We have the best player on the planet and the winningest coach in the league.
No doubt.

We’re rich in length and veteran leadership.
Hell yes.

We’re a deep team.
Hmmm… Prove it.

In their first game of the New Year, the Lakers trailed by more than 20 points against a young, energetic and very confident Sacramento Kings team; the very same team that took two overtimes and a couple of timely Kobe Bryant trey’s to defeat. As the game recap and box score showed on January 1st (as it had shown through most of December), it was a lot of Kobe, a lot of Pau, more Lamar than usual, some Andrew, but very little everyone else.

Though the defending champions have had the best record in the league for most of this season (an accomplishment no one should scoff at no matter what their schedule), many of us have been wondering when we would see the same slick-passing, defensively stifling, so-fired-up-even-Pau-is-screaming group of guys that played (mostly) every game last season like they had something to prove.

Lately, however, all the Lakers have proven is that they can squeak by and get a win as long as Kobe still has appendages with which to dribble and shoot.

Kobe, despite injuries to various parts of his body, has played consistently better than everyone else on the team whose bodies are in tact. And It’s been no secret that the Lakers bench is most guilty for necessitating their captain’s last second buzzer beaters, not to mention the imbalance of playing time which have favored (if you can use that in a negative context) the starters.

The coaching staff has placed a buffet of line-ups on the floor, trying to figure out which combination (both pure and mixed with starters) would be, well, the tastiest. The results have been a mixed bag at best, but the only accomplishment the bench seems to have no problem achieving is inconsistency. They haven’t played terribly at every game (45 points, 17 rebounds, 16 assists against Phoenix), but they haven’t played exceptionally well either (five reserves combined to score only 9 points against New York).

What became apparent in the Dallas game on Sunday, however, is that the combination of players on the floor simply shouldn’t matter.

It’s not like the team was completely dismembered after a Championship was attained. Trevor Ariza was essentially swapped for Ron Artest but other than that, most of these players have been on the team together for years. Playing with different teammates isn’t the issue. It’s not all about putting pieces in different orders to achieve maximum production. It’s about the effort and attitude you contribute to the game no matter who you’re on the floor with. Some time last season, when asked about the team’s improved defense, Phil Jackson mentioned that defense isn’t all about skill; most of it is effort. EFFORT – the mental or physical energy that is exerted in order to achieve a purpose.

Effort is not complaining about playing time. It’s knowing that you have to earn your coach’s trust and then coming through when he calls you to play for the entire fourth quarter. Effort isn’t making careless decisions, like trying fancy passes when you’re down by 16 points (sorry Adam Morrison, I’m just never going to forget that). It’s playing defense, moving the ball and fighting each other for rebounds. Effort is not having to ask the starters to check back into the game in the last 6 minutes because that 20 point lead has suddenly turned into a 5 point deficit. It’s your captain, who has bailed the team out too many times, sitting on the sidelines cheering you on when that 25 point lead turned into 43.

The Bench’s effort produced 66 points on 83% shooting, 14 of the total 33 assists, 18 rebounds (15 defensive) and 4 steals. These stats are incredible, especially for a group of players who have been anything but. However, these were not what impressed me last night.

It was Josh Powell’s hustle for a putback after a missed lay-up. It was D.J. Mbenga’s serious swattage of Shawn Marion’s attempted dunk. It was Adam Morrison showing that his game can come from inside the three-point line. It was Shannon Brown using his energy for more than just his signature dunks, but for defense as well. It was Sasha blowing by cross-court and waiting for his teammates to run the offense rather than jacking up a three in transition. It was Jordan Farmar leading his team on the court, not just with aggressive offense but with patient decision making.

Hopefully, the reserves watch this game film before the Houston game (or maybe every game) and remember what their collective efforts can achieve.

On paper, repeated to the point of exhaustion, the Lakers are a deep and talented team. But when it comes to winning Championships, the only proof that matters is what that talent and depth can do on the hardwood.

  • http://vinginor@aol.com onlyone laker fan in L.A.

    The bench has one good game . Wow its the same bums Sasha.Farmar ,Powell,Mobenga Morrisson.
    These guys all suck and should not be on a laker bench.
    Wait until we play good teams they will disapear again.
    Trade these piece of shit players MITCH.

    • ruxpin810

      they haven’t produced as well as i would like either but i don’t know about calling the entire bench bums. and the mavs are the 2nd best team in the west and dampier was the only one missing last nite, i saw they’re a pretty good team who already beat us one at staples.

    • lilkobe24

      stfu feg ungrateful son of a itch ! i said it .. itch

      • Smush Walton

        Be quiet lil bitch or I will take you and give you a whooping like you never had before.

