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Looking at who can fill Ron Artest's void

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I didn't exactly have to consult a psychic or run an NBA 2K11 simulation to predict Lakers forward Ron Artest would serve a one-game suspension for his clothesline on Dallas guard Jose Barea in the final seconds of the Lakers' 93-81 Game 2 loss Wednesday to the Mavericks.

But I may have to regarding what the Lakers' lineup change to offset Artest's absence will entail. After all, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson wasn't entirely forthcoming about his plans, simply saying with a smile, "You'll know that [Friday]."

Here are a few possibilities.

1. Kobe Bryant plays at small forward, while Steve Blake/Shannon Brown share backcourt duties with Derek Fisher.  This won't really be much of a transition for Bryant considering his strong work in the post. But the feasibility of how this plan works rests mostly on how well Blake and/or Brown could handle backcourt situations. Based on how horribly the bench has played so far in the series, the initial prognosis suggests it would come with mixed results. Perhaps Derek Fisher's presence on the floor alone might spur Blake and Brown to defer to his running the offense instead of shooting outside shots that rarely go in the basket. But anything involving the Killer B's isn't reliable.

2. Lamar Odom starts at small forward. Odom has worn this hat many times, assuming the starting position during Andrew Bynum's rehab from right knee surgery, his progression back into the starting lineup and his  two-game suspension for  a flagrant foul. But this entails a different responsibility. Starting at small forward would feature Odom, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum on the floor, a combination that the Lakers rarely feature, which is actually a good thing. As much as the Lakers boast about their size, this lineup hasn't worked in the few times they've played together on the court. Though Odom has expressed in the past that he would like to play small forward, he immediately recognized how drastically it would change the Lakers' defensive rotations.

"I'll adjust and try to impact the game wherever I am on the court," Odom said. "You start from the outside rather than starting from inside and trying to have our bigs from the post to the corner."

3. Matt Barnes starts at small forward and Odom comes off the bench. Barnes' play might not warrant a starting spot, but remember that time early in the season when Barnes was logging heavier minutes than Artest, leading some to think he'd eventually take Artest's spot? It was a long time ago,  sure, and Barnes' consistency has been nonexistent since he had surgery on his right knee in early January. But when he has played a good game since then, Barnes  has talked about how having an extended run helped keep his leg warm and gave him  better rhythm. Barnes' playing with the starters would also minimize the likelihood that he'll fire unnecessary shots and prompt him to make hustle plays.

4. Start Luke Walton. In case this happens, I've made sure the warranty on my computer still works considering the inevitability that the live chat during Game 3 will simply crash. But I'm not just blowing smoke when I say this might happen. Walton hasn't played a single minute in the playoffs and he hasn't been shooting the ball particularly well (32.8%). So I don't imagine that he'll get much playing time. But for the sake of keeping the rotation changes to an exact minimum, putting him in the starting lineup might not actually be a bad thing. You never know. This might be the game where Walton drops 40 points, makes the game winner and then prompts management to rush over with another six-year, $30-million contract.

Before you fill up the chat threads calling for my head, giving him a limited run in the starting rotation might be feasible while granting the heavier minutes to Odom and Barnes off the bench.

-- Mark Medina

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

Photo: Ron Artest walks off the court after being ejected in the second half of  Game 2 against Dallas on Wednesday night. Credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press

 
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The bigger question is how will Ron's 32 minutes be distributed? How about this....

Matt 8
Kobe 5
LO 5
Drew 5
Shannon 5
Luke or Trey 4

@NBA4ever – As you know from reading my posts I’ve been supportive of everyone that dons the P&G including Shannon.

Why do I like Shannon? First, I’m biased because he’s a fellow MSU Spartan. Secondly he can be an explosive scorer and force turnovers on defense. (He hit two tough shots last game and stole the ball from Dirk). However, I’d be the first to admit that Shannon has been a major disappointment the 2nd half of the season. His poor decisions and lack of court awareness has gone from manageable to mind boggling. I wouldn’t blame Phil for benching him, but they don’t have any other options since they gave away Sasha. Plus, Blake has been struggling also lately and has been a disappointment overall. His meltdown last game was scary. Barnes hasn’t been the same since his injury. Yet, the Killer B’s still have a chance for redemption starting tomorrow. Hopefully they’ll capitalize on it as will LO and Pau.

