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Looking at whether Kobe Bryant should guard Chris Paul for Game 3

The genesis on how the Lakers decided to match up Kobe Bryant on Chris Paul in Game 2 in the Lakers-Hornets first-round is up for debate.

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson used the question as an opportunity to zing.

"We consulted the astrologists and the tarot-card people and that's how we came up with it," Jackson joked.

Bryant, meanwhile, used it as an opportunity to explain his dynamic with [Derek Fisher].

 "He and I talked about it. Fish is better chasing off screens and I'm better off the ball," Bryant said. "We have leeway to do that. [Phil] was a little bit reluctant, but we've been together for years. he trusts my decision making."

The result entailed Paul scoring 20 points and nine assists, a dropoff from the 33 points he scored in the Lakers' 109-100 Game 1 loss Sunday to New Orleans. The Lakers switched combinations on Paul, with options ranging from Fisher, Bryant, Ron Artest and Steve Blake, but the responsibility pointed most to Bryant. With exception to Paul making two buzzer-beating three-pointers before the second and third quarter, respectively, Bryant proved instrumental in limiting Paul's ability to direct the offense by shutting off the passing lanes and giving him little space to penetrate, an effort Jackson said made the Lakers "feisty." As Lakers forward Matt Barnes said of Bryant, "he cut off the head of their snake."

But will that strategy hold up for Game 3?

With Bryant conserving most of his energy defensively, he acted more as a distributor, scoring 11 points on only three-of-10 shooting. Jackson gave a good glimpse that Bryant likely won't play that role again, recalling a conversation during Thursday's practice where Bryant told him, "Don't worry. I'm going to take more than 10 shots the next game."

After initial reluctance, Bryant approached Jackson last year about guarding Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook in Game 5 after he had burned the Lakers with 72 points in transition in the first four games. He held Westbrook to 15 points on four of 13 shooting in Game 5 and vowed to guard him again in Game 6. As much as Bryant likes to score, it'd be best to stick with the same strategy at least in the beginning of the game. That will allow the Lakers to see who's able to thrive inside with touches, with Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom converting on those opportunities and Pau Gasol failing to do so. As much as it's risky sometimes if Bryant doesn't set the tone early, the series so far has shown it to be a defensive matchup than offensive prowess.

"I wanted to make sure the guys gained confidence in being aggressive," Bryant said. "It's not about the amount of shots you take. its about giving effort on both ends of the floor."

--Mark Medina

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MM - I completely disagree with your statement that Kobe's statement was a reminder about who's in charge?? WTH is that? Sounded more to me like they all work together to come up with the best possible way to defend their title. The players are the ones that are on the court and have to execute. They know what their abilities and capabilities are. Just because PJ may have been somewhat reluctant to try out what the guys were suggesting, doesn't mean the guys are in charge. What's with the dig at Kobe?

"...Bryant told him, 'Don't worry. I'm going to take more than 10 shots the next game.'"

Memo to Bryant: The team doesn't need you to make more shots. Just stay within the confines of the game and do what's necessary. Why do you feel you have to take more shots before you've even taken the floor? How about just doing what the game dictates? I'd prefer to hear that rather than making a premature decision that you're going to come out "gunning or taking more shots” Friendly reminder: you almost "gunned" your team to a Game 7 lost last year against Boston on your home court! You're more effective as a "facilitator" rather than a records chasing shooting guard. Relax already and just focus on the "rings." When you facilitate, your teammates feel a bit more urgency to create their own shots - Lamar - and score more. The mantra we always hear is "Defense wins championships." Well, focus more on defense because you have a few more players on your team with much better field goal percentages than your 7-25. Just something to think about. Fans tune in to watch the Lakers win, not watch you go into “jack-a-rama” mode. Facilitate more and that will decrease the moments where you have to place all the scoring on your shoulder with 1 on 3 desperation shots. There’s a time and place for your heroics, just don’t try to create them.


Chris Paul is heart of the Hornets team. Once you control the heart, it also stop pumping blood to the other systems of the team. Ariza would not arise as he did in Game 1 & 2 if not for Paul. Landry is just plain hard nosed player who depends on Paul. Therefore, stop Paul and there goes the Hornets. The adjustment made by the Lakers in Game 2 was fantastic by spreading the defense to Paul by committee headed by Kobe, Fisher, Artest, LO sometimes double teaming his with Bynum.

I would suggest another dimension although a little bit difficult to implement. Deny Paul receiving or holding the ball. If he touches the ball, don't let him weave around looking for possible entries. Deny that astuteness by constantly pressuring him through constant steals, block his vision, push/shove/trip without being caught by zebras. These are the playoffs, see what they did last night with Dirk N. and JKidd, it was very effective Blazers won in the end.

Practice Season Police,

"Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?"

~~I know this is address to me because I said before that blogging is just another form of entertainment. Perhaps, you would like to ask how I view personally the role of the Practice Season Police. Hey, you're funny as can be and really an entertainment in the blog. Unless, you are part of the problem of hiding to multiple personalities on one IP Address, I think that is not a problem. What you have created in your handle is part creativity as a blog jester contributing to entertainment. As long as you have that moral conviction to own that invention and opinion, hey there is nothing wrong with that. However, if you engage in creating several handles aside from PSP, that's just being unfair to others.

