Heir'z Corner: Magic Hand Lakers Second Consecutive Loss
It's easy to be upset by this loss....and I don't blame anyone who is. Too often we blow games that should be ours because of weak execution and mental mistakes that cancel out everything we had been fighting for for 46 minutes. It doesn't have anything to do with us being shorthanded, calls not going our way, or anything along those lines. It's all about the decisions our players make at the wrong point in the game that ultimately hurts us. Tonight was another one of those nights. We provided Orlando with, if not three, at least two wide open shots in the final two minutes of the game. How difficult is it to stay on your man with the game on the line? I could say that Howard isn't polished enough as an offensive player to draw double teams, but that wasn't even the case. It was simply one player losing track of their defensive assignment, aka falling asleep with the game on the line. There's more than one reason why we lost this game, obviously, but if you hold it down in those last few minutes of a game and play SMARTLY all the mistakes you made up until that point are irrelevant for the time being. Once again, damn.....Vlad
- I love what Vlad provides us from outside, but Phil has to be a little wiser about his minutes and when he'll actually be on the court. If we aren't struggling for points Vlad SHOULD NOT be in the game during the 4th quarter. Unless the defense is paying extra attention to Kobe and someone like Ariza is free nearly every trip down, Vlad should be getting comfortable on the sideline for the rest of the game. Without him on the court the IQ of our team skyrockets to the heavens. Final stat line: 15 points, 5-9 from the field, 5-8 from three.Bynum/Gasol
- The way Bynum started the game gave you the impression that he was ready for the challenge of banging with arguably the best center in the league, then you look at the box score and wonder what happened. His post moves are continuing to improve so if you've been watching at least these last two games closely in comparison to some earlier games this season, or even games last year, it's been easy for you to notice. But the fact of the matter is having another offensive force benefits the team but not in the same way it would having a defensive quarterback/enforcer. There's been a lot of debate as of late about his rebounding, why it's been weak, and if it's even a big deal, well tonight he had 3. His man, Dwight Howard, had 20. So for his last three games, that brings his rebound total to 7 in 95 minutes of playing time on the court. Recovering from a knee injury doesn't have anything to do with those numbers. It's all about being aggressive and going after the ball instead of being a sitting duck. If someone says they're going to hit you, would you just sit there and allow them to throw the first punch or are you going to strike first? Tonight Pau's numbers were decent but his impact wasn't felt at all. He got some huge offensive rebounds in the final few minutes but his numbers should've been like Howard's against a much smaller player in Lewis. Final stat lines: Bynum- 14 points, 3 rebounds, 33 minutes, 6-13 from the field, and 2 blocks. Gasol- 13 points, 9 rebounds, 5-13 from the field.
- Tonight was merely another beautiful performance to add to an already gorgeous career. It's difficult to not notice how much Kobe's game has changed lately. Before scoring was the most important, now he's doing pretty much everything. Obviously it has to do with us being shorthanded; I just wish his teammates would have the same mentality. Also, he's bringing the ball up a lot more and getting the team into the offense, reminiscent of his role in the 2003-2004 season. This move is probably something Phil suggested to take the load off of Fish since he's already lagging a ton of minutes and how much longer he'll be getting this much time on the court is still unknown. After Orlando's surge, Kobe lead us to a run of our own. The one play to me that stood out the most was when he found Sasha for an open three point shot in the corner, which he missed. But he somehow got the ball back and didn't hesitate to find Sasha again for an open three. That play said two things about Kobe and the way he's been playing lately: 1. I'm going to do whatever I have to to help this team win while we're shorthanded and 2. We're going to do it together. His struggles in the 4th quarter were surprising, but of course it only means he'll probably erupt for double digits in the 4th quarter of our next game. Final stat line: 28 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists, 10-26 from the field, 7-8 from the line, 6 turnovers.Fish
- Tonight was a struggle for him on both ends as he rushed bad shots and couldn't contain Nelson. This was a game where having Farmar's foot speed would've helped tremendously. If not him then at least *cough* Pargo *cough*. Final stat line: 9 points, 3-11 from the field, 2-6 from three, 4 assists, 3 steals.
- We've lost two of the three games we've played since Lamar's return, but you can't throw dirt on his name in any kind of way because he's more than showed up in all three games. Tonight he played arguably the second best game behind Kobe, which says a lot about a bench player. It's also been easy to notice his defense improving as well.
- I know it's difficult not feeling down after losing these last two games, but you have to keep in mind that again, we're extremely thin right now and we barely lost to arguably the second best team in the West and arguably the best team in the East period. So as far as I'm concerned, we don't have any long term issues that may result in more games like our previous two. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of things that could be tuned up on this team since there's no telling when we'll be at full strength again, but no one should be so worried that they want X player traded or X coach fired. If there's one thing that's been clear lately, it's that if we're going to continue winning games it'll be a struggle. But there's only one way we'll survive: through togetherness.