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Five things to take away from Lakers' 98-96 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies

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1. Each of the Lakers' three consecutive losses involves Ron Artest failing to help out on the final play. In the Lakers' 98-96 loss Tuesday to the Memphis Grizzlies, the latest error involved Artest hesitating on the potential game-winner and then allowing Rudy Gay to block it as time expired.

With 8.6 seconds remaining, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant brought the ball up the floor and, in appropriate fashion, found an opening to make a clutch shot. He dribbled left past O.J. Mayo, pulled up at the free-throw line and nearly attempted what could've been his second consecutive huge end-of-the game shot at FedEx Forum, the last one taking place Feb. 23, 2010 where he nailed the game-winning three-point shot in his first appearance since returning from a sprained left ankle. After noticing Zach Randolph raced nearly behind him to block the shot, Bryant passed the ball in mid-air to the far end toward Artest with 3.3 seconds remaining. Instead of throwing the ball back to Bryant at the top of the key, dumping the ball to Lamar Odom right behind him or swinging the ball on the near end to Derek Fisher, Artest held on to the ball. He pump-faked Rudy Gay, dribbled right and pulled up for a three-pointer. Gay blocked the shot. Game over.

The Lakers' latest loss stings harder than others because it marks only the second time the team lost three consecutive games since acquiring Pau Gasol in Feb. 2008 and it featured plenty of long-term problems the Lakers (13-5) haven't corrected. One of those includes Artest's mixed record on the final minute of the Lakers' past two losses.

In the Lakers' 102-96 loss Friday to the Utah Jazz, Artest drove the lane and pulled up for an off-balanced jumper that Lakers Coach Phil Jackson considering inappropriate, and then his missed a potential game-winning three-pointer that Jackson believed was warranted. In the Lakers' 95-92 loss Sunday to the Indiana Pacers, he grabbed an offensive rebound off Bryant's missed shot, dribbled out to the corner and wasted time off the clock before his pass to Odom led to Bryant's last-second attempt that airballed. Though Jackson instructed that Artest should've called timeout with 8.6 seconds remaining after grabbing the offensive rebound, he also hit a timely three-pointer that cut the Pacers' lead to 89-86 with 2:43 remaining. And against the Grizzlies, Artest's poor decision-making in the final play overshadowed his crucial three-pointer that closed the gap to 98-94 with 59 seconds left.

Artest made five of 11 shots for 12 points in 34 minutes and held Gay to 14 points, seven below his season average, though it came on seven-for-15 shooting. But his final-play decisions surely can't help his cause as he's adjusting to a decreased role because of Matt Barnes' resurgence, a sore back and discomfort level in the offense. Artest showed last season he can overcome these head-scratching decisions. The Lakers have shown they can rein him in without alienating him and making him feel appreciated. But there's no doubt Jackson and Bryant are frustrated with him right now, and it's very apparent Artest feels frustrated. The Lakers and Artest need to make sure this issue doesn't become more problematic than it should.

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2. Credit the Lakers for the comeback, but criticize them for making a late-game charge necessary. When the Lakers simply aren't initially executing correctly, such as their 98-91 victory last week against Chicago, the Lakers deserve praise of managing to grind things out and find other ways to secure a victory. When the Lakers simply appear effortless and are refusing to make adjustments until it's too late, any late-game heroics point more to their belief they can simply flip the switch when it's required. So even had the Lakers won against the Grizzlies, there's little reason the team should feel proud of itself.

Sure, Lakers fans may have felt inspired to see Shannon Brown overcome an initial tough shooting night by hitting a deep three-pointer and a fast-break runner, cutting the Grizzlies' lead to 89-85 with 3:38 remaining. Lakers fans may have felt nerve-wracked and then comforted to see Artest hit a three-pointer, reducing the gap to 98-94 with 59 seconds left. Lakers fans may have felt entertained to see Bryant drive into the lane , trimming the deficit to 98-96 with 28 seconds remaining. And Lakers fan may have seen signs of hope when Gasol made a defensive stop on Mike Conley to give the team a chance to tie or win the game on the final play.

But none of these sequences could gloss over the poor play the Lakers demonstrated for most of the game.

3. The Lakers' poor offense contributed to their poor defense. Bryant recently vented the Lakers' problems point more to their defense and not their offense, even going so far as saying the media is "ignorant" for asking about the team's recent scoring struggles, poor shooting percentage and poor chemistry. In Lakers' loss to Memphis, however, the Lakers' failure to run the triangle directly correlated to their defensive struggles. Bryant for the third consecutive game felt compelled to take over the game, but in this case very little of it was appropriate. It's not just the 25 points on nine-for-25 shooting clip that's worrisome. It's that four of his misses led to Memphis scoring eight points in transition. It's that the team's lack of aggressiveness and ball movement compelled Bryant to take over. It's that Bryant's fixation with doing it all himself kept the team disengaged.

That sluggishness carried defensively where in predictable fashion the Lakers didn't cover the perimeter, they didn't rotate on screen and rolls and they allowed players to drive into the lane with ease. But as much as the team's poor offensive chemistry led to little energy on defense, the overall problem also points to the team's reverse mind-set of last season. The Lakers' 2009-10 team appeared intent on setting the tone with defensive stops and then controlling the tempo at a deliberate pace. The current Lakers team appears intent on scoring as much as possible and seeing defense as an annoyance. The losses will continue to pile up if that mind-set doesn't change.

The Lakers mostly remained in contention because of free-throw shooting (21 of 25) and rebounding (42-29), two ingredients that usually secure most victories. But not on nights when the offense and defense remains consistently stagnant.

4. Gasol and Odom log heavy minutes once again. For all the concern about them playing heavy minutes, they're surely receiving the message that they'll have to find ways to absorb it than to look forward to any immediate relief. Gasol played 45 minutes for the third consecutive night and his fatigued showed in a 15-points effort on five-for-13 shooting, despite matching up with his little brother, Marc, who had 10 points on four-for-eight shooting. The fatigue doesn't seem to affect Odom as much and he posted a respectable eight points on three-for-seven shooting with 11 rebounds in 40 minutes. But with Gasol visibly exhausted, Odom may have to provide even more. This isn't a knock on Odom, as he's played fairly consistent all season. But with Jackson showing little faith in rookie Derrick Caracter, who played three minutes and appeared lost on an inbounds play, it appears Odom may need to fill in for Gasol's exhaustion until Andrew Bynum returns.

