TLN’s Postgame Report: Lakers vs. Raptors – Talent Over Effort (103-108, Win)

Outrebounded 49-31, beaten in points in the paint and simply shown up by a struggling (though talented and young) Toronto Raptors team, and maybe it was a good thing. Of their perfect 6-0 record, the Lakers simply outscored their opponents, but did very little to keep their opponents from scoring. Their offense, frankly, is gold, especially when they’re moving the ball and running their offense. Their defense, however, is no more than suspect at this point and they’d be wise to start figuring out that part of their game…and soon.

After falling behind by four points early in the first quarter, the Lakers quickly found their rhythm. Derek Fisher (11 points on 4-7, four steals) stole the ball from Andrea Bargnani and beat Jarrett Jack to the hoop for a layup. Kobe Bryant (23 points, six assists) ran full-court and sent a Showtime pass over his right shoulder to a running Pau Gasol (30 points, seven rebounds) who tossed it in the hoop for two. Steve Blake (14 points, 4-6 from three), hit three after three and suddenly the lead was 20-33 after the first quarter. Unfortunately, there were still 36 minutes left to play. Toronto knew that, but the home team, after 12 minutes of game time, appeared to check out.

The Raptors came out of the second quarter gate at full throttle, their bench leading the way to 38 points in the final 12 minutes of the half. The Lakers? They were barely awake to witness their 13 point lead turn into a deficit when Leandro Barbosa hit a last second three to end the second quarter.

The second half was not much different from the first. The lanes that led to Toronto’s basket remained as open as the 405 freeway at 3 am, resulting in layup after layup. The suffocating defense that earned the Lakers their Championship trophy have been amiss this early regular season, and tonight was the most glaring evidence of it all.

The Toronto Raptors are considered a jump shooting team, filled with players, like starting center, Andrea Bargnani, who can and often shoot from the perimeter. With the Lakers leaving holes in their defense, however, the Raptors were practically invited to party in the paint, which they did and it almost resulted in the home team’s first loss of the season.

Pau Gasol, though he scored 30 points and finished with a +13, grabbed his FIRST rebound five minutes into the third quarter and was guilty of providing very little to no interior defense. A seven-footer, regardless of build, should develop a shot-blocker’s mentality simply based on his physical advantages. Pau, the last line of defense at center, failed time and again to prevent penetration, attempt to intimidate and showed little effort in crashing the glass. Gasol is usually just as efficient on the boards as he is scoring in the paint, but tonight was clearly not the norm.

Lamar Odom (seven points, nine rebounds) did a respectable job on Bargnani, who shot just 5-13 for his 14 points. Odom, however, was 2-10, choosing to continually shoot from the perimeter rather than driving to the hoop which is one of his strengths. In a game where the Lakers were outrebounded by 18, the causes are not surprising when their leading rebounders in Odom and Gasol combine for 16 total boards, a quantity that each big man is capable of attaining themselves.

Tonight, the Lakers had the talent and savvy to win a game where their opponents were clearly putting more effort and energy into their play. Sometimes, talent and savvy can go a long way, but hopefully the defending champs remember that it can’t take you all the way.

Box Score
Pre-game Thoughts: Last time the Raptors were at Staples, Kobe killed them with a clutch game winner. Hopefully it won’t come to that tonight.
Half-time Thoughts: 58-55 – The Lakers gave away a 13-point lead courtesy of Toronto’s 38-point quarter. Steve Blake is 4-4 from the field, all from downtown.
Most Thoughtless Player(s) of the Game: The Lakers defense in its entirety – one on one defense, help defense, transition defense – all are still subpar. Lots to work on in practice tomorrow.
Most Thought-filled Player(s) of the Game: Derek Fisher seemed to be the only one engaged defensively in this game. He was active on both ends of the court, playing passing lanes and collecting four steals as a result. If only his scrappiness tonight was contagious.

  • showtime4eva

    we got the win but sloppy but won like champs should…so,when do the the myhammy losers play like a super team?only against cupcakes i guess! cant hang with the real teams..that’s the lebra way. choke up!

  • iLakers

    Ugh…ugly win. How does LO and Pau get outrebounded like that? Like Anna said out of those two guys, there’s no on our team that can truly rebound…we need Bynum back and maybe our defense will have a little more intimidation to show for.

    Correct me if I’m wrong on this…I’ve been noticing the refs calling inconsistent calls against the Lakers these past games. It seems like there getting back at Kobe for griping so much in the past…with these new rules, Kobe has to keep his mouth shut and these refs seem to be licking their chops at this golden opportunity.

