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Five things to take away from Lakers' 108-83 victory over Detroit Pistons

1. The Lakers' 108-83 victory Tuesday over Detroit meant very little, but at least it's a start. The Staples center crowd gave the Lakers a standing ovation as the game came to a close. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant chatted courtside with actor Tom Hanks in the final minutes. And the teammates exchanged high fives after well executed plays.

Yes, it was a much different tone for the Lakers (24-11) than say their double-digit loss to Memphis, which prompted boos from the crowd, a stoic demeanor among players and frustrated expressions all around after poor execution. But the Lakers shouldn't be lauded for this too much, considering Detroit (11-24) shouldn't have been in contention with the defending champions. But with so much deserved scrutiny over the Lakers' four losses in the past six games and numerous reports trickling out involving Ron Artest's confrontation with Phil Jackson, three players showing up to Sunday's morning shootaround late (Luke Walton, unnamed player) or not at all (Pau Gasol, who insisted later he was just late) and issues involving the team's nuanced view on Bryant's shot selection, the win serves as a welcome dose of good news.

But it's more important how the Lakers replicate their performance moving forward, considering Detroit's record, the team's game Wednesday at Phoenix and the team's sharp execution has only come in spurts following an 8-0 start.

There's a point in a game where you have the ability to stand up and start playing the kind of ball game where you make a stand," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson offered as a formula for replicating similar performances moving forward. "We're going to make a defensive stand or take an offensive position that crushes a team and opens up the game. It can happen at any place."

2. The Lakers made adjustments The event Jackson described in the first note took place immediately beginning in the third quarter, a good sign considering the Lakers maintained only a 45-42 halftime lead. The Lakers opened with Ron Artest hitting an open three-pointer, Pau Gasol creating a turnover and Derek Fisher also nailing a trey. Once Fisher hit a 20-foot jump shot to give the Lakers a 59-44 lead with 7:37 remaining, he and Bryant hugged at midcourt.

The difference between the first and second half stats prove drastically different including field goal percentage (40.4%, 54.8%) and field-goal percentage defense (51.6%, 39%). But that happened because the Lakers didn't fall to frustration. The Lakers pursued shortcuts when their execution didn't work at the beginning of games, further exacerbating the team's lacking fundamentals and focus. It's debatable whether Detroit should've even held ground in the first place, but the Lakers showed growth in not wallowing in their own shortcomings.

3. The Lakers played as a team. Whether it came after Bryant and Gasol executed a pick-and-roll, Steve Blake worked with Shannon Brown on an alley oop or anyone fed an entry pass inside, the Lakers offered plenty of sequences that prompted high fives.

The Lakers simply provided what their well-oiled machine should look like on a daily basis. Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom combined for 51 of the team's 108 points, revealing their increased aggressiveness in getting post position and the backcourt's increased emphasis on looking inside first. But their combined 22 rebounds also shows they found ways to remain engaged in the game even when the play didn't revolve around them. In addition to surpassing Dominique Wilkins on the NBA's all-time scoring list, Kobe Bryant recorded a near triple-double with 17 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, revealing he was equally effective in using his explosiveness to drive to the basket and punish Detroit for double teaming him. Bryant only went six of 18 and missed his first nine shots, but he showed enough awareness to still help the offense with a facilitating role.

There were also players such as Fisher and Artest who hit critical shots in the third quarter, but also established a defensive blueprint with Fisher's deflections and Artest's tenacious effort on Tayshaun Prince (who worked very hard for 12 points on four of eight shooting).

4. The Lakers appeared in better conditioningIn a 2 1/2 hour practice on Monday, Jackson had his players complete a drill he hadn't used since training camp. It involved the team scoring 82 layups from end line to end line within a two-minute span, a drill that took six attempts before successfully completing. It reaped immediate benefits with the Lakers looking more sharp with their passing and cutting, a huge reason why the Lakers only committed six turnovers after averaging 16.8 turnovers per game in the previous five contests. That created a trickle effect where the Lakers appeared more ready to stop the Pistons in transition, with the improved quickness and decreased turnovers holding Detroit to only six fast-break points.

