Blog Entry

Playoff Fix: Kobe Bryant is 'highly concerned'

Posted on: May 4, 2011 1:03 am
Edited on: May 4, 2011 1:26 am
The Los Angeles Lakers look to even their series with the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night. Posted by Ben Golliver.


One Big Thing:  The first two rounds of the Western Conference playoffs were always going to come down to the focus (or lack of focus) displayed by the Los Angeles Lakers. In Game 1, the Lakers collapsed in ugly fashion down the stretch, gifting the Dallas Mavericks a crucial road victory. Unlike L.A.'s two first-round losses to the New Orleans Hornets, though, the Lakers immediately made it clear that there was a sense of urgency. Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant was quoted by saying after the loss: "I'm highly concerned. This team can beat us. It's clear. We just have to come in ready to play Game 2." And all it should take is intensity. The Lakers were able to build a commanding double-digit lead in Game 1 before the choke job.

The X-Factor: This series will turn (or not) on the play of Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who was a bit disappointed in his passive play in Game 1. He should have been disappointed in his eight-point and five-rebound effort after posting four double-doubles against the Hornets, and falling just one rebound shy of a double-double in L.A.'s other two games against New Orleans. Mavericks center Tyson Chandler was a difference-maker in Game 1, never more obviously than with his help on a Bryant drive that led to a late fourth quarter turnover. Chandler can be foul prone, though, and Bynum is the player best equipped to send Chandler to the bench for stretches.  

The Adjustment: Dallas got big-time contributions top to bottom of the roster. They also shot the ball extremely well and hung in there on defense. If they could replicate their Game 1 performance, they would gladly do it, especially their steely play down the stretch. For the Lakers, the biggest adjustment is simple: Bryant can't be a one-dimensional bomber. He needs to look to get to the free throw line, avoid settling for difficult shots and continue to look to get his teammates open shots. In turn, his teammates must knock down those shots. The Lakers shot just 5-19 from deep in Game 1.

The Sticking Point: What will the Lakers do to better counter Dirk Nowitzki? The All-Star forward put up 28 points, while only shooting five free throws, but adding 14 rebounds. The performance was typical of his playoffs so far, as he continues to raise his game in the big moments and deliver when called upon. The Lakers will likely look to rough him up a bit more, but it's tricky because he's such an elite free throw shooter. You're damned if you do, damned if you don't with Nowitzki. But a little extra physicality from the likes of Ron Artest and Lamar Odom may be enough to make his life more difficult and his offense a little less efficient.

Since: Nov 17, 2008
Posted on: May 5, 2011 1:38 am

Playoff Fix: Kobe Bryant is 'highly concerned'

Haha oops, Lakers forgot to win.  Now who's in charge?  I wanna see that guy walk to Dallas... but of course, he won't.  It's just all talk, like typical Lakers' fans.

Since: Nov 5, 2008
Posted on: May 5, 2011 1:35 am

Playoff Fix: Kobe Bryant is 'highly concerned'

start walkin'.........

Since: Jun 13, 2007
Posted on: May 4, 2011 10:08 pm

Playoff Fix: Kobe Bryant is 'highly concerned'

The Lakers are going to win a tight game tonight.  I guarantee it.  If they don't win, I will walk to reunion area for the next game.

Since: Jun 11, 2007
Posted on: May 4, 2011 8:27 pm

Playoff Fix: Kobe Bryant is 'highly concerned'

Why do the Lakers have such a problem concentrating on every third game, or so, in the playoffs?  This has become a very ugly pattern for them.  Is it because they won the last two NBA titles and have a sense of entitlement?  They are certainly the most talented team on the court in this series with Dallas.  And they have a very nice bench as well.  Dirk Nowitzki is quite a player, but the rest of his team doesn't come close to matching up with the Lakers.  I would be worried if I was the Lakers,  They have really given Dallas hope in this series, and that could be dangerous.  Dallas does have a nice team with some good players, just not at the level the Lakers have.  Give them a reason to believe and just about anything can happen.  The Lakers really need to go in to game 2 focused on slamming the door shut on that hope.  A simple win is not enough.  L A needs to make the Dallas team really question themselves as to whether they can really play with the Lakers.  They think they can right now.

Since: May 16, 2007
Posted on: May 4, 2011 8:07 pm

Playoff Fix: Kobe Bryant is 'highly concerned'

I really don't think the Lakers need to worry alot about Dirk Nowitzki.  He's a great player who is going to get his points no matter what L A does.  The Lakers just need to make it a lttlle more difficult for him, but not deploy extra resources to him at the expense of defensive focus on the rest of the Mavericks.  Ron Artest and Lamar Odom are well suited to this task.  But, Dirk will get his points.  That alone will not defeat the Lakers.  I still can't really figure out what happened in game one of this series.  The Lakers had that game won, then the wheels just flew off.  I was stunned to see this.  Jackson is a great coach.  I really doubt we see that happen again.  I still have the Lakers heavily favored in this series with the Mavericks, and would not be surpriesd if Dallas gets blanked from here on out.  Surely all of the Lakers are now alert and focused after that game one experince.  Lakers big tonight at home.

Since: Jun 12, 2007
Posted on: May 4, 2011 7:48 pm

Playoff Fix: Kobe Bryant is 'highly concerned'

The Lakers will be fine if they simply focus on what they do best from beginning to end of the game.  Their talent is the best in the NBA, when it shows up.  And they are deep.  Other than Dirk Nowitzki, the Lakers out match the rest of the Mavericks' resources.  If, and this is a big if, the Lakers focus, Dallas will struggle to get one more game in this series.  I think the Lakers could well revert to their lack of focus in one more game in this series, and Dallas does get one more game.  I don't think it will be tonight, and don't think it will be the first game in Dallas.  Game 4 in Dallas could well be it when the Lakers are up 2-1 in the series.  I look for a very solid performance by the Lakers tonight.  I doubt it was a good couple of days around Phil Jackson after their game 1 performance.  But, congratulations to the Mavericks on their game 1 win.

Since: Apr 6, 2011
Posted on: May 4, 2011 6:26 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Feb 10, 2010
Posted on: May 4, 2011 5:25 pm

Playoff Fix: Kobe Bryant is 'highly concerned'

Shutting down Dirk is not the answer..that will be nearly impossible.  Perhaps the Lakers can cut his rebounding numbers down, but the guy is still going to score.  If the Lakers want to win they need their bigs to step up with rebounding, offense, and defense.  I would even put Kobe on Terry when he is in the game.  No matter what the key is what it always is with the Lakers....DEFENSE.

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