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Lakers measure their frustration level after 2-3 trip

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson joked that the team's recent 2-3 trip simply was a product of what he called "March Madness." And thankfully for the Lakers apparently, that month has passed.

"We're glad it's April," Jackson said. "We can all be fools."

Well at least for one day. After a 2-3 trip that presented visible frustrations, most notably with guard Kobe Bryant, forward Pau Gasol didn't see that angst boil over into Thursday's practice.

"It was good," Gasol said. "Everybody was dragging out a little bit, but once we got out on the floor and we started working on stuff, we got loose and into it."

So those wondering if the Lakers were going to rip each other's heads off after coming home can be relieved. 

"We're not playing the way we'd like to play," guard Derek Fisher said. "But we're not going to allow that to bubble over and beocme something that derails us from still where we're trying to go."

There's not a lot of time for the Lakers to correct those problems with seven games remaining, including one Friday against the Utah Jazz. Beyond the news that Luke Walton will likely return for Sunday's game against San Antonio, Andrew Bynum's exact timetable in recovering from his left Achilles' tendon injury is far from definitive, and with Jackson being noncommittal on whether he'd change the bench's rotation (aside from Sasha Vujacic of course), much of the post-practice interviews involved how the team can correct their problems without overreacting.

And the exact approach on how to deal with that reality is certainly a fine line. But it's something that isn't necessarily new. The Lakers dealt with this issue all month, going through a three-game road losing streak, a seven-game winning streak that was only impressive in the win column and recently the team's 2-3 trip.

Gasol acknowledged the possibility that part of the Lakers' struggles had to do with the fact that the Lakers (54-21) have a comfortable four-game lead over Dallas (50-25), a 4-1/2-game edge over Utah (50-26),  a five-game cushion over Phoenix (49-26) and a six-game advantage over Denver (48-27). He didn't downplay the notion that the team may had lost interest in pursuing Cleveland (59-16) for the league's best record. 

"Maybe if we had Dallas, Denver or Utah one game behind us," Gasol said, "we would have more of a sense of urgency and said, 'Guys, we need to win this game. There's no other option.' Maybe. It's hard for me to say."

Fisher thought otherwise, arguing "I don't think it's because we want to just cruise into the playoffs and then think we can just push a button and then turn it on. Guys are genuinely concerned, frustrated and want to turn things around."

With exception to the Atlanta game, it appeared on the film that the Lakers' performance fit the way Gasol described it, as that lack of urgency. Of course, there have been plenty of other variables involved what with Bynum's injury, the offensive chemistry, the defensive rotations, ball handling and the inconsistent bench. But the team's frustration level in fighting through those challenges appeared to show the team giving up in trying to correct the problem, with the emotions getting the best of them.

Regardless, Gasol and Fisher correctly noted that it's misguided to think the Lakers can simply turn the switch on and correct all the aforementioned problems.

"That's what we're finding where some of the frustration is coming from," Fisher said. "I think we genuinely believe that we're not sitting around and waiting to get better before the playoffs start. We want to get better, but there is a process. There are times where we've taken a step forward and times where we've gotten knocked back."

Everyone said the right things in recognizing the problem. That may make for great sound and copy, but it will be telling to see whether the Lakers follow what they preach. These seven remaining games won't "tell the future," Fisher observed on how the Lakers will fare in the playoffs. But it's getting to that point where time is running out for the team to turn things around.

-- Mark Medina

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

 
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Its a new month. Luke is coming back, Bynum isn't far behind. If we're healthy nobody beats us in a 7 game series. We've been saying it since October. Nothing's changed my mind now that we're in April. I don't think Bynum's injury will keep him out of the playoffs. Kobe & Lamar are banged up but can fight their way through a lot of pain. Fish comes alive in the playoffs and I think Farmar and Brown have enough maturity and experience now to contribute off the bench when we need them. Add a warrior like Artest who excels in half-court playoff style defense and what's not to like about our chances to repeat?

I hope everyone knows people from all over the world are laughing at Laker fans who think the season is over, like laughing really hard. The team is not invincible, they will lose some games. I mean, they are 2nd in the NBA, and people who read this blog might think they are the clippers. Relax, everyone, all this talk can come up if they lose in the playoffs.

I like the honesty. It's nice to see the work the team leaders are doing to ensure that the blame falls on the team execution as opposed to individual play.


We can get this ship right, there's still time!


GO LAKERS!!!!!


MM

Right off the top, I've got to thank you for another 'reader comment of the day'...wow...who'd 'ev thunk it...twice in a week's time.(LOL)

Anyhoo, I'm aching for this team to turn things around but, based on their recent play and the comments of some of the players, I'm beginning to have some doubts as to whether they'll be able to. Now don't get me wrong, I'm gonna support the team no matter what because I'm a true Lakers fan but,I'm also a realist(or at least try to be) and my expectations have definitely been tamed a bit over these last couple of weeks. I'm just hoping it's mostly mental and they can figure things out in time for the PO 'cause once they start things won't be getting any easier. When the Black Mamba expresses dissatisfation and frustration over the team's recent play...something is definitely wrong in Lakerland.