Let’s hope the Lakers “Turn the Tables” like the Guitar Gangsters suggested.

FYI here’s the FG% for key players in the playoffs thus far:
Drew 56%
Fish 49%
Kobe 45%
Ron 44%
Shannon 44%
LO 43%
Pau 43%
Barnes 38%
Blake 25%

"I’d like to cry but I can’t right now," Jackson said with a smile. "It’s a game and we know it’s a game and we play it and we play it hard and we anticipate winning in Dallas."

Amen, thank you Phil for bringing some perspective. This is not a war, nobody dies. Its a game. Its entertainment and the Lakers have entertained me for over 40 years. They have put a good and sometimes great brand of entertainment on the floor more consistantly than any other team in basketball (no apologies to the Celts). They have been to the FINALS the last 3 years, WINNING the last two! Thank you Lakers for the 16 NBA CHAMPIONSHIPS. I for one believe they can still win this series. Like Kobe said, they can win 2 in a row and then its a new series. And if they don't, OH WELL, thank you for another very entertaining year. But for now, Im still, and always will be a Laker fan!
Go Lakers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

@Edwin – As fans we have no choice but to believe. It’s like the little boy told Bolie, the boxer in the classic Twilight Zone episode….You Gotta Believe. Thanks for the Journey selections. Your compatriot is a worthy replacement for Steve.


@PSP – Regarding Sloan and Phil. I can’t say what would’ve happened in 97 and 98, but I do strongly believe Phil would’ve figured out a way to win at least one title with the Stockton/Malone combo. And I also doubt that Sloan would’ve had the temperament to coach Rodman.

@desertlaker - Agree.

@PSP.. I usually tend to stay away from the hypotheticals but to yellofever it aint a matter of the better coach winning those series but strictly a matter of whoever was coaching MJ was gonna win those series. Stern wouldve made sure of that. Hey u asked! :-)

PJ should start Kobe at small forward and play Trey Johnson and D-Fish, with Blake as back-up. OR start Odom. I don't want any part of Luke Walton, none. For one I don't like his game; second, it wouldn't be fair to the guy. He hasn't played a minute in forever. What can you expect of the guy at this stage of the season? This is my main problem with PJ. He never plays his bench. What can you expect of guys like Ratcliff/Caracter or Joe Smith when you never use them during the regular season?


Ever heard of unncessary rust, Phil?

At last! Mark Medina brings the humor.
Luke "The Bench" Walton crashing the computer.
Thank you, sir. We needed it!

Start Lamar, in my opinion. He performed much better when he was in the game from minute one...maybe he kinda zones out too much when sitting on the bench for the first 8 minutes?...all those pre-game Skittles start coagulating or something?

And I know it's been said, but the Kitty Bz don't ALWAYS have to be a unit, right? If only Jackson would break em up more often, there might be a tad less panic that the game is solely theirs.

Brown does have some redeeming qualities when he's on D or sneaking inside for a slam. Barnes has his injury for an alibi but Blake>? Just like with Gasol, I wanna quiz-What's Buggin' You, Hombre?!

Game 3 is my Must Win.
If the Lakers can't adjust and actually play like Champs by then, they're Chumps!

Boston sucks!
Go-Go Power Lakers!!

Win or lose im a Lakers fan forever but of course Lakers will win this and three peat...Lets go Lakers...Lets go Kobe the greatest player of all time...

Mark Medina

thanks for pointing out the obvious. at least you had a little humor mixed up with your clairvoyance. but not very CLEAR.

it is a long post so i will break it up to not annoy the readers!

unfortunately you made all your assumption based on one team, the Lakers. you forgot that there is another team playing. the Dallas.

looking at their starting personnel and the fact that Artest is missing, the most important player on the Dallas team will be Marion.

in the Portland series, Marion had a few 20 points games and many rebs. offensive ones. because most of his points came from offensive rebs / put backs. even if he is older, he is pretty athletic. more athletic than Artes and even LO or Pau who are not boxing him out. and as we experience, he can still penetrate and make his little floaters.

so, Marion vs. LUKEEEEEEEE it will be a real catastrophe. (case 4, failure)

but, Luke is "the prodigal son" of the Zen Master, so none of us can do anything about it.

