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December déjà vu for the Lakers: Remember that Christmas Day loss to Cleveland?

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Lakers guard Kobe Bryant sat before a packed room of reporters following the team's 96-80 loss Christmas Day to the Miami Heat and insisted he was going to "kick some ... in practice" on Monday, ride his teammates and "beat it in their head until it gets through."

Moments earlier, Coach Phil Jackson had pleaded with the media and fanbase to "just be patient with us" as the Lakers (21-9) try to recover from a second consecutive loss, try to improve their 2-4 record against playoff opponents and try to catch up with San Antonio (26-4) and Dallas (23-5) in the Western Conference standings.

In between those press conferences, the Lakers echoed more conflicting sentiments In the locker room.Lakers guard Derek Fisher sounded optimistic, noting that the long NBA season made it possible to bounce back quickly from devastating losses. "That's a good and bad part about this business," he said. "You don't really have time or an opportunity to lick your wounds. You have to get prepared to play another really good team" -- in this case, the Lakers' game Tuesday against the San Antonio Spurs. But Lakers forward Lamar Odom seemed a little more circumspect, saying the team's cockiness since the beginning of training camp had not been a plus. "We'll learn from it," Odom said. "I hope so."

Are the Lakers playing good cop/bad cop, or is there a disconnect among the team's leaders?  Well, that's another issue.

But hey, the Lakers have been in this position already. Remember that embarrassing Christmas Day loss last season to Cleveland? Fans threw foam fingers onto the court. Every Laker fan knows how the season ended: an NBA championship. But the Lakers would be misguided if they took the poor attitude that they didn't need to worry about their current problems. Last season, the Lakers responded to their Christmas Day loss with mixed performances, which shouldn't cause fans to conclude that this portion of the season is meaningless; rather, it shows that the team has to make changes to round into championship form.

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Statistically speaking, the Lakers didn't have as many problems at this point last season, when the Christmas Day loss to the Cavs lowered their record to 23-5. But afterward they continued to stumble intermittently. Forward Ron Artest suffered a concussion later that night after falling down a flight of stairs, but the Lakers managed to absorb his absence the following day in a 112-103 overtime victory over the Sacramento Kings. Although the Lakers' victory over Sacramento showcased their ability to close out games -- capping off with a 9-0 run in overtime -- it also revealed some ongoing issues. The Kings stormed out to a nine-point first-quarter lead, outscored the Lakers' bench 28-23 and had seven first-quarter turnovers. Two days later, the Phoenix Suns in a 128-103 victory exposed the Lakers' offensive discontinuity (had 13 assists on 40 field goals), their flimsy perimeter and off-the-dribble defense (allowing a season high in points, including a 33-point third quarter) and an unreliable bench (getting outscored 52-31).

The Lakers immediately responded with wins over Golden State (124-118) and Sacramento (109-108), but that didn't totally erase unhealthy habits. The Lakers fell behind by 15 points in the second quarter to the Warriors and only prevailed after Ronny Turiaf missed two free-throw attempts with 1:22 to play with the Lakers leading, 118-115. The Lakers also trailed by 20 points in the second quarter to Sacramento, allowed the Kings to shoot 61.4% in the first half, and the reserves were outscored 28-11. It took a Bryant game winner, Ime Udoka to miss two free throws and injuries to Tyreke Evans (sprained right ankle) and Kevin Martin (fractured wrist) to come out victorious. 

The Lakers appeared to have solved their problems with a dominating 131-96 victory over the Dallas Mavericks, who entered the game ranked second in the Western Conference. But that wasn't a statement  about the Lakers' standing among the West's elite as it was a confirmation of their inconsistency, as indicated with losses to the Clippers and Portland later in the week.

That's why, for better and for worse, a Lakers win or loss to San Antonio on Tuesday won't suddenly erase or significantly expand their current problems. Case in point: Bryant's anger after the Miami's game pointed to the season's poor play, not just the Heat loss. A win would plant the seeds toward better habits, reaping improving team chemistry and minimizing dissension, a trickle effect that proves dividends after each sliver of progress. A loss contributes to a downward spiraling effect that proves more challenging to stop once it keeps going. The Lakers can't simply go from being complacent in December to wrapping up a championship in June. The reality is, the drive to a title will follow a long and winding road.

-- Mark Medina

twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant forces Heat guard Dwyane Wade to lose control of his dribble during Saturday's game at Staples Center. Credit: Wally Skalij/Staples Center.

Photo: Lakers forward Matt Barnes tries to score inside against Heat center Zydrunas Ilgauskas during Saturday's game at Staples Center. Credit: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images.

 
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Df9KU69TKQ

been waiting to do that! =)


GO LAKERS!!!!!!

@CYBERCOSMIX, AWESOME!!!! And Yes, yes you do have the Power sir!! Carry On!!!

Aloha Mamba24

Thanks for the shout out, it's been a while. Yes we had an excellent Christmas, I hope you had the same.

Aloha

MH

@Michael H, Good to hear everything is well my brother! Yes actually my Christmas was pretty nice in all seriousness other than the Freakin Game! LOL!

Hi Sean!

Just wanted to welcome you to the blog, since you said that it was your first time posting. I hope you are enjoying the holiday season, and that you are getting ready to watch the San Antonio game tomorrow (which, in my humble opinion, is a bit more important than playing a non-conference opponent).

Hope you're having a good day!

Sean - Welcome to the blog and thanks for coming on board!

"The Lakers can't simply go from being complacent in December to wrapping up a championship in June"

~~True, because a winning habit will train those muscle memories in shooting and brings camaraderie. Losing creates dissension and hostile reactions. Whether HCA or injuries on which one should be a priority, there is no substitute for victory (original statement of Gen. D. McArthur). Victory against the Spurs will set the tone in the West on who is the primary owner of the Lord of the Rings. It destroys the confidence of the Frenchman and the Argentinian therefore could not and would not resurrect as long as the Lakers are here in the West.

Edwin - Thanks for the feedback!

I honestly believe that the Lakers will win on Tuesday. This win is more important in my mind, because both teams play in the same conference. By defeating SA, the Lakers can erase back-to-back ugly defeats with a strong statement game, and I think it will set a tone going into the new year. Andrew Bynum was sorely missed in that Heat game, and the Lakers will really need him to become a threat underneath moving forward. The Heat, Magic, and the hated Celtics still have a harder road ahead in my mind. No matter which one wins the East, the title will still go through LA.

"Cybercosmix & Mamba 24- C'mon gentleman, Kobe's defense on Wade was just bizarre." - Sean

I totally agree with Sean, in fact not only bizarre but a lazy-d0zy defense after consuming a lot of turkeys from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Well, Kobe was defending two things: against Wade and against his fingers being side-wiped, that's the problem when ur playing half-healed and half-injured you're not free to make extra extensions. Also, you can't battle on those multiple screens, it should be a switch in defense and please Gasol or Bynum don't leave the post open or try to scare a PG, they will never be scared on a tall guy who are slow and no physical threat. Tell will these PG's barge on Charles Barkley or Bill Laimbeer if they were still active players today? No, because they know the repercussion of such action, it could be 3 months rehab. Is Gasol and/or Bynum a threat for their limbs? Nope, in fact they're telegraphing that whenever they approached a guard, it's a sure foul.

If the Lakers win on Tuesday, it would not be because of anything they did, it would be because SA did not play hard.
Playing well is a process. You can't just wake up and start playing well. It is a process that takes place in smaller steps.

MM: Interesting to see how the Lakers responded to their X-mas day shellacking last season, giving us a frame of reference on how they could do this season.

As you point out, 23-5 is a lot better than this years 21-9 - and beyond that is amount of ugly losses, continuing periods of poor-play they've displayed so far this year over last. I can't recall them looking this bad as often over the whole of last season as they've looked only 30-games into this one.

At this point the Lakers have to look deep inside, bring out the passion and energy lacking from their games. A loss here and there is palatable as long as they play hard, but the way they are losing is not. They are still back-to-back defending champs with a bulls-eye the size of a Mack Truck on their back. It is natural that they let off the accelerator at times, they are a proven team, champions, but they don't want to get passed up by too many or they'll not be able to catch up.

Their poor play is also proving to be motivational for the lesser teams. Case-in-point: Milwaukee Bucks, 12/21/2010.

They have to start showing up for the big boys, can't continue to no-show in big games (or little ones equally so).


GO LAKERS!!!!!!

If the Lakers win on Tuesday, it would not be because of anything they did, it would be because SA did not play hard.
Playing well is a process. You can't just wake up and start playing well. It is a process that takes place in smaller steps.