I'm gonna send as many positive vibes to the team as I can and hope that my fellow bloggers will join me...it might just help...there's power in collective thought.(smile)

Btw, gotta luv those oneliners by PJ.(LOL)

Thanks for the outstanding motivational speech. That certainly picked me up and made me feel better about my Lakers.

Unfortunately, ten seconds later I'm back to reality... (sigh).

Remember how LAL came into the PO last year also without AB? While the personnel is almost identical (Artest vs. Ariza, more or less a wash for now), the intangibles are not. Last year's team came into the PO after proving their reg season's mettle by beating both Cavs and Celts at their home courts. The team's chemistry was very good with just about the only weak-link was Luke Walton.

Sadly all has changed in a year. This year's team is going to go into the PO a big huge MESS in every senses: physically, mentally, spiritually...

It's looking very bleak, folks.

PS: BTW, if I have to read another post about Pau being soft I'm going to hurl. Yes, Pau is indeed soft but they did win a championship with him right smack in the middle of it all. And I think he has toughened somewhat for this season. Get real people, Pau's being soft is the least of the Lakers problems right now.

Tendo achilles injuries are tricky indeed. We will be 'lucky' to get Bynum back this year. It's not an injury you can play with or through. To do so would lead to further injury. It must be 100% healed to stand up to the strains of his frame and the NBA game. It would not surprise me if he is done for the year. Without him their is no repeat this year...we have no one capable of replacing him.

There's Reason for Optimism, Pessimism, and the Reasonable In Between

Anything short of a parade is unthinkable to us but the lads are sure given us a glimpse of that possibility.

The team hasn't dominated this year, with or without key players. The best stretch was with Kobe and Andrew in street clothes. It doesn't matter.

This team is best suited to playoff tempo. They're constructed for the playoffs.

We can be realistic about one fact: this team can beat any team in 7. That's not unbridled optimism, that's the way it is.

Laker Tom

I denounce communism and socialism, (Obama) is leading the country towards dark paths.Long live the tea party movement 'Representation with-out taxation'.

Let's start the PLAYOFFS NOW!!!

I BLEED PURPLE & GOLD. Nothing's gonna change that, not even a season long losing streak(seriously), NOTHING. I may be frustrated by it, but I will still be a LAKERHOLIC- win or lose.

I will only accept LOSING; if and when we are finally eliminated. As long as our Lakers still have another day to play, I WILL ALWAYS BELIEVE.

LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

LakerTom,

"I have criticized the Lakers and our government leaders for a variety of faults and misguided actions but when supposed fans start spewing vitriol against my team and its players or when politicians and citizens of the opposing political party cannot even show a modicum of respect to or even any willingness to cooperate with our president, I have no choice but to believe we’ve gone too far."

I agree 100%. And if you were also saying that during the previous 8 years, major props to you.

Yes, these "Fakerholics" as you would call them can get pretty annoying, but we always have the option to scroll right past them. In fact, I find myself looking at the name of the blogger first before deciding to read the post these days. These people kinda remind me of some of the people in your neck of the woods - you know, those kooks in the People's Republic of Berkeley :)

D Fish what a leader. Always great when interviewed. Wouldn't it be great if
he was as good on the court as in the media room !!!!

D Fish what a leader. Always great when interviewed. Wouldn't it be great if
he was as good on the court as in the media room !!!!

Posted by: DFish | April 01, 2010 at 11:09 PM

just words. more words. just a demagog. a veteran demagog. a demagog with many intangibles. porc?

how bout Faux PAS?

zaza ate him for lunch

zaza the euro scrub had his first double-double in one year.
so did DJ Mbenga

zaza > Faux Pas

zaza=DJ

DJ Mbenga >>>>>>>>>>> Faux Gaza

A day late but worth it:

"Chris Paul tells the Hornets he wants to play for the Cavs."

http://tinyurl.com/395w9a

I like the openess in teh interviews... but I just expect the actions, you know.
No, not now...
You know I don't care about the rest of teh regular season...

Anyway, speaking about that... this is the last post of mine until Tuesday, because I leave for Easter ime away and I won't take pc with me (just the iPhone, so only Twitter will see sign of me ;)).

Yep.
I will miss next two games (but recording them).

I will probably read a bit here through the iPhone, but won't post, cos time is precious and it will be even more these few days (I'm up for a holiday at 5 Lands... a very pictoresque corner of Italy ;)).

Wanna wish you all HAPPY EASTER TIME (may you celebrate that or not), and just lotta love and joy all days through.

