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Kevin Durant downplays his role as Kobe-stopper

Oklahoma City Thunder players were happy about beating the Lakers in Game 3 of the first-round Western Conference playoffs Thursday night.

But all that did was trim the Thunder's deficit to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 is Saturday night in Oklahoma City at the Ford Center.

"Of course we're all excited about the win," Thunder forward Kevin Durant said after his team's practice Friday. "In the playoffs, you have to take any win that you can. But it's a long series and they are the defending champions."

It was a surprise to many to see Durant defending Kobe Bryant in the fourth quarter.

Durant, after all, is known as a scorer. He led the NBA in scoring during the regular season, averaging 30.1 points per game.

But there was Durant in the fourth guarding Bryant, limiting him to four points on two-for-10 shooting.

"Kobe Bryant is the best player in the world," Durant said. "Some of those shots he missed just because he missed. Maybe two or three of those shots I made him miss. But other than that, he just missed shots."

-- Broderick Turner in Oklahoma City

 
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TNT is phony as Fisher

Last nite Barkely goes 0-2 on game picks,
yet no real mention that all his pre-game analysis
was WRONG.

Barkley said at halftime, "Lakers championship difference blah blah blah"

Big guy spoke before the fourth quarter.

I miss Machine.

Magia32,

Perhaps, temporarily they should try Adam Morrison to replace the machine and take care of outside shooting. If you ask him to shoot 4, I don't think he will miss all 4. He can also do some fouling on Thunder to relieve the starters from accumulating a lot of fouls. Just a haunch.

I was just complaining about these zillion threads and I didn't even manage to finish my post before there was a new one... So here's the repost:

I'm no fan of these multiple threads either...

I just wanted to second Jamie Sweet's post in the other thread and even though I have a gigantic man-crush on Kobe it pains me to see this "has been"-version. I know he's got those injuries on finger, knee and ankle but is he brain damaged aswell??? I joked a while back about him taking over Ron Ron's Hennessy habit and some of his decisions are jut plain moronic. He's had a bunch of REALLY stupid turnovers in this series (aswell as in the regular season) and forcing the issue with his injuries is just retarded.

I'm also afraid we're losing PJ after this season. Clearly our knuckleheaded team isn't listening to him. Everybody knows what to do (maybe except for Ron Ron...) and still they do the opposite, like a bunch of obstinate children. Pound the ball inside! Not only aren't we passing the ball inside, we don't drive inside or post up properly. When Pau's lurking on the perimeter something is very wrong! I know Oklahoma is clogging the lane but we need to get in there and muscle these kids around! Gasol must be the focus of the offense. He is clearly our most consistent and reliable player right now.

I've been down on Bynum earlier but I must say I appreciate his increasing rebounding in the playoffs. I don't care so much if he scores. Rebound, plug the lane and block shots kiddo! Ron's playing some nasty D but boy does he look insecure on offense. I've noted numerous occasions where he obviously doesn't know whether to shoot or not and his blown a startling number of layups. Poor guy (and poor us).

I still say Lakers i 6 and then a 2nd round exit. Prepare for pain in these playoffs, dear Laker Nation. Only way for us to survive the 2nd round is if we get Utah but sooner or later we'll have our B-hinds handed to us in a most humiliating way. Another dynasty flushed down the drain... I wish we had half the heart and desire Oklahoma displays. Kudos also to Durant who is an incredible player and in contrary to LeEvaBraun a very dignified athlete.

@hobbitmage


Your query: "How can the Lakers play inside-outside basketball when the other team is preventing the ball going into the bigs? A quick look at the box score shows 20 non-Kobe 3ptrs were taken. To repeat that, Artest, D-Fish, J-Farmar & S-Brown took 20 3 point shots over the course of the game. They made 6. That's ~ 27% shooting from players not named Kobe. That's 5 3-ptrs per quarter from people not named Kobe.

Why are we talking about Kobe in terms of this loss?"


Are you insinuating Kobe allowed the Thunder to prevent him from making a decent post entry pass? Are you implying that somehow Gasol and Bynum waved their hands in denial when Kobe came down the floor looking for them, Kobe saw this and said, 'Sweet! I'll jack up a three!' What exactly are you trying to say with this question? That because UPS, Lamar, Ron and Derek all shot too many three's Gasol and Bynum are ineffective?


Your point that Kobe ONLY shot 11 out of the 31 three pointers is, at best, weak. When playing a team that thrives on transition basketball, why play right into their hands? All alone, with 9 fingers a la Sauron and no One Ring to hide behind Kobe shot 11 3 point shots. He made 4. If Kobe is the team undisputed leader (I think he is), he should lead by example. His example last night was, "Take the open 3, even if it's not falling." Only Fisher was hitting from the outside last night. he took a respectable amount of 3 pointers and to be honest, that's his role on the team. take and make the open shot. it's when he drives that makes me cringe.


That's what Kobe should have done. Drive, drive, drive.


How do you win in the 4th quarter of an intense playoff game when you're down on the road? You post up and get to the line or get easier shots. Easier in EVERY sense of the word. Easier to make, easier to rebound, easier to get back on defense on.


How did we play in the 4th quarter? We stood around and watched Kobe jack up hard to hit shots when he's healthy. If you had read the entire post, I call out the rest of the team for not cutting to the hoop when 24 had the rock. But Gasol and Bynum start in the post. We need to find them. not too hard to miss, what with them being 7 feet tall and all.

