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Lakers fans share pragmatic view of team's performance against Phoenix


As I’ve blogged on the Lakers over the last four months, I’ve seen the ebb and flow of readers’ comments: After a loss, it’s suggested the team trade its entire roster; after a winning streak, the team is called unbeatable.

As a consequence, some muse that fans always overreact to the Lakers’ successes and failures. I would argue that coaches, players and the media are overreacting to the fans, accusing them of making too big of a deal about a win or a loss. Although some fans tend to go to extremes, the comments on this blog seem pretty even keel to me, reflecting an honest reaction to certain parts of the game as well as the ability to see the big picture.

It’s the repetition – the echo chamber among fans and the media -- that can make it seem like subjects are overblown. Are people really making that big a deal about Phoenix's zone defense? Or does it just appear that way because you've read numerous articles about the same subject? And just because a player or coach has heard the same question for the hundredth time, it could be that particular reporter’s first time asking that question. It just feels like a broken record.

That said, let’s look at the poll results on the current Western Conference Finals matchup between the Lakers and Suns. No doubt, Lakers fans aren't pleased with the team's play, with 45% of voters grading the performance against Phoenix a C. As far as how fans view the series, with the Lakers winning the first two games followed by Phoenix taking two at home, the majority (39%) believed the dynamic changed very little because they knew the series would be competitive. Only 26% bought into the notion that the Lakers were distracted with a Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals matchup, with 49% saying the team had looked ahead but that had little to do with the performances against Phoenix.

In fact, the only big concern Lakers fans actually had involved the health of center Andrew Bynum, who has played through torn cartilage in his right knee. The majority of voters (59%) said they were very worried about Bynum's injury, with 39% saying the Lakers could make do without him in the West Finals but wondering how he'd fare in the NBA Finals against Boston. There were also 29% of voters who believed Bynum had shown little sign of improvement.

Lakers fans have a lot more confidence in other areas. That confidence mostly stemmed from the fact that 84.4% of fans believed Kobe Bryant's dominance would make the difference. His improved health has coincided with a stretch where he's scored at least 30 points in nine of the last 10 games. That doesn't mean Lakers fans are content with different weaknesses, with 48% of fans saying the Lakers' struggles with Phoenix's 2-3 zone, the team allowing the Suns to come back in the series and the overall inconsistency are causes for concern.

Nonetheless, 53% of Lakers fans predicted the team would win the series in six, meaning the Lakers would win Game 5 tonight and close out the series Saturday.

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: E-mail the Lakers blog at

Credit: Phoenix center Robin Lopez, left, knocks the ball away from Lakers center Andrew Bynum during Game 4 on Tuesday. Photo: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times.

Comments () | Archives (52)

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We think we got problems? There are published reports that the Grizzlies' Zach Randolph is accused of being a "major marijuana supplier" and financier.

What prompts pro athletes to engage in avocations like the drug trade or dog fighting is something I simply can't understand. For some, no matter how good they have it, it's simply not enough.

So far, I'm not liking the vibe today. Laker Tom -- the last guy I'd expect to demand a loyalty oath for anything -- departs in a huff. A valued sister like Jeanette threatens to leave as well. And idiots we thought were banned get spanking brand new IP addresses and subvert the system, leaving someone like me to wonder what the hell is going on.

With only hours to go until game time, I hope the Universe will provide the necessary corrections. No matter how many politically correct pronouncements come from Lakers HQ in El Segundo, I think the team is at a crossroads. Go Lakers. See you on the live chat.

Hey All!

I'm off to open a new club today. The Lakers game will be on all the televisions!

Adversity breeds Character!

No Champion worthy of any blessing of History ever got it easy!

We don't ask for easy! We ask for VICTORY!




If you are at the game tonight, you'd better remind the Suns what home court advantage means!


LET'S GO!!!!


What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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


Dear God,

Machine curious why omnipotent God does not know answers to his own questions?
Machine will answer for you. Everyone jealous of Machine. Phil jealous of Machine. God jealous of Machine. But Machine say, "don't hate, congratulate".

Lakers, suns and the refs

I know the Lakers will be part of tonights games.