5. The Lakers received needed restAfter the Lakers built a 76-59 lead entering the fourth quarter, all but Andrew Bynum sat out the rest of the way. It provided some entertaining aspects with Luke Walton drawing a technical for showboating after a jumper, Brown's alley oops and Joe Smith's first field goal as a Laker. There's very little of that to take from a big-picture standpoint. But with the Lakers playing Phoenix tonight, it's a good sign most of the Lakers' starters didn't have to log heavy minutes late in the game.

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

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

 
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The Lakers looked like themselves last night... not some bizarro mutant version of the Lakers.

Good.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

Congratulations Kobe! Getting on the top 10 list of all time anything is pretty cool. Getting on the top ten list of scorers in the history of the NBA is an incredible moment. I hope you are not underwhelmed by the attention it has received. We have seen you accomplish so much that we are a little shell-shocked by it. You da man!

The team was great last night. I am very happy that everyone got a chance to play and that the process of washing off the stink of the last few games has begun.

Effort [check]+Defense [check]+Team Play [check]+Team Spirit [check]+Focus [check]+Aggressiveness [check]+Winning Streak [started]=”Threepeat”

I am proud of Kobe for playing great “all around” ball and for not getting frustrated with early misses. We got it into the “Bigs” which is what we need to do to succeed.

I am getting excited about Drew. He is really becoming a man. He is getting his explosiveness back and seems calmer and more sure of himself. I can’t wait until he is 100%. The trio of Pau, Drew, and Lamar is a force of nature in the paint as long as we continue to exploit it. The rest of the NBA should be afraid – very afraid… ;-)

Artest is obviously in a funk, but we have PJ. This is where the rubber meets the road – why he gets the big bucks. I can’t think of another person on the planet better qualified to deal with it. I think it will be fine.

If we bring the “D" every night, it will be a glorious year.

PJ is doing all the right things and it is very cool to see. It is a simple choice – play your ass off in the game or he will play your ass off in practice… ;-)

Looking for motivation? How is this for incentive - March 10th in Miami. Let's get ready to rumble! You know what they say - payback is a bitch...

What about San Antonio? They will be back on Feb. 3rd and there will be some "esplainin" to do... ;-)

I am a Lakerholic.

6. With the Lakers win...the trolls and haters have disappeared...

lew:

6b. Except in regards to how bad a coach Phil is of course.

Hmm..It only took Oscar 13 years to get his points..15 for Kobe.

CONGRATS KOBE!!!!

What a unbeleivable list this guy is on- he is now in the top ten scorers of all time and gaining ground every game. He will probably make it to the top five if he can stay healthy for next few years.

As for Phil, I guess doing something different(having a strenous practice), actually worked. Let's see if he can keep doing a few things differently over the course of this regular season.

The Beast is gaining strength and confidence each and every game! His footwork in the paint was excellent. Maybe tonight he will stay out of foul trouble so he get of more than six shots. I think the rest of the guys need to look for him more and more since he's producing. He should have at least twelve to fifteen shots a game in my opinion.

The Lakers simply looked Attentive. They were conscious of the plays and what needed to be done. In other words: They were thinking and it looked good - keeping in mind that they WERE playing the Pistons - but none the less, the team reminded themselves of what they are capable of accomplishing so long as they make a conscious effort to execute all aspects of the game.

The schedule is still considered somewhat "soft" after playing N.O. and N.Y. leading up to next Monday's showdown with OKC. Point being this: the Lakers have to build upon this one game's success and plow through the teams they are supposed to beat and at the very least, squeak by the contenders for a win because as we all know, a win is a win!

