Lakers Now

Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

« Previous Post | Lakers Now Home | Next Post »

Lakers' two latest three-game losing streaks reveal similar trends

57998645

It wasn't something chatted about in the locker room. But the Lakers were always quietly aware of any threat to their two-year streak without a three-game loss.

With each loss, Coach Phil Jackson would sense the mood shifting more and more serious.

"Every loss is a big deal to us," Jackson said in early January last season. "We don’t talk about numbers. One loss, stop the bleeding. Two, we have to make a definite stand here."

That two-year streak snapped when the Lakers went winless on a three-game trip last season in March. Then they suffered another setback with the Lakers' 98-96 loss Tuesday to the Memphis Grizzlies. It marked only the second time the Lakers (13-5) had lost three consecutive games since acquiring Pau Gasol in February 2008, and a loss Wednesday at Houston (5-12) would give the Lakers their first four-game losing streak since April 2007.

They can prevent that by doing the same things that kept their two-year streak alive. I explained in detail last season how the Lakers had the ability to respond in dominating fashion after consecutive losses and to  close out games in a way that masked otherwise poor performances. Meanwhile, the Lakers' three-game losing streak last season, including losses to the Miami Heat, Charlotte Bobcats and the Orlando Magic, and the recent losing streak to Utah, Indiana and Memphis reveal trouble in various areas.

57996285

Closing-out performances

The Lakers could have shown in these match-ups just how clutch they can be late in the game. Instead, they couldn't produce on the final play. The Lakers' loss to Memphis had Kobe Bryant passing the ball in midair to Ron Artest, an appropriate reaction considering he met a double team but a delayed one at best since it caught the team off guard. 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 his shot, dribbled right and pulled up for a three-pointer only to be blocked by Rudy Gay. The Lakers' 95-92 loss to the Indiana Pacers had Roy Hibbert causing Pau Gasol to bite on a screen-and-roll, and the Lakers failed to help as he drove on for an easy dunk. In the next play, Bryant missed a top-of-the-key three-pointer, Artest grabbed the rebound but dribbled out and killed the clock and Bryant shot a contested long-range trey with little time left on the clock. And against Utah, the final minute consisted of Artest taking an ill-advised off-balanced jumper, Bryant meeting double teams and Artest missing a game-winning three-pointer.

Similar scenarios played out in last season's three-game losing streak. In the Lakers' 96-94 loss to Orlando, the final play appeared to mark another game winner for Bryant. Forward Pau Gasol set a screen on then-Orlando forward Matt Barnes up top. Magic center Dwight Howard temporarily doubled Bryant. He then went one on one against Barnes, crossed right and then pulled up for a 20-foot jumper on the right block. But the shot hit the back rim. In a 114-111 overtime loss to Miami, Bryant forced overtime, but he met constant double teams and was called for a late charge, denying the Lakers a chance to squeak out a win.

Imbalanced offense

It wasn't hard to notice how Bryant's shots against Miami (28), Charlotte (21) and Orlando (20) contrasted with the number of attempts for Gasol (15), Brown (14.2), Artest (12.4) and Odom (10). It's also hard not to notice that the Lakers' victories have featured Bryant averaging 18.8 shots and the Lakers' losses have featured Bryant averaging 26.2. After last season's three-game losing streak, I mentioned in detail how the team's offensive inconsistency was rooted in the inability to elevate its game around Bryant and complement his skill set. In the present case, it's a mixed bag. Bryant went on a fourth-quarter scoring spree against Utah but didn't ride his hot hand completely through since the Jazz met him with double teams. Bryant went on a second-half scoring spree, but his poor first-half shooting resembled the Lakers' collectively stagnant offense. They simply rinsed and repeated against Memphis.

There are other elements that factor in, such as Gasol's fatigue, cold shooting from Derek Fisher and Shannon Brown and Artest's continual discomfort, showing that neither Bryant's scoring mentality nor his teammates' complementary roles are helping much in restoring balance the offense.