    • wallfishy

      Dallas is a good team, second in the west. What they showed us last night is that when the Lakers play with energy no one can beat them. They need to play like this every night. No one needs to be traded.

      WallFIshy

    • FERN DOG

      If You don’t support the Lakers GTFOH.

    • L.Alaker_show

      dude take of that fuken screen name…and how the fuk is dallas not a good team there a top west team so they did show up against a good team

  • http://lil_jay78.blogspot.com/ j

    those same “bums” were the bench last year too, and last year, they did well enough to help LA get it’s 15th championship. I wouldn’t throw the entire bench under the bus just yet… and I gotta agree w/ Rux – Dallas was the 2nd best team in the western conf.

  • BE_A_LakerFan

    Obviously that first comment didn’t come from a Laker fan. So everyone should just ignore it.

    Great game last night though. Lake Show!

    • http://vinginor@aol.com onlyone laker fan in L.A.

      Fuck you bitch I m a llaker fan asshole my seat is in sec 101 row 12 seat 5 and 6 come on down bitch face.
      The bench suck s Dallas is not that good face it.
      We need to worry about Houston,Clevland ,Boston teams that we will have trouble with.
      Lakers are 7 deep luke coming back is no help he is a passer and has no outside shot,slow as grandma moses and cant defend.
      So if you are a Laker fan you should face it we have a sorry bench.I say this because I hate to lose and with the bums we have Boston is deep and Clevland kicked are ass like little bitches.
      I was there where you guys.

      • pauer

        Wooooaaa dude put down the roids!

      • ruxpin810

        you don’t have to be a season ticket holder to be considered a real fan man. i don’t know how many people actually believe you that you really have those seats, i know i don’t. but regardless, like j said, this is the same bench that got us the championship last year and we all know what they’re capable of. as far as the cavs game, the entire team had a horrible game. the bench barely even played in that game. let’s wait til the end of this month to see what kind of bench we really have.

      • Smush Walton

        You got that right – Luke is Puke. He has no shot, no hops, plays no D. Yeah he makes a nice pass now and thes so dorks like “WifeLikesLuke” or whatever get all Ga Ga, but the fact is Like is garbage and the rest of the bench is not much better.

        • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

          Again with the Luke hating…seriously dude. If you were observant enough to see how easily the ball moves and how much smoother the plays seem to run when he’s on the floor, you wouldn’t be talking all this crap about him. Why not put down the hatorade and appreciate the man for what he contributes to the 2nd unit, not to mention to the rest of the team. The guy ain’t Kobe Bryant and he doesn’t need to be. Live with it.

          • B Holland

            Anna way to put him in his place. Unfortunately he is a disease here on Lakernation.

        • http://LakersNation Marwan..

          Smush if he is what you say he is, why did he make it to the NBA? Riddle me that. You cant be puke and make it to the NBA. True there have been some busts but those busts are better than 9/10 you can pick off the streets. Luke is no bust though, just because he doesnt put up 20+ points a game, you’re upset. Like Anna said, he is no Kobe. Let him do what he does, it seems to be working, why change it.

          • WifelovesLuke

            Guys, if Smush Walton believed what you say he’d have to change his screen name. And we all know how difficult that can be for uneducated people like him. My comment is simply that Phil Jackson and Mitch love what Luke brings to an offense that is predicated on ball movement. Smush Walton….sorry for using big words. I’ll try to dumb it down for. Phil trusts Luke….I trust Phil and NOT YOU!
            Last, but not least, my wife loves the guy. And lets face it….a happy wife is a happy me!

          • B Holland

            Smuck Wilton never played basketball. He was the ball boy on game days. In fact, he still has that job and he is in his 40′s.

  • Andwe’rethethreebestfriendsthatanybodycouldhave

    So how many games until our so called bench reverts back to the way they were?

  • 15xnba champs

    WTF? Jordan Farmar ? Shannon Brown? Lamar Odom? they are our best bench players , but please keep the negitivity to your self you dont want Celtic or Spurs fans get a kick out of reading your trash talking comments ( that goes to you “only one laker fan in LA)
    My opinion , get rid of Josh Powell and Adam Morrison. But over all DJ Mbenga ? Monster blocks and never say Farmar is garbage he’s barley 22 years old and getting more minutes. He’s a bench beast

    • http://LakersNation Marwan..

      Go to redsarmy.com and watch what one of the bloggers wrote about Danny Ainge and how he brought the Big 3. They seem to regret it because he talks about Ainge meeting the devil to sign the 3 and soon they would win one championship then they will get old and fade away. They seem to show just as much hate, if not, more.