5. The Lakers are fortunate they have a back-to-back. As much as the Lakers need the rest, it's good the team can immediately begin rectifying its problems Wednesday against Houston. Rare extended losing streaks can only create more anxiety and frustration with the team, as well as media scrutiny. But the team will likely be more inclined, if they haven't felt enough already, to play with a sharper edge. Surely, the Lakers had their own set of challenges in the season-opener against the Rockets, barely squeaking out a 112-110 victory. But the Rockets have since fared 5-12, and at the Lakers have dominated sub. 500 opponents fairly handily so far this season. The Lakers will surely need to experience one of those nights again.

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, center, is fouled by Memphis guard Tony Allen as he tries to shoot during the Lakers' 98-96 loss Tuesday. Credit: Jim Weber / Associated Press.

Photo: Memphis guard O.J. Mayo, left, knocks the ball away from Lakers guard Shannon Brown during the first half of the Lakers' 98-96 loss Tuesday. Credit: Jim Weber / Associated Press

 
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"November 30, 2010 | 9:50 pm

57996895

1. Each of the Lakers' three consecutive losses involves Ron Artest failing to help out on the final play. In the Lakers' 98-96 loss Tuesday to the Memphis Grizzlies, the latest error involved Artest hesitating on the potential game-winner and then allowing Rudy Gay to block it as time expired.

With 8.6 seconds remaining, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant brought the ball up the floor and, in appropriate fashion, found an opening to make a clutch shot. He dribbled left past O.J. Mayo, pulled up at the free-throw line and nearly attempted what could've been his second consecutive huge end-of-the game shot at FedEx Forum, the last one taking place Feb. 23, 2010 where he nailed the game-winning three-point shot in his first appearance since returning from a sprained left ankle. After noticing Zach Randolph raced nearly behind him to block the shot, Bryant passed the ball in mid-air to the far end toward Artest with 3.3 seconds remaining. Instead of throwing the ball back to Bryant at the top of the key, dumping the ball to Lamar Odom right behind him or swinging the ball on the near end to Derek Fisher, Artest held on to the ball. He pump-faked Rudy Gay, dribbled right and pulled up for a three-pointer. Gay blocked the shot. Game over."

THAT'S IT! Next time don't pass it to Artest.

Great rundown MM. Wholeheartedly agree.

"When the Lakers simply appear effortless and are refusing to make adjustments until it's too late, any late-game heroics point more to their belief they can simply flip the switch when it's required. So even had the Lakers won against the Grizzlies, there's little reason the team should feel proud of itself."

Totally agree, although a last-second win would have been a lot sweeter than enduring a third-straight loss. I'm glad you point out that playing lousy for the majority of the game against inferior opponents, then trying late comebacks is nothing to build around even if these games ended in W's.

Matador defense does not equate to NBA victories. Neither does straying from the offense and isolating as much as they've done the past few games.

I feel very confident for this next game, and not just because it's the Rockets. Kobe looked pissed at the end of the game, I have a feeling he's gonna really be locked in against Houston, the guys will feed off him. I'm glad we don't have a couple of days off between games, fatigue or not the guys should be focused. Road back-to-backs are tough, and everyone's biggest game of the year is the Lakers - that is why a win tomorrow, even if it comes against a floundering opponent like the Rockets, would demonstrate more grit and resilience than they've shown so far this season.


GO LAKERS!!!!!!

aleksam: "It's funny how when the Lakers lose, haters come out in droves but when we win...crickets. I can't believe folks are seriously talking tihs in november. We have two centers that can't play due o injury and a PF playing as one (albeit well). All I know is folks better wake up and put whomever their favorite team is on notice. Because if you haven't heard, we've been in the finals three straight times and won two of 'em. There's a target on our back so teams are playing against us extra hard because we're a measuring stick and they have something to prove. Despite all of this, we still ran off 8 straight and even when we lose it is a close one. So when 'Drew returns and LO and Gasol can get rested up, look out."

&

Ron: "Can't blame Artest on that last play. Kobe should have never given him the ball, but was forced to do so when he couldn't get a shot off. What do you expect Ron-Ron to do? That was a disaster waiting to happen. Lakers need Bynum back and in a hurry. Paul looks gassed right now-the worst stretch I've ever seen him play..."

-

Two very well stated comments...


GO LAKERS!!!!!!

Overheard tonight was this comment from from Miami Heat coach Spoelstra, " I wonder when Jerry will come down and replace the Zen Master and end this three game slide."

Kobe needs to stop playing (HERO) and use the other guys around him,25 shots is too much.

maybe Spoelstra should be informed that Jerry loves to "gamble"

FCM- Just wanted to stop and give you credit for a good post game rundown and analysis. Your style and attention to detail are really starting to develop and you are getting a little personality with your comments while I think actually getting a bit more objective and detailed criticism.

Keep up the good work.

I missed the game so I'm using some conjecture here, but i suspect that last season in similar circumstances Kobe would have made several of the last second shots he passed on the last couple of games. I do know that Kobe's accuracy is suspect, he is working on weighing the odds and being willing to pass to a teammate that has a more open look or a better passing angle. I think this reflects well on Kobe's credit, or would if he would do it over the course of the whole game.

What will come of Ron's misses, I'm not sure. Best case scenario he learns and hones both his shooting and his judgement and the result is him making the smarter shots and not taking the dumber shots. This will make the early season losses worth while by letting the Lakers develop a ron artest who can be a late game threat. Worse case scenario, Ron just can't shoot very well but keeps taking shots.

Another thing I wonder is whether Lamar's really quite respectable FG% (better than Kobe and Ron by a lot) might make it advisable to start making him more of a last minutes option. His passing skills aren't lacking, and if he can keep extend his shooting at the end of games, well, i wonder if that might make sense.