Lakers broke down defensively

There's too many nuggets that signified the Lakers' defensive breakdowns during the team's past two three-game losing streaks. Bryant stuck too close to his "free safety/center field" defense against the Heat, in which he gives shooters space on the perimeter, leaving Bryant the ability to cheat on defense and be open to help if needed. But that resulted in Quentin Richardson exploding for a team-high 25 points on eight-of-13 shooting. Against Charlotte, the entire team joined in on the defensive breakdowns, allowing the Bobcats to feature five players to reach double figures, shoot at 51.4% clip and score 18 fast-break points. And the ongoing trend this season has entailed poor perimeter defending, poor communication on screen and rolls, poor help defense.

-- Mark Medina
twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant glances at the scoreboard during the final minute of the Lakers' 98-96 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday. Credit: Nikki Boertman / Reuters

Photo: Memphis forward Rudy Gay, right, shoots over Lakers forward Ron Artest during the Lakers' 98-96 loss Tuesday. Credit: Nikki Boertman / Reuters

 
Comments () | Archives (51)

The comments to this entry are closed.

MM - good article; I like to see the comparison, as it gives insight into the Lakers mindset and execution. Cool!

63 Footer:

Do you ever catch yourself watching Lakers games uttering the following:

"Why would you shoot tha.....Great Shot!" :-)

I haven't done that yet this season, but it's probably because I haven't watched enough games yet.

@MM… “It's also hard not to notice that the Lakers' victories have featured Bryant averaging 18.8 shots and the Lakers' losses have featured Bryant averaging 38.” Is this stat correct? Kobe averaging 38 shots? I cannot believe that. Must be an error.
………………………..

TOM

888,

No worries... Times r tough tempers r short.. I hold no grudges! Carry on...

GO LAKERS!

I thought about that as well, probably 28 shots?

Calculator went bad. It's 26.2. Still that's a pretty revealing stat

Yellowfever:

Remember way back when Derek started for the Lake show when Nick Van Exel was hurt, and Nick the Quick came off the bench for the remainder of the regular season? He ended up playing more minutes than Fish (if I remember correctly).

My point is that would you be ok with Fish starting still and Blakers playing more minutes overall (if Fish can't shake this shooting slump)?

Just curious as to your thoughts on things.

Caliphilosopher wrote:

Are you of the mind that if the Lake show is going to take long shots, they might as well be 3 pt. shots?

I know that there has been a trend in the last few years (by those who are statistically inclined) to argue that the only two shots that teams would ideally take are those that are within 8 ft and 3-pt shots, since the extra point generated from 3-pt shots makes up for the marginal decrease in percentage as compared to making 2 pt. shots.

How is your Wednesday going so far?
--------------------------------------

i don't care about those stats, i just want them to hit the open shots that they take. :^)

today's ok! i hope it's the same for you!

Cali - hiya!


I find myself doing that every game -


Noooooo - YES!!!!!!!!


Cali - I do it ALL the time. It beats the bunny reverse: "You blew the layup! How could you blow the layup!?!"

Noooooooo........ NOT THE BUNNIES!!!!

mud -

things are going well with me. Just consulting/banking job apps for the year that I will be out of school (I'm shooting to be at a PhD program in 2012), and I turned in 3 of my last 4 assignments yesterday, so I've got a small bit of downtime. Do you have any plans for today/rest of the week besides Lake Show games?

Justa -

What's crackin? Today is hump day, right? And it's a punk-rock theme today, yes? Let me know, as I will look for something that will (hopefully) be something interesting that I can contribute to the musical playlist...

63 Footer -

Unfortunately, I said that A LOT to myself when I played ball in 8th grade, but considering that was the first year I played organized basketball, in retrospect it wasn't that bad...

Noooooooo........ NOT THE BUNNIES!!!! Posted by: justanothermambafan | December 01, 2010 at 02:27 PM
*
ROTFLMAO!!!

Hi Cali,

That's a loaded question so I will proceed with caution. :) I'm not against dfish starting provided phil limits his minutes especially early.. A lot would have to depend on the matchups... But its his amount of PT that continues to baffle me.. So far in this young season dfish is averaging 27MIN and blake 19 and shannon 18 believe it or not!

