I'm one of the fans that will tell you, before anyone else, that we are soft up front.
Gasol needs to back his man into the paint, get mean and force his way to the rim. A finesse Gasol puts him too far from the rim, which kills our spacing because he ends up too close to Bryant.
You say we came up tough in a very tough game. Kobe did. I didn't see anyone else do much in that fourth, outside of Trevor's steal.
Nene's defense has always been overrated by the Nuggets fans. Chris Andersen was sitting for a while, as something happened to him (not sure what), and he comes off the bench to begin with. Gasol should've dominated, offensively, but he's not strong enough.
All the while, Odom is forced to play a guard role, because K-Mart will just push him out of the paint.
We can't match their physical play, period. Kobe even has trouble matching Melo's physical defense (and a bit too physical, same with Jones), and when that happens, you know the only other guy who can get truly physical on this team is Derek Fisher. Ariza was getting abused by Melo all game long, Bynum's defense was the complete opposite of his offense, Shannon was getting laid out and thrown to the ground, and Luke's physical play comes to an end when he's having to defend anyone on this team that decides to take him into the post.
I guess you see it differently. I see the glaring problems we had against Houston, against Utah, and against Boston in last year's NBA Finals.
The problem is that some of the time, I am not sure if it's lack of physical strength or lack of mental strength. In other words, I'm not sure if the Lakers are physically soft or just soft in the head. Maybe abit of both. Maybe the players even need to work on their conditioning, as they don't seem to be able to play at the same intensity all throughout the game.
Edited by Darth Bynumite, May 20, 2009 - 08:33 AM.