Posted by: keen observer | December 27, 2010 at 11:22 AM

Not when you play the champs. Everyone tries to play well when they play the champs.

What can really be said is, Pop and Phil will be holding their cards close to the vest.

Happy Monday, everybody!

I can't really say that I was totally surprised about the Christmas game loss. The Lakers have played on Christmas like 12 times in a row or something, right? They typically play poorly, making the loss sting even more. I'm convinced it is the white jersey. It seems like holidays and Sundays just don't make the cut when it comes time to win a big game. Anyway, I'm on vacation until next Monday, so peace out to the blog family.

DBDH!

...and...

What up, FCM, Cali, Mamba24, & Edwin? Woot-woot!


[dbdh]

@Magia – Nice Pac on changes…yes they may be coming.


Kobe needs to stop, repeat stop, going over screens, especially against players like D-Wade, Lebron, Manu, Richard Jefferson, Jason Terry.

Here's my question: Lamar has made statements through our run, mentioning 'cockiness', when we were winning, nobody seemed to mind. Now, that they're losing, he infers it's a problem. 'We've lost 3 or 4 games, we're supposed to win'.

Guys, who's Lamar trying to convince; himself or the fans & media? Thoughts anyone?
Posted by: Sean | December 27, 2010 at 10:22 AM

-----------------------
Sean – Welcome aboard. It’s not Kobe’s decision on how to play screens..that is a coaching decision. I agree that the Lakers should mix it up depending on the players they’re guarding. If it’s a shooter (Ginobli/Jason Terry) go over the screen, if it’s a non-shooter like Wade go under it.

As far as Lamar’s statement about being cocky. I think he’s just trying to make the team realize they’ll have to buckle down more, play with more energy and focus more on little details.

@keen

I partially agree with your statement. This same squad last year underachieved in the same way during the regular season and was able to turn on the switch come playoff time. I think it took the last few weeks of the season to iron out the kinks, and thus, they went limping into the first round.

Right now, it's all in their heads. They have to have a meeting of the minds on the court so they can collectively perform at their cohesive best.

This needs to happen not only on the offensive end, but more importantly, on the defensive end.

"Guys, who's Lamar trying to convince; himself or the fans & media? Thoughts anyone" -Sean

~~It is difficult to teach Lamar how to camouflage his true feelings? That's what reality TV taught him, he and Artest talk as if they are in the Queens playground. I think Luke is a better spokesman because he speaks with authority as his view from the bench. He has more time in talking to Shaw and Hamlen. lol!

Lakers could be facing another 4 game losing streak come Wednesday.
They are playing very poorly right now and I don't think they can just flip the switch and beat either SAS or NOH.
What I would like to see is more effort and change of mentality.

Disagree.

Lakers did NOT underachieve in the same way last season. Many of their woes were due to injuries/rotation issues. You could argue that up until about last week this was the case this season, but it's not the case any longer. The Lakers are fairly healthy and yet have a dramatic losing record to playoff opponents so far.

Clearly the Lakers either IMPROVE or they fall short.

The Lakers will improve. The question is, by how much?

@Magia – Nice Pac on changes…yes they may be coming.
Posted by: LRob | December 27, 2010 at 11:42 AM

Cool, I was wondering if anybody here would even know who 2pac was
with all the links here of bands and singers from the 60's.

"Disagree.

Lakers did NOT underachieve in the same way last season. Many of their woes were due to injuries/rotation issues. You could argue that up until about last week this was the case this season, but it's not the case any longer. The Lakers are fairly healthy and yet have a dramatic losing record to playoff opponents so far.

Clearly the Lakers either IMPROVE or they fall short.

The Lakers will improve. The question is, by how much?

Posted by: Tim-4-Show | December 27, 2010 at 11:52 AM "

Agreed. The Lakers need to recognize this reality sooner rather than later if they want things to change. As much as the players and some of the fans want to imagine this all gets easier in the postseason, it doesn't.

myclyne & keen,

"This same squad last year underachieved in the same way during the regular season and was able to turn on the switch come playoff time."

~~That's a nice name for a law office or bail bonds office for the Lakers. haha

You see Lakers offense and defense have been widely broadcasted since 2008 being the favorite team of TNT & BSPN due to media market plus those deep playoffs. Therefore, after three years do you think those coaches and players are not aware of any Laker moves. They have studied this like a teacher going over his lesson plan year in and year out. Where is the element of surprise from PJ? He has to mix it up whether a triangle or a cube, zone or man. Well if we add other dimensions like Artest more hungry in giving away his ring; Kobe concern of his injuries and late season appearance; Fisher is coming from slow to slower; Gasol became muy cansado muchacho (very tired guy); LO with aggressive offense but lazy defense as well. These manifestations were seen last Sat., Coach Eric knew beforehand that Jones, Chalmer and Ilgaukas will have a field day in the perimeter because all attention will be lumped on big three. If a layman like us could predict those plays what more of a professional coach?

Art -FL Lakers fan,

re: Mbenga you wrote: Agree also the Mbenga loss was just odd, but since he evidently was in some kind of dog house, who knows what's up with that. Not sure I'd say Theo was an upgrade.

my response: I guess we need to wait for Ratliff to get back from injury and see
if he gets more playing time and does a better job.

LRob,

you wrote: Pau needs to stay in the starting lineup. LO will still excel coming off the bench. They just need to hold the fort down for two more weeks...until Drew's ready to start.

my response: Why? We seem to either be misunderstanding each other
or in disagreement.

Long Term: Bynum/Pau is a great idea. Except if Pau is playing like a Poodle.
FYI, Pau is currently playing like a poodle. You've made two assumptions
which I'd like to explicitly state/address.

#1 Bynum being ready to start. You're assuming that he will fully recover.
I hope he does. What if you're only going to get 10% more from him? In 5
days it will be January and he still won't be ready to start. Isn't that about 3
mos. after the start of the season? He seems to be healing *really* slow for a
22 yr. old.

#2. That Pau's play will get better when he's moved back to PF. So ... I don't
know what type of competitor that *you* are, but when I find I've got a punk
for an opponent ... I flat go after him. This year Pau has served notice that
he doesn't like it rough and messy. As an opposing coach, that would be
my blueprint. If *I* can think of this, why wouldn't Doc Rivers think of it?
Jerry Sloan, Tom Thibideau, etc. etc. etc. I may be smart, but I'm not
Einstein. If I can come up with this blueprint, you have to believe that a
professional would do the same.

Pau *MUST* play better for us to win this year. He chose to slack off this
summer and it's showing up right now. By benching him, a clear message
would be sent and maybe he'd find his cajones. It's clear, that's he's put them
in the safe next to his 2nd championship ring.

Of our two PF's, LO is the one who's playing with effort right now.

LakerTom,

Thanks for your condolences. It was a strange/rough Christmas.

you wrote: Personally, I think the Lakers best lineup move would be to replace Fish in the starting lineup with Drew and move Lamar to point guard. That would give the Lakers an Odom, Bryant, Artest, Gasol, and Bynum lineup. Yeah, I know we will disagree on this one but frankly, I don’t see anything that Derek Fisher is providing right now at point that Lamar Odom could not provide better. Naturally, Phil would never do this because and it would screw up the bench but I think it would revitalize the Lakers. We can’t afford having both Ron and Derek play poorly.

my response: So ... if you move LO to point, who's the PF coming off the
bench?

When you list that lineup, how are you addressing the transition defense?
PJ has said that this lineup is slow on transition. When you talk about
LO as pg, are you talking about him being the primary ball-handler/decision-
maker? Every time some one besides Kobe becomes the decision-maker,
things don't go well. Why? There's a tendency for Kobe not to touch the
ball. If LO is picking up offensive fouls when driving to the basket against
forwards, why do you think it wouldn't happen against the faster pg's?
Why do you want to move one of best rebounders away from the basket?
At pg, LO will shoot more 3-ptrs. This is *NOT* what we want. We're
supposed to dominate from the inside out and moving LO to pg doesn't
address that.


Here's a counter: Subbing Blake for Fish or Barnes for Artest.

This is not an issue of talent. It's an issue of effort. Your lineup is not
addressing effort. Your lineup says that tall beats every other attribute.
Historically, that's not true.

Tom Daniels,

you wrote: Yeah, DJ Mbenga would solve all our problems. He's a monster, shooting 35% in New Orleans (how do you do that as a big man?). Averaging 8 minutes, 1 point, half a turnover and a couple of boards a game. I loved DJ. But he was a loveable novelty.

my response: We don't need a lot of offense at the C position. Especially if
this is a short term situation. The purpose in having Mbenga would be that
Pau would be playing PF and not getting roughed up by C's. To be clear:
If DJ Mbenga gave us 5 pts, 5 rebounds & 5 blocks, *I* am happy.
Why? That means he played b/n 5 & 15 minutes at C which means that
Pau didn't. Which means that our rotation is much closer to what it was
the last two years when we won the championship.

