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Lakers' 109-96 loss to Boston Celtics shows they need to take many steps before reaching championship level

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Nearly seven months have passed since the confetti dropped in Staples Center, the Lakers collected their 16th championship and the Boston Celtics walked away dejected for having fallen short.

At no point in their 109-96 loss to Boston on Sunday did the Lakers display the characteristics of the 2010 championship team that overcame a double-digit Game 7 deficit, won as a team and stood at center court bearing smiles and fighting back tears while holding the Larry O'Brien trophy. The Lakers (33-15) on Sunday wore retro jerseys of the 1971-72 team, but bore little resemblance of that championship squad that reeled off 33 consecutive wins. They appeared disorganized offensively and overwhelmed defensively, and afterward had the same stoic reaction they've offered after other disappointing performances.

"It's not the playoffs yet, we're still playing regular-season games," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said, explaining why he's not concerned the Lakers have consistently lost games against marquee opponents, including splits against Denver and Utah and disappointing losses against Miami, Dallas, San Antonio and Boston. "You know, we'll get there in time."

Fair enough on the former statement. Demonstrating an understanding that the road to the championship is long, Celtics forward Paul Pierce reminded everyone that "when you win a game here now it's not for the championship." But what about Jackson's latter comment? This isn't to question the validity of his argument, so much as it is to note the increased uncertainty about how the Lakers can reach that point. The Lakers currently trail the league-leading San Antonio Spurs (40-7) by 7 1/2 games  in the Western Conference standings, meaning the team continues playing with elements outside their control that would determine home-court advantage.

But that's not the primary concern. The Lakers entered the game against Boston having split its previous six games, showing glimpses of championship-caliber play in marquee wins against Oklahoma City, Utah and Denver but reverting back to poor habits against the Clippers, Dallas and Sacramento. Trying to predict how the Lakers would respond against Boston proved too hard for Jackson. What the Lakers answered was this: the game proved to be a well-fought matchup, but one that featured the Lakers' failing to match the Celtics in pretty much every key area.

For all the progress the Lakers made with a new defensive scheme this month that's led to a third-ranked mark in opponents' shooting percentage, they allowed Boston to shoot 60.3% from the field, 52.9% from three-point range. Pierce dropped 32 points on 11-for-18 shooting and Rajon Rondo distributed 15 of his 16 assists in the second half.

For all the progress the Lakers have made in fostering offensive chemistry, Kobe Bryant proved to be the only dependable option Sunday, scoring 41 points on 16-for-29 shooting. His accuracy helped jump start the offense but his shooting prompted everyone else to remain passive. And for all the renewed focus, the Lakers clearly showed they can't match up with Boston's personnel, a point that doesn't leave Bryant worried, just aware there are many steps they need to take before regaining that championship level.

"Never panic," he said. "What you have to do is get better. Would you like to win these games? Absolutely. But the important thing is to continue to get better so if we're fortunate enough to see them down the road, we're ready when that time comes. Although we'd like to win these games, it's important to get better."

But will they?

Lakers guard Derek Fisher reflected on the 2001-02 championship season, remembering that had Robert Horry not made a game-winning three-pointer in a Game 4 victory over Sacramento in the West finals, the Lakers would've faced a tough task in overcoming a 3-1 series deficit. Fisher brought that up for the sake of arguing it's hard to properly gauge the team's standing, considering top teams in the regular season can fall short in the playoffs and underwhelming teams in the regular season can suddenly go on a surge come playoff time. Last season the Cleveland Cavaliers' 61-21 regular-season record was the NBA's best . . . and they couldn't get out of the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, losing to Boston, which had gone 50-32.

"I don't know what's supposed to dramatically change other than incrementally doing your job on a day-to-day basis over time," Fisher said. "There's not a magic pill or snap of a finger that will change things. I've been on too many successful teams to get bunkered down over the course of the season that happens to everybody."

But should they prove good enough to advance to the NBA Finals for a fourth consecutive season and face Boston, the Lakers showed plenty of areas they would need to sharpen against the Celtics.

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The Lakers need to understand how to ride Bryant's hot hand.

The whiteboard in the Celtics' locker room had a list of several areas where Boston needed to excel in order to walk out of Staples Center with a victory. One of those areas emphasized limiting Bryant -- understanding it's nearly impossible to limit him from scoring while emphasizing the need to make him score on difficult shots.

Bryant's 41 points on 29 shots surely illustrated that point with Pierce and Ray Allen sharing defensive assignments, Bryant shooting on 10 consecutive fourth-quarter possessions and the rest of the Lakers offense rarely involved.

Except perhaps for a few of those fourth-quarter attempts, Bryant validated Jackson's contention during his pregame press conference that Bryant has learned when it's necessary to temper his shot selection and when it's necessary to use that skill set to help the Lakers secure a victory.

Against the Celtics, it surely proved warranted.

Despite picking up two early fouls that prompted Jackson to remove Bryant for the final 6:46 of the first quarter, Bryant played with remarkably efficiency, scoring 17 of his 22 first-half points in the second quarter on six-for-eight shooting. Bryant's constant chewing on his jersey early in the game foreshadowed the following late in the game: Bryant hitting a tough turnaround jumper that drew an and-one and reduced the deficit at 89-82 with 6:58 left; Bryant giving Pierce a case of broken ankles before nailing a jumper to cut the Celtics' lead to 91-85 with 5:50 remaining; pump faking against Glen Davis before shooting in the lane to reduce the gap to 91-87 with 5:20 left.

