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Lakers credit team meeting in sparking stronger performance against New Orleans

The Lakers arrived in New Orleans fresh off an embarrassing double-digit loss to San Antonio with many concepts to sharpen, not a lot of time to go over them and too much fatigue to execute them.

The Lakers usually avoid a morning shootaround before the second game being played on successive nights for several reasons. They can sustain that energy for the game instead. They can better handle unpredictable travel schedules. And they can avoid the information-overload process that comes with so many sessions compressed between short turnarounds.

Still, the Lakers had just experienced their second three-game losing streak of the season, a stretch in which they averaged just 80.33 points and lost by an average margin of 16.67 points.

There were simply too many issues the Lakers couldn't ignore, so Coach Phil Jackson arranged a team meeting upon arrival in New Orleans that center Andrew Bynum said was long. The intention didn't entail giving a dramatic speech and chewing out players so much as it was to discuss details that had plagued the team during its losing streak. It turned out to be a significant turning point in what led to the Lakers' 103-88 victory Wednesday over the New Orleans Hornets. The dialogue could also help the Lakers (22-10) to stay sharp when they host the Philadelphia 76ers (13-19) Friday at Staples Center. 

"It was important because there were a couple of things that weren't happening for us," forward Pau Gasol said after Thursday's practice in El Segundo. "When you lose three games the way we lost them, it's not a fluke. It's not just an accident one night. It's not just a bad game. It's something that is continuously happening. We had to cut it out to understand how can we change this from happening again. That's why we went back to the principles of our defense and of our offense so we can focus on that instead of trying to do too much on our own, which wasn't taking us anywhere."

Jackson shared only a small laundry list of the team's discussion. Jackson asked Bynum if he felt ready to start in Lamar Odom's place after playing first seven games as a reserve following his recovery from off-season surgery on his right knee. "I'm ready to do that," Bynum answered. Jackson also turned to Odom about the changed lineup. "I expected that," Odom said. And Jackson reminded his players that the team's identity hinges more on setting up Bynum, Gasol and Odom inside and less on firing outside shots, a point of emphasis Jackson reiterated just before tipoff. 

"That's the force of our team, the length and strength of our big guys," Jackson said. "Kobe [Bryant] drives the team and has the energy of the team, but it's still about making the defense look over the shoulders and help each other out inside. Then we can attack other players."

The result: Bynum spent his first start of the season scoring 18 points on eight of 12 shooting in 30 minutes with improved conditioning, improved timing on jumps and improved health. Odom maintained the same consistency and versatility on bench, indicated with his season-high 24 points on 10 of 15 shooting, a three-pointer to end the third quarter and a nifty putback after he wrapped the ball around his back. Bryant appeared in a better mood, scored 20 points on eight of 14 shooting and didn't allow his turnovers to be significantly destructive. And the likes of Derek Fisher (nine points), Ron Artest (five) and Steve Blake (five) all shot at least 50% because of better understanding, aggression and confidence in their roles.

"Attack the game and be defensively mindful in stopping other teams, trying to compound stops," Bynum ticked off regarding the concepts the team discussed during the meeting. "That's what's going to get your offense going regardless if you're making shots or not. If you're able to stop a team consecutively three or four times, you're going to get more opportunities on the offense and you'll have higher energy. Defensively, we had to get it together. Offensively, do what you're good at. Put somebody on the post that's going to draw the double teams, kick the ball out and swing it to the other side."

This constructive dialogue contrasted with how the Lakers  had aired out grievances to the media but avoided discussing them with the team.

Bryant publicly lashed out at the team's effort after a double-digit loss to Miami and questioned the team's commitment. But his demonstrative demeanor, combined 15 of 43 clip against Miami and San Antonio and refusal to discuss his concerns during the team's practice Monday only alienated himself from the team. Gasol and Bynum lamented the failure to get the ball inside, but the Lakers largely avoided it because of Gasol's inconsistency and chemistry issues involving the bench and Bynum. Odom  noticed the team's arrogance plaguing its effort since training camp but was at a loss for words following the team's loss to San Antonio. Artest didn't criticize anyone on the team, but acknowledged frustration with not playing significant minutes during the fourth quarter. 

With the Lakers hashing out these issues and stressing team unity, the chemistry instantly blossomed. Now it's just a matter of keeping it.

"If we play our game, we're hard to beat," Lakers forward Matt Barnes said. "We got a very talented team. We got to sustain the effort for 48 minutes. That's something that sometimes we go through peaks and valleys. We do it, then we won't. We have to stay consistent, then we'll have a chance to win every game."

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

 
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Great inside look into the team MM - great post, thank you!
As far as I'm concerned, the season starts now!

"Now it's just a matter of keeping it."

"Just" a matter of keeping it????

That's been the issue for years. Why is it so difficult for this team to play the right way, so that it plays up to its own talent level?

This isn't where the story should end MM. Rather, it's the only important issue about the Lakers.