This is been the issue with Bynum. Lots of people talk about his offensive
game. His offensive game is not what won us a championship. As a matter
of fact, his best offensive game in the finals, we lost.

Defense wins championships. Can we focus on what's important? Winning
a championship is important. We won't do that if we don't bring the
effort. We won't do that if we don't play defense, which is based on effort.

Art -FL Lakers fan,

re: Mbenga you wrote: Agree also the Mbenga loss was just odd, but since he evidently was in some kind of dog house, who knows what's up with that. Not sure I'd say Theo was an upgrade.

my response: I guess we need to wait for Ratliff to get back from injury and see
if he gets more playing time and does a better job.

LRob,

you wrote: Pau needs to stay in the starting lineup. LO will still excel coming off the bench. They just need to hold the fort down for two more weeks...until Drew's ready to start.

my response: Why? We seem to either be misunderstanding each other
or in disagreement.

Long Term: Bynum/Pau is a great idea. Except if Pau is playing like a Poodle.
FYI, Pau is currently playing like a poodle. You've made two assumptions
which I'd like to explicitly state/address.

#1 Bynum being ready to start. You're assuming that he will fully recover.
I hope he does. What if you're only going to get 10% more from him? In 5
days it will be January and he still won't be ready to start. Isn't that about 3
mos. after the start of the season? He seems to be healing *really* slow for a
22 yr. old.

#2. That Pau's play will get better when he's moved back to PF. So ... I don't
know what type of competitor that *you* are, but when I find I've got a punk
for an opponent ... I flat go after him. This year Pau has served notice that
he doesn't like it rough and messy. As an opposing coach, that would be
my blueprint. If *I* can think of this, why wouldn't Doc Rivers think of it?
Jerry Sloan, Tom Thibideau, etc. etc. etc. I may be smart, but I'm not
Einstein. If I can come up with this blueprint, you have to believe that a
professional would do the same.

Pau *MUST* play better for us to win this year. He chose to slack off this
summer and it's showing up right now. By benching him, a clear message
would be sent and maybe he'd find his cajones. It's clear, that's he's put them
in the safe next to his 2nd championship ring.

Of our two PF's, LO is the one who's playing with effort right now.

LakerTom,

Thanks for your condolences. It was a strange/rough Christmas.

you wrote: Personally, I think the Lakers best lineup move would be to replace Fish in the starting lineup with Drew and move Lamar to point guard. That would give the Lakers an Odom, Bryant, Artest, Gasol, and Bynum lineup. Yeah, I know we will disagree on this one but frankly, I don’t see anything that Derek Fisher is providing right now at point that Lamar Odom could not provide better. Naturally, Phil would never do this because and it would screw up the bench but I think it would revitalize the Lakers. We can’t afford having both Ron and Derek play poorly.

my response: So ... if you move LO to point, who's the PF coming off the
bench?

When you list that lineup, how are you addressing the transition defense?
PJ has said that this lineup is slow on transition. When you talk about
LO as pg, are you talking about him being the primary ball-handler/decision-
maker? Every time some one besides Kobe becomes the decision-maker,
things don't go well. Why? There's a tendency for Kobe not to touch the
ball. If LO is picking up offensive fouls when driving to the basket against
forwards, why do you think it wouldn't happen against the faster pg's?
Why do you want to move one of best rebounders away from the basket?
At pg, LO will shoot more 3-ptrs. This is *NOT* what we want. We're
supposed to dominate from the inside out and moving LO to pg doesn't
address that.


Here's a counter: Subbing Blake for Fish or Barnes for Artest.

This is not an issue of talent. It's an issue of effort. Your lineup is not
addressing effort. Your lineup says that tall beats every other attribute.
Historically, that's not true.

Tom Daniels,

you wrote: Yeah, DJ Mbenga would solve all our problems. He's a monster, shooting 35% in New Orleans (how do you do that as a big man?). Averaging 8 minutes, 1 point, half a turnover and a couple of boards a game. I loved DJ. But he was a loveable novelty.

my response: We don't need a lot of offense at the C position. Especially if
this is a short term situation. The purpose in having Mbenga would be that
Pau would be playing PF and not getting roughed up by C's. To be clear:
If DJ Mbenga gave us 5 pts, 5 rebounds & 5 blocks, *I* am happy.
Why? That means he played b/n 5 & 15 minutes at C which means that
Pau didn't. Which means that our rotation is much closer to what it was
the last two years when we won the championship.

This is been the issue with Bynum. Lots of people talk about his offensive
game. His offensive game is not what won us a championship. As a matter
of fact, his best offensive game in the finals, we lost.

Defense wins championships. Can we focus on what's important? Winning
a championship is important. We won't do that if we don't bring the
effort. We won't do that if we don't play defense, which is based on effort.

Tim 4 Show - I never said the circumstances were the same. I said they responded with a mixed assessment last season showing that the road to a championship is a nuanced and struggling balance that requires the team to make incremental improvements

sean: First of all, welcome! Glad to see a new face on the blog!

Anyone would have to be a fool or in denial if they didn't admit that Kobe at 32 isn't the defender that he was a few years ago. That much is apparent, and his knee problems probably have a lot to do with that. I also agree with you that Kobe didn't contain Wade nearly as effectively as he has played him in the past.

The Lakers suddenly look susceptible to pick-and-rolls, if I were coaching against the Lakers I'd pick-and-roll or run of screens them to death, until they start properly covering them. Great observations, just givin' you a hard time earlier about the first-team comments.

Hope you stick around Sean!

Oh, and about your statements on L.O. - he regularly says the team has to play better. I love his lack of complacency, how he never makes excuses. If the team stunk it up, he'll be the first to say it. He is overly-harsh in assessing his own game in my mind, but that is his way to stay focused, stay hungry.

The way he is playing, well everyone else should scrutinize themselves (not named Kobe, that is) as much as L.O. holds himself up to task...

- - -

LakerTom: How many years has Boykins been killing us? Too many to count, lol...

I too wish that Phil would start utilizing his length and L.O.'s versatility, make other teams adjust to a Big-5 Laker lineup. It isn't a gimmick either, Phil should know that from utilizing Pip as a point-forward. I remember when he got there they would always say that Phil prefers big-guards, well he sure has taken a liking to smaller ones since then.

I don't want to knock Fish. He is one of my all-time faves. He knows when to come through, and has been as clutch as they come when it counts. He's smart and runs the offense flawlessly. He also keeps a level head about him, keeps his wits, whether he struggles or not it's impossible to read it in his demeanor.

Maybe Phil then could keep him at starter and bring L.O. in for him alongside Drew/Pau as Drew works his way back into shape. That would work. Again, it's wishful thinking, but I'm starting to like that concept more and more as time passes. It would also give the guys a new wrinkle, something new to work on and for a veteran team like the Lakers is, anything to lessen the grind would be welcome - especially after 3-straight Finals appearances.

We've never fully exploited our strengths, it would be great to see us do so sometime...


GO LAKERS!!!!!!

Let's not put all the blame on Pau.
The team as a whole is not playing well. I believe his poor play is one of the reason, but there are many other factors. Loosing focus, injuries, fatique, playing out of your position, and etc. Fisher, Artest, and Kobe hasn't been playing well on a consistent basis either. It's a domino effect. You can't have two or more starters playing poorly on a consistent basis and expect to win a lot of games. This will affect the other guys from playing efficiently, and as result it will affect the whole team.

He's smart and runs the offense flawlessly.

Posted by: CyberCosmiX | December 27, 2010 at 12:10 PM

You're talking about Fisher here, but what exactly do you mean by this?

CyberCosmiX,

Never mind I got it, bring the ball across half court pass it to Kobe and go to a corner.

@Edwin

I agree that the starting lineup needs to be shaken up. I'm getting real tired of Phil living in his imaginary Zen World and hoping that something will change on it's own- all the while, his team is needing him to step up, and IGNITE a fire under their butts!

I would love to see both Fish and Artest benched. Replace them with Blake and Barnes and our defense significantly becomes quicker, and out outside shooting more dependable.

I know "Mr. 11 Rings" won't change a damn thing because that's just his M.O.

I am even in favor of putting Kobe at the PG position, except when we go up against the speedsters of the League. I think he could hold his own against Nash, Terry, and D Will, but be too slow to guard Rose, Westbrook, Rondo, and Nelson.

