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Caught in the Web: Reactions to Lakers' 87-78 Game 2 victory over New Orleans Hornets

Photo: Lakers forward Matt Barnes fouls New Orleans forward Trevor Ariza on a driving layup in the lane in front of Lakers center Andrew Bynum on Wednesday night during Game 2 at Staples Center. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / April 20, 2011Game stories

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan details how the Lakers overcame a poor shooting effort from Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher in their 87-78 Game 2 victory over New Orleans Hornets.

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford argues all that mattered was the Lakers found a way to win against New Orleans. 

Notebooks

--The Times' Bresnahan details Steve Blake's chickenpox.

Sidebars

--The Times' Broderick Turner credits the Lakers for overcoming New Orlean's defense.

--The Times' Lisa Dillman looks at Aaron Gray's progression.

Columns

--The Times' Mark Heisler believes the Lakers showed heart.

--The Daily News' Vincent Bonsignore credits Andrew Bynum's emergence. 

Tweet of the Day: "@kristenblake2 I heard Steve briefly turned into a chicken before recovering. True or false? AK" -- ESPNLandoLakers (ESPN Los Angeles' Andy Kamenetzky to Kristen Blake, a tongue-in-cheek reference to TNT's claim that Steve Blake lost 25 pounds while having chickenpox.

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "I was probably the most critical person of Lamar Odom in years past. And I won't say that I was wrong or apologize or anything like that. I was RIGHT. His performance this season proves that I was right... I'm very proud of Lamar and extremely pleased as a fan at what he has accomplished in the last two seasons, particularly this season. Once again, congratulations Lamar Odom for becoming the first Laker in history to win 6th man of the year! It's proof that hard work + talent does pay huge dividends" -- Tim-4-Show

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers forward Matt Barnes fouls New Orleans forward Trevor Ariza on a driving layup in the lane in front of Lakers center Andrew Bynum on Wednesday night during Game 2 at Staples Center. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / April 20, 2011

 
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Tim-4-Show - congrats on the Friedman.

I totally agree with you. Lamar has the talent to be as good as he was in this game all the time. What he hasn't always had is the self motivation to keep it up consistently. His mind wanders in and out of games. He makes a few O-dumb plays. He tries to drive the lane wildly and charges.

But this season, he's been much more focused, made less of the O-dumb type mistakes, kept his head in the game more, charged less, and was deserving of a 6th man (and probably an All-star spot as well).

Let's hope he can keep it up for the whole playoffs because the Lakers will need it.

You know every potential playoff opponent is watching this series and thinking - Expect Pau to see WWF tactics for the rest of the playoffs. If he has some off nights (and I think he will), then guys like Bynum and Odom and Artest need to pick up the slack on the offensive end.

A Tale of Two Gasols
(with apologies to Charles Dickens)

Marc Gasol has outperformed big brother Pau again in Game 2, this time, in ALL categories:

Game 2
........Marc..Pau
PTS......12......8
REB......17......5
AST........2......1
STL........2.......1
TO…....…1…..…3

Game 1
…….Marc……Pau
PTS…24……..8
REB…..9..…...6
AST…..3……..6
STL…...0……..0
TO…....2……...0

Games 1&2 Combined
……….Marc….Pau
PTS…...36…….16
REB…...26…….11
AST….....5……..7
STL….....2….…..1
TO…....…3….…..3

In the combined two games, Marc has more than double the output of Pau in both PTS and REB!

And if the numbers are not enough, consider that Marc has to guard a 7-ft future HOF'er named Tim Duncan, while Pau has the task of guarding 6'8" scrub named Landry, who would normally be a bench player had David West not get injured.

C'mon, Pau, if this continues you will lose bragging rights at the next family dinner.

>>>Marc Gasol has outperformed big brother Pau again in Game 2, this time, in
>>>ALL categories

DAMN. We were so stoopid to trade the tough Gasol for the soft Gasol.

I wonder if they have any younger brothers...