Hey, it is no longer the practice season we are in the playoffs. Is it not odd that we still talk of blog problems in a playoff game? We should be talking about our Lakers and how they should win tonight. I hope we shift our conversation to the Lakers than on bloggers.

Posted by: Edwin Gueco | April 22, 2011 at 09:57 AM



That statement was not addressed to you specifically; the PSP was merely catching up on comments from the last night/ this morning and it seemed like some gladiator arena in here. Your bloggin the past few days have been unlike your regular calm, composed self; hope all is good with you, don't let Island Priest/altar boy/CPA get under your skin :-). Btw the PSP blogs under one handle, the psp has stated this multiple times when some people were slandering against my good name.

Did you not get the memo, its practice playoff season now! lol

PSP Intern

I think Kobe should DEFINETELY start off guarding CP3 and let D-Fish play about 6-7 minutes of the first quarter and then bring in Steve Blake because Blake and Kobe guard Paul the best. Blake was playing some tough aggressive defense on Paul (I was surprised I thought he'd be drained and lose energy fast because he just recovered from chicken pox.) Chris Paul is not a scorer but if teams play pick n rolls as bad as the Lakers did in game 1 then he can turn into a scorer. I remember earlier in the year when LAL was beating the Hornets easily CP3 almost had a bad game every time; so maybe it surprised the Lakers that Paul came out so aggressive in game 1. But Lakers are an experienced team with a smart coaching staff I think they'll make the necessary adjustments to try to get a win in New Orleans. But I don't know if Lakers can survive another game of Kobe Bryant(who I think is still the best scorer and player in NBA) going 3-10 for 11 points. So that's why I think they should bring Blake off the bench a little earlier to take Kobe off of Paul so Kobe can save lots of his energy for offense (no offense to Ariza; but is just isn't as good as he was when he was with the Lakers). I have confidence that Lakers will win tonite and if Pau Gasol shows up maybe a good blowout victory by 15-20 points. PAU IS BEING GUARDED BY A 6'7 POWER FOWARD!!!! HOW DOES HE NOT SCORE ON LANDRY?! PAU NEEDS TO STEP IT UP FOR REAL!

This is one intangible I wish Fisher really had. Being able to gaurd who you're supposed to gaurd, whether it be an elite PG or a scrub PG. Fine, no one can stop the elite PGs, but all PGs not named Fisher can atleast slow them down. Which is exactly what Kobe does, slow them down, bother them, make them play D.
Looks to me like that Kobe is actually the one with the intangibles and one those is being able to cover for Fisher in the playoffs throughout his career.

At least it only took one game to figure it out this time...

Can you imagine the horror if the Lakers waited to make that switch?

@LEWSTERS ... Thanks for the Roll Call, Lew. I hope you are right about everything coming together for us tonight. We really need Pau to get out of his funk and play like he is capable.
It will be interesting to see who guards Chris Paul tonight. I suspect it will be a team effort like Wednesday night. Ironically, I thought Kobe’s physical play up on CP3 really affected his game. I wouldn’t go so far as to say he played soft but the reality is that we did the same thing to Chris as they did to Pau – take them out of their game with physical defense – so I expect both teams to continue the same strategy. Thus, the question is how to Chris and Pau react to this in Game 3. More irony is that during the regular season, the Lakers and Pau owned CP3 and the Hornets.

@888.. my deepest condolences. please take your time coming back.. i hope you're right about pau.. another few more stinkers and its gonna be panic time though.

Posted by: yellofever | April 21, 2011 at 09:14 PM

@MVP - My condolences on the loss of your friend.

Posted by: LRob | April 21, 2011 at 09:52 PM


Man, I'm sorry about your friend.

My condolences.

Posted by: Jon K. | April 21, 2011 at 10:36 PM

Thank you so much for your condolences. He was my mentor and a truly great man, a rare breed. He was the State Attorney General for Illinois when Adlai Stevenson was Governor and when he ran for President. He was also a Federal judge appointed by JFK, but that was just a small part of it. He was the most charismatic and funniest person I have ever known. He inspired me to go to law school and taught me many other life lessons. Of course, he was a Lakers fan and I went to Lakers games, baseball games and even the Final four with him one year.

He was 89 and I visited him on the day he died. I just went on a whim that day. He didn't know where he was or what was going on around him, but he knew who he was. When he saw me, a big smile came across his face and he stated my name. I probed him on many issues to see what he could remember and, for the first time, he didn't remember much of anything. Then I mentioned the Lakers and he said,"they just lost 5 in a row!" I kissed him and left the room crying, knowing that the end was near, but those were his last words to me. Like Carl Spackler said in Caddyshack: "So I got that goin' for me, which is nice." :)

"[Phil] was a little bit reluctant, but we've been together for years. he trusts my decision making." #24

Excuse me but shouldn't it be that you "trust your coach's decision making?" I don't know. Sometimes it's best when players are just "seen and not heard."

Condolences "888."

"[Phil] was a little bit reluctant, but we've been together for years. he trusts my decision making." #24

Excuse me but shouldn't it be that you "trust your coach's decision making?" I don't know. Sometimes it's best when players are just "seen and not heard."

Posted by: frmkt | April 22, 2011 at 10:33 AM

"I like to see everybody involved in the game," Jackson said. "I've tried to preach as a basketball coach, even though we have a guy that dominates the ball in Kobe, basketball is not a one on one game — it's a team game."