This team is so talented, and yet plays like crap so much of the time. Unlike San Antonio, Utah, Boston, which almost always play to their talent level, even though they're all less talented than the Lakers.

Why is it so difficult for the Lakers? That should be the focus of an entire column.

"Coach Phil Jackson arranged a team meeting upon arrival in New Orleans."

~~He didn't engage in faith based concepts that it's just December, PJ was concerned on the downward trend so he arranged for team meeting. Did we not discuss this in the blog? Ooops, the people who said this were accused as the sky is falling.

"When you lose three games the way we lost them, it's not a fluke. It's not just an accident one night. It's not just a bad game. It's something that is continuously happening. We had to cut it out to understand how can we change this from happening again. That's why we went back to the principles of our defense and of our offense so we can focus on that instead of trying to do too much on our own, which wasn't taking us anywhere." - Pau Gasol

~~hmmm, he mentioned defense first before offense. Finally, those who said that defense is needed, are vindicated by Mr. Gasol.

"Attack the game and be defensively mindful in stopping other teams, trying to compound stops," "That's what's going to get your offense going regardless if you're making shots or not. If you're able to stop a team consecutively three or four times, you're going to get more opportunities on the offense and you'll have higher energy. Defensively, we had to get it together. Offensively, do what you're good at. Put somebody on the post that's going to draw the double teams, kick the ball out and swing it to the other side." - A. Bynum

~~Well, including young Drew knows that good defense leads to easy offense, not the other way around. He must have the mind of a troll to say these things.

"If we play our game, we're hard to beat," forward Matt Barnes said. "We got a very talented team. We got to sustain the effort for 48 minutes. That's something that sometimes we go through peaks and valleys. We do it, then we won't. We have to stay consistent, then we'll have a chance to win every game." - Matt Barnes

~~Finally, someone is not panicking but speaking the truth. Just tell the truth that there was a problem, no need to embellish it by all kinds of excuses and that acknowledgement will set you free. The old process never changed in problem solving such as: Identify the problem, suggest courses of action and implement forcefully as a group the chosen solution.


Why do other teams like San Antonio, Utah, and Boston play to their full potential and we don't? Interesting question. My theory - Boston is fresh from the nightmare of coming so close to winning game 7 only to fall to the hated Lakers. They're convinced that if only they had homecourt advantage, they'd have won that O'Brien. They upgraded personnel and KG is finally healthy again (until yesterday, that is). Boston is fixated with getting back into the finals and having another shot at us. With the East stacked as it is, they know they have to put the foot to the pedal the rest of the way.

San Antonio had fallen short last year. They too feel that this is THEIR year since they've beefed up their front court to better match the Lakers. With Parker, Ginobli, and Duncan healthy, with Splitter and Dejuan Blair fitting in... the Spurs have a great combination of willy veteran leadership and youthful energy. With Duncan's steady decline, there's a sense of urgency for the Spurs.

As for Utah... well Utah is Utah. They've got a great system with Jerry Sloan and they are for the most part a consistent team, perhaps lacking a few pieces but they'll fight tooth and nail anyway.

Our Lakers know they've got the talent. They've played more games than anyone in the western conference and it's too easy to claim they're worn out. The great start to the season further compounded the belief that sheer talent will be enough. Given the weak teams they were served with, they started taking the feet of the gas pedal. When Drew's prolonged absence put a strain on them, they start cutting corners and taking a few things for granted. Bad habits begin to form and yet, they shrug it off as "hey, it's just an off night". But consecutive off nights become a pattern of behavior and mediocirty becomes a shared mental model for this team. The first step is to recognize that the bad habits have gotta go.

Thanks MM for this particular posting. That's what I'm hoping the Lakers would do - recognize they have a problem and make sure everyone is on the same page with regards to what needs to be done. I doubt the Lakers have totally turned things around - good habits take time to redevelop, but it sounds like they're headed in the right direction.

Hey bloggers! Yes, JR has returned from a medically induced sabbatical from the Laker Blog (something about uncontrollable blood pressure, heads exploding, and getting meds that didn't make my head spin around prior to exploding). Said sabbatical also necessitated that I miss over a month of Laker games (though I did sneek a peek here and there until I started getting dizzy). So, it seems that timing came together:

1. I'm finally mellowed out enough that I can sit through a full game without Mrs. Rancher pulling the plug on the TV. (oddly enough, the doctors turned white when I suggested that we just try the JAMF signature prescription)

2. The Lakers got themselves together for a complete game...minus tinturnovers of course.

With luck, the guys will continue to listen to my pleas for team play and inside out offense so I can watch the rest of the season. I have a feeling that reading the previous posts from that last couple of weeks could cause a severe relapse; so, I'm going to start fresh tomorrow morning.