I know the suns are going to be part of the game tonight.

whats scary is, are the refs are going to be a part of the game tonight?

Laker Tom,

Don't let these trolls influence you. If you leave, you're letting them win. Just ignore their silly comments and let's get back to talking basketball.


Are you clowns still whining about the refs ?? Get over it already. The suns were a better team in games 3 and 4 and the bench pounded yours and your starters as well. I don't think home court matters at this point. It's all about hustle and guts not to mention talent. Suns in 6 !!!

Hi God,
It's starting to reflect badly on you that your letting some clown walk around here calling himself Jesus Santos (Saint Jesus).
And I'm with Art... just smite Ricky.
And minutes for Sasha.

Laker Tom,

Don't let these trolls influence you. If you leave, you're letting them win. Just ignore their silly comments and let's get back to talking basketball.


Posted by: LAKER TRUTH | May 27, 2010 at 02:00 PM

I 100% AGREE!!!
The scroll wheel have it's purpose, use it.
Regarding the game, I see how hard is a reporter's life. They have to talk about zone defense, such n such did that, play well, play bad...
It's been all about the refs lately, but they can't write about that stuff. We all know that, with fair refs, it will be Lakers x Celts. I don't think refs are setting up games, but extending the series. PJ should know that in advance. Doc Rivers's face last night was just..."Ok, let's get over this game". It was clear that nothing will change the outcome of the game, so just let it roll...
Tonight, hopefully with fair refs, we'll WIN!!!
The zone defense was not properly tested, once our big guys cannot even touch a string of hair without a foul being called. Again, with fair refs, we should be ok.

"39% saying the Lakers could make do without him in the West Finals but wondering how he'd fare in the NBA Finals against Boston."

Get a grip, BOSTON may not be in the final, neither could be Lakers, but go ahead and print those shirts beat Boston tonight

"Are you clowns still whining about the refs ?? Get over it already. The suns were a better team in games 3 and 4 and the bench pounded yours and your starters as well. I don't think home court matters at this point. It's all about hustle and guts not to mention talent. Suns in 6 !!!"

Exactly the kind of milque toast comment that got me kicked off a Suns board. Apparently Laker fans are a little less touchy and a little more tolerant than Suns fans. But hey, we are here in beautiful Cali, while they're stuck in dry and thirsty AZ. I guess I understand it.

I'm already counting down the hours - 3, and I'm looking forward to more balance in the calls, and Laker's playing defense the way we ALL know they can!


I just finished watching the replay of game 4.

Again & again & again I see Bynum & Gasol in poor position for rebounds.

They just flat-out get out-worked.

@ Tom

No one is whining about the refs. While yes the Lakers' bench did not perfrom, you have to admit when theres something like 75 to 40 free throw discrepancy its not hard to see the refs did not come in that night with a let them play attitude, and lets be honest if it was reversed as a Sun's fan (at least from the tone of your post) you would have been screaming bloody murder.

To stay on Topic:

It's simple really. The Suns went nuts at the 3 point line. They shot something like 55 percent from the field for both games. It happens. You just take your licks and hand them their behind when the time is right. Well guess what, tonight the time is right.

The Infamous El Guapo is right. We have to find a way to contain their 3-pointers, I bet they'll use it a lot tonight. Regarding the rebounds, it's fair to say our bigs were constantly out of position, maybe affraid to hear the whistle over and over again, we'll see tonight.

CREAM RISES TO THE TOP...the time for the absolute Truth is near, we shall find out if this Lakers team indeed has what it takes to win the title, put up or shut up, heard enough of rhetoric’s and now it time to lace up..

I wonder if the Lakers would be doing better in this Suns series if they still had Rambis as their D coach?

I wonder if the Lakers would be doing better in this Suns series if they still had Rambis as their D coach?

Posted by: Art - FL Lakers Fan | May 27, 2010 at 03:29 PM

Art - FL Lakers Fan:

That's an excellent question. I wonder what defensive adjustments would be made under Rambis.

As far as a defensive change, I'd make Nash/Dragic the ones to do ALL of the scoring. When they run that pick-and-roll at the top of the circle, I would let Amar'e shoot 17-19 ft. jumpers all day, but otherwise, I would want to cut down the number of assists that Nash/Dragic get and make them finishers.