Like every intelligent Hoopster knows, it's all about matchups and exploiting them in your favor. The scary thing is, I think that Phil has forgotten this.

repost:

i completely respect and admire the optimism regarding tomorrow night's game but it's always better to be a realist. the team will not be ready for San Antonio's crafty guards: parker & ginoboli. parker is relentless attacking the basket and "gin" can hit outside or get inside. it will be too much for us to handle this soon.

like phil "11 rings" jackson said: "Just be patient with us." believe it or not, kobe is not 100% and of course, neither is "drew." shannon just found a new dimension to his game, while blake and barnes are continuing to explore the triangle. ratliff is still on the mend and wily vet, joe smith has yet to see some action. don't forget: we have a couple of rookies who haven't seen any game time since our slump and will probably be buried even further. luke, luke, luke. he tries and quite frankly, he is better than ebanks & caracter.

in my world, i would switch pau and lamar from 5 to the 4 until bynum is completely effective starting at center. pau is just not physical enough to hold down the fort and i think lamar will be able to bang with the best of them without looking like a "wet noodle" 10 minutes into a contest. all of our problems are due to bynum not being ready to play at the start of the season which has worn down the front court players.


hobbitmage: Don't want to answer for LakerTom, but I believe he is referring to keeping that lineup on the floor for a few minutes at a time, shaking up the sub rotations. Pulling Fish for L.O., then, say Blakey could be subbed in for Drew or Pau, rather than the traditional Blake-for-Fish, Barnes-for-Ron Ron. Letting a Big-5 lineup on the floor for a few minutes at a time, seeing how that works out.

By the way, that lineup does address effort as L.O. has exuded as much effort as the next guy on the roster, the effectiveness of such lineup has never been seen however. I think Fish's effort is there, but his effectiveness isn't. Ron Ron is another that gives 100% effort, but is ineffective at times - at least on the offensive side of things.

As for Pau he does look sluggish, I hate to place blame but I think that as Pau has played, so have the Lakers. He seems to be in a funk, in a rut, and hasn't played inspired ball for a few weeks at least. The Lakers don't have many options though in pulling Pau, Joe Smith isn't the salvation and Drew is working his way back into game-shape still.

Hopefully Pau will play his way through whatever might be hampering him, mental or otherwise...

BTW, sad to hear about your pup, sorry about that. Our chorkie (yeah, Art you had it right, chihuahua/yorkie mix - it's the one on Brandon's lap in the blog profile pic) had 4 pups on Christmas eve and I'd be more than happy to let you have one if want one. Let me know.


GO LAKERS!!!!!!

"CyberCosmiX,

Never mind I got it, bring the ball across half court pass it to Kobe and go to a corner.

Posted by: Magia32 | December 27, 2010 at 12:20 PM "

LOL!!!!!

Magia32: You're talking about Fisher here, but what exactly do you mean by this?
...
Never mind I got it, bring the ball across half court pass it to Kobe and go to a corner.

-

Harsh... lol

This is why LakerTom's idea of cutting Fisher's minutes and bringing L.O. (or Drew for right now) off the bench for him, creating a Big-5 lineup and the corresponding matchup problems this would create for other teams is one worth considering.

Not that Phil would ever do it, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't work for a few minutes at a time, extending those minutes if they are clicking...


GO LAKERS!!!!!

Agree with those that are taking a cautious approach to Tueday's game. As much as I want a victory, I don't want to set myself up for another let down. Heck, I'll take a 1 point win, but want I to see the (whole) team play with passion and desire. This is not a young team, that is trying to find their identity. They are the defending world champions that need to play as such.


As far as lineup changes go, LO at SF seems more reasonablew to me rather than at PG. Blake should start at PG and we can then bring Drew, Artest and D-Fish off the bench. Hopefully these guys can assess the start of game on the bench and come in and make the necessary adjustments to contribute significantly against the other teams' second units. Just a thought.


As much as I like Artest, and I mean that sincerely. We need to make the other team's SF play defense. LeBron didn't have to against Ron. Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. We need a more prolific offensive player at the SF position right now. It could be LO, Barnes, or trade for someone.


Ariza was a pretty good defender that became a vital part of the offense. If you didn't respect his game he would make you pay. Ron was supposed to do that this year and has yet to do so. So.....what to do, what to do?

CyberCosmiX,

You know whats weird, that I actually didn't have anything bad to say about Fisher on Saturday. I actually thought he played fairly well for his standards. To me what really knocked the wind out of us early was Gasol going 0/6.

@Magia32 – of course, we know who Tupac is. MM did a whole thread on Ebanks and Caracter arguing who was better Pac or Biggie. And several songs was posted. But just to let you know we’re up on him…here’s on of his early ones with his Digital Underground crew. I guess this could be Matt Barnes theme since he get around so much…8 teams in 8 years.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYT4ZjUrA-s


@Tim-4-show – I agree this year is different. The Lakers need to get it in gear.

@no mo – yep it’s all Pau’s fault. Of course, I didn’t notice any criticism of Kobe….hmmm.

Hey,


So there's talk about Yao being on the trading block. We need to be like the Patriots and think ahead here. Why not offer out 2012 first round pick for Yao? There has to be some kind of salery cap exception that we can get from the NBA that helps teams in big cities with no cap space but lots of beautiful fans sign injured players they plan to sit for 2 years. No?


Well, there should be.


OK, one #1 plus luke and...


Wes

I think maybe Lrob or others mentioned the Lakers should mix it up when covering screens. And some have suggested lineup changes.

I'd like to take that a step further. Did y'all catch the link in the last thread about the Spurs? First Pop talks about attitude:

"Not that Coach Gregg Popovich takes anything from playing .867 ball at Christmas.

"If our players look at it as a cushion, just mentally, that can become a quagmire," he said Thursday. "You think you're in such good shape, subconsciously your energy level drops or your concentration drops, which leads to problems with execution and that sort of thing. I don't want to look at that at all. I want to more look at it as we haven't accomplished anything, because it's still the regular season, and we're still such an average-at-best defensive team.

"We've got to look at it like we've got a long way to go rather than talk about any kind of cushion with our record. I'd rather think we're lucky to have the record, and if we want to take advantage of the record we better get our ass together at the defensive end. Otherwise we've squandered what the basketball gods have given us so far."
===========

Take note Lakers, last year doesn't count anymore, this year nothing has been accomplished yet.

===========

How about mixing up style of play:

"So much for the supposedly warmer and cuddlier Pop, who went to a zone defense out of desperation last week against Denver because, as he recalled it, no one was guarding anybody, anyway. Might as well mess up the Nuggets, too. And, of course, it worked, like most everything has worked out so far this year for the Spurs...

Also,

"Popovich actually has changed a lot over the years. He's changed the Spurs' offense, going from an attack heavy on force-feeding Tim Duncan in the low post to one where Tony Parker and Ginobili are off and running. San Antonio has gone from one of the slowest, most plodding attacks to one of the league's top-scoring units. Even adjusted for pace, the Spurs are in the top half of the league."

"There was no epiphany for Popovich that made him change; it was more a gradual sense. After failing to reach the West finals the past two seasons, it became clearer that it was foolish to keep playing the same way -- pounding the ball inside to an aging Duncan and playing off of him while looking for 3-pointers in the short corner. Opponents had caught up to that. The coaches were "boring ourselves," Popovich said, so he could only imagine how the players felt."
===========

Ok, granted the Lakers have made it to the Finals the last 3 years so the motivation to change a system just isn't there, but even if the Lakers hadn't made it I suspect Phil would not mix it up.
============

Finally:

"When the break isn't there, the Spurs run a lot more pick and rolls, and a lot more motion than they did in the past. It's led to Duncan's lowest scoring average (13.9) of his career. He has also played fewer minutes (29 a game) than he ever has, and that was the whole point -- by spreading the ball around, Duncan gets less wear and tear now, and might be fresher for the postseason. In crunch time, he's still going to get the ball, and everyone knows it. But he may have a lot more left in the tank.
"We're moving the ball a lot differently," Duncan said. "That's working, and that's what we're going to stick with."
===============

I understand the Lakers have different types of players. For one, they don't have a Tony Parker at PG. My point is, the Spurs have changed their style of play when what they were doing stopped working.

I suppose this is all premature just 30 games into the season but I wonder are the Lakers just too predictable on both sides of the ball without the skill superiority to get away with it anymore?

Would it kill them to try some creativity to get out of a funk?