Yee Haw

JR

Glad to hear that the team is discussing their issues in private instead of thru the media. They still need to cutdown on all the TOs. I think opponents are starting to read some patterns in how the Ls pass the ball, also I've noticed both Mamba and Shannon are getting the ball stipped from them more recently. This is something they need to be more aware of. I hope they can sustain the same type of effort as they showed against the Hornets.

~

@LRob: Yeah, most of those tunes were from Teena's 'Sappire' release but, unlike you, I feel that her best release was 'Passion Play' which I believe was released thru her own label, which she admitted almost financially broke her. I think because it was more or less 'her baby' she poured her heart and soul into it and it's reflected in the quality of the songs she penned for it.

~

@Magic Phil: Yeah, me too. I'm still mourning her passing. I wasn't exaggerating when I stated in an earlier thread that I was a 'HUUUUUGE' fan. I have ALL of her releases, either on vinyl or disc, and play them regularly. There'll never be another like her that's for sure.

~


Now, here's Part 2 of my tribute to her.


Teena Marie (feat.Smokey Robinson) - God Has Created/Cruise Control - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgORSSRiQqY

Teena Marie & Rose LeBeau - Resilient (Sapphire) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZsAr7Uys1Q

Teena Marie - Hypnotized - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ED11oyWCWxY

Teena Marie - Wild Horses - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ez7rjcuiS2w&feature=related

Teena Marie - The Air I Breathe - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cs6vFU3QcxU

Teena Marie - Passion Play - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKxUUEoc60o

Teena Marie - The Way You Love Me - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkvhjVEDvYU

Teena Marie - Love Is a Gangsta - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkaboJF3WEg

Teena Marie - (feat. Faith Evans) - Can't Last A Day - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9lnaVHbKNQ&feature=related

Teena Marie - Somebody Just Like You - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIyEeI4srXM

~

Tho' you left us much too soon, your legacy will live on and on thru your extensive body of work.

R.I.P. Mary Christine Brockert (aka) Teena Marie (aka) Lady T (aka) The Ivory Queen of Soul!

~



Let's go Ls...all the way to a 3-peat!!!!!

This team is so talented, and yet plays like crap so much of the time. Unlike San Antonio, Utah, Boston, which almost always play to their talent level, even though they're all less talented than the Lakers.

Why is it so difficult for the Lakers? That should be the focus of an entire column.

Posted by: jimjoyce | December 30, 2010 at 07:18 PM
--------------------
jimjoyce - Are you talking about just this season or since the core group of these teams have been together? I agree that Utah usually max out their potential. But Boston and SA fans have also had the same lament as Laker fans about their teams at different times. For example, last year Boston lost 3 straight on west coast swing (Clippers, GS and Phoenix) and their fans were upset. In fact, most of their fans had written them off last season before the playoffs labeling them as underachievers.


SA was #1 seed in west in 2008 yet could only muster one win vs the Lakers in the conference finals. Then in 09 they were a #2 seed and was bounced in the first rd after winning just one game. I don't believe their fans felt they played up to their talent level in those two series.


Your question is legitimate, but most teams have rough patches where they don't play up to their potential. Certainly the Lakers have done that recently. But its a long season and I'm guessing these other teams will also have similar concerns at some point.

Seems pretty basic that they bounced back because Bynum is FINALLY back and starting. And for crying out loud, please, no more Christmas games for our Lakers!! Let the team have a break and enjoy their time with family.

JR - good to see you! I hope you're doing well, my friend. We frown on exploding heads around here, and uncontrollable blood pressure is definitely a no-no. Take care of yourself, and yeah - don't follow my prescription. I'm not a doctor, but I play one on the blog..... :)


seely - great post! And you're right, of course. Having everyone on the same page is the first step. Let's hope PJ can keep 'em there! I have no doubt that he will though. He and the team know what needs to be done, but a good solid "reminding" was needed after the slide they've been on. I want another good showing tomorrow. A few less turnovers would be nice too....LOL!


MM - thanks for taking care of that for me (and all the RLG's). Joe remembered me too - right? RIGHT??? LOL!!!


The 2nd All Star ballot came out: Kobe is still the top overall vote getter with over 1 million votes (DHoward 2nd,) and Gasol slipped into 3rd from 2nd place for forward spot and LO with distant 7th place right behind Griffin. And if you look at the center position, I don't see anyone better than Bynum (the 2nd vote getter behind Yao) in the West. If Bynum plays reasonably well in January I think he will make it. Then, the Lakers will have at least 3 All Stars with LO maybe as 4th one.

BTW, condolences go out to the family, friends, and loved ones of Jazz great Billy Taylor.



let's go Ls...all the way to a 3-peat!!!!!

Coach Phil Jackson arranged a team meeting upon arrival in New Orleans."

~~He didn't engage in faith based concepts that it's just December, PJ was concerned on the downward trend so he arranged for team meeting. Did we not discuss this in the blog? Ooops, the people who said this were accused as the sky is falling.

