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Kobe Bryant blames Pau Gasol for Lakers' Game 4 collapse against Thunder


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#1 David

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Posted May 20, 2012 - 09:52 AM

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Lakers trudged off the Staples Center floor late Saturday, a single loss now separating them from season's end, another fourth-quarter collapse once again causing their undoing. They didn't show much poise in the locker room, either, with Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum pointing blame at others for allowing the Oklahoma City Thunder to steal their second victory in three games.
Bryant missed eight of his 10 shots in the final quarter, but shrugged off his struggles by saying his teammates' lack of aggressiveness "forced" him to take tough shots. He also left no question which teammate deserved the most blame for the 103-100 loss in Game 4.
Pau Gasol.

Bryant faulted Gasol for not playing aggressive enough. It was also Gasol's turnover that led to Kevin Durant making the winning 3-pointer with 13.7 seconds left.

"Pau's got to be more assertive," Bryant said. "He's the guy they're leaving [open]. When he's catching the ball, he's looking to pass. He's got to be aggressive. He's got to shoot the ball or drive the ball to the basket. He will be next game."Bryant has periodically targeted Gasol with his public criticism, hoping to motivate him to lift his performance. But with the Lakers now down 3-1 in the series and facing Game 5 on Monday in Oklahoma City, Bryant's patience has been exhausted. Gasol's inconsistency has been a problem for the Lakers throughout the season, and he never seemed to recover after the team tried to trade him in December to the Houston Rockets in a deal with the New Orleans Hornets for Chris Paul. NBA commissioner David Stern blocked the trade, and Gasol has admitted his tenuous status with the franchise has bothered him.
Gasol totaled just 10 points and five rebounds in Game 4. Most recently, Bryant criticized both Gasol and Andrew Bynum after a listless performance in a Game 6 loss to the Denver Nuggets in the first round. Gasol responded with 23 points and 17 rebounds in the Lakers' clinching Game 7 victory.After a dominant first half by Andrew Bynum on Saturday, the Thunder began fronting the Lakers' center with Kendrick Perkins. Bryant thought Gasol didn't attack enough when Serge Ibaka left him to help Perkins.
"He's looking to swing the ball too much," Bryant said. "He's got to take his shot."
That was the case on the game's most critical possession. After a steal by Steve Blake, Gasol tried to pass to Metta World Peace only to have Durant knock the ball away with 33.9 seconds left. Durant followed with the 3-pointer.

"Just a bad read on Pau's part," Bryant said.
"It's one play, one mistake," Gasol said. "There were a lot of mistakes in that fourth quarter, a lot of mistakes throughout the game. So, obviously, if I could have gone back, maybe I could have shot it and I would have. It's one play, obviously, at a critical time, but I don't feel like we lost the game because of one turnover."
Indeed, Bynum faulted the Lakers from going away from what was working. He had 14 points and seven rebounds as L.A. built a 10-point lead at halftime. With the Thunder increasingly fronting him, Bynum took just four shots in the second half, two in the fourth quarter when the Thunder erased a 13-point deficit over the final eight minutes.
"I didn't touch the ball, so the game started speeding up, speeding up, speeding up, speeding up," Bynum said. "They beat us in transition at the end.The Lakers, Bynum said, never successfully countered the Thunder's defense.
"You have to be smart," Bynum said. "When a team fronts you, that means you're hurting them. So they make an adjustment and you can't keep running the same offense. You have to make them pay for that, whether you use a ball fake and come back to the same side or readjust. Reading that situation is a problem for us."

Had the Lakers showed more poise in end-of-game situations, they – not the Thunder – would be one victory away from reaching the Western Conference finals. Bryant was primarily responsible for the Lakers coughing up a nine-point lead in the final 2:08 of Game 2.
Team Harmony these Lakers are not. They've allowed their season to dangerously slip away, and now head to OKC looking for answers.
"Every single one of us played a part [in the losses]," World Peace said. "Every single one of us needs to go to OKC and get back on track."


Edited by Blank Guy, May 20, 2012 - 09:53 AM.

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Posted May 20, 2012 - 09:59 AM

Might as well. Don't really have a problem with this now. If we were still very much alive in this series, then I might have an issue (chemistry-wise more than anything) even if what he were saying was true, but considering the current circumstances and the fact that Pau's more than likely played one of his very last games as a Laker, I don't really see an issue with this as I normally would.

yo.


#3 Azazello

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Posted May 20, 2012 - 11:14 AM

It doesn't work anymore. The team isn't good enough and the relationship between Gasol and Kobe is broken. Kobe's exhausted from repeatedly telling Gasol to be assertive and decisive when he has the ball.