Ultimately though, i'm just going to go back to my prediction at the start of the season- we're going to win more games than we lose, we will beat the rest of the west in the playoffs if we are even slightly healthy, and if Bynum and Pau are both playing at the top of their games for most of the playoffs, we will beat everybody like the proverbial red headed rented stepchild that is on fire.

Another thing I wonder is that perhaps this situation is similar to our problem two years ago when Bynum went down. This provided the motivation to make a trade and acquire Paul Gasol. We don't have nearly the same assets now, but perhaps a serviceable Center might be available. I wasn't the only one speculating at the start of the season that were Bynum and Theo not be available that we might offer some combination of Vujacic's expiring deal and a promising rookie to take on the bad contract of another team to get short term help inside.

Ok - this team is really beginning to piss me off. Why the lack of effort again. I really felt the learned their lesson - got a new bench...but SOS. Most of us don't expect perfection but this team is sucking big time. They have no excuse for not showing up and playing hard and with heart when you get paid millions of dollars/season.

ef - this team is disgusting. bynum better come back and not get hurt the rest of the season.

MM - Good point on Ron Ron being involved in the last play in all three of the recent loses. But as you mentioned in number 2 - the last two games would not have come down to the wire if the Lakers were playing better defense.

phred: enjoyed your balanced and fair criticisms, right on the mark. I would love to see both Pau and L.O. become more assertive - especially L.O. Kobe's shooting percentage always seems to fluctuate, but it is a little concerning that his shot has failed him several times in a row when he normally would come through - in the clutch. I feel bad for Ron Ron, who has gotten passes late, with defenses baring down on him, and the shots he's had to put up have been difficult ones.

Trading Vujacic is a nice option, an 'ace in the hole'. I bet that Mitch is waiting closer to the trade deadline to make sure the Lakers don't end up with a catastrophic type injury to a starter (god forbid).

I think that Sasha for Mayo might be a nice trade if Drew and Ratliff can get back, OJ seems to be in the doghouse, losing his staring job and could provide a scoring punch off the bench. Maybe even packaging say Sasha & Luke for a Tayshaun Prince, who also is in the doghouse. Just throwing a couple of scenarios out there, although frontcourt depth is probably the Laker weak-spot at the moment.


GO LAKERS!!!!!!

I only tuned in for the fourth quarter--assumed Lakers would be behind and was disappointed to find that suspicion true. The most glaring aspect was that once Kobe came off the bench the ball didn't see his hands for at least 4 consecutive possessions. I'm a "run the offense" kinda guy, but not even letting the ball go thru Kobe was unconscionable. It was fine that Pau was hot, but then after his 7 straight points, they also went away from him. It was like--Kobe and Pau are your two major options and Barnes took an unnecessary 3 when Pau was in deep with good position and then Blake was off twice from deep. I just didn't get that.

The rest of the final 5 minutes was fine in terms of their energy--except that they couldn't get a stop until the final play of the game. They really have to tighten up the P&R (can't go under those screens D-Fish) and they have to have greater post presence on D (too many uncontested drive-bys to the hoop).

Really a frustrating stretch -- which I lay on the doorstep of AB. As supportive as I was about his taking a summer break to see the world cup, that decision is beginning to seem selfish and unprofessional. They pay him to show up and be ready to roll in November. And you can see the great wear and tear on Pau at this point. If Pau gets injured because he has been run unnecessarily ragged, I will never forgive AB for that. He needs to come out with a public mea culpa at this point.

(Sorry for the rant)

Who would've thunk it. Lakers hold Gay, Z-Bo and OJ to 38pts combined, outrebound the Grizz by double digits and still lose. Wow.


LO did an outstanding job guarding Zach. Kudos Lamar!


Memo to LO and Pau...feel free to be aggressive and SHOOT the ball. If not Kobe's will take the shots you pass up...thank you very much.


It look like the game plan was to help off Conley and force him to be a scorer. Well, he was more than up for the task.


Lakers did a poor job of closing out on shooters all night. Thus the Grizz shot 8-12 from 3pt range and I don't think any of those shots were challenged.


Conley's 3pt with about a min to play was the killer. Fish turned his head and hedged to help on Rudy, Conley took a couple of steps out of his sight line...and Bam!


Oh well...on to Houston. Lakers are fortunate they don't have to see Brooks.


Lakers have a hard time neutralizing small quick guards, their main achilles heel. Conley looked like an all star against them. Look for more of the same from Aaron Brooks tomorrow. Why can't Jackson address this from a few year back when Jameer Nelson took them apart in the playoffs? Look at their assist below 20, 16 for the entire game to go with just 30% shooting 3-pts. Better spacing and ball movement. More screens for Kobe and he needs to setup and take the last shot. So what if he was 1 for 6 in 3's, he is still money at the buzzer. Hurry back Drew and Theo! Memphis shot way too high a percentage.

t_sensei: I just want to point out that Phil and the Laker organization green-lighted Drew taking some time off at before getting the surgery at the exit meeting. They didn't want him to go right into a rigorous rehab so soon after playing through injury and gritting out the Finals, and to let his body to recover some.

Later, when Drew was ready, his doctor postponed by 10 days his surgery due to not having time in his schedule. All along it was thought that the delay wouldn't cause Drew to miss any time, he was supposed to return in time for training camp. However, more damage than was expected was found, and the doctor used a technique based on repairing rather than removal the damaged tissue. That meant a stronger recovery for Drew, better for his long-term but a longer short-term recovery period.

Just saying, if you are going to be mad at Drew, you gotta be mad at Phil, Mitch, Drew's Doc and all others that had a say in green-lighting that time schedule...


GO LAKERS!!!!!!

At least the music was better than the game...lol.


@mclyne - 311 Prisoner = nice.


@ms - excellent selections especially Tennessee Waltz. Lakers were definitely "Waltzing" in the 3rd quarter and they lost their baby too.


@GDUB - Can't go wrong with Incognito. I didn't know they remade "Nights Over Egypt". Good stuff.