In case you missed the article:

http://www.nba.com/2010/news/features/david_aldridge/12/27/morning-tip-san-antonio-spurs/index.html?ls=iref:nbahpt1

These manifestations were seen last Sat., Coach Eric knew beforehand that Jones, Chalmer and Ilgaukas will have a field day in the perimeter because all attention will be lumped on big three. If a layman like us could predict those plays what more of a professional coach?
Posted by: Edwin Gueco | December 27, 2010 at 12:04 PM
-----------
Edwin – the problem was the Lakers didn’t stop the big 3 and gave up to many open looks to Jones, Chalmers and Big Z.

Fisher off the bench wont work. Blake with the 2nd unit actually has to run the offense and does a good job at it. Blake has been a traditional pg his entire career, so it comes natural to him.
Fisher on the other hand has always just had to get the ball across half court and wait for an open shot.
Can anybody really see Fisher coming off pick n roll and getting a shot or going straight to the hole for a layup or a dish?
Fisher in the 2nd unit wont work and Fisher in the first unit isn't working either. So where does that leave him?

Laker J: "As much as I like Artest, and I mean that sincerely. We need to make the other team's SF play defense. LeBron didn't have to against Ron. Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. We need a more prolific offensive player at the SF position right now. It could be LO, Barnes, or trade for someone.

Ariza was a pretty good defender that became a vital part of the offense. If you didn't respect his game he would make you pay. Ron was supposed to do that this year and has yet to do so. So.....what to do, what to do? "

-

Yeah, I agree. No doubt that Ron Ron brings it on defense, he shows up ready to play every night. But, his offensive struggles are outweighing his defensive contributions. As great a guy as he is, as good a character - it does boil down to production, and he hasn't been producing offensively.

I'm sure that he would be the first to admit it though. He would also be more than happy to move to the bench if PJ puts him there, that is they type of person he is.

Phil has a lot of experience with these types of things, he never makes brash moves. But I'm sure he has got to be looking at making some changes if the poor Laker play continues. When Phil is telling us to be patient, well he is sticking out his rep and neck out there, sending a signal that he is confident in this bunch.

I wonder how reassuring Phil will continue to be if the Lakers poor play (yes, 21-9 is poor for them) continues...


GO LAKERS!!!!!!

I actually thought he played fairly well for his standards. Posted by: Magia32 | December 27, 2010 at 12:44 PM

D. Fisher 24:58 2-3FG 0-0/3pts 2reb 3ass. 1TO 2stl. 6pts

Posted by: no mo' platitudes | December 27, 2010 at 12:51 PM

I guess I should of said, MY standards for him.

Dudes...I can't believe you still think Steve Blake is the answer at the pg position. He's just not as bad as Fish, no "D" and to SLOW.

Fisher in the 2nd unit wont work and Fisher in the first unit isn't working either. So where does that leave him?

Posted by: Magia32 | December 27, 2010 at 12:52 PM

C'mon Magic32, you know where. Just say it....in the THRASH, bad bad resign not a smart business move.

MM, Cali, LRob, Edwin, Cyber, Mamba- thanks for the encouragement, I'm glad to be part of the fam and just going with the flow. Respect is always given, and nothing said is ever personal. We're all passionate enough about the team, and have the guts to speak our own version of truth[s]. Thanks again everybody!!!

Art: Interesting stuff on Pop. I consider him the finest coach not named Phil, but PJ's strength is more mental/motivational than it is as an X's and O's coach. Phil has shown that he is reluctant to make changes, giving a chance for his proven, veteran teams to win or lose on their own.

Pop has adapted his coaching style to his team. He sees that Timmy is aging and their style of play have led to nothing but early playoff-exits. That is what great coaches do, adapt their coaching style to their teams, while keeping their concept of team-play consistent.

Phil takes a longer-term view than most coaches though. He is ultra-secure, not worried about being fired. He keeps the big-picture in mind. It has proved to be a winning philosophy thus far in his career, but this intolerance to change may be put to a test if the Lakers continue to play poorly.

I still trust in him as back-to-back championships and 11 titles coaching is a brings a huge amount of clout with it, but sometimes I wish he were a little more flexible and open to change than he is...


GO LAKERS!!!!!!

@HOBBITMAGE... Thanks for your response. Appreciate the effort to keep things cool.
...
“When you list that lineup, how are you addressing the transition defense? PJ has said that this lineup is slow on transition.” To begin with, I admit that the big lineup is kind of like a fantasy lineup but I still believe it could work well although like anything it has its pluses and minuses. First, if you have Lamar Odom play point guard, that means it is his job and responsibility to get back on defense. If everybody plays their position correctly, all we are talking about is whether Lamar Odom can get back on defense as fast as Derek Fisher could. The reality is that LO is actually faster afoot at this point in time than Fish and better able to break up a fast break.
...
“When you talk about LO as pg, are you talking about him being the primary ball-handler/decision-maker? Every time someone besides Kobe becomes the decision-maker,
things don't go well. Why? There's a tendency for Kobe not to touch the ball. If LO is picking up offensive fouls when driving to the basket against forwards, why do you think it wouldn't happen against the faster pg's?” The reality is that Lamar has been bringing the ball up and starting the offense more often lately than Fish. And if any player on the team ignores a wide open Kobe at times and instead launches his own 3-pointer, it is likely Fish being Fish
...
As you know, the Triangle does not require a traditional point guard and instead tends to spread the playmaking around to all five players. I see the switch of Lamar for Fish as simply letting Lamar play the point because Fish is killing us out there. I see nothing that we are getting from Fish right now that we could not get from Lamar at a minimum. At best, Lamar would cause every other point guard in the league major matchup problems posting up. Further, I do not see Blake as starter quality which means that the problem is just going to be greater next year and the year after that. Down the road, Lamar or Kobe may be our best option as the successor to Fish at the point since there is no way the Lakers are going to be able to bring in a quality point guard without trading one of the Big 5, which I don’t see happening.
...
“Why do you want to move one of best rebounders away from the basket? At pg, LO will shoot more 3-ptrs. This is *NOT* what we want. We're supposed to dominate from the inside out and moving LO to pg doesn't address that.” I agree 100% with you on this point. I also agree that the problem right now is Pau playing like a punk. That’s why I would probably be hesitant to make the move as a permanent move right now. However, I love the idea as a wrench to throw into other team’s game plans and as a way to create a massive matchup problem for opponents. Do I expect it to happen? Not as long as Phil is coach. After Kobe, our best weapon is the Front Court trio of Drew, Pau, and Lamar. But as you said, we need Pau to play better and tougher and Drew to get back to being fully healthy and dominant. And of course, we need Kobe to also get back to 100% as he is first and foremost the key to everything for this Lakers team.
...........................................
TOM

Well, there's no shortage of us armchair coaches/sports psychologists. But here's an idea I haven't yet seen here: Bench Gasol.

Let Andrew start. Let Odom start.

Gasol's playing like he's 100 years old, playing 100 minutes per 48 minute game. He's in a funk. He's in a slump. If this were baseball, he'd be out of the power part of the lineup.

OMG. The screams of horror throughout Lakerville are deafening. "You can't do that." "Are you serious? The guy's an All-Star."

Not this week, he isn't.

Oh, yes. And bench Artest while we're at it.

Yes, these are the defending NBA Champion Lakers. But they're not playing like it. No one is safe. I repeat, no one is safe.

Don't put me on any bandwagons, for now. The Lakers are playing like they don't care. Whether they care or not, they're playing like they don't care. If they don't care, I don't care. No one is safe. Shake-up the line-up until they get the message. This isn't panic. This is sending a message. Two different things. But the malaise must end. Drastic times call for drastic measures. If there's the heart of a champion beating inside these Lakers, I don't hear it. I don't see it. Shake things up. Do it now.

What's up Laker J- Respect your opinion. You make some valid points. I just have to add some footnotes to your opinion, it's a little bit incomplete.

No doubt, during our 09' run, Ariza was a huge contributor. I have to say there's a lot more to this than just execution. When Trevor broke his foot he had a lot of time to watch tape, watch practices and watch games, and it obviously did nothing except take his game to another level. That being said, his run was an aberration, he hasn't shot 48% from long distance since than, and while his D is adequate, he wouldn't have had the same impact on Paul Pierce as Ron had, the differences between the two players was so marginal that both of them won a title, in the end.

Ron is feeling his way through the offense, he's not chucking as many jump shots. The problem is that when Pau is struggling, the team needs to stick Ron in the post, Ron hasn't said anything, but you can tell from the tape he wants to be more of an impact down there. On Saturday, when Pau wasn't feeling it, they should have stuck Ron down there on Wade, or even Anthony or Bosh, Ron's a bull and has strength to match, I'm not saying he should be down there all the time, that's where is offense really starts for him, inside than outside.