This doesn't mean Kobe escapes partial blame from going 2-10, even if some of those attempts were due to the lack of aggressiveness from other players. He is supposed to be the closer and didn't get it done. Team loss.

Pau is a great person and we had a good run with him. Now it's time to go in a different direction, and I bet both Gasol and Kobe feel the same way.

#4 MDI

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Posted May 20, 2012 - 11:21 AM

I think Kobe just let out things that he had bottled up. Over and over and over again for the last 2 years Pau hasn't met Kobe halfway and has continually came up short even after the public and private support Kobe gave him. I think Kobe just had enough and let it be known. I dont think Pau 100% deserves blame for last night but that stupid turnover at the end is pretty much what Kobe has been frustrated with Pau about the last 2 years

Edited by MDI, May 20, 2012 - 11:21 AM.

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Props to sidthekid871


#5 noknife

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Posted May 20, 2012 - 11:26 AM

So long and thanks for all the rings :)

#6 lili

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Posted May 20, 2012 - 11:55 AM

Kobe is to blame.... he should man up. He is selfish and makes horrible mistakes at the end of games


Tomorrow they'll lose by 30, you'll see.

#7 bigfetz

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Posted May 20, 2012 - 12:10 PM

Wow I'm sorry kobe but you are to blame. You went 2-10 in the 4th. You basically just let them win the game cuz you wanted to pad your stats. Losing allot of respect for kobe

#8 pointguard11

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Posted May 20, 2012 - 12:14 PM

I think Kobe just let out things that he had bottled up. Over and over and over again for the last 2 years Pau hasn't met Kobe halfway and has continually came up short even after the public and private support Kobe gave him. I think Kobe just had enough and let it be known. I dont think Pau 100% deserves blame for last night but that stupid turnover at the end is pretty much what Kobe has been frustrated with Pau about the last 2 years

Yes that is what bugs Kobe. But you fail to disclose what frustrates Pau and Bynum and the rest of the team about Kobe. The latter is the bigger problem and it involves team play. The former involves a weakness in Pau (one player) that frustrates the star (kobe).
"The way Steve is as a teammate, the way he sets the tone, the way the team kind of takes on his persona. As a coach, that's the best thing in the world. It's easy to coach. He's taking care of the chemistry. You just coach."

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#9 JRG_24

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Posted May 20, 2012 - 12:46 PM

Kobe is to blame.... he should man up. He is selfish and makes horrible mistakes at the end of games


Tomorrow they'll lose by 30, you'll see.


Did you see the game? Where Pau Gasol iced the game with that stupid lazy pass?

Pau Gasol is the most wasted talent in the league. You just don know when he'll show up. A 6-8 rookie torched him on the boards.

Edited by JRG_24, May 20, 2012 - 12:48 PM.


#10 erfolk

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Posted May 20, 2012 - 12:50 PM

We lost the game do to the lack of ball movement the last couple of minutes of the game. We did not run any plays other then isolation. Kobe is not able to close games out like he used and Kobe going one on one is to predictable and easy for the opposing team yo guard

#11 pkflyers

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Posted May 20, 2012 - 12:51 PM

what you guys dont realize is, kobe wouldnt be going 2-10 in the 4th if pau actually shows up and plays to his capabilities

thats why, imo, kobe has the right to talk, he was a big reason why we even had a lead in the first place

so while he did go 2-10 in the fourth, what he is saying is the truth, thus why pau will be gone this off season


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#12 erfolk

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Posted May 20, 2012 - 12:56 PM

what you guys dont realize is, kobe wouldnt be going 2-10 in the 4th if pau actually shows up and plays to his capabilities

thats why, imo, kobe has the right to talk, he was a big reason why we even had a lead in the first place

so while he did go 2-10 in the fourth, what he is saying is the truth, thus why pau will be gone this off season

Yea and he was one of the reasons we lost it. Yea Pau needs to be assertive but we ran no offense in the end of the fourth other then Kobe isolation and we can't win like that. Sad to say as a Laker fan Kobe is not a closer anymore.

#13 pkflyers

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Posted May 20, 2012 - 12:58 PM

Yea and he was one of the reasons we lost it. Yea Pau needs to be assertive but we ran no offense in the end of the fourth other then Kobe isolation and we can't win like that. Sad to say as a Laker fan Kobe is not a closer anymore.

thats a coaching fault for not calling a time out and organizing the offense, which is why i want MB gone aswell

do you think phil would have let the team go out like that?