LRob: "Who would've thunk it. Lakers hold Gay, Z-Bo and OJ to 38pts combined, outrebound the Grizz by double digits and still lose. Wow."
-
Yeah it was a weird, wacky game. I totally agree the Lakers were downright lazy in closing on shooters, and just didn't have an answer to Conley's penetrations. I'm surprised the Grizz didn't go to him on every possession, much like Utah used to kill the Lakers time and again with those deadly Stockton to Malone pick-and-rolls for years that the Lakers could never effectively cover.

Seems like speedy PG's have killed the Lakers for years...


GO LAKERS!!!!!!

@CyberCosmiX: I agree. I get that part. It is just that the rehab has really taken a toll on Pau and we are getting to the point where a weary body could turn into an injury that would doom the season. The lakers might be able to get to the finals without Drew, but no way they get out of the West (past San Antonio) without Pau.

t_sensei: Yeah, it's a shame. I really hope too that Pau or L.O. don't get injured playing all those extra minutes. I wouldn't blame Drew if it happened though, he's doing his part in rehabbing.

I agree that they need their 'twin-towers' of Drew/Pau to advance, Pau has been on an MVP pace and losing him would be devastating.

Perhaps Mitch should have looked at someone younger than 37-yr old Ratliff, who is out with tendinitis. There wasn't much quality out there as far as serviceable bigs, but any body would have been better than no body. That might have been his only mistake this offseason...


GO LAKERS!!!!!!

ugh, sorry for using 'twin-towers' in the above post. I was referring to the old Ralph Sampson/Hakeem Olajuwon tandem who was dubbed that. I've caught myself a couple of times in the past when using it, missed it this time...


GO LAKERS!!!!!!

"3. The Lakers' poor offense contributed to their poor defense. Bryant recently vented the Lakers' problems point more to their defense and not their offense, even going so far as saying the media is "ignorant" for asking about the team's recent scoring struggles, poor shooting percentage and poor chemistry. In Lakers' loss to Memphis, however, the Lakers' failure to run the triangle directly correlated to their defensive struggles. Bryant for the third consecutive game felt compelled to take over the game, but in this case very little of it was appropriate. It's not just the 25 points on nine-for-25 shooting clip that's worrisome......."


Medina,


Don't take it personal that Kobe called you and the media "ignorant"..........you are ignorant. Ignorant only means " Lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular"..............now if you mix ignorance with arrogance and a entitlement complex what you get is a person with a journalism degree (maybe) who never played further than the 10th grade trying to match basketball wits with a guy who was the Naismith Prep basketball player of the year, the first guard in history to go from highschool directly to the NBA, Olympic Gold Medalist, 3× NBA All-Star Game MVP, 10x All Defense first or second team, 2x NBA scoring champion, 12x NBA All-Star, NBA Most Valuable Player, 2× NBA Finals MVP, 5× NBA Champion and the Reigning 2x Champion....................I think if Kobe Bryant says Defense and rebounding wins championships..................YOU SHOULD BE QUIET AND LISTEN!


DEFENSE AND REBOUNDING............wins championships!! It is not your offense that should dictate the defense.............the winning formula is ALWAYS ..........Defense should trigger offense..............why? Because Defense = determination and desire coupled with a defensive scheme or plan. You can ALWAYS control defensive effort..................you can't always depend on your offense............offense comes and goes..............but defensive intensity should be brought every night............if you have coaches that emphasize it.


Although the Lakers are having some problems on offense (I'll get to that later) the biggest problem is on defense. We can't stop penetration from the point guards in this league due to Phil's inordinate loyalty to Derek Fisher and we can't stop the ball at the basket with the anemic effort of Pau Gasol in the middle. That should be our primary concern..................ESPECIALLY ON THE ROAD.....................DEFENSE WINS ON THE ROAD.

Unless Phil Makes some kind of adjustment with our defensive effort and the combinations on the floor that plays the best defensive basketball together look for loss number 4 tonight in Houston.


The problem on offense is that in the triangle offense Kobe is the only Laker that demands double teams and that can create his own shot off the dribble.............which is why Kobe usually finds the ball in his hands with less than 7 -5 seconds left on the shot clock. Pau Gasol can't score one on one nor does he demand a double team..............when Gasol feels physical pressure he doesn't make aggressive moves nor does he cause the defense to react to him in the post..............thus quicker and athletic teams can stay home with the shooters and cause the Lakers to use up most of the shot clock trying to run the triangle.

It seems beyond the coaches scope to say "maybe we should come out of this offense for a stretch and try something else"? Maybe we should try creating some space for Kobe with some staggard screens to free him up for some easier looks and also make the defense respond differently this time down the floor? Either Kobe will get easier looks or depending on how the defense responds he can get some easier shots for Gasol and some of the shooters....................but I guess that would be too much like coaching.

has chicken little been by to post here yet?

has chicken little been by to post here yet?

Posted by: mud | December 01, 2010 at 12:10 AM

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

He called and said hes on his way...he car pooled with The Boy Who Cried Wolf...

The Lakers are spluttering on offence like the car from chitty chitty bang bang.

When the lakers get AB back it will be like when popeye eats his spinach.

These 3 losses seemed to be linked w/ Pau Gasol. He does seemed tired and not up to grind it out w/ the opposing center.
Still the Lakers are losing games in the closing minutes/seconds. Thats a scenario where defending champions show why they are defending champions.

NCalLakerfan: "Why can't Jackson address this from a few year back when Jameer Nelson took them apart in the playoffs?"


Pray tell, what are you smoking, sir? Jameer Nelson took the Lakers apart in the playoffs? Which playoffs and what year? Obviously you don't know what you're talking about. Since Orlando is in the Eastern Conference, the only 'playoffs' you might be alluding to is the 2009 Finals, where Jameer Nelson barely played due to injury. And when he did play in that Finals, which the Lakers won easily 4-1, he was hardly effective as he was just getting back from a long lay-off. He was clearly NOT in NBA shape when he got back, which is why he was a non-factor. Instead, you could have sited Aaron Brooks shredding the Lakers in the 2009 playoffs, where the Lakers prevailed in 7 games, and you would have been far more accurate.

