Caught in the Web: Lakers offer rebuttal to Jerry West's criticism about their defense
--The Times' Mike Bresnahan offers a midseason assessment on how the Lakers have responded to the new technical foul rule.
--Bresnahan also looks at Kobe Bryant's and Derek Fisher's defense of the Lakers' defense.
--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding notices that the Lakers are eyeing the NBA's best record.
--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy Kamenetzky breaks down the Lakers' upcoming schedule.
--The Salt Lake Tribune's Kurt Kragthorpe expresses concern about Utah's fortunes the rest of the season.
--Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe dissects Utah's recent struggles.
--The Salt Lake Tribune's Steve Luhm features Jazz point guard Deron Williams' belief that the Lakers aren't too old.
--Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix remarks that Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan has been disappointed by the team's effort.
--The Orange County Register's Jeff Miller takes Bryant to task for his claim that he's responsible for the Lakers acquiring Pau Gasol and Fisher.
--NBA.com's John Schuhmann lists the Lakers at No. 3 overall.
--The Salt Lake Tribune's John T. Smith highlights Williams' criticism of Utah's recent play.
--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell details Monday's practice.
--Fox Sports' Billy Witz wonders whether the Lakers have more title runs left in them.
--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano breaks down the Lakers' improved defense.
Check out Bryant as a senior leading Lower Merion High School to a high school championship in 1996 in the video below (h/t to HighSchoolHoop).
--Silver Screen and Roll's C.A. Clark argues that rest doesn't solve the Lakers' old-age problem.
Tweet of the Day: "I apologize 4 my comments made yesterday about Jay Cutler w/out knowing the facts, it was wrong of me 2 ASSUME that he really wasn't hurt ... The way he was laughing & his facial expressions through me off ... Again it was wrong of me ... I was caught up in the emotion of the game, but as an professional athlete I should have known better.." -- Matt_Barnes22 (Lakers forward Matt Barnes)
Reader Comment of the Day: "I agree with Jerry West and would like to defend him. I think what he meant to say is that the Lakers are older and are not fast as younger teams. They have problems defending fast breaks and transition defense. It is true that they are older. Playing good defense takes up a lot of energy and effort. It is tough for the Lakers to defend against speed night in and night out, in the regular season I believe. However, this doesn't mean that they can't adjust playing great defense. They can play good defense against the speed by slowing down the game. Also, playing the team game and taking good shots are part of their defense (good offense is good defense). Taking good shots will go in most of the time, and this will eliminate breakouts. Even when they miss good shots, it is in the flow of their game and they are better at defending the transition. Also, come playoffs, I believe they will put in more energy and effort playing defense against the fast breaks and fast transition. I just can't see them doing in regular season game because it takes too much too on their body, especially Fisher and Kobe." -- T8kers
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant beats Jazz point guard Deron Williams for a layup in the Lakers' 102-96 loss to the Utah Jazz on Nov. 26. Credit: Steve C Wilson / Associated Press