NOTE: before the Game 2, NBA.com had a live stream of the lakers/dallas warm up for like 2 hours. LUKE WALTON could not make a shot, not even DURING WARMUPS! what makes anyone think that he will make one during the game. "Are you serious?" :-)


--------------------------
Having Kobe at 3 is no big deal. but considering the match ups, that will have Marion working on Kobe. I'm not even trying to say that Marion is a Kobe stopper. but because of his mobility and his length, he can make Kobe 's life a little more difficult and IMHO, I want Kobe to go for 60, impose his will and have the LEAST resistance doing that. Stevenson, if he does not make 3's is a total liability and Kobe will have an easier task to score and keep the Lakers in the game. and win it. (case #1, failure)

Mark Medina (cont' - part II)

as much as i will like PJ to surprise Dallas with a really big lineup, i don't think it will work because they did not play together for too long. also it is more important for KOBE to impose his game, to have a few Dallas players in foul trouble because of Kobe. (remember, he is the only one who can pull fouls on other players, even Chandler or Dirk)

surprisingly, LO was shooting very well especially from 3. all of the sudden, in the playoffs, he stopped shooting them?!

with LO starting, the BENCH will have nothing left. not that he was a leader of the bench. 6th man means nothing if his role of the leader of the bench is not fulfilled. and let's face it, LO is not an all star, he is not a leader! he is a versatile ROLE player, who sometimes can be the X-factor, but most of the times he is the same OLD LO. if we are looking at his whole career, is as superficial/artificial as a reality show. but his character plays BB.

so LO as a starter on 3 is not … advised?!

-----------------------

case #3 - Matt Barnes. i know that there 2 Barnes. the one before his injury, the other one NOW. but for those who watched last year playoffs, when he started for Magic, there is the "another-one" Barnes that totally fizzeled under pressure. actually good just for chip shots like that scene with the ball in Kobe's face.

at least more mobile than Luke in his match up with WALTON.

------------------------------

I don't feel Artest should have been suspended. When you have a team lead by the rapist Kobe, what is wrong with a cheap shot when losing?

Hey Chessdad,

If that was a black woman they would not have called it rape, but a poor white girl it called rape if you are a Black Man living in America.Your comment are a cheap shot.

Chessdad is a cat rapist...hahahahhaa.lol

Ha Ha Ha Ha
Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha
Ha Ha Ha
Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha
Ha Ha Ha

The Matrix will have his way with the girls.

Mark Medina ( cont'- CONCLUSION)

a few weeks ago, the Silver Screen and Roll blog had a post about the efficiency of various lineups.

the most EFFECTIVE line up was:

Bryant - Bynum - LO - Barnes - Blake

I know that will be surprising for many, but this lineup is the mostly athletic, dynamic, and scrappy on defense.

offensively. Barnes, Blake and LO take whatever is LEFT after Bryant and Bynum feast.

that will mean starting LO at 4 with Gasol on the bench.

Barnes at 3. and yes, Fisher at 1, because looks like Blake is not good enough for this level of competition

Kobe, baby sited this TEAM for 82 games. he tried to infuse CONFIDENCE in various ways sacrificing his own game and also his stats.

i expect that a TEAM that went 3 times to the finals and won 2 of them to have LEARNED various things, to have enough confidence. they been there!

but as i mentioned many times, this team is KOBE and a bunch of brain midgets.

as you've seen from game 2, Kobe did everything to ENGAGE the BIGS. after the first Qt, the score was 26-20 for Dallas. Gasol was ridiculous.

sorry, but Kobe is not the shrink of this team. there are other people on this TEAM that should prepare the TEAM mentally available. we are talking about the SEMI-FINAL of the WC.

-----------------------------------------------

but the question is following:

DOES PJ wants to WIN because of his SUPERSTAR, or he wants to LOSE because of his PREDICTABLE system, substitutions and spreading TOUCHES to satisfy his eternal losers on the TEAM - see Gasol.

actually every team has a PECKING order. (nobody questions Rose, Durant, LBJ or Wave, JJ, Randolph) - surprisingly, everyone questions KOBE, the un-relentless ASSASSIN of the NBA.