It was unforgivable and unacceptable for Mitch not to have signed a younger big man during the off-season. Radcliff is a joke at his age. A silly, sad joke! With all the injuries that Bynum has had over the years, it is grossly negligent of the Lakers front office not to have signed (or dealt for) a better, younger back-up at center. You knew Andrew would come back late and possibly (God forbid) go down again, AND YET, you sign this slow geezer who can't make a basket to save his life at back-up???


What a silly joke!


I hate to lose Sasha but I guess this is the perfect opportunity to dump his expiring contract and get a young big body to back-up Gasol and Andrew.


I still don't know why the Lakers never even bothered thinking about bringing Shaq back as merely a back-up. Two birds, one stone. Sign him and keep him away from Boston. Love him or hate him, Shaq would have been much better fit than old-man Ratcliff!

Bryant is correct it is defense that is the main problem. But to lose to Indiana and Memphis not exactly powerhouse teams is very troubling. The Lakers are playing uninspired basketball so early in the season. There is no spark from anybody. KB said a players only meeting is not necessary after a 3 game losing streak. Maybe if they lose tonight they will have that meeting.

3 games in a row Fisher gave up easy buckets to the opposing PG very late in the game. Pau's defensive rotations weren't good at all....but thats a lot of pressure Fisher is putting on the interior D and every other defensive player on the court when the opposing player can drive by Fisher at will and be at the rim unimpeded in a flash. Fisher's D has been awful for years now.... I don't understand why he's playing so many minutes still, especially with Blake, who is clearly the better player in every aspect.

If only Derek Fisher could suffer a minor hamstring injury that puts him out for 2 or 3 weeks.

Blake could start and Sasha can get off the bench

Not playing Sasha at all is ludicrous, he is truly a pesky defender who disrupts an offensive players comfort zone.
Fisher only enhances an offensive players comfort zone.

Phil Jackson should have never returned to coach this season
His senility is getting worse.
No one can tell me that his lack of basic coaching is somehow part of a great plan that will benefit everyone come the playoffs.


BENCH FISHER
PLAY BLAKE
PLAY SASHA
PLAY CARACTER
PLAY EBANKS

HELL
PLAY LUKE

PHIL JACKSON IS A SABOTEUR


The telling line in all of the losses is Pau's subpar performance.

Biggest difference is last year Kobe (and occasionally some other guys) made a lot of (lucky) game winning shots at the buzzer; this year so far he/they haven't.

BTW: if Artest shoots when he first receives the pass from Kobe Rudy Gay would have swatted that shot 15 rows into the stands; for the first time in his career Kobe should have shot instead of passed the ball.

The Lakers (Bryant) can't shoot and can't score.
Terrible shot selection and poor use of the bench.
NoDFish can't defend.
Sasha should have been inserted to defend Conley
or at least use Bryant to defend Conley.
Conley was just laughing, when he saw DFish guarding him.
I love DFish, but get real.
Why can't Brown defend anyone?
He wants to be more than a dunker. Well, what about
being a defender?

points of clarification:

Some of y'all seem to be missing my point(s).

Others of y'all seem to be ignoring my point(s).

Allow me to clarify ...

This was said: It's basketball & it's supposed to be fun.

my response: you're right. But it stops being fun when someone becomes
antagonistic towards you. FYI, using belittling names for people who have
a different opinion towards you is antagonistic. So ... I wasn't surprised to
find out that 5 years ago there was name calling going on.

Some of y'all have made the statement that the post season is the only
season that matters. I disagree. I think that philosophy is disrespectful
to the other teams & to the game itself. The post season is *NOT* a right.
It's a reward that is given to those who play well, with passion and
intelligence & who are lucky! Furthermore, losing in the first round sucks!
We should all remember that from just a few years ago. The contempt/
disdain that PHX showed when playing us should still sting.

The belief that the post season is the only season that counts leads to players
taking "company time" to heal. We all know that Shaq did that. The
troubling thing is that for two years in a row, our aspiring "face of the
franchise" has put his personal pleasure/gain in front of the team's needs.
It has had detrimental consequences to the Lakers team & to his personal
development.

Yes, he did have the approval of the Lakers management based upon what
information they had/were given. However, it's now November. To hear
him say: "I still think I did the right thing" is extremely troubling because
it shows that he feels entitled to compete for championships and that it's OK
to ride on someone else's shoulders. I don't think that Michael thought that
way. Or Bird. Or Kareem & certainly not Kobe or Phil. So ... why should
we *NOT* want the "aspiring face of the franchise" to want to be great?

The last two years running, the rotation of Bynum/Gasol/Odom has been one
of the best frontline rotations in the NBA and possibly in the history of the
NBA. [ KB Blitz, feel free to correct me. ] Last night, we saw what happens
when you're not prepared. I'll say this a bit different. Does anyone still have
games recorded from 2008/2009? Have you compared how Pau was moving/
playing then to now? My recollection, I watched one of the finals games
before the season started, was that Pau was more muscular & more physical.
So ... It would seem that he's reverted to a more "intellectual" game. Only
now, he's facing everybody's "A" game and he's not quite up to it. Yes, we
feasted on the "weak & diseased" at the beginning of the year. However, the
season is in full swing now. It's not looking quite so easy is it?

Much has been made about my lack of playing and how that disqualifies my
judgmnt. It was interesting to go back and see what people's judgment
was 5 years ago. Imagine thinking that Smush & Kwame were worth
building a team on ... Where are those guys playing now? If playing was an
indication of judgment then Magic should have been a great coach & MJ's
picks of Kwame & Morrison maybe shouldn't have happened ... But, they
did. So, that criteria should be weighted appropriately which means it's
not super valuable.

re: why I spent 5 hours going through the archives.