Kobe will pick up his own moments, he knows that these are the playoffs therefore his importance is setting as decoy on offense and another cog to Paul in defense. The outcome of his role in Game 2 was much better as an defensive player than being targeted in Game one as sole source of point production. You have to mix up the several strategies in the post season because all teams have been fully scouted on what are their favorite moves, PJ's substitutions, flow of the triangle especially on the Lakers who have been in Finals for three consecutive seasons. If fans are too familiar with those moves what about the coaches and scouts. Blake will also be effective on Chris Paul, the latter might be scared of getting chicken pox. lol!

Is it my imagination or am I seeing fewer threads with more unique content.

GAME DAY! Purple and gold Ts are the outfit for today! It worked for game #2, so Mr. Superstitious here is doing the same, of course.

Can't decide which Laker rooting shirt for tonight. I had my 2010 Black Mamba gold (China knockoff) on for the game, but it seemed to blow up Kobe's shot, so it has been put back on the hanger. Maybe my purple 2008 MVP Laker shirt tonight......... Such hard work we fans have to do to get the right karma going! LOL


Yellofever has seen his share of violations lately is wondering why you have not been issuing any citations lately? Are you off duty now that the practice season is over? :-(

Kobe and Fisher could guard him occasionally. But I'd like Blake guard him as much as possible, which means Blake will have a plenty of PT.

The Lakers played great team defense on Wednesday, reminiscent of the 17-1 stretch. It started with Kobe guarding CP3, but Fish, Blake and even Artest were on him from time to time. CP3 has had his great games against the Lakers, but more often than not the Lakers have beaten the Hornets over the years. The way I see it, tonight is the Lakers' big chance to start another run of great defensive performances and make a statement. Let's not kid ourselves here. WE are the two time defending champions, so it is the Hornets who have to try to figure us out, not the other way around. Derek Fisher is the most physical lead guard in the NBA and has thrown CP3 off his game in the past. Yes, Fish is older now, but if Coach Eleven Rings decides to start Fish out on CP3 tonight, I am comfortable with that.

Game 1 was the exception, not the rule. CP3 had the greatest playoff away game in terms of points and assists of ALL-TIME that night, the Hornets committed only THREE turnovers and the bench shot 73.2% from the field, yet the Lakers were still in the game with less than 3 minutes to go. Then in Game 2, we clamped down on defense and beat them in an ugly playoff game, which was the rule, not the exception. So I don't think the head-to-head defensive assignment on CP3 is the issue tonight, it's the defensive rotations and energy which is important. Yes, Kobe's defense on CP3 in Game 2 was definitely the impetus to get the Lakers going at that end of the floor, but it is team defense, particularly staying with shooters and protecting the rim that will once again decide the Lakers fate.

888, My sympathies and prayers on Good Friday for the passing of your friend who was indeed a great friend based on what u said about him.

frmkt - I completely disagree with your statement.... Kobe is a valuable "coach" for this team. His opinions should be valued and carry weight in the decision-making process on how to defend their title.


If you are referring to inner trolls or fans that are antagonistic to players and coaches like pfunk ....

Posted by: Edwin Gueco | April 22, 2011 at 09:23 AM

You can stop right there.

- Steve Blake did an admirable job bothering CP3 in his first game back. Since putting Fish on CP3 (or Westbrook, or Rondo, or Rose) is not an option, I would like to see Blake enter the game earlier and get more minutes. More minutes for Blake equals better defense, more fast break opportunities, better decision making at the PG spot, less forced shots, and less minutes of Kobe using up his energy chasing CP3 around. In other words, against the Hornets, Blake over Fish equals better offense and better defense. A win, win.

- My only concern for a win tonight is the horrific officiating. If you thought it was bad in LA, it will most likely be worse in New Orleans.

- For all the praise Phil gets for making great adjustments, his assistant coach, Kobe, should also get some of that credit.

I'm sorry to hear about your loss. I hope a Laker threepeat can cheer you a bit.

Can you name a single playoff series in the past 3 years where Kobe tried to do too much offensively? I'm not talking about one game, but an entire series. Can you name a single playoff series where Kobe averaged only 10 shots a game? Have you already forgotten that the team is on the verge of a threepeat, with Kobe's shotmaking (and his playmaking) being one of the team's biggest assets? Yet you still doubt his ability to find that balance between playmaker and shotmaker after all these years? Kobe willingly fed Kwame frickin Brown in the playoffs because that was the coaching staff's strategy, and you are doubting if is willing to pass to Gasol and Bynum? Is your memory that short? The Kobe hating media has been focusing on Kobe's supposed weaknesses for years, and as a result, Laker sheep, like you, have been brainwashed into thinking that Kobe only cares about his shot attempts. Boooooo. BAAAAAAA.

You're right that Luke's contract most likely did not prevent the Lakers from signing free agents, but if it weren't for his contract, the Lakers might have kept Toney Douglas, instead of giving him away for cash. They might've kept Sasha instead of giving him away to save money. They might have been able to sign Artest and still keep Trevor Ariza. You also claim that Luke is a good shooter by posting stats from his CONTRACT YEAR. This makes it all the more frustrating to see him brick shot after shot AFTER getting his contract. He is the west coast version of Eddie Curry, getting his contract, fleecing his team, never improving his game, and being content with his paycheck. How can you possibly defend Eddie Curry Lite?