Too bad his teammates didn't appeaer to know how to properly respond to it.

"I didn't think anybody else wanted the ball," Jackson said. "We ran a couple of other things to get guys in the position. But those times I thought he had the best opportunities when other people were moving to the ball. A lot of times it didn't look like we were running anything offensively. I think they backed off. They wanted to let Kobe, he seemed to be the guy having the hot hand and wanted to give him a lot of space instead of moving to our offense and flowing into what we do. He's going to give the ball up if they come up and double or they trap him, he'll try to find some open shooters who need to hit some shots."

But that didn't happen.

Instead the rest of the Lakers shot 20 for 62 (32.2%) and allowed Boston to respond to Bryant's one-man show with balanced offense from Pierce, Allen (21 points on eight-for-12 shooting), Kevin Garnett (18 points on nine-for-12 shooting), Glen Davis (13 points, five for 10), Nate Robinson (11 points, four for seven) and Rondo (10 points, five for nine).

"It's tough because most of the times we find ourselves standing on the weak side and we have to make sure we stay active so when the ball does get to us, we're ready to finish and deliver," Gasol said. "Otherwise we're just cooling off. We have to figure out a way of when Kobe is aggressive and is effective as he was tonight to also get involved somehow."

The issue didn't correlate with Bryant's hot hand disrupting the offense so much as it was his supporting cast not responding to it properly. That doesn't mean the Lakers can't correct it. Remember, they figured out how to elevate themselves when Bryant struggled with a six-for-24 shooting day in Game 7 last June after failing to complement Bryant's hot hand in a 38-point performance in Game 5. But it requires the Lakers'needing to recognize those tendencies on the court and adjusting when need be.

"We were horrible offensively, as far as our spacing is concerned," Lamar Odom said. "Whenever we play games like that, we give Kobe no choice but to try to take over the game. We just didn't get everybody involved like we needed to."

 

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The Lakers need more frontline help to combat the Celtics size

That started with Gasol whose five of 13 clip clearly lacked what the Lakers need during Bryant's early foul trouble, Bynum's limited touches, foul trouble and sore left knee as well as Odom's modest 15 points and five rebounds on five of 13 shooting.

Highlights might focus on Gasol's inadvertent elbow on Garnett that required him to leave the floor at the 6:28 mark of the second quarter to gett stitches on his bloody forehead and wear a conspicuous patch. But don't mistake Gasol's play as physical. Sure, that play prompted Gasol to play more aggressively, as illustrated by his block on Shaquille O'Neal. But everywhere else he remained passive.

When Bryant sat out the final 6:46 of the first quarter because of foul trouble, Gasol didn't score at all. When he had open one-on-one looks, Gasol instead settled for mid-range jumpers over going into the lane, a possible sign he wanted to avoid contact. And with the Lakers-Celtics 2010 NBA Finals matchup revealing that whoever grabbed the most rebounds won the game, he provided very little help in that respect as the Celtics outrebounded the Lakers, 43-30.

"I tried to be aggressive when I had the opportunity to," Gasol said.

The problem doesn't just point to Gasol. The Lakers didn't provide much defensively. It featured Odom fouling Davis at halfcourt that granted him three free throws before halftime. It featured the Lakers getting exposed on the interior. And it featured Bynum showing limitation because of fouls and a sore left knee. The Lakers clearly saw that their size advantage may prove unstoppable against most teams in the NBA, but not against Boston.

"I thought he got shots he wanted to take, but some of them didn't go in," Jackson said. "I thought toward the end, the limitation of our ball movement changed it for him."

Ron Artest can't duplicate his performance against Boston in the playoffs

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No one illustrated the dichotomy between the Lakers' Game 7 performance last season against Boston and Sunday's effort against the Celtics better than Ron Artest. After posting 20 points on seven-of-18 shooting and limiting Pierce to a seven-of-18 clip in Game 7, Artest appeared equally as lost on offense (1 of 10) as he did on defense (Pierce scored 32 points on 11 of 18 shooting). Surely, some of those sequences illustrated Pierce's ability to hit contested shot over Artest. But there were plenty that showed Artest simply couldn't keep up with him, most notably when Pierce drove right past him on a single dribble that gave the Celtics a 58-57 lead with 9:33 remaining. It prompted Jackson to yank Artest in favor of Luke Walton, not exactly the option the Lakers would've preferred in Matt Barnes, who's currently rehabbing his surgically repaired right knee. The Lakers also featured a smaller lineup in the fourth quarter with Fisher and Steve Blake playing side-by-side.

"I got F's in elementary school and I still went to college," deadpanned Artest, who said he injured one of his thighs during the first quarter. "I know one of my friends got A's his whole career in elementary school and he didn't go to college."

The Lakers didn't fill in for Artest's mistakes considering Pierce went six of eight in the second half, including when Artest sat out the entire fourth quarter. But this is the sole reason why Artest is with the Lakers. If he can't provide a lock-down role like he did in the 2010 NBA Finals, the Lakers will struggle to find very little use of him considering his offensive struggles.