I've been saying for months that the Lakers struggles come down to one thing and one thing only - INJURIES. The team currently has four significant injuries to Kobe, Lamar, Artest and Bynum. If 3 out of these 4 injured players can overcome their injuries, this team will have a good shot against any elite team. If all 4 of these guys can overcome their injuries, they will be the favorites against anyone, including the Cavs.

Fortunately, this team only needs about 2 out of the 4 injured players to step up their game on any given night to assure a victory against the Thunder. In game 1, it was Bynum. In game two, it was Kobe . In game 3, it was nobody. I didn't include Artest because although his defense has been stellar, his hand injury is clearly effecting his shooting.

Getting healthy will be a slow process, but in the meantime, let's all cross our fingers that at least 2 out of the 4 injured players can ignore their injuries and step up in game 4. I'm looking at you Lamar.

To Jon K:

Can you calm down man and stop whinning at yourself, refree, and Stern! Is that all you think of, that everbody is against Lakers! Have you thought about how silly you think? WAKE UP, other NBA fans all over the US & Canada think that Lakers is protected by the ref's for getting all the calls. What can you say about that? Who is right? Don't you think that it just lies in your mentality?

SO STOP WHINNING AND LET US ENJOY THE GAMES WHILE WE CAN!!!!

Yeah having blog by community means there's a lot more threads. But this article is good stuff. I like that Kevin Durant is humble and respectful. Kobe earned what he got, Durant is on his way to doing the same.

I liked the matchup. I thought on any given night Kobe could have given him a run for his money size or not. I appreciate the spirit of competition, there aren't a lot of players in this league willing to take the Bean on in crunch time much less any part of the game so props to him. But and this is a big but, there is no way that's going to keep on happening. Kobe's Kobe, he'll take it as a personal challenge to erase doubts and triumph over what can be perceived as a Kobe-stopper. That is of course provided the team gives him help. I felt like the game came down to really few things:
1. We couldn't throw the ball inside to save our lives. The OKC Thunder were fronting and we didn't adjust. Instead we threw the ball around the perimeter and settled for 3s.
2. We couldn't control the paint. When the pace was slow we could do better but long shots equalling long rebounds means no one to guard the paint.
3. Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown
4. Clutch 3 pointers...not there. I really think for all the hate people spew on Sasha he has shown that he's capable of knocking down those shots (2008 Finals against the Celtics) and that would have at least been a positive last night.
5. Not enough Bynum. I felt starting the series that Andrew Bynum will be the x-factor. Normally it's LO but where he's at right now and position wise Bynum is the more productive game changer. He can get the boards and dunk it over Green, et al and he can block the teenies from laying it up. And he can better help on screens with Ron, Fish to boot. LO works best IMO on those screens with UPS but doesn't work nearly as well with Ron because he tends to leave Ron in a no-man island. But LO got the late call and Bynum didn't. Such as it is.

In any case 1 game is 1 game. The Thunder got heart they weren't gonna sit down and die. They held homecourt, simple as that. It's time to take it back, with a vengeance.

"You have just been revoked!"

Andy L.

Thunder is a good team this year. They had a losing record against the Lakers with 1-3, however against Phoenix they were 2-1 and against the Jazz 3-1. The Thunder are just hoping to pass on the Lakers test, and their chances of winning the 2nd run is much higher than the first round based on season's standing.

On the other hand, Lakers record against Jazz is 3-1 and against Suns 3-1. Most of those victories were played when starters were healthy. The way I look at it, the Lakers are avoiding inside games because of 1) injuries, 2) avoiding re-injury on unintentional contact of injured parts, 3) Thunder are all sagging the posts front and back of Bynum and Pau. My suggestion, Artest, Gasol and Bynum should also pack the fringes of the post and see who survived among them in rebounds and follow ups. It will always be a rumble out there in the inside.

Ah, how I have missed you, Faith. Thanks for bringing some sanity to the best blog on the planet.

I expect some critical adjustments in Game 4. And, as always, I expect a victory for the purple and gold. This time, I think we'll get it.

I love watching Durant play. Especially because he'll be a Laker in a few years. GUARANTEED.

Go Lake Show!

Listen, Phil lost the game. I understand that Kobe needs more rest because of injures. We get that. But Kobe came back cold as ice. I don't understand why Phil sat him with 3 minutes left in the 3rd! and brings him so late in the 4th?? What the heck was he thinking. Kobe was on fire and in good rhythm, then got cold as hell. He's not used to sitting out that long. He was in rhythm PJ took him out of that rhythm. No need to sit down that long!!!
PJ YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND THIS POINT! You only sit your players down when they're superstars and are not in any rhythm or if they are in rhythm then you sit them out for about 2 minutes or so after a lot of energy has been expended. What is wrong with Mr. PJ. That was not Kobe's fault. We need a coach who knows his players. Pisses me off seriously. PJ was the sixth man for the Thunder.
They were doing good in the first half throwing the rock inside, then the coaching staff decided "Why don't we stop throwing it inside and go manic shooting the ball from outside?" Sounded good to them apparently.
I did like the poise, the Lakers do have a lot of poise under pressure. I like that, but not the decision making. They don't maintain the good decisions for 4 quarters. Something is happening at halftime. Maybe Luke should start or play more minutes. I don't know anymore.

