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Lakers' Phil Jackson, Pau Gasol and Derrick Caracter break down the 113-80 victory over Sacramento Kings

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson

Lakers forward/center Pau Gasol

Lakers forward/center Derrick Caracter

--Mark Medina

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C'mon Phil, make Caracter part of the rotation. Your reluctance to play rookies and subs is your one weakness as a coach IMHO (admittedly I do not have 13 rings).

Better to lose a couple more games in the regular season than to enter the postseason with worn out frontline players...

LEW- still catching up from a couple threads ago- is it; 'male singers with sexy cheekbones and the exact same baseline and oh, *(&* you, Ouchhhhhhh?'

cause that was my vote.

LakerTom- do you realize that if some people (or any people, really) took the same cheap shots at your man Andrew Bynum that you take at Pau Gasol, you would declare an eternal vendetta/jihad against them? and that Pau Gasol has pretty much made your ideal Laker, the hypothetical Andrew Bynum look like van gundy? If you want to retain your throne as the Laker Blog commentor o' truth (ok, maybe that isn't possible anymore) you need to remember the nice things you said about Gasol, remember that Andrew Bynum hasn't done Van Gundy yet, and show some perspective/respect?'

LAKERTOM- seriously. The Glass that is the Lakers, if it is half full, a lot of that half is Pau Gasol. A Teeny Bit of that Half is the potential of Andrew Bynum. Somewhere in the middle in the solid contribution of your ideal SF, but the great starting (cause your ideal Bynum is apparently coming off the bench) PF Lamar Odom.

LakerPangloss, I have nothing to do with these personality disputes. We all want what is best for the Lakers, and we all appreciate what the current Lakers have done in terms of 3 Finals Appearances and 2 Championships. In the next few years, those of us in the GHF camp will keep celebrating the accomplishments of the great lakers squads. the GHE will keep finding fault through championship or finals appearance of or NBA title, about Luke Walton and Andrew Bynum or 'Gassy' and everybody who um, well, could keep winning it all, cause the trolls and critics don't keep track of wins and losses, they keep track of um, sunspots, ley lines, and their own comments.

Lets just settle down. We have a great (the best) team in the NBA. We can except their weaknesses, acknowledge that their weaknesses are as van gundy compared to other team's weaknesses (*&*(& you, overly entitled, talent without work miami heat or boston celtics), and Beat them and their weakness as a disobedient, red headed and rented stepchild on a mulish nature.

I have more sentences to go. Most of those sentences involve the Lakers, and how much everybody else sucks. sucks, sucks, sucks, in comparison.

(&*^&*( my comparison. Laker Haters, get out the way, get out the way, b*****, get out the way.





It's a WIN!

And good play by Derrick! The kid has great potential, good footwork and hussle play.

Matt Barnes and Lamar Odom have been playing greatly consistent.

Haha atleast one of our derricks did well.

I don't know what shots at Bynum are "cheap" but the guy
has been given the chance of a lifetime -- to develop and play for one of the greatest teams ever while making millions of dollars based on potential, and has not delivered. Has there ever been a higher paid Laker who delivered so little in the clutch? Worst of all is the way he's handled injuries and coaching. The Lakers dedicate Kareem Jabbar to coach him and he decides he's too good for that. Right. And has he ever had an injury where he followed the Lakers' training staff's recommendations for rehab? Hey, I want him to succeed, but he's already squandered some of the best years of his career at least in part because he thinks he knows more about basketball that Kareem Jabbar and more about rehabbing than the Lakers' doctors and trainers.

Are the Lakers back on track or are the Kings really just a horrible team?

Great game Caracter. 5-8 for 10 pts, 4 rebs, and 2 Blocks in 21 min. Hopefully PJ will get him more minutes so that our starters can rest a bit. Lots of energy from the rook last night was a good sign.

LO looked very active as well.

All but Ron and Luke shot 50% or better last night, can we have more nights like that please.

In the morning

What a difference it makes when our bigs actually challenge shots! Kudos to Pau and Lamar for a great effort protecting the rim. Excellent interior defense. While the Kings are pretty much league doormats, it was nevertheless heartening to see the Lakers finally play good defense. Did you notice how Phil gave Shannon a well deserved pat on the rear after he had hustled back to challenge a Kings breakaway attempt. The next step will be to do the same when the matchups are not as favorable but tonight’s romp was definitely a step in the right direction. It’s still mostly about effort.

Here’s hoping Pau will wake up with no ill effects from an excellent game. Hamstrings are to muscle pulls like high ankle sprains are to regular sprains. Personally, I wonder if Pau was subconsciously looking for a way to explain his poor recent play when he felt those little “twinges” in his hamstring. Whatever, I think he realized that he hadn’t made the necessary effort the last few games and came out tonight determined to have a good game. And kudos to Derrick Caracter for the excellent game against Demarcus Cousins. DC played great against him last summer too. Still, it was great to see Phil give him some solid playing time and the opportunity to enjoy success. DC showed some moves.