Confidence is key and the only way to rebuild that confidence is by winning and improving one game at a time. Before long, they will have chipped away at the conference and find themselves at the very top where they belong and they know it. That's where the swagger comes from.

This team has the talent and is not reliant on one player but rather the team concept. In their own way, the Lakes are a real super team: Bryant, Gasol, Bynum, Lamar et al. The team has the pieces and we know they fit - you don't get to the Finals 3 times in a row - and in my opinion, a 4th - and walk away with two trophies merely by luck. At this point, time really is on the Lakers' side!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4DlfEQ7cyk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1rX5jIJ4uU

@LAKERHOLIC… “I am getting excited about Drew. He is really becoming a man. He is getting his explosiveness back and seems calmer and more sure of himself. I can’t wait until he is 100%. The trio of Pau, Drew, and Lamar is a force of nature in the paint as long as we continue to exploit it. The rest of the NBA should be afraid – very afraid… ;-)”

Well said, Lakerholic. Drew seems to have a quiet confidence about his play right now. His moves are very decisive and he seems to be committed to getting even stronger low post position before taking his shot. Those were some great moves he put on last night. Beastly.
……………………………………….
TOM

The Beast is gaining strength and confidence each and every game! His footwork in the paint was excellent. Maybe tonight he will stay out of foul trouble so he get of more than six shots. I think the rest of the guys need to look for him more and more since he's producing. He should have at least twelve to fifteen shots a game in my opinion.

Posted by: mclyne | January 05, 2011 at 11:30 AM

_________


Yes the mantra should be: FEED THE BEAST!!

I'm sorry... That OKC game is scheduled for Monday the 17th which is why the team has time to build upon yesterday's success. Part Deux tonight against the Suns.

The trio of Pau, Drew, and Lamar is a force of nature in the paint as long as we continue to exploit it. The rest of the NBA should be afraid – very afraid… ;-)

Posted by: Lakerholic | January 05, 2011 at 11:09 AM

________

Rest assured, Bynum's return, play, strength and health is being closely monitored by the teams in the league because they know if he's back and can remain in the lineup, the Lakers are practically impossible to beat in a series. Bynum simply anchors the paint on that team and as soon as Theo and Smith can contribute, that will give more rest for brutes: Bynum, Gasol & Lamar.

YO! We got this... Just stay healthy, continue playing attentive and remain within that team concept.

GO LAKERS & IN BUSS WE TRUST!!

Just wondering.

heat, from Jan 1st, played/play
The warriors, bobcats, bucks (twice), trailblazers and clippers.

How come the media doesn't call that a soft schedule?

Can we beat a quality team before the cheerleading starts?

One game does not a trend make.

The Pistons really looked like themselves.
So, now we know that Lakers can beat teams like the Pistons.

I think that the fact that Memphis knocked off the Spurs lessens the sting of getting beaten by them. They are not as bad as their current record indicates.

Bay to LA

Excellent rebuttals to kobemvp888 last night in regards to dfishs deficiencies.. Steals is by no means an indicator of a good or even average defender especially not man to man D.. Besides his 1.5 stls a game this year are a complete anomaly.. His career average is really 1.0 per game and with more games by law of averages I'm sure it will go back down

But if one really wants to get in a dfish stats discussion then please DO NOT leave out his overall numbers PER GAME in every other major category... and see that he ranks almost dead LAST among all other PG in the league

PTS: 6.8 #22
ASSTS: 2.7 #30 DEAD LAST among starting PG..
REB: 2.3 #21
FG %: 38% DEAD LAST among all starting PG

In pts and rebs he would probably rank much lower if not for injuries to other PG in league this year

And let's not forget last nights game:

Dfish. 23 min 7pts 1RB 0 assts 1 TO no FT attempts
Shannon 19 min 9pts 1RB 2 assts 0 TO
Blake. 19 min 5pts 1RB 4 assts 1 TO

Again 1 rb and 0 assts in 23 min of play from ur PG is pretty abysmal... It just highlights his lack of overall activity on the court or his inability to just keep up with the pace of the game due to his lack of footspeed.. This is an area he kills the lakers the most with lack of transition speed or speed period and with a struggling artest and now bynum starting kobes jobs just becomes exponentially more difficult.