"He got lost on the court," Jackson said. "They started off with Pierce scoring nine points right off the bat, three three pointers [in the third quarter]. Ron took a couple shots that weren't in the context of what we were trying to do. I thought we'd go in another direction, but it didn't seem to work.

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

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

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has his driving layup challenged by Celtics big men Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins on Sunday at Staples Center. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is fouled as he scores on a layup by Boston center Shaquille O'Neal during the game Sunday at Staples Center. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Photo: Lakers power forward Pau Gasol fouls Celtics guard Ray Allen as he drives the baseline during the game Sunday. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Photo: Lakers forward Ron Artest tries to catch his balance while center Andrew Bynum attempts to grab an offensive rebound against Boston on Sunday. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

 
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ONly kobe showed up to play. damn this team. they are so bad i deleted them off of tivo and replaced it with clipper games. At least they are playing their hearts out for the win.

lakers are a waste of time. not even entertaining. watch kobe when shaq wins his next ring and he says "i got the same amount of rings as kobe". and he helps the celtics to win another banner. ef shaq - his jersey better never be hanging from staples.


FIRST IMPRESSIONS ON TODAY’S GAME !!!
……………………………………………………………………
To begin with, like all of us, I was completely dismayed at how the Lakers played today although I suspect from the comments that I have read that my opinions and criticisms will not be very popular. At any rate, here’s my take on what I took from the game and what I think the Lakers need to do.

I stated before that it’s only January and which team wins or loses the actual game won’t really count. But I also stated that the team that won the front court battle of toughness could walk away with a definite edge should the teams meet again in the NBA Finals. Drew vs. Shaq and Perkins, Ron vs. PP, Pau vs. KG, and LO vs. Big Baby. The team that wins those matchups wins the game. Today, that was the clearly the Celtics. They reversed two of the matchups they lost in the 2010 NBA Finals.

Two of the critical front court matchups that favored the Lakers in last year’s Finals –Artest on Pierce and Gasol on Garnett - were clearly won by the Celtics today. I thought Drew played pretty well, shutting down both Shaq and Perkins and hitting 50% of his shots. Other than the one drive by Big Baby, Drew basically controlled the paint. I also thought Lamar did a credible job and shot a high percentage, although that bone headed play to end the first half cost the Lakers momentum.

The big disappointment again was Pau Gasol, who seems to be a shell of the guy who helped us repeat last year. KG totally dominated Pau and his help defense when Drew was out of the game was weak. Worst of all though were the weak shot attempts that Pau consistently threw up at the rim. I can’t help thinking that day by day, Mitch may actually be thinking of a possible Pau for Melo swap. The salaries are about the same and Melo would provide some toughness down low that Pau doesn’t.

As for Ron Artest’s performance, 1 of 10 from the field and weak defense on Pierce left the Lakers playing four on five much of the night. It’s one thing if Ron was injured and I am sure he will rebound but you could see how easy it was for Paul to score today than it was in last year’s Finals. Pierce is having a career year and Ron looks like he has aged two years. Hopefully, Ron will rebound.

Finally, I was also disappointed in Kobe. I thought he had learned that you can’t beat a team like the Celtics single handed. 41 points and 0 assists is not a winning formula in my book, nor in Phil Jackson’s book. Kobe needed to get his teammates involved rather than waving them off over and over as he posted up in isolation. As great as Kobe is, this is not how you beat other great teams. And everybody standing around watching is also not conducive to good transition or half court defense. Only 1o assists shows the Lakers didn’t run their offense. You can’t beat Boston with Kobe ball. Kobe and his defenders need to learn this. Otherwise, this Lakers team is not going to three-peat.
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TOM

I clicked on the link expecting no or hardly any criticism of Gasol. To my surprise, the piece was well written, on point and insightful when touching upon Gasol.

What is missing though is an analysis of Fisher's liability on the floor and Luke Walton's talent level or the lack thereof that warrants demotion to a league below the D league. When Walton is on the floor, the opposing small forward (Pierce in this case) just lit him up. He is too slow to move his feet, not athletic enough to challenge shots or athletic enough to recover after helping. On offense, he clogs the lane. Opposing defenders do not guard him and thus can pack the paint to defend against Kobe, Bynum and Gasol. Walton's play has to be addressed and he cannot continue to receive a free pass from the media whne he is "stealing" money from the Lakers.

Tom,

I understand what you are saying about Kobe, but I think it's really hard for him to pass the ball to guys that aren't shooting well. I think overall, he is leading the team in assists or very close.

One other point about Kobe shooting, he can take all the shots and it doesn't keep our guys from rebounding and playing great defense. We lost because we got out rebounded and out defensed.

Walton played major minutes tonight and yet he warrants only one mention in the postgame recap. Why don't any writers ask him if he feels he is earning the money on his contract? Maybe he should be like Meche of the Royals and retire from the game and have some dignity.

I know he will not play when Matt Barnes is healthy. Oh, wait, he has compromising photos of Phil so he will get some spot duty and during a playoff game he is going to come in at the end of a quarter and try to throw a long pass downcourt on an inbounds and turn it over (seems to always happen).

Don't want to be all negative... Kobe was amazing today.

The world is ours !! THREE PEAT IN 2011 !!

GOoooooooooOOO LAKERS !!