I got 2 hours of sleep that night because I was caring for a four-footed
family member who's dying of cancer. It's one of the hardest fights I've ever
had and I know I'm going to lose. Yet, I have to keep swinging. Right now,
I'm listening to his labored breathing and it SUCKS! However, he still has a
chance to turn around and pull out another year. So, I'm going to do my best
to help him. Since I was up, I decided to look through archives and validate
a "sacred cow's " judgment.

re: being macho. For those of us who aren't ridiculously blessed ... Life is a
battle. The mantra is: fight or die. It's how you get through classes that you're
not prepared for. It's how you work 5 jobs to get by when money is tight.
It's how you take care of your family when they're depending on you. It's
what you learn every day when you step onto the mat. And no, I don't have to
drive up from Los Angeles to have a conversation with someone who lives
in the north bay. I happen to live in the Bay area.

Mr. Medina,

you wrote: In Lakers' loss to Memphis, however, the Lakers' failure to run the triangle directly correlated to their defensive struggles. Bryant for the third consecutive game felt compelled to take over the game, but in this case very little of it was appropriate. It's not just the 25 points on nine-for-25 shooting clip that's worrisome. It's that four of his misses led to Memphis scoring eight points in transition. It's that the team's lack of aggressiveness and ball movement compelled Bryant to take over. It's that Bryant's fixation with doing it all himself kept the team disengaged.

That sluggishness carried defensively where in predictable fashion the Lakers didn't cover the perimeter, they didn't rotate on screen and rolls and they allowed players to drive into the lane with ease. But as much as the team's poor offensive chemistry led to little energy on defense, the overall problem also points to the team's reverse mind-set of last season. The Lakers' 2009-10 team appeared intent on setting the tone with defensive stops and then controlling the tempo at a deliberate pace.

my response:

There are logical problems with what you said. Not being able to hit a shot
on offense has nothing to do with not playing good defense. Please reference
game 7 of the NBA finals and Kobe Bryant.

Whenever the Lakers become stagnant and Kobe tries to win, someone always
talks about how Kobe got the rest of the team to disengage. With respect, I
find that to be the biggest tub of hogwash that's used to bathe Kobe. That
same crap was being used 4 years ago when we had Smush and Kwame on
the team. The "he doesn't make his teammates better" excuse. Excuse me. Are you
really asking a "once in a generation" player to allow his team to lose?
Without putting up a fight? Please reference game 5 of the PHX-Lakers
playoff series in 2006 I believe. The nonsense that Kobe gave up was
widely touted. Did the other team members become engaged? Did the Lakers
win that game? No. He's the best player in the world. He's supposed to put
on his "cape" and try and win the game. That's why he makes more money
in a season then I'll ever see in a lifetime.


pfunk36's comments about defense are *SPOT ON* as displayed by Bill Russell
& Michael Jordan. These are the two players who epitomize winning in
basketball.

Y'all have a good day. I need to give my pup his medicine.

That lost stung but I'm keeping my head up. I realize I'm spoiled as a Laker fan, always expecting the W but things could be a lot worse.

Ended up staying up watching Golden Days, Purple Knights. Definitely helped keep our three loss streak in perspective.

'04 to '08 were some real tough losses. What is happening now is part of the process of becoming world champions all over again.

1,2,3,Ring.

MM,

"3. The Lakers' poor offense contributed to their poor defense"

Absolutely. It almost always does. One of the strengths of the triangle offense is that it leads to good floor balance/positioning for offensive rebounding and transition defense.


When the Lakers struggle defensively it often a case of poor floor balance and poor shot selection leading to poor offensive rebounding, long rebounds and poor transition defense.


Good defense leads to turnovers and rebounds and easy baskets. Good offense leads to made baskets, offensive rebounds and good transition defense. They are very inter-related.

Good Morning Laker Fam,

On to Houston. Time to show some love to a few of Houston's best....

I hope the Lakers have their "legs" tonight with it being the 3rd game in 4 nights...How about a little ZZ Top...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HH85zttgbGg


No need to worry cause like Destiny Child sang. The Lakers are "Survivors"


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OhJgJVfZ5g

REASON NUMBER 6. Phillip insist on keeping one Sasha V., a pesky defender and a competent shooter, on the bench.

I'm so happy I changed the channel in the 3rd quarter and watched "Dexter" on my DVR instead. Sometimes I can smell a stinker or a heartbreaker a mile away. I spared myself the coronary stress by skipping the end of the game entirely.

Funny thing, Mrs. DBDH loves to watch the Gasol Bros. play against each other. She likes how close Memphis (like the Pacers now,) plays us. I told her during the pre-game show that this game would be decided in the last few seconds. Albeit a loyal Lakers fan, a realistic Mrs. DBDH picked Memphis... a disillusioned fan, I picked L.A. on a jumper by Kobe.

In an attempt to avoid any shouting or cursing, we both decided that changing the channel may help the Lakers win. Since I've had the privilege to watch every loss this year, and subsequently miss the great wins, I tried in vain to help secure another win.

Needless to say, Mrs. DBDH and I enjoyed a quiet night free of bad basketball. I know I recently posted a remark like, "It's only November...", but it's officially December now. Let's do this!

In closing...

War Ron Artest on the bench at the end of any and all games.

War Andrew Bynum healing up and suiting up soon.

War Kobe getting the troops to handle their bizz.

And my last Rome reference is...

The game last night was a Triple U: Unfunny, Uninspired, Unreadable.

GACK!


[dbdh]

Good morning all:

Bummer.

FCM - poor offense contributed to poor defense. I totally agree.

It's not so much that Kobe needs to have one of his "go off games" - he should spend the entire 1Q tonight passing in hopes that one of the other 4 starters will "go off". We need to break the slump and that starts with the others.

I think LO or Pau are keys tonight to get us started strong. If that doesn't happen, I think the team offense will once again lead to poor D. If Pau is starting off tired, there is no way he will be able to move quickly to defend.

Call me crazy, yes go ahead but maybe we should be starting Luke and letting LO come off the bench to split minutes with Pau. At least Luke is a reliable passer and keeps the offense flowing. And it will give Pau some much needed rest heading into a big road trip.

Discuss...........

PLG

"When the lakers get AB back it will be like when popeye eats his spinach."