Bryant - Bynum - LO - Barnes - Fisher (even if he does not have any INTANGIBLES left up his sleeves)

The Lakers have to WIN every quarter. especially the FIRST one. they can't start on the road, in a deficit, in the most important game of this Lakers team.

bench Gasol.
he is DAMAGED GOODS already. what difference will it make if he laments from the bench. after Game 2 he already CONFESSED that he did his best. maybe HIS best is not THE BEST for a TEAM that wants to 3-PEAT.

NBA 2k11 predicted Dallas would be up 2-1 at the end of game 3.

Let hope the computer knows a thing or two

Mark Medina (post scriptum -partI)

during the first round of the playoffs, there were 2 promoted "memes" used by the media, ESPN, ABC that contradicted themselves and surprisingly no ONE pointed them out:

A. as soon as the Lakers - NO serie4s started, ESPN/ABC tries to promote their new, go "in deep STATS " site.

the question was: How DOES KOBE PERFORMES WHEN GASOL WAS TOGETHER WITH HIM ON THE COURT?

Jeff van Gundy, immediately cut the CRAP out saying the Kobe performs very well, regardless if he plays with Theo or J Smith.

The "funny" part was that Gasol, himself performed like CRAP?

In parallel, they were excited about the Memphis - Spurs series. they were commenting on "THE FIRST GAME WON BY THE MEMPHIS EVER IN THE PLAYOFFS".

after that they were excited about "THE FIRST HOME WIN BY THE MEMPHIS IN THE PLAYOFFS AT HOME"

what was missing in these 2 parallel "memes"?

Memphis was in playoff 3 times before.
Memphis lost all the games.
Memphis record was 0-12
Memphis LEADER and FRANCHISE player during the 0-12 was no other than Pau Gasol, the Memphis CHOKER who was BOOOOOOOOOOOOED out of Memphis.

GET IT?

They never mentioned:
that Gasol did never took them to the promised lend,
that Gasol NEVER won a playoff game,
NEVER won a series,
but they were IMPLYING that KOBE does better on the court when Gasol is there.

(rolling eyes - what a "faux pas" to go there)

and i'm sure many of you BOUGH IT. LOL!

"Are you serious"? (to quote the wannabe BEAST)

Is Palomar your typical Faker fan, or is he more the norm?

The only question remaining is 'Who will face the mighty Heat?

Mark Medina (post scriptum -partII)

i will conclude this post with a cinema (not as LakerTom will say cinematic) analogy:

in his movie "Notre Music (our music)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0360845/

the director Jean Luc Godard has as one of his characters the famous Palestinian Poet, Mahmoud Darwish.

one of his famous line is, i'm paraphrasing: The Palestinians ARE NOT FAMOUS, for who we are, we ARE FAMOUS because OUR ENEMIES, ISRAEL

to make a BB analogy:

LO and Gasol are not famous, all stars or versatile players, or the best big man because HOW THEY PLAY.

they are famous because they can be used, against the ENEMY who is KOBE BEAN BRYANT!

the previous moderators, AK and BK, were using any opportunity to make LO the MVP of the Lakers.

this year, starting with PJ, ESPN, and the rest of the media, MM included, started to blow Gasol out of proportions to make him the MVP, The Leader and the BEST thing after the WHITE bread. TOTAL FAILURE - and if you don't believe me, watch on TIVO Game 1 or 2 or much better the NO series, and read all the Gasol post game interviews.

how pathetic. what poor journalism. how FAKE. how biased!

GO KOBE! SAVE THE LAKERS!

The only question remaining is 'Who will face the mighty Heat?

Posted by: Angelo Faker | May 06, 2011 at 05:47 AM
the hawks or the Bulls
isn't that very clear?

by the way, the HEAT needs 4 victories over the celtics. they have ONLY 2!

hold your horses!

Angelo fakers is a miami cheats fans and gay lover of Lebron...hahahahahaha

'archived' reads like ouchhhhh reincarnated.
Hope this life is better than the last one.

The only question remaining is 'Who will face the mighty Heat?

