If Laker players, coaches, fans and media are going to be happy as long as the Lakers win no matter how lucky they were or how poorly they played, the team ain’t going anywhere, whether they make the playoffs or not.
The same fundamental problem was there in last night’s win in Minnesota that was there a couple of days earlier in losses to Detroit and Washington, and has been there all season, win or lose. Once more, with feeling: Too much Kobe and not enough of the Twin Towers. Yet again Kobe took as many shots as the Towers combined. Gasol managed 10 shots. Pathetic. Bynum took 15 shots in 43 minutes. Pathetic. And Kobe’s 26 shots are, on the other side of the coin, equally pathetic.
Everyone’s “analysis” (the players, coaches, media) is shockingly shallow. After a win, everyone waxes positive—they played better defense, they communicated better, they played harder. Wrong, wrong and wrong. Basically, they stunk. They committed 17 turnovers, and the only reason they shot a decent percentage (48%) is because the Towers always hit a high percentage of their shots, the problem being that there aren’t enough shots for those two guys after Kobe takes his 24 shots (his average). Against the Wizards, Kobe took 31 shots; Bynum took eight shots. Can I just rest my case?
Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times, in his write-up of the game, wrote, ”The Lakers are trying just about everything to win. “ Yeah, except for the one thing they absolutely must try.
Yet again, the Lakers faced a team that was missing a key player. Have the players, coaches, fans and media stopped to consider how incredibly lucky and unusual that is? Kevin Love did not play. Let that sink in. He averages 25.5 points a game and is the NBA’s second-leading rebounder. And he matches up well guarding Pau, which his replacement, Derrick Williams, does not. Pau blocked Williams’ final shot in the paint flatfooted. And if Luke Ridnour hits the last shot, the T-Wolves win. And then would anyone laud the team’s commitment to defense, communication or hard work? I think not.
News Flash: McRoberts played 15 minutes! That’s more than he has played since January 28. Since then, when he plays at all, it’s always garbage time. Then against the Wizards he played 11 minutes—wow—and was very good. Ditto last night, finishing with a fiery five points, seven rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot. Mike Brown doesn’t know what he’s got. McRoberts is tough, talented and very athletic for a guy his size. Starting him opposite Pau would be a good idea that will never happen.
Bynum, for the third game in a row—the first two being come-from-ahead losses– again flashed his aren’t-we-having-fun smile a couple of times. Dude is hard to take, and Kobe, who should be telling him “Don’t ever laugh like that during a game,” enables him instead.