Posted by: London Laker

###

Great! I'm tired of watching Olive Oyl spaghetti arm defense.


DBDH!

What does an NBA champion really look like? Well, they don't win 72 games.


Since the NBA went to 82 games in 1967-1968, the average champion has won 59.2 games regular season games. In the last 10 years that has been down slightly, to 58.5 wins. So a typical NBA championship team goes 59-23.


The Los Angeles Lakers champs have been slightly better, winning 61.6 games (or about a 62-20 record).

Boy, now this is the kind of blog I like! In your face analysis and controversy. Things were boring up until now.

@DBDH - You know the Mrs. is ALWAYS right.


@hobbit - I hope things work out with your dog. Mine's just recently lost his battle so I know how tough that can be.


@PLG - Hmmm...desperate times...desperate measures. Hopefully we're not that desparate.

"When the lakers get AB back it will be like when popeye eats his spinach."

Posted by: London Laker

###

Great! I'm tired of watching Olive Oyl spaghetti arm defense.
Posted by: Don't Blame Del Harris! | December 01, 2010 at 06:42 AM

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

Cue up the Wimpy quotes...

Thats odd...when the Lakers were riding a 8-0 record at that outset of the season, Bynum's name was hardly mentioned. Celtics don't have their center and I don't hear them mentioning him. Getting your excuses in order...are you?

hobbitmage,

I enjoyed your post and the good observations.
Sorry about the dog, have been through that numerous times and it's never easy.

DBDH,

Agree that the recent Dexter episode was more fun to watch than the game.
I would even rather watch Mr Green Jeans and the Capt than an episode of Lakers Behaving Badly, but Dexter is a good choice.

So, no team meeting required yet. I waiting for, hoping for, Kobe to lose his cool, before we all do.

Deeeee-fense......Oh, deeeeee--fense.....

Where are you??? Heloooooo?

Good morning ladies and gents- WOW...Man this blog blows up after a tough loss, I'll just stand clear of the grenades and come back LATER.

dfish is jackson coach on the floor because,he dont want to
coach.the team is a reflection of him no energy or hustle
other than kobe and pau need to hit the weight room.

dfish need to be bench,his defense sucks,no assists,you cant
beat teams with four(4) players playing other teams five(5)
players.even other teams no fisher isnt a treat.sure he get
lucky and a shot fall every once in a while.even a blind
squirel finds a nut every once in a while.

if the coaches cant see that fish is the weak link maybe
the coaches need to be replace.you dont continue to start
a plyer because of how he use to play if you want to be competive in the nba.with all of the great guards that in the
nba today.

some of the problems in my opinion is that phil have always
had great players who is self motivated and he didnt have to
coach.now that he has to coach he dont know how to use his
players or get them motivated.his clock management is terible
he dont know when to call time out to stop another team run,
especially when his team start to loose a big lead.

I just got back from a long vacaion, and watched enough of my DVRed games to see the same old, same old creaping back in.

Well, this is getting predictable. Let's see: Kobe's shot trajectory is flat, thus a bad (forced) percentage, even in his free throws. Pau is flat exhausted. Ron-ron is flat earth bound - where are these drives below the rim amongst 3-4 trees coming from!? I think at this point I could challenge Ron's vertical myself - sad........

The lack of practice as a complete squad is starting to show on both O & D. There is no continuity on O and certainly no helping on D. (I am way past angry about this perimtere defensive technique where we leave their quick guard an unobstructed lane to the basket and somehow think that is Defense! Funneling your man into another teammate means his man (or some other man) is open!) It is way past time for the FO to get a shot blocking center somewhere! I don't know who that is, but Pau is so weak in the 5 that he gets pushed around easily. Pau is very poor at using the glass or even dunking when he is at the rim, like a true 5 would do. Same for LO. DC is strong enough, but a rook and not enough length to bother most bigs in the post.

Time for Mitch to find a defensive minded 5 and PJ to force some significant practice time on Kobe, Pau, Fish, et al!!!

How about just some forced shooting practice!? & Don't get me started about the AB situation!

Looks like Kobe's decision about not fixing his finger may keep us from a 3 peat, plus his knee is obviously limiting his vertical - which I would say is at least 4 inches less this year, so far. 4 inches less is just enough to get a lot of blocks and force those wild last second side passes we are starting to see from him (ala last night to Ron-ron). It may be time for Kobe to take a month off and rest when MK gets a big who can stop the water bug guards from taking over the paint!

@ Art & LRob,

Yes, and yes.


[dbdh]

New Nicknames

Kobe "Brickhouse" Bryant
Pau "Wimpy" Gasol
Ron "0" vertical leap" Artest
Lamar "disapearing act part 11" Odum
Derek "I can't believe they gave me 3 more years" Fisher
Steve "I can't believe they gave Fisher 3 more years" Blake
Shannon "big contract next year" Brown
Luke "1 million 2 million 3 million 4 million 5 million" Walton
Sasha "Phil hate machine, machine hate Phil" Vujacic
Andrew "I can't drive 55" Bynum
Phillip "asleep at the wheel" Jackson

1. Ron's having a tough season so far (after a great pre-season). It shows. In the first half when he was hitting, we ran much smoother. He's given open looks, and if he can't put them down, it hurts the offense. That'll change, I just hope sooner rather than later.

2. This is the Killer B's first real run on the road. They need to learn and adjust. It'll take time. I just hope sooner rather than later.

3. Drew coming back will throw more things out of kilter, but it'll also help in various ways from a playing time standpoint for Pau (not as worried about LO).

4. Our D's acting weird. We show bursts of what we can be, then... nuthin'. I HOPE that'll change, as I love it when we bring the D (a la last year in the post season). I think we'll be fine though.

