at 02:42 AM

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but U R just another kobe -basher.

and i also have the answer for u:

the LAKERS always have a PLAN B. and it is always the same. always when PJ is DEFEATED by his GAME PLAN he resorts to PLAN B.

and PLAN B is: "Kobe, U have to be the ACTIVATOR, not the FACILITATOR". if Kobe doin' work is successful, PJ looks brilliant and he gives us and U next day Mark Twain quotes. if PLAN B is not successful (like tonight) PJ can scapegoat KOBE and the media, U INCLUDED can have headlines like the one above.

the sad part is the following. PJ and KObe know what is going on. kobe is also human. once in a while, in important games ha has a night off (not exactly - i will explain)*. the sad part is the U and the rest r buying into it and not making an OBJECTIVE and un-biased judgement.

*with 3:11 left in the 3rd qt., lakers were up by 9 or 10. PJ pulled Kobe out thinking that the game is under control. but the brain midget LO and the UN-ASASERTIVE FAUX PAS, left the game slide and the scrubs of Farmy & UPS missed 2 3pt's assignments and the game ended with 75-74 lakers.

Kobe is also human. he need his shooing rhythm. AND ESPECIALLY WHEN HE HAS A BROKEN FINGER. so those maybe 10 minutes on the bench were a little too LONG. especially for a broken finger. (i'm not making an excuse, but i really believe that once the fingers/palm aligned - that showed when he made all the shots)

he came back cold and he started to shoot. after a few he BELIEVED (i'm talking about Kobe) that he will make the next few. it did not happened. NO BIG DEAL. he missed 9 possessions.

well, the PLAN B did not work. PLAN A, or GAME PLAN as you will call it did not work either. see above - where is the inside?) and yes, let's blame it on KOBE because … u know the rest.

it will be really refreshing if U and other writers will think individually and as objectively as u can . obviously U can NOT. u r the same victim of PLATITUDES

didn't Kobe tell u after game 2:

" U should know better after 13 seasons?"

INSIDE? R U TALKING ABOUT INSIDE? (thinking of AI's PRACTICE mantra)

INSIDE or INSIGHT. i love homonyms.

Box score tells the story:

1. Too many threes.
2. Not enough FTs (related to #1).
3. Outrebounded by 14.
4. Not enough shots for Bynum.
5. Odom MIA.

To me, a healthy and fully engaged Bynum is the only real upgrade to this team over last year. Artest for Ariza is a push -- better defense for a less-integrated and less-slashing offense. The Lakers have to focus on getting Bynum involved more and using his potential. And they have to rebound -- no excuse for that given this team's size.

whowwwwwwwwwwww. the thread embedding is going beserk. anything one posts is showing up min a sec. what a treat. one can post and see it at 3:36 am. finally the icing on the cake. and there is no pending and approval?

this is the real America. not the Stern's one. I'm not fined after posting. i still can believe it so i'm taking screen shots. u never know when you need it in a dispute . especially when not agreeing with the MODERATOR ( this time i'm referring to MM) ; -)

Lakers need to play with two balls, one exclusively for Kobe and one for the other guys.
Posted by: karmaniac | April 23, 2010 at 02:42 AM

until this post i thought that u r a real Faux pas supporter. but U JUST porved to be another Kobe basher. indeed, it's karmic. i will leave the maniac side 4 U.

karmaniac

Lakers need to play with 2 balls. one REAL basket ball

and a "soft ball" for Pau Gasol.

sorry, U asked 4 it. next time before you HIT THE BOARD, think. don't be afraid of contact. i know u want TOUCHES

bad karma

dj855

pretty shrewd economic solution

WHY THESE HATER WRITERS didn't even mention Artest foul on Durant after an inbound w/ under a minute left and lakers were down by two, but momentum is shifting in favor of them as the main factor of they were beaten. rather than always blaming Kobe when lakers lose

Mark,
I am a huge Kobe fan, but you are right on the money. When Durant started guarding him, he was determined to show the world that he is still the man. He failed miserably. If he were healthy, the outcome might have been different. Sadly, it is obvious that his explosiveness is just not there right now, and the finger is seriously affecting his shot. If we do not get more from Odom and the bench, we could be in trouble in this series. Bynum was effective early because he fought for position and had easy looks, but by the second half he was getting pushed around easily. I know he is coming off of an injury, but he has to show more heart and determination if he wants more touches.
The bottom line is that Kobe is not healthy enough to carry us this year. The other players need to step up now or we could be knocked out early. Earth to Lamar, it is time to wake up and earn your new contract. You are being outplayed by Serge Ibaka ( WTF) . That is just plain inexcusable.

For the first time that I can remember with the Lakers 'in the hunt', it is difficult to watch Kobe play so injured. Yeah, he had a badly sprained ankle during the 3peat, but the injuries affect every facet of his game...the knee, ankle, fingers....his ability to run, jump, shoot. For people to think this Kobe is as good as he'll be until he retires are delusional. I just don't know if the rest of the guys can pick up the slack....they're not aggressive enough on the boards, aren't running back on D, launching 3's when they get lazy. I hope PJ can drill them with the fact that they need to play smarter. Some good things happened in Game 3 at the onset; Fish and Ron-ron shot a little better, but their D failed them when they needed it the most. I miss Kurt Rambis on the sidelines...losing him is a big reason why they haven't made the defensive adjustments throughout the season and didn't end up with a better record.

Nevertheless, I still feel Lakers will win this series. Let's see if Utah can get it done without AK47 and Okur...DWill is amazing.

Go, Lakers!!