KG is a lot different when he is playing with two sound legs.....Ask Pau

why are you deleting my comments? is this blog only for the 23 "main players" - the ones who get the rcod?

why can't i post "melo for pau any ol' day????"

Tom has it in his post and it makes good sense. why can't we save anything remotely negative about the lakers?

lame!!!!

Without home court, the Lakers do not have any chance of winning a playoff series against good teams. And right now they are unlikely to get it with their pathetic front line. There is no way to avoid the painful fact that the Laker starting frontline of Artest, Bynum, and Gasol got outscored by 25 points not only against Boston but also by over 20 points even gainst the lowly Kings. No amount of super performances by Kobe or anybody else will overcome a 25 point hole even before the game has started. And that is even without considering the rebound differential!

We MUST get RID of ga-SOFT. That's the only chance we have of winning. He has not progressed, but digressed.

pau and Artest for:

Deng and Noah
David West and Ariza
Bogut and Maggette
Danny Granger and Tyler Hansbrough
Nene and Carmelo
Randolph and Rudy Gay

Mark Medina,

A well-composed and prolific post.

One game does not a season make (usually), but I'm concerned about the lack of fire I see from the Lakers (Kobe excepted) when it comes to big games. It seems like most of our players are more fired up to play against mid-tier teams than our rivals.

I'm vexed. I'm very vexed.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

LakerTom,

Please don't insult us. Drew played great? Controlled the paint? What game are you watching? Our bigs sucked big time, all 3 of them, including your beloved Drew. Everybody ready to throw Pau under the bus, how about this, when was a last game where Bynum shows up big against good frontline? And please don't tell me about Shaq, Shaq was toast not because of Bynum. He got several fast fouls and it was over for him. If Drew was so good why in the world we got outrebounded? Because he never gets any rebound unless it's going his way. And you have a nerve talking about Kobe? Kobe was the only one who shows up for this game, not Pau, not LO, and yes not even your bellowed Bynum.

Meanwhile, the Thunder, Jazz, Nuggets and Hornets all LOST today, too. About a year ago we lost to the Thuggets at Staples 126-113. Today sucked. I'm concerned about Gasol because he has seemed weak and tired this season. I'm concerned about Artest because he's a nut case who I never liked anyway, but maybe he'll start going to his shrink more often, start keeping his flap shut and start playing basketball again. Bynum will only improve, LO will be fine and Kobe will be ready for the playoffs. So will Fish and our bench will get back to playing like it did when the season started. But I will NOT bash our players, especially Pau Gasol, who has meant so much to this championship run. Without him, we have ZERO chance of three-peating, so we can only hope that he figures things out mentally and physically because something is wrong.

By the way, there's still plenty of time to do that and we have 2 things that no one else has: Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant. They've been through a few wars together and have usually emerged victorious.

Today sucked, predictably so. Fortunately, there's tomorrow.

KobeMVP888,
I usually agree with you, we all waiting for Bynum to improve. We’re waiting and waiting and waiting, how many years?


Most of us are fans. It's not mutiny to be down about that game.
It wasn't close. At home.

Michigan coaches have to beat Ohio or heads roll.

The Lakers have to beat the Celtics. There will be a few changes.

Beat San Antonio, and move on.

Laker Tom,

I'm still trying to understand how that Cousins kid outplayed Andrew on Friday night. What the heck is going on?

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

When Kobe "takes over" it is inevetable the rest of the team just give up. I wonder if the rest of the team like King Kobe? I don't think so.

Very disappointing loss but still no need to panic. Concern? Perhaps, but what this team really needs to do is DEFEND! If the team is going to conserve energy on the offensive end by allowing Kobe to ISO and carry the scoring load, then at least have the pride and fortitude to grab offensive rebounds and run back on defense.
You know Kobe is going to shoot the ball, then get under that basket, box out, grab the miss and put in back in the basket. It’s the least the team can do if they’re not going to make shots. I’m tired of reading about Pau’s med school years, Lamar’s TV show, Ron’s music CD and Shannon’s marriage to a singer. Maybe they’re just not putting enough effort into the game of basketball on and off the court.
It's agonizing watching the opponents run on offense and our "bigs" are still loafing under the basket breaking into a trot on D. No excuse for that type of energy, or lack thereof. There has to be consequences for poor effort which requires time on the bench. If we're going to lose these games anyway, you might as well mete out some punishment to the culprits. It's gotta be embarrassing to get "benched" because you don't want to hustle. There is a bright side to all of this of course and it’s that we’re still early in the season. History has proven that the team can get it together come playoff time and become a formidable force to be reckoned with. No more talk about turning on switches or not being interested in the regular season. This team tried their best to win today and their best was simply not good enough.

At least I got to see another Kobe 40+ game! If they are going to continue to stink, then I always hope for second best, which is a lot of points by Kobe at 40% or above FG%.


Time to do some magic trades Mitch! Bigs who can bang and run. I think PG and RA are two of those Kobe was talking about weeks ago who may be the ones who are satisfied with 1-2 rings, IMO, so move 'em. At least they are playing like it..........


I know Fish and Kobe want another 3-peat, but not sure there is enough fire in the remaining "players" for the work it takes.

LAL_Fan

Bynum's still not 100% healthy. That's all I meant. He still does not have that explosion. I didn't mean he's suddenly going to become something he's not. He still needs about 3-4 weeks to get there. He's still a role player on this team and he's playing his role fine as far as I'm concerned especially where he's at physically.