CyberCosmix,

you wrote: Don't want to answer for LakerTom, but I believe he is referring to keeping that lineup on the floor for a few minutes at a time, shaking up the sub rotations. Pulling Fish for L.O., then, say Blakey could be subbed in for Drew or Pau, rather than the traditional Blake-for-Fish, Barnes-for-Ron Ron. Letting a Big-5 lineup on the floor for a few minutes at a time, seeing how that works out.

By the way, that lineup does address effort as L.O. has exuded as much effort as the next guy on the roster, the effectiveness of such lineup has never been seen however. I think Fish's effort is there, but his effectiveness isn't. Ron Ron is another that gives 100% effort, but is ineffective at times - at least on the offensive side of things.

my response: Actually the lineup does not address effort, because Pau & to
a lesser extent Bynum are the ones who have had the failure effort. I thought
I had specified the issue with Pau earlier.

Pau *NEEDS* to play better or we don't win. Moving LO away from the
PF position is detrimental to the team.

Clarify these things for me and maybe I'll see your point:

LO is not a great 3-pt shooter. What does moving him to the perimeter get
us?

LO is a good/great rebounder. Moving him to PG capitalizes on this how?

Pau has been playing like a poodle? LO at the pg addresses this how?

Ron Artest hasn't found a store that will sell him a shot. LO at the pg
addresses this how?

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/o/odomla01.html
http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/f/fishede01.html

D-Fish 3-pt% is .374 - .407 over the last two years.
LO 3-pt% is .319 - .360 over the last two years.

I think you'd make an easier convert if you brought LO in at SF for a few
minutes and then continued the rotation pattern that you spoke of.

So, I want to be clear. I'm not bashing. I'm not trying to be a jerk. I just don't
think that the big 5 actually addresses that need addressing. I'd be extremely
interested in finding out where I misunderstood your argument.

re: the pup. Thanks for the offer. We actually prefer larger dogs. 100 lbs or
so. I suspect that we'll wait until my last pup passes. Wait for a few years,
while we do some intense traveling and then get another couple.

the lakers has two problem fisher and coach jackson, fish
cant guard anybody cant shoot miss to many layup other wise he is a has been.coach jackson is laid back and dont want
to make the necessary adjustment that need to be made.if he
was coaching football he would be fired.pau is a softie and
scared to mixed it up.my grandmother would kick his a;.';

MM, Cali, Edwin, LRob, Mamba, Cyber- thanks for the encouragement and I'm glad to be part of the fam, going with the flow.

If the NBA REALLY wants Christmas games to matter.

If they REALLY REALLY want every player to not be playing like they're disgruntled because their job took them away from their family.

If they REALLY REALLY REALLY want people to play as hard as they can and coaches not to give up an inch.

Then here's what they should do:

Play 15 games on Christmas. Every single game is West vs East, and it's matched by your conference rank. The team with the better record gets home court. For example, this Christmas, that would have meant something like:

Boston at San Antonio
Miami at Dallas
Chicago at Utah
New York at the Lakers
Orlando at Oklahoma City
...
Minnesota at Cleveland
Sacramento at Washington

That's 15 games. Whichever conference wins more games gets home court advantage for the finals.

THEN you'd see Kobe and Pau and Phil playing like it mattered.

@HOBBITMAGE... Just a couple of other points. First, I would like to reiterate that I do not see Steve Blake as anything but a backup point guard. While he is a better passer than Fish, he has the same weaknesses – unable to stop opposing point guards from penetrating and unable to drive into the paint and score or dish with a high percentage of success. And with our current salary cap and luxury tax situation, it is unlikely that we are going to be able to draft or trade for a true starting point guard. Hence, my infatuation with the idea of Lamar or Kobe taking over point for the Lakers down the road.
....
Second, one of the major problems with the Lakers offense right now is that they are not playing inside out basketball, primarily because Pau Gasol has been unable to post up most of the players against whom he has played. Much of this is because other teams have bulked and bullied up to better match up for the Lakers. That is why it is short sighted to say that we do not need Drew’s low post offense. I agree that his defense and intimidation on defense is the most important thing he brings to the Lakers but don’t short change how important it is going to be to have a low post threat so that we can play inside-out basketball. Drew is our best low post threat since Pau is playing like a poodle ( I do like that comparison, by the way. Inspired).
..............................
TOM

It just seems that, after winning two in a row, many of the Lakers have lost that fire, and are too complacent. They're also arrogant, thinking they can just waltz into the playoffs, having turned on the switch in the time after the regular season ends and the playoffs begin.
They were too arrogant the past couple seasons and it's just gotten worse. To think, they even considered besting the Bulls' regular season record. I hope they now know it's hard to win three in a row, it's hard to keep that fire going. It's hard to be like the Bulls.

Sean, welcome aboard and thanks for your input an perspective thus far.


I think we can agree that the Lakers SF position at this point is vital to the lakers success. Primarily because in order to repeat, we may be guarding some of the best players in the league that happen to play SF. Carmelo, Durant, Pierce, Hedo, LeBron, to name a few. Ron was supposed to understand the triangle better this year and assimilate to the Lakers O without compromising his defense. Frankly, he hasn't done that. At the beginning of the season, he was firing away from 3 point range and not effectively. He may have been asked to look for better shots and post up more, but he appears reluctant to do so. With the Lakers you need to be opportunistic and capitalize on what is available on O. I believe Ariza did that. Ariza's decline may be more as a result of the team around him than his skills. He is a role player and not the focal point of any offense.


I know our play of late is more reflective of Pau's ineffectiveness than anyone else, but as team you pick each other up. This is a time when players like Ron and/or Fish can be greater offensive contributors. I know and you know that Pau is not going anywhere, not even to the bench. So other "role players" need to step up and fill in the voids.


Lastly, Ron is one of the players that continues to play with heart. He still brings forth the defensive effort, but he was supposed to get in LeBron's head no the other way around. I like his passion, but he needs to be under control and play with the flow of the game, I think.


Just a shout out to Ronny Turiaf- Miss ya Ronny, you were great off the bench. I always thought you should have gotten the big contract, instead of Sasha.

Otis Smith and Orlando desperately want you, Everyone can see what a boon you are to the Knicks and D'antoni's system. Hope you get your dollars up in NYC!!!

I have been open about my criticism of Pau lately but I actually feel like tonight he will have a respectable game only cuz historically, he plays well against Duncan....

I would like the team, collectively, to play an inspired and efficient game throughout, make their free throws and cover each other on their defensive rotations/assignments -- just play hard for the full 48.

But then there is the realistic side of my brain that says we are in a funk and will come out unenthused yet again!

LongTimeLakerFan, there are twelve days of Christmas, so fifteen NBA games are three too many. Please adjust your list to twelve.

Sincerely,

Santa Stern

Sean,
I could not agree more with you about Turiaf. I wish the Lakers could get him back!

I think tomorrow night, we'll seee Artest and Barnes on the floor together. Thunder and Lightning is actually an apt nickname for the SF duo. James, always gives Barnes trouble, same with Paul Pierce, a lot of the 'big' SF. Against Spurs, Barnes and Artest on Jefferson and Manu, would be devastating on the perimeter. Maybe Phil trys it, maybe he doesn't, at some point during the year, the two of them will have to be on the floor together. I think Defensively they would be suffocating, consider Kobe roaming, and a combination of Lamar, Pau/Drew on the floor.

Offensively, Barnes and Artest actually compliment each other. Kobe running the point, Artest [who played the 2 exclusively in Houston] on the perimeter and Barnes is an absolute perfect cutter for this offense, he's slashing is doing to the Triangle, what Glen Rice's pin point three's did for the Triangle ten years ago.

Just a thought, when the playoffs come around, they'll definitely be on the floor together at some point.

@Art
Thanks for the Pop article. I hope he gets bored of San Anton' soon so he can be Phil's replacement. He has totally changed how the Spurs run their offense since their last Championship and it's really paying off.

@Rick Friedman.
I am totally disgusted right now as well. I sure hope it doesn't take another couple of losses in a row for Phil to change things up. He needs to stop treating these players
like they have egos of 13 year old girls.

I also have been wondering for the past month why they don't feature Ron-Ron in the post as much as they should. He is a beast down there, can get others into foul trouble, and is a better than average passer in tight spots. He couldn't play any worse on the box than he is right now on the perimeter.

It's not rocket science, if you are not performing, you get to sit on the bench and watch those who are!

