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Lakers' ugly 114-106 overtime victory over Houston Rockets showcases growth in closing out games

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Whether it was the Staples Center crowd serenading the Lakers with boos, General Manager Mitch Kupchak acknowledged consideration for making trades or Magic Johnson questioning the state of the Lakers, plenty of signs both on the court and behind the scenes revealed the Lakers are a work in progress.

The latest example: a 114-106 overtime victory over the Houston Rockets in a game that never should've gone past extra regulation if not for the team's frontline leaving Luis Scola unmarked for an easy basket with 1:56 to play, if not for Kobe Bryant missing two consecutive jumpers to close the game despite Lamar Odom waving his hands frantically at the top of the key and if not for playing through the stretches that only validated Kupchak's contention the Lakers' execution needs to change.

That's why perspective needs to be in order before praising the Lakers avoiding their first three-game home losing streak since Feb. 2007 against a team with a 22-28 mark, 9-18 road mark and a season-ending injury to Yao Ming. But here's where the Lakers showed growth. In overtime. There they made the defensive stops in holding Houston to 40% shooting. There they featured the balanced offense that appeared through most of the game, became absence in the fourth and resurged in extra regulation with the balance between Bryant (32 points on 13 of 25 shooting and 11 assists) and Pau Gasol (26 points on 10 of 20 shooting and 16 rebounds) taking full form with the duo each scoring six points in overtime. The progress in closing out games, an effort the Lakers couldn't do Sunday against Boston, may be small in measure, insignificant because of the opponent and prove fleeting as quickly as the Lakers' next game Thursday against San Antonio, but that's kind of the point.

"It's a matter of getting our legs underneath us again," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said of the Lakers' victory, which brought them 6 1/2 games behind San Antonio (40-8) after losing Tuesday to Portland. "Playing a game down the stretch, it's important in this business to be able to play down the stretch and win close games."

It marked a small nuance of progress in a quest that Jackson, Bryant and Gasol have acknowledged proved frustrating that the team hasn't yielded immediate consistency. That's not an excuse for complacency, although it's been an issue, so much as the understanding that perfecting nuances and pushing the envelope requires a forward-thinking and hungry attitude. And in overtime, they executed the way they talked about in a pregame conversation in the Laker room that emphasized more ball movement and team play.

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That talk continued with communication between Gasol and Bryant. It resulted in Bryant finding Gasol open for a hook shot in the post that gave the Lakers a 104-102 lead with 2:28 remaining. It entailed Bryant firing the ball to Gasol as he cut into the lane. When Gasol missed the layup after drawing a foul on Scola, both Bryant and Gasol high fived and continued supporting each other.

"It works well," Gasol said. "Every time i communicate it has a very good effect and very good impact. it means we're both tuned in and we both try to stay on the same page."

The talk continued when Bryant passed the ball in mid-air as Gasol fought through traffic. It resulted in a layup that gave the Lakers a 108-106 lead with 1:04 left. The effort didn't just contrast Bryant justifiably scoring 41-points on 16 of 29 shooting against Boston, a time none of the offense appeared engaged enough to get involved and an effort both Jackson and Gasol acknowledged reflected his passivity. But what the Lakers' victory against Houston showed was that a direct line of communication will help ensure the offensive harmony both Gasol and Bryant want.

"He's an easy going and selfless person, makes passes and takes shots as it comes to him," Bryant said. "But sometimes he just has to go get it. I'd love to see that from him tonight and he did it. He agrees. That'll take his game to a whole other level, and ours as well because ultimately the goal is to win a championship. Everything that I communicate and every message we talk about the team is all about that goal."

And the talk continued when Odom played a setup man role by directing the offense up top, enabling Bryant to move off the ball. It resulted in Bryant working off a screen and finishing with a layup that gave the Lakers a 110-106 lead with 38.3 seconds left. What's most impressive about Odom's role is he gladly took a backseat and facilitated at a time he could've sulked. Odom grabbed an offensive rebound off Bryant's missed jumper later in the fourth quarter, only to see Bryant attempt a baseline jumper off a double time and ignoring Odom frantically waving his hands at the top of the key. Yet, Odom reacted in a way that'd prove useful for anyone still trying to figure out how to play with Bryant.

