Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

There’s been a lot of talk regarding playoff seeds and home court advantage lately; lots of discussion in the NBA media about whether or not the Lakers would still manage to survive through a whole conference if they opened the first round away from Staples Center. Based on where and how they’ve been losing lately, it appears that not even home court is a safe place for the Lakers anymore. They lost by 19 to Milwaukee, 15 to Miami and 19 to the Memphis Grizzlies, who were on the second night of a back to back. All were pathetic, embarrassing losses. All took place in Downtown L.A. Home court advantage in the playoffs? At this point in the season, that should be the very LEAST of these Lakers’ worries.

This team just doesn’t seem to get it and Phil Jackson and the coaching staff have been reduced to reminding this veteran-laden group time and again that they are first and foremost an INSIDE TEAM that thrives on proper ball movement. Why the team has to constantly be reminded of their biggest advantage over the majority of the league is beyond explanation. Let’s face it – this isn’t rocket science. Three trips to the NBA finals and two championship seasons, all due to their size, offensive system, defensive intensity and veteran poise – there are no trick questions on these exams, especially in a home game against a sub-.500 team.

After scoring six points in the first few minutes of the first quarter, Pau Gasol scored two in the third and two more in the fourth. He attempted just nine shots for the game and converted five. And how many assists did the NBA’s best-passing big man hand out? ZERO, to go with his donut on free throws and five turnovers. Yes, Gasol can certainly score, but him getting touches isn’t just about the points. Against New Orleans he only had 11 points from 3-5, but he also had 12 rebounds and handed out five assists. It’s so glaringly obvious how different this Lakers team is when Gasol is having a productive/not-so-productive night.

The same can be said of Lamar Odom who, after being so active on both ends of the floor this season, scored just seven points off the bench to go with his seven rebounds. There were a more than a few instances where he just drove to the hoop to score, and Memphis couldn’t do a thing about it. If Odom did that all night, the Lakers wouldn’t lose…ever.

It’s also glaringly obvious what dangers lie in depending on Kobe Bryant to pick the team up on his own. In the first half, Bryant had just six points. After the Lakers got behind by nine at the half, and then suddenly by 13, Bryant went to work, rattling off 17 of his 28 points in the third quarter alone, and at one point, bringing the Lakers within two points after Memphis had taken a 13-point lead early in the half. It was another spectacular show by Bryant, but after his teammates watched him take over, they basically took themselves out of contention and it showed. Bryant attempted 22 field goals. No other Laker attempted more than nine shots for the game.

They started to turn the ball over even more after Bryant’s scoring surge, and before they knew it, the Memphis lead had ballooned to 20 points. The Lakers actually shot at a higher percentage than the Grizzlies. The difference? The Lakers had 10 turnovers at the half and collected 10 more for their 20 turnovers for the game. At one point in the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies had a 26-6 advantage in the fast break points, surely helped by the Lakers’ giveaways.

Ron Artest and the Lakers coaching staff might want to re-think or re-tool their defensive strategy. Rudy Gay, checked most often by Artest, went off for 27 points on 10-19. Artest has not been himself this season. Offensive struggles aside, it’s his inability to play lockdown defense that’s a concern. He hasn’t been able to smother much of anyone yet. Despite defense being a team effort, Artest is usually the one who sets the tone on that end of the floor and he has yet to do it on a consistent basis.

Andrew Bynum was the one bright spot in today’s game. He played just under 26 minutes, had nine points, 11 rebounds and five blocks! That he survived a game in January against the Memphis Grizzlies is something to cheer for, in and of itself. However, it’s no use having a big guy like Bynum on the floor if he is not going to get the ball inside to either score or run the offense. He, too, attempted just eight shots, converting on four.

Too many turnovers (20), not enough ball movement (just 13 assists on 33 made field goals), out-rebounded (44-37). Just when we thought the Lakers couldn’t play any worse than they had towards the end of the year, tonight happened. Still worrying about home court advantage in April? Don’t.