Just like our offense, the less that Nash/Dragic can get others involved, the more one-dimensional their game. I'd like to see Nash try to score 50 tonight; if he has to be a scorer, I doubt that the other members of the Suns would be able to pick up the "involvement" slack.

Noah, unfortunately, that's not how I set it up. If I could read thoughts and dictate outcomes, Luke Walton would not be a Laker and the Celtics would have zero championships. But where's the fun in that? To be fair, I'll tell you now that when you thank me a year from now for "sending" Lebron to the Lakers, I won't be able to take the credit any more than I can assume blame today.

Sasha, my child, help Phil overcome his jealousy so you can share your talent with all of us come game time.

Finally, whatever the officiating tonight, it can't be worse than last night's game. Probably the worst job I've seen in my eternity of watching sports.

Art - FL Lakers Fan,

re: defense and Rambis. WITHOUT A DOUBT!

Bynum played better defense under Rambis. I think there was more of a
focus on rebounds under Rambis.


Lakers fans should be "pragmatic." They are in the conference finals. The series is even and Lakers have home court advantage. They should be able to get this thing done, whether in 6 or 7 games, and advance to the NBA Finals for the third year in a row. Only one team in the NBA is in a better position right now.

There will always be fans who whine, but the Lakers have been in the Finals 30 times and won the title 15 times. What have you done for me lately? In the Phil Jackson era they have been to the Finals 6 times with 4 wins, and should be back this year. They are the defending champions. Folks who panic after a couple of playoff losses, well, it makes no sense and reflects no respect for the quality of the opponents or sense of the history of the NBA playoffs.

I hate to see LakerTom take a vacation, but I took one myself earlier this year and understand. Some fans on here seem to not so much be NBA or Laker fans but instead to love or hate certain Laker players. Pau, who has been great in these playoffs, had a weak game 4 and he has taken a beating from folks here. Look, I think Kobe has been the best player in the NBA for years, but I've seen him have bad playoff games. You don't like the way he played? Fine. But the venom and vile and hate for some of the people who play for YOUR team is pretty much stupid.

Having a team like this in the playoff is a cause for celebration. It don't happen in every town every year. If you can't enjoy a hotly contested playoff series, maybe the NBA isn't for you. Quit whining. Enjoy something special. All the negativity surrounding a team that may well take the NBA title is STOOOOOOOOOOOOOPID.

A great life lesson for all - learn to enjoy this team.

Hobbitmage -

1) Hope you are enjoying your Thursday!

2) I think that Andrew's time under Rambis (along with Kareem) really helped him to blossom. I haven't seen a big keep the ball above everyone (when they get an offensive rebound) else since the mid 80's.

If we could get the Andrew that makes a concerted effort to just obliterate the opposition on the defensive glass and who *smartly* tries to alter shots (sometimes Andrew makes the same kind of "young-minded" mistakes as Dwight Howard in thinking that they can block *every* shot when just rotating will do the job), then we'll have all the bases covered.

Ideally, I'd like to see Andrew, Gasol, and LO get *at least* 11 rebounds each. That should really help with the pacing of the game (and hopefully, will lead to a Lakers win tonight).

Posted by: Jesus Santos | May 27, 2010 at 03:25 PM

for a moment i thought u r referring to the Lakers Blog AFTER LakerTom departure.

Guys I'm happy to report that I got my video problems fixed so there will be video for now on as always.

Phil mentioned that he expects Sasha and Luke to play more.


Tom Daniels:

You wrote; I hate to see LakerTom take a vacation, but I took one myself earlier this year and understand.


I suspect he has retreated into a cave near Redwoods deep in meditation channeling the Universe to set the Beast on the right path. If Bynum has a good outing tonight then I expect LakerTom to break out of the state of Nirvana, pick up the bull horn and preach the merits of the Beast. I am sure his pupils are patiently waiting for the BynumSwami to grace them with his presence and vision. They miss those prolific narratives on Drew’s potential and the visions of Drew becoming the all time Lakers greatest center.