"Yeah I remember that. He's the best finisher in the game. It's up to him. I don't feel in any way. I've seen Kobe shoot the ball over guys and make it. I let him know I'm there, but it's up to him to make the play."

But it was also up to the Lakers to make sure they played properly with him. Jackson noted they waited until the offense set up before passing to Bryant, who in turn found enough open cutters to record seven first-quarter assists, helping Derek Fisher and Ron Artest to improve from a combined two of 16 clip against Boston to a seven of 12 mark against Houston and planting the seeds for the Lakers to feel more involved in overtime.

"Obviously if they're making shots they feel bettte about themselves," Bryant said. "But the defense dictates that. You can't get assists if they don't make shots."

Odom surely made those shots, including when he nailed a 14-footer, 17-footer and hook shot in the last four minutes of the fourth quarter that brought them ahead 98-94 with 1:03 remaining. But like with most things involving this game, nothing proved completely satisfactory. In a game Odom filled in for Andrew Bynum in the starting lineup because of a bone bruise in his left knee with a season-high 20 rebounds, Odom began with a two of nine first-half clip and missed a three-pointer on the final play in regulation. In a game the Lakers improved their defense in overtime, Odom faulted poor communication through the first four quarters, which included Bryant sagging on Kevin Martin (30 points on eight of 15 shooting and four of eight from three-point range, Scola (24 points on 12 of 20 shooting) exploiting the interior defense that appeared far less disciplined without Bynum and Aaron Brooks (16 points on seven of 19 shooting) providing another reminder the speed the Lakers often lack. 

But as the Lakers are starting to realize, these season-long problems will take time in completely solving. Houston's victory provided at least provided a start, albeit in ugly fashion.

"They'd like it to happen faster," Jackson said, "but the instincts aren't there right now. Tonight was a really good example."

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Kobe Bryant points down court after hitting a short jumper with 39 seconds left in overtime to give the Lakers a 110-106 leads during Tuesday's victory over Houston at Staples Center. Credit: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times.

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, left, talks with forward Lamar Odom during the second half of the Lakers' 114-106 overtime victory Tuesday. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images

 
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It is simple as changing the style of play. Stay big as you can with the exception of the expendable piece, (one big man). Either Kobe or a bonafide slashing point guard takes the offense into the paint. All of the teams ahead have better point guard play. The only trade that will work is for a point guard that can move the ball in traffic. Period. Team defense will always suffer against teams with strong point guard play. Better out score. Trouble in river city, but they knew that when they gave Fisher his 3 year deal.

Thank goodness for the W last night. At least for Pau's sake.
As fragile as Bynum's body is, yesterday showed our D suffers when hes not in there.
Oh, and slowly, but surely we're seeing more and more anti Fisher posts.

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck.......

http://www.ocregister.com/sports/gasol-286634-bryant-lakers.html

snippet:
Bryant could not stop smiling as he summarized his advice for Gasol in colorful terms late Tuesday night. Bryant had already offered the generic outline: "I talked with Pau a little bit about being a little more selfish, being aggressive."

snippet:
"I was going to look to attack anybody who was guarding me," Gasol said after the Lakers' overtime victory over Houston and his 26 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks in 47 minutes. "It didn't matter who it was. It just doesn't matter who is guarding me. Any particular night, I have to be aggressive and I have to attack like there's no tomorrow."

snippet:
"I'm usually pretty unselfish, and I tend to try to get other guys involved and try to play the triangle as much as I can just to give us balance," Gasol said. "So sometimes I need to be little more aggressive and understand that the team needs me to be aggressive, too."

snippet:
"I'm all about team harmony," Gasol said.

That approach works great most of the time, but with their instinct to avoid confrontation, nice guys can end up ducking challenges. Bryant is no duck – and he's not about to let the Lakers' other swan just glide, either.

"That will take his game to another level, just continuing to be aggressive," Bryant said, "and ours as well."

So one game after Bryant did not have an assist against Boston in 38 minutes, Gasol didn't have an assist against Houston in 47 minutes.

The first statistic symbolizes what the Lakers can't be.

The second shows what they can.

Would anyone like to call Pau a ballhog for not having an assist?