Box Score
Pre-game Thoughts:
Let’s start the New Year with a win!
Half-time Thoughts: 48-39 – The Lakers are shooting 47% compared to the Grizzlies 42%. Why are they behind by nine points? Because they’re being just plain careless with the ball – 10 turnovers already, while Memphis has just four. The bright spot for the Lakers at the half is Andrew Bynum, who’s got seven points, seven rebounds and five blocks!
Most Thoughtless Player(s) of the Game: Turnovers and effort – too much of one, not enough of the other for the Lakers.
Most Thought-filled Player(s) of the Game: Memphis Grizzlies, for sticking it to the defending champs each time they play them. And Andrew Bynum for playing relatively well…and for coming out of a January game against the Grizzlies still intact.

  • SoSoCal

    i blame their losing on Phil Jackson. Shannon Brown is on the floor every time, or atleast it seems like he is.. If hes not making shots, sit his ass down please. Because he doesnt play defense and turns the ball over alot. Looks like the Kobe Bryant of the Second Unit, i mean c’mon, stop drippling too much and taking all the shots Brown. Atleast Bynum is starting to get his timming and stamina back, because Gasol only raises his hand when ever an opponent drives to the basket..
    I say sit all the starters expcept Bynum and the rest can be bench players and teach those guys a lesson. FISHER, KOBE, ARTEST, PAUL GASOL…

  • J.crack

    Time to make a change to the starting lineup IMO. Either Fisher or Artest should come off the bench cuz they’re blackholes right now on both ends. Props to Ron for his game 7 performance but thats in the past now. He has been beyond terrible all season. He even admitted that he doesnt understand the triangle offense yet hahaha. Whats going on with the bench also? Blake, Brown, & Barnes have also been horrible lately. Seems like the whole team is in a bad funk right now. Bynum is looking more comfortable atleast. Too many inexcuseable losses already this season. If getting blown out numerous times at home doesnt fire them up then I dont know what will.

    • mr.laker19

      Yea I agree, we have to make a change, and honestly the player we need mite not be on the roster. Trade possibilities are open. Blake is looking horrible, Brown is less productive then he was at the start, Barnes is inconsistent and our starters have no chemistry at all. For the first time ever our most consistent player is… Lamar Odom? Never thought id say dat but its honestly true.

  • gameplan

    lakers don’t want to push things over, they want to stay healthy until play-off, just wondering how many games are they going to give away to those needed! I can’t Imagine things happening right now, I just hope they can 3peat, and hope to tweak next seasons roster, don’t like pau anymore, bring in noah for pau 2011-2012.

    • Gary

      Gameplan? You can’t imagine things happening now? Is your head in the sand too? If the Lakers 3peat then I doubt there is anything wrong but seriously…there is a lot wrong…attitude! The team really stinks right now and players aren’t stepping up. Kobe can’t do it all by himself. Even at that Kobe is getting older and some nights he can’t do it either…where are the other players?

      • gameplan

        @GARY Why is your head already on the sand?
        pau only cares about touches, if he don’t get it he’s getting lazy on defense I rather have noah that can understand his role, and do his hard work.

  • Ryan

    We need to get carmelo

  • king-manu

    stop that fckin melo talk! the only way that we should get melo is by pulling a gasol-kwame brown thing, and thats not gonna happen. and giving up odom for melo is stupid. odom is much more important than melo could be! of course a nother scorer would be great, but giving up lamar would be killing us! in my opinion we should try to move blake, he is just not giving us what we all hoped for and artest… artest missed and wide open lay up under the basket and things like that. plus his solid d is long gone…and we have to consider giving up brown. dude come on… he allways takes 1 on 3 or 1 on 4 fastbreaks and then misses the lay-up. he is our best 3pt shooter, but the way he plays… there is no d und stupid passes…
    as i know the lakers they will stick to their players and don´t make a trade, probably the best AT THE MOMENT! but if that loosing shit goes on, he have to consider how much time we still have to act. because a big trade at the deadline could mess up our team much worse… it is not easy.. do something now and maybe overreact or wait and miss the timing for the best trade…. to be honest, i would say ” do something, and do it now”

