View Full Version : Lakers Let Triangle Become One-Sided

11-12-2003, 06:36 PM
Lakers Let Triangle Become One-Sided
Bryant tried to take over the game in the loss to Memphis, but Jackson and Malone say that shouldn't be necessary.
November 12, 2003
LA Times

By Tim Brown, Times Staff Writer

Two weeks of Laker basketball concluded Monday with five wins, two consecutive defeats and a reminder from Coach Phil Jackson that it would be Thanksgiving, at the earliest, before the team was quite right.

True enough, the NBA's glamour lineup hasn't yet played consistently, and maybe that is why Kobe Bryant commandeered the offense Monday night in Memphis.

It surely wasn't done to win over teammates.

In a striking return to locker room scenes of two seasons ago, many Lakers looked on somberly as a buoyant Bryant spoke of nearly carrying the Lakers back from a huge deficit and of how Monday's fourth quarter "smelled" like last year's wild comeback against the same Grizzlies.

Perhaps the failures of the first three quarters — 20 turnovers, countless missteps and wall-to-wall confusion — had already assured the defeat.

Perhaps Bryant had decided that the fourth quarter was no time for a seminar on triangle execution and that his way was the Lakers' only chance.

So, he hoisted shots — some difficult fade-aways and 26-foot jumpers — while Shaquille O'Neal was grinding for position, Karl Malone was pushing through the lane and Devean George was waving his hand.

The ball movement was gone, the predictability was back, and Tuesday they started all over again.

Though he is, by his own account, in mid-recovery from knee surgery and though he has added two top-of-the-line teammates, Bryant is averaging four assists, two fewer than last season, when O'Neal was injured and the cast was less talented. With Gary Payton on the floor, the basketball is in Bryant's hands less, but he got his eight assists in the last two with Payton playing reduced minutes.

In Monday's second half, though, when Payton was on the bench for 14 minutes, Derek Fisher generally dumped the ball to Bryant in the half-court set, and Bryant did not have an assist. He did, however, have four turnovers.

In what he has declared to be his walk-year, Bryant, at times, has seemed more determined than ever to score, despite a jump shot that so far has been unreliable.

Yet, the Lakers can be a forgiving bunch — tonight's game against the Toronto Raptors offers another chance at it — and Tuesday's practice in El Segundo proceeded without rancor.

"It's kind of amazing," Malone said. "We come to practice today, I'm sure guys didn't want to be here, and we go out … and the ball was boom-boom-boom. We're getting layups. And wide-open jump shots. The same applies in the game. It doesn't matter. I picked it up right away; One-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, you don't have a shot you pass it. After one-thousand-three, now everybody's standing around looking. I picked that up already and I haven't been here long…. We have to believe in each other. We can't get into, 'I can do it myself.' We've got to move the basketball."

Asked whether it were necessary for Bryant to take control of the offense at times, Malone said, "Not this team. Really. Truly, not this team. It can be easier on yourself, because you've got four guys that can do it. Or five. It doesn't matter. I think maybe in the past that was probably the case. For sure when Shaq was out last year. But, on this team here? I don't think you want to put that pressure on yourself, because you don't have to.

"I think he's learning now it can be easier for him. [He asked], 'How in the world did you play 20 years, getting beat up every night?' I said, 'Well, let it be easy for you sometimes. Shaq and I are in the hole. You stay outside. Don't go in there, jumping into seven-footers on a nightly basis, and you might go on to play 15 years.' He said, 'God, I don't think I'll last that long.'

"It's about making it easier for your teammates. We have the kinds of guys on this team that, if you buy into it, it will be easier for you."

Seven games into what he apparently fears will be another long season of trying to pry the ball out of Bryant's hands, O'Neal pleaded again for the real offense, which also promotes rebounding position and defensive readiness.

Malone pleaded for a simpler game, meaning reliance on teammates. Having survived the personality clash of two weeks ago with what appeared to be negligible damage, the Lakers minded their team principles and appealed to Bryant through generalities.

Asked after the Lakers' second consecutive defeat about the integration of Malone and Payton, Bryant grinned and said, "They're doing well. It's going to take some time for us all to be on the same page, as far as getting into the triangle. Phil's the type of coach who wants you to learn on your own. That's what we want to do. As the season goes on, you'll see us getting more into our offense and cutting teams up."

Meantime, Bryant sometimes leaves them