Mark Medina.

u really don't get it. my argument with you was regarding MOMENTUM. you said that the game was lost in the 4th on the first 13 possessions. me and others pointed out the last 3:11 of the 3rd quarter.

i do not read AK and BK. and i did not read them even when their were blogging here. i referred to BK's headline that was mentioning the MELTDOWN in the 3rd. his kobe bashing is already historic for all of us. so why bother.

but because i want U to lear some things in your approach i will refer to the last post on Screen and Roll:

"All I seek is consistency in the commentary regarding Kobe's game. If you want to take him to task for Game 3, don't celebrate him for Game 2. If you want to put him on a pedestal for Game 2, don't throw him under the bus for Game 3. Kobe, the hero of Game 2, and Kobe, the goat of Game 3, are the same guy. Your reaction to him is all that's different."

http://bit.ly/bP9UzC

u can reflect on "that" (your approach to Kobe's performanCES) while u r at the gym tonight.

and same goes for the rest of the crew who is chanting praises to your game breakdown. i'm sure all of you were happy in the 2nd QT. when the OKC was cutting the lead, the crowd was getting laud and every-time Kobe came back and silenced the crowd with a big shot. and Kenny was arguing with Charles at the half time who is the real killer of the game

IT’S STILL THE LAKERS IN FIVE…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You would think that the sky has already fallen and the Lakers have already been bounced in the first round. The reality is that despite being on the road, having our super star player shoot 10-29, losing the battle of the boards by 53-39, and suffering a series evening free throw differential of 37-10, we still almost won the game. In other words, we almost won despite playing poorly while the Thunder played their best game of the year. That does not seem to me to be any reason to go Chicken Little on the Lakers championship aspirations.
~
Yes, Phil likely hurt the team’s chances by pulling Kobe late in the 3rd quarter and by playing Lamar Odom too many critical minutes in the 4th quarter instead of Andrew Bynum. But there is also no doubt that Kobe Bryant basically shot the Lakers out of the game with his poor shot selection and ill-advised attempts to personally outplay Kevin Durant in the 4th quarter. Any Lakers fan who couldn’t see that is blinded by loyalty. But any Lakers fan who thinks this game proves Kobe is done is blinded by stupidity. This game was an anomaly.
~
I thought MM had it dead right in his analysis. This was not Kobe taking over a game where his teammates were not playing or shooting well. It was Kobe getting caught up in a personal battle with Kevin Durant and shooting 10 for 29 while every other Lakers starter was shooting over 50% from the field. You can’t have it both ways. If you give Kobe credit for the team winning 9 out of 10 games when he takes over the offense, then you also have to accept the 1 out of 10 games when his poor play is a major factor in the Lakers losing the game.
~
As Tom Daniels so aptly pointed out, “If the Lakers pounded it inside for 48 minutes the way they do the first 5 and played inside out ball, would they win by 20 every night?” Last night, we saw the Lakers come out of the gate like fire, pounding the ball inside to Drew and Pau and dominating the paint. Unfortunately, their great game plan fell by the side much like MM’s efforts to minimize the number of new threads popping up each day. Instead of playing smart inside-out basketball, they played outside-in basketball by taking 30 3-point shots, which just played into the Thunder’s hands, leading to long rebounds and a 23-7 deficit in fast break points.
~
I laughed in disbelief reading the retarded posts by the constant contrarians who idiotically tried to claim that the Lakers big men were at fault for not getting open in the post so that Kobe could pass the ball to them. I guess they were not watching Drew during the 4th quarter as he made move after more to get open only to be completely ignored by Kobe and our other players. As the Troll Man fittingly asked: “Anyone see that one play early in the 4th when Kobe was juking at the top of the Key and Bynum made an incredible reverse move that left him wide open under the basket, too bad Kobe was too busy dribbling between his legs to pass the ball?”
~
Even more laughable is the contrarians claim that the Thunder fronting Drew prevented the Lakers from getting the ball to him. Again, the fault was not Andrew’s, as he often had his man sealed and all he needed was a good lob pass when the sagging help defender was leaning the wrong way. It really is an easy pass. You just need to time the pass correctly. Unfortunately, the Lakers perimeter players, including Kobe, were not patient and opted to pass the ball around the outside rather than just waiting for the proper opening to pass to the post. The reason we stopped playing inside-out basketball was NOT because Drew and Pau were not doing their jobs.
~
Bottom line, last night was the only game the Thunder are going to win in this series. Look for Phil and the Lakers staff to repeat their strategy of the 1st quarter by pulling Pau and his defender out of the paint to give Drew more room to operate and to negate the sagging defensive strategy of the Thunder. Look for Kobe to make the adjustment to take advantage of our front court power rather than playing Kobe ball. Look for Phil to tighten the rotations and give Drew more minutes and the Lakers to dominate the paint all game long. The Thunder may as well enjoy their 15 minutes of fame because it will be the last time they smile this year.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

If Phil didn't care about alienating Fisher he could start his "big lineup" with this Thunder team by starting Lamar at PG. He's 6'10, and passes like a point guard anyhow. But PJ cares more about not alienating Fisher than winning a game. It would be a blow to the Thunder immediately:

C-Bynum
PF- Gasol
SF-Artest
SG-Kobe
PG-Odom

It would work because Kobe can stay on Westbrook 100 times better than Fisher, and Odom 6'10 could guard Sefolosha who is a 6'7 (guard, sure bro). If you look at their lineup, this is the ideal situation in which the "BIG LINEUP" would work. Power in this instance quickly beats their speed. And it would intimidate them to see this lineup starting and not expecting it. Remember how Suns intimidated us back then? The Thunder need some intimidation after a win IMO. It's all about matches, take advantage and match up.

Fisher, huh, shure bro?