    In any case, aside from our defense, all is good in Lakerdom.

  • Robert.

    The good news is that this year’s team is winning the games that last year’s team might have lost. There are no ‘easy teams’ in the league. Even the ‘worst’ teams can do well against the Lakers (e.g., Bobcats, who seemed to have the Lakers’ number last year).
    .
    The Sacto and Toronto wins could have been losses (the Lakers came through with Sacto, but have had trouble with them in the past). For some reason, even though we were up by only 3 points at one point, I felt as though the Lakers had things under control. I didn’t feel ‘as much’ like that last year. I was always worried during close games, that they would let it slip away. And the Kobe had to save them (recall the 4 games in which he had ‘last second’ winning shots).
    .
    This year – not as worried. And Drew isn’t even playing with them yet. We got it sealed up.

  • Cedar Block

    Sunday is the real test for us against Portland

  • uweee

    !laffs atu…………………….?

  • http://57.amklac laffs atu

    the west is weak…cupcake city.

    • LakersFirst

      Don’t worry, you’ll see the Back to Back World Champion Lakers head to the East coast and destroy every team there too. Get Ready!

    • Wilt

      Ya the west is weak thats explains the entire central division in the eastern conference being under .500 not alot of common sense is affiliated with you huh.

    • Kobe bi curious?

      Your grandnother is dead and weak, it dont stop you from fucking her right?

    • laffs atu!

      You know who’s weak? The real “laffs atu” is weak, along with the east coast! laffs atu should apply for a water girl job for the WNBA. CUPCAKE CITY FOR YOU LAFFS ATU! …………………………keepin it real

    • Showtime4eva

      The west ?? Raptors are from the east dumb shit

  • 242LakerFan

    Robert, as is so often the case, is right. This is a game previous Laker teams would have let go and shrugged off. But this year’s team seems to be able to pull their fat out of the fire before the whole meal goes up in stinky, oily flames.
    The rebounding and interior defense has been a real worry, though. Opponents have been running layup drills over the last few games and total scrubs like Amir Johnson and Reggie Evans are looking like Wes Unseld and Moses Malone in our paint. Do we have to actually play the Celtics to play tough D?
    On the bright side, the B-Squad is looking very good and games like this aren’t turning from close, scrappy games into blowout losses when the bench is on the floor.
    Bottom line, I think, is that this team is still playing down to the competition to a degree, not putting in the effort defensively against these teams we’re “supposed to beat”. The difference is, we are finding ways to beat them so far this year. I just worry about the attitude getting out of hand with comments from Lamar Odom about 82-0 being realistic. That’s not the “one game at a time” attitude Phil and Kobe always preach.
    But, hey, we’re 6-0. What are we really complaining about?

  • SD Anthony

    This is sort of the opposite of what I expected at the beginning. I assumed the offense would struggle and the defense would be close to the top. It’s too early to read into this and the 6-0 start is still perfect no matter how you slice it. I never want to see this team get outrebounded though!

  • LAland

    this was a ugly game big time !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Robert.

    Agree with 242! And more on defense: good defense takes much more work than offense. I would say it requires at least 5 times more effort – one has to stay in ‘front’ of the defender, be ‘every ready’ for that lateral move and be able to shuffle quickly to get in front of someone. Be ever ready to ‘jump’ to try to stop a shot, and to have to be conscientious to anticipate the jump at precisely the right time.
    .
    One has to have more energy, more strength, and more wits to play great defense. Also, playing great defense ‘tends to’ diminish one’s offense, which is why great shooters are often lousy defenders (e.g., Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, etc.).
    .
    And there are exceptions to this: namely, one Kobe Bryant, who is great on offense AND a great defender as well (All-D First Team, for several years during the last decade).
    .
    My guess is that the Lakers are preserving their defensive energy at this time of the year, and of course when playoff time comes around, they will definitely step it up. Chances are they will also save their strong defensive games for teams like the Celtics, Heat, Magic, etc.
    .
    Also, when Drew comes back, he’ll clog up the lane, so we won’t see as many ‘takers’. (this is why we need Drew on the team, and why we shouldn’t even think about trading him).

    • showtime4eva

      Drews absence is reason.but we have to figure that the new guys are still learning the offense that leaves them more offense minded.we got them with defense in mind,but until they find comfort in the offense they won’t be thinking defense.as the season goes that will change.