The concern is Pau, mentally and physically. Bynum can stay the way he is and we'll be fine as long as Pau is capable of getting his game back. Instead of bagging on Pau, people should be concerned about him. Instead of ragging on Bynum, people need to have patience. The Lakers are not in a good place as a TEAM right now. They can't three-peat where they are at right now. Mostly, it's in their fat heads. You know, the fat heads they EARNED by winning back-to-back championships. Don't forget, they did not spend the summer doing things they normally do. They simply are not back on track yet. the hope is that they get there.

All this micro-analyzing crap is useless. Our 2 stars are Kobe and Pau. The rest are role players. If one of those 2 stars is not functioning near or at the top of his game, the entire engine breaks down. For now, it's Pau, but I refuse to pile on him like the whiners do. They should be ashamed of themselves after what he's brought us. They complain about him playing like he did in 2008. Guess what? He helped lead us to the NBA Finals that year well ahead of schedule. These fans should be thanking him, expressing gratitude and most importance should have some patience. God forbid. The game was sickening, but nothing compared to these unappreciative fans.

LakerTom,

Phil Jackson said:
"I didn't think anybody else wanted the ball," Jackson said. "We ran a couple of other things to get guys in the position. But those times I thought he had the best opportunities when other people were moving to the ball. A lot of times it didn't look like we were running anything offensively. I think they backed off. They wanted to let Kobe, he seemed to be the guy having the hot hand and wanted to give him a lot of space instead of moving to our offense and flowing into what we do. He's going to give the ball up if they come up and double or they trap him, he'll try to find some open shooters who need to hit some shots."

you wrote:
Finally, I was also disappointed in Kobe. I thought he had learned that you can’t beat a team like the Celtics single handed. 41 points and 0 assists is not a winning formula in my book, nor in Phil Jackson’s book. Kobe needed to get his teammates involved rather than waving them off over and over as he posted up in isolation.

my response: Help me understand your point of view. Phil Jackson is
saying that the rest of the Lakers were passive and didn't run the offense.
You're blaming the passiveness of the rest of the Lakers on Kobe?

Or are you disagreeing with Phil and saying that it wasn't the rest of the
Lakers being passive ... it was actually Kobe waving everybody off?

VMan,

"It wasn't close. At home."

It was for a time. I thought we were going to take this one when we within four in the fourth quarter... and then the team stopped playing defense and everyone just sat around and watched Kobe on offense.

Zero tolerance for that garbage. One thing I pay a lot of attention to is player movement away from the ball. There was so little of it in the second half... especially from our bigs. That's just not how the game is supposed to be played.

Kobe took a lot of shots because no one else was moving to create offensive opportunities for themselves or their teammates (and that includes Kobe).

WTH?

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Ok.

I'm a little confused ....

this was written:
But I will NOT bash our players, especially Pau Gasol, who has meant so much to this championship run. Without him, we have ZERO chance of three-peating, so we can only hope that he figures things out mentally and physically because something is wrong.

the same poster who wrote that also wrote ...

I'm concerned about Artest because he's a nut case who I never liked anyway

my response: saying you never liked someone and calling them a nut
case is *NOT* bashing? really?


>>>Walton played major minutes tonight

Since when is 11 "major" minutes?

Walton played poorly. Rest assured that once Barnes is back, Walton will be mostly back parked on the bench.

now we miss sasha hustling play..he can guard ray allen making him diffecult to shoot...if we keep fisher playing as starter i guesss no parade on june...fisher cant guard westbrook,kid,parker,deron this are the play off point guard of opposing team...rondo,rose,wade/chalmers,felton in east oppossing point guard...

LAL_Fan
agreed, those rose colored glasses LT is wearing makes his takes so less credible and downright laughable. LT's quote "Bynum basically controlled the paint" should be grounds for banishment alone but I'll settle for ridicule.

MVP, today is Jan 30th so by March we should see that explosive Bynum you keep talking about, right? if we don't, will you say April? May? June?
Will you ever concede that Bynum will never be that player again? How about next year? Exactly what is the longest timetable for full recovery from this minor knee surgery? Kendrick Perkins is coming off major knee surgery and already looks further along than AB.

Gasoft needs to find his cajones.

The only questions I have are about what moves Kupchak makes to get the team back in contention next year. This year is over.

My goodness

Not the fact that Ron Artest missed 9 out of 10 shots BUT HE TOOK TEN SHOTS

Now that's a smart gameplan by Doc Rivers, he knows the probability of Ron Artest beating the Celtics with his shooting is almost nil, so why not leave him open.

The Lakers look so uncoached, but that is Phil coaching, or something like that?

I really believe that the Lakers will not start playing basketball until about 20 games left in the season.
That is the only logical conclusion I can come to.
I hope it works or they'll be hell to pay.

Mark Jackson summed it up best: "The Lakers Bigs didn't come to play today."

It wasn't just today, it's been the story for the past 4 losses and their 4 game losing streak earlier in the season. They are playing small on D and in the paint on offense. The shorter Demarcus Cousins man handled them on Friday. Garnett and Glenn Davis did it today. Until they start imposing their size on both ends of the court, this will be a continuing theme.