Phil has been yappin about cutting dfish minutes last 3 years but what gives? Phil does not play to the matchups or ebb n flow of the game.. He has one simple game plan every game and he hardly deviates from his norm no matter who's getting burned... So rather than who's starting I question PT more than anything.. The way shannon and blake have been playing how can one not argue they deserve more minutes over an aging defenseless dfish?

ay man . big game in a few hrs. ya need a margin of at least seven to stay in the race. n check this http://sportscomplainer.com/nba think its new. my neighbor showed me it. useful. ull c. alright ill tty after the game

Dude...Congo Cash sure would look good as a Laker right now, DFish, Theo, Luke, Sasha, Bynum all dead money no return. Mitch's not looking to great at

the moment.

Great trade Bynum and Sasha through in Luke for free for Melo and Nene.

Trade Ron Ron(I can't jump no mo) to anybody for cap space.

cali - yes it's hump-day. At least here in the USA! The guys were all doing the punk rock thing, but I threw in Pink Floyd early on, so that kinda got mixed up in there too. Quite the combo - no? LOL! Hope to see you on the game chat tonight... missed you yesterday - did something happen or did you just pass out somewhere? :)

"Trade Ron Ron(I can't jump no mo) to anybody for cap space.

Posted by: JUSTA HATER | December 01, 2010 at 02:50 PM"

Seriously what happened there? Isn't Ron only 30? I saw him go for a dunk a few games ago and he had to lay it up at the last second because he wasn't anywhere close to the rim.

Yellowfever -

I apologize if I set you up with a loaded question. Totally didn't mean to, cause I sure am not trying to start a grumble-fest/flame-war.

If I'm not mistaken, Shannon comes in for Kobe, yes? Again, I haven't watched many games (due to the time difference out here), so I might be mistaken.

The following is conjecture: Perhaps when Andrew comes back, Phil will mitigate Derek's minutes a bit more, as Lamar will move to the bench. I can envision a D-fish/Shannon/Barnes/LO/Drew unit getting a lot of time together, since Shannon, Matt, and LO are the athletes in this bunch, and you have someone who can be a ball mover (Fish) and someone who can protect the paint (Andrew).

I can be absolutely wrong about that though, but what I think will happen is that once the team runs 9-deep again (and then 10 when Theo gets back), we'll see a number of minutes for the starters decrease, which I think will be good for everyone on the team (in the long run).

Also: Since Aaron Brooks (of Or-Ee-Gone fame) isn't playing, do you think that Fish will match up poorly with whomever is the starting PG for Houston?

Thanks for getting back to me! :-)

cali-
i have a Reggae band playing on friday, other than that, it's my daily research on Japanese culture with my wife(yeah, i'll watch a bit of anime, lol).

Speaking of similar trend, take a look at the Lakers' records during the first 3-peat seasons, and their current quest for 3-peat seasons. It is strikingly similar:

2000: 67-15 -> 20 09: 65-27
2001: 56-26 -> 2010: 57-25
2002: 58-24 -> 2011: ?????

Kyle Lowry is not the problem that Aaron Brooks is but he's just as strong as Fisher and much quicker. I think he's going to look like a great point guard in tonight's game.

Cali- Also: Since Aaron Brooks (of Or-Ee-Gone fame) isn't playing, do you think that Fish will match up poorly with whomever is the starting PG for Houston?

Get real Dude...Fish match up poorly with everybody, total waste unlet you need a MAXI PAD.

yello and cali,

I agree that Brown and Blake should be playing more minutes than Fish, but as far as Fish coming off the bench, I don't think that's very realistic. The players on the starting unit cover up many of Fish's deficiencies. Fish is the type of player who is most effective when surrounded by elite players. That's the reason why Phil almost never plays Fish unless Kobe or Gasol are on the floor. That's the reason why Fish was riding the pine in Golden State. If Fish were on the second unit, his responsibilities would actually increase, which is not a good idea, considering his limited limited skill set. Phil has no other option but to start Fish, but I expect Fish's minutes to go down, and Brown and Blake's to go up as the season progresses.