Posted by: Angelo Faker | May 06, 2011 at 05:47 AM

based on your previous post, you sound like a "gay lover of Kobe...hahahahaha"

Lakers recipe for success on the way to 3peat will be KOBE ball pick and roll with either Pau or Drew and so be it,that was our bread and butter in the previous back to back championship but PJ is eager to follow this media losers suggestion that we need inside out basketball look at what happen now we dont have identity in our offense.This is KOBE team and all the others are role players.We live and die with KOBE period...So be it...

sorry, looks like the COPY paste did not work, so "correction"

Angelo fakers is a miami cheats fans and gay lover of Lebron...hahahahahaha

Posted by: Adrian Palomar | May 06, 2011 at 06:21 AM

based on your previous post, you sound like a "gay lover of Kobe...hahahahaha"

The Lakers cannot, will not win if they don't start making some outside shots.
The Mavs are making life tough to go inside and playing off, as in not guarding very closely, the outside shooters.

The only way to stop this and open up things inside is to start making the outside shots whether they be 2's or 3's, and force Dallas to start really guarding the perimeter players.

As long as they keep throwing up bricks from outside the Lakers inside game is neutralized.

The Lakers are losing these games on the offensive end scoring well below their season average, can't hit any 3's and bricking too many free throws.

The series doesn't hinge on Pau and Bynums play, they will get theirs. They will get more if the outside shots start falling.

So thats the key, if they can make the outside shots they could win 4 in a row or 4 of 5.

If they keep missing from outside, this series is over sooner than later and it be time for a new NBA champ.

I do not see Heat closing in 4 games. Celtics may claw their way back to Game 7. Who knows Heats inconsistency might bring Heat down in 6 Games. Okay if mighty Heat get to Conf Finals they still have to deal with Rose and Bulls Homecourt. Heat go down in 7 Games I think.

Lakers only need to win one game at a time. All those who blamed Kobe and then I watched the game last night. Kobe brought ball up after Blake was missed 3 3-pters and caused like 4 or 5 turnovers in 2nd half. Blake should have been yanked long time. Blakes' play made Lakers loose. Bottom Line.

Anybody but Blake. He is having issues.

Kobe kept on the bench until 8 min mark. Don't get it. Tired Kobe is better than no Kobe. Kobe should take 25-30 shots. Just don't take more than 5 3 pters..

Kobe has always burned the Mavericks and I don't see any reason why he can't do it now.

Dallas is clogging Bynum and he cannot manuever like Shaq or Hakeem.. he is a good role player.. as good as center can be for Lakers but Lakers cannot use him like Shaq. He niether has the hands of Shaq, the might, or the passing ability.

Kobe should take over. And anyone who wants to contribute should contribute otherwise move out of his way.

No reason why Blakes and other gaurds should be taking that many shots.

Adrian Palomar | May 06, 2011 at 06:26 AM

as much as i want to agree with the P&R theory, it does not work, or more exactly:

Pau Gasol CAN"T set a pick because lately he is AFRAID to set a strong pick so all he does is bringing another defender to crowd Kobe

THAT'S WHY KOBE PREFERS ISO's

Bynum is better, not because he establishes a better pick, but because being BIGGER and SLOWER, his pick STICKS. but he does not KNOW how to ROLL. sad!

The Los Angeles Lakers have been a mediocre team and have not enlisted a good effort to regain a third title.Too many egos and too much media hype have created distractions. Other teams have become strong ,increased their talent and are more productive than the Lakers. The major issue is; are the Lakers as good as the competition and is the talent diminishing from last year.Where is the bench? My view is the Lakers are two and a half men deep on the bench. The three Bs(Barnes,Blake and Brown) two and a half men are representive. Joe Smith and Theo Ratliff veterans have come to the Lakers by free agency and trades no contributions and no value. The analysis is simple less talent, no production and games lossed. This team is not as good as people think. Just look at how the Lakers have played through the season inconsistent like an intoxicated drive trying to drive home from a party. Next, is this team going to be lead by Kobe Bryant or should the Lakers change directions. Next year could be a possibility or not. I am critical because these facts are true. I have been a Laker fan since the 60's. Thank you.

Welcome back, ouchhhhh. I suspected as much a few days ago, you've done a good job trying to hide it, but these last few posts clinched it. Great job on not using "gassy" though, that would have been a dead giveaway.

desertlaker -- great post.