I also wish my Lakers to get back their good Fate.

But if we have to get it in PO, skip these games as well... doen't matter.

I will miss to be in chat for the incoming two battles.

My spirit will be there ;)

CU soon fellow Lakerholics.

Never slow down your pride.

Just sparkle in purple and Gold and never let anyone get in your way about it.

Because we are Lakers.

The rest are... just so darn worse.

;)
Luv&Happy Easter, Z. :)

Tough reading the blog these days. I'd hate to see what would have happened to the Showtime teams if the internet had been around -- Kareem would have been traded (too soft), Magic would have been vilified (too slow for small PGs), and the rest of the team would have been attacked relentlessly (Byron too inconsistent, Worthy not aggressive enough, Green/Rambis/Thompson not talented enough). Thank the basketball gods those guys did not have to hear all of the stuff that goes on now.

Championships are incredibly rare, special things -- that's what makes this franchise so remarkable! I believe the Lakers can repeat, but it will take a lot of work and a lot of luck, especially with injuries. This team has a ton of talent, but not enough to put them head and shoulders above everyone else. So let's keep the faith and believe -- I think this team, and this franchise, have earned it.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA:

JAC YOU WROTE: I hope everyone knows people from all over the world are laughing at Laker fans who think the season is over, like laughing really hard.


hmmmm, how do you know all of this or you are thinking out loud? hahahahaha

NO HARM NO FOUL:

1. I just don't see this laker team ready for the the title run.

2. They lack fire in their belly like they had last year.

3. Too many injuries resulting in lack of team chemistry

4. Bynum and Luke have proven one thing and that is they both are injury prone.

5. Bynum and Luke have not played an entire season, very disruptive and counter productive

6. It will not be easy to turn on the after burners come playoffs.

7. Laker's chance of winning the title are less than 30%.

Psycorp,

to LakerTom you wrote: PS: BTW, if I have to read another post about Pau being soft I'm going to hurl. Yes, Pau is indeed soft but they did win a championship with him right smack in the middle of it all. And I think he has toughened somewhat for this season. Get real people, Pau's being soft is the least of the Lakers problems right now.

my response: I don't recall PJ calling Pau soft last year. Do you? *I* have
made note of it because he's not playing like he did last year. If he played
this year the way he played last year ... I would have no problems with Pau

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/371783-stick-a-fork-in-the-lakers-theyre-done

Pulling the trigger too early. Like crowning Queen James before playoffs even started last year.

Sure would love to stick 'em after Lakers wins the Championship this year.

Gunner,

"Long live the tea party movement 'Representation with-out taxation'."

1. I hope you like your roads and being able to call the police when someone is trying to kill you, because they're paid for by taxes.

2. I recently had my taxes done out here in Ohio and I was told by the accountant that every single small business she had ever done taxes for was cheating on its taxes. I also spoke with a lawyer friend of mine whom I share philosophical discussions with. He's involved in somekind of franchise work cross country right now and looking at these franchisees' financial statements, they're all cheating on their taxes. Ohio is one of the key centers of the Tea Party movement and guess what? It's a big joke. Everyone's screaming about their taxes and everyone is cheating BIG TIME on their taxes.

Guess what that means? That means local govenment doesn't have enough revenue to fulfill their budgets. So what happens? What happens is the local governments desperate to generate revenue start becoming extraordinarily litigious and they start using cops to generate revenue. Tickets go up like crazy. People are arrested for stupid things and given HUGE fines. People feel like they're under seige because no one wants to drive any distance in fear that they're going to get a ticket. The overall quality of life declines and people become cynical.

So, this whole "revolt" mentality is a tremendous joke being played by a bunch of short-sighted, uneducated, unethical, selfish people whose "outrage" is lowering the overall quality of life for everybody.

You want to find the trolls that plague our blogmunity? Go to a tea party rally. I'm sure after going home and cheating on their taxes, each one of them goes on a blog somewhere and makes a nusance of their self.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

EJK,

"People's Republic of Berkeley"

I hate Berkeley. Beautiful campus. Crazy self-righteous people.

Trolls and Fakeraholics are born on the extreme left and extreme right. Crazy, self-centered, self-righteous idealogues with no sense of pragmatism and zero spiritual maturity.

My father long ago told me, "Son, one out of every five people in life is a jerk. There's nothing you can do about it and there's no explanation for it. The key is in life being able to identify these people quickly and staying away from them."

Well, of that 20%, half of them are on the far right and the other half of them are on the far left. The problem is that 20% shouts louder than the other 80% combined because they're jerks and they want the world to feel that their insanity is actually "normalcy" so they can feel more comfortable being a jerk to everyone else.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

I will watch the game tonight at work while I'm sharing bartending duties with a very vocal and obnoxious LeBroniac. ALL this guy does is talk smack. He calls Kobe a criminal. He calls the Cavs the best team in NBA history. It goes on and on and on and on and on... Immature, stupid new money.