  • Robert.

    Another case for the “Art of War” (starring Phil Jackson), is to let your enemy show his true face. Stay a ‘little open’ and let him show his primary means for attack. BUT, not enough to kill you. Then, on his next strike, you can anticipate his ‘go-to’ move. No surprises.
    .
    Last year, Lakers losses due to poor defense helped them in the long run (by allowing them to see the enemy’s mode of ‘primary strike). This year, they have sealed up some of their holes, and have won 6 games so far, which is a bonus, even though their defense leaves much to be desired. (i.e., previously they lost battles but not the war – this year, they seem to be winning the battles too).

  • Black Ops Mamba
  • si pepe

    HEAT’S LEGRA JIMS LOST! HAHAHAHAHA! OOPS! IM LAFFING AT IT..AND LAKERS WiN!

  • http://57.amklac laffs atu

    si peepee, tell your mom more lemon pledge asshole.

  • http://57.amklac laffs atu

    so who next for the lakers to destroy, some high school team?thats why they are the sissy NBA wanna be popular but will always be second to the celtics and the HEAT=MUST SEE TV

    • Showtime4eva

      Doesn’t matter who’s next we beat everything they throw at us.. What’s wrong with the heat? Maybe they should play highschool teams.

    • showtime4eva
    • laffs atu

      so the heat have beaten another cupcake team. what a shame! keepin’ it real.

    • LakersFirst

      You mean the Suckdics that the Lakers beat last year in Game 7 to become Back to Back World Champions – Are you referring to that Suckdic team? That same Suckdic team that lost to Cleveland earlier this season. You mean those Suckdics?

  • Stop the Name Calling, Assholes

    Look, I am no LeBron fan, but calling him names doesn’t make him a worse person or athlete than he is. Why is it that people like you think you can turn who ever you hate into the names you label them with? This kind of faulty logic, if used by me on you, would sound like, “I wish that that Laker fan is bitch, so he must be one even though I have no proof or cannot make him one.”

    The point: get over with name calling. It’s childish and classless. It shows how insecure you are about yourselves that you need to constantly defame other people. Those of you who call names are not any better than Laffs Atu.

    Why? I’m sure Laffs Atu probably admits to his/herself when he/she is trolling. You’re also a bunch of dirty trolls when fall for name calling, like when you call LeBron as “Lebra, lebrick, lechoke, lequeen,….” blah blah blah. The difference between you and Laff Atu is, again, that you don’t admit how barbaric you are. Heck, not admitting something you’re guilty of makes you worse.

    • 242LakerFan

      Yeah, okay. So as I was saying about LeBandwagon…

    • ICE CREAM MAN

      Uhm sure…so, LeHelp’s team again…

    • le-elbow =)

      dude wth are you 5, thats part of sports if we didn’t trashtalk it would be boring and the main difference between us and laffs is that we don’t troll on opposing team’s blogs and talk sh**, don’t worry i won’t actually spell out the curse word cuz i know how barbaric it would make me, but anyway go le-elbow!

    • daboss1848

      no one else appreciates the hypocrisy of his/her name vs. his/her comment?!

    • Showtime4eva

      Fuck Lebra ! And fuck you ! Asshole !

    • Robert.

      Oh! It looks like David Stern is blogging on our site now. Sorry Mr. Stern, your rules don’t apply here. LeBrick is a cancer to the NBA, ok?

    • Robert.

      Wait, I got it! Haha.
      .
      Stop the name calling …….. a$$holes???? So, as an advocate of ‘non-name calling’, you’re calling everyone (including yourself), a name (namely, a$$hole).
      .
      hahahaha!!
      .
      What a Maroon. What a Gulli-Bull. What a Nin-Cow-Poop.

  • si pepe

    nah! to hell with you! what lebra did is more barbaric! you cant stop us Name Calling lebra, Asshole! We still laff at it..

  • si pepe

    pauta lebra jings! you are a fake, classless, immature, puta! waaaah! im laffing at it!

  • http://57.amklac laffs atu

    si peepee, when your moms done cleaning i`de like two flats of strawberries…thanks pauta.

  • si pepe

    yeah! you still don’t know how to spell correctly huh? Suggestion puta, type slowly, dont do it in a hurry as if you are always on a run..such a bobo! still, laffing at you all these days. P.S TEACH ME NOT TO LAFF AT YOU ANYMORE.

  • si pepe

    LEBRA JINGS IS LEBRON JAMES SUCKS!