TLN’s Postgame Report: Lakers @ Magic — Missing Their Mojo

The Lakers must’ve forgotten what happened the last time they were in Orlando. They forgot that in their last visit with Dwight Howard and company, they played like the better team, the more experienced group of players, the ones who wanted the championship the most. They forgot what helped them win last year — that collective effort on both sides of the court, a fearlessness to stand up to the defensive player of the year, and the intelligence and heart to know what the outcome of the game would be before tip-off.

Those were Lakers that have shown up this season every so often, but not often enough to let even themselves believe they could hoist that Larry O’Brien trophy again, not if they continue to play like this.

The Magic remembered. They remembered how they got blown out in the first game of the Finals at Staples center by 25 points. They remembered the Lakers celebrating the championship on their homecourt.

The Magic remembered… but the Lakers have forgotten.

A win against Orlando might’ve been a small bite-size of redemption from the first two losses on this road trip. Despite the unbelievable number of fouls called on both Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard, it appeared to be anyone’s game in the first half with both the Lakers and the Magic shooting under 40% from the field.

The Lakers had only four turnovers to the Magic’s eight, in the first half, a welcome stat considering the Lakers’ horrible turnover tendencies in the last few games.

Kobe Bryant also seemed to have found his shooting touch.

The third quarter for Kobe, however, was a different story. Matt Barnes and Mikael Pietrus did a good job smothering Kobe, who didn’t hit one field goal in the entire quarter. Battling with Barnes, who did everything to invite a technical yet was ignored by the officials, Kobe was obviously frustrated. The challenge from his defender is usually the best type of fuel for Kobe, but he didn’t do enough to make Barnes pay.

Fouls were a dime a dozen in today’s game, with Andrew, Pau, Lamar, and Dwight all reaching their fifth.

Though blaming the officials is never the best way to analyze a game’s outcome, today it was no question for both teams. Bynum and Howard, both large bodies, were often scrutinized for just being a presence by the basket. In one play, Kobe went for a shot by the hoop and jumped alongside Dwight who didn’t so much as even touch his uniform, and was called for a foul. On the other side, Andrew jumped straight up, Vince Carter slammed his body sideways into him — foul.

The game changed with both big men on the bench due to foul trouble and it’s a wonder what would have happened if they were able to play.

The Lakers got to within two points in the last few minutes and with a steal, Kobe could have driven the ball inside, gotten fouled or at least could have evened it out. But he chose to attempt a three in transition; missed and failed to guard Matt Barnes on the other end who hit his three. Magic by five.

Kobe did hit another three, followed by a two to make it 94-95, but Vince Carter’s 1-2 freethrows did it for the win. There would be no last second heroics from Derek Fisher today, just a lot of time for the Lakers to think about what they’re doing this season. So far they’ve often been out rebounded, outsmarted, and outplayed.

It’s not just the three losses in a row. It’s not just the losing in general. It is the way these Lakers are playing that is bewildering and disappointing. Even the way they were winning games when the opponent clearly played better was troubling.

Yes, good teams find a way to win even when they’re not playing their best. But maybe it would serve the Lakers better if they just played their best more often, rather than just getting by and then waiting until the second half (or the last second) to show up.

Pre-game Thoughts: On the verge of 3 losses in a row for the first time since Pau Gasol arrived.

Half-time Thoughts: Lakers shooting just 34% with Orlando; not as bad but still only shooting 39%. This is anyone’s game.

Most Thoughtless Player(s) of the Game: Can’t pick just one amongst the collection of defending champions wearing a purple uniform, so this honor goes to the officials who were watching, or clearly NOT WATCHING, Matt Barnes. He should’ve been ejected in the third quarter.

Most Thought-filled Player(s) of the Game: Kobe Bryant did the most (34 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals), though he could’ve shown more smarts late in the game.

Anna Gonda has been the post-game editor for LakerNation.com since the 2009-2010 season. Between post-game reports, she's a full-time advertising coordinator for an academic publisher and a part-time photographer. Favorite Lakers: Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher. Favorite Laker Moment: Game 7, 2010 Finals against the Boston Celtics.
  • lakerbunny

    HOW DO YOU SAY BOX-OUT IN HEBREW?

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

      Seriously.

      • hello world

        great article anna. thanks

        • hello world

          We are fine. I saw what i wanted to see after a loss to Charlotte. We could have won those two games and we still would have lossed. Kobe cussed ppl out saturday and most of em’ stepped up. The magic were destined to win sunday. I am not worried. This intensity needs to keep u against teams we SHOULD beat not only when they are playoff contenders. L.A., it is going to be okay. WE GOT THIS!!!

  • KanA

    They’re not missing their MojO, We need a defensive point guard… fast! now!

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

      The point guards weren’t the only ones that gave us issues in this game. Should be TEAM DEFENSE no matter who the opposing team puts on the floor.