888, My sympathies and prayers on Good Friday for the passing of your friend who was indeed a great friend based on what u said about him.

Posted by: Edwin Gueco | April 22, 2011 at 10:57 AM

Thank you very much Edwin.

@frmkt - Kobe also said, "It's not about the amount of shots you take. its about giving effort on both ends of the floor."

@MVP - very touching story. Thanks for sharing it.

"...Bryant told him, 'Don't worry. I'm going to take more than 10 shots the next game.'"

It's the only way to go. Some "posters" here are just too darn sensitive to objective views or blatant and obvious posts that are meant to "antagonize." Relax already. It's a sport that most of us genuinely enjoy playing and watching. You can read a few words in an "entry" and tell exactly where that particular post is going and if you don't like it, don't finish reading it; move on to the next post. Simple really but to complain to MM about comments is a joke just because you don't agree with them or they have "upset" you to the point where you have to see your cardiologist is downright silly. "Insta-Posts" give "insta-feedback" and allows Medina's Blog to flow. Grow some skin and get in the game! Talk about Pau being soft.... Jeeze

Some of you “posters” need to understand one thing: This is not your Blog and you’re not Bloggers! You participate constructively or not in The L.A. Times’ Lakers Blog monitored by Mark Medina. Perhaps if you get your minds right and stop considering yourselves to be “Bloggers,” this may help you to relax and post comments on the blogs as “readers and contributors.” Get over yourselves. Lots of wasted space regarding this topic which has nothing to do with The Lakers and Playoffs. You want to be a “Bloogger” and have control over what’s read on YOUR Blog, then start one. Over and out.


In my "rage," my previous post had to deal with MM's question as to how we felt about "insta-posts."

@FRMKT... While it will likely open me up to attacks as a Kobe hater, I have to agree with the intent and content of your post. I long have lobbied for Kobe to reprise his Team USA role of being the guy who defended the best player on the other team, helped get everybody involved in the game, and then closed out tight games. This team has as much offensive fire power as Team USA. As you said, what we need is better perimeter defense. If defense wins games, every player on the team should be willing to sacrifice personal offense for the team to win. I would much prefer Kobe to play tough man-on-man defense on Chris Paul than roaming around like a free safety looking to cherry pick a pass.
When Kobe takes more than 25 shots, we are 9-9. When he takes 15 or less shots, we are 15-0. Kobe should begin the game as a facilitator and only take over if the rest of the team doesn’t come through. Starting the game as a scorer only make the rest of the players on the team less aggressive and involved in the offense. We need to get our offense back in gear and running efficiently. That will help our transition defense greatly. And when all of the players are all involved in the game and moving and cutting like they are supposed to on offense, it makes them much more likely to work on defense.


Did you not get the memo either? Its practice playoff season now! The psp will let you slide with a warning this time.

Btw has Luke 'phil is my papa' Walton logged any playoff minutes yet? Serious question.

PSP Officer

@Justa - I agree that he is a valuable "coach" but that's during a game. If your coach wants you to employ or implement a certain scheme, your coach has the final say and you do what you're told. Now during a game, if the plan is not working, coaches do rely on their players to make "on the move adjustments" and Kobe is well versed and often effective in that role. He is definitely an effective "general" while he's on the floor.

@Lkrtrth - name calling will not get an answer to your "question." You can spend your day looking up stats.

@LT - I'm pleased that you understood the "intent and content" of my post. During the off-season, I often commented that I thought this would be the season that Kobe's game would evolve into more of "facilitator" allowing the offense to do what it was designed to do. Sometimes I "feel" that this team wins in despite of Kobe rather than because of him. That being said, every time he looks like he's injured and he might miss games because of it, my heart definitely skips a beat. It's a team game and he's one of the most important pieces of the team but he's not the entire team.

Kobe and Fisher have almost 30 years of playoff experience between them. PJ would be a fool not to listen to their suggestions.

I think MM was only kidding about 'who runs the team' comment. Weren't you Mark....weren't you?

continue to throw the "kitchen-sink defense" at chris paul, yeah he might have gotten 20 pts., but 6 pts. of them were on lucky buzzer beaters and the other 3 pts were when he kicked kobe on an attempted 3, however the foul was called on bryant. take away those 9 pts and L.A. wins by 18 and paul only has 11 pts.!

The Killer Bs are not at home tonight. Do they turn into The Killer Bunks tonight?

Lakeshowinphx - And if that doesn't work? We can always play Celtics 'dirty ball' and purposely trip him as he goes by screens. KG worked that to perfection the other day.

Fatty - Who is not giving up in trying to get Laker Tom's money back from the Lakers for a lousy game one effort.

@LEWSTERS- Thanks for the spot on the roll call it feels good for a newbie to be acknowledged.

Time to eat crow though, Pau Gasol followed up a terrible game 1 with an equally terrible Game 2 so maybe it was not just one isolated incident but here is to hoping it is just an isolated two game incident. My problem with all the Pau bashing is that it lacks the perspective of what Pau has done since becoming a Laker. Does he deserve criticism for his recent poor play, yes, should the critics ignore what Pau has brought to the team in the past and what he will probably bring in the future, no. The guy is not "soft" he just is not a power player. This means that when he gives effort he can be a good defender, not great, and can finish some offensive moves with moderate power. To wish that he was more powerful with offensive moves and defensive presence is to want another player not Pau Gasol.