Add:
Whassup with the Candyman??? Dude has got to show up in this series...amazing how Bynum's return and LO's return to the bench was like kryptonite. Somebody get him some Skittles fast!! He needs to pick it up because that bench isn't doing much without him playing more aggressive. The bigs need a rest every now and then, as does Kobe. This is one of the toughest first-round matchups against a young, faster team. Nobody on that bench is producing much vs. doing a bit more last year. Then again, DJ and Sasha's injuries don't help much, and Shannon's playing with a bum hand, as is Artest.


Hmmm... Where did i see this b4??Oh yeah the 2008 finals..lakers up by 20plus and everyone's on the bench celebrating,Phil pulls Kobe as if the game is in hand.... everyone should know the rest of the story. That was 20 plus last night was just 8-9 and he took Kobe out while he was hot. The momentum was already lost so was the game.Yes Kobe may have taken to much shots and I'm sure everyone was thinking the next one will drop.But really were was the inside?? that shot Bynum took I was like wtf.For all the talk about the tall lineup why did we get out rebounded?Which is another way for saying out hustled. Hopefully Kobe won't miss as much next time,but on the flip side fisher and artest may not make as much either and everyone knows how they've been stinking it up most of the season. Oh well...

I liked this post MM.

I have yet to let this headache (and heartache) out of yesterday's game vanish, so I am not ready yet to post properly (not from work, where I am), but it came naturally for me to post at least two lines after reading this specific article of you and all the answers in threads all have posted since game ended.

I'll detail better late on, but the game essentially was lost in the fourth ( I agree) out from a combined excellent (and getting better) defensive effort of OKC (they were tight all game), united to (yes, even I have to admit it) to not precise shooting of ALL our players, which include of course Kobe.

Yes, the FT clearly gifted to OKC were a factor, but we should just be able to go away with it, and we would have if our shots did fall in.

As I say that Kobe wasn't shooting right in teh fourth, I also have to point out that all the drama on him as usual is nonsense.
He still play with a broken finger... anyone?

Sure his shot selection wasn't sharp nor efficacious.

But I would like to point out at around minus 2.30 we had a typical offensive run where ALL of our players outside the perimeter could shot (Pau, Derek, Ron) and none of them di, giving in the end the ball to Kobe (in a worst position than all of them combined) for the "saviour shot".

Which didn't go in.

I am not saying Kobe shot smartly in the fourth: but when your teammates keep having themselves the "Kobe saviour mode" on when things get heated, as that action showed clearly, I guess it's not very easy for him either to get rid of that, especially considering how hectic things were going yesterday as the game ending was approaching.

Durant was good offensively, but what made his game were rebounds. Those rebounds where we disappeared too often.

I am not pleased in lamar since the start of playoffs, and I am expecting him to show up: we won't win without him, I state this since start of the season.

The energy wasn't lacking in the fourth.
We were decently energized.
What lacked was the compulsion to THINK and breathe.

Everytime we go hectic, we miss focus.
It happens all time with this team, and everytime it causes us damage (last year too).

I don't see a problem in beating OKC.

I said in 5 and in 5 we will have them.

They are a good team.

But they won't stop us.

Last little thing on Stern. He's DISGUSTING.

Full stop.

Catch you later for a more explicative post.

Bye and keep wearing Purple and Gold heart on your sleeve.

World has not ended: Smurfs and Smurfettes just got a slice of cake.

Nothing that groundbreaking.

Nothing new, as has been the usual lately, ball hog bryant shoots 30% but keeps shooting away, maybe he should practice his shot more instead of practicing making faces in the mirror, his newest one with the outthrust jaw is really scary!

MM, watch out, you're going to hear it from the Kobe-can-do-no-wrong crowd now.

Cmon guys... are the Lakes supposed to win every game???? This is the most likely game (3 away) to lose, and they didn't lose by much. Hello... they are HUMAN... It's called making adjustments, it's what makes the playoffs fun...
They will adjust in game 4 trust me... They will use their length advantage...
And LO will get his motor going (or have you forgotten last year???)...
Oh ye of little faith!

Mark,

Ok, so this must be a new format today.
13 new blog threads since I last visited last night when the game started.
A new thread for each game update.
Don't have an opinion yet on this yet, just wondering is this the new normal?

ouchhhhhhhhh...

I love Kobe as a player, i love Kobe finishing games but i do not love Kobe when has a bad day and still try to win the game by his self.

I love Gasol as a player, i love high IQ level of Gasol playing, i know Gasol is not Mike Tyson.

I'm a huge Lakers fan and have been since the early 90's. Kobe Bryant makes his teammmates worse, rather than better. 10-29 from the field and 4-11 from the line. That's 14-40 from the field. Stop shooting the ball when it's not going in and try harders to get the ball to Gasol who was 7-12 and killing his man all night long. You're NOT Jordan. You're reminding me of Iverson more and more and more........

MM,

I just wanted to say that I disagree with your analysis.

1. 3rd quarter when Phil pulls Kobe. Our lead went away. That's not on
Kobe.

2. re: inside-outside basketball. As Ouch said, our bigs were getting
fronted. They weren't in position to get the ball. That's not on Kobe.

For 13 years we've been hearing the same thing. It's been refuted a gazillion
times and still it comes out. What we've been hearing is that Kobe is a
ball hog and doesn't pass or make his teammates better. 99% of the time,
when you go back and look at the game you'll find that the teammates
weren't doing their job. Either they weren't in the right place or they
weren't making their shots.

To address the teammates weren't in the right position: Bynum, Artest & Lo
have 16 rebounds. Durant has 19. Gasol, Bynum, Artest & LO have a total of
6 offensive rebounds over a 48 minute game. Krysic & Durant have 6
offensive rebounds.