  • king-manu
  • 242LakerFan

    Oh yeah, Drew’s return had turned everything around…
    Everyone was back in their proper positions in their proper rotations…
    I can’t believe Odom would come out and say don’t worry, there’s plenty of time. What a crock of shit! That’s what pwople have been saying for over a month now! Well, there isn’t plenty of time anymore. We’re in the heart of the season and we’re falling further and further behind the league leaders. This isn’t a team that has shown any sign of a warrior attitude that may get us through the WC playoffs from the middle of the pack. There IS no home court advantage when scrub ass teams like Memphis and Milwaukee are blowing us out on that same home court.
    This is a complete lack of effort, lack of passion, as though there is some entitlement to getting to the Championship just because we are the champs. What is this, part of the Obamacare programme!!!???
    31 years I’ve been watching the Lakers and even when we were losing for lack of talent we were at least trying!!
    To say this team is struggling is one of the most egregious travesties of language possible because “struggling” implies some sort of effort that just isn’t producing results.
    This team is not trying!
    And Phil’s blaming Kobe? Come on, seriously? Why is Kobe going off on solo scoring sprees and not getting everyone else involved? Bcause no one else is producing! The problem is that Kobe is not going to single-handedly win games anymore, and he shouldn’t have to at this point in his career. He’s got too much talent around him to be expected to have to.
    I know Phil isn’t one for grand, dramatic moves, but this time the Zen, relax-and-it’ll-all-work-itself-out approach is not working. Shake some shit up,Phil!

  • Kobe 279

    @ king-manu I agree with everything u said. Its time for the Lakers to get a solid good point guard. And I also think its time to get rid of Artest he hasn’t done shit since when we sign him, and what is mangement doing? they need to make some move fast cause we are so behind, and everybody in the league are taking us as a joke.

  • BE_A_LakerFan

    Exactly! I would add on, but you said it all. This season has been frustrating and it’s not because of the L’s we’ve taken… It’s because of the lack of effort. They need to get it together asap!

    • BE_A_LakerFan

      This was a reply to 242LakerFan’s comment.

    • Kobe4Life

      I totally agree, I think this team gets bored easly out there on the court. I think towards the end of the season they’ll get serious about winning again, as bad as that sounds.

  • lakers2000

    Absolutely pathetic! This team needs to pull their swollen heads out of their asses. Time is ticking away and we seem to be getting worse every game. I can’t even stay awake for these games lately. I say we shake this crap up and try and get Blake Griffin. At least he plays with heart and passion. I know, this will not happen. I enjoy watching Clipper games more than my own team. I never thought I would say that. Don’t kill me, I’m just venting. Tick, tick, tick, tick.

    • 242LakerFan

      No hate here, buddy. Blake Griffin in purple and gold has been a wet dream of mine for a while now. That kid is a BEAST! My greatest fear is that the Clipper Curse ruins his career before he gets a chance on a team that can really reward him with a Chip or two. Someone like…oh, I don’t know…the Lakers!?

      • Blake Griffin

        I masturbate at nights to the idea of joining the Lakers.

  • marr

    lakers need a to bring back t. ariza

  • laughoutloud

    Never underestimate the heart of a champion. Realistically, the lakers can catch up to the Mavs and take second place in the conference. Dirk is injured and butler will miss some time. The only problem is the spurs who have a great record and don’t show any signs of slowing down, they have a great track record of playing great after the allstar break. Lakers can take 2nd seed but I think they will have worse records than the celtics, heat and spurs which really hurts cause we will play the spurs in conference finals and heat or celics in the finals, if we make it there!