Speaking of similar trend, take a look at the Lakers' records during the first 3-peat seasons, and their current quest for 3-peat seasons. It is strikingly similar:

2000: 67-15 -> 20 09: 65-17
2001: 56-26 -> 2010: 57-25
2002: 58-24 -> 2011: ?????

Posted by: LakerPeace | December 01, 2010 at 02:59 PM
=====

Brilliant. There's only one reason I would like the Lakers to win more than 60 games and it's not HCA. Phil Jackson is 7-0 in championships when his teams have won more than 60 games. I'd love to see it be 8-0.

Is Ron-Ron injured or just going through a bad mental head trip in his mind?

I just don't get it. I don't think he can use the excuse anymore that he doesn't know the triangle well enough to be comfortable out there. I think a stoned Chewbacca wearing metal boots could look more at ease.

Is Ron-Ron injured or just going through a bad mental head trip in his mind?

I just don't get it. I don't think he can use the excuse anymore that he doesn't know the triangle well enough to be comfortable out there. I think a stoned Chewbacca wearing metal boots could look more at ease.

Posted by: mclyne | December 01, 2010 at 03:08 PM
====

I think he's showing his age faster than the other thirty-somethings on the team. There are dents on the court at Staples Center from the lead in his feet.

Is Ron-Ron injured or just going through a bad mental head trip in his mind?
I think a stoned Chewbacca wearing metal boots could look more at ease.
Posted by: mclyne | December 01, 2010 at 03:08 PM
*
LOL! I think Ron Ron is regretting giving up his Ring.


Justa -

I totally passed out in my chair, with my book in my lap (how could that even happen?). I should be on the live chat tonight, as I am going to take it easy for the rest of the evening. If the punk rock theme is still going, might I suggest some body count (particularly "Who are you")? Since it's NSFW, I'll let people do their own sleuthing to find a song that fits the theme.

mud -

You're playing in a reggae band? Awesome! Are you an instrumentalist, vocalist, or both? You should send a link to your music so I can check it out.

Bay to LA -

I apologize for not saying hello to you earlier. I also apologize for completely whiffing on remembering who the backup PG was in Houston. Yeah, Lowry is quick, and Scola is sneaky good for someone who is not the best NBA athlete. Kevin Martin is usually good for 20+, so I'm slightly worried. The good news is that Landry doesn't play for them anymore, so they have less tough guys in the post (unless Joey Dorsey is on the active roster).

What part of the Bay area were you located before you came to El-Ley? :-)

Cali

There are only a few guards dfish can matchup well in this league.. You know the old washed up slow ones with no penetrating skills like rafer alston,jason williams, anthony carter.. Sorry Just kidding... Seriously though kyle lowry is no slouch but plays more physical so much better matchup for dfish.. Very quick first step though not good finisher but will keep an eye on that matchup.. Adelman has a history of exploiting phils stubborness so don't be surprised if lowry goes right at him from the start.

LakerTruth,

Good point. Can't argue with that one.

Ron Ron need to double up on the Medication, his game is in the Toilet or call that doctor lady, Bro needs help.

JUSTA HATER:

That's somewhat uncalled for, don't you think? I can understand that you believe that Derek Fisher is not a quality NBA player, but your comparison is detrimental to the civil conversations that are going on the blog today.

Laker Truth -

I suppose I didn't make myself clear, but your last sentence was what I was thinking what would happen when Andrew gets back. I don't think that Phil will bench Derek either, but I can see Fish' minutes creeping down to about 26 a game when Andrew gets back.

Cali- You're right, I apology to all. Blog PLEASE forgive me I've SIN, never again will I utter those words.

Yellowfever -

Thanks for the update on Kyle Lowry. Question, since you know more about him than I do - is he a guard that likes to post (a la Chauncy/Gary Payton)? If so, along with his first step, that might pose a problem if he were on the block.

Again, just conjecture on my part.