@KOBEMVP888 ... Once again, my condolences for the loss of your good friend and mentor. May we all live to 89. Regarding Les Jenkins SI article on Drew, I thought it was so good that I posted the entire article, which probably pissed off the few Bynum Bashers left but I thought it gave just great insights into the mind of Andrew Bynum, who it appears was personally the driving force for his new focus on defense and rebounding. Too often, people don’t make the effort to click on the link and I wanted to make sure nobody missed a chance. Here is a 23-year old kid who has the mental and physical talent to become the Next Great Lakers center and is actively working to accomplish that.
Here is another great article on Drew from blog favorite writer Kevin Ding that echoes much of the same theme –Andrew Bynum has made a mental breakthrough that will make him a great player.
By Kevin Ding for the OC Register
Leave it to Tex Winter, who while on the Lakers' staff was one of Andrew Bynum's harshest critics, to have the explanation for why Bynum turned his career and the Lakers season around.
Winter espoused a theory that always has stuck with Coach Phil Jackson's longtime mental-health consultant, George Mumford, during their years together building up all those Bulls' and Lakers' brains to win all those NBA championships.
"The Readiness Principle," as Mumford calls Winter's idea, states: When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
The patient wisdom in that statement did not keep the passionate Winter from ranting and raving about what young Bynum wouldn't learn early in his Lakers career, but ask either Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, and they will tell you how much they appreciated Winter's ranting and raving in a world of gushing and groveling around them.
For all of Bynum's massive potential, not even Jim Buss would dare to compare Bynum, 23, to Jordan and Bryant.
When it comes down to it, though, there is only going to be one fully accredited graduate from the Phil Jackson School of Zen Thought moving forward for a full NBA career to come, bridging this era of dynastic basketball with whatever might be next.
The Bynum, who figures to be ready for the Lakers' playoff opener Sunday against New Orleans at Staples Center despite a sore knee, has throughout his six seasons been the baby of this family.
That also makes him the one and only rising son.
So it's fascinating - and impressive for them both - that Bynum has reached this point here before Jackson retires. It has not happened as much through medical miracle with Bynum's much-scrutinized physical health as because Bynum has made a mental breakthrough.
In this case, it wasn't actually Jackson's coaching voice that triggered Bynum's leap from being talented to playing like a man.
Asked when things began to take off for Bynum, Jackson didn't cite the apparent answer of the All-Star break, at which time Jackson and Bynum had a meaningful talk about how Bynum planned to refocus his game on defense and rebounding. Jackson's answer as to the root of Bynum's revolution was one word: "Boston."
It was in Boston on Feb. 10 that Jackson sat the entire Lakers team down, turning the floor over to Mumford to motivate. Bynum went head-to-head with Mumford, and a seed was planted in Bynum's head.
The dire part of the motivation equation is what Mumford calls "A.O.F." - the last two acronym words being "on" and "fire," the first word citing the body part that must get in gear for any of us to be productive.
Bynum has always had an analytical mind and a curious nature, but his A. was O. F., and the advisory words from Mumford he'd found interesting and sensible suddenly crystallized into pure fuel for his 290-pound body to run like never before.
"The mind and body are not separate; they are connected," Mumford said. "Sometimes working on the body directly is not going to get it. And sometimes working on the mind directly is not going to get it. But if you can get the two to talk to each other, you're probably into some good stuff."
Bynum said it was Mumford's way of connecting with him - it's not hard to see some similarities in their easygoing, easy-smiling demeanors - that made the message ultimately resonate.
Even though Mumford doesn't stay with the Lakers for three entire months, as he did during their 2000-02 championship run, he said he and Jackson remain "kindred spirits" and Mumford annually meets the Lakers in Boston, where he is headquartered. Bynum said he has had "a bunch of good conversations" with Mumford over the years.
"It's just the way he goes about his explanation, because a lot of people can offer advice or try to put you down or do whatever," Bynum said. "But his particular style just fits with me."
What Bynum wanted to do was surrender the predisposition that great players score lots of points and then help the Lakers dominate in the way Jackson has long preached to him: defense and rebounding.
Just like that, Bynum has done it.
"It's how to focus, how always to reset," Bynum said. "If I got bad calls before, maybe I would've blown up or gotten a technical or done something crazy. I mean, I was mad; I was hot. But I just walked off the court, sat down and waited for an opportunity for the game to present something for me to do."
He is simply locked in mentally, which also means no longer fretting over every twinge he feels.
Even early this season, Bynum's extreme caution in coming back to relieve some of Pau Gasol's and Lamar Odom's overburdens left many in the Lakers' inner circle losing faith that Bynum's grit last postseason was any sort of coming of age.
Now? Jackson could not put it any more broadly that this statement: "He's thrown out any concern he has on health issues."
The one bad thing that has happened to Bynum - his flagrant foul on an airborne Michael Beasley after just before on offense feeling frustration of missing a dunk and not getting a foul call, resulting in a two-game NBA suspension - was a reminder about staying in the moment, too.
"He carried a play from one end of the court to the other," Jackson said. "Basketball is really a game where you have to let things go."
And there you see Jackson's handle on the switch Bynum flipped.
Jackson is the most successful coach in NBA history, the guy whom Bryant credited even back when they didn't get along so well for teaching him that long-term goals were best achieved by letting go of them.
"It's him and Vince Lombardi," Bryant said in a quiet moment earlier this season: "As far as coaches, him and Vince Lombardi. That's it."
And what a beautiful thing it is to see a coach touch a player's career and life so meaningfully, even if in Bynum's case it was Mumford as the medium. Jackson is still making magic.
This is certainly not, however, just a credit to the teacher.
Winter, who stopped consulting for the Lakers in 2009, used to wonder if Bynum, the youngest player ever drafted into the NBA, was really motivated from within. We now have the answer.
Instead of resting on the laurels of titles and money, Bynum got his A.O.F. - and not because he was being called irresponsible for delaying surgery 41 days after last season, not because he was idly dreaming of being an All-Star, not because he was hearing the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors, not because he had let the team down and Lakers' streak of championships had already ended.
It says a lot about Bynum that he acted at this time and on his own.
"I just do what I do, man: I talk," Mumford said. "And people who can hear what I'm saying will hear it. People who don't, won't. It's really that simple."