Kobe was the only consistent scorer in the paint today. And as far as zero assists, remember that the player he passes to has to make his shot. Gasol received a number of passes from Kobe today and his shots didn't drop. The bigs got out hustled and out muscled. And finally the Keltics pulled away.

I'm not concerned about home court advantage if our bigs play to their advantage. Size advantage on D and offense trumps home court advantage.

Instead of playing like weeping willows, they need to return to form as a forest of mighty oaks in the paint...

Can you blame a team for not playing inspired ball,
when the adulterer is holding the ball, waving people off?

40 points. Z E R O Assists. Nuff said.

Besides, the grapes are sour anyway.

It's a loss, so it doesn't count.

Jon,

I like Andrew too...he's world class...just like all mid-rung centers in the NBA.
As to your comment about the Cuz...watch him perform Tuesday night and you'll get some clarity (He'll be matched against the package checker).

Go Kings! Bring dignity back to the west!
Go San Franciso Giants!
Go Aaron Rogers (Another great Nocal product)!

Sonnybelfast

Last thoughts

1. When JerryWest came out last week and said what he said
I thought, were these comments some type of buried bitterness he has toward the Laker organization?
But then after the last 2 games, I'm thinking he's a helluva lot smarter than the rest of us.

2. Lamar Odum's foul on that half court shot reminds me that we are not the smartest team in the league. oft times we look lost.

3. Those criticizing Kobe like to point out last year when the Lakers went 5-1 without him. Well during that span of games the Lakers hustles their butts off, but hustle can only go so far and then boston beat them and everyone understood.

4. The Lakers really really need a point guard who can stop and pop. Nobody respects Derrick Fisher that way and defenses have an immediate advantage over the lakers.

5. The Lakers really really need another dynamic player who can create their own shot. No one else on this team can do that unless their defender is a toothpick.

6. What use is passing the ball to an open man(?) if you can't hit 40%. Touches are overrated.

7. Give me players who can put the frickin ball in the basket.

hobbitmage,

"But I will NOT bash our players, especially Pau Gasol, who has meant so much to this championship run. Without him, we have ZERO chance of three-peating, so we can only hope that he figures things out mentally and physically because something is wrong."

That's a good attitude to have, brother.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

The Triangulator,

Phil Jackson said it best when he said, "There was no semblance of an offense out there in the second half."

How the fricking frak does Phoenix hold the Celtics to 71 point and we let them score above 100? How? HOW?

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

The Triangulator,

By the way, brother, please don't ever quote Mark Jackson... or Jeff Van Gundy for that matter, ever again.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Lots of understandable frustration here. The thing that troubled me most was that the Lakers actually truly really tried against Boston for obvious reasons and fell woefully short. They can't blame this on having an off night or not really caring. The Lakers really wanted this game. They just had horrible discipline on defense and no one outside of Kobe and a little bit of Lamar came to play offensively. The Lakers can say all they want that it's just the regular season, and to a small degree, they have a point. But the Celtics are a championship caliber team and have the rightful perspective on the regular season (Pierce didn't make much of the win at all, unlike some of the other marquee teams that have beaten the Lakers). This game clearly shows that the Lakers have lots of work to do before even thinking it has a chance to beat the Celtics in the Finals

Another lost to a play off team.What pisses me of is the media focuses on Kobe's hot hand,another display of a one man show,another display of ball hogging rather than a proper execution of the triangle offense that emphasize balance and sharing of the ball;so contrary to Phil's game plan which have won so many Nba championships and gave Phil 11 rings.This is totally contradictory to Phil Jackson and the great Tex Winter philosophy.This is totally disrespectful to the Laker's style of play,it will even make Michael Jordan feel embarrass,the offense that gave him 6 rings is played totally out of sinc.

I've been telling you to prepare yourselves for months.

Even now, it will be easier for you if you take my advice.

Early on, the league did its best to keep the Lakers in the hunt...
perhaps thinking that early success would do the trick.
And you were successful...
able to pad your record enough to get you into the playoffs...
(probably anyway....for all the good it will do...
though the jury is still out even on that point).

But, there is no way around it...fool's gold is fool's gold.

Of course,
the only games you have lost have either been to teams in the lowest tier,
or the games which mattered most to you; those is the highest tier.
Hmm. Let's see now...we are getting clarity.

(I know, I know...Sour Grapes!)

Now, you are having to come to grips that your team is old, tired, hurt,
and running on fumes. You are relying on past championships,
and somehow, hope that your old Troupe will have enough for a final kick.

Well, O.K.. This is what all good fans wish for, when they must.

But my advice to you is to put your Cuckoo Bird hats on AGAIN,
and go steal players which have been nurtured and developed by other teams, which you can then claim as your own.

That's how it's done and champions are made in Socal, isn't it?

Enough to make any good fan proud!

Oh, and before I forget, let's hear it please...somebody!
Revel in past glory, and remind everyone how many rings you have.

That outta work until the league can do something to get you back on top...

I don't know about you...but I'm rooting for the Kings on Tuesday.

Go Kings!
Go SF Niners!
Go SF Giants!
Go Aaron (Chico man)!

Sonnybelfast

I was able to watch today's game with some blog elders today in the flesh. The concensus was "What the heck is going on with Pau Gasol?"

The truth is that Pau Gasol is a super-star. He is the most skilled big man in the game. What is going on with Pau? I love the guy, but he seems less motivated than he's ever been as a Laker.