You're right, I apology to all. Blog PLEASE forgive me I've SIN, never again will I utter those words.
*
Ron Ron need to double up on the Medication, his game is in the Toilet or call that doctor lady, Bro needs help. Posted by: JUSTA HATER | December 01, 2010 at 03:18 PM
*
ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BE NICE!!!

A probing not involving John Amaechi or Lance Bass?

http://hoopstopia.com/tampering-lebron-james/

Uh-oh Mr. Riley - looks like you've been caught.

What's funny about this game is that as well as the Grizzlies played – and they were, on balance, VERY GOOD on both ends of the ball – and for as badly as the Lakers played - if Rudy Gay doesn’t pogo-stick his way into blocking Artest’s otherwise online three at the buzzer, maybe the Lakers win and none of what currently ails the Lakers feels like as much of an issue.
In these three losses, the Lakers pretty much had a chance to complete their comebacks with a game winning shot at the end, only to be thwarted by clock issues in Utah, and a pair of missed Artest 3-pointers (off of Kobe passes), against the Pacers and in Memphis.
Just sayin’, maybe Artest hits those shots, and maybe the clock operator at the Energy Solutions Arena in SLC isn’t just a dork, and maybe were looking at three Lakers wins and a 16-2 record.

Just sayin’, maybe Artest hits those shots, and maybe the clock operator at the Energy Solutions Arena in SLC isn’t just a dork, and maybe were looking at three Lakers wins and a 16-2 record. Posted by: Jefe101 | December 01, 2010 at 03:33 PM
.
Thank you sir! I feel a lot better now and about tonights game. Carry on!

Cali

No don't think we'll see much of him in the low blocks.. But sorry to cut this Q&A session short.. Nice chattin .. If I'm lucky see u at the chat. ;p

Much as I love Kobe´s work ethic and skill set.I´m very "Upset",with His Constant Jacking Off Shot After Shot with " No After Thought".For All His Misses those could have been made shots by His Team mates.Why would Phil take Shannon out when he was the Only Hot Hand last night and bring in Artest who is looking like a Deer in head lights.Kobe is doing his team a unjustice with his Poor Shooting Percentage and seems to go back to the Kobe who had No Faith in his Team Mates.Someone must tell Kobe that he no longer has Kwame and Smush Parker as his Team Mates,but a Reliable Squad filled with other Play making team mates.It´s time for D.Fisher to tell Kobe that he needs to "Pass The Rock".

@63 Footer – yep you called Pau’s fatigued look right from the start. MC5 - talk about would've...could've...wow.


@jefe – actually I like your 4 points better than Hollinger’s.


@LakerTom - all good.


@Edwin - Louie, Sinatra, and Alvin....looked like one of those multiple choice questions...ie...which one doesn't belong...lol.

@MM - Kobe's shot count is a classic case of which came first the chicken or the egg. Does he shoot more because his mates are playing passive? or do they get passive after he's firing away?

The problem with this team is that we don't have any quality bangers in the middle. Is this Drew's fault? Yes and No. He got a ridiculous high contract and the Lakers expected assumed the young warrior would step up and dominate the middle. He kept crying that he wanted a Max deal that he was full of potential and that he was going to be the Next Great in along line of dominate Laker Centers. !!!NOT!!!

Mitch and the FO should of done a better job investigating this Injury prone Video Game Addict. Remember he had surgery in Junior High and Injuries in High School. Any kind of NFL type Wonderlic or off the shelf psychological test would of revealed Bynum's mental weaknesses. That and his proness to injury would of and should of put off giant Red Warning Flags!
Mitch didn't do his job when he bumbled this Albatross Contract on the Lakers! Remember the Worthless Contract he gave to the next Great White disapointment (Walton)! Jerry B. won't even Red light a minimum ten-day contract to a Veteran, because he won't pay anymore luxury tax! Mitch better Step-Up his game and find some kind of replacement for Video Game Bynum!

In Favor Of Trading Mitch, Walton's Son, and The Next Great Greg Oden for a 50cents off coupon to Dairy Queen, Blizzard Baby,

BandWagon!!!