Edited by pkflyers, May 20, 2012 - 12:59 PM.


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#14 L.A.K.E.R

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Posted May 20, 2012 - 01:01 PM

Yea and he was one of the reasons we lost it. Yea Pau needs to be assertive but we ran no offense in the end of the fourth other then Kobe isolation and we can't win like that. Sad to say as a Laker fan Kobe is not a closer anymore.


I'm sure you weren't saying that in Game 3 when Kobe went off and willed us to victory. Last night's problems were more based off the system and the lack of adjustments by the coaching staff. Bynum was being fronted all throughout the 4th and not one of our coaching staff thought it would be a good idea to call a timeout during that Thunder run to set up anything else. It's the same execution problems we had in the 4th from Game 2, the team reverts to Kobe isolation at the end of games because they do not have a legitimate system. At all.

Was there movement off the ball when Kobe was in isolation? Was Pau freeing up guys with picks off the ball? How about the likes of MWP and Blake moving around trying to free themselves up for open looks? None of that happens at the end of games. We almost always revert to Kobe isolation because no one wants to touch the ball. That's on the coaching staff, not on Kobe. I can't blame him for missing tough shots throughout the 4th when our offense can't generate any legitimate looks and every other shot comes at the end of the shot clock.

You have two guys spotting up in Blake and MWP who aren't knockdown shooters, Bynum is being fronted by Perkins with Ibaka ready to help, and Pau Gasol is simply floating around doing nothing. We're not going to get anything out of this team in the 4th with such little activity off the ball.

#15 Majesty

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Posted May 20, 2012 - 01:03 PM

Wow I'm sorry kobe but you are to blame. You went 2-10 in the 4th. You basically just let them win the game cuz you wanted to pad your stats. Losing allot of respect for kobe


You can't blame Kobe for the loss because it wasn't because of his turnover the Thunder went up by 3 which we lost by.

When the game was tied Kobe made the PERFECT play to Gasol for Gasol to go score or get fouled on doing and we're having a different discussion. Gasol is the one that decided(even after telling Kobe he'd be open) to not take the shot and throw it away.

This loss is all on Gasol no matter how you try to spin it. If Kobe had tried to force it over that double team and missed and Durant had hit the three, maybe. But Kobe decided not to force it and gave it to a wide open Gasol for the game winning play, and Gasol got rid of it. That is all on Gasol and his want to not be aggressive. Say what you will about Kobe but at least he's trying and he makes the right plays at those right times, he didn't cost us this win tonight. He had 31 points in 3 quarters Gasol had 10 in 4 and 4 rebounds and was outplayed by the non 20 million dollar making Jordan Hill. Yeah Im putting this on Gasol.

Edited by Majesty, May 20, 2012 - 01:03 PM.

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#16 Cowboys&LakersFan

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Posted May 20, 2012 - 01:05 PM

Laters Pau.
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#17 erfolk

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Posted May 20, 2012 - 01:24 PM

I'm sure you weren't saying that in Game 3 when Kobe went off and willed us to victory. Last night's problems were more based off the system and the lack of adjustments by the coaching staff. Bynum was being fronted all throughout the 4th and not one of our coaching staff thought it would be a good idea to call a timeout during that Thunder run to set up anything else. It's the same execution problems we had in the 4th from Game 2, the team reverts to Kobe isolation at the end of games because they do not have a legitimate system. At all.

Was there movement off the ball when Kobe was in isolation? Was Pau freeing up guys with picks off the ball? How about the likes of MWP and Blake moving around trying to free themselves up for open looks? None of that happens at the end of games. We almost always revert to Kobe isolation because no one wants to touch the ball. That's on the coaching staff, not on Kobe. I can't blame him for missing tough shots throughout the 4th when our offense can't generate any legitimate looks and every other shot comes at the end of the shot clock.

You have two guys spotting up in Blake and MWP who aren't knockdown shooters, Bynum is being fronted by Perkins with Ibaka ready to help, and Pau Gasol is simply floating around doing nothing. We're not going to get anything out of this team in the 4th with such little activity off the ball.

No I didn't say it game 3 but I said it for game 2 and game 5. All I am saying is that predictable Kobe isolation will lose us more then we win at this point in his career. I mean in the last 3 minutes of the game we run no plays. Its just look for Kobe and let him go one on one. I mean even if people are moving without the ball Kobe isn't giving the ball up. Kobe has a high basketball IQ so y not let the guys on the floor know move when I have the ball and ill be looking for you. He is not a closer anymore and unless Kobe realizes that this team is in trouble until he retires.