Just like what I said in my blog last week "If they can't beat the lowly Bucks without Jennings & Magette in their home floor how can they beat the mighty Heat. This will be another humiliating Christmas Day defeat (just like last year) this time by the Heat". Exactly what I predicted last week. It's either the Lakers does'nt have it anymore to be the champion for the third consecutive time or the other teams really got better this year (Miami, San Antonio, Boston, Orlando, Dallas or even Chicago)I guess we should have a new champion this year its getting "monotomous" lets give other team a chance to hold the prestigious "trophy"

sean: You're doing a great job fitting in so far, showing you are a knowledgeable fan. Looking forward to reading what you have to say in the future.

I miss Ronnie too, at least his passion and heart. Now, if some Lakers would display even a small percentage of that...

- - -

hobbit: Firstly, LakerTom answered you himself above, clarified his views. I'll give you my own thoughts to your questions with this likely fantasy-rotation.

I'm a big Pau fan but am not afraid to admit his tentative play is costing the Lakers dearly. He simply isn't bringing it. I don't know what may be going on with his private life, his emotional state, but I suspect something might be wrong with him. Not physically but mentally. Fatigue? Girlfriend problems? Dunno what it may be, but he hasn't been himself and until he snaps out of his funk, plays through it, whatever - until then the Lakers struggles I fear will continue.

Drew deserves some time to work his way back into shape and into the starting lineup again before assessing how he's doing, 16 minutes off the bench is not enough to gauge yet.

Anyways, my version would mix in a bit of Phil's cold-reality in that he would probably not replace Fish from the starting lineup, he may be less likely to keep Ron Ron there, but assume that he won't. So the fantasy lineup would have to be put into action by having L.O. come in and sub for Fisher. Either Barnes or Ron Ron could be there on the floor alongside Drew/Pau/L.O./Kobe.

L.O. cannot play Fisher's game as perimeter play, like you point out, isn't his strength. He would have to play more of a slashing game, cutting game and hit the boards ala Rondo for instance. He could also post-up weak-side from Drew sometimes, or push Pau to the top of the key other possessions. He wouldn't necessarily need to do more than pass and cut after he or Kobe bring the ball up, staying active and providing a target. They could work back screens using Pau, or pick-and-rolls with Kobe.

In a way, this might open up things, give Kobe more room to work. Definitely, it would give him more targets and provide him with more opportunities to guide the offense and set things up, something he is truly becoming exemplary in.

Rebounding? He will have to crash the boards. I suspect that in such a lineup L.O. will find himself in the post a lot, the Lakers will have a lot of bodies getting rebounds and such, less of the perimeter game that Fish brings.

You propose bringing in L.O. for Ron Ron/Barnes, that is a good idea too. I think Barnes is doing alright but Ron Ron, well struggling is putting it mildly in some games. I can see having Ron Ron/Barnes on the floor to defend certain guys around the league, but L.O. can certainly cover most opposing small forwards in the league, few of whom could equally cover L.O. at the offensive end.

I think I like Blake more than some others on the blog, I'd be fine having him alongside this lineup. I do acknowledge Blake's defensive deficiencies though. Side point is, I wish the Lakers would have considered trading Sasha's expiring contract for a young PG rather than merely using it to salary-dump.

I guess it all boils down to the inflexibility that Phil has shown over the years in making changes like we've proposed. Yes, he has a proven formula, but he's also so reluctant to change that when the team goes through struggles, they tend to linger on for a time and it tends to get ugly. I think this is what we're seeing, coupled with complacency.

I'd love to see any one of these lineups, probably the reality is the only way to see them is in NBA 2K11 or the fantasy leagues.


GO LAKERS!!!!!!

Hobbitmage

LO is not a great 3-pt shooter. What does moving him to the perimeter get
us?

Huh?

Over his career, obviously yes, he isn't a great downtown threat. He's shooting practically 40% this year from downtown, that's a plus. Not to mention, he's only taken 50 attempts from long distance, so, he's being very discriminate about what kind of shots he takes. I have no problem with letting Lamar shoot from downtown, he's streaky, yes, but this year shows he won't blow his brains out from the 3 line. I have no qualms about Lamar's shot selection.

Pau is critical to the teams success. As stated before.

----- as posted on Nba.com-----

"Those of you who believe that the Lakers are a Kobe Bryant production first and foremost, might not agree with this notion that Gasol’s performance dictates this team’s season.

But the evidence to support the Gasol theory grows stronger by the day. Andrew Bynum‘s return was supposed to give the Lakers a boost. It hasn’t happened yet.

Gasol is still operating at center and he seems weary from all that inside work without an assist from Bynum, whose game will take some time to round into shape after coming back from knee surgery.

The bottom line, the Lakers go as Gasol goes.

In November he averaged 20.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and shot 54 percent from the floor. This month he’s averaging 17.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and shooting 47 percent from the floor.

It will be interesting to see where his numbers stand after another month of pounding. "

Sean: I think hobbit is referring to the fact L.O. hasn't been a great jump-shooter over his career, as you point out - but moreso taking him outside in a position swap removes his strengths hitting the boards. Don't want to answer for him though...


GO LAKERS!!!!!

Hey Cyber- I would've loved a PG too. Think about this, with the 9 million we've saved and the 5.5 million dollar trade exception, there's a lot of leverage to play with.

There's an unhappy PG in Houston, that would look great in Purple and Gold.

There's another PG in Oakland that would be a shot in the arm for the LAL.

Though I know, Ellis is a pipe dream, giving the salary cap expectations in the new CBA. Just for giggles.

Fisher play lakers lose period..

>>>Hey Cyber- I would've loved a PG too. Think about this, with the 9 million
>>> we've saved and the 5.5 million dollar trade exception, there's a lot of
>>> leverage to play with.

hmmmm. You don't seem to quite grasp the way the numbers work there.

There's very little leverage for the Lakers to play with. The 5.5 million trade exception is it.

As for "saving 9 million"... While Sasha's trade effectively saves the Lakers about 9 million, it doesn't give them any cap space. What it gives them is the trade exception. Note also that a trade exception can't be combined with players in a trade. So you can't trade the trade exception plus Luke for someone who makes 11 million, either.

So the Lakers "great leverage is a 5.5 million trade exception. That's it.

So tell me. What team is going to trade their PG who's better than Blake and makes less than 5.5 million to the Lakers for nothing but cap space? Who is this mystery player you hope to acquire?

You're living in a fantasy.

I've said this for a couple of years - the ONLY way the Lakers could acquire a top tier point guard (let's say top 20 in the league) would be to trade away Bynum or Odom (or Kobe or Pau of course). If Shannon keeps up the good 3-point shooting, maybe they could pull off a trade of him for a slightly lower rated PG (better than Blake, but not top 20 NBAish).

Barring someone having a season ending injury, the Lakers lineup is set. They have enough talent to win a championship. They just need to get back on track and start playing like it.

A recent slide of the Lakers is absolutely corelated to Gasol's recent decline. Resolution? Once Bynum starts and plays 30+ minutes and Gasol plays more PF position (and less minutes, ) the Lakers will be fine! The Lakers have enough players to win the title this season. They just need to play as a TEAM.

no mo' plattitudes

wow good analysis, hard to hear but I think very accurate. Pau does not like the American burly ball game, he may wish all games were played with gentlemen's defense. I wish Pau would learn boxing like LO - it might toughen him up. Pau needs to get a few T's to set a tone.

I think underlying Pau's inconsistency is the large difference in referee's calls vs. non-calls, some ref's allow jungle ball, others don't (ask shaq about the 12/25 game)

Clearly the rest of the league is getting better Lakers can't win all the games right?

was Phil feeling out the Heat and hiding his best play-calling so that the Lakers can steal a finals game 1 from them? Sure Ron-ron was barely on the court in the first half, but when he was he didn't move around the paint and set picks for teammates as was the trend (or look to drive or playmake in the paint).

Sure it has something to do with the young gun playing good defense, but is there a chance Phil didn't show his best hand? Don't they do this in international FIBA games? I'm sure someone else already posted this sentiment

Pau needs to get his butt in gear.

He has gotten fat off success and is paying the price.

Andrew is the typical amalgamation of what's frowned upon in America:

A rich kid who runs into money, then throws it in our proverbial face.

We watch this team and care more than he does.

Obviously, if we (collectively) had his physical body and were in his present situation, 'Andrew Bynum' would have a far different body of work.

Kobe, now what have you gotten yourself into?

Lebron gets the picture of the day, standing over you, jabbing you while you're down, as you lay like a staggered champion. Pau simply smiling, not even helping you up.

A dunk is two points. Two points are two points. A fall-back jumper is two points. The two ways of attack, have a stark difference however, in execution. And this is what this years NBA Finals will be:

Dunks vs. Daggers


Love,

The Moderator

More on the Kobe at point suggestion.