I know this is a team sport, but I just have to say this loss is mainly due to Kobe. I'm not a Kobe hater. He is the leader and handles the ball the most. It sucks that his finger is still injured. He got to know his limitation because of this injury. His outside shots are not reliable. He should drive like he did in game 2 to get easy buckets, create foul, or create for other guys.

Taking out Bynum for Lamar was another huge factor we lost. LO isn't doing crap, once he came in the lead shrank and it was too late for a comeback. Keep the big guy just a little longer.

You're just adorable ouchhhhhhhhh. "AK and BK didn't appreciate Kobe. MM doesn't appreciate Kobe. David Stern doesn't appreciate Kobe. Everyone is against Kobe. Waaahhhhhh!"

Do you ever stop and think, oucchhhhhhhh, that when everyone who is not a Kobe fanboy is saying the same thing, even the very commentators paid to cover the Lakers, that maybe, just maybe, your biases are getting in the way a little bit?

Aw, I missed you too Outlaw. How is Baby Outlaw?

Lets see Durant on Kobe again next game. Kobe played bad offense, and it cost him. There are alot of guys wide open when Durant plays Kobe, and it was too late for Kobe to actually realize it last night, but he did make the adjustment once he figured out the Thunder's defense when Durant was on him.

The only player who can stop Kobe is Kobe himself. He can drop 81 again or shoot at dismal %'s. The one called to guide Kobe is Phil, but he never does. He just sits there playing his "mind games" and hoping his team resolves his on-court problems by themselves.
Last year playoffs he let the Lakers win v/s the Rockets, and he is a genius in retrospective. But that could have been a big dissapointment. And he will wait this year the same result. Only by waiting. He will not call a timeout to cool the OKC when they are getting hot, or to calm down the team and reassure them in that circumstances.

He will wait, and wait. We will suffer and suffer. I hate that.

GO LAKERS!!!

LakerTom, I think you're too optimistic. The Thunder is not a bad team. They're young, fast, they played their hearts out, and has nothing to lose. They can shoot the ball very well as well. This is a dangerous combination. I would be very suprised if we win in 5.

I figured it out!

Bynum is kinda being a spectator out there at times. What I mean is that he's not demanding the ball enough and thus they can't pass the ball inside because there's nobody there. They need to work on Bynum getting open or setting a screen in order for him to be open in the post. That is why there was so many outside shots, because nobody had worked on this at practice and they were not very comfortable doing this in a real life game situation. Someone has to do this at practice and also let him know that he needs to DEMAND THE FEAKING ROCK. So yeah, Gasol and Bynum can score but they need to work on getting them the ball inside at practice.
PROBLEM SOLVED PEOPLE!!! TAH DAH!!!

Faith,

Baby Outlaw is doing fantastic, although he has been sick with a really high fever the last two days. I have no doubt that, given the Lakers convincing win tomorrow night in OKC, he'll be feeling better soon. The little fella will definitely have his Lakers jersey on.

I hope your beloved Sasha is back for Round 2. We could use his perimeter shooting right about now. Although, if we'd simply focus on our inside game with TWO SEVEN FOOTERS, we'd be just fine.

Go Lake Show!

You're just adorable ouchhhhhhhhh. "AK and BK didn't appreciate Kobe. MM doesn't appreciate Kobe. David Stern doesn't appreciate Kobe. Everyone is against Kobe. Waaahhhhhh!"

Do you ever stop and think, oucchhhhhhhh, that when everyone who is not a Kobe fanboy is saying the same thing, even the very commentators paid to cover the Lakers, that maybe, just maybe, your biases are getting in the way a little bit?

Posted by: LA Guy | April 23, 2010 at 02:51 PM

TY

I thought Eric Wright was banned.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

@LakerTom


You must have seen hobbitmage's question to me. I found that insinuation a tad bit absurd myself.

Jamie Sweet,

1st. Hola.

2nd. you wrote/asked: Are you insinuating Kobe allowed the Thunder to prevent him from making a decent post entry pass? Are you implying that somehow Gasol and Bynum waved their hands in denial when Kobe came down the floor looking for them, Kobe saw this and said, 'Sweet! I'll jack up a three!' What exactly are you trying to say with this question? That because UPS, Lamar, Ron and Derek all shot too many three's Gasol and Bynum are ineffective?

my response: No, I'm not insinuating. I'm stating. If I understand things
correctly, what I saw is: OKC fronting Gasol & Bynum to prevent the entry
pass. I also saw Gasol & Bynum no where near the basket to receive a pass.
My incomplete understanding of basketball is supported by Phil Jackson's
statement that OKC prevented entry pass' into the post. It's the last thing
he said in the video that MM put up.

I believe I have the game recorded. If you would care to point to specific
time frames during the game where Gasol/Bynum where desperately
calling for the ball, I'd be happy to review it and possibly say I was wrong.
Did you listen to the video of Phil where he stated that OKC prevented
entry passes? There was also an article link that MM posted where that
idea was stated in much better detail than I can give.

I'm also stating that Kobe has nothing to do with LO, Artest, D-Fish, J-Farmar
& S-Brown's shot selection. They are responsible for their own decisions.
Therefore if they had the ball and it didn't go into the post, then it is on *them*
not Kobe. Therefore you can't blame Kobe for the ball not going into the post.
This would lead one to believe that *because* of the ineffectiveness of Gasol
& Bynum, D-Fish, Artest, LO, J-Farmar & S-Brown chose to jack up 3's. My
reasoning is that because these shooters are not ballhogs they would
certainly have deferred to the Spaniard and made passes into the post.

Does that clarify my position?

