Posts Tagged ‘ Pau Gasol ’

The Real World, Los Angeles (Lakers Edition)

KobeThe Lakers have problems. After watching the Thunder’s 29-point slaughtering of LA Monday, there is no denying that the Lake Show has some major technical difficulties.

However, let us not be hasty. After all, LA is fresh off a brutal seven-game series with the Nuggets. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City has been resting for a week and change.

That does not mean things will magically become easier for the Lakers now that game one is out of the way. LA simply must realize what folks have been saying since last year’s series loss to the Mavericks. Pay attention to what people are saying. Surprisingly, many people – aside from the misshapen (or should we just say out-of-shape) television analysts – have a good idea of where problems lie within the team. The same things have been said, like I mentioned, since last year’s playoffs:

  • Pau Gasol is soft. Need we remind Gasol that he is seven feet tall? As one of the team’s primary offensive weapons, Gasol cannot end a game with ten points and seven rebounds. He needs to score under the basket and from midrange, as we have seen him do so well in the past. And he needs to crash the boards and play to his size.
  • Andrew Bynum does not play to his full potential. The Lakers have dealt with this from the day Bynum walked in the door. Bynum has played well this postseason, but a premium performance is not guaranteed from the big man (see: 11-point game six versus Nuggets).
  • Mike Brown is a poor motivator. During game one with the Thunder when the “InsideTrax” portion of the TNT broadcast came on, it showed Kobe Bryant in the huddle rallying the troops. Brown added a triumphant “yeah” during one of Bryant’s lessons.
  • The Lakers have a deficient backcourt. Other than Bryant, the Lakers have essentially no help at guard now that Derek Fisher is on the opposing bench. What they need to do is utilize the strengths of the guards they do have. Let Steve Blake shoot. Get Ramon Sessions playing inside-out, utilizing the drive-and-kick. The guys they have possess some strong qualities. The Lakers need to let those show.
  • The Lakers don’t play defense well. Watch a recap of game one. Look at the laziness with which LA plays. It’s simple: get back in transition, switch on screens, get out on shooters, yadda, yadda, yadda. Play defense how coach taught in third grade.

Those are five of the basic complaints surrounding the Lakers. The thing is, those are easy fixes. LA is currently playing like it is part of a reality show. Everything somehow goes wrong, none of the players likes one another, they start conflict for the sake of starting conflict (i.e. Devin Ebanks, the player formerly known as Ron Artest). The solution? Play together. The Lakers need to play as if they want to win. 16 championships did not come from playing as they are. A 17th certainly will not turn those tables.

Advertisements

The Blake Show

Chris Paul

Chris Paul leads the new-look Clippers. Are they the team to beat in LA?

An extremely limited few, if anybody at all, have argued that the Clippers were the dominant NBA team in Los Angeles in seasons past. The Lakers have been LA’s team as far as my memory can reach. The Clippers were nothing more than an ugly stepsister. This season, on the other hand, may be a different story.

After Monday night’s 114-95 win by the Clippers in the first of two preseason match-ups between LA’s two teams, fans and folks in the media are preparing for Clipper mania. Clippers analyst Don MacLean said on The Dan Patrick Show that the Clippers are among the best teams in the Western Conference.

With the Lakers’ three stars – Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum – all playing 30 minutes or more, this first game can hardly be seen as a preseason throw-away.

The Clippers’ new additions – Chris Paul, Caron Butler, and Chauncey Billups – combined for 48 points. Paul threw in nine assists, seven rebounds, and five steals while Billups shot 4-6 from the three-point line. The Clippers are also returning last season’s Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin.

Meanwhile, the Lakers haven’t added much of anything. Their biggest signings this offseason have been forward Josh McRoberts (5.2 points per game in his career) and Troy Murphy (11.6). The Lakers traded last year’s Sixth Man of the Year Lamar Odom, to the defending champion Mavericks. Gasol and Bynum have expressed frustration after being mentioned in multiple trade proposals. To top it all off, the Lakers are in their first season under new head coach Mike Brown.

If seeing is believing, then many won’t believe the tables have officially turned until they see the Clippers winning titles and the Lakers begging fans to show up to the Staples Center every night. Monday’s game was, of course, “just a preseason game,” but who’s to say it wasn’t a sign of things to come? Either way, both teams in LA will be under the league’s microscope all season long.

-@Bradley_W_Parks