5. The only worry I have is that for the first time, I saw PJ retiring next year. Oh, I think we'll threepeat, but when MJ came back to the Bulls for the 2nd 3peat, that team rarely lost. They could be beaten, but they didn't lose. They were focused and brought it. I felt that PJ would stay for a 4th straight (knock on wood) because we had a remade and strong bench and that we were playing D at the end of last season and would bring it. He'd have a team this year that might be beaten, but wouldn't lose. The last three games (and others before in this season), the Lakers have lost. Seriously, we didn't get beat the last three games, we did not bring focus or intensity. I think we can change this, but if it takes too much longer, I could see us winning another Ring, and PJ just not wanting to deal with this sort of thing again. This is the only time I saw a sign of this. I hope, for the sake of PJ staying another year, we get it together and start not only winning, but not losing.

The sky isn't falling (where is that troll anyhow?).

I actually think this is still good. We have a deep bench although clearly PJ isn't playing the rooks to help with minutes. So, now we know that and have to adjust accordingly. Every team is dealing with injuries and the Lakers aren't any different. We just have to plod along and get some W's. Hopefully tonight.

Yes, it may have sounded a little desperate with the Luke starting thing - but seriously. Luke starting gives LO some rest from the start. Pau can come out with a strong back-up. PJ is going to play Pau and LO in the 4Q anyhow so might as well give them both some minutes.

If LO gets early fouls - he can't even back up Pau. So, I'd rather waste early fouls with Luke. At least we all can agree that PJ trusts Luke in the offense and he knows how to keep the ball moving.

I'll harp on this one for a couple more hours, then give it up.

PLG

PLG - it's cool. I'll hang with you on this one. Luke is a good player who knows the offense, keeps the ball moving as you said, and is good for more than just fouling on D - he can usually give his man some problems. I'd rather him play with Pau or LO than have to play without them.

Kobe needs to stop playing (HERO) and use the other guys around him,25 shots is too much.

Posted by: RIZZO | November 30, 2010 at 10:45 PM

Oh no, not this non-sense again! The blog faithful have already hashed this issue to death and we've determined that 22-25 shots is the sweet spot for Kobe and the Lakers -- when he's 100%. No one really knows what that level is when he's not 100%. What we saw last night was an anomaly, something that hasn't happened in I think about two year; Kobe starting out hot, then totally freezing up towards the end of the game.

That tells me that he's at about 85% right now, and that towards the end of games, he looses strength in that knee. All of his late game shots have been hitting the front of the rim. DVR it and you will see. What's a guy to do?

Plus, he missed all those layups? It'll be about two more years before you see that again. He did what he was supposed to do, went to the rack with authority, drew the defense to him, and that late game play, he hit the open guy. What else do you want?

Kobe wasn't gonna be able to hit Fish. No kindergartner in their right mind would leave Fish do double Kobe in a late game scenario -- not when you have a discombobulated RonRon standing out there.

RonRon's gonna be open every time. RonRon can play this role -- we are all witnesses. Kobe's gonna pass him the rock. RonRon just needs to step up and do his job, that's all.

--FEARless

CyberCosmiX and phred,

It's fatigue in Kobe's knee. Mark my words. Remember, he and Bynum had surgery fairly close together. Even if Bynum's was more serious, they were both under the knife. The difference is that Bynum is waiting (at the behest of the medical staff) until he's 100%. I bet you both that Kobe's late game shots will start to fall at about the same time Bynum hits the court. And, the only logical conclusion is that both men actually have about the same recovery time. Kobe just plays through his.

This is the chief reason that I am not worried. Plus, we all know that Bynum always returns from injury like the next coming of the Kraken. Couple that with Kobe finally acheiving 100% health and throw in appropriate rest for Pau and Odom, and giving our bench Odom's considerable shot in the arm.

What me, worry? I can't wait! Christmas indeed! Imagine the surprise on the Heat's faces when the first realize that the Lakers they see right now is not the same team they are going to play on Christmas day?

Imagine!

--FEARless

FEARless - I haven't seen as many missed bunnies in a season as I have so far this year LOL! We hit a few of those and our losses would have been wins. Simple.

Of course, Kobe getting another call here & there would help too....

justa - not the bunnies!

That was a frustrating game to watch Tuesday night in Memphis, and the Rockets game is hardly likely to be more rewarding. We've seen our Lakers hit turbulance before at this point in the season without long-term consequences, so no reason to touch the panic switch.

Rick - completely agreed.

Justa - the bunnies - I was thinking about that same thing as well. I think when they go back to the tape and PJ shows those darn bunnies over and over - it will surely hit some nerves somewhere.

I have a feeling Pau is going to hit a boiling point very soon and take it all out on some poor soul. It's coming and the Pau-pow of a month ago will be back. I justa know it.

cheers - PLG

SWEET JESUS!!! THE BUNNIES!!!

>>>Kobe needs to stop playing (HERO) and use the other guys around him,25
>>>shots is too much

Yeah! YEAH!

He should have passed to Pau (5-13 shooting)!

He should have passed to Matt Barnes (4 turnovers)!

He should have passed to Shannon Brown (laying bricks until the 4th quarter)!

This is old territory. 25 shots is NOT too many for Kobe to take. This game was not lost because Kobe took too many shots. In fact, he did EXACTLY WHAT YOU ASKED on the last play and passed to a wide open Ron Artest. Who for the second time in 3 days, bricked a last shot.

This game was lost on the defensive end. You know those flashlights that the guys on the airport tarmac use to direct planes into the gates? Well they should have given those to half the team so they could have waived them at Mike Conley every time he went right by two or three Lakers to the rim.

And Conley's not just the PG's problem. Sure, Fish & Shannon & Blake couldn't shut him down 1-on-1, but until the 4th quarter, Pau & Lamar didn't even TRY to block a shot - they just let him make the layup once he got in the lane.

Look. Kobe & Pau had bad shooting nights, and the bench mob couldn't manage to carry them. The Lakers still have the exact same problem vs quick point guards that they've had the last two seasons. Blake replacing Farmar does nothing to shore up that issue. But you know what? They managed to win two championships despite that problem, and they'll win another one this season.

And when Bynum comes back, Conley will drive to the rim, get blocked once or twice, and then he'll either alter his shot or pass off, and the layup drill will end.

phred - Thanks for the love. And to think, I didn't write "sense of urgency" once! But you know I was thinking it.


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