LOL


@NBA4EVER ... Excellent analysis of the Eastern Conference teams. I agree with your takes 100%. You also beat me to the punch with your response to Paul about how Chicago is playing. They are this year’s Cavaliers – best record in league but can’t get to the Finals. Miami now looks like the team from the East that the Lakers will meet in the playoffs. But of course, it is still early.
............................................................
@ROSS DOGG76 ... Excellent links and points. The NBA vs. Kobe Bryant. The NBA vs. the Lakers. Other than the color of the uniforms, that could have been last night’s game. If Kobe got the calls that LeBron or Wade get, he would average 10 ppg more and shoot 5-10% better. Bump CP3 and it’s automatic free-throws. Mug Kobe and it’s aggressive defense. I do like that Kobe pretty much stayed in the offense and did not try to shoot the team to a win. When Kobe shoots more than 25 shots, we were 9-9 during the practice season. When he shoots 15 or less shots, the Laker were 15-0.
............................................................
@LTLF... Outstanding post regarding the Lakers “leaking” points at point guard. There is nobody better on this blog at putting together cohesive posts that debunk careless and shallow opinions and takes by other bloggers. Fish is the “right” fit for this team. That is what counts in the end.
...
We will have to agree to disagree as I think Drew still had a good Game 1 despite the foul trouble. He was very active when in the game and was the only big to show up at all in Game 1. What Kobe did best last night was to stay within the offense and try to attack the rim. The refs basically just would not give him a single break. You almost wonder about the conspiracy theories by the new owner.
............................................................
@THE TRIANGULATOR ... I saw that same thing and wondered what Drew was yelling about. Did you see later when he was telling the guys on the second team what to do and directing traffic? My son and I were both loving it seeing Drew take charge of the offense and defense. It was like he knew Pau was not going to do it that night so he decided like Kobe often does that he needed to take over. We’re seeing this kid become a real man right before our eyes. If we go all the way, Drew may end up being the Finals MVP or at least sharing it with Kobe. Just keep rebounding and defending.
............................................................
@TIM-4-SHOW ... Congrats on the Friedman. What a pleasure for all of us who have supported Lamar but wanted to see him really put his game together to see him get married, grow up, and finally show he is the “Package” that can deliver the “Goods.”
............................................................
TOM

On the Gasol front...

I wonder if there has ever been a more talented pair of brothers who played in the NBA. The only recent brothers I can think of are the Lopez brothers (Brook very good, Robin, not so much), the Collins brothers (neither very good in the NBA) and the Barrys (none of them at either Pau or Marc's skill level).

Any suggestions?

Snake - maybe so, but Pau's still got the ace up his sleeve.

Rings! Pau - 2, little bro - 0

That card can be played for a few years to come. And deservedly so. Pau will buck up. He was much more aggressive in Game 2 - his shots just weren't falling. He'll be fine. He'll get his wind back for playing PlayOff "thug ball" and the Lakers will storm to the finish line. It's 3peat time baby!!

Thats a stupid haircut barnes have. Good grief!!!

Thats a stupid haircut barnes have. Good grief!!!

Dominique Wilkins and his brother gerald wilkins both played in the nba and they were pretty good

Snake - maybe so, but Pau's still got the ace up his sleeve.

Rings! Pau - 2, little bro - 0

That card can be played for a few years to come. And deservedly so. Pau will buck up. He was much more aggressive in Game 2 - his shots just weren't falling. He'll be fine. He'll get his wind back for playing PlayOff "thug ball" and the Lakers will storm to the finish line. It's 3peat time baby!!

Posted by: justanothermambafan | April 21, 2011 at 12:56 PM

---

Justa,

I understand completely that he is in a shooting slump; happens to everyone. But I don't know if there is such a thing as a 'rebounding slump' or a 'defensive slump' That's just lack of focus, lack of effort or something else.


LAKERS EFF STATS FOR PLAYOFFS !!!
(points + boards + assists + blocks + steals – missed shots – missed free throws – turnovers)
..................................................................
Player / EFF per game / EFF per 48 min / NBA Ranking
..................................................................
Andrew Bynum / 22.0 / 36.71 / 15th
Ron Artest / 20.0 / 27.73 / 20th
Kobe Bryant / 15.0 /18.74 / 35th
Lamar Odom / 12.5 /20.47 / 54th
Pau Gasol / 11.0 / 14.26 / 61st
..................................................................
TOM

Despite the uproar from the league and its fans, the Grizzlies did just fine with the Gasol trade. They got draft picks, Marc Gasol, and used Kwame's expiring contract to get Zach Randolph. I'd say it was an excellent trade for BOTH teams.

LTLF,
I can't recall a brother tandem better than the Gasol's. There was Dominique and Gerald Wilkins (brothers or cousins?), as well as Horace and Harvey Grant, but the Gasol brothers probably have a slight edge over the Wilkins brothers.

LakerTom,
You seem to be enjoying the fact that Pau is struggling. We're going to need both Drew and Pau to be at their best in order to threepeat. I have no doubt that Pau's knee is still bothering him, and expect him to elevate his game as his knee gets healthier.

On the Gasol front...