It's official. America hates the Lakers. Nearly half of 80,000 votes into ESPN, and most of America by number of states in their column, think the Suns will win this series.

LETS GO LAKERS !!!!!! Time to MAN UP !!!! Lets DO THIS !!!!!

Did someone call for more bitter love poems from Yeats? Well, since you asked:


by: W. B. Yeats (1865-1939)

WHY should I blame her that she filled my days
With misery, or that she would of late
Have taught to ignorant men most violent ways,
Or hurled the little streets upon the great,
Had they but courage equal to desire?
What could have made her peaceful with a mind
That nobleness made simple as a fire,
With beauty like a tightened bow, a kind
That is not natural in an age like this,
Being high and solitary and most stern?
Why, what could she have done, being what she is?
Was there another Troy for her to burn?

I love that poem. I've sent it in many a letter before.


America hates the Lakers. Nearly half of 80,000 votes into ESPN, and most of America by number of states in their column, think the Suns will win this series.

Posted by: Rick Friedman | May 27, 2010 at 04:45 PM

Well, it's not that they THINK Suns will win, it's that they WANT Suns to win...
They're just jealous...We won a bunch in the past 20 years, it's normal.
Older people used to hate the Celts in the 70's...

Home court advantage in the NBA is worth a minimum 15+ free-throws.Expect Lakers to be rewarded handsomely and bench mob always play better at Staples.Prediction L .A. 122 Suns 100.

I wonder if the Lakers would be doing better in this Suns series if they still had Rambis as their D coach?

Posted by: Art - FL Lakers Fan | May 27, 2010 at 03:29 PM

Yes, and they'd be doing even BETTER if they still had Pat Riley as their head coach.

Surely Pat Riley would know how to defend the pick n roll. Surely Pat Riley would not tolerate wishy-washy lackadaisical soft defense and rebounding. And surely Pat Riley would know how to make in-game adjustment against the zone which two games later the Lakers still are befuddled against it.

Hey LakerFans !!!
GameDay !!
A few gripes from an otherwise confident fan.I wish our problems were simpler than "no bench production/too many outside shots" like Kobe not shooting well..etc...those problems are rather easily fixable since Kobe can will himself to a high level of performance and get out of slumps.....our bench on the other hand..I don't think we really have one....Farmar/Brown....What can we rely on these guys for every game ? Doesn't have to be points..tenacious ? smart/patient play-making ? anything...that is really hurting us when they have a bunch of energetic guys on the bench who play like a college basketball team...
We are not a team that can beat a team like the Suns by playing into their hands...losing patience and shooting nearly 30 3 pt. shots...getting beat on aggression and giving up offensive boards...letting them get to the line..being sloppy on D....
All that said...I know we are gonna find a way to beat the Suns by being ourselves and playing some kickass D....GO LAKERS !!!


That is too funny. The Lakers are going to murder the Suns tonight and eventually take their place in the finals. But, didn't the Suns just sweep the Spurs? Who does that? These Suns are no joke and people need to remember how they got here. They took a 2X4 to Duncan, Manu and Parker and didn't take one hit back. So, they deserve some respect.

Still, tonight will be be brutal for the suns.


Phil mentioned that he expects Sasha and Luke to play more?

OK, I can see Sasha being used for his fresh young legs on D and who knows he might get hot on O making shots to break the zone.

OTH, what the heck is Luke for? he's way too slow and unathletic to defend the young, fast and energetic Suns AND he can't shoot to save his life.

Anybody here agrees with me that Luke's one and only "supposed" strong suit, his passing, is way over-rated?

Laker defense will be on fire.Guaranteed victory for purple and gold.

Pau, who has been great in these playoffs, had a weak game 4 and he has taken a beating from folks here.

Posted by: Tom Daniels

A. Pau had a week Game 3 also: Amare 42, Lopez, the SCRUB 20.

except a few sites, like screen and roll who called his performance – an EPIC AWFULL DEFENSIVE game – nobody payed attention, or did not want to, or they refused to acknowledge it.