  • http://vinginor@aol.com onlyone laker fan in L.A.

    Dude Farmar is one of Santas elfs.
    Emmo pot head hill blly
    Sasha Euro same as Yugo car junk
    J powell Kobes friend need him to pump KB 24 up.
    J benga car wash captain c mon dude is a B U S T
    Luke white man cant jump defend shot or jump token white Laker
    Shannon he has some game keeper
    Bynum weak as 7 ft no balls pussy Elden Campell the 2nd
    The bench sucks if Mitch cant see that you might as well get Kwame Slava back J rider and any other loser you can find,
    TRADE these ASS holes

    • Dude Calm Down

      You sound more like a low life Raider fan than a Laker fan

      • Fanzus

        Maybe he’s confused… This is The Lakers Nation, not Raider Nation

        • 15xnba champs

          The guys an idiot if you ask me

    • http://LakersNation Drama Boy

      Im sure DJ is a big bust since most of the busts put up 4-7 blocks in limited game time.
      Farmar is great at stealing the ball, and Shannon and Famar compliment each other. Both of them thrive off what the other gives them.
      Josh can shoot the ball pretty well for a big man.
      Ammo just came back from a torn ACL, give him some time. How about you tear your ACL and come back and we make fun of you?
      Im sure Luke can “shot” the ball pretty well. He just needs open looks like Ariza did and besides, no one can shoot 100% so a couple of misses is everything now isnt it. Plus, other than LO, Luke understands the triangle offense the most on the bench.
      Bynum, same thing as Ammo.
      Sasha has pesky defense and thats what Kobe wants. His shooting touch seems to be coming back and thats what we want. If he can get his touch back, I want him to stay, til then, I want him to play tough defense.

      Dude, you speak like these guys are supposed to be great all around. They all specialise on one thing.
      Shannon – Athleticism
      Farmar – Hustle
      Sasha – Defense
      Luke – Passing
      DJ – Blocking/ Rebounding
      Josh – Shooting
      Ammo – Rebounding/ Shooting (give shooting some time to develop)
      Lamar – The captain of the bench.

      Need I say more? As long as each one does what they are good at, its fine. So, “onlyone laker fan in L.A.” or should I say “onlyone celtic fan in L.A.” shut up and let them do what they do.

      • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

        Great breakdown of each reserves’ strength, DramaBoy! I couldn’t have said it better myself.

        How about we give the 2nd unit a chance to get back to form? We know they can kill it cuz we’ve seen them do it before. That’s been the most frustrating thing; they know what they can do but they haven’t been playing like it.

        So it’s taken 30 some games to settle in. I’d rather they take 30 games to figure themselves out rather than, oh I don’t know, 70.

        And right you are about Ammo…coming back and playing like you did before you injured something as major as your ACL isn’t easy. The physical aspect and mental aspect. He’s been written off. I hope he uses that as fuel.

        The Laker bench is more than capable of taking on any other bench in the league – I KNOW IT, when they’re playing intelligently and when they’re holding nothing back. I hope that Dallas game has them hungrier to seek out more Texas blood tonight.

        • http://LakersNation Marwan..

          Anna, not just Texas blood, but everyone else’s blood too. I want them to thrive off Boston blood, Cleveland blood…. you catch my drift.

        • http://vinginor@aol.com onlyone laker fan in L.A.

          Anna why you sticking up for Ammo ?
          And how could he get injuried ? He dosent play.
          I know how after the last bong hit he rolled over on you
          gave it to you from the back and hurt his self right ?

          • http://LakersNation Marwan..

            Obviously you dont know who Ammo really was. This guy was one of the hottest shooters in his draft class. He played REALLY well for the Bobcats when he was a rookie but later in his career, he tore his ACL (same injury as Bynum) and ever since then he has declined. Making fun of him is like making fun of a handicapped. Its just cruel and senseless.

          • http://vinginor@aol.com onlyone laker fan in L.A.

            Marwan did you see ESPN list of all time drafted players
            It was Kwame, Your boy AMMO,
            who is Anna s boy and your also.
            If dude got hurt the what the hell is he still trying to play on a world class team he really looks like the Pot smoking cry baby he was in College

          • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

            Wow, going off topic cuz you don’t have anything relevant to say, huh? Hmm, nice..

          • http://vinginor@aol.com onlyone laker fan in L.A.

            Anna you defend your boy Ammo who was the worst pick on ESPN list of losers. Is Ammo your boyfriend ?
            If he is tell him needs to run and defend not just stand there waiting for a open shot.
            P.J. laughs at this guy. And word has it they want to trade his stupid Hillbilly Pot smoking ass.