Posted by: Edwin Gueco | December 30, 2010 at 07:47 PM
----------------

Edwin - Generally speaking I think most everyone was concerned with the Lakers play. The ones you said were accused of being in the "sky is falling" camp, were writing off the season and/or calling for drastic changes...i.e fire coach and/or trade player A,B and C. Others like me suggested it was not the time to panic.


This team was built to win the championship,period! That is the owners, the team and the fans expectation. One win over New Orleans doesn't erase the 10 or so lackluster games the Lakers have played. They have a long way to go to prepare themselves for the ultimate prize. Now that Drew is back in the starting lineup I think we'll start to get a better guage on the 2010-11 Lakers.


I understand some wanting specific players to play less and others to play more, or different coaching strategies to be implemented. But I didn't/don't understand those that give up on a 2time champ in December.


Rest in piece Jackie Chan.

LRob, I suggested too firing the asst. coaches if the downward trend continues all the way in January. It is just one courses of action not necessarily the chosen solution. Now if some bloggers suggested players in the horizon, they were looking at the ASG break when the deadline of trading ends, not a bad idea at all. Those are knee jerk reactions in the blog because they want an easy way out and makes suggestions based on their realm of understanding. I qualified my own choice while others are suggesting what can be done to fill in the inadequacy. What is really irksome is that you can't say anything anymore, you're immediately branded like those cows in a corral.

Rest in piece Jackie Chan.

Posted by: Wendy Rutledge and Tim Malloy | December 30, 2010 at 08:55 P

WHAT!!!!!!!! AW HELL NAW. :(
if it's true.:(

@GDub - I hear you on Teena. Like you I have all of her releases, have seen her perform countless times and consider her one of my favorites. When I said Sapphire was my favorite out of her "later" releases I meant her last 3 cd's (La Done-2004, Sapphire-2006 and Congo Square-2009). I like Passion Play a lot also, but I didn't include it with that grouping since it came out in 94.


I always felt Teena was at her "best" when she was singing about heartbreak. Here's one from back in the day that kinda fits the mood since her passing.


Stop the World

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCQJBbjg2Nc

My bad, I meant Jackie Chang from Ramona Blvd in Baldwin Park. Sorry.

You can say X's and O's, ball movement, defense, etc...but remember the Lakers already played 3 straight Finals, and they will be playing 4th straight if they make it this season..I don't believe ANY NBA team EVER made 4 straight Finals appearance since 82 regular games started (not even 80's Lakers nor 90's Bulls.) They have been playing tons of games. We have to give the Lakers the benefit of doubt that they are somehow tired mentally and physically at this point. That's why I think it is more important for the Lakers players to be freshed (and injury free) in the playoff than getting HCA, specifically THIS season.

Edwin - firing coaches after 3 straight final appearances and 2 straight championships. Whew, I'm glad you're not my boss...lol.


Nevertheless, like you, I enjoy reading varying opinions and definitely am not for silencing those opinios. I appreciate the fact that you also speak out on that issue.

LRob,

Wow, I like the Teena track Stop the world. Cool flow and she's good looking. Is that 80's?

Wendy Rutledge and Tim Malloy,

Ok ok you sorta Rick rolled me.

"Edwin - firing coaches after 3 straight final appearances and 2 straight championships. Whew, I'm glad you're not my boss...lol."

~~ LRob I was talking all the way to January so that's 17 games plus the three losses, all in all that's 20 games. Supposing out of those 20 games, Lakers only won 5 games and lost 15, some 4 in a row others 5 in a row, what would you think could have happened? Do you think JB will take those things in a stride without any move after spending $ 110M (plus taxes) on players alone and $ 15 M for coaches. Yes, they don't have HCA if they have 25 losses before ASG break, will they make it to Magic 8 in the Western Conference under that scenario?

Correction: Total of 22 losses @ ASG break.

Ok, let's Lady T rest in peace...


Regarding the Lakers, a team must reach its peak by the playoffs, not now. As long as we're improving, it's all good.


Cheers.

LRob: It varies.

With the Lakers, it has been this way pretty much for the last 10 years.

Utah has been steady as long as Jerry Sloan has been coach. San Antonio, as long as Popovich has been there, Boston since the Big Three came together.

I think it's beyond question that the Lakers play like crap far more often than these other teams. Perhaps 60-65 games per season. (That's a lot.) And just to be clear: This means they play like crap most of the games they win, not just the games they lose.

Sloan and Popovich, in their different ways, have impressed their personalities on their teams to the point where new players naturally fit into it. Boston plays the team game they do because their best player, Kevin Garnett, demands it, and he's a natural leader.

My simple answer is that the Lakers of the past 10 years have been defined not only by the greatness of their talent for most of that time, but also the monumental and maniacal selfishness of Shaq and Kobe, and the completely ineffectual leadership of their coach.

Phil Jackson knows the right way for his team to play, and he wants them to play that way, but 60-65 nights a season, and for a good part of the playoffs each year, he has been incapable of getting them to play that way. Yes, they've won so many championships, but for the most part is has been ugly ugly ugly all along the way, with their extreme talent advantage over most of the other teams in the league carrying the day most nights.