So far we've been playing OKC's game and not ours. We are running, running and running. OK, we won the first two, we made the statement. Now we need to impose OUR GAME. Make the famous triangle offence work, and not blame Kobe for being Kobe.

GO LAKERS!!!

Johnny,

you wrote: C-Bynum
PF- Gasol
SF-Artest
SG-Kobe
PG-Odom

It would work because Kobe can stay on Westbrook 100 times better than Fisher, and Odom 6'10 could guard Sefolosha who is a 6'7 (guard, sure bro). If you look at their lineup, this is the ideal situation in which the "BIG LINEUP" would work. Power in this instance quickly beats their speed. And it would intimidate them to see this lineup starting and not expecting it. Remember how Suns intimidated us back then? The Thunder need some intimidation after a win IMO. It's all about matches, take advantage and match up.

My response: This is LakerTom's lineup. With respect, I don't think it works.
The premise seems to be that height/length trumps speed. That reasoning
is flawed. See Lakers vs. Bulls in 1st 3-peat. Maybe 2nd 3-peat as well.

A number of people have talked about how things slow down in the playoffs.
Did OKC seem slow to you last night? OKC had 23 fastbreak points. With all
of our height advantage OKC had 32 pts in the paint to our 34 pts in the paint.
We also got out rebounded 53 to 39 which means that all of our height didn't
stop them from getting more rebounds.

LO was 1-4 from the 3 and Artest was 1-5 from the 3, while .4 was 4-5. Are
you *REALLY* willing to depend more on LO? He has been inconsistent for
5 years. Also, your lineup will decrease the rebounding of LO because you
have Gasol as PF. It seems that LO's best games are when he's rebounding
well. Why would you put him in a position to rebound less?

Yes, Phil likely hurt the team’s chances by pulling Kobe late in the 3rd quarter and by playing Lamar Odom too many critical minutes in the 4th quarter instead of Andrew Bynum. But there is also no doubt that Kobe Bryant basically shot the Lakers out of the game with his poor shot selection and ill-advised attempts to personally outplay Kevin Durant in the 4th quarter. Any Lakers fan who couldn’t see that is blinded by loyalty. But any Lakers fan who thinks this game proves Kobe is done is blinded by stupidity. This game was an anomaly.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM
Posted by: LakerTom | April 23, 2010 at 02:44 PM

PERFECT!
Cheers.

@hobbitmage


No, not really. It sounds like you're saying that because Gasol/Bynum were being fronted that they were effectively denied the ball?


To that argument I offer two solutions: Lob pass (something nobody on the team works on much, seemingly), or penetrate and dish, kick it out or shoot it (although after yesterday's 3 point exhibition my vote is shoot or dish). If nobody on the team is able to do those things, then were not winning nothin' this year. That's basketball 101.


Also, I don't put it all on Kobe. The 4th quarter I put on Kobe. He dominated the ball and that was when the lead dwindled and vanished.


We could all nit pick about what UPS, Farmar and Fisher did. It's easy. Fish played OK last night and the bench stank to high heaven. Despite that, we were winning up until 'Kobe Time' (aka the 4th quarter), but none of them are the face of the franchise. None of them is the highest paid player on the team. None of them took a shot in the 4th quarter. Whoops, my bad, Fish took one.


My main point has also been echoed by the coaching staff and Phil, too many 3s and again we see the biggest culprit is Bryant. In my first post I stated that in order to be effective he needs to be in the post where his smarts are more effective, he can shoot left or right and his chances of getting to the line increase.


Would he have gotten a call or two if he had driven to the hole instead of settling for contested jumpers? I think so. Would we have won? Maybe not, the home crowd willed that Thunder team to win as much a we gave the game away. I expect a big come back win tomorrow because we've seen the best the Thunder has to offer and the only way they've won is through us not playing smart basketball.


Also, just because Pau and Bynum aren't hollering for the rock doesn't mean they shouldn't get it. I would hope that the overall game plan (work it inside) is posted somewhere in the locker room clearly, so the whole team can check it out.

Jamie Sweet,

sorry. I missed one of your points.

you wrote: Your point that Kobe ONLY shot 11 out of the 31 three pointers is, at best, weak. When playing a team that thrives on transition basketball, why play right into their hands? All alone, with 9 fingers a la Sauron and no One Ring to hide behind Kobe shot 11 3 point shots. He made 4. If Kobe is the team undisputed leader (I think he is), he should lead by example. His example last night was, "Take the open 3, even if it's not falling." Only Fisher was hitting from the outside last night. he took a respectable amount of 3 pointers and to be honest, that's his role on the team. take and make the open shot. it's when he drives that makes me cringe.

my response: My point is not weak. Let's sort this out. Kobe took ~ 1/3rd
of the 3 pointers on the team. he made ~ 35%. 4-11 to be specific.
Artest 1-5, LO 1-4, J-Farmar 1-3, UPS 1-4. When did Kobe miss most of
his 3-ptrs? I ask because you say, take the open 3 if it's not falling. I would
argue that it was falling until the 4th qtr. Oddly enough, he half of his
assists in the 4th quarter. That would dispute your statement: take the open
3 even if it's not falling. If you're talking about Kobe being the leader and
the rest of the team taking the lead from him, please explain the following:

Kobe has 8 assists in 41 minutes.

Artest 1 assist.
LO 0 assists.
DF 3
Bynum 2

So ... If the team is following Kobe's lead how come he had more assists than
anybody else? LakerTom is quick to talk about the pg skills of LO. How
many assists do Rondo, D-Will, CP3, Tony Parker etc. actually get?