So in the past X games where Pau was passive and people were talking
about ball movement, never did I see Pau standing in the paint or
fighting for position or running down the court to get back on defense.
[ Bynum either for that matter. ]

Last night, when Pau was being aggressive, I saw all of those things.
Here's hoping it continues.

I'm really sorry to say this, but Pau was getting manhandled AGAIN last night. Along with the botched defensive assignments and sloppy offense (a million missed layups right at the cup), he should've been the goat if we had lost the game. What in the world was he doing letting Scola slide in for the tying bucket at the end of regulation? The help defense couldn't bail him out, yes... but c'mon. I was getting tired of seeing Pau on his rump on the floor, or falling backward away from his man, or feigning frustration upon missing a myriad of chip shots.

Somehow, Pau still pulls a huge stat line! He is the new Lamar Odom. Ladies and gentlemen, a new enigma is born!


DBDH!

It may have been ugly but it was good and I will take it.

Thanks to the RC for keeping me on my toes last night. It was fun drinking and hanging with you guys. What a great bunch of loyal Laker lovers!!

MVP888 - we both agreed that PJ double-talks but this one quote I truly believe is absolutely true: "I'm still prepared in any series to put this team against anybody," he said. I said the same thing yesterday here in the blog, so I am glad PJ said it too. Jerry Buss said at his HOF induction that this might be the best Laker team ever. That's what the boss says and that's the FO expectations - regardless of what Mitchy says. I really think he's lonely and wanted to get some phone calls.

In a 7 game series, I will put this team (if all healthy) up against anybody. It might need to be a game 7 and go down to 4Q, but I am still prepared to cheer loudly, wildly and with 100% full purple and gold heart.

Cheers - PLG

I saw many good things from Pau last night. Not quite sure why everybody is hating on him. His numbers are better overall in some categories from last year, and he is the most multi-dimensional big in the NBA. He hit big free-throws down the stretch, and posted a huge line last night. I find it interesting that people are calling for him to be traded for Carmelo Anthony, who plays no defense and is regarded by many around the league as a selfish black hole-type scorer (8-19 average on the season 43% FG). Don't abandon ship on Pau Gasol yet fellow fans, before his arrival we were blowing 3-1 leads to PHO in the first round, and the Kobe was about to pull a LeBron/Carmelo. He also played huge in Game 7 last year against another jump shooting big man (Garnett), but one who is regarded as "tough". I guess Pau will have to start cursing and throwing cheap elbows. In the meantime, Shaquille O'Neal is not walking through that door, but we do have one of the best bigs in the world on our team and I just don't believe that he is the problem.

Hobbit - for once I read the quotes you included from the KB and Pau and your comments after. I liked your insight this a.m. If you can stick to this formula and stay away from your fellow bloggers - it will do wonders.

I don't like scrolling over any of the regulars but it can be really annoying when guys pick fights with each other trying to dissect individual thoughts. If I use caps, you might read it far differently than say justa. It's all perspective and it helps if we keep it that way.

Nice post - thanks....

Cheers - PLG

DBDH - it looked like that but seriously, they were pulling on his arms, legs, elbows everywhere and no calls. It was the midgets jumping on the giant to try and bring him down. Rockets biggest weakness is size so they had to figure out how to minimize ours.

I think Adelman's plan was to take out Bynum early by foul trouble. So, PJ thwarts that plan by scratching him and Adelman has to focus on Pau. Pau's a bit smarter than AB (at this point in career), so that didn't work. But I definitely think Adelman wanted to take his chances with LO and DC to win the game.

Fortuitous that Pau had his little chit chat with KB to be more aggressive. If only the refs had cooperated.

Cheers - PLG

@hobbit - I hope it continues also.

@DBDH - I think you're being too critical if you wasn't happy with Pau effort and results yesterday. Those other guys he's competing with are professionals also.

@PLG - I'm with you....7 games fully healthy...I'm rolling with the Lakers.

@TNT - excellent post. A voice of reason.

PyschedLakerGirl,

Police here; correction, Pau is way smarter than AB (at this point in career). The PSP also wouldn't put their money on AB becoming smarter than Pau at some point.