Next, is this team going to be lead by Kobe Bryant or should the Lakers change directions. Next year could be a possibility or not. I am critical because these facts are true. I have been a Laker fan since the 60's. Thank you.

Posted by: Robert E. Houston | May 06, 2011 at 06:40 AM

the lakers are lead by KOBE. yes they need to change DIRECTIONS by changing PERSONNEL. obviously, Gasol is damaged goods in this context. so it become Artest. maybe the ring auction was good promotion but not a good idea. LO should move to TV. and Bynum …?!

and they need a COACH. … not a wannabe PJ in Shaw…

Remy | May 06, 2011 at 06:50 AM

no need to use Gassy. he fizzled anyway … :-)

where is Martin?

"In the playoffs, its all about baby steps"

Make the minor adjustments and play on. Game three will decide who wins this series and I think the Lakers have an excellant chance to win tonight. Energy, motivation, you pick, the Lakers will have enough of it to win.

The offense may continue to struggle, but the defensive effort will be much better even without Ron Ron.

Who plays for Ron Ron? Barnes should start, but who follows him? I think Luke will see a couple of minutes like he did when Barnes was hurt. But for ours and the Lakers sakes, let's hope, he's reduced to seconds played, and not minutes on the stat sheet.

Kobe will need to fill that slot some, with possibly UPS to get more minutes at the two.

When Fisher was suspended before, the Lakers rallied to win that game on the road I believe. The whole team stepped up, especially Jordan Farmar who played a magnificent game in Fishers spot. Barnes will step up, that's why we got him, he's a tough competitor.

Enjoy the ride folks, its going to be a good one.

Archived base on your post you are psychotic delusional fool...hahahahahahahaha.lol

Luuuuuuuuuuke!


The coach is tired of starting a player at SF with no conception of playing within the concept of a team offense, a player who is physically gifted but unable to focus, who couldn't feed the post with a spoon, who is, sadly, mentally unstable. Facing the end of a brilliant coaching career, Phil Jackson snaps and starts a physically deficient player with a good baketball mind. A guy no one but him believes should be wearing an NBA uniform. A guy even he doesn't want to play, but who he thinks about wistfully every day while watching Artest be an anchor on the offenseive end. Luke feeds Drew and Pau constantly from the wing. The Lakers use their size advantage to score with regularity, which keeps Dallas in a half court game and gets Chandler and Nowitzski in foul trouble. The Lakers win handily and this becomes a series.


Phil Jackson snaps and starts a physically deficient player with a good baketball mind. A guy no one but him believes should be wearing an NBA uniform. A guy even he doesn't want to play, but who he thinks about wistfully every day while watching Artest be an anchor on the offenseive end. Luke feeds Drew and Pau constantly from the wing. The Lakers use their size advantage to score with regularity, which keeps Dallas in a half court game and gets Chandler and Nowitzski in foul trouble. The Lakers win handily and this becomes a series.


Posted by: Tom Daniels | May 06, 2011 at 07:11 AM

this should be ARCHIVED, … delusional?!

Archived base on your post you are psychotic delusional fool...hahahahahahahaha.lol

Posted by: Adrian Palomar | May 06, 2011 at 07:09 AM


i prefer that than to be homophobic …

hahahaha get you archived.Lets go Lakers...Lets kick some ass tonight...

MM,
I think it's likely that Barnes will start but your #1 proposal makes a lot of sense and I hope we see a lot of the 3-guard set. That was the combo that brought the Lakers back the other night in the 4th quarter. Jackson abandoned it for the starting lineup but Kobe has always liked playing at the wing and it allows him a lot of scoring flexibility. Blake, Fish, Kobe, Pau and Andrew, it's a good lineup and puts Blake into a very defined set-up role.

game day, checking in. and whoa, i won the friedman.. crazy! thx MM!

saw kevin ding's tweet about shannon. i hope he doesn't dribble for days and gamble on defense. if that garbage happens, i'll see you guys next year.

should be fun

Shannon's night, tonite!