B. Pau played in Memphis 6 years.
he went to the playoff 3 years.
his playoff record was 0-12 as the MAN on the TEAM.
in his last year in Memphis, Pau was booed out of town.

do you imply that all the fans from Memphis could not appreciate such a special player? i'm wondering in all those post game interviews in memphis, who did he blame? he was the MAN in charge. how many times did he scream wolf until the fans let him frazzled out to dry.


the SOFT STICKER was ATTACHED to his forehead (mental), and on his biceps and hammys (physical).

C. 2008 finals? maybe a little warning that of course dissipated BY WINNING the CHAMPIONSHIP in 2009.

2010. many bad games this year when the "soft label" was questioned. the Chocker from Memphis back?????????? no, because the attention was deflected to INSIDE - OUT GAME, TOUCHES and TEAM.

D. i believe in eastern medicine system that is PREVENTIVE. not in the western one who sells U many pills or will use the KNIFE to cut out the BAD.

Tim Legler, who is a total Kobe - hater and who was riding the Gasol MVP crap, could not stop himself after the Game 4 to bring back the SOFT label. the only one that did it *immediately* in the post game review.

E. just a few days ago in arguments with Celtics fans, some bloggers were bringing up the arguments

Lakers 15 titles in 30 finals
30 finals out of 63. that is almost every second year. indeed is beyond impressive for any team in any sports around the WORLD.

and U have the audacity to write the excuse:

"Having a team like this in the playoff is a cause for celebration.
It don't happen in every town every year."

are we still in Memphis?
or in Kansas? pinch me!

I thought you were talking about LOS ANGELES LAKERS. don't you attach that to some expectations? are't the Lakers still the CHAMPS?

Gasol played like a CHUMP. but the sad part is the way he ACTS and does not take RESPONSIBILITY. that is not MVP like or OPTION #2 like.

or maybe you did not read Justa's Kobe credo:

"Nothing but a TITLE will suffice"

And I'm starting to think the NBA does have a real problem with refs extending series by giving the home team all the calls. I don't think I'm crazy or just wanting to buy into these conspiricy theories either. Every single game that I've watched this postseason saw the home team get 10, 15 sometimes 20 more calls than the visitors. And watch, tonight the Lakers will get way more calls and thel'll win by 25.


there is a new rumor on the ESPN site:

"LakerTom opted out of his contract from the LA Times Lakers Blog.

he is a free agent?!

David Lee is his agent. the phones r OFF the hook

the 2010 trading season really got exciting and full of anticipation. what a HOT summer in the Marine.


I agree. It's gonna be a statement game. I plan on seeing a monster game from Lamar, especially, with Gasol doing his thing.



Allow me to genuflect in your direction.

excellent post!


ouchhhh - ok I gotta give you that - hilarious! Cold... granted... but hilarious!

LAKER TOM - you can't leave. You're one of the best writers on here - and I'm including MM in that. Please - ignore - starve - scroll past - there are a lot of options open to you. PLEASE - don't make "leave" one of them, ok?

Ok, time to go home for the...
I don't expect the refs to give us 20 more calls, ain't gonna happen...
I just expect to be a fair officiating tonight and we'll win. The Suns are not crap, it's better for us to play our game as we did on game 5 against OKC, that will do the trick.
I'll try to get in the chat tonight, if my son allows me.

And how dumb is Zach Randalph? He completely revives his career last year, finds a new life in the NBA, makes the all-star team, and all the while he's the money man behind an Indiana drug ring? This is so super dumb. I think it's one thing to sell drugs to get out of the ghetto at 16 years old, and another to be a millionaire star doing that stuff.


How can the Lakers win when they are playing 5 vs 8 in Phoenix? Impossible! Too many obvious no calls and too many calls for nothing won the game agains the Lakers. The Refs control the outcome of the game. We saw it live on TV. They did not want another sweep by the Lakers therefore had to step in to help the Suns. The Refs are still gambling and betting on these games. David Stern needs to step in and say enough is enough.

I wish you guys would consider not talking to posters who are causing regulars to leave b y incessant rudeness. No names mentioned, but I think it's obvious who I mean.


Permit me to say one fact once and for all: Pau Gasol is soft!

Maybe it came as a surprise to some out there but now that it is known: GET OVER IT ALREADY, PEOPLE!