There is no question LO is a very good player. The problem though with LO, and it is a BIG problem, he is INCONSISTENT. While he consistently draws his salary every month, he does not perform equally on the court. Not professional at all!!!!

First of all I think LA will probably win game five anyway, so all of the concern is premature. But I don't understand why all the criticism for Kobe's descision to try to take over the game in the fourth quarter. I've read a lot of "Bynum and Gasol" were scoring at will. Kobe should have kicked it in to the bigs. It's certainly true that they needed more touches in the 4th, the fact is this team rises or falls based on the contributions of Kobe. There is no way around that. In a close game in an energized arena do you really want Andrew Bynum to be your go-to-guy down the stretch? And Gasol is a great player too, but he doesn't have the ability to just take over a game and create his own shot when the defense packs it in the paint. Remember the Portland loss? Remember the Boston loss? Remember the last loss at Denver? Kobe is the go-to guy. Period. If he takes over in the fourth in a tight game, the team wins. If he struggles, they lose. But no one else on the team has that ability. That's why I can live with the outcome.

Bloggers..........Mark Medina


I just read your analysis of the game last night and I must say that there is just a woeful lack of basketball knowledge coming from you or Bill Plashke especially concerning "the first 13 possessions in the 4th quarter". It makes me wonder..........How did you even get this job? Have you even played basketball on ANY level?


It is just Kobe all day all the time................Kobe just becomes the scapegoat for lazy journalism and just plain lack or basketball acumen. It goes beyond basketball analysis and it just becomes a personal attack on Kobe.............it is just preposterus to put this lost on Kobe.

Why do I say this?


First of all, ouchhhhhhhhh is correct about the 3:11 mark of the third quarter. The Lakers had I believe a 6 or 8 point lead AND THE MOMENTUM. This was a CRITICAL point for the Lakers as it was crucial to end this quarter well going into the fourth..............As soon as Phil made the substitution for Kobe with Shannon Brown instead of taking out Derek Fisher I said to myself..........."Phil just lost the game for us"..............as his substitution patterns and timing have lost many games this season. I know as you admitted in one post that it is hard for you to judge a coach's influence on the game so to your credit you just leave that aspect of the game out. Actually this flaw in your ability DISQUALIFIES you as a legitimate basketball reporter. Since you lack the ability to apply critical thought process to this aspect of the game.

I'm not attacking you personally so don't take it that way.............this is logical and mathmatical.


Let me ask you something to get you to thinking. If the ball "ended" in Kobe's hands on as you say the first 13 possessions of the 4th quarter...........why was that?

If the game plan is to get the ball into the post and your post players can't establish deep position in the post............what should you do?

Of the baskets that the Lakers did score down the stretch namely a Bynum dunk, Lamar's open 3, Fisher's corner 3, Gasol's open pinch post basket, and the two jumpers by Artest for the long two's..........................WHO SET UP ALL OF THOSE BASKETS AND ENDED WITH A GAME HIGH 8 ASSIST?....................maybe 5 or 6 of those coming in the 4th quarter

If the OKC coach made the "in game" adjustment to place Durant on Kobe in the 4th quarter.............Should our coach make another adjustment in the offense to free Kobe?

Is it within the realm of possibility that Phil could have designed several scenarios namely pick n roll until a switch was made and Kobe got the matchup he wanted............similar to what Phoenix does with Nash?

Is that even a coach's responsibilty? Come on come on don't take it personally but think with me..............is that not what a good coach would do?

Why didn't Phil make any adjustments? There are several things Phil could have done for Kobe to ease that matchup and even take advantage of it............I have gone on the record to say I don't think Phil has the ability to make game adjustments because he can't think on his feet. If you don't believe me the next time you have a chance to ask Phil a question............why not ask him something in which you can examine his thinking process. You know an open ended question.

"Hey Phil, Durant's length gave Kobe some problems in that 4th quarter.............did you consider making any adjustments to your offense to create a better matchup for Kobe.............like moving him off the ball and running him through double screens forcing OKC to scramble and double Kobe so Kobe can then rotate the ball to the weak side and making a quick entry pass into the post to a player "on the move"?

Oh you didn't consider that? Why not Phil?


I will give you my breakdown later

Lakers in 5 - totally agree with your post.... and that Plashke piece, what game was he watching?

dj855 - absoultely agree about the refs but not so sure about your conspiracy theory piece, fun reading but it's the players on the floor, not management. On the other hand, I might go along with Stern and the refs having a secret huddle.

Zaira says, "World has not ended: Smurfs and Smurfettes just got a slice of the cake". Best line of the day!

I really was afraid of Kobe getting into the hype with his showdown with durant. But bynum, I mean come on. I see him letting them front him and he's not pounding it on the box to create space. Westbrooks 3 after lamars three was big! Killer.

Game 4 lakers will be in trouble.


Give Kobe a break. The game was lost when Kobe was making his shots and was pulled out in the final minutes of the 3rd. The Lakers were leading by 8 and when he left that's when the Thunder made their run and as always PJ let the Lakers play through it instead of calling a timeout to stop the momentum of the Thunder. By the time the 4th started the Lakers were reeling and the Thunder were rolling. The Lakers still had a chance when LO made that 3 pointer but that phantom foul called on DFish against Westbrook was what really sealed the win for the Thunder.