"Can we beat a quality team before the cheerleading starts?

One game does not a trend make.

Posted by: hobbitmage | January 05, 2011 at 11:55 AM "

Kind of what I was thinking. While it's encouraging that they played well, it's a little discouraging that they only seem to have these games against bad teams. It eats into that theory that they're just not focused yet.

Dude...So the LOVE FEST continues, I would like the Lakers to run off 10 games with Fish playing like he's 25 years old. But in all reality this will probably last only till tonight when the Suns, which are circling the DRAIN also, put BOOT up the...well you know what I'm saying.

Enjoy and I'll check back after the BEAT DOWN, you can call me TROLL or HATER, but I'll always give it to you on the UP & UP.

Go HEAT

Can we beat a quality team before the cheerleading starts?

One game does not a trend make.

Posted by: hobbitmage | January 05, 2011 at 11:55 AM
======

Who is cheerleading? Just because a few optimistic/pragmatic fans in here are excited about Andrew Bynum's progress doesn't mean that their comments should be taken out of context and exaggerated. Frankly, the blowout win against Detroit is just as meaningless as the blowout loss against the Grizzlies. What is important is what the team learned from the bad and building on the good. Beating "quality opponents" is just one small factor in the bigger picture; our championship core group has beaten so many quality opponents in 7 games series over the past three seasons that winning or losing to them during the regular season will have no bearing whatsoever on the Lakers' confidence level and ability to defeat these teams in the playoffs. If they lose to these "quality teams," it might even have the reverse effect of giving those teams a false sense of security.

So rah-friggin'-rah.

Hmm..It only took Oscar 13 years to get his points..15 for Kobe.

Posted by: zen (The original)

***

You CAN blame Del Harris (and Phil, a little bit) for that. Kobe was not the focal point of the offense until 2002/2003, since Snaq O'Meal's power and passing became the axis the triangle would rotate on.

Secondly, joining the ranks of the top 10 in "today's game" is just that much more gratifying and incredible. I don't think the Big O had the kind of high level competition to deal with, let alone the constant physical punishment that Kobe has endured since 1996.

Lastly, take note that Snaq's career point total began in 1992-1993, so it's really a moot point. Imagine, however, how many MORE points Snaq would have if he could've made just 15% more FTs, or stayed healthy enough to survive the 82+ game grind of the season... let alone if he had developed a reasonable jumper, a la Ewing or The Admiral.

DBDH!

We should not take away too much from this win, Detroit as of now very bad team. Yes Lakers at times esp in 2nd half were looking like.. Lakers, but after all, after halftime Detroit offered little if any resistance. We have to beat quality teams, and Phoenix not a quality team either, they are outide of playoff bracket going into full blown rebuilding. Let see if Lakers can create some momentum (Phil's phrase) and sustaine it.

Did anyone catch this?
Why do you guys think Kobe hugged Fisher middle court last night after Fisher hit his three?

"Just wondering.

heat, from Jan 1st, played/play
The warriors, bobcats, bucks (twice), trailblazers and clippers.

How come the media doesn't call that a soft schedule?

Posted by: Magia32 | January 05, 2011 at 11:55 AM "

It most definitely is a soft schedule for a 1-2 week stretch. If they hadn't beat the Lakers, I'm sure people would be talking about it.

4-15 first half. 2-3 second half.

Lakers play like crap first half.

Lakers play great second half.

Coincidence?

"Did anyone catch this?
Why do you guys think Kobe hugged Fisher middle court last night after Fisher hit his three?

