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Laker fans grade team's play a 'C' but remain optimistic about a three-peat

Photo: Kobe Bryant and Coach Phil Jackson during a game against Golden State earlier this month. Credit: Kyle Terada / US Presswire / April 6, 2011. So much for the supposed panic in Lakerland.

It's a full-blown commentary that often becomes more exaggerated than the Lakers' struggles themselves. There's usually a belief that Laker fans fluctuate between being delusional to a fault about the team's success to then stepping out on the ledge anytime the team loses. In fact, it's the exact opposite. Sure, Laker fans are upset about L.A. entering Game 5 Tuesday against the New Orleans Hornets with a 2-2 series tie.

After all, an unscientific survey showed 50.79% of fans grading the team's performance a "C" and 31.24% of them giving the Lakers a "D." But that's not causing them to waver on who will win the first-round series, with 80.52% saying the Lakers will still win either in six (52.2%) or seven (31.32%). Laker fans may lack a majority vote on their three-peat chances, but 47% still say the Lakers will do it while 20.43% believe they will fall in the Western Conference Finals, presumably against an Oklahoma City Thunder team that features Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Kendrick Perkins.

To get to that championship level, however, there are many areas Laker fans want to see the team fix. For starters, 72.37% believe Pau Gasol has been the worst player in the series thus far, as indicated by his inconsistent aggressiveness, 6.3 rebounds per game and overall struggles against a team he averaged 22.2 points on 70.5% shooting through four regular-season games this season. For the reserves, 43.81% are pinning Shannon Brown as the least reliable player, a troubling sign considering possible limitations surrounding Kobe Bryant's sprained left ankle. And for the overall state of the organization, 43.36% are putting equal blame on the Lakers' struggles with defending Hornets guard Chris Paul and the pick-and-roll, the inconsistent inside game, the bench's play and the overall effort. 

This doesn't suggest Laker fans are just naming every variable imaginable to gripe about surrounding the team's play. But it's a tad difficult assessing how to fix it. A 32.93% plurality  believe a combination between better communication, matching up Bryant on Paul, less switching and overall effort will help stop the Hornets' pick-and-roll. A 55.08% majority assigns equal blame to the Lakers' front line of Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom lacking aggressiveness in both post position and rebounding, as well as the Lakers' inconsistency in giving them touches. And a 25.73% plurality predicts the bench will play better if the players worry more about playing defense than looking impressive on offense.  

But how to accomplish those goals? That's where Laker fans remain divisive. Few (20.1%) find value in having longer practice and film sessions, believing there is such a thing as over-training and information overload, but there are plenty (39.71%) who believe Coach Phil Jackson needs to hold players more accountable by reducing minutes if their effort doesn't improve. There are, however, many who have seen the Lakers experience this scenario before, with 40.19% believing they should just let the team be. Whether it's aggravating to see or not, this is just how the Lakers are, displaying their championship-caliber play on a situational basis only when it's required.

Perhaps that's the thrill of it all, knowing the numbing frustration only makes things more exciting when things work out in the end.

-- Mark Medina

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

Photo: Kobe Bryant and Coach Phil Jackson during a game against Golden State earlier this month. Credit: Kyle Terada / US Presswire / April 6, 2011.

 
Comments () | Archives (36)

The comments to this entry are closed.

@Lrob.. Scoring and defense is not the only area pau is getting burnt. He's getting punked in the paint and giving no effort on the boards.. Look at his rebound totals for games 1,2,4... Respectively 6,5,4 and his season avg was over 10!

"How come I smell a big time upset tonight?"

Posted by: A.O. | April 26, 2011 at 12:41 PM

______

Ans: Because you have a cold :-)

________

The optimism is justified because this team really hasn't played it's best basketball since Game 3 of this particular series and the talent of this team is capable of producing much, much more.

Hornets are going done. As I mentioned earlier: the Lakers have allowed them to overachieve. No way the pesky 6 footer will beat this team. Lakers in 6!

Play time is over. It's time for the next victim.

""How come I smell a big time upset tonight?"