People may not like Bill Simmons, but I think he's on target when he says that Kobe wants to be the hero every night. He wants this to be his team, and he wants every game to be about him, in one way or another. He wants the Lakers to have the best players so he can win championships, but he wants them to be seen as, and to play, in a subservient manner that makes clear that the Lakers are "his" team.

(Just one example of many: After Game 7 against the Celtics this spring, he said that in preparing for the game he went back to his days at Lower Merion High School, playing for the state championship. Of course, at that time, he was the team: Without him, they were nothing. But as a member of the Lakers, he is a member of what is by far the most talented collection of players in the league, several of whom would be stars in their own right if they played for another team. But Kobe somehow can't see or accept this, and he managed to view them, in his own mind, as if they were like his high school teammates. That's just astonishing. (As was, let us not forget, 7-25 that night, which came uncomfortably close to being remembered as one of the all-time choke jobs in the history of sports.))

And it's clear that the other Lakers have had enough of Kobe's act. Occasionally they all put it aside and play together, and the results are awe-inspiring. But then they go back to the same old crap.

That's my take. Perhaps there's a better explanation, and if so I'd like to hear it. But just relying on platitudes like "it's a long season," or "they've played so many games," misses the point that they play badly MOST OF THE TIME. It's not the occasional off night. Rather, it's somehow so very difficult for them to play the right way, that it has to be built into their very identity as a team. And that, in my mind, is what requires explanation.

@Edwin - now you know the Lakers aren't going to lose 15 out of 20 games unless they have multiple injuries. Anyway I wouldn't fire the coaching staff under those circumstances this year....not after back to back titles.


@Magia - that Lady T cut was in 83. I'm glad you like it. I know you're a hip hop fan. Teena was sampled by Jadakiss, Luda, Eastsiderz just to mention a few. As well as recent collabs with Common, Kurupt, MC Lyte, etc.


@Laker Peace - the Lakers 82,83,84 and 85, plus the Celtics 84,85,86 and 87 each made it to 4 straight finals. No team has done it since. So yes it's going to be tough.

One more thing LRob, Firing of coaches could happen under JB's ownership. Remember the 80's, Westhead won the Championship in 1980, lost in the playoffs in the following year against Rockets. By the 3rd season, less than 10 games played Westhead was fired, enter Pat Riley. Another example, remember Randy Pfund, he coached the Lakers only for one season and three fourth, let go before the end of 2nd season, enter Magic J. This LA, a tough place to be in especially when you're dealing with purple and gold. In my scenario, I believe they ever touch Phil Jackson whatever happens to the Lakers. He already declared that this is his last year, however something has to be done to right the ship. Like for example recently in Charlotte, MJ likes Larry Brown as a coach but under series of losses this year, eventhough they got into the playoffs last year, MJ has no alternative but to put the interest of Bobcat's ahead of anybody so he went for another coaching philosophy.

LRob,
you've got that right..I now feel a little better knowing that some teams have done it. So it is not like improbable to achieve it.

jimjoyce - if I'm reading you right, you want the Lakers to play up to their potential every game - day in, day out.


We all want that. But it's just not possible.


They're human, and by definition imperfect people. They will take possessions off, games off, days off. And not always at the same time as each other. Thus we see ugly wins, uglier losses and an occasional losing streak (or 2).


That said, consider the other teams in the league - even just the best ones. Their fans complain of the exact same things we do. Why can't they play like all stars every single game? Why can't they live up to their talent?


Now ask yourself this - would you rather cheer for a team that is maddeningly NOT living up to their potential during the regular season, but then comes together during the post-season and hoists the Larry O on a regular basis? Or a team that would be pulling down the best record in the league during the regular season, but then loses in the playoffs?


That's the choice. Love it or hate it, we get a regular season roller coaster ride of "WTH are these guys doing" followed by a parade down Figueroa. I'll take that over fishing in June any day. How about you?


JimJoyce wrote ... "they play badly MOST OF THE TIME. It's not the occasional off night. Rather, it's somehow so very difficult for them to play the right way, that it has to be built into their very identity as a team."

Dang Jim, what do you want? Since PJ has been in LA for the last 10 years, Lakes have won 70% of their games and have won the World Championship 5 out of those 10 years. Do you grasp these numbers and how amazing this feat is? 7 out of every 10 games they win. They have won the World 50% of the time over the last 10 years. Come on man, are you ever happy?

Jim Joyce,

That's true, u can't win all the time in NBA or else it will be boring if there are no thrills in losing. Probably (I'm just speculating OK) losing some games are part of NBA business. I just can't agree that Lakers would lose 3-in-a row against those teams in double digits, practically losing all leads in the 2nd half.

I think JB is happy that there is a blog that will do the talking for him. He has not lifted a finger nor interfered with the organization yet the reaction was loudest after the 3rd loss. The scary tactics by the fair weather bloggers were effective, the avoided the 4th loss or the second consecutive four losses.