I wonder if there has ever been a more talented pair of brothers who played in the NBA. The only recent brothers I can think of are the Lopez brothers (Brook very good, Robin, not so much), the Collins brothers (neither very good in the NBA) and the Barrys (none of them at either Pau or Marc's skill level).

Any suggestions?

Posted by: LongTimeLakerFan | April 21, 2011 at 12:54 PM
---
The Van Arsdale twins, Tom and Dick, were both All-Stars.

@Tim-4-Show – congrats on the Friedman.

@Tom Daniels – I thought the same thing about Shannon in the sequence of plays you mentioned.

@LTLF – Thanks for putting all the “negativity” in perspective.

@Paul – I would be interested in seeing your playoff predictions for each conference.

@Triangulator – Did I miss something? I thought you were going to grade each coach first.

I am not a Kobe fan, but after having one of his best games of this year, alot of sports writers have written that his game was off. Last night he wore his laker jersey instead of his Kobe jersey and showed that he can be a team player. His defense last night was the best that its been all year. The shots taken by the starters and Odom were pretty even and not out-of-whack like it is when kobe takes all the shots. First game he took 26 and the next highest was 9. Kobe likes to call himself the black mamba, but the black mamba travels alone not in a pack, so if Kobe wants another ring, he needs to continue with performances like last night and continue to be part of the team.

LakerTom,

re: (2) The Lakers play best when everybody on the team plays well so Kobe does not have to take over and try to shoot us to a win. It’s my opinion that what the stats are really saying is #2.
............................................................
TOM

Of course, number 2 is right. That's what *EVERYONE* who's actually
looked at what those stats, in more than the most cursory of glances, says.

So here's the thing on the Derek Fisher discussion.

I'm not saying DFish is great. He's not. I'd have to put him in the bottom 5 starting point guards in the NBA, and there are probably a dozen or more backup point guards that he's worse than.

My argument is that he's good enough, and given what the Lakers have to spend, he's about as good as they're going to get without giving up any of the best players on the team. Yes, they could get a much better point guard if they were willing to trade off Bynum or Pau, or a marginally better PG if they were willing to trade off Odom or Artest.

My question for the Fisher haters is this: Do you think the Lakers would be a better team if they had done a big trade to get a better PG?

For example (and I'm not saying any of these trades would have been accepted, just throwing out some examples):

Would the Lakers be better if they had given up Lamar to get Kirk Hinrich?

Would the Lakers be better if they had given up Ron Artest to get Jarrett Jack?

Would the Lakers be better if they had given up Pau or Bynum to get Deron Williams?

They definitely would be better off at the PG position, but would the TEAM have a better chance of winning a title with that kind of trade? Because that is the ONLY way the Lakers would get a good to elite point guard.

@LTLF – Gus “the Wizard” Williams was a terror in his prime and his lil bro Ray was pretty good too…when he kept his weight down. And if you want to go real old school both of the Van Arsdale twins were all-stars in the early 70’s.


@LT – Are you bailing on your Boston pick so soon?


@ justa

When i play against a player that is worse than me i find that my intensity and effort level decreases massively. like you i belive that pau will bring it when he has to

LTLF,

The Gasol's have a younger brother, Adrià, who is 17 and already 6-8. He plays basketball as well. In fact he followed the same steps like Marc, and is playing in Memphis at HS level. He was selected to represent the Spanish national team in a sub18 tourment.

As Marc says, whether he gets to another level will depend for his love for the game and willingness to work extremely hard.


@LTLF – Gus “the Wizard” Williams was a terror in his prime and his lil bro Ray was pretty good too…when he kept his weight down. And if you want to go real old school both of the Van Arsdale twins were all-stars in the early 70’s.

@LT – Are you bailing on your Boston pick so soon?


@LAKER TRUTH ... “You seem to be enjoying the fact that Pau is struggling.”
...
LOL. I don’t take any joy whatsoever by Pau’s struggles. I am just very worried because I agree we are not going to three-peat without him playing well. The positive is that Drew is playing well and that helps make up for what we lose with Pau and that does make me very happy. Please don’t mix the two situations up. There is no better 5/4 combo in the league than Drew/Pau and I would like to keep it that way. Regardless, we need Pau to play a hell of a lot better than these last two games.
..................................................................
TOM

LTLF, I agree with your candid assessment of Fisher.

He is not a great PG but he is a great fit for the Triangle offense. Remember how his career floundered when he moved to GSW and then UTA? But it resurrected when he went back to PJ's system.

The Triangle offense does not require an elite PG. PJ's 11 championship teams never had an all-star caliber PG.