Posted by: A.O. | April 26, 2011 at 12:41 PM
"

I'm sure you mean the Lakers upsetting the Hornets, correct?
I smell it too!

Concerning the P&R

Most teams when a big man is brought out high on a P&R play will jump out quickly on the PG momentarily stopping the PG's progress. Then quickly go back to his man. This split second or two gives the orginal defender of th PG time to regroup and go back to defending the PG.

This method doesn't work if the big man doesn't roll back to the basket. When the big man doesn't roll back then the big man should not go with picker instead he should lay back because there is no reason for him to be 25 to 30 feet out.

@Lrob.. Scoring and defense is not the only area pau is getting burnt. He's getting punked in the paint and giving no effort on the boards.. Look at his rebound totals for games 1,2,4... Respectively 6,5,4 and his season avg was over 10!

Posted by: yellofever | April 26, 2011 at 02:09 PM
---------------------------
agreed on rebounding.

If you want to get technical, you can say that we gave them a C-. A large percentage gave them a C, and a bit less gave them a D.

Bottom line?

"Needs Improvement"

If pau flames out again 2nite and lakers are down 3-2 to the hornets then I'm warning yall right now.. There's gonna be some serious repercussions... This blog will turn into a madhouse, MM will be banning bloggers by the minute and its gonna be WWIII here.. Haha

Good luck everyone. May God be with us all!

^^^^Landry only scored 4 of his 23pts on Pau (game 3) Also, in game 4 I think he scored the bulk of his points on others. ^^^^

So exactly who is defending Landry when he's scoring all these points?

Posted by: Troll Man | April 26, 2011 at 01:38 PM
-------------
In game 3 LO was the main culprit.

"OK Lakers, repeat after me, inside-out, inside-out." -NuggetsCountry
YEEEEESSSS!
time to play SMARTER, not HARDER! Stop jacking up 25 foot rainbows and giving the ball back to the Hornets.

Congrats to Ron Ron and keep up the great play on the court!

@LRob
I was specifically watching Fishs' D on CP3 last game to see how others would react. I thought he was excellent and gave Paul a very difficult time.

Let's not even bother on a defensive scheme for CP3. Let him have his 30 pts. Let's just stop this nonsense of letting Landry become their second best scorer, averaging 17.0 ppg over the last 4 games, or allowing Ariza and Okafur have career playoff highs.

the latest hybrid allowed is the "running back drive". This is where the offensive player is allowed to take a step then tuck the ball into his armpit like a football running back then take 2 more steps towards the basket.

This is basketball, goodness gracious sakes alive.

Posted by: Troll Man | April 26, 2011 at 01:48 PM
-----------------------
Marbury and Stevie Franchise...are two that come to mind when I think of that move.

"Concerning the P&R

Most teams when a big man is brought out high on a P&R play will jump out quickly on the PG momentarily stopping the PG's progress. Then quickly go back to his man. This split second or two gives the orginal defender of th PG time to regroup and go back to defending the PG.

This method doesn't work if the big man doesn't roll back to the basket. When the big man doesn't roll back then the big man should not go with picker instead he should lay back because there is no reason for him to be 25 to 30 feet out.

Posted by: Troll Man | April 26, 2011 at 02:19 PM
"

This roll back only works if the big returns QUICKLY. We don't have any quick bigs and LO is too casual about it. I have League Pass and watch the P&R on other games and the quick return to the big man after blocking the point guard's path is more successful becasue they do it fast. PG and AB lumber back to their man which is just enough time for the PG to follow them in and then pop a pass inside to the uncovered man whomever that is when help D comes over to get the picking big.

We went 17-1 post ASG doing something right on D even against the likes of Paul, so why can't they get up to do that again is my question!?

If we excuse Fisher all year and in the playoffs with "He's a great team defender", I'll have to throw that Fisher 1/7 stat out the window. And say it was more of team defense that held CP3 to 1/7 shooting when Fisher happened to be playing him.

Posted by: Magia32 | April 26, 2011 at 01:40 PM

--------------------
valid point!