      • Anthony

        You’re right about the team defense, but when are we going to get a player who can penetrate? Kobe used to be that player, but obviously his years have aged on him. No one else is capable of that when we really need it on this team.

        On another point — I definitely agree that star players (Kobe) get better treatment at times, but Barnes was definitely being overly dirty and got away with way way to much on Kobe.

        I’m going to cover my eyes until the playoffs start.

        (Why isn’t Gonda always in charge of these post game write ups?)

  • jordan farmar

    once again i get balled up!

  • Laker4 Life

    Lakers played good enough to win the game, but they eventually lost. There were some mistakes Lakers did that cost them the W. Especially Kobe when he took the three with less than 2 minutes remaining. He should have driven the ball inside and problably would have gotten fouled and it would have been a one point game. Also the officiating cost us the game. They were making bad calls after bad calls. I agree that Matt barnes should have been ejected, but the officials were not paying attention to him and instead they gave a technical to dwight. Lakers need to start playing defense or else they are not gone repeat. The Lakers have so much talent but they always rely on Kobe to win the game but he can’t do it all time. Especially the benchslobs need to step up or the lakers are gone have an early exit in the playoffs.

  • comeflywithme

    Well its just another loss.. And when the lakers lose it makes the haters happy and it makes the fans (fake fans?) go rattling, we need this, we need that.. LA isn’t even playing consistently all season long but look at the standings? where’s LA? 2nd behind Cleveland. It’s just a regular season game no time to hit the panic button. Orlando swept LA last yr. during the regular season game, did they got the trophy? hell no! Just believe in LA, cause they know how to win games when it counted the most. Every team wants a piece of the champs and matt barnes, jr smith, wants a piece of Kobe. Just wait until June and see who’s hanging their 16th nba championship banner!

    • gugy

      I agreed,
      Every time is the same story, the haters love and the bandwagon go crazy.
      Have patience. If we finish in first on the West, this is what matters. Cavs even if they make first, they still need to make to the finals.
      So no reason to freak out.

      • El Matador

        I think people are worried about how the Lakers aren’t playing like a championship caliber team. Yes, they may have the 2nd best record in the NBA but they haven’t played the best team ball out there and needs to prove themselves a bit more on the road. Like I’ve been saying, if the Lakers don’t tighten up the screws and build better team chemistry on O and D before the playoffs starts, they’ll be in trouble.

        • gugy

          I understand and I think this is cause for concern. BUT, we only will know when playoff starts. Maybe they are pacing themselves for that, maybe this problems will be a blessing so we can correct by April. Is hard to say what will happen.
          The good thing is we have talent the the players to make it happen. I think the only thing lacking is a bit of desire, but maybe that will come.

    • thanhnugent

      Hope you’re right…I am losing sleep, man

  • Xtro

    I’m beginning to have doubts.

  • http://57.amklac REALITY

    lack of leadership…………………

    • Anthony

      That’s for damn sure. Kobe needs to get on these guys as he did in the Finals last season.

  • http://youtube.com/mrterrific100 Mr Terrific

    Win lose or draw D-Fish needs to retire this season.

    • KanA

      exactly…. a pg that can truly defend and penetrate and that take shots less… :(

  • LGM10

    Well I’ve said all season that if the lakers fail to repeat and constantly lose “big” games against the elite it will be because:
    .
    .
    1) Poor OUTSIDE SHOOTING: we saw the result today and when we played against cleveland. Opponents clog the paint and dare us to make shots only we dont have guys to CONSISTENTLY do this. RON artest is our “best” 3 pt shooter %-wise, thats ron artest ppl and even i would leave him open too.
    .
    2) POOR GUARD/PG Play: Fish did an okay job today forcing jameer to help defenders but unfortunately when one gets it right another can’t, I’m talking about you jordan farmar. Aside from today fish has constantly been burned by quicker guards and farmar isn’t much better; in 3 games arroyo, augustin, and today jameer picked apart our defense and did a great job of finding open guys. Brown-well let’s just say he DOESNT like to distribute, more of a 2-guard.
    .
    3) LACK OF BENCH DEPTH: No coincidence we’ve struggled to score 100 pts this season after having a top 3 offense last year. Aside from injuries, phil mostly utilizes Odom, farmar, and brown (with good reason though) resulting in our starters logging too many minutes. While farmar and brown have shown bright spots we don’t know what theyll bring on a nightly basis and they are even less effective on the road. Vujacic has regresed and luke has been injured more than his dad, thus lessening contributions this season on offense. There are more problems than this (no fastbreak play) but these factors are the cause of the malignant LAL 09-10 squad.
    .
    .
    Yeah yeah u can talk about how we still have a great record despite playing poorly but lets not go by records. CLEVELAND didnt do so well against the elite last season and we all know what happened. It’s important for this team to play exquisitely and IMPROVE from here on to the end of the season. Time is running out till the playoffs and the lakers have only looked like pretenders as opposed to defenders….