While the momentum shifted in the 3rd after Westbrook gave MIA Lamar Odumb a facial, the game was lost when Bryant chucked up shots after shots after shots in the 4th. Long shots, long rebounds and transition baskets on the other end. I have to agree with MM here. The game was winnable in the 4th had it not been for the bad shots that Kobe took which OKC capitalized on in the other end. The Lakers played an efficient controlled ballgame through the first 3 quarters and then with 9+ minutes in the 4th Kobe started trying to take over by bricking shots. That's the fact of the game. And he kept gambling for a steal on defense at the other end too! I was listening to Kobe during the post game interview about "being smart about pounding the ball inside". Pftttt he's the leader of the team. He should have come to Phil and asked for set plays to be called to get the ball to Bynum or Gasol. We were winning the game early on by pounding the ball inside. I think in the 4th our demise was when Kobe wanted the game to himself. Too much ego there. If he's not as banged up as he is now, I'd give him the benefit of the doubt that somehow all it takes is one shot and he's back in his groove and he can win the game for us. But he's broken everywhere! His body is not right. Yet he continues to be stubborn and still chases after the game. In Phil's words before game 2, he has to now do a better job of suiting his game for what his team needs. We need Kobe as the playmaker/leader then clutch shooter in the LAST 2 minutes (not 9 minutes). Not the Kobe ballhog chucker.

Mark...go back, watch the film, and tell me how many times Bynum or Gasol were actually open with good position in the low post down the stretch. Not many. The two big guys repeatedly allowed OKC defenders to front them or root them out of position down low, giving Kobe no target to so much as look for, let alone throw the ball to. This loss falls squarely on the shoulders of Bynum and Gasol for not being tough enough and not giving enough effort to establish position inside down the stretch. If those guys can't pin defenders on their backsides and make themselves available for entry passes by the time the shot clock is at 10, what choice does Kobe have but to improvise and hoist a contested shot?

WIN or LOOSE, P Jackson(and his stooges) Got To Go!!!!!!He(his stooges) can't come up with productive plan adjustments anymore and if he comes up with one, then it's so obvious stupid that even we on the sidelines say..huh? Adios, Goodbey and Farwell and thank U PJ. Time to move on!!!!!!!!!

jurys out.. dfish the poster really is a NATURAL BORN FIRST CLASS PRICK.... now i'm convinced.. he really does get a kick at getting under other peoples skin and then he bitches like a baby when nobody respects him... dont ask for respect if you show no respect... or dont respond back with an intelligence of a 5th grader with "waaah waaah"answers.. whatevers.. dont care.. it was a bad nite.. bad loss.. still in bad mood.

pfunk36,

excellent post!

LakerTom,

Bynum was a beast last night?

How about the LO as pg?

Wooo!

In your analysis of potential lineups, might I suggest something to you?

Just because you have a well-played employee, it doesn't mean that they
can or should be called upon to do everything. Yes, I am talking about LO.

I saw your posts about making & losing millions in the dot.com era. 2 years
ago, I was sitting in the room when a company from Europe made my former
company a 7-8 figure offer for our product. The former CEO, a decent
visionary, was determined to have the last word on everything and ultimately
screwed the deal. I spoke to a former VP, from a former company, who's now
a VC. He explained to me that often startup companies change management
because they while they may be good technologists they suck at business
management. This directly correlates to your pts about LO. You talk about
his minutes and you talk about how much $$ he makes, but you fail to
actually address in which situations it would *WORK* to have the tall
lineup.

LO has been inconsistent since the day before he signed his first contract
with the Lakers. If there were such a thing as the basketball lexicon, LO
should be synonym for inconsistent. As every martial artist/fighter knows,
the mind is the weapon. Not the sword or the gun or your vocabulary, but
your mind.

At the 3:11 mark, in the 3rd quarter, LO as the co-floor general with D-Fish,
the Thunder make their run. LO has no assists in the last 3 minutes of
the 3rd quarter.

So I ask you again, besides his salary, why do you want to see LO at pg?

In some ways, your lust for the TALL lineup reminds me of my time at a
large financial institution. They gave a bunch of *business* people Sun
workstations for the personal desktop. It wasn't the right product for the
people it was given to.

You don't feed your dog off the good china just because you paid a lot of $$
for the china. You feed your in-laws off the good china because you're
trying to score brownie pts. [ kudos if you let the dog lick it first. :) ]

The right tool for the right job.

Oh well. It will be interesting to see what counter Phil uses for the Durant
on Kobe matchup.

Good morning,

Zaira is right. The world has not ended. Hand one to the smurfs.

The answer is: All of the Above. The question is, Why?

1) Thunder are a talented, well-coached team, who believe in themselves and each other.
2) The Lakers wasted an incredible crowd silencing first quarter.
3) Too many jumpers.
4) Allowing too many fast break points.
5) Losing the battle of the rebounds.
6) Corrupt, biased officiating. Maybe Phil should have been more willing to shake Stern's hand before the game, after all.

If Kobe's shots had fallen, I doubt there would be so many quick to blame him this morning. It's the old "hero or zero" conundrum. With the Thunder's incredible shot blocking ability, saying the Lakers should have gotten the ball insider more might be a false assumption. I woke up Thursday morning prepared that the Lakers might lose Game 3. They did. Next.

Let's move on to Game 4, as are the team and its coaching staff.
DO: Come out with a mission to silence the crowd again from the start.
DO: Aim for the kind of balanced starter scoring we got in Game 3.
DO: Win the battle for rebounds. (Worst part of Game 3 for me.)
DON'T cede the tempo to the Thunder.
DON'T resort to jumpers. (Not our game)

And finally: Someone please find the real Lamar Odom. Khloe's tweets blaming the refs are cute. But they also try to obscure the obvious. LO has been a no-show.