"Let's not even bother on a defensive scheme for CP3. Let him have his 30 pts. Let's just stop this nonsense of letting Landry become their second best scorer, averaging 17.0 ppg over the last 4 games, or allowing Ariza and Okafur have career playoff highs.

Posted by: The Snake | April 26, 2011 at 02:27 PM
"

My thoughts exactly! Stop TA/KL/EO!

Fully expect the Lakers to win tonight

but if they lose it will be ARMAGEDDON on this blog

Pau's struggles...

Landry avg 17pts is not the problem....okay maybe he should be held to about 14-15...but that's more of a team thing and not a Pau thing. But the big problem is Pau only avg 12pts. He should be able to avg 20pts in his sleep against NO and shooting at a high percentage.

Lamar can be excused for not rolling because most of the time he is quick enough to stay with the smaller guard, unlike Pau and Drew.

Oh and yeah, woe betide we lose this series or any series for that matter; MM will see a side of this blog he never even dreamed possible. The PSP is stocking up on popcorn in anticipation; a bittersweet move.

Thanks
PSP Intern

Nice statistical breakdown from Darius (Forum Blue & Gold) that MM posted earlier on the in the web thread. Basically it shows the effectiveness of Drew, Pau and Lamar.

Drew +7.7
Pau + 3.1
LO -1.2

Of course, there's other factors that must be weighed in...like LO playing more minutes with reserves and Drew/Pau logging more minutes with starters. But anyway I found it to be interesting.


http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2011/04/25/looking-at-lineups-which-lakers-bigs-should-be-playing/

"but if they lose it will be ARMAGEDDON on this blog"

Absolutely. This game is THE pivotal game. If the Lakers lose, they're up the creek big time. If the Hornets lose, they're about to get knocked the F out

drama,drama,drama.just enjoy the game! i get a feeling that some of you are in keeping with a J. West mindset in that if the lakers win, you don't feel happiness, just relief! this is the insight that the logo realized and that is when he quit and went to hawaii.everyone starts at the bottom, this isthe time for the boys to make a statement game. does anyone even remember that 17-1 run and how they looked on defense? see you after the next installment of "how the lakers turn"

"Landry was a bench player at Sacramento. Sacramento!! - he can't even get a starting role at the perennial cellar dweller team and yet he is averaging 17.0 points against the back-to-back champions during the playoffs??? Someone needs to put the fear of God in that punk and make him understand his role in the natural order of the universe.

Posted by: The Snake | April 26, 2011 at 01:59 PM "

Landry plays a lot of minutes wherever he goes. Odom and Landry might not always start but they're not bench players. He's good at what he does and the Lakers have always had trouble dealing with players like him.

Will the real Laker team please show up tonight.Its winning time.

Go Lakers!

D(erek)J(eter) - What do you mean exactly?

Whip'em all to get them motivated!!

We all know they can beat the Hornets IF they play as they know. But WILL THEY?. Are they going to wake up in time? In times like this i hate Phil and his methods. Shout them! kick them! Whip them! make them pay!
I shout at them more than he does. I'll be shouting tonite again.

GO LAKERS!!!

We've seen Kobe play twice this season when he's had an ankle injury. Typically, the first few games he has no lift and his shots come up short, so I am hoping he intends to be a distributor and a menace on defense. This is time for Pau to step up. The pressure is squarely on him and LO to put pressure on the Hornets' defense and for Bynum to dominate the paint on defense. I think we'll see a well executed game tonight by the Lakers at both ends of the floor. We won Game 2 here, but it was relatively ugly. I want to see a pretty home game for a change.

@Bay to LA - I don't think Lamar and Landry are in the same category. Lamar could easily be a starter in 95% of NBA teams. Even in his 6th Man role, Lamar puts in a lot more minutes per game than Landry.

Landry scored 21 points in one game in the 7-game HOU playoff series but his overall average in those 7 games was only 7.5 pts. But in the NOH series, he is averaging 17.0 ppg so far.

I think I might have a clue on where his added motivation is coming from. This is his contract year; he becomes a FA next season. He has to make himself look good (if you remember Luke's performance stats during his contract year)...