What about the Clippers, they already lost 23 games in December, Don Sterling is still smiling and every week most of the Clipper players appear in LA Times as charitable causes. The team is written off before ASG but great for Don's profit center. Losses are tax shield for DS. lol!

Another question, if they don't aim for being the first in the West to preserve the players in the playoffs, how would they avoid injuries under the style of PJ. He sent Ebanks to D'League, he's not playing Walton, Smith and Caracter? The starters except for Drew have averaged longer minutes than the 2nd stringers. Goodnight to all.

jim joyce - I've devoted focus to this in other columns. But the reasons remain the same. With how much basketball the Lakers have played in the past few seasons they are understandably trying to avoid getting burned out. They've frankly played an extra season's worth of games more than any team in the league. Success also breeds complacency, and the team has tried to find shortcuts out of boredom, wanting to pace, etc. The Lakers would have a different attitude if they got ousted early in the playoffs or if they've rarely tasted that championship success before, but that's not the case. It simply comes down to human nature.

@JAMF - Joe not only remembered you, he said he'd love to take you to the ASG game. His treat. But then he asked me if there's any Laker blog profile I could give him so he knows who is getting the tickets. I told him I didn't have one from you and he said, sorry you're out of luck.

Edwin - Very very good take on things. The Lakers finally spoke realism instead of made excuses. Lots of the time the team didn't communicate their grievances, almost fearing that it would cause problems. But that's what problem solving entails. Addressing it and then finding ways to fix it.

Jimjoyce,


Sloan and Pop are great coaches no doubt. But my question is if Pop’s approach is the model you’re holding up--how come he hasn’t been able to achieve a repeat?


Let’s talk about Bill Simmons. He’s the same one that said Kobe wouldn’t win a 4th ring. The same one that said Cleveland would win in 09 and 10. The same one that said the Lakers wouldn’t win because they were not a “close knit” group like the Cavs. He’s also the same one that wanted Doc. Rivers fired and railed on the C’s for their poor play last year.


It’s clear that you don’t like Kobe’s approach to the game. I understand that. I’ve been frustrated with his shot selection at times also. But I also love all his huge scoring binges, determination, and the many thrills he’s provided in the last 15 years. Certainly you do marvel at all the work he’s put into his game making him one of the greatest to effort lace em up right?

I liked the behind scenes look at the Lakers, great job Mark Medina. But I have a mixed feeling about the comments. Phil is finally being a leader in these dismal times. Championship basketball is about inside out and not firing jump shots all night. I liked the insights of Gasol and Bynum as well. But the part about Kobe not sharing his feelings was ominous. Kobe is a superhero but a flawed one at best. His game 7 performance was abysmal in my opinion due to his bottling up all of his feelings or emotions. Yeah he won his 5th ring but his personal performance caused many persons to forever put to rest that Jordan/Kobe comparison. I always questioned if in the Finals Gasol is rolling can Kobe play a supportive role in order to win the chip? In my opinion I don't think his ego can allow that. I think it was in game 2 of the Finals when both Bynum and Gasol were dominating and Kobe went away from them to get his game going because he was concerned about the Finals MVP. People will accuse me of being a Kobe hater but they have no idea how tough it is for me to make these comments. When Kobe warred with Shaq I sided with Kobe. When he was accused of rape I sided with Kobe. When he caused the team to be broken up I sided with him. So I want Kobe in his twilight playing years to be more of a leader. Magic didn't win Finals MVP every year but he is still a top three player in just about everyone's opinion. Kobe you are an immortal already in basketball so now just focus on encouraging your less talented teammates to bring home that 17th title man.

Just a matter of keeping what jim?keep on getting beat by stronger teams like spurs and the 3 kings,lakers is a joke mate,yes we are strong in the play off,but we must be consistent like Phil Jackson's Bulls of old,that was a team.Too much inconsistency.

Edwin you make excellent points. On this blog there are extreme views on both sides. On one side there are the eternal optimists no matter the performance and never criticize the Lakers because in their opinions a 3 peat is at the end of the rainbow and it is automatic. On the other side their are persons who want to fire Phil and blow up the team. Then there are the reasonable persons who give praise and criticize when warranted.But this mix make this blog the best in the world. Everyday I read just about all the opinions. I used to blog on fox and espn but not anymore.

A team meeting....Phil did you call up Spoelstra? lol

Sloan and Pop are great coaches no doubt. But my question is if Pop’s approach is the model you’re holding up--how come he hasn’t been able to achieve a repeat?Posted by: LRob | December 31, 2010 at 12:00 AM
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Do I have to say it? Really? Hell yeah I do...OUT FREAKING STANDING SIR!!!!!!!! Carry On!!!