Let me put this a bit clear. Kobe had almost as many assists as the entire
front line combined! kobe 8 assists. Gasol + Bynum + Artest + LO = 9.

@hobbitmage


Double my bad, Farmar took one shot in the 4th quarter, too. With 7 seconds left in the game. Had a feeling I'd biffed that stat, so I went and checked.

AngryLakers,

"SO STOP WHINNING AND LET US ENJOY THE GAMES WHILE WE CAN!!!!"

1. How am I keeping you from enjoying the game? I don't recall being in your house, beating you up and duct taping you inside a closet while the game was on, but I guess that could be arranged if that's what you want.

2. Are you Eric Wright?

3. Are you DFish?

4. Have you recently taken your meds? Because that might be a good idea.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Unfortunately, their great game plan fell by the side much like MM’s efforts to minimize the number of new threads popping up each day.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM
Posted by: LakerTom | April 23, 2010 at 02:44 PM
____________

Subtle add in there Tom, clever guy.

On a more serious note, don't you think Drews health status may be a reason for him not being given more minutes? I would like to see him on the floor more also, but it's been reported he suffered some soreness after game 2, I think it was. The Lakers will need Drew to go deeper into the playoffs, he is needed more this year than last.

I like how your analysis included mistakes by PJ and the team as opposed to saying we lost because of one player, it was a reasonably balanced take on the events.

One thing that troubles me is that in after game comments PJ says the team stopped following the plan. This seemed to be a recurring problem during the season also. It's difficult to follow the reasoning behind the teams play. If during time outs PJ is telling them to get back to the plan and they don't, well, what's up with that? It seems to me the 4th quarter seems to be Kobe's time to do whatever he wants. Does Kobe just do his own thing no matter what? Does he have that freedom? Can PJ get one of his emissaries to talk to him?
Seriously, do you think PJ tries to control Kobe or just lets him do his own thing? Curious about your thoughts on that whole Kobe-PJ dynamic.

I don't think Kobe lost the game himself, the team lost the game.

In your last paragraph you wrote:

"Bottom line, last night was the only game the Thunder are going to win in this series. Look for Phil and the Lakers staff to repeat their strategy of the 1st quarter by pulling Pau and his defender out of the paint to give Drew more room to operate and to negate the sagging defensive strategy of the Thunder. Look for Kobe to make the adjustment to take advantage of our front court power rather than playing Kobe ball. Look for Phil to tighten the rotations and give Drew more minutes and the Lakers to dominate the paint all game long."

Look for the Lakers to repeat the strategy of the 1st quarter?
Why?
I agree they should, but they haven't followed that strategy for an entire 4 quarters yet? Why will they start now?

Look for Kobe to make the adjustment to take advantage of our front court power rather than playing Kobe ball?
Again, I agree that's what should be done, but it hasn't happened yet, why will it now? Can Kobe do that for 4 quarters?

Look for Phil to tighten the rotations and give Drew more minutes and the Lakers to dominate the paint all game long?
Well, is Drew healthy enough to play more minutes? We don't really know.
It appears PJ is trying to control Drews minutes out of fear of a set back figuring we should be able to win now with fewer minutes from Drew. If we get to a game 7 I expect very heavy minutes from Drew, but not before that.

The Lakers have owned the first quarter of every game. OKC knows what the Lakers are going to do, but OKC hasn't been able to stop them in the 1st quarter. So what happens in the later stages of the game that cause the Lakers to breakdown?

I like your reasoned approach so can you help me out here. You aptly point out what the Lakers should be doing. What I am trying to figure out is:
1) why aren't they doing it
2) what makes you think they will start now?

I just have this feeling that the Lakers are going to succeed or fail playing Kobes game in the 4th quarter come hell or high water. I hope this doesn't happen, but it's been happening all season. Is it too late for the Lakers to get away from that? I guess we'll see.

By the way, Mark Medina, over the years there have been various trolls who have thought it clever to post the same basic rant under different log in names. The number times it has happened has been manifold. I assume the urge is that if one person can create the illusion that multiple people believe the exact same delusion then other people will begin to believe that delusion too.

It's difficult to curtail, but it's something to keep an eye out for.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

@hobbit mage


In response to your questions, I didn't get a chance to watch the video, check most of the links and such. Generally, I interact with the blog at work (bad on me, I know, I know, but I love this team!) and blatantly watching video and opening sports web pages isn't generally in the cards.


That's one of the reasons I like this blog. No splashy colors, no annoying ESPN commercials that auto play when you go to the website, in essence, I stealth blog.


Although I'm home now and may watch the vids after a bite and some relaxation time. Then again, I have some grant writing to do for the theatre tonight so maybe I'll just catch the game tomorrow.


Just to clarify, without Kobe, this team goes nowhere, he is the man. It's when he plays silly that I feel the need to vent.


Adios

@hobbitmage


You wrote:Kobe has 8 assists in 41 minutes.

Artest 1 assist.
LO 0 assists.
DF 3
Bynum 2


My first reaction is: That's a lot of assists for Bynum. My second is I totally agree with the fact that Kobe did get his team involved...after the lead had slipped away and momentum was clearly in the Thunder's favor. How many specific assists he generated after that I'm not sure, I'd have to watch the 4th quarter again.


I also don't think we'd be having this discussion if Kobe was reasonably healthy. He's not, therein lies my consternation. If you know you're not 100%, don't play like you're 100%. Adjust, adapt, go with the flow. But he seemingly insists on playing the same way.