When PJ retires and the new coach is an outsider who introduces a different system, then we may have to re-examine the PG position. If the new coach comes from the existing staff or if most of the coaching staff are retained, then the Triangle will remain and Derek will continue to be a good fit for that system.

LTLF,

You are right. This team does not need an elite PG, or even close to one, but wouldn't it be nice to have a PG who was just average (or even slightly below average) defensively to prevent Kobe from having to guard the Westbrooks, Rondos, and Chris Pauls of the league? Is that asking too much? At the very least, Blake should be given more minutes to ease the burden on Kobe to defend the PGs. When Blake was on the floor with Kobe, Blake guarded Chris Paul, and Kobe went back to guarding the SG or SF, but when Fish is on the floor, it's apparent that Phil would rather have anybody (Kobe, Artest or even Gasol) guarding Chris Paul, but Fish. There are only two requirement for playing PG on this team - make outside shots and play defense. Fish has been struggling with his defense, his decision making on offense has been poor, and he is struggling with his outside shot. I expect him to hit some clutch shots and take some charges as the playoffs resume, but when he's not doing those things, he is a liability on both ends of the floor for most of the game.

@Tim-4-Show: Congrats on the Friedman!

LO seems to be a theme. Now we need to turn our prayers toward Pau and KB. Get AB, PG, LO, KB on track TOGETHER and we will have some hope of 15 more wins this season!


@LROB... No Shaq = No chance. So yes, if Shaq is really out for good, then the Heat are probably going to be our Finals opponent. The Celtics now have the wrong O’Neal as their starting center.
..................................................................
TOM

LTLF: I agree with you. I haven't watched a second of the Lakers in the playoffs, but in the last 11 years, in 5 title runs and 2 Finals runs, Fisher has proven to be in the right spot at the right time to make plays for the right team in crucial games. You'd never take a roster spot from that player, *especially* a player trusted by the mercurial head coach and the only one who can get through to the franchise player.

Just like Parcells Guys and Belichick Guys, D-Laker is a Jackson guy. At some point, he'll make the plays he needs to make. I'd rather risk him coming up empty than the alternative of the unknown.

Why is that? I thought the Septics beat the Meat when Shaq was out so it shouldn't be an issue. That said, if the C's can't pull it out, then we will see the Meat in the Finals.

@LT: The Celtics probably did not know this about Shaq: "I got hurt on company time, so I’ll heal on company time."

if there was something physically wrong with pau, why wouldn't it be made public.the only thing i can see is if pau told the staff that he doesn't want it as an excuse for his play. pau seems to me to be a person of great character,so i think we have to hope that we see a difference.as i said before, i don't see a soft player, just one without great muscle mass

Kobe did an outstanding job last night when he guarded Paul. Usually he doesn't defend the big shooters, he usually gets the players that don't take that many shots, thats why sometimes he guards the small forwards and Artest will guard the good shooter. Remember on Sunday when Paul had the hot hand, Kobe decided to take over and guard him in the second half and that lasted about 2 or 3 minutes and then he directed Pau to guard him and at times he told Fisher to guard him. For someone who always gets picked for all defensive team based on his offensive ability, it wouldn't hurt him to have to guard some of the better shooters.

The last person on the team I'm worried about is Pau Gasol. If our bench can play consistently like last night, we just might make the finals and have a shot at another ring. GO LAKERS!!!

Who's Pau been matched up with so far? If it's Landry, then a think Lance FDa'B has a point. Gasol has put on some muscle, but for all this talk about Landry being a "sawed-off" 4, he has the size and frame of Antonio Gates, Julius Peppers, or Tony Gonzalez. Pau might be taller but he ain't bigger. That was the problem he had with Perk. He's just an awkward draw for Gasol.

>>> Remember how his career floundered when he moved to GSW and then UTA?

Ah, but remember how clutch he was in the playoffs helping Utah hold off Golden State in the second round after the Warriors knocked off the Mavericks?

Fisher has an uncanny knack of performing really well when it's most needed.

He's getting to the point where he ALMOST hurts the team more, but I don't think the scales have quite tipped yet. He's about where Ron Harper was when he was playing PG for the championship Lakers - just enough to hold down the role, and keeping out of the way of Kobe & Shaq.

Doesn't anyone remember how much trouble Gasol had with Landry in the Rockets playoff series two seasons ago? Whatever he does throws Gasol completely off his game...