Its too bad its Artest who is out. He, Bynum and Fisher are the only starters playing better than during the regular season. They are going to have big problems. The only starter they can afford to play without and still be able to win, is kobe. They play a different game when he is out. More passes, more assists and more points. That doesn't mean he isn't exciting to watch. It means he isn't always a team player. Bynum's comments this year have been jabs at kobe and it reminds me of 2004 of the shaq/kobe duel. This has been a very bazaar year and I am very surprised at the boos from the "fans". Years ago I had Laker season tickets and I went to almost all the games and when the Lakers had a bad game, we would never boo, we would cheer louder to try to encourage them and at the end of the games we would stand and applaud them as they left the floor, win or lose. The "booers" are probably the big-time gamblers that have lost a bundle.

Just wondering about the status of Kobe's ankle. He didn't attempt a dunk on that breakaway last game after the steal from Kidd and he has only taken 3 shots inside of 10 feet for the series. Even if he only shoots jump shots I know he could still go for 50, but it would be nice if he teammates lighten the load.

So it turns out that MY idea from the prior thread to have UPS start looks likes it's a go?

nevermind... looks like speculation

It is game day baby!

We got this!

Ok, I would put any amount of money on PJ starting Matt. I would prefer he sit Pau and start Lamar. The starting line-up would be Drew, Lamar, Matt, Fish, and Kobe. We would have Pau, Trey and Shannon coming off the bench. I would not play Blake or Luke. I would tighten up the rotations, make sure Drew shoots at least 20 times, and play Kobe 40 minutes (after giving him the memo that it is Kobe time). If Pau comes in and plays like a weenie, I would sit him the rest of the game and put in Theo. Pau is 7’ tall. He needs to make moves towards the basket and stuff the ball into it. If they foul you, you hit the free throws. If Pau is not willing to do this, put someone in who will. Theo is a good defensive player and shot blocker. Mmmm, sure would be nice to have Sasha right about now. Oh yeah, we got Joe for him…

Kobe – This is it man. We need a win in Dallas to keep this going. We need two wins in Dallas to win the series. You made a good point that it is not like we have never won two games in a row before. If we lose tonight however, we will have to win four in a row with two of those games in Dallas. I am not saying that that would be impossible either – just highly unlikely. I thought Wednesday was “do or die.” We are not dead however. We need the Black Mamba. We need the Kobe of old. We need to not only win, but demoralize them enough to get another win on Sunday. If anyone can do it, you can.

Drew – It is time to stop talking the talk and walk the walk. You are a man. Demand the ball. Go down fighting not whining. You outweigh Chandler by 50 pounds. He has to feel that! You called out your teammates. The trust you are talking about is the trust to let you carry the load for this team. It is going to happen eventually anyway. Tonight will be your coming out party. I can see it now. Dirk in the interview afterwards – “There was nothing we could do.” You need to dominate like Shaq in his prime. You have the size and the skills. You need to show us the heart of a champion.

Fish – (yes, Fish!) It is that time again. It is time to show the world why you have 5 rings. I think you have at least one more incredible game for the ages left in you. Now is the time.

If we lose, I will try to take it like a man and not get too upset. After this season, I am getting a little numb anyway. It has been a great run. I will even watch on Sunday because…

I am a Lakerholic.

Sorry - we need three wins in Dallas to win the series... ouch...

Reading all these comments, it's ironic that probably the most realistic possibility for our resurrection isn't even being considered anymore: Gasol having a big game/s.

If Gasol would wake the hell up, we could probably still win this series. However, as with the rest of you, I have lost faith in the guy. He seems lost.

IF Gasol's problem is his girlfriend/break-up, he's VERY weak.

I still suspect he may be injured -- maybe that hyperextended knee injury is still bothering him or something. I find it hard to believe a grown man and professional would let a break-up destroy his performance for over a month.

Ok, two wins if it goes seven, I will shut up now... ;-)

Reading all these comments, it's ironic that probably the most realistic possibility for our resurrection isn't even being considered anymore: Gasol having a big game/s.

If Gasol would wake the hell up, we could probably still win this series. However, as with the rest of you, I have lost faith in the guy. He seems lost.

IF Gasol's problem is his girlfriend/break-up, he's VERY weak.

I still suspect he may be injured -- maybe that hyperextended knee injury is still bothering him or something. I find it hard to believe a grown man and professional would let a break-up destroy his performance for over a month.