      • http://LakersNation Marwan..

        Alright out with it. Drama Boy is Marwan. I just used Drama Boy cause thats the nickname my friends gave me. Thanks though Anna, that bench skills is overlooked.

        • http://TheLakersNation Marwan..

          Dude, what are you saying? “tell him needs to run and defend not just stand there waiting for a open shot.” If he needs to run to defend how can he be on offense waiting for a shot too? No he isnt my, or Anna’s boy, but he is a Laker so I must do what I can to defend him since I am a fan and he represents me and I represent him. Catch my drift? What is with the Ammo hate anyway? There have been bigger busts and besides ESPN put him on the list NOW, if he didnt tear his ACL they wouldnt put him any where near the list. The guy also fights through diabetes which is overlooked.

  • 15xnba champs

    Yes the bench isn’t good but like I said we keep Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar and Dj Mbenga ! Trust me on Mbenga, he’s a good defender ! Andrew Bynum was a beast against the Mavricks. He was 8 for 8 but doesn’t always bring his A game. But dude seriously quit disrespecting you sound fucking stupid. You say your in LA and a Laker fan right? Lets not act like those millions of band wagoning Laker fans you see outside of LA

  • Robert

    Well well well …. welli welli welli welli well … Bench finally shows up. This is the ‘good ol’ bench. It’s about time.
    Maybe the Lake’s had holiday fever, and Kobe got them through that (and … the media gave the title to LeBelch during the holiday festivities).
    Now that we’re back to seri-ous business, the bench can continue to step up —- Ron-Ron the prodigal son is coming back. LeQuiche lost to the Cats (back to normal, now!), Sheridan (usual Lake ‘dis-liker’) calls out Kobe as the MVP, FAR above anyone else (that includes LeClunk).
    Lake’s rule! We shall overcome. The Bench got rid of ‘da stench’ (hopefully – although it’s just 1 game).
    Still would like to see Kup add 1 guy to the roster before All-Star.

  • Josh in D 310

    Bench Mob finally woke their game up! About fuck*n time. And that one laker fan guy is a fuck*n retarded fake ass fan. Bro, you never go against the Family!..never!! You’re banned from the Nation ! ! Go Lakers

  • http://LakersNation Marwan..

    Guys, follow me on Twitter at “twitter.com/TLN24″ I will have around the clock Laker updates, ones that this site misses too.
    I am not stealing anything from this sites, Im just saying that often this site tends to miss some info that I would have so check out my twitter and also this site.

  • 15xnba champs

    Payback on the Rockets tonight! Lets go Lakers, we need those MVP chants on Kobe Bryant !

  • http://LakersNation Marwan..

    This season’s team is better. After 34 games last season, Lakers were 28-6. Tonight being the 34th game, Lakers are 27-6. They have the chance to match their record. Keeping in mind, 3 of the 6 losses this season, Pau was out, so we really should be 30-3 but we cant argue.

  • http://lil_jay78.blogspot.com/ j

    Great observation Marwan…I was thinking that too, that their record is almost the same as last year.

    Can’t wait for the game…I’m goin to the game tonight, and I’ll check on those seats to see if ONLY 1 LAKER FAN is really in them, he he he! Hopefully the bench can put up back-to-back killer nights.

    And let’s just remember that the bench is exactly what it is..a BENCH. I forgot who pointed it out, but we just need each of them to do what they do well and that’s it. You can’t expect every bench guy to average 10 pts a game…just like with starters, you can’t expect all 5 starters to average 20 pts a game. That’s just ludicrous.

    • http://TheLakersNation Marwan..

      J, give me a shoutout on TV :P

  • Ladunce Dunce

    Adam Morrison isn’t the only one who throws passes out of bounds. Ladunce is good for a few of those per game along with a few airballed 3′s early in the shot clock. Someone needs to tell this walnut brain that he is not Reggie Miller.

    The biggest joke is Fisher’s shots in the paint, where he falls down, throws the ball out of bounds while flailing his arms wildly in the air, flopping for a foul. This literally happens EVERY DAMN TIME! He has to be the worst guard in the league when it comes to making a shot in the paint. He couldn’t make a layup if his life depended on it. What a bad joke! If we resign him, he needs to be moved to the bench and we MUST get a QUALITY point guard. Years ago we had a pretty good guard in Norm Nixon but we traded him in for Byron Scott and the results speak for themselves. Out with the old – in with the new!