  • Tyler

    And here we go again. Another blowout loss to another very poor team. Ron Artest has been terrible all year. There is tnesion between Phil and Kobe and Kobe and the team, and unless this laker squad fixes these problems, They will be beaten in the first round by an upstart team like the thunder, or if they beat them, or get their asses whooped by the spurs. This team needs Life. Crappy teams with little talent have more effort then this current squad. There is no one person to blame, the team is failing, and slowly digging their own grave

  • SoSoCal

    Its effort!!! Lakers need to play with Passion…. I hate the Celtics and Kevin Garnett but he plays with Passion…. C’mon Lakers let your emotions come out, scream, clap, talk to your teamates… Do something!!! Skills we have.. and STOP TRYING TO TRADE PLAYERS

  • Kobe 279

    Every time i watch them play is like their thinking about their salaries.

  • gameplan

    yeah phil is right!, kobe take it to one on one game beacause I think kobe is the only one who wants to win, If he is on the rise everyone is standing around, and they will say kobe is not getting anyone involved, If I were pau, lamar or anyone I will have myself involved even only on defense, and not to wait for kobe to pass me the ball. For the past few games I only saw pau playing perimeter and not trying to black shots,he can’t muscle his way through tough defender,and when kobe pass him the ball, he fails.

  • edsel

    May I add, we needed this to motivate us, the locker room heated discussions, the tensions between players and players and coaches. It’s just part of hollywood la that will eventually play out. They need to loose and loose thier faces in the proccess(pride). Right now they are playing like they own the ‘chip. That ‘s the reason behind the lack of effort as of late.
    Hey let’s check this out after 4 games.

  • Zeki Kayiran

    I cannot belive this is the team that won two in a row.
    For the past few weeks, it looks worse than the team with Smush, Radmanovic and Kwame.

    It seems like they have checked out for the year. This is an embarrasing point in Laker history.


    I am so disgusted by the way the lakers are playing as of yet that I would give any player except for kobe for Blake griffin. Seriously though, last year the lakers benefited from the home court. This year that won’t matter. They are playing so bad. They are too old to turn on the “switch”. The switch requires young legs and effort. They are too old to let leads slip away because again they don’t have the legs to chase down the lead then win. I hate the feeling of not trusting any lead the lakers get.




    This sh!t is gettin so damned ridiculous now! It’s to the point that when I turned on the game, I’m expectin the Lakers to be down! There’s ABSOLUTELY NO REASON for any of this sh!t to be goin down!

    I do agree with most of you in that Phil and the coaching staff needs to readjust the lineups and SHAKE THE SH!T UP! But honestly, fellas… this is the FCUKIN LAKERS that we’re talkin about! It really shouldn’t matter what lineup we have out there!

    Whether Bynum, Artest, LO, or Fish starts or subs… all of that really SHOULDN’T MATTER! We’ve got the personnel that should put the fear into every team that walks through the Staples Center! The Lakers SHOULD BE DOMINATIN EVERY NIGHT! Instead, every team seems to be salivating to have a crack at our guys in their schedule!

    Phil, you can say that Kobe blew the game all you want… fine, that’s this last game. But you’ve NOT gotten these guys ready to defend their TITLE and really, it’s on you and the coaching staff as well!

    Look it, I’ma give you my library card, you can go on down to my local library and pick out some new books for these guys to read. Whatever coloring books that you’ve been givin these guys obviously hasn’t been workin!


    GO LAKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rafael

    I don’t remember seeing Jack Nicholson appearing on any of the last games at Staples Center.
    Is he attending? Maybe that’s where our problem is!!
    Bring Jack back! On this last game, I’m sure he would get into the court to shake those guys!