#18 L.A.K.E.R

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Posted May 20, 2012 - 02:23 PM

No I didn't say it game 3 but I said it for game 2 and game 5. All I am saying is that predictable Kobe isolation will lose us more then we win at this point in his career. I mean in the last 3 minutes of the game we run no plays. Its just look for Kobe and let him go one on one. I mean even if people are moving without the ball Kobe isn't giving the ball up. Kobe has a high basketball IQ so y not let the guys on the floor know move when I have the ball and ill be looking for you. He is not a closer anymore and unless Kobe realizes that this team is in trouble until he retires.


True, but that isn't Kobe's fault. It has been the "gameplan" that the coaching staff has used all year long and it's not about to change anytime soon. There is barely any movement off the ball, that's why Kobe is unable to create for others in the 4th quarter. In addition, we take 12-14 seconds to set up the isolation play for Kobe, leaving very little time for him to create for anyone else on the floor. I don't know about you, but I feel way more confident with the ball in Kobe Bryant's hands with the shot clock running down than Metta World Peace or Steve Blake.

Kobe hasn't lost the ability to close games. The problem is that the team relies upon Kobe in isolation far too often when they can't get anything else going. They relied upon him in the 1st half attacking Harden off the dribble, in the the 3rd quarter to post up Sefolosha, and he was spent by the 4th trying to carry the team on his back. When the Thunder began fronting Bynum, the team should have adjusted accordingly and attacked them in some other way. The Lakers did attempt to set up Bynum on a number of occasions, but they couldn't get the necessary angle for a post entry, thus they reverted to Kobe isolation with the shot clock running down. The coaching staff didn't make the necessary adjustments and didn't even call a timeout until the very end with 13 seconds left.

It is what it is at this point, we have no legitimate offensive system to speak of. It's always Bynum posting up or Kobe in isolation, and it's been that way the entire year. When the Thunder cut off Bynum and limit his effectiveness with a solid low post defender in Perkins and with an elite help defender in Ibaka, the team has nothing else they can rely upon. If Pau played like it was '08 or '09 we could trash the Thunder, but he prefers to shoot jumpers all night long.

It's not that hard to break down a team as simple as ours, especially when the opposition is also the superior team.

#19 erfolk

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Posted May 20, 2012 - 02:53 PM

True, but that isn't Kobe's fault. It has been the "gameplan" that the coaching staff has used all year long and it's not about to change anytime soon. There is barely any movement off the ball, that's why Kobe is unable to create for others in the 4th quarter. In addition, we take 12-14 seconds to set up the isolation play for Kobe, leaving very little time for him to create for anyone else on the floor. I don't know about you, but I feel way more confident with the ball in Kobe Bryant's hands with the shot clock running down than Metta World Peace or Steve Blake.

Kobe hasn't lost the ability to close games. The problem is that the team relies upon Kobe in isolation far too often when they can't get anything else going. They relied upon him in the 1st half attacking Harden off the dribble, in the the 3rd quarter to post up Sefolosha, and he was spent by the 4th trying to carry the team on his back. When the Thunder began fronting Bynum, the team should have adjusted accordingly and attacked them in some other way. The Lakers did attempt to set up Bynum on a number of occasions, but they couldn't get the necessary angle for a post entry, thus they reverted to Kobe isolation with the shot clock running down. The coaching staff didn't make the necessary adjustments and didn't even call a timeout until the very end with 13 seconds left.

It is what it is at this point, we have no legitimate offensive system to speak of. It's always Bynum posting up or Kobe in isolation, and it's been that way the entire year. When the Thunder cut off Bynum and limit his effectiveness with a solid low post defender in Perkins and with an elite help defender in Ibaka, the team has nothing else they can rely upon. If Pau played like it was '08 or '09 we could trash the Thunder, but he prefers to shoot jumpers all night long.

It's not that hard to break down a team as simple as ours, especially when the opposition is also the superior team.

I agree with you 100 percent about the offense and our passing angles when trying to get the ball in the post. I just hate how it takes us so long to get into our offense where a Kobe forced jumper is our only option. I watch the end of the game and wonder what the hell is the offense we take way to long to get into it.

#20 pll4

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Posted May 20, 2012 - 02:58 PM

We lost the game do to the lack of ball movement the last couple of minutes of the game. We did not run any plays other then isolation. Kobe is not able to close games out like he used and Kobe going one on one is to predictable and easy for the opposing team yo guard


Why is exactly why Sessions should have been in the game. Not in just the last minute of the collapse, but if he was in during the 4th quarter, our offense might have been much better since he, unlike Blake, can actually create and set up others.




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