Posted by: jimjoyce | December 30, 2010 at 09:43 PM

I read your post and what I imagine is that guys like Bill Simmons and you have never played big time sports and really don't understand the dynamics of the group when it pertains to sports. All great players or players who aspire to be great are selfish in some way no matter what level they play at whether it's NBA or Saturady morning get togethers. It is obvious to me that reading about sports have some given guys like Bill Simmons and you an insight that have falsely led you to believe that sports somehow is a democracy so to speak where everyone gets a say and their are equal opportunities for everyone. To understand the game fo basketball you have to play it and understand what make your teamates productive. The game of basketball is not about who takes the most shots or who get the most headlines. I watch the Lakers last ten games and they all have under performed in some way or another. Kobe pressing when the others don;t step up have falsely led you guys to believe he wants to glorify himself at the expense of the team. What I see is guys (his teammates) satisfied with themselves and looking for excuses for their sub par performances. Gasol and Odom need to raise their game if equal opportunity is what they are looking for not look for Kobe at every turn when things get complicated. I am not just talking about shots either. You know how many times I watch Gasol's man on offense beat him down the court or have a career night against him (think Darko or Higbert). It not about their numbers it about how they play the game and the attitude they play it with. Kobe selfish to a point yes but absolutely necessary if these Lakers are to win a championship.

It not about their numbers it about how they play the game and the attitude they play it with. Kobe selfish to a point yes but absolutely necessary if these Lakers are to win a championship. Posted by: Sam | December 31, 2010 at 04:10 AM
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Now this is ridiculous, I have to say it again ...OUT FREAKIN STANDING SIR!!!!
And I don't know if you are a regular or not but either way welcome to Lakers Nation and Lakers Blog and keep the post coming!! Good stuff my brother!!!

One more hour to New Year here in Thailand...

Happy New Year all Lakers fan...

Go for 3-peat...

Nop 10122

Well in that case...HAPPY NEW YEAR NOP BKK 10122!!!!!! The best to you and yours in the coming New Year!!!!!

Interesting how many different responses there are to my comments.

JAMF: No, I'm not asking for greatness every day. Just more frequently than 15-20 games a year. Is that asking for too much?

The Showtime Lakers didn't bring it every single day. But most days they did. Which was why the Forum was such a more happy and happening places than Staples Center.

Does anyone think it was necessary for Pat Riley to tell Magic before games that he should focus on working it inside to Kareem?

MM: It's just "human nature" to coast almost all the time after having achieved a high level of success? Baloney. The great dynasties in other sports have not coasted like this. Other dynasties in the NBA have not done it. They all had pride in their success, and desperately wanted to repeat it, game after game.

The difference is that these other dynasties had great leaders as coaches and as players. The Lakers have had zero leadership, and IMO that's the difference.

Sam: I sense you don't really see what's going on on the court. There are extreme interpersonal dynamics at play here that you seem utterly insensitive to. A certain degree of selfishness on the part of a great player is fine, but it has to have limits, and it has to be subordinated to the requirements of victory. And it has to respect the talents of your teammates. Kobe finds it almost impossible to respect his teammates, and they don't like it. He's good, but he's just not all that.

Look, I don't pretend that I'm going to convince the Kobe-lovers that despite his other-worldly talent he's got some major character flaws. But I would ask you and the others this: Can you think of another comparable talent who has been so divisive on so many levels for his team? Who provided so little leadership? ---Barry Bonds comes to mind, no others right now.

And those of you who bring up other coaches and ask why they haven't had repeated championships: All those teams have had less talent than the Lakers. When the Lakers play to their abilities, those other teams will not beat them. My point is just that those other teams have consistently played closer to their talent level than the Lakers have.

Finally, I just ask you to try to look past the championships and recall all the frustration of the last ten years in actually watching the Lakers play season after season. No sports dynasty has ever frustrated its fans so consistently with their inconsistent level of play from night to night.

Kobe finds it almost impossible to respect his teammates, and they don't like it. He's good, but he's just not all that.Posted by: jimjoyce | December 31, 2010 at 08:23 AM
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He's good, but he's just not all that? OH SWEET JESUS!!! BLASPHEMY!!! This is total MADNESS!!! Kobe Bean Bryant is "All That" and more. He is a BASKETBALL GOD!!! Now go and sin no more Jim Joyce!!!

Jim Joyce: couldn't agree more with your take on Kobe. I'll get flamed again but I just feel that as a possible g.o.a.t. player you should have a better understanding of how to play as a team, inside out. Instead we still have him trying to shoot his way to victory, playing at times 1 against 5. Like I said in my only other post (thanks Edwin for welcoming me, you truley have a good soul) teammates get tired of cutting and working to get open when they know they won't get the ball back because someone "knows" they can get a shot off.
As far as Sam's conmments about needing that ego, I do agree; however, one needs to have balance, more importantly a understanding of when its needed. Lastly, I can only speak for myself but my love of playing the game was predicated on movement. Ball and player moving continously, not 4 guys standing around watching someone dribble dribble dribble, back your man down and fire up some difficult shot. Just for the record if you gave me the choice to watch good team basketball day after day or watch one guy go one on one every game and that team would win the chamiponship I would choose the former.