The perceptions of that choice will change with the amount of success created. When we lose he'll get lambasted (which I think is unfair, for the most part, but not last night), when we win, he's courageous and an elite player.


Is that fair? Nope, but he gets paid millions to put up with it and to his credit, he puts up with it quite well. He understands. But we need him to adapt, oh so slightly to the reality of his situation.

@hobbitmage


I think we can both agree Lamar is playing about as well as a broken wheel chair?

To Jon K

"1. How am I keeping you from enjoying the game? I don't recall being in your house, beating you up and duct taping you inside a closet while the game was on, but I guess that could be arranged if that's what you want."

I was reading your comments for a while now and I considered you as a reasonable person. But now I see how childish and immature you are!

Grow up and stop whinning!!!!!

To everyone,

I thought I saw something about Bynum's ankle regressing. Did anyone else
catch that.

To Jamie Sweet,

1st. I appreciate the dialogue. On to the main course.

you wrote: No, not really. It sounds like you're saying that because Gasol/Bynum were being fronted that they were effectively denied the ball?


To that argument I offer two solutions: Lob pass (something nobody on the team works on much, seemingly), or penetrate and dish, kick it out or shoot it (although after yesterday's 3 point exhibition my vote is shoot or dish). If nobody on the team is able to do those things, then were not winning nothin' this year. That's basketball 101.

my response in a ramblin' way: I don't disagree with basketball 101.

re: Lob pass. Pau can't jump very high. He is 7'. Did you know that OKC
ranked 7th in blocked shots? Have you considered what that might do to
lobbed passes? I also thought I saw something about Bynum's ankle
regressing.

http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/news/story?id=5128577

Bynum, who said his progress was steadily moving forward in the near-month he was out, admitted that his ankle has regressed since returning to the court for the start of the series.

"I'm definitely positive [mentally] but it feels a little worse," Bynum said. "But [it's] not too bad. It's still something that's not really going to affect the way I play. ... It's definitely not 100 [percent], but it's not that bad."

Does this address why lobs aren't going Bynum's way?

re: penetrate & dish. You do know that OKC is quicker than the Lakers, yes?
You do know that OKC plays good defense, yes? I ask these question, not to
be a jack-*, but to address what that does to penetration. It should slow down
or stop penetration because of us picking up charges, right? Oddly enough,
did the coach of OKC win coach of the year? yes. So if Artest, LO, J-Farmar
& UPS 30% on their 3's the Lakers win. So there was some attempt at dishing,
right?

you also wrote: Also, I don't put it all on Kobe. The 4th quarter I put on Kobe. He dominated the ball and that was when the lead dwindled and vanished.

my response: With respect, this is false. At ~ 3:11 in the 3rd we were up b/n
6 & 8 pts. By the start of the 4th the lead was at 1 or we were down 1. I
verified this earlier on the play-by-play from ESPN.

you also wrote: My main point has also been echoed by the coaching staff and Phil, too many 3s and again we see the biggest culprit is Bryant. In my first post I stated that in order to be effective he needs to be in the post where his smarts are more effective, he can shoot left or right and his chances of getting to the line increase.


my response: I've said this before. There are lies, damn lies and statistics.
I don't argue that there were too many 3's. I'm addressing *why* there were
threes & *when* there were threes. You point at Kobe as the culprit based
on the number of shots. You don't actually talk about when the shots occurred. I argue that there were 3's because our bigs were denied entry
passes. I argue that if the others had shot the same % that Kobe had, we
would have won. I suggest that the youth/athleticism of the OKC is making
a difference to our older players. Case in point: Kobe can't jump as high as
he used to. Case in point: LO is slower than he used to be. Heavier to.
Case in point: Artest is slower than he used to be.

You also wrote: Also, just because Pau and Bynum aren't hollering for the rock doesn't mean they shouldn't get it

my response: This is also one of LakerTom's points. I ask a question: If
Bynum can't jump and he's getting fronted, how do you get him the ball?

If Pau is being fronted and pushed out of position or being denied position
how do you get him the ball?

I am not saying that you shouldn't get them the ball. I'm saying that
you need to explain why PJ only gave Bynum 32 mins when he's the
youngest of the starters. I'm saying that rather than trotting out cliches
we should actually break down the game to find out *WHY* the stats are
what they are.

I am saying that this is playoff basketball and the same lackadaisical effort
that I ranted about for MONTHS is now paying it's dividends. Sadly. i.e.
If you don't practice fighting for position for 6 mos, why would you fight for
position in the playoffs? It's not in your mind or habit. To clarify/re-state:
I have argued, for the last 6 mos, that our players weren't playing hard
enough. I have argued that how you play through the season largely
determines how you play in the playoffs. For 6 mos, we have had guys who
don't make cuts. We have listened to LakerTom talk about spoon feeding
Bynum. We have listened to Pau complaining about a lack of touches while
he played softer than an old pillow. *NOW* he's not used to fighting for
position and he's being denied the ball. *NOW* Bynum is being out rebounded
by midgets. *NOW* neither of our bigs are in the practice of boxing out.
The OKC outrebounded us 53-39. Please don't make LakerTom's
pathetic argument that how you play offense affects defense. It's the
playoffs and we're playing for a championship. If you can't play hard you
should be playing in China. [note: I'm not saying that offense & defense don't
energize each other. I am saying that if you can't put your all into the game
during the playoffs you don't deserver your multi-million dollar salary nor
do you deserve to wear purple & gold. ]

Art-FL Lakers Fan,

you wrote this to LakerTom:
I like your reasoned approach so can you help me out here. You aptly point out what the Lakers should be doing. What I am trying to figure out is:
1) why aren't they doing it
2) what makes you think they will start now?