I sure hope we win tonight. That would really be great.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

hobbitmage,

Personally, I believe Phil's approach to Pau this year has been part of the problem. I simply don't think that public criticism works with Pau and only makes the situation worse. It fuels discontent and provides other teams a way to poke at the Lakers and at Pau. I guess I'm just of the belief that those kind of things need to stay in the locker room.

Phil does things his way, and he often appears to need at least one player to consistently attack each year, but I remember thinking that he aired too much of the Shaq/Kobe feud in public and that really hurt the team.

Hopefully none of this matters by the end of June and we are all watching another Laker parade!

teamn,

"I simply don't think that public criticism works with Pau and only makes the situation worse."

I've never been a fan of Phil's tendency to try and get his message to his players by using the press. It's a weird propensity to use public shame to "motivate" (mind games) his players.

I don't see how it really helps build chemistry. I don't think shame is a great chemistry-building tool.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

The Soothsayer,

" It will not be easy to turn on the after burners come playoffs."

This is true, but, remember, the Lakers didn't "turn on the after burners" until Game Seven of the Houston series last year.

Remember, we play seven game series in the playoffs. Remember who we are. Can another team beat us in a seven game series? Probably not.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

7. Laker's chance of winning the title are less than 30%.

Posted by: The Soothsayer | April 02, 2010 at 06:59 AM

Please explain what criteria you used to determine the Lakers chances are less than 30%.
How could something like that be determined at all?
Please enlighten us.

When did this become a political blog?
If there's politics to be complained about on a Lakers blogs, I think it's the politics of the NBA (inconsistent refs, fines and fouls based on rep not actions) and the media bias against Kobe and the Lakers and for LeBron and the Cavs.
In the arena of the NBA though, it's settled on the court, not in the media or the polls. It's time for the Lakers to step up and reclaim what is rightfully ours and silence the critics.
Go Lakers!

Since LeBron says he won't stop until he brings Cleveland a championship, maybe Cavs fans should hope he doesn't win it this year, so he'll stay longer. As a Lakers fan I hope he ends up having to stay a Cav his whole career.
16 wins to go to get #16

JonK, You almost had me flaming about bad generalizations when you wrote

"So, this whole "revolt" mentality is a tremendous joke being played by a bunch of short-sighted, uneducated, unethical, selfish people whose "outrage" is lowering the overall quality of life for everybody."

but redeamed yourself in your next post with:
"I hate Berkeley. Beautiful campus. Crazy self-righteous people.

Trolls and Fakeraholics are born on the extreme left and extreme right. Crazy, self-centered, self-righteous idealogues with no sense of pragmatism and zero spiritual maturity."

Extremism kills any rational thought in most situations; though, when it comes to the Lakers, it seems that there is not enough extreme Lakerholism.
Each side has excellent points, however they are usually unwilling to budge to see the otherside's valid argument. Of course, none of this applies to Lakerholics as we are right and there is no valid argument against us.

JR

ok, i get it laker's players.....great candid interviews.......... " TALK IS CHEAP, LOSSES ARE EXPENSIVE", PLAY LIKE YOU TALK! that's not asking too much, is it?

Jolly Rancher,

"redeamed yourself in your next post"

I love generalizations because they are emotionally honest, even if they are almost ALWAYS intellectually incorrect. There have been and always be significant and numerous exceptions to any generalization. That much said, generalizations do form extremely convenient (and relatively speaking, accurate) communications of what is actually occuring in complex situations, thus the value of their emotional honesty.

Over the long, strange, extreme arc of my life, I've come to the pragmatic decision that the only way to address the psychosis of the radicalism of the extreme right and left is with strength. Strength sometimes requires a suspension of empathy.

These trolls, Fakeraholics, and chicken littles who infest our beloved blogmunity (as they do society as a whole in varying degrees) they do not communicate honor nor respect in their lives and thus are not worthy of our energies, attention and respect. Jerks will be jerks. Leave them alone.

The problem with the sane 80% of society is that we like reason. And people who like reason are thoughtful and thus not conflict driven. They're not "bullies." However, these people on the extremes ARE bullies. The people on the right are aggressive bullies. The people on the left are passive-aggressive bullies. It's just the nature of things.

So, what's the best way to deal with a bully? You stand up to them because deep inside they're scared little rabbits.

You and I love this team. It provides us a safe avenue for expressing deep passion and commit which generally is not safe anywhere but our families in the greater scheme of things. Trolls and Fakeraholics they want to even take this away from us... because they're jerks and bullies.

We don't need that.

Deal with them with strength as opposed to empathy as they have no empathy or respect for us.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!


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