The PSP has been reading all the calls to trade Pau and thinks that is just downright crazy. Truth be told, if the PSP were GM, the PSP would trade Bynum first before Pau. So everybody, if you were Mitch and had to trade one and keep one what would you do?

Thanks
PSP Intern

MVP888 - we both agreed that PJ double-talks but this one quote I truly believe is absolutely true: "I'm still prepared in any series to put this team against anybody," he said.

Posted by: PsychedLakerGirl | February 02, 2011 at 07:12 AM
=====

lol! Thanks for the qualifier and I really enjoyed sharing some thoughts with you during the game last night. In the chat, you can see that I actually do get emotional during practice games and I'm one of those jerks who rags on the refs. In here, I try to set my emotions aside and use more rational thought. Yes, I rarely quote Phil Jackson because his answers are usually so quirky that they have no real meaning. Even the announcers laugh about that. But there are no words minced in the above-referenced quote. He has coached from this perch before and knows the difficulties of this steep climb to the summit and the difference between the air up there and the lower altitude which I so irritating refer to as the practice season. HAVING SAID THAT, there is a long, long way to go with this squad, so let's try our best to be patient. Yeah, surrrrrre!!

"Oh, and slowly, but surely we're seeing more and more anti Fisher posts."

I made plenty of posts LAST YEAR about this and in the playoffs was allegedly proven "wrong" when I wasn't. My issue isn't with Fisher really. It was and is with Fisher starting and playing a lot of minutes. When the Lakers make the playoffs, Fisher will hit some "clutch" baskets, sure enough... but those last second desperation miracles would be needed a whole lot less if the game was more solid throughout.

And the bind we're in now and the foreseeable future isn't Fisher himself, it's that again he's the starter playing starter minutes and he's acting like a lead weight around the neck of the rest of the team. I hate having to look back at what DIDN'T happen, but I can't help myself. Now we're up the creek without a paddle on this PG thing - Blake, Shannon, and Fisher have to find a way to play championship caliber basketball. Every year forward it gets harder and harder for Fisher to do - but I think with some SOLID team effort on defense, he can look like he's playing champion ball. And that's what's truly important.

So... Ron Ron, Pau, and Bynum... here's looking at YOU

i would keep them both and get on with it

And no, Carmelo does not "suck"

If you look, throughout his lifetime, he is the anti-LBJ. For some reason, he's always gotten the best of LeBron.

if you look at pau's numbers there is not much to complain about. the problem is a psychological one. although he blocked 4 shots, no one is afraid to challenge him. with drew, you have an intimidating presence.

@ PLG - Agreed. The Rockettes were like airplanes flying around King Kong. I can see the master plan by Adelman was working to near perfection. 47 minutes on the floor doesn't help, either. Lastly, can I get a couple of hard throwdowns from Pau once in a while? Those beautiful lefty hooks and rose petal soft lay-ins are fine, but just jam one down here and there to make the opponent respect you that much more. You can't wear your championship rings on the court, you know. LOL

@ LRob - Pau put up monster numbers, but man... was he getting tossed doen there or what? Professional or not, don't let Adelman's minions have their way with you. Scola matches up well with Pau, and I hate that! Gasol is the superior player between the two and he should play accordingly. Critical? Probably. Honest? Yes. Spoiled? Certainly. I just can't stand giving any opponent any sort of edge, physically, mentally, or otherwise. Crush 'em all, and sweep up the remains in the playoffs.


DBDH!

how about starting lo instead of ron-ron. and let ron become a defensive asset after 10 minutes. set up shot for him because i think he slows the ball down when he tries it himself

PSP,

If I'm Mitch I'm not trading either unless Orlando wants to send me Dwight Howard. Let's lace em up and let's roll. Mitch only off season mistake was signing Theo Ratliff. The Lakers needed a 4th big capable of giving them 3-4 minutes a half. They've yet to get that. If there's any conversation about an acquistion prior to the trading deadline perhaps it should be about this.

LRob,
The PSP wouldn't trade either too, if that was an option. But what if the option was one or the other, who would you keep and who would you trade?
Thanks
PSP Intern

Oh and yes, what was Mitch thinking when he signed Theo. The PSP remember some fellow fans here actually applauded the signing ... oy vey.