  • juanv

    What the hell is wrong with pau. He is starting to sound like shaq. by saying he needs more touches how about blocking some shots and getting some rebounds. This guy looks like he has aids or something does he even lft wieghts he is like a dam rag doll out there

  • SoSoCal

    Paul Gasol doesnt know what going on or how to fix it???? lol. thats what he said after the game…. hahahaha please let paul gasol run the offense every time.. the guy is softer than my gradma, and someone tell Paul to instead of raising his hand like hes in the 3rd grade, please make an attempt to jump and block the shot!!!. and please sit down Shannon Brown when hes not making shots or dunking.. He sucks at defense, worst than kobe on the pick and roll.

  • iLakers

    You know what. The Lakers will find their way. There is just wayyyyyy too much experience for them to roll over and be a sub .500 team.

    Yea i don’t see us getting the first or second seed…but we will be a deadly 3rd/4th seed. Haha. Maybe that will act as a motivator to the champs. Prover Yourselves! kinda thing.

    Idk what a lot of people are talking about here regarding Blake and Barnes. Those guys are like spark plugs. They come in with real energy. And you have to remember their bench players not starters so they don’t have to be consistent just play their roles. I like watching them better than the starters.

    Its the starters that are not playing to their potential. Kobe/Fish in the backcourt have horrible D. Every guard that we’ve come across have lit us up. What does that tell you? Pau/Bynum need to get beastly with the boards. I mean come on TWO SEVEN FOOTERS!!! That should be 30 rebounds between the both of them. Then you have LO with another 7-10 off the bench. We should be killing on the boards. Sadly only LO knows how to really rebound here. He knows how to position himself to gain the advantage.

    Ron Artest. Does anyone know if he stopped seeing his shrink? What is up with this dood? He’s looking more and more like the next Kwame Brown. No handles, can’t jump, can’t shoot, shady D (with the exception of the occasional steal), turnover prone. He’s definitely not doing his part as a professional athlete.

    Lastly, the Lakers heart. Where is it? Did the Heat tear it out during Xmas day? Or was it lost during that 4 game skid on the road? This is the one thing that really blows me away. As 2x defending champs. They play like they have nothing to play for, nothing to defend, nothing to work towards. Get angry Lakers. Take what is rightfully yours and make every opposing team…nay every opposing player feel a little fear when play against you.

    p.s. I have tickets to watch you guys on Sunday vs the Knicks. Let’s get this Lakeshow clicking by then yea.

  • Laker Warrior

    These guys better check there egos at the door.
    To much talent to waste.
    Fisher And Ron have to be the all time worse starters in the league Look at there box scores and minutes

  • lakerman1

    It will be good when the Lakers start playing like champs again so all of the crying on this blog will stop. The thing is some of you who claim to have watched the Lakers for decades act like you have never seen this before. Even when Shaq & co were here they did not play well at times, Khareem was notorious for his slow trots back on Defense & contrary to some of the attitudes here they are still the team to beat & every team in the league knows that.

    • 242LakerFan

      Really? I defy you to find me a stretch of games in the last thirty seasons that includes this many double figure losses, especially at home, to sub-.500 teams. NOT in championship years. Not with championship callibre teams like this. Yes, there have been losing streaks, lulls and so forth within a season, but nothing like this. I’ve been worried before, but this is crazy.


    Nothing is working with these guys. Here’s an idea…Lakers, if you guys are reading this then make this happen. Set goals for each one of you. Points will come but defense is lacking. Example….
    no less than…
    Pau/Bynum – 3 blks and 10 rebounds each.

    Lamar/Artest/Barnes – 1 steal and 9 rebounds each

    Kobe/Brown – 3 assists, 4 rebounds and less than 3 turn overs each

    Fisher/blake – 6 assists, 2 steals and less than 3 turnovers

    Luke/Caracter/Ratliff/Smith/ – Play harder in practice so these guys can play better in games.

    Coaching Staff – Keep a tally on goals and remind them.

    I don’t know if this would work but what ever they are doing is definetly NOT working. Oh and one more thing. Fisher, if you are reading this, learn how to make a layup, rent the “and 1″ DVD so that you can get pointers on breaking someone down and get to the basket because I am tired of you always missing them.

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