For once, JVG made a comment that I thought was a great observation when he remarked that Shaq was playing so well that teams actually had to game plan for him when they played the Celtics. That’s truly a compliment to how well Shaq is actually playing and why Boston is looking more and more like the likely survivor from the east to meet the Lakers in the 2011 NBA Finals. Of course, like the Lakers, the Celtics will need to remain healthy and somehow pace themselves enough to still have enough to make it through the playoffs and then past the Lakers. They have the drive but will need health.

One of things about this Lakers team that makes them so tough when they are playing well is how many different players other teams have to game plan for. It’s no longer just Kobe. Now we have Pau, Drew, Lamar, and the Killer B’s that can be the difference in any game. That’s why playing inside-out team ball and having a balanced attack from efficiently running the Triangle Offense and getting back on defense to prevent easy baskets in transition is so important. It makes the job of defending the Lakers much tougher than just stopping Kobe Bryant. That’s when the Lakers are at their best.


The win was nice and definitely needed, but let's not get too euphoric about it. It's the Kings, after all. They didn't put up much resistance, and they're certainly not much of a measuring stick for for us.

In particular, although Caracter definitely had his best game by far, I really don't see much of a future for him at the 5. Simply put, he's way too short for that position and will get schooled by most of the starting centers in the league. At best, he's a temporary sub who can fill minutes when we play mediocre teams.

Ebanks, by contrast, is another matter. Every time I see this kid play significant minutes, I see a possible Pippen in the early stages. It's too bad Phil can't give him more minutes, and especially with some combination of the starters. His length, nose for getting to the rim, and quickness stamp him as a future star. We are going to see some major WOW highlight reels featuring this kid.

The thing I see a lot of people around here miss when they question the PT of certain players, and something the Phil Jackson gets, is just how fragile NBA players’ egos really are. Think about it: these are pampered, over-paid (for their skill-set), rarely matriculated, constantly ego-stroked people who are, for what they do, put under a microscope by fans & media every time they blow their noses. Good or bad, almost all the players are like this to one degree to another. How can they not be?

Phil knows this. He’s the best at dealing with this. Look at what he says about rooks: it’s not about playing them, so much as playing them when he can build their confidence and not destroy it. The rooks are good, but they’re ROOKS. They don’t completely know where to go on the floor, don’t know how to play NBA D (no cracks about the rest of the Lakers latterly), they make rookie mistakes, and their upside is not John Wall or Blake Griffin goodness (and both of them make rook mistakes as well).

Phil gets the handle of only winning because he had MJ & Kobe. But other coaches had too but didn’t win (though I’d NEVER blame Del Harris). PJ understands what it takes to get the ultimate ego-driven players to perform not only at a high level but within a team concept. That’s almost impossible! Look at Lebron for crimeny’s sake. The “let the work through it” attitude, or leaving Pau in last night later than most of the fans wanted... he’s working on the psychological side of the game when he does these things. Building up the confidence, not damaging the egos of NBA players is, perhaps, Phils’ greatest talent... and it’s one of the main reasons he’s the GOAT.

But what do I know? I work in Hollywood. No egos there, right?

Good Morning Laker Fam,

Now that's more like it. Okay so it was only Sactown but it's always good to get back on track. Now it's a much better mood around here.

So my selection for today is compliments of Ms. Dinah Washington...her 1959 Grammy Award Winning song...What A Difference A Day Makes:

63, normally I'm in complete agreement with you, but this time, amigo, I beg to differ. Phil concerned about the egos of those he refers to as "lower than whale poop"? I don't think so. Phil definitely is a master at managing the egos of his star players and veterans, but the rooks too? No way.

In fact, Phil is notorious around the coaches in the league as not being a good developer of young talent. Reason? In order to do that, he would have to accept years of losing, and Phil doesn't do losing. His system demands precision and consistency, and the only way you get it is with veterans.

Ergo, too bad for the rooks.

CornerJ - yeah, I've heard that about his lack of developing rooks, but I've also heard the counter-arguments as well. Phil likes to win. Phil knows that stability and consistency wins. Phil knows that vets are usually more stable and consistent. (All of which you said.) We are the Los Angeles Lakers... we are used to winning, and if one has to lose to develop rooks, then I'm not for that either.

And when I say "egos," I mean that mental part of the player that is all about the "me," which goes right away when DC gets "owned" by a DHoward. Or Ebanks is torched by a Mello or a Pierce (yuck, did I really say Pierce?). Rooks make rook mistakes and if lots of losing playing time is the de facto methodology for developing rookies, then I think those other "coaches" with the developed rooks and losing records should maybe change their tunes.