While I was of the mindset that Kobe was on the verge of his finest year last season with the early season display of an improved low post game and the slow but steady integration of his talents into the team game - that broken finger had an impact.

Again this year, the continuing improvement of allowing the game come to him gave me hope of watching this special player continue to evolve and show us even more than we've seen before.

I continue to believe that Kobe has some special years left in defining his legacy, however, I have noticed him slowing just a bit. Maybe he is still recovering from the knee and will regain what I sense he has lost. However, having him slow down a tad may actually be a good thing - sheer athletic dominance may not be what gets him to the top of the ladder at this stage in his career anyway. I would love to see an evolution to Kobe's game where he incorporates the high level cerebral aspects like Magic and Bird possessed. I wonder if the responsibility that comes with the point position might influence him along these lines?

I see Kobe as someone who is inspired by challenges. Consider what challenges are truly left for this incredible athlete with a legacy already second to very few. How about becoming the leagues best point guard?

I wonder about the challenge of playing the key facilitator position on both offense and defense. Sometimes it is a psychological/mindset transition. Would it be better for the Lakers to get the bulk of their scoring in the post? I believe that should be the goal - that they would be a better team in the long run if the focus was on pounding the ball inside and Pau, Odom and Bynum were aggressively looking to score on most possessions.

In a way, with Bryant focused on the facilitator role, his scoring may remain relatively the same - but he may find himself with easier shots. I for one would like to see Kobe shooting closer to 50% from the field.

On defense Kobe would most certainly find interest in shutting down the opposing teams quarterback. Kobe would be in a position to dictate the tempo and flow of the game on both ends of the floor. This, I believe is another important potential factor to consider.

Also, consider match-ups. While others have suggested Brown or Blake to replace Fisher or play the two if Kobe moves over - I like Barnes side by side with Kobe trying to dominate the game from the defensive side of the ball. Many of these pieces might be interchangeable, but I am thinking in terms of the mental aspect. The Lakers could certainly use a jump start. The effort involved in playing great defense may help provide the spark.

For a few years I've been disappointed at times by their mail it in approach in the regular season. I would love to see a Laker team focus the way Jordan's Bulls focused night in and night out - taking the heart away from opponents with their defense.

I still think this team can be special. I think the current Laker issues are mental more than physical. However, after two straight titles, getting one's head right may be easier said than done. That is why I am proposing new challenges for the Lakers best player, while at the same time suggesting a new role for Fish - a legend in his own right, who hopefully could also accept the challenge of a new role as well.

Looking forward to the Spurs,

DKWSFO

Sean

I totally agree there were portions of games a few weeks ago that artest played really, really well in the paint, especially setting picks and receiving the pass then getting a layup. He and LO are on the same wavelength, and pass very well to each other. I for one would love to see both of those guys play more in the paint. Sure the Kobe to Pau paint play is spectacular but as many posters have mentioned, the Lakers can be too predictable and they need this set offense of Artest in the paint, rebounding, setting screens, driving the rim, dishing the sugar, running people over and getting the and one.

people say winning is a process you just dont wake up and start winning, well I can argue that if you lose 5 in a row and you win 6 in a row and lose the next 2 and win 8 in a row and lose 2 in a row that is actually winning people, so i ask can you learn to lose since lakers was winning then started losing. if you are a real real real lakers fan then u know lakers has done this for 4 seasons in a row. these fans are crazy with there blogs. lakers may lose tuesday but like you all said u just dont wake up and win, so how can you even suspect the lakers to ever win. if you cant wake up and win. dont understand that thinking.

Hey guys,

I just got out of General Hospital where I have spent the last two and a half days trying to get word of the condition of a family member who was assaulted by gang members. I won't be on the blog for a while as his condition is serious. He's not a gangmember and was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Please please keep him in your prayers. I'll be back as soon as I can.

Thanks

actually if u will remember, the Lakers were in 5th place during the 2002 regular season, 10 games behind the the 1st placer Dallas, but still they got their 3rd straight championship.

Whats with all the talk that the Lakers has had the easiest schedule thus far. Ok they did, but so has the Celtics, and the Heat. The Celtics have not got on the road to the west. Let's see how rejuvenated their team looks like against the west. As for the Miami Heat, the 2 best teams you have beat in the west were the Jazz and the Lakers. You beat the Jazz only cause your team was so mad that they beat you on ur home floor in comeback victory. You beat the Lakers because you wanted it more. Did you beat the Mavericks? no.

MM-
Don't include links to Israel Gutierrez column's for the Miami Herald. The guy does not know basketball. He likes to ignore the history of the sport. He disappears when the Miami Heat lose. Blog members here have more credibility than that clown.

I love and respect D-Fish, but I have to admit that he hurts the team more often than not. The only reason he's still with the Lakers is to keep Kobe calm. D-Fish is the only player that could tell Kobe when he is wrong or when he is killing the team w/ his shot selection. Oh and D-Fish is the only player that Kobe can trust.

I also understand that D-Fish is a classy guy. That's a rarity among NBA players now-a-days. Still any D-Fish supporter cringes when he goes for a lay-up. Its rare when he actually converts. His best contribution in my opinion was when he actually made the layup in Game 3 against the Celtics in these past finals.
He can't play defense, and he is a streaky scorer. I love him, I have his Jersey, but he is meant to play limited minutes and let some other PG get a chance.

dkwsfo, you and I are in sync totally on transforming Kobe into our new PG. As he ages, this will be his ideal position, given his still formidable passing skills and BB IQ. His role would become more like that of Magic, with emphasis on becoming the distributor rather than primary scorer.

I also like moving Barnes to SG for defensive purposes, although Shannon would work too for offense, depending on matchups.

The key question would be whether Kobe accepts and embraces the new role. His ego may not allow him to see this as the wisest transition for him in his final years. He still may want to be the top scorer. But the truth is that as he continues to slow down (and he already has noticeably), this is his ideal role and would add, not detract, from his legacy.

Good morning Joe and CornerJ! Interesting points from both of you gentlemam. Carry On!

Cap's Goggles - prayers out to your family member.
Sean - welcome.
Rick F. and LakerTom - both good points.

Given Christmas and my bday and la familia along with work, sorry I missed out on a bunch of good articles, posts and commentary. But I also think it's been good for me to be away. I am really bummed out with this team right now. So I offer two things which haven't really been discussed: team chemistry and PJ's mind games.

We can pick on D-Fish, LO, Pau, Kobe, the Bench and Ron for sure. But seriously, the bigger elephant in the room is team chemistry. We don't know what is going on in that locker room right now and that can kill any championship.

Team defense is in shambles. It's going into 2011 and Drew is coming off the bench. We still have to integrate him as a starter which is going to take a month. This brings me to my 2nd point: PJ's mind games.

I believe PJ is going to go through this stretch (win or lose) having Drew come off the bench so SAS, NYK and NOH games have asterisks. Our schedule may have been "easy" according to the pundits. But I think PJ is being strategic in picking and choosing his battles right now. It may look like the team doesn't care, but seriously - PJ is the zen master.

PJ loves to pick on Pop, Carlisle was a Greenie losing to Lakers champions twice in the 80's, D'Antoni - seriously. This is fodder week for PJ. He is just starting to kick in.

Cheers all - PLG

If anyone was watching the WAS-SAS game on TV, Sean Elliott mentioned that the Spurs were just going through the motions and went on to say that if they play like that against the Lakers, they're in bad trouble, a bad spot.

If anyone watches Spurs Ball on TV you know that while Sean is kind of a homer, he's objective 95% of the time. Don't ask me how I calculated that figure, I just pulled it out of somewhere. LOL.

Kobe shot selection is not the problem -- their issues are bigger than that!

Just looked at the shot chart for Pau from the last few games. Couple of things stood out:

1/ Pau needs more confidence in his mid-range shot- Pau needs to be more assertive, have a base and just knock those shots down. Phil's obviously seen this and I'm sure he'll think of constructive ways to figure this out.

2/ Pau needs to use his ass more- {Pause} No, seriously, he needs to create that space down on the block, if he just started bumping again, tough on anyone on the block, he'll start working back into a solid rhythm again.

3/Lay Up Drills- I didn't see the whole game/shot chart- I can say that the LakeShow missed A lot of layups in the Heat game. I don't want to be facetious here, I wonder if some of the guys [mmm...Ron] could use some practice with Mikan Drills.

It's easy to see that the team that comes out of the Western Conference needs to establish dominance on the glass, a gang rebound committee. You have to finish at the rim against a team like the Spurs, who have guys like Dejuan Blair, Splitter, even Matt Bonner, that can change a game on the glass.


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