Gasol has always been a finesse player with lot of skills. He's not going change overnight into a second coming of Dwight Howard or for that matter, Shaq anytime soon. A leopard is not going to change its spots. Get over it!

Last I look even the superstars have their flaws, Shaq is tough alright but he's slow, lazy and can't shoot FTs. All-Star Howard has his issues as well with FT shooting and limited offensive skill. Amare Stoudemire had terrible game 1 and 2 in spite of being "tough" -to the tune of 3 total rebs for game 2, right!

Just like anybody else occasionally Gasol will have a subpar game. At least among Lakers, Pau has been the MOST consistent contributor save maybe for Kobe (and even that is debatable).

I wonder for those who complains about Gasol if they'd rather have a tough guy instead, a genuine tough guy like Kwame Brown? enlighten me with who you may want to replace Pau with? I can already see a huge pool of big men with superior skills ready out there, right?

Yeay! The referees are on our side today...

Artest is playing the worst offensive game I have ever seen him play. He has made 3 dumb mistakes in the first half and is the main reason Lakers are ahead by only 8 instead of 15. Shasha should be used more than he has been. His defense has been good. It might be an advantage to have him at shooting guard with Kobe on the wing!!

I am very glad the Lakers won this game, but I have to say that I am disappointed with the officials. I don't understand why home court typically gives one team an advantage at the line. A foul is a foul regardless of where it was made. I don't understand how a team can get 70 free throws one game and then 30 the next seemingly because they are on a different court. The Suns come back tonight was fueled by a bunch of non-calls on plays at the Lakers offensive end. So instead of Laker free throws, the Sun were out in transition. I thought Game 4 was pretty ugly too in that regard, but the Lakers clearly didn't have the energy to out play the Suns in that game. Game 5 was completely different and the Lakers still struggled to get foul calls. What do they have to do? 2 or 3x the Suns came back from 15+ point deficits and all those runs were given extra momentum by either non-calls on the Laker offensive end or calls against the Lakers on the defensive end. For example, that call on Fisher late in the 4th. Really? Nash runs by him like he's standing still and Fish isn't even reaching for Steve, knowing he's beat and "Tweet!". I really don't like to complain about the officials, especially after a win, but I wish that I knew what the Lakers need to do to get more calls. Is it the old stand-by "whistles go to the aggressor"? I wish I had an answer.

Well done Kobe. The Priest challenged you and you responded. Even though the Suns weren't kept under 100 it was close to it and not 110 or something. Gasol(I will take off his Gasoft moniker) got back into the post where he belonged. I don't understand that missed dunk but a good game. Odom was magnificent. Fisher may have found the fountain of youth. I love Sasha's energy and that what was missing from the Lakers was a high energy and hustle guy. He clearly frustrated Dragic. Artest you got to hit the gym and practise those wide open shots and do a crash course on time management but it was good you saved the day. But a much better effort would be needed to close this thing out on Sunday.

This Lakesrs team is a very good one but not a great one. A great one, when they get you down 18 points, doesn't let you back into the game. A couple of other thoughts: if Gasol makes that slam dunk near the end, they are up by 5 and we don't have to worry about a fantastic finish. Also, in case anyone hasn't noticed, we are playing 4 on 5 when Bynam is on the court. If Bynam is healthy, this series is over by now.

A win is a win... but that wasn't pretty. The coaching staff were caught sleeping again. They didn't notice that Nash was taking over the game, toying with the Fish and ignoring Gasoft. The entire Suns have absolutely no respect for Gasoft's D. Somebody please train Gasoft how to hold the ball properly, how to foul and how to jump! The coaching staff also forgot how they got that 17-point lead. It was a rare night for Bynum, Farmar and Vujacic displaying heads up plays on D. The Suns weren't prepared for the trio. They were ambushed and yet the coaching staff was just not prepared to recognize it. I hope LA will have a better game6. Btw, those Kobe critics should shut up. Where are your idols now? Even Pierce had a big fat egg in the last 8.5 minutes of that game5 loss. As for LA's games 3&4 losses, Bynum, Gasoft and Odom were simply not into the game. Odom controlled the traffic on both ends in Game 5. If he can do that in Game 6, LA will win...



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