Fisher hasn't been able to guard the point guard position since he entered the league. He's played 200+ playoff games in his career. He's had plenty of opportunities to hit big shots. Most of those shots probably wouldn't have been necessary if the opposing point guard didn't have his way all game. Remember when he made Troy Hudson an elite point guard and household name for one series in 2003? It's a glaring weakness that obviously hasn't improved with time. His ability to hit a BIG shot once a postseason doesn't outweigh the disadvantage they have to overcome each game. Does it have to cost the Lakers a championship to finally be dealt with? I hope not. Right now, in this series, they'd be better off with Ricky Rubio at the point (who's never played a minute in the NBA). In the meantime, Kobe is being wore down by CP3. Fisher should be able to handle Kidd or Andre Miller in the next series. Then you're looking at Westbrook or Tony Parker. Then maybe Rose or Rondo in the finals. If they make it despite one BIG liability...

the question was ask if it was worth it to trade certain player to get a better point guard for fish the answer is yes
to all.first thing no team will want fish in a trade you cant
give him away,he is one of the worst point guard i have ever seen and i have been watching basketball for over 45 years.
i dont fault fish but i do fault the coach for letting him
start.
when fish left the game last night the team did great and fish came back into the game and the team lost it edge.pj should have kept fish on the bench like he finally did with luke.
once pj retires and get rid of fish the lakers will be a great
team again,and bring in all new coaching staff and get rid of that stupid triangle,this is the 21st century.it worked
good with mj and pippin.

Take a look at the Lakers playoff record (when they got there) in the fisherless years. Who in the nba doesn't look inept chasing Rondo paul or Nash? He makes foul shots and 3 pointers consistently. Knows who should get the ball when and where. Knows how to draw a foul. Who do you want handling the ball or taking the last shot besides fisher in the last 15 seconds of a one point game? Maybe Kobe and thats it. Who starts every game every season? Who is always in shape and always has his head in the game? Who finds a way to win? Yes its hard to believe sometimes watching his defense but it could easily be argued that without Fish we don't even make it to the finals the last 3 years.

Gasol needs to grow a pair and up his game. does Gasol have no self respect? guy is the laughing stock of league. finesse player my foot, guy is playing like a wimp. spent the post game press conference complaining he is being played tough. WIMP!!!

Fish still has skills. however, Lakers need to look to the future a get a younger point guard. Fisher is like the house guest that stays to long, but you feel like you would be insulting them if you ask them to leave.

@LongTimeLakerFan: Why do you say we were so stupid to trade Marc Gasol for Pau. Havent you noticed that we have gone the last 3 NBA Finals and won 2 of those straight and still are the reigning Champions of the NBA because of Pau. Come on Marc didnt even play a game for the Lakers and we still had Kwane Brown . How do you think we would have won 2 straight championships with Kwane Brown as our Starting Center because Bynum was out on injuries.Come on guys THINK for a SECOND!!! But for me the thing is that Fisher is not a tarting point guard. He cant defend players like CP3, Rondo,Nash,Parker and most of the point guards. And he likes to shoot even when there is some who he can dish an assist he shoots. And wait I forgot if we get to the finals the bulls are for me the most likely contender in the East. So Fisher will need to defend DERRICK ROSE who will most likely win the MVP. So all we got to do is to try and get CP3 or Deron Williams and if the Lakers cant get those guys try to get Jose Calderon of the Raptors he was in the top 10 in assist with the raptors who were one of the worst teams imagine if he was in LA. With Calderon who is from Spain, Gasol would play a lot better. So think about getting a good natural PG before thinking about how bad Gasol has played. And Fisher playing that good either in game 2 he missed 2 layups where could have passed the ball to make an easy asssist in transition. Now lets all hope the Lakers win the championship.

Marc Gasol has out played Pau so far in the post season. further Marc seems the more aggressive of the two, championship rings aside. As a Laker Fan I wish Pau would stop embarrassing himself and his team , and play like a big man.. instead of whining like a little girl about non-calls, and people playing him hard. Hate to see what NO will do to him when they are on their home-court tonight; if Pau does not bring it tonight they will eat him up.

Lakers are my team! I lived in California Orange County area and LA county areas for 40 years! I have watched the Lakers like forever! I can tell that they aren't playing like they can play! It seems like they are doing just enough to get by? Kobe seems to me,like he is just going through the motions! There is nothing wrong with Gasol, I coach High School basketball and played forever! He is a finesse player! It that simple! If you ask him to be something he isn't, he will be out of his game! If you want to see a team play, that looks like they really mean business and are real hungry? Watch the Bulls! They might not win it all this year, but they are fun to watch? If the Lakers get that hunger back in their hearts, nobody can beat them! Go Lakers! Thanks, Marine- Craig.


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