Posted by: Magia32 | January 05, 2011 at 12:45 PM "

I saw that and wasn't sure. It didn't seem like a particularly meaningful basket. It put them up by 15 and I think his foot was on the line and it was only called a 2.

PTS: 6.8 #22
ASSTS: 2.7 #30 DEAD LAST among starting PG..
REB: 2.3 #21
FG %: 38% DEAD LAST among all starting PG

Posted by: yellofever | January 05, 2011 at 12:13 PM
=====

So what. Just like last season. Result: #16!

Such gratitude from a Lakers fan. Tell me yellofever, what did you think of Fisher's heroics in Game 3 of the NBA Finals last June or his clutch three in Game 7 to tie the game at 64-64? I'm guessing overrated and overblown just like Phil Jackson's 11 rings.

Would you like some more numbers? Here you go:

8.7, 3.6, 1.1
7.0, 3.1, 1.2
12.3, 4.0, 1.8
7.4, 2.6, 2.7
6.3, 2.5, 2.5
9.3, 2.9, 3.5
7.0, 3.4, 4.2
6.5, 2.4, 3.5
11.2, 2.6, 2.1
9.9, 3.2, 2.3
7.5, 2.5, 2.1

Can you tell me what those numbers represent? I'll give you a hint. There are 11 sets of them and I am guessing that in each season this player ranked close to last in the NBA in at least categories 1 and 2 at his position. Category #1 is points, #2 is assist and #3 is rebounds.

Here's another hint. You think the coach of these players is overrated and you can't stand him either.

Hopefully the Pistons will come out of the east and us out of the west to meet in the Finals!

Did anyone catch this?
Why do you guys think Kobe hugged Fisher middle court last night after Fisher hit his three?

Posted by: Magia32 | January 05, 2011 at 12:45 PM
===

Because Fish stinks?

Imagine, however, how many MORE points Snaq would have if he could've made just 15% more FTs, or stayed healthy enough to survive the 82+ game grind of the season... let alone if he had developed a reasonable jumper, a la Ewing or The Admiral.

DBDH!

Posted by: Don't Blame Del Harris! | January 05, 2011 at 12:39 PM

Snaq O'Meal - LOL!

In short, just imagine if he had the same work ethic and dedication to the sport as Kobe. That's what ticks me off the most - as a fan - because those two alone would have owned the league right through today. Imagine the fun the FO would have had continually building and adding to those two. Two words come to mind when I think of Snaq: Wasted Talent

Posted by: Bay to LA | January 05, 2011 at 12:56 PM

Ya, I'm thinking Kobe loves Fisher so much
That Kobe was just so happy Fisher hit a shot after so many misses.
I don't know maybe Phil mentioned something to Kobe about Fisher. Something like, if Fisher continues to play terrible he's going to have to bench him, or something.
I don't know, but that was weird.

Some people are never happy...

The stench of negatism will always be the point of their posts...

Lakers Win - But they only won by 2...

Fish Has Great Game - So what, that is only one game...what about the other 81...

Kobe 9-25 and Hits Game Winner - Kobe is a ball hog...his lucky shot won the game...

Nice huh...great fans...keep up the support...The Lakers appreciate it...lol

"Can you tell me what those numbers represent? I'll give you a hint. There are 11 sets of them and I am guessing that in each season this player ranked close to last in the NBA in at least categories 1 and 2 at his position. Category #1 is points, #2 is assist and #3 is rebounds.

Here's another hint. You think the coach of these players is overrated and you can't stand him either.


Posted by: KobeMVP888 | January 05, 2011 at 12:57 PM "

No one is denying that Phil's championship teams have never been designed around a traditional all-star quality PG. People just think that there are other players on the team that could put up underwhelming stats at that position and defend PGs better than he does.

Did anyone catch this?
Why do you guys think Kobe hugged Fisher middle court last night after Fisher hit his three?