Posted by: dewey | May 06, 2011 at 08:35 AM

------------

interesting that you mention a relationship situation for pau. i was considering that being the problem the first two games of the playoffs against the hornets...

i just visited a link (NSFW) that's stating rumors that pau and his gf/fiancee broke up due to a teammate. no wonder he's playing like a chump -- his mind is playin tricks on him!

keep in mind though, rumors are rumors and until it's tweeted, i'm not believing it...

pretty sad how my source of news, aside from CNN is twitter =[

also, until you're married, bros > h**s lol

Actually, I think the best idea is to start Walton. One of the main problems the Lakers seem to be having is properly activating the office. Walton is probably the best passer on the team and knows is limitations, so he isn't likely to start chucking up shot after shot (like Ron). It keeps the rest of the rotation intact but gives Dallas something different to think about (something they haven't likely planned for).

Also, you can't continue to run Blake out there. He has zero confidence, can't hit a shot if his life depended on it, and can't keep up with Barea. Give Johnson a shot. He certainly can't do any worse.

Lakers need to really shake things up, here. Kobe was obviously in alot of pain the last game. He chews on his shirt when he is in pain. He had no rebounds and a previous blogger said he had no dunks. Why not bring kobe off the bench. I know that sounds rediculous and it would hurt kobe's big ego, but they have to try something.

L Rob - That is a good point. Whether Luke starts or not, I don't think he'll play that many minutes

I can't believe that there will be a time that I will like T.J. Simmers someday. That day was today 05-06-11 when he wrote in his column that the Lakers will still win this series. A big BOOO! to Magic Johnson when he said in his tweet that the Lakers chance of winning the series is SLIM. A bigger BOOOO! to Jerry Crowe who said that the Lakers is done for this year.

START LUKE!!!!

It's a bandwagon! Who's with me?!?!?!?

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Luuuuuuuuuuke!


The coach is tired of starting a player at SF with no conception of playing within the concept of a team offense, a player who is physically gifted but unable to focus, who couldn't feed the post with a spoon, who is, sadly, mentally unstable. Facing the end of a brilliant coaching career, Phil Jackson snaps and starts a physically deficient player with a good baketball mind. A guy no one but him believes should be wearing an NBA uniform. A guy even he doesn't want to play, but who he thinks about wistfully every day while watching Artest be an anchor on the offenseive end. Luke feeds Drew and Pau constantly from the wing. The Lakers use their size advantage to score with regularity, which keeps Dallas in a half court game and gets Chandler and Nowitzski in foul trouble. The Lakers win handily and this becomes a series.


Posted by: Tom Daniels | May 06, 2011 at 07:11 AM

Pretty much what I've been thinking...start LUKE. Bring Barns off the bench as usual...Luke will play well and we win!
Add me to that Luke Wagon!

Now, I'm well aware from reading all the previous posts that most of you menstruate purple & gold......it is the "L.A." Times blog after all. What I can't seem to understand however, is that not one of you has offered up the possibility that Dallas might just be a better team than the Lakers. I understand loyalty, I understand blind faith, I understand hope. What I do not understand is the absolute refusal to ever acknowledge an opponents worthiness. This arrogant, dismissive attitude trickles all the way down from Coach Jackson to the fat baldheads in Kobe De La Hoya jerseys screaming obnoxiously behind the camera-shots on live FoxSports post game telecasts. What gives? Where is the respect for a worthy opponent? I just don't understand. By all means, keep faith that your team will find a way to pull out a series victory, but at least give credit where it's due.

Huh.......just had a post mysteriously removed after it was already posted. No cursing, personal attacks, or racist/homophobic filth. I guess if you don't bow and kiss the almighty purple & gold hand, your post will be promptly removed. Nice work L.A. Times.

Luke Walton your ace well I remember a player who couldn't stay in front of Paul Pierce two years ago a player getting a ridiculous contract for one season but hey the Lakers gave Blake a great contract for getting one triple double although every point guard could do it. However, I believe the Laker will win this series but they will have to play both offense and defense and Ron fed the post plenty of times and I didn't see anyone complaining about the NOLA series yet Luke, Shannon, and Blake all get passes for piss poor season and luke and Blake have pricey contracts and Shannon is just terrible.


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