"Kobe and Fisher have almost 30 years of playoff experience between them."

Posted by: Fatty | April 22, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Very true but let's ask ourselves this: how many of those rings were won without Jackson? How many championships did Fisher lead his teams to when he left L.A. and how many did he win when he returned while Jackson was still the coach? Personally, I think the collective experience on the coaching staff is far more relevant that the 30 years between 2 players who never won anything without the present staff. JMHO

Why is everyone on Kobe case? At least that's what it seems like. First off just because Kobe said he will take more than 10 shots don't mean he really will. He can just be putting things out because he know the media and a lot of us will take it and run with it. They have a game plan why would they let the other team know what it is. Now if Kobe want to take more shots ok let him as long as he is making at least 40% and everyone else is doing something also. Basketball is a team sport but if a team don't have a superstar like Kobe, Wade, James etc. they will be in a hole like the Pacers and Sixers or in now. Oh and soon to be nuggets. Look at all the teams that have a superstar they have won games in the playoffs. Well not the Knicks but hopefully they will. Back to Kobe he have been with the Lakers for what 15-16yr's and he has been the same things which have won us 5 championships in his 7 appearance in the NBA Finals. Why change it now if what he is doing will/can help us win it? Remember the only reason why we lost game 1 was Paul all around game us not Gasol. Kobe gave us a chance but we lost. Game 2 was because he shut CP3 down and depend on all others to keep us in the game. 4th quarter he made the big plays to help us win it. Let's Go Lakers!!!

"Kobe and Fisher have almost 30 years of playoff experience between them. PJ would be a fool not to listen to their suggestions. "

Well said. Only a fool would think Kobe's suggestion to switch onto Rondo, Westbrook and CP3 were bad ideas and should have been ignored by the coaching staff.

Hey guys i intercepted this letter intended for Mark Medina. My my, my. Tsk tsk tsk shaking my head.

22nd April 2011

Mark Medina
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles, CA

Dear Mr. Medina,

Re: The Banishment of The Island Priest

Please Mark we need you to ban the one called Island Priest. This man is a troll and a Kobe hater and you know it. Good fans are not blogging anymore because of this person. The Priest writes that kobe is a ball hog. Forget that Phil and Fisher said it. Mark forget that Gastrong and LO may have insinuated it in their comments. But the Priest have no right to say it. Then the Priest went and stated that jordan was better than kobe. On top of that he produced stats that proved it. Then he referenced an article where Phil said that jordan was better. But if he wants to say that crap he should go to a chicago website. The Priest is too intelligent for us and we can't seem to get an upper hand on him. But you have the power mark because this is a private web site and no free speech is allowed. If persons don't recite that kobe is the GOAT and can do no wrong they should be banned starting with the Priest. Mark we know you acquiesced when we complained that you were putting up too many new threads. Plus you acquieced when we complained about the moderation. If we complain about the video quality you get it fix. You even asked what we thought about insta posts. Now we are real desperate about this Priest fellow and need you to get it done. Granted the blogs will be boring without the Priest comments but forget that, BAN THE PRIEST MARK NOW!!!

Yours truly,

Eddie Gueco and Hobbitmage

I didn't see anything wrong with game two. Kobe defended CP3 quite well and took 10 shots. Everyone was involved and the game never was in doubt. Now kobe is saying he wants to revert to game 1 kobe? He did shoot 50% on 26 shots but no one else was involved except for ron who pj called the best player on the floor that night. Facilitator kobe is who is best for the lakers and not ball hog kobe.


you wrote: why is everyone on Kobe case?

my response: Because everyone wants to believe that everyone on the
team should have a similar amount of shots.

Most people want to believe that, if given a chance, their favorites would
have better statistical games if Kobe didn't take as many shots as he has.

Very few people, want to talk about what happens when the other team knows
that Kobe will be passing instead of shooting. i.e. that few Lakers can get
their own shot anytime they want it.