Also, I wasn't just talkin' 'bout rookie time, but also why Pau was in so long, why a DFish plays as a starter, etc.

But, it's fun to debate, eh, since neither of us are in the locker room, and MM's too busy gettin' close to the Laker Girls... same as I'd be in his position.

MM - I kid! I kid! Please don't banish me to the Celtics or Heat blogs!!!

5 Things I noticed in this game (with apologies to MM):

1) Lamar Odom is a better, more focused player this year. Maybe it was the wedding last year. Or the shoulder. Maybe playing this summer re-lit his fuse. Maybe he responds better to starting than to coming off the bench. But he is getting it done this year.

2) Somehow, on a team with Derek Fisher and Ron Artest, Luke Walton has the ugliest reverse layup of any Laker.

3) Kobe scored a lot going to the basket last night. He looked like maybe he was getting some more lift back in his legs. But maybe, given his poor foul shooting, it also indicated a problem with his finger.

4) Character looked great in garbage time against a garbage team guarded by a rookie with 5 fouls. He really played a great fourth quarter. That is what Phil meant about giving him the kind of minutes where he can learn and succeed and build skills and confidence. It is better for him right now than struggling at both ends against real competition, but he will have to keep doing it until Drew comes back.

5) It is incredible how a team that has lost 4 in a row can go out win by 33. The NBA is certainly not predictable from night to night.

That scrimmage didn't even rise to the level of a practice game, but at least it counts toward the regular season record for whatever that is worth in the end. If I'm a player on the Lakers, my attitude would be that we still have a 4 game losing streak. In fact, until we put together a legitimate winning streak, I would treat every game that way.

Tom D (nice summation as usual):

1. Lamar is reveling in his "elder statesmen" roll for whatever reason, and it's great to see. He completely sparked the D last night, and he's always been a natural-born rebounder. A few less outside shots woulda been nice, but hard to blame him as he's been shooting them so well lately.

2. That is plain funny... and so true. "The greatest comedy is always about truth." I think William Shakespeare said that, or maybe Red Holzman.

3. Yeah, something's still not right with Kobe. I'm thinking a combination of knee and finger. I REALLY liked the drives. Now if he could get a few more calls in his favor (though last night wasn't bad for that). If it's the knee, it'll come; if it's the finger, I don't know what to say.

4. DC's a rook who makes rook mistakes. I wish everyone would see that. He's got great potential, does great stuff when it's working, then makes rookie mistakes. I'd NEVER want him in crunch time until he grows a little more into the role. But he's got great attitude, which usually means hard working as well (when Phil says it) and he could develop into a superb player.

5. NBA - where "mental" happens.

@63 FOOTER… Excellent observations about Phil Jackson’s coaching. Whether you’re coaching kids in a CYO league or NBA players, a critical part of the job is finding out what players can and cannot do and then putting them into game situations where they have a good chance to succeed rather than fail. Finding the right roles and opportunities for players to contribute has always been a keystone to Phil’s coaching philosophy. Unlike many NBA coaches, Phil understands that building personal confidence and developing good habits is a seasons long undertaking that requires patience and perseverance.

While Phil obviously prefers the stability and predictability you get with experienced veteran players, I think he has also shown a deft hand and judgment in developing rookies and younger players. Last night was a perfect example where he gave Derrick Caracter an opportunity to shine opposite a player in Demarcus Cousins against whom DC had previously shown the ability to match up well. The result was an outstanding performance by Caracter which not only helped the team trounce Sacramento but also gave DC a chance to show of his skills and build the critical confidence that the game requires.

And while you cannot ignore the impact on rookies and young players of playing with great mentors like Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher, I credit the development of young players like Andrew Bynum and now Shannon Brown to Phil’s coaching acumen and wisdom. I think Phil sees Caracter and Ebanks as potentially valuable players for the Lakers down the road and is slowly grooming them to that goal. And while Caracter is really a power forward, he does have the body and physicality to matchup well against certain centers, as we saw last night. As with most young players, it’s all about confidence.


LakerTom - you said all that so much better than I could. I think Phil gets a bad rap on "not" developing young players. He's always heading up Championship teams... there's not a lot of time or leeway to have a fumble-handed rook in there. But he DOES find time; it's just the bar is set so high that a lot of youngsters have to go elsewhere sometimes to get the minutes they "think" they deserve (cough-cough Jordan Farmar).

DC & Cousins always are a great battle, and it was the perfect setting for Caracter. A Noah would have eaten him alive, and that CAN'T help DC develop. Eventually, but not at so early a date.

It's not fantasy league, there are hundreds of millions of dollars at stake here. Throwing in a rook because they "look good" is not idle-y done. And yet I see so many people just "volunteer" PT willy-nilly. Seriously, I don't think Phil's God or anything, but he's the GOAT in the coach department, so I have to think he knows a little something about something.



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