I have faith in the guy. There's just something going on that I'm not aware of that's affecting things.

But it's coming to the point where Phil, Kobe and Derek can't be the only voices trying to motivate this team.

Personally, I'd rather see Ebanks and Caracter in the grill of Gasol and Artest... and getting their butts kicked as a result... but motivating the team all the same.

Nothing is more difficult than building a Dynasty. Nothing. People need to get on board with this fact and suck it up.

My friend is in the Green Berets and he tells me what they put him through on a weekly basis. The NBA has nothing on it. The non-Kobe players in the Lakers need to realize that they have a meaningful opportunity at Greatness here and stop phoning it in.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

The Lakers (Kobe and Derek don't count) need to understand what it means to be a Laker. Being a Laker means that you are the Special Forces of the NBA. It's full in or not at all. That's it.

If you want to be less than full in, go play for the Charlotte Bobcats.

If you're a Laker, you have to be full in. That's it... and when you're career is over you will thank yourself for that.

All in. Nothing else.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

The game is a team concept,Phil,Tex Winter,Cleamons and Hamblem all Laker's coaches have been preaching that into their heads,they have won 6 Nba titles with the Bulls,they have done so with these present team.41 points and a lost to the Celtic wouldnt make a person a great player.If you put a Ray Allen type of player into this Laker team for sure this team will be devastating,with his long range jumper and his strong defence this laker team will surely conquer all teams,because he will play within the team capability and he will be very open which will allow him sink his 3 pointers.

same old Lakers. same bogus excuses. this team is a mess and an embarrassment to their fans. No effort, pride, and no sense of reality. this team nether has the discipline or will to 3-peat. PATHETIC is what this team is..

I was able to watch today's game with some blog elders today in the flesh. The concensus was "What the heck is going on with Pau Gasol?"

The truth is that Pau Gasol is a super-star. He is the most skilled big man in the game. What is going on with Pau? I love the guy, but he seems less motivated than he's ever been as a Laker.

I have faith in the guy. There's just something going on that I'm not aware of that's affecting things.

But it's coming to the point where Phil, Kobe and Derek can't be the only voices trying to motivate this team.

Personally, I'd rather see Ebanks and Caracter in the grill of Gasol and Artest... and getting their butts kicked as a result... but motivating the team all the same.

Nothing is more difficult than building a Dynasty. Nothing. People need to get on board with this fact and suck it up.

My friend is in the Green Berets and he tells me what they put him through on a weekly basis. The NBA has nothing on it. The non-Kobe players in the Lakers need to realize that they have a meaningful opportunity at Greatness here and stop phoning it in.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Posted by: Jon K. | January 30, 2011 at 11:59 PM

______________________________

Trade his passive and lazy butt. The guy has no back bone, and is an embarrassment to the team.

Lots of understandable frustration here. The thing that troubled me most was that the Lakers actually truly really tried against Boston for obvious reasons and fell woefully short. They can't blame this on having an off night or not really caring. The Lakers really wanted this game. They just had horrible discipline on defense and no one outside of Kobe and a little bit of Lamar came to play offensively. The Lakers can say all they want that it's just the regular season, and to a small degree, they have a point. But the Celtics are a championship caliber team and have the rightful perspective on the regular season (Pierce didn't make much of the win at all, unlike some of the other marquee teams that have beaten the Lakers). This game clearly shows that the Lakers have lots of work to do before even thinking it has a chance to beat the Celtics in the Finals

Posted by: Mark Medina | January 30, 2011 at 11:41 PM

----------------------------------
I could not agree more. at least someone here gets it..

The best thing that can happen for the Lakers right now is that Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom do not make the All Star game. At the beginning of the year I look at the competition we faced and all match ups came down to Gasol winning his match up against whoever. Obviously that has not happen this year nor is it going to happen. He not just going to start playing better because of the playoffs. People need to get use to this is who he is, a soft player. Yesterday was hard to watch. Stop blaming Kobe and the stop hiding behind the triangle offense. The Celtics yesterday did not stop Kobe nor did they beat up on the triangle offense. They out fought, out rebound and out ran Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Ron Artest and Lamar Odom. I hate excuses so stop using them.

I think it is time for Mitch to open up talks about a mid season trade for a point guard that is younger and provides better ball handling skills. This seems to be part of the problem in the Lakers offense. Look it all the turnovers yesterday. They should call Shannon Brown Mr. Butterhands, because every time he runs the ball across the court it constantly slips out his hands and is turned over to the other team. They have no one counter against the likes of Rondo, Durant, Wade or Rose. Mitch basically gave up their speed of Sasha and Farmer for older/slower players(Blake & Barnes). After watching yesterday's game, I think this Laker team looks even worse then the 08 team that competed for the rest of the year with Gasol. Last year, it was the Celtics who were old & tired, now it's the Lakers that respond slow to just about everything. At least the Celtics added younger players to aid with their aging roster. When you try to better yourself, you don't go older and slower. That is what these Lakers lacked last season; speed and they slowed down even more? There defense has just never been good enough for going with a slow and boring game. Looking in the last 30 years, I can't remember any team that has lost to top seed team in regular season by double digits and lived to win the championship. Also, I don't remember any team winning title and getting beat the likes of the Sacramento Kings, let alone at home, and winning it all. This time there is no denying it; this team definitely in trouble and unless there are changes before the trade deadline, I wouldn't expect the Lakers to get past the second round the roster they have now and I think that would humane thing for this team in order to avoid embarrassment of the Celtics getting their tenth championship victory against them.