They'll look at the simplistic statistics of how many shots Kobe took and if
the team won or loss. They won't look at when Kobe took his shots as
pertaining to the shot clock or the quarter. Nor will they look at how Kobe's
aggressiveness affects the other teams defensive play. i.e. Kobe is going off
we must stop him, which oddly enough, opens things up for the rest of the
Lakers. Nor do they think about, he's got a multitude of funny lookin' fingers...
Maybe he needs to take a few extra shots to get his shot going. Nor will they
answer the question: Can the Lakers win a championship if Kobe doesn't
shoot well for the entire playoffs?

That's my .02 cents. Don't go to Starbucks w/ it.


regardless of our differences, I'm sorry for your loss.

Justa Medina was not slighting kobe. Stay calm. What he meant was that kobe is the players captain and leader. Not that he was in charge of jackson. Ok....Medina you have a hard job any perceived slight on kobe you are attacked
almost like the priest.

Listen guys I don't particularly care for Medina because he appears to be an inverterbrate always trying to make the kobe lovers happy. But in this article he was trying to throw you kobe lovers red meat by showing kobe was a leader. LA times have a diverse readership including homosexuals. So when kobe said that gay slur medina had to report it and the fall out. But you guys attacked medina for doing his job. I know you guys love kobe but stop being a fanatic about this tarnished hero. Medina bends over backwards to keep you kobe zealots happy and he have to walk a fine line. Medina gave me a warning when I was attacked by a kobe lover and I responed in kind. But let medina dare say that kobe took too many shots and hobbit, eddie, justa, jon k will swarm him like a hive of bees. Relax people.

Hey frmkt, howzit going?

If my daughter gave me a good suggestion, even though I'm 36 years her senor, with lots of experience in life. It be would be wise for me to listen, and even wiser to use it if I thought it would help.

Kobe and Fish gave some input to coach Jackson, and he was wise enough to listen, and then to follow through. We saw the evidence of multiple minds coming together to accomplish the objective. It doesn't change the fact it was PJ's call. He is still the coach and takes full responsibility.

But I hear where you're coming from, I just don't see anything really wrong with players giving advice. Unless they throw a tantrum during the game or something...Then they need to be disciplined with a time-out on the end of the bench.

Fatty - Still not giving up in trying to get Laker Tom's money back. If the letters don't work, I'm calling Dr. Buss.

Somebody just keep delonte West away from Pau's mom and everything will be fine.

Hello Laker Fans!

Some incredible posts here - deep insight, much better than on the live blogs.

Among Laker players, Kobe is obviously the key to the Lakers. I am not waiting for Pau to show up, so here goes:

To the haters: Kobe is not going to settle for winning championships while averaging 3 baskets made and 10 shots a game! We don't want Lamar 2.0. Kobe is a scorer, let him score.

What we need is for Kobe to be:

1. really focused on D on Paul and not take a lot of dumb risks going for steals and blocks on D, esp. on strong side D.

2. facilitate and make the pass before the assist and get everyone involved early so they don't sulk (I'm looking at you, Pau, Drew and LO).

3. take high percentage shots.

4. stop trying to initiate contact on his miracle shots and whine to the refs. That just makes any person more reluctant to call fouls in the gray zone.

If Kobe does above, we can go undefeated the rest of the playoffs. Kobe can play to his incredible potential. He just has a tendency to do everything himself and be a little jack-o-rama.

Kobe Bryant those are great points but you will be attacked by hobbit shortly. I've said the same things granted with more flair and drama but I have made the same fundamental points. Feed the beast and gastrong, get everyone involved and LA will be fine. It is obvious that kobe is not getting the same foul calls like before because the refs are tired of his antics and tantrums. Like I have been saying all season long is if KB plays the right way the Lakers could challenge the bulls record. Jerry buss the best owner in pro sports said that this laker team is his most talented. Unfortunately, kobe is filling up the ferrari with cheap regular gas.

hobbitmage I understand what you saying but it's not like that. Not all the players on the team have the talent Kobe do. If that's the case then Joe Smith and Theo Ratliff should be shooting about 12 shots a game. Kobe is just on a whole different level then the rest of the team. He know what every player on the team is capable of doing and not. Kobe have won many of games for us on bad shooting nights and on good shooting nights. My only problem with Kobe is he don’t go to the hole enough like he did back in days. If he was to do more post up he would be a killer. His foot work down low is sweet. Also he would get to the free throw line more. As a team I feel there where we hurt ourselves at. We have a lot of good post up players and we don’t post them up enough. Hell Artest would be a beast down on the block. In game 1 Kobe shot a lot because we were losing and he was trying to keep us in the game. When other players took shots they were missing. Remember also Bymun it was his 1st game back since hurting his knee so he was kind of nervous. Game 2 he had a little more confidence so he played better. Odom was juice and pump because he won the 6 man of the year award. Gasol was the same old person. Hats off to Blake even though he didn’t score he set up 5 others to put points on the board. Game 1 that was missing. It’s like this to me if Kobe was to get hurt tonight and have to miss the rest of the playoffs we will not make it far nor would we be consider as winning it all. Now if anyone else get hurt we still have a good chance because of who? KOBE He still can win us a couple of games by himself if need be. All of us are LAKERS FANS (I think) so let’s just hope for what’s important and that’s a win. LET’S ROOT THEM ON!!! AND NO MATTER WHAT HAPPEN WIN OR LOSE WE STICK WITH THEM. 3 STRAIGHT NBA FINAL APPERANCES IS A LOT AND WE ARE TRYING FOR 4. I BELIEVE! KOBE DEFENSE WAS THE BIG DIFFERNCE IN GAME 2 SLOWING DOWN CP3. TONIGHT I HOPE WE COME OUT LIKE GAME 2 AND BE VERY AGGRESSIVE AND PLAY HARDCORE DEFENSE. MAYBE ARTEST WILL SLAP GASOL IF HE DON’T PLAY UP TO WHAT WE KNOW HE CAN DO.