BTW, nice to see that the swallows have finally returned to our Capistrano. Tim-4-Show winning Reader Comment yesterday. The return of tha sho, Mike T, and other originals from yesteryear.

PS. Send David Stern as piece of your mind today on the officiating. Satan smiles every time Stern wakes up in the morning.

Good game, disappointing results. Not enough inside game in the second half. Poor defensive communication. Westbrook is awesome. TNT broadcast team sucks. Yeah, the refs put the whistles away here and there, but the Lakers also didn't attack enough (DFish was right about that, though he could have been less irritating about it as yellowfever said). Look for adjustments in Games 4 and 5.

JR

"Box score tells the story:

1. Too many threes.
2. Not enough FTs (related to #1).
3. Outrebounded by 14.
4. Not enough shots for Bynum.
5. Odom MIA.

To me, a healthy and fully engaged Bynum is the only real upgrade to this team over last year. Artest for Ariza is a push -- better defense for a less-integrated and less-slashing offense. The Lakers have to focus on getting Bynum involved more and using his potential. And they have to rebound -- no excuse for that given this team's size."

Very well said. I was basically saying the same thing for the whole fourth quarter.

INSIDE OUT KOBE

IT'S PRETTY SIMPLE
BUILD A 10-o LEAD, THEN YOU START JACKING UP SHOTS.

KOBE, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO PROVE. JUST FRICKIN PASS THE BALL
INSIDE.
THIS ISN'T THE FINALS, IT'S THE 1ST ROUND

Worth re-posting, so I will:

MM,

I just wanted to say that I disagree with your analysis.

1. 3rd quarter when Phil pulls Kobe. Our lead went away. That's not on
Kobe.

2. re: inside-outside basketball. As Ouch said, our bigs were getting
fronted. They weren't in position to get the ball. That's not on Kobe.

For 13 years we've been hearing the same thing. It's been refuted a gazillion
times and still it comes out. What we've been hearing is that Kobe is a
ball hog and doesn't pass or make his teammates better. 99% of the time,
when you go back and look at the game you'll find that the teammates
weren't doing their job. Either they weren't in the right place or they
weren't making their shots.

To address the teammates weren't in the right position: Bynum, Artest & Lo
have 16 rebounds. Durant has 19. Gasol, Bynum, Artest & LO have a total of
6 offensive rebounds over a 48 minute game. Krysic & Durant have 6
offensive rebounds.

Posted by: hobbitmage | April 23, 2010 at 06:58 AM

Great post, my friend.

pfunk36

Why would Phil waste his time and energy drawing up plays for double screens to get Kobe loose when Kobe's just going to Iso and shoot another 3 to prove he's Alpha Dog

Good morning all,

My two cents...

Several mistakes were made and this is my take, for what it's worth.

1) Phil should have rested Kobe the first 2 minutes of the 4th as usual and not with 3 minutes left in the 3rd when the Thunder capped off a 30-point quarter.

2) Kobe needed to realize that he couldn't shoot over a guy almost a foot taller than him. He should've been dishing it to his teammates but got caught up in the hype and wanted to show him up...sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't...obviously it didn't last night.

3) I feel like I want to stangle Mr. Kardashian sometimes. He could seriously be a dominant force out there and is just standing there doing nothing half the time. He needs to step it up or we should package his ass with Farmar and send him off somewhere else...maybe Miami so he can be with his new wife and go into showbusiness or something..UGH!!!

However, I wasn't too disappointed over last night's loss because I knew this would probably be the one to lose with all the hype at OKC about the 1st playoff game etc. but I thought they really were going to prove me wrong by halftime and was pretty darn happy about it.

Anyway, on to game 4...they need to win the next 2 so they can get plenty of rest, practice, and healingfor the next round.

While I'm not concerned about the Lakers winning this series, a couple of things concern me going forward:

*Ron Artest- He's doing a great job on KD, he gets all up into him and doesn't let him breathe. I have to hand it to him for that. My concern with Artest is at the offensive end where he always holds onto the ball and stagnates the offense.

For the Lakers, a lot of times, good offense is good defense. When Artest gets the ball in key situations and holds it for even 2-3 seconds without doing anything with it, it usually leads to a bad shot attempt. It is very important that we get good shot attempts within the flow of the offense on every possession, especially in crunch time.

*Kobe's aging- It's no secret that Kobe has lost a step. What happened last night against KD was pretty disheartening. The Thunder won that game by switching KD onto Kobe. I'm sure we'll make some adjustments to counter that in the next games, but KD took it to Kobe.

I'll be interested to see how Kobe responds Saturday.

Go Lakers!

"Hey Phil,
Durant's length gave Kobe some problems in that 4th quarter.............did you consider making any adjustments to your offense to create a better matchup for Kobe.............like moving him off the ball and running him through double screens forcing OKC to scramble and double Kobe so Kobe can then rotate the ball to the weak side and making a quick entry pass into the post to a player "on the move"?
Posted by: pfunk36 | April 23, 2010 at 07:07 AM
____________________

I would love to see PJ presented that question, but it would probably just receive a sarcastic remark from him.

This summer can we do a trade with the Spurs, Pop for PJ.

This guy Brooks might be a pretty good chess player, it appears he can coach.
Phils move.

No. 24 got owned. Does he not realize he has two 7 footers on the team? Talk about a brick layer.

Why was Kobe covering Durant in the 4th quarter?
Seems OKC had 2 mismatches both in their favor, Kobe covering Durant and Durant covering Kobe.