    • http://TheLakersNation PWNED

      gee let me go tell lamar to stop jacking up shots and stop passing around so he is doesnt use what he is good at and creates mismatches but instead become completely useless. he shouldnt have a 13 point quarter that powers lakers into the game.
      worst guard in the league yet… i cant help but wonder, which guard (point) is more clutch than him…

      • Ladunce Odumb

        Yeah if Ladunce would have showed up in the Boston finals we would be tied with the Suckdicks now instead of two back.

    • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

      Hating on DFish now? Uh-uh, please don’t go there. Yes, he’s getting older. That’s why Jordan’s been filling in when he can. Remember that this system doesn’t call for him to be CP3 or DWill. Can’t ever knock that guy for what he’s done for this team. Sorry, but without him, that Orlando series could’ve been gone on longer or turned for the worse for us.

      • Ladunce Odumb

        At least the coaches have recognized the deficiency and have been resting Fisher so hopefully he will have something left for the playoffs. Phil stated that in the post game newsconference a few games ago when he came out with nothing to contribute.

        Hopefully he can be productive in the playoffs, but next year this problem will have to be addressed.

      • Ladunce Odumb

        Fisher has been a great Laker and I think his number should be hanging from the rafters when he retires along with Michael Cooper’s for that matter.

  • TheLakerGenera11

    What the hell happened to this site w/ all these fake laker fans…it’s disgusting to read we all can agree that the bench has been slacking this season. We all can agree that it was a spectacular ONE game performance from the bench. We all can agree that the NBA season is 82 games long and it’s just in the Lakers DNA to play hard when 1 there is a opponent who disrespected them and 2 when there on the road. We also know how Phil coaches these guys he tells them each game is a building block Not too high not too low bc the season is a marathon not a sprint. The Lakers love other cities booing them. and lastly I Know we all can agree that our eyes will be glued to the TV for these January games if the Lakers survive this crazy strech of road games with little 2 no injuries then we’ll be in a great situation. WE ALL LOVE OUR LAKERS LETS NOT LET THESE FAKE FANS DISRUPT THIS SITE OR OUR TEAM!

  • bernzter

    Wow! as in a definite wow…

    I thought that this was a site for our LA Lakers and for it’s fans. Also, I thought that fans were there to cheer for the team and stand by them no matter what the consequences are…

    Things have changed alright. It’s funny that the first comment from a person who concedes to be the ‘only laker fan’ is a hate hate hate rubbish that might stem from someone who has some problems with a team he supposedly loves?

    Dude, do you know the meaning of a ‘bandwagon lover is?’ I’m just sorry it’s written plainly on the comments you write about. And making it personal to the people who try to make positive remarks doesn’t really give you much doesn’t it?

    Enough of the rant chant, I just wish to say that it’s so good to see the bench ‘come back to life (spoken like Hank Azariah in the Night of the Museum 2 LOL)!’ I so wanted to see them perform like this, with a passion in their groins and showing in their eyes! It’s so true that not everyone is the same (and for that reason we have the best and only one best player in the game) but everyone has the right to make a contribution to the team. No matter what it is… And it’s great when eveyrone goes and does just that… I, along with the rest of the real laker fans out there, just purely hope that this is indeed the wake up call that the team needs to get that fire going on again get that monicker that scared other teams facing the Lakers in the past, The Bench Mob…

    2 Cents given…

    Now Bernzter out…

    • http://vinginor@aol.com onlyone laker fan in L.A.

      Berntzer FUCK You .
      What the hell kinda of name is that?
      Your probably not American or you ?
      gO BACK TO iRAQ

      • bernzter

        Hehe…
        Hey fellas, I think I hit a nerve with this chook. I’m sorry to disappoint you but I’m American born and raised.
        The interesting thing is that when someone points out his weaknesses he reverts to shouting obscenities and trying to get into everyone’s nerves… I say keep it, shut it and close it dude, you for one are just a bandwagon lover… That is most certain.
        As for your obscenities to this site, when a man reverts to taunting and just basically cussing his way out of things, it kind of shows his educational level don’t you think (I bet he’s gonna reply with another STFU monicker or something like it… Why? Because that’s the extent of his vocabulary! Those are probably the only words that he uses day by day… LOL)?
        So unless you have some great revelation to tell us all which has some semblance of truth in it, otherwise, you are just painting a picture for everyone one here what a total dim witted bandwagon lover you really are…
        Bernzter out…

        • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

          Amen!

  • ryanperry36

    Hey, fisher just made a shot in the paint…. Thought he couldnt do that?

  • ryanperry36

    not.

  • O Rly?

    So much for our consistent bench

  • http://TheLakersNation PWNED

    You people are funny, the ones that swear that is.

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