  • Mr Kb

    I say we get a ton of people together the next time the Magic are in town and buy a bunch of seats near the visitors bench and heckle Barnes the whole f**king game. We’ll be especially loud during timeouts, so that mofo can hear us. (It’ll be next season, they won’t make it to the finals)

  • lakeb

    GIVE THE BALL TO GASOL MORE. GASOL NEEDS MORE TOUCHES. HE CAN CREATE ANY SHOT DOWN LOW. HE COULD BE AVERAGING LIKE 30 POINTS A GAME IF THE LAKERS GAVE HIM MORE TOUCHES

  • asg

    Who is Matthew Barnes. Jus because he got some tattoos on his body he thinks he is a thug. im surprised he not playing for the Thuggets. him and jr smith proaly tweet to eachother aout KObe. Disrespectful to UCLA.

    All im saying, if Artest did that he would of gotten kicked out, no question. there is a conspiracy its called THE REFS AND NBA HATE THE LAKERS. Not to say that there were bad calls on both ends, but it seems as if lakers are consistantly getting ad calls or calls against them. People say be more aggressive, sh*t why should they do that if it works against them. The lakers had there time and now Stern wants to jump on the LEBRON Train and ride that till the next All-star that comes along.

    Point………..Conspiracy against Mamba/phil/Lakers

  • asg

    ANSWER TO ALL QUESTIONS……..

    FARMAR
    KOBE
    ARTEST
    ODOM
    GASOL

    BROWN
    FISHER(hes not a pg, a shooter at best)
    artest/kobe/puke
    Powell
    Bynum

    we will have better starts. better d-fense on PGs. More ball movement. lamar-gasol connection. Bynum can score all he wants with the second unit. Powell has a decent jumper. it works, come on PHIL make the change .

  • asg

    I dont mind this, at least someone is speaking up, not just crying about it. So maybe the ball should go to gasol more.

    GASOL NEEDS TO PLAY CENTER……………..
    bYNUM TO THE BENCH………

    Other players need to play for the team, not for a new contract….COUGH COUGH FARMAR AND SHANNON BROWN. Play within the SYSTEM. not on your own

    S.Brown dissapoints me, he was playin great now all of a sudden talking about contracts and i know his agent told him to play a little more, shoot a little more. Damn $

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

    Here’s some perspective that’s calming me down:
    ’99-’00 Lakers: 67-15 Record, 15-8 Playoffs = Champs
    ’00-’01 Lakers: 56-26 Record, 15-1 Playoffs = Champs

    • Won A Ring for The King

      I wasn’t playing for the Cavs back in those days + there was NOBODY in the East back then. The East was considered JV, so if you got out of the West, you were pretty much NBA Champs.
      Today, you have to deal with me, KG’s Celtics and Howard’s Magic.
      This is my year, I got this…

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

        Lebron’s got a new pet. Nice. So you wanna win a ring for the king, not for you or your team or the city of Cleveland? Winning for your new master since you are no longer a master to anyone now, huh? You’re tight, buddy. Shaq’s just another addition to the list of people the King gets to wait on him, tell him how great he is, give excuses for him. Still a lot of regular season and post-season left. The ring ain’t Cleveland’s yet.

      • ruxpin810

        the king without a crown. you haven’t even won a single finals game yet. win something and then pop off.

  • TheLakerGenera11

    I don’t expect the Lakers to win every game I do need them to have home court advantage at minimum in west and i do need to see some consistency Believe it or not LA is playing really good defense they just don’t do it for the full game positives from this 2010 team is that they play more defense this yr then last yr. 3rd quarters have always been priorty #1 but was nvr done until this yr the 2010 lake show has been a very good 2nd half team. LA does need to put a long win streak together something that has yet to be done this year. Their road record this yr has been less then stellar compared to last but last yr is done let’s just keep grinding towards banner #15 come on LA the nation is behind you!

  • Robert

    recall 2 weeks ago the Cavs lost 3 in a row. It’s ok. Even though the Lakers didn’t win today, they can still hang with elite. They’ll regroup, and all will be ok. It’s not falling apart. Just be patient.
    .
    I still wish we did have another slasher. We should sign Von Wafer to a 10 day contract. He knows how to play with Ron-Ron, and also played with the Lakers years ago. He’s also a hot head, and that would work well in the playoffs.
    .
    Mitch – if you’re listening – sign Wafer to 10 day, and possibly playoffs.
    .
    Also, we need more T’s from players other than Kobe. Ron-Ron needs to get a T. Bynum needs to get another. Fish needs to get one. We need to get tougher. Plenty of T’s left for them for the rest of the season. Kobe’s running out of T’s.