@PSP - Sorry but I can't go down that road, but I'm sure that there's many here who'll chime in. I will say this...Pau is more important to the present and Drew to the future :-)


@DBDH - You're a tough customer. I would love to crush everybody also...but I'll settle for the effort and production Pau gave yesterday.

Ok, so now I get it...Pau must go because even though he can put up great numbers, has every shot in the book, passes better than any player on the team (including Kobe), and has great BB IQ...he still doesn't "intimidate", gets pushed around like a little girl, and just ain't a big thug under the basket??? Jeez, the guy played absolutely great last night, but some of you are counting the times he got knocked down as more important than his points, rebounds, and all around good play. The guy could go 40 points, 20 rebounds, and 5 blocks, and some of you would STILL say trade him if he got knocked down 4 times by a 6'8" pseudo center.

Here's the deal, the problem (regarding Pau) isn't Pau, it's certain fans who want us not just to win but to dominate. And anything and any one who "gets pushed around" or "plays soft" ruins that self-generated and self-reflective ideal. I suspect that more than a few of you were pushed around in junior/high school...given wedgies, locked in lockers, had lunch money taken in the hallway...and were yourselves "too soft" to do anything about it, and later hated yourself for not having the guts or the muscle to do anything about it. So now, anyone who reminds you of your own prior (maybe current?) weakness, you vent your anger on him. It's called "displacement" for all you Psych majors out there.

Pau is a terrific player. He's had a really poor stretch of games, but who hasn't. Kobe sucked the first 20 or so games. Lamar goes into funks for stretches of games. So what? ALL of them are great players, and we're lucky to have all of them (including Pau). This is a team built for the playoffs, and I'm betting we're going to win it all again, WITH THIS EXACT TEAM. No frickin trades!

I would close by reminding everyone that there was another athlete who was labeled "soft" his entire career...his name was Gretzky...and oh yeah, they also called him "The Great Gretzky."

@ LRob - Pau's contributions are welcomed in the DBDH household; as proven by Mrs. DBDH threatening to turn off the TV if I didn't stop bashing the Spaniard in the 4th qtr. She quickly pointed out that Scola escaping to tie up the game in regulation was equally Lamar's fault. She also noticed that I don't yell at Kobe when he goes cold and keeps jacking. Touche'! Overall, Pau's issues are in his psyche, not his Nikes. I hope he can break on through soon, because he is too talented and adored in Los Angeles to be dealt away (as if!). Next stop, San Antonio! Time for the Spaniard to shine! Redemption! REDEMPTION! RAWR!


DBDH!

I think everything in this Lakers team is more or less into what Phil Jackson expected, except Ron Artest, and its a big problem, cause Lakers defense starts with him, when he plays bad defense lakers loose much of their agressive potential. Yesterday against Rockets all big man did nice defense but they need that extra from Artest, that will be the key for the Lakers this year.
I think when kupchak talked about a trade he was saying RON ARTEST TRADE.

Pau will be back big at the end of the season(thats how he physically prepares himself, we see it year to year), Koby seems to continue consistent and he will understand he needs to play in team to win, so he will do it, shanon brown is doing good, Odom, Bynum aswell.We have a good team, if Artest improves his defense and stops involving hiself so much into the offense, i think the lakers have chance to get to the finals. The 4th quarter vs Celtics is where they lost by a big difference in points, because of koby taking 12 shots on a row, and thats a problem that can be easily solved. Appart from that, the lakers where playing Terrible defense and u know what? they where winning in the halftime? i think we have reasons to be optimistic.

DBDH - don't get me wrong, I would love seeing more slam downs and in your face dunks by Pau. I just don't think that's his mentality. But sometimes, he needs to bring that out. If he decides to wait until the playoffs when the black swan comes out, I am okay with that.

In the meantime, let the media and blogs fan the flames and make Pau have a huge pent-up pile of aggression. For our last 16 games of the season, let it all out Pau, let it all out!