KobeMVP,

"Every loss is a big deal to us," Jackson said in early January last season.

@MM - Kobe's shot count is a classic case of which came first the chicken or the egg. Does he shoot more because his mates are playing passive? or do they get passive after he's firing away? Posted by: LRob | December 01, 2010 at 04:06 PM
*
Who cares! He's Kobe Freakin Bryant, the baddest BBaller on the planet!! The rest can either get with the program or take their sorry behinds to the bench!! Enough of this nice, touchy feely crap! This is the Black Mamba's team! Not Phil's team. Not Pau's team. Not Dfish's team. This is Kobe Freakin Bean Bryants team and if he wants to shoot, he can shoot!!!!!!!!!

LRob - I'm with you on whether Kobe jacks to jack, or jacks because his teammates aren't there. Lately I think it's been much more about passive teammates (although a few games seemed about getting his stoke back after the surgery, but at times and against teams that were under control).

Lots of people forget that if his teammates don't hit the open shot, the D then shades even more on Kobe, who then has to not only take more shots, but more difficult shots. I see Kobe getting three more assists a game if Ron hits a few of those he's missing, and LO and Pau do, too (especially Pau lately). And that's not including all the hockey assists Kobe gets.

again, no need to over analyze our woes because they are quite simple:
no consistent defense - especially near the end of those close games - and too many perimeter shots; the absence of bynum and a legit "5" has finally caught up to them. pj definitely has his hands full.

Lots of people forget that if his teammates don't hit the open shot, the D then shades even more on Kobe, who then has to not only take more shots, but more difficult shots. I see Kobe getting three more assists a game if Ron hits a few of those he's missing, and LO and Pau do, too (especially Pau lately). And that's not including all the hockey assists Kobe gets.

Posted by: 63 Footer | December 01, 2010 at 04:18 PM

_______

Exactly! The team in general is rushing the offense by settling for quick perimeter offense with more than 16 seconds on the clock! They have to slow down and work that ball around the horn some and if those long range shots aren't falling, then get in the paint and attack that rim.

I expect we're going to see an attempt to be different and if they revert back to the quick shots and/or sloppy D, then PJ has to call those timeouts and get these guys back on track. I'm not sure if the team can turn it around tonight.

In essence, this is a grudge match for Houston so it's just that much more incentive and motivation to whip the team's "arse" tonight. Lakers have their work cut out for them. Lets hope no one gets hurt this evening; fatigue is a scary thing.

Mamba24 kobe is not good enough,i am a laker fan but he is not and cannot be as good as Michael Jordan,he is way below that level.What has kobe win without Phil jackson,Shaquille Oneal,Horry,Dfish,Rick Fox,Paul Kasol,Ron Ron,lamar?The answer is nothing,no,never.Before Phil,Tex,Cleamons and Hanblem came to Lakers and establish their coaching philosophy kobe never won anything.Thanks to Phil and Tex for bringing the triangle offence and tough defensive strategy to the Lakers.Thanks to Phil that MJ,Pippen,BJ Amstrong,Horace Grant,Kobe,Shaq,Paul,Dfish,Shaw,Fox,Deavon George and luke that they all won Championships rings.So Mamba24 you are talking crap.

I Appologise but our young laker bloggers need to know some very important facts.What define greatness?What defines a player to be great.Michael Jordan was great and still is the greatest basketballer of all time because he overcame all odds,he win with lesser team mates,he won with sickness,he won by defeating many and all the many great basketballer who are all hall of famers.He defeated everyone,he together with Phil,TEX,Cleamons and Hamblem.there is no player that can epitomise that great tandems of MJ and Pippen.The modern tandem players of such greatness is in football and they are XAVI AND INIESTA both BARCELONA PLAYERS.


Connect

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video

All Things Lakers »

Your database for all things purple and gold.

Find a Laker

Search a name

Select a season

Choose one of our lists



Categories


Archives
 

About the Bloggers


Bleacher Report | Lakers

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More Lakers on Bleacher Report »



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists:


In Case You Missed It...