  • rudy t.

    it’s all about playing smart. playing with a swagger that is totally different from “we’re champions until we get beaten” swagger. we need a swagger that says something along the lines of “we know how to play like champions. let us show all you shrimps”.
    pau’s not happy with lack of touches. kobe’s trying to look for his shot DURING the game (consequently taking 25++ shots in the process).
    like XTRO, i too am beginning to have doubts about how far we can go. playoffs, for sure. but i dont think kobe’s getting his fifth ring the way we’re playing right now.
    sad to say, our window is SLOWLY closing. let’s all be honest and realistic here. kobe won’t be kobe forever. fish has already lost a step. pau’s not exactly getting younger. andrew’s making progress, but his age doesn’t reflect his maturity.
    STILL, for me, lakers all the way.

  • lakeb

    GIVE THE BALL TO GASOL MORE. GASOL NEEDS MORE TOUCHES. HE CAN CREATE ANY SHOT DOWN LOW. HE COULD BE AVERAGING LIKE 30 POINTS A GAME IF THE LAKERS GAVE HIM MORE TOUCHES–

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

      Pau needs to learn to hang on to the ball when he gets touches. I don’t know what it is about him lately, but he can’t seem to hold on to the rock!

  • willmo

    The cavs lose 3 in a row and it’s called “Adjusting to Jamison being on a new team”, the celts choke and it’s “KG is still hurt “but yet there are 2 other all stars on that team. the lakers lose and it’s the end of the world and time to fire Jackson, get rid of Kobe and call mitch the worst GM in history. It’s amazing how much people let the idiots at the LA Times, ESPN, FOX and the rest of the negative press influence their point of view. People it’s a long season and the Lakers have been dealing with injuries all yr and it’s part of the process. When the post season starts and the games really matter, it won’t make a difference who has home court, if you want to win it all, you will it anywhere. The 3 peat team went through this crap 10 yrs ago and when they won it all every yr all of sudden the press went, “Wow they really are a good team.”
    Let the haters enjoy this while they can, come June and the parade down Figeroa, it will all be forgotten and the press will have to F off once again. They hated Magic and Shaq and were given the middle finger.

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

      AMEN! So this road to repeat is a little more difficult? Only makes the end result all the more satisfying, right?

      and yeah seriously, what’s with the double standard against the likes of Cleveland or Boston losing? Thanks for putting things in perspective, willmo.

  • Won A Ring for The King

    –The Lakers have realized that they have no chance to catch Cleveland + they are a little depressed that the Cavs got Jamison and will get Ilgauskas back.
    –Mitch’s biggest mistake was not getting Hinrich and/or getting something for Bynum.
    __
    –Did you Laker fans notice how well the Laker offense was flowing in the absence of Bryant? Once he got back the team chemistry went in the toilet. You don’t win without Kobe, but at this point he is disrupting team chemistry.
    –Kobe, you ain’t Jordan man, you’re Kobe Bryant. You’re great in your own right. Stop it with the immitation of Jordan. You old timers know about Jordan and how he would go off on his players. The difference, Jordan had a little thing called charisma and he was a facilitator for 3 quarters and took over in the fourth.
    –The Bulls offense with Jordan flowed much better, cleaner and crisper that the Laker offense flows with Bryant. As a result, team chemistry is wack.
    -Solution: Kobe, stop disrupting the offense and stop yelling at grown men who play with you. This is what they’re thinking: “Kob, we’re playing great without you. You come back and disrupt the offense. We start losing some games and now you’re screaming at us for messing this up? Now team chemistry is off, Mitch didn’t get us any help at the point and we’re pretty much f*&# up.”
    -Laker fans, it’s inevitable, Shaq won a riing, for the King.

    • lakers2000

      Your queen wishes! We’ll talk about it in the coming months, but it ain’t going to happen for queen James this year and not with the Cavs. Now go back to your cardboard box and finish your crack pipe. Go Lakers!

  • lakerbunny

    NO DEFENSE! CANT PASS! CANT SHOOT! COME SEE JORDAN FARMAR SUUUCK! 364 TICKETS LEFT FOR TOMORROWS GAME VERSUS TORONTO! GO TO LAKERS.COM AND CLICK ON THE TICKETEXCHANGE BUTTON!

  • Darrell

    Are you serious about Matt Barnes? Was Kobe wearing a invisibilty jersey? Kobe was playing dirty. Matt Barnes just wasn’t backing down. Watch the highlights.

  • frig

    lkaers need a point guard , and a solid rebounder with weight Pau and Bynum to weak get push around , lakers should let kobe come off the bench, his has lost a step and leaping abilty, homby dont ammit it !! face facts its call a team let other develop kobe we know you could finihs games but c-mon, let other some minute to create confidence and chemistry honetly u fuck it up!!