Cheers - PLG

Hi guys!!!
What do u think about this???
I think it´s pretty fair for everyone.
OKC: Ibaka, JGreen to LA. Kristic and Mo Peterson to CLE. They get Bymun, Caracter, Ebanks and two second rounds from LA. Samardo Samuels from CLE.
CLE: Samardo Samuels to OKC. Maurice Williams to NOH. They get Kristic and Mo Peterson from OKC.
NOH: Paul to LA. They get Artest, Brown and a first round from LA. Mo Williams from CLE.
LA: Bymun, Caracter, Ebanks and two second rounds to OKC. Artest, Brown and a first round to NOH. We get Ibaka, JGreen from OKC. Chris Paul from NOH.

OKC gets the young good C they really need and rounds. They get rid of JGreen (they haven´t extended him) and Ibaka.
CLE changes Mo for expirings.
NOH gets good value in exchange of Crhis Paul.
LA gets the PG we will need in the future, and a very good young players ready to contribute from right now.

Paul
Kobe
Jeff Green
LO
Pau

Blake - Fish
Barnes
Luke
Ibaka
Ratliff - Joe Smith

We´d improve this year, but when Pjax is gone, we´ll need a true PG and we´d have the best pure PG in the league.
We could use the MLE to sign a good back-up C for Pau and we´d have a monster team for 5 more years, with CP3, Ibaka and JGreen.

Mornin' peeps.

Trade scenarios? With a proven championship team? It is to laugh.

This team is NOT getting split up. Certainly no core player is going anywhere.

Melo? The dude can't defend. At all. Jeeze - haven't you guys seen him play? He's also a big whiner - you think we need someone like that jerking the chemistry of this team around? Wow.

Be patient, my friends. Please. This team will NOT let us down. Yes it may get ugly. Yes it will be frustrating here and there. But they will get 'er done.

The Black Mamba and the Black Swan. Debuting this coming April for your basketball enjoyment!

GO LAKERS!

(Oh - and CornerJ - SNAP!!)

@cornerj its not causing the lakeshow to win in dominant fasion. its causing us MANY games, sure he puts up big numbers . but when u are giving up just as many well then there is a problem. it would be a mistake to trade him , i do believe that, but ignoring his defaults and passing it off as acceptable because of his scoring and rebounding is going to give them all couch time come playoffs. p.s. you should stop giving kids wedgies, you're an adult now and you could cause an arseache from excessive and un natural amounts of hanes forced from the light...

@DBDH - That Mrs. DBDH is definitely a keeper...lol

@ Corner J - I pray this is just a "funk" for Pau. He is too valuable to the team and should not be thought of as trade bait, I agree. Secondly, I grew up a nerd (shock!) but I do not live vicariously through Pau. I've learned to embrace my weaknesses in order to eventually conquer them. Maybe he should try that? Who knows? I wish him nothing but positive vibes and incredible success. Finally, since he is on the Lakers, he is under intense scrutiny. As critical as we are, he should be used to it by now. And yes, we are lucky to have him. Maybe even blessed.

DBDH!

rossdogg76, Pau's faults are not the sole cause of our losses. His weak interior defense pales in comparison to our extremely poor perimeter defense (Fisher, and even Kobe playing roaming safety), and our general lack of intensity by the entire team. Most of those wide open layups (including Scola's gimme) were a direct result of perimeter blow-bys of our guards and resulting scrambles to cover wide open shooters in multiple positions. Go check your DVR.

And dude, I would never give a wedgie to a fellow Laker Amigo poster no matter how much we disagreed...unless of course it's one of our trolls wearing Fruit of the Looms or Hanes Her Ways.

The Black Mamba and the Black Swan. Debuting this coming April for your basketball enjoyment!

Posted by: justanothermambafan | February 02, 2011 at 08:55 AM
=====

Bonnie and Clyde, baby! We're gonna steal this one!

Justa, great line...the Black Mamba and the Black Swan. I guess that makes me a Swan Laker. Pau can even wear a tutu and eye shadow as far as I am concerned, just as long as we end up winning #17.

Justa, great line...the Black Mamba and the Black Swan. I guess that makes me a Swan Laker. Pau can even wear a tutu and eye shadow as far as I am concerned, just as long as we end up winning #17.

I predict (and I don't do that too much) that this upcoming long roadie will do wonders for this team.

There will be no family distractions, no endorsement obligations. They will have to hang out together, eat together, work out together, etc. One team, one championship.

We will be seeing a totally different public focus from the players. We know the team has a championship goal, but the fans and media will actually start seeing it. I just know it.