Great article,I am an avid Laker fan but not so of Kobe Bryant. Great player but very selfish at times,he gets caught up in the moment way too much,especially in a one on one challenge. He's getting older and has alot of miles. This is a young mans game not to say he can't hold his own sometimes but it's also a team game,when your shots are not falling let someone else shoot,plain and simple. I never understood the math when you have everyone in the starting lineup shooting 50% or better and he's shooting a measly 36% and takes more than triple amount of shots than Fisher or Bynum who was shooting 5 for 8 and 6 for 9 respectively. Where is Phil Jackson ?? scared ?? If it were one of the young guys he would be on the bench in a quick hurry,I would love to see Bynum take 29 shots,especially having the kind of night he was having,I'm wondering will Phil ever let this guy out of the closet,I've seen Pau on occasion take more than 20 shots and put up decent numbers,seen Bynum do it once I think and he scored over 40. I've said all along,Phil is a veterans coach,screw the young guys,he's hasn't developed a young player that Mitch has brought in yet,let the young guys play,and TRUST them coach. As long as Bynum has been here he's never been a major part of the offense,Phil started Quame Brown in front of Bynum that shows you that he dosen't like or trust his young players,you learn from mistakes not from not making them,I truly hpe Phil Jackson gets the AX this year,win or lose,everyone talks about how great of a coach he is,and I agree to a certain extent,but when you coach the greatest(Jordan)then(Shaq and Kobe)I truly believe a coach is only as good as the players make him,Send him to a team like Milwaukee or Charlotte,which is are pretty good teams already and see how he does there,I he can win a championship with them then I'll believe !

pfunk36,

there was no rhythm for the other players because he dominated the ball much of the 2nd half to make up for his 3rd consecutive poor 1st half.

29 shot attempts
next closest was Gasol at 12.

he jacks up shots, misses, complains to the refs, trots back on Defense, his man usually gets an open look or scores. annoys the hell out of me.

Kobe should not decimate Lakers’ future by accepting the $80+M, and instead should sign for the veterans’ minimum if he wants to be with the Lakers. Or give him a front office job. He’s deadwood as a basketball player. I know a lot of you are in denial, but this is a fact. He looks like a pogo stick on the court but without the lift. He’s old and dud now.

He’s what I foresee happening;

The Lakers will reach the finals, for a showdown with the King. That’s for sure, and Stern will ensure this.
King James, personally, will make sure that he sends the retirement dagger through Kobe’s and Phil’s careers.
So, let’s usher in the king of new era in basketball.
Hail to the King LeBron James. Repeat after me Lakers fans, Hail to the King.

Guys, For those who disagree with the analysis, I'll have to agree to disagree. As I've mentioned before, there's very few times I put tons of blame on Kobe. I didn't like in January that he increased hit shot selection when he aggravated his finger, which resulted in a poorer shooting percentage. But I heavily praised him for making those adjustments the rest of the season. I also pointed out when Pau said the team needs to pass the ball more that Kobe wasn't entirely to blame. When the team played well w/out him during his injury, I made sure to make it clear that it wasn't because Kobe was out of the lineup, but because the team finally started sharpen its focus. When the team play dropped upon his return, I documented how this was a function of the team not responding well to his return, than Bryant himself. When Bryant went through a shooting funk before sitting out, I documented how not all of his shots were a sign of him being a ball hog, although in some instances he didn't take the best shot (better to look through the film here since there were some who suggested Kobe shot the ball too much entirely). And with his poor Game 1 shooting performance, I made it clear he did well with still leaving an imprint on the game and should have a few more games to get his rhythm back.

I bring all this up because my analysis of Game 3 isn't just a knee jerk reaction. In the game story, I do devote a few sentences to how yes the bench reserves allowed OKC to get back in the third quarter and that Lamar Odom had a disappointing absence. But I devoted much of the focus on Bryant's fourth quarter play because that's when the game was decided. Say all you want about momentum in the third quarter, but you need to remember in Game 2 that OCK had momentum entering the third as well. But Kobe put a stop to that because he took over when little else was working on offense. Same applies to Game 3, except the opposite happened. He took over, but it was on a night where the bigs were playing effective and it had a deterimental affect. Instead of it lifting the team like it did in Game 2, it hurt the team in Game 3

MM

Great post.

Kobe does all he can. The rest of the team needs to get open and make cuts when Kobe drives. Too often they just stand around and watch. Use Kobe's ability to open up other shots. Even if the shot isn't there when he drives, Pau or Bynum MUST get close to the basket for the pass.

Bynum must step up and become the howard/shaq inside presence that he can be. Our big men need to collapse the middle and let the OKC players drive into a crowded key to take their shots, not these easy outside shots and drives into the lane. Make Green or Harden win the game by making shots.

Kobe did hurt our chances at the end but by then our subs had already given away the game.

OKC played well and deserved to win this game, the 3rd game, which the Lakers were expected to lose out of all of them. Now Phil must adjust. We'll see if he does so in the next game.

From this moment on, this is going to be more indicative of how Kobe will perceived in NBA history.

This team needs his leadership more than they did last year.

By trying to show up the young Durant he is playing the fool. He's capable of being that. I hope he figures it out.

Why would Pau, LO, or Bynum give you the effort when they think only you will get the glory. Wake up Kobe, no one cares about your personal agenda anymore, people just want to win a championship.

MM, you hit it right on the money! I'm the biggest Kobe fan, but I know when someone criticizes Kobe, It such a sensitive topic here in the L.A. media, but that is what really happened last night. Funny thing is, I even agree with a comment Charles Barkley the other night about Kobe... he said something to the effect of, with all the years and mileage he has in the NBA, you would think he would of learned of making the game easier for him by now?