Kobe and Fisher asking Phil to stay one more year, they still don't understand Phil, will he work hard in the final year ? Game 1 in Orlando, Howard scored 46 pts, but Orlando lost to Atlanta. Let's Paul score 35 pts, but make sure other players don't have a chance to beat Lakers. Phil acting like he is rookie coach, it's is ridiculous. How many teams in the NBA have three big guys like Lakers ? Phil is soft and he made this Lakers team soft too.

100% of the DBDH Clan is sure the Lakers will overcome their internal adversity, unfocused play, and finally, the pesky Hornettes.


DBDH!

The Lakers have to be carefull if they have to 3peat this year,lets hope and see.What concerns me is when Phil Jackson leave who it is it will pick up the reign? I hope its one of his long time assistance be it Brian Shaw and the existing coaching staff of Jim Cleamons and Frank Hamblen.If Laker owner Jerry Bus decides to part ways with the existing coaching staff and Miami do not when the the Nba championship i can see that they will head for Miami to give Lebron James and Dwade their first Nba championship and that will spell bad news for the Lakers and it will take a long time to get to the Nba finals.Hope Dr Jerry make the best decision,keep what is not broken.

"@Bay to LA - I don't think Lamar and Landry are in the same category. Lamar could easily be a starter in 95% of NBA teams. Even in his 6th Man role, Lamar puts in a lot more minutes per game than Landry.

Landry scored 21 points in one game in the 7-game HOU playoff series but his overall average in those 7 games was only 7.5 pts. But in the NOH series, he is averaging 17.0 ppg so far.

I think I might have a clue on where his added motivation is coming from. This is his contract year; he becomes a FA next season. He has to make himself look good (if you remember Luke's performance stats during his contract year)...

Posted by: The Snake | April 26, 2011 at 03:54 PM "

They're in the same category. They are both guys that come off the bench even though they're good enough to start. If we're talking about skills, Odom is the better player.

Sometimes teams like to have a super sub come off the bench because they'll be able to dominate the other team's 2nd unit players.

"The Lakers have to be carefull if they have to 3peat this year,lets hope and see.What concerns me is when Phil Jackson leave who it is it will pick up the reign? I hope its one of his long time assistance be it Brian Shaw and the existing coaching staff of Jim Cleamons and Frank Hamblen.If Laker owner Jerry Bus decides to part ways with the existing coaching staff and Miami do not when the the Nba championship i can see that they will head for Miami to give Lebron James and Dwade their first Nba championship and that will spell bad news for the Lakers and it will take a long time to get to the Nba finals.Hope Dr Jerry make the best decision,keep what is not broken.

Posted by: ninja | April 26, 2011 at 04:24 PM"

If the Lakers win this year, I think Shaw takes over and they go from there. If they don't win, I have a feeling they take someone from outside even if it means there would be a culture change.

Why are we worried about Miami NEXT year? Come on man, get a grip. The Lakers are playing for right NOW. Worry about later, later

Are we being moderated again?

There are two/three good/great coaches out there who can replace Phil Jackson. He is not the savior but a coach who lets Kobe do what he wants. No discipline on the team and it shows. If Kobe is not 100 percent then he should be on the bench and let Odom (who I hope shows up for the game) take his place and run the team. Kobe only hurts the team with his shot selection and inability to run. He is already slow and he shooting is awful which means he is going downhill. Hope its a good game and I do not want to switch channels before the half.

So sonny is banned? I never understand sonny too well or the PSP but they have their place. Medina hopefully 1 day you will show some testicular fortitude and adjudicate fairly. Truth be told your boys the kobe lovers tend to attack persons with different opinions with impunity. If 1 of medina's boys audio is not working properly medina will come on and say poor baby I will have it corrected right away. Granted the priest who doesn't have dial up video/audio plays properly. Tell your boys stop being cheap and pay for cable or dsl internet.

Bedo you should get the Friedman for this 100% accurate statement. Of couse medina will never give you that because you violate the cardinal rule by criticising kobe.


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