Black swans and black mambas all around. Lions and tigers and bears to follow.

Cheers - PLG

justa,

>>>The Black Mamba and the Black Swan.

NICE!


>>>I guess that makes me a Swan Laker

Corner J with the awesome follow-up.

I think what Kobe was saying was that Pau needs to be more of a Fighter. As for Brown and Barnes and Caracter and Ebanks, The Kids are Alright, but the whole team needs to show more True Grit if they want to spark the Inception of another championship.

OK, so I just watched my TIVOed game at the end of regulationj to see where this place was that Kobe passed up two opportunities to pass to a wide open LO, but "hogged" the ball anyway. The facts are as follows:

Kobe was just entering his wing move with one defender on him and two playing zone defense in the lane (can we all say 3 second violation!), but LO was not at the top of the key! He was past the 3 point line waving the first time as Kobe STARTED his patented wing drive/pullup/fadeaway shot we have seen him take for many years and make probably 60% of the time. 2nd LO wave time: Now Kobe has continued his move and is now at the block out from the lane about 10 feet and he now has another two defenders (one between him and LO (who is still at the top-center of the 3 point circle) and another coming to double team hard on the top side towards the 3 point centerline. This means Kobe has a choice to put up his jumper fairly open (meaning nobody hanging on him this time) or attempt a pass out to LO way past the 3 point line and over two potential pass interceptor defenders. Even if he gets it to LO there, Houston will close out on LO just because of the distance the pass has to make it to LO. Now what is Kobe supposed to do? Take a 14 foot shot he makes quite often, even though this time nobody was hanging on him, or make a potential disastrous/dangerous pass to LO to shoot a contested 3 (lower percentage odds for 3s folks unless you are Mike Miller or Eddie House or some such 3s shooter) by the time the ball gets to LO? I don't see the arguement about Kobe hogging the ball in that case. Seems to me he took the right course of action for the precise circumstance of that moment in time.

It was one play with LO waving twice. Not 2 different plays, BTW.

For once I agree with TJ Simers.


This is the drama the Lakers always provide for us to keep the season interesing. Mailed in regular seasons are something of a tradition here, as are the high dramas of Wilt vs. van Breda Kolff, Kareem vs. Kent Benson, Van Excel vs. Cancun,Magic vs. Westhead, Shaq vs. Kobe, Jackson vs. Kobe, VladRad vs the Snow Board, Kermit Washington vs. Tomjanovich, Phil vs. Sacramento, Rambis vs. Rodman, Kobe vs. Malone, West vs. Phil, Magic vs. Reilly, Magic vs. Kareem, Ceballos vs. whatever he was against, Artest vs. Xmas presents, Bynum vs. Memphis, Shaq vs. Del Harris, Rambis vs. McHale and so on and so on.


I guess they figure being efficient and winning 67 games and boring everyone to tears is no fun. So they struggle and fight and look hopeless in stretches. Then they (usually) come to life sometime in playoffs. But it's all four our entertainment benefit. Winning is boring. It's like how Kobe used to keep games close in high school so he could........


I disagree with anyone that says Pau played soft last night. I agree with those that say he took a pretty good pounding from Hayes and Scola, et al. It really burns my toast when I see Pau and Kobe getting pounded like minute steak with no whistles besides "T's" when they complain. But Kevin Martin can waltz to the line 11 times on touch fouls. The NBA, where uneven officiating happens every night.

I disagree with anyone that says Pau played soft last night. I agree with those that say he took a pretty good pounding from Hayes and Scola, et al. It really burns my toast when I see Pau and Kobe getting pounded like minute steak with no whistles besides "T's" when they complain. But Kevin Martin can waltz to the line 11 times on touch fouls. The NBA, where uneven officiating happens every night.

Posted by: bronxlakerfan | February 02, 2011 at 01:49 PM

============
How true, how true!

"It's a matter of getting our legs underneath us again," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said of the Lakers' victory, which brought them 6 1/2 games behind San Antonio (40-8) after losing Tuesday to Portland. "Playing a game down the stretch, it's important in this business to be able to play down the stretch and win close games."

================
PJ must listen to himself!
HE who overplays older vets and ignores younger players. ETC


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