I just have this feeling that the Lakers are going to succeed or fail playing Kobes game in the 4th quarter come hell or high water. I hope this doesn't happen, but it's been happening all season. Is it too late for the Lakers to get away from that? I guess we'll see

my response: 2 excellent questions. They haven't played this way for the
entire season.

re: Kobe's game in the 4th quarter. I can actually answer this one.

Have you seen Artest's shooting % this year?
Have you seen D-Fish's shooting % this year?

When Kobe is *NOT* aggressive the following happens:

Nobody is open because Kobe doesn't get double-teamed. The other
team knows that he's not in shooting/mamba mode.

LO, D-Fish, Pau, J-Farmar & Artest call their own number. They don't
actually make the right decisions. The most success that any of these
players have had has been playing along side Kobe. Didn't we talk about
Pau passing/fumbling the ball when Kobe was out? Haven't we talked about
J-Farmar not being comfortable in the offense. Not being the best pg for
this offense? When LO was #2 on this team, how did he fare? How were
D-Fish's buzzer beaters when Kobe wasn't on the floor? Pau for the 3 & the
win?

The Lakers won 4 or 5 games, against mediocre/injured teams, when Kobe
was out and many fans cheered like we had won a playoff series. It was fool's
gold.

Kobe takes over in the 4th because no other Laker has ice water in their
veins.

To Jon K.

Listen, I am also Lakers fan, but not like some people boneheaded. Lakers does not need whinners like you, they do not need make excuses for their losses. They do not need to blame referees. They consider themselves part of the NBA organizations and they follow their rules and don't listen or give a damn to comments from people like you. They are a very strong team that can and will defend thier NBA championship title. However, when people like you that claim to be a Lakers fan give comments as you do, it start making them nervous while there is no need to be nervous if you truely believe in the team.

Go Lakers

Kobe takes over in the 4th because no other Laker has ice water in their
veins.
Posted by: hobbitmage | April 23, 2010 at 05:02 PM
_______________

Ok, I understand your reasoning as to why you think Kobe takes over in the 4th though saying the other players lack ice water veins is kind of vague.
Do you mean they are afraid to shoot?
And if so, what exactly are they afraid of?
Missing?
Or something else?
Next question is why doesn't he need to take over in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd?
The Lakers have shown the ability to get leads in every quarter, how are they able to do that without Kobe in Kobe mode?
Another question for you too, what is your take on the Kobe/PJ dynamic?
How about the Kobe/team dynamic?

ouchhhhhhhhh - all i was saying was the fourth quarter the main part of the game. momentum doesn't always dictate what will happen in the game. it's a huge factor. but tons of teams can negate it. for example the lakers started off with a 10-0 run but OKC made it a non factor by coming back

MM

When I read this posting, I can't help but have a grudging admiration for Kevin Durant. The kid has some serious talent yet is respectful and humble. I think that's one of the reasons he gets so many calls go his way. The refs being human, are probably sick and tired of players who yell and complain any time they don't get a call. In a fast-paced game, some calls can be subjective and its up to refs to call it. If you were a ref, don't tell me how you feel about a player has no bearing on some of those calls. Mannix on SI.com wrote an interesting piece about Melo not getting his fair share of FT despite the style of game he plays:

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Anthony has done little to cultivate relationships with officials. The Nuggets have a well-earned reputation for physical play, but they also rank among the league's biggest complainers. Opposing coaches say diplomacy is a foreign concept to most Nuggets players, Anthony included, and while a civil relationship with officials isn't a requirement -- "A foul is a foul," Billups said -- the human factor can't be overlooked."

"You just can't yell at [referees] all the time and expect to get calls," a Western Conference assistant coach said. "You think Rasheed Wallace gets the same calls as Jason Kidd?"

Added Denver interim coach Adrian Dantley: "Maybe he should 'play the game' [with officials]. I don't know. If you want to get a lot of calls, you have to do it. When I played, I might have gotten hammered, but I didn't say anything to the refs. You are not going to win the battle with the refs."

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

Because Durant seldom complains and I don't see him as being disrespectful, perhaps that's one reason he gets so many calls go his way (and of course, he also drives to the basket a lot).

So what's the moral of the story? (a) Don't be an a**hole when you don't get a call (b) if you really want a call, "sell" it better to the refs - give a primal scream, throw yourself across the floor, then roll around a little. That should get their attention (ok, I'm kidding).

AngryLakers,

Excuse me. Were you saying something? I wasn't listening.

How is that medication working?

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

All I see is people trading on kobe once again. most of you killed kobe about 4 or 5 years ago. My uncle was a lakers fan, but he turned on kobe and said he was a clippers now. When i hear things of that nature, that lets me know loyalty is only good for when u are on top. most of you suck worst than kobe last game or his worst game. you say u have blinders on, lets look at it like this. if kobe was your child, You would be a sorry excuse for a parent. The lakers was going down low but their big men was getting bounced around like balls but you didnt see that for the three pointers. you didnt see the lost of possessions over ticky tack calls. the big men couldnt get the ball because when they tried to rebound the guys were climbing their backs. watch the next game if the refs call the over the back calls and the shoves you will see a win. but of course you will say kobe had better shot selections because they would have gone to the line and knew it was ok. again i am glad i dont play sports because of the fans these days are fake.


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