Guys,

Regarding the multiple threads on the Game updates, I'm in 100% agreement that I believe those updates should be lumped in one post. In this case, it's easier to find when it's all in one post. I've shared with management that you guys found it distracting and I'll make sure to reiterate that today.

If you feel strongly about the multiple threads on the game updates, please email me at mgmedin@gmail.com. It's easier to send along emails as examples to show the feedback.

MM

He took over, but it was on a night where the bigs were playing effective and it had a deterimental affect. Instead of it lifting the team like it did in Game 2, it hurt the team in Game 3

MM

Posted by: Mark Medina | April 23, 2010 at 08:46 AM


You need not explain. Clearly, Kobe got caught up with the "I'll prove to everybody I'm the Man" when challenged in the 4th quarter. It's hit or miss now with an injured Kobe. Still, I give him the credit for trying. But, he should know better when to do it. He is already a veteran afterall.

Let's face it, Kobe's graceful downhill slide from elite player status has turned into a full-blown avalanche. His refusal to modify his game to account for his injuries and loss of athleticism is mind-boggling. At this point in his career, he's writing checks that his body can't cash - and it's killing the Lakers.

Free-throw and rebounding disparity aside (although these two issues are critical to any future Laker success), Kobe's selfishness cost the Lakers this game. Anyone who watched the game saw how the Lakers built the lead - going inside first - only to see all of that become undone by the barrage of three-pointers and horrendous play-making by Kobe. Had Kobe had his customary big 4th quarter no one would care. Instead, he had one of the worst 4 quarters imaginable.

When MJ came back from playing baseball, he realized pretty quickly that he could no longer dominate athletically. He changed his game and became a post-up player. Kobe needs to change his game, rely on Pau and Bynum more, they can make the game much easier for him. He makes the game way too hard, not just for himself, but for the team overall.

If Kobe refuses to change, it will seriously handcuff the Lakers ability to improve over the next few years. If this is how KB is going to play for the rest of his career, not only will he be severely overpaid, his contract will sink the Lakers for the next decade - a la the NY Knicks.

Ouchhhhhhh, thanks for your comments. You are expressing exactly what I saw. Bryant didn't deviate from anything, hes carried us for years and at the first sign of trouble the media are sooooo quick to question his decisions in the fourth!!!!! Guys dont want the ball!!!!! They're getting pushed around by SCRUBS!! If our bigs are being muscled out to 18 ft or fronted they quit or the triangle becomes the size of a freakin happy meal!!! Until our bigs get good low or mid post position there is no INSIDE to go to!!!! Fish is getting lit up!! Artest and others are limited offensively, with Bryant not at 100%. The first several possessions where Kobe went one on one with Durrant were bad, but they should've immediatley went pick and roll with Gasol and Kobe to shed Durrant or get switched up onto Gasol. And the away from the ball call against Artest with a minute left was aggrevating!!!!

I totally agree with MM on this game.
Kobe is playing hurt and looks like all of his athleticism is gone because of his plethora of injuries. It's like watching Superman trying to fight Zod with a Kryptonite suit on. He doesn't need to stop shooting, he nees to stop shooting bad shots! Jacking up threes to try and be the hero in the fourth quarter is not working.
Don't get me wrong, I love Kobe as a ballplayer, but shooting 30 thots while only making 30% of them is hurting the team.
We have a distinct advantage in the post with Gasol and Bynum that we only go to some of the time. We should have three go to players down there with Odom, but he has yet to join the party. Yes, OKC was fronting the post and playing great D, but any good passer can still get the ball in there at these times- its called a lob, or changing the angle and timing of the entry pass.
We will win this series, but I don't think we can beat Utah, Phoenix, the Thuggets, or anyone else in the west with the whole team shooting so poorly from the outside and not feeding the post enough.

hobbit image - when i say that the bigs were effective, i mean bynum and gasol. L.O. played a horrible game and I made that pretty clear in the post-game wrap. I also do point out as you do that the Lakers got beat on the glass. I was speaking to their effectiveness in scoring inside. I wasn't at the game so I can't say this is Phil's level of thinking for sure, but Bynum is only three games removed from sitting out an entire month from his left Achilles' tendon. He also shared with reporters that some of his progress regressed. So my safe assumption is Phil is being conservative with minutes. He played somewhat limited minutes in Game 1 as well, but that's not because he didn't play well. It's because they're phasing him back in the lineup and trying to assess his conditioning level.

MM

for Gods' sake how can Kobe feed the ball inside? the ball came to Kobe most of the times when lakers gurads could not feed the ball to inside because thunders were fronting the lakers, and lakers players were scared the ball to them when they were being fronted. so they gave the ball to Kobe and had to do something. GO and watc the game again. It happened quite a few times!! Yes kobe jacked up few shots, but i will give him that!

Lakers, pls play with an attitude that every minute counts and stop deferrring to Kobe all the time..move your feet and cut and dive when kobe has the ball

karmaniac,

boy! you've said that right! there is no inside game after the first quarter. bynum can't free himself, pau settles for the outside jumper and LO is too intimidated by the young and fasters forwards. i'm afraid bynum will have to sit down for another 6 games before he's ready to play again...ha! that's what we are faced with this big cry baby.

All in all, I'm not that disappointed by the loss. Before the game I expected OKC would win, but I thought they would be so juiced at home they would win by 15 or more, that it wouldn't really be a close game.
To lose it like that in the 4th quarter is kinda disturbing. It's kind of a shame, they coulda' closed the door to this series with a win. That's likely what Kobe was trying to do.
It's a team game though, plenty of blame to go around from the coaching on down.
The Lakers aren't going to do this the easy way and OKC is not going to fold from being a new upcoming team. The Lakers will need to beat them, not expect OKC to blow it.
Hello LO, are you out there?
It's time to show up.