Posted by: Magia32 | January 05, 2011 at 12:45 PM

I've been noticing Pau giving hugs to Kobe lately where Pau "palms" Kobe's head with his bear claw as a sign of endearment. That was the same thing Kobe did to Fish so my theory is that it is his way to reestablish the chemistry we've been lacking as of late.

-To everyone else.

Thank you for providing me with all of your insight. This has been a rough couple of games and I appreciate everyone breaking down stats, offering opinions, and providing their insight. It's always a pleasure because I watch games and don't understand what the *ell is happening and for the Laker Fam to keep it in perspective has been a real treat. (yeah, I was one of those "fans" who booed loudly on Sunday at my own beloved Lakers). Frustration sucks. But being a Laker fan makes it worth it come June!

1,2,3 Ring

frmkt - yeah, I'm with you on the wasted talent of Shaq. On the rise, the most dominant big man of his generation, but he succumbed to bad work habits and the rest is all decline. A trued shame for he and Kobe would have romped, as you said.

DBDH - I'm with you about the early Kobe... one of the very few superstars who came into the league in the major shadow of another great in their prime. Jerry West was another, but Lebron, MJ, Kareem, Malone (after Dantley got traded 1st season), Wilt, etc. were all the focal point of the offense (and got many more points in their early years because of it).

And whoever's cryin' 'bout fewest years to reach a scoring number... EVERYONE pales in comparison to Wilt, so... just sayin'.

No one is denying that Phil's championship teams have never been designed around a traditional all-star quality PG. People just think that there are other players on the team that could put up underwhelming stats at that position and defend PGs better than he does.

Posted by: Bay to LA | January 05, 2011 at 01:08 PM
====

Good for them. You shouldn't worry about "defending PGs better than [Fish] does." Phil Jackson managed to figure out a way to get through Westbrook, D-Wil, Nash and Rondo with old Derek Fisher in the lineup starting and finishing games, didn't he?

That's why I defer to a head coach who has won 11 championships and an organization under Jerry Buss that has managed to find its way to 16 NBA Finals and 10 championships in 31 years. Pardon me if I trust their decisions on these matters over fans who think they know more than the professionals do.

How long have these fans been saying the exact same things? Yet, somehow fans like yellofever trust themselves and their opinionsover an organization that has given its fans multiple orgasms over the past 3 decades. If Fish hits the wall, Phil Jackson and Mitch Kupchak will do what is best for the team. I trust them.

Nice win last night, but the Lakers still have issues that they need to address. All they really did was beat up a bad team.

But, more importantly:

Who is the rat in the Lakers locker room who squealed the Artest/Jackson story to Yahoo sports?

Hmmmmm, just wondering.

"Good for them. You shouldn't worry about "defending PGs better than [Fish] does." Phil Jackson managed to figure out a way to get through Westbrook, D-Wil, Nash and Rondo with old Derek Fisher in the lineup starting and finishing games, didn't he?

That's why I defer to a head coach who has won 11 championships and an organization under Jerry Buss that has managed to find its way to 16 NBA Finals and 10 championships in 31 years. Pardon me if I trust their decisions on these matters over fans who think they know more than the professionals do.

How long have these fans been saying the exact same things? Yet, somehow fans like yellofever trust themselves and their opinionsover an organization that has given its fans multiple orgasms over the past 3 decades. If Fish hits the wall, Phil Jackson and Mitch Kupchak will do what is best for the team. I trust them.

Posted by: KobeMVP888 | January 05, 2011 at 01:43 PM "

You're again essentially saying it's ok for you to complain about people complaining but it's not ok for other people to complain. We all have our opinions.

Look at Phil's actions last season. Would you say that Phil agreed or disagreed that Fisher could adequately guard Rondo and Westbrook? Plus, Fisher is a year older now. They had it relatively easy last year with HCA and the matchups they got. Westbrook is improved this year, Chris Paul is healthy, Tony Parker and Chauncey Billups are potential matchups. The road could be a lot harder this year, last year only counts for last year.


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