>>>You're right that Luke's contract most likely did not prevent the Lakers
>>> from signing free agents, but if it weren't for his contract, the Lakers
>>>might have kept Toney Douglas, instead of giving him away for cash.

At the time they had the draft pick that became Douglas, the Lakers already had a lot of guards on the roster, including 3 point guards in Fisher, Farmar and Sun Yue.

What's more, the Lakers didn't draft Toney Douglss then trade him to the Knicks... they drafted Toney Douglas FOR the Knicks. The Knicks made the pick. If the Lakers had USED the draft pick, they might have picked DeJuan Blair (which would have been better than Douglas) or Jeff Pendergraff (which would have been not as good as Douglas).

A key thing is that whoever the rookie was, they would STILL be behind the current roster of veterans in the depth chart. Phil may never have given them 5 minutes in a game by now. I think Derrick Caracter may be as good as DeJuan Blair -- the difference is Blair got big minutes right from the start and PJ will never put Caracter on the floor in a game that counts.

>>> They might've kept Sasha instead of giving him away to save money.

That one is true. They MIGHT have kept Sasha. And then you'd all be whining about how Sasha can't shoot and how his contract is a huge waste of money and how HE's preventing the Lakers from signing Chris Paul and Dwight Howard this summer.

>>> They might have been able to sign Artest and still keep Trevor Ariza.

You think Trevor would have agreed to sign to be a 15 minutes a night backup when he could start for Houston? I seriously doubt it. Ariza never played well with the bench when he was with the Lakers.

Oh, and by the way... Ariza shot 30% on 3-pointers and 40% overall this season. And that's with Chris Paul passing to him.

>>> You also claim that Luke is a good shooter by posting stats from his

No. I didn't claim that "Luke is a good shooter". Someone claimed that "Luke has never developed a jump shot" I pointed out that LAST SEASON (not just his contract year), Luke hit 40% from 3-point range.

Can you hit 40% from the NBA 3-point line? Unguarded??

He's been MUCH poorer this season (a crappy 23%).

>>> This makes it all the more frustrating to see him brick shot after shot
>>> AFTER getting his contract.

Like in the 2009 NBA finals. It was so terrible when he bricked 20% of his shots for the finals.

>>>He is the west coast version of Eddie Curry, getting his contract,
>>>fleecing his team, never improving his game, and being content with
>>>his paycheck. How can you possibly defend Eddie Curry Lite?

LOL, not even close.

Thanks Island Priest. I respect hobbitimage's love, protectiveness and respect for Kobe. I just think the Laker coaches know what's going on a bit more - such as Jim Cleamons, who in Broderick Turner's article today talked about getting the ball inside to our bigs. Their shooting percentage is much higher than any of our perimeter players. Being tall, talented and closer to the basket when shooting helps, apparently.

>>>Btw has Luke 'phil is my papa' Walton logged any playoff minutes yet?
>>>Serious question.

Nope. And unless Matt Barnes injury crops back up, or the Lakers blow some team out by 15 or more points, we may not see Luke at all except in rare situations.

@frmkt Why don't YOU relax and let the master handle his business? Don't you think he understands it is a road game and that he might have to be more aggressive offensively for the team to succeed in a hostile environment? Kobe is a flat out scorer and that mentality is what got the Lakers to the finals 3 years in a row and about to be 4. The team plays the best when he facilitating the offense AND looking to score. He was aggressive in looking for his baskets in game 1, obviously didn't look to score in game 2 and now he is looking to find that perfect balance in game 3. Did he say he wasn't going to look to facilitate? No. He just indicated that he is going to use a little more energy on the offensive end this game. Like I said, let the master handle this.

@JAMF - You're right. It was just being tongue in cheek. Plus I relooked at the statement and he was referring to Fish

@Fatty - Yes I was just joking

The Lakers are unpredictable and this 70 year old grandmother enjoys the antics that Kobe and Phil give us. I never plan to set a schedule to watch the
Lakers anymore after they lost the game in December of 2010. That was disappointing. You really never know which Lakers are going to show up to play:
the nonchalant team or the champion team.

Maybe the Lakers don't really care about winning a 3rd straight title. Their actions speak louder than words.

RE: Paul Gasol, he's got to be tough (tuff) and not let anyone push him around. I am surprised that he has turned out to be a cream puff. Hope he does better Sunday.

Kobe's the best regardless of what the media reports. He's not only an outstanding player but his maturity shows most of the time (and it's about time, too) concerning his private and public life.

Other players.....Lebron (no style at all-regardless of what others think), Dwayne is a wrecking machine..mostly to himself....Bost...just give him the ball lol

It's really a thrill to watch how all this madness and how it will play out.



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