The game was lost when Kobe TRIED to take the game over. Once he started to facilitate by passing the team got much better looks of the basket. But it was too late. They must go inside and make the Thunder pay. And Kobe's defensive lapses are killing the team. He should not roam and leave his man for open jump shots. Play everyone straight up!! If Durant and Westbrook are the only scorers for the Thunder....it's over.

Hey that block shot by Durant is clearly a foul on the picture!

The commenters who are noting how few actual "pound it inside" opportunities presented themselves are DEAD ON. If that is the game plan, great, but if Pau, AB or Odom are getting fronted, they have to work for better position. In addition, what is the point of giving it to Bynum outside of ten feet? He's useless to us offensively when he's fed the ball in the high post (see game 1's two traveling calls).

I'm very disappointed that the Lakers squandered their beautiful first quarter start. It reminded me of a guy playing poker who builds a huge stack quickly because of some first rate play and then starts making all sorts of loose calls until he loses everything he built up.

The X factor was Harden. Westbrook and Durant could score 30 a piece and as long as we keep a third player from contributing, they CAN'T beat us. We let that guy get hot with lots of open looks (damn it Shannon, don't drift from your guy).

And yes, resting Kobe at the end of the third until the 8 pt lead was 1 was just poor team management by Phil. Does anybody ever wonder how much better we'd be if we had a coach that reacted in real time?

When even the LA fans and LA press are pointing out that Kobe played poorly in the 4th, why do the Kobe fanboys still do whatever they can to defend him? Calling the Laker beat guys the "worst press in the country", attacking every Laker fan who doesn't blame everyone not named Kobe, and making up derisive nicknames for every player who might be better than Kobe doesn't prove anything other than the fact that you have a man-crush that is blocking your ability to see what's happening in the basketball game.

What a great post MM !!!
For such a long time, KB has been playing sub-par to say the least
For such a long time, no one mentioned anything about that ... till now

The reality is KB is NOT himself anymore and that's OK. But he gotta realize that and changes his playing style or someone else needs to tell him that.

Wow!!! It's amazing how much perspective in sport is shaped by the outcome...Ever watch a game after you already saw it once live and already know the outcome...At that point you nit-pick the smallest things and say things like "Oh, that's where the game was lost"...The fact is that Pau, Lamar, and Drew got clobbered on the boards and where pushed around underneath and eventually out to the 3 point line for Pau and LO and out to 17 ft. for Drew...Mark I don't know if you ever played basketball so I dont know if you have an excuse for not properly analyzing what you see and simply (because it is simple) looking at the result and then backtracking through the game from there and deconstructing each possession...The fact is that our bigs did not demand the ball early in the possession which is the best time to feed the post...Also they failed to be aggressive when the did get it inside...How often did Pau recieve the ball in the 4th only to hold it for 4-5 seconds only to pass it out and get fronted for the rest of the possession...Same with Drew and LO who when they get the ball just immediatley begin looking for Kobe...Phil also has to take blame for losing the 9-10 pt. lead at the end of the 3rd quarter...Im sorry Mark but that is when the crowd got back into it and when the tenor of the game totally changed.

Pfunk 36, you don't know what your'e talking about. Phil is the best coach in the history of the NBA, PERIOD. There's reasons he doesn't make in game adjustments some games. The game of basketball is chess not checkers. You dont' show your hand the first series of the playoffs. There's times when he does not mind the Lakers losing, especially if they are not playing the right way, as if to make a point. It was clear that the game plan was to get the ball inside. After the game Phild told reporters, we went away from our game plan. Phil is supposed to make an adjustment because they put Durant on Kobe???? WTF? How about going to the matchup on the floor where the mismatch is. If Kobe can't score on Durant, got to Gasol. Phil's 11 rings speak for himself. Kobe has never won a ring without Phil and couldn't even make the playoffs with Rudy T and Frank H. They couldn't win a championship when they had Eddie Jones, Elden Cambpell, Nick Van Exel, Kobe, Rick Foxx, the list goes on. They had way more talent before Phil got there, but didn't play together. The bottom line is that as great as Kobe is, he's not always a team player. He doesn't just want to win, he also has to be the man while doing so. Give me D-Wade all day long...

Love it...there's a pic of Kobe where he's being fouled; caption reads he was fouled....did anyone see him get to the FT line?
Just saying...the FT discrepancy was due to the 31 three-point attempts and not being aggressive, but a bump from KD when Kobe went to take a shot is a NO-CALL whereas it was a call at the other end...

Refs need to realize that their crappy job of officiating is doing nothing to resurrect their post-Donaghy credibility.

Lakerlady, that's a block. Durant's hand is only touching Kobe's hand because he's already knocked the ball out of the way. Once you've blocked the ball, it's not a foul to make contact with the shooter's hand afterwards. That's the rules of basketball.

http://lakersblog.latimes.com/lakersblog/2010/04/lakers-vs-thunder-game-3-end-of-third-quarter-lakers-75-thunder-74-.html


I'm talking about this one, not the Durant pic...Sefalosha hitting Kobe...looks like a shot from Kobe to me...foul...

kobe shot too much in 4th quarter. i saw a few plays with andrew bynum in great position just need to feed the ball. but instead kobe ignores him and went on taking low percentage shots. yes kobe was trying to play hero when offense was working.
i was thinking kobe trade for lebron; but i'd be happy with kobe for durant.
a selfish ballhawk will always be one. he will never change.


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