A bit of everything is true, Kobe said it best, yea you want to win these games, im sure they are all mad they did not win, but perspective comes with experience and wisdom. Its late January early Feb. Its safe to say that a team with two rings and three straight finals appearances knows how to gauge themselves and get it done. This by no means is a guarantee they will get there, I believe they understand nothing is promised, but they believe more they CAN get it done. Laker nation, dont worry about it now, seriously, the biggest thing is be healthy come May, and be playing championship ball at THAT time, not so much now. Plus, trust me, these other high caliber, "championship" contender teams who have beaten the Lakers do not want to see them in a 7 game series when everything is on the line. Its much easier for these teams to get up for a non-pressure regular season game than a high-pressure playoff series. By contrast, the Lakers have proven it is easier for them to be focused and ready for pressure games in the spring than in winter! We will be there, and Boston might too, but the east will be tougher for them to get through, than the west for L.A.

if ur a lakers fan pray 4 ur team, the lakers must play hard basketball defense, rebound, good flow offense.. rebound,defense good flow offense wins championship... God bless la lakers... start today the killer instinct in evry game no mercy to every opponents... Go lakers...

MM,

I figured that's what you'd do.
Fair enough.

Sonnybelfast

I started the season by saying Bynum and Fish are the weak links to the Lakers. Both players should be traded by Feb this year. They are worthless. Bynum cannot dribble and what is that sky hook or something that he shoots and misses the whole basket ?? Then he shoot from 15 ft out and is completely off. He cannot run, shoot, jump, and rebound. With 6 years NBA experience why do people say he is not ready yet ?? come on !! Bynum will never be ready. He even misses free throws. the other Laker is Walton. what is he doing playing ?? the guy is zero also. laker management needs to make some trades and fast.

1. It is extraordinarily hard to repeat, much less threepeat.

2. The C's had more invested in this game than the Lakers. They quit on the Staples Center floor in Game 7 last June. They'll never recover from it, but they took out some frustration yesterday. Oh yeah, and they're one helluva team.

3. Phil's Lakers approach challenges and rivalries much differently. It's almost as if this season they've said, "get your licks in now, wake us when it's April." Boston NEEDS to be more focused because after last year's experience they realized how important it is to finish with a top seed and a chance at HCA through June.

4. If LA is going to give up on seeding, then let the rookies play. Phil is showing an ominous similarity to Riley insofar as shortening his rotation and not trusting younger players. He may need Caracter and Ebanks more than he realizes.

5. The Lakers' rematch will give us an idea about how they respond to adversity.

6. Lest we forget (as many front runner come-lately C's fans have) . . . the trio of Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher (approx. 27) have been in FAR more high-stakes playoff battles than the Celtics' nucleus, Doc + Big Four (approx. 10). They've handled the Trail Blazers, Spurs, Kings, and yes, Boston, over the last decade or so. They've got a good shot (and are too good NOT to have a shot) in 2011 to threepeat. Have faith.

KBMVP888,
"They should be ashamed of themselves after what he's (Gasol's) brought us"

I could not agree more strongly with a comment in this post.
------

Mark,
"This game clearly shows that the Lakers have lots of work to do before even thinking it has a chance to beat the Celtics in the Finals"

Finals. You're talking about Finals? Let's get through the WCF's first. Heck, let's get to the WCF's first. With roadie series wins in Dallas and SA looking more and more likely to be looming ahead.........
------

And...am I one of the few observers who thinks the biggest difference, by far, btw the C's and L's is Rajon Rondo? And consider this: his mid-range J is getting a better...

41 points. 0 assists. Kobe said that he wanted to be the highest scoring guard in the history of the NBA and it seems like that is what his intentions are. The Lakers were still in the game after three quarters but the fourth quarter was all about Kobe. I wonder if the greatest guard in the history of the NBA(Michael Jordan)or any other NBA player ever fired up twelve consecutive shots? That is just not a winning formula because it takes his teammates out of the game offensively and defensively. They become spectators on offense and stop hustling on defense.

Alot of people are defensive of any Kobe criticism and what happened yesterday but it probably runs deeper than people think. Kevin Garnett and Dejuan Blair both said something recently that caught my attention. In a nut shell, KG said that they care about each other on and OFF the court, they argue, debate, laugh he described a brotherhood. Blair said indicated that Duncan AND McDyess mentored him and the McDyess told him to not analyze so much and just play. This in turn has made him a better player. And THAT folks is what seems to be the problem, you won't get the cohesiveness from yelling at your teamates, not practicing with them ALL the time, calling them out to the press ALL the time. Alot of these Laker Stars are too self-involved in their own lives. You know which ones...I am not saying each Laker has to be coddled by their veterans and not to have a life but face it people Kobe may be scoring leader and a leader of taking over games, and the leader of awesome skills and REAL LEADERSHIP is not one of them he is too immature and yes I am saying it too selfish.

@KH "At least the Celtics added younger players to aid with their aging roster."
-
-
I hope u aren't referring to Jermaine O & Shaq...they aren't providing much right now...


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