@JAMF - Joe not only remembered you, he said he'd love to take you to the ASG game. His treat. But then he asked me if there's any Laker blog profile I could give him so he knows who is getting the tickets. I told him I didn't have one from you and he said, sorry you're out of luck.

Posted by: Mark Medina | December 30, 2010 at 11:07 PM

MM, you so sneaky. Is that how you coax a profile out of Justa - by dangling the ASG *lol* Just kidding. But if it's true this Joe guy will take Justa to the ASG , what are you waiting for girl! Bust out the profile and your super hot pic!

OK, mamba24: He is a god, but even gods have limits, and they become yet more godlike when they acknowledge them.

7-25?

hope this meeting keeps everyone in focus. the continued bashing of Kobe by some is interesting, and as usual does not significantly take into account other members of team’s faults in any great degree. Anyway, today’s games should be interesting as Philadelphia plays very well when they want to.

9 Reasons for Lakers Early Struggles:
(Most of these are obvious, but I have to share)

1) we have a new team. It's not just that easy to plug holes. Yeah, Barnes and Blake are awesome and essential additions to our team.

2) that being said, we've had no Andrew Bynum. So what, some say...think about it. Up until New Orleans, our starting center was still coming off the bench. The Lakers, these Lakers, are finally beginning to get used to having our big fella in the middle again. And we need to work our offense from the inside, out. Our big guys are the key. Easy baskets will lead to open threes. Let's get the easy ones first.

3) Gasol was carrying the load, and he's exhausted. Here's where some people like to pile on Pau but he was our big man. He's not a center, he's our forward. He's playing out of position. And if you remember when Andrew went down during the season of the 2008 Finals and you remember what happened there. But I do agree he needs to man up and less finesse. Slam the ball. Inside game will open up his outside shooting. INSIDE-OUT.! (sensing a theme?)

4) Too much Kobe shooting. He can't carry us like he used to. Remember it was our bench that won game seven. It's just familiar bad habits from Bryant when he used to carry the load back in the days when he had to average 30 pts a night. No longer necessary. He needs to give it to the big guys first and early. INSIDE-OUT!

5) Lakers need to pass the ball, more. You notice when the Lakers run their offense fluidly with multiple passes, we're more successful. Especially when we work INSIDE-OUT!

6) Bench needs to remain consistent. With Odom back with the Bench Mob,
we should be all right.

7) The last reason we've been struggling is simple. We're the champs and our opponents have been bringing it to us every night. Human nature, it happens to many World Champions. Extra curricular promotional activities and what not that comes with the spoils. Not really excuse but even though we think our boys are superhuman. Not all the time

8) Finally, it's freaking still 2010, it's early, we have along way to go. And no matter how much we'd love it, the Lakers aren't going to win every game.
We just want to see them competitive and not disappear into mediocrity. It's easy to say that as fans but some nights we're just going to get beat.

9) Keep the faith, our inside game is the key. Inside- Out. Pass the ball. My wife has heard me yell this during the game, she can tell when our team isn't performing to their ability.

But I still love them. One of the few Lakers fan who's not that worried. It's a long way to June. We're gonna be so good for the playoffs. No Worries.

Happy New Year,

@jimjoyce.....

When you say that coaches like Popovich and Sloan have had less talent than the Lakers, you forget that the reason the Lakers are regarded by many as being so talented is Kobe himself. During the Shaq years, it was Shaq, Kobe and a bunch of role players. The Lakers were always looking for that 3rd player to complement their Big 2 during those years. The popular theory that the Lakers have always been so talented is IMO a media ploy to discredit Kobe and his accomplishments. I'm not saying that Kobe wins by himself, but he is the driving force behind this team and has been for a long, long time.

I also think that any great team has to have a structure and a pecking order. Lesser players have to embrace their roles and support the stars that carry the team.

Look, I know that Kobe is not perfect. But, who is? An unselfish, team oriented, media darling, 2time MVP like Steve Nash has never even sniffed the Finals. Do you honestly think if Nash and Kobe traded places that the Lakers would be better? I don't.

I've read many of your posts, and they always seem to have an anti-Kobe slant. And that's cool. You are more than entitled to your opinion. I just don't happen to share it.

Well, you have to admit that Kobe and Shaq were the two best players in the league. Not many teams have had a leg up like that. And no other team in the league now has the talent to match Bryant, Gasol, Odom, Bynum and Artest.

I'd love to hear other explanations of what the problem is.

All I ask is that you admit that the 21st century Lakers have been the most inconsistent and underperforming dynasty of all time, the one that plays its own game, "the right way," the least amount of the time. And then try to explain why this is so.

Ie, rather than asking "Why do they play badly so much of the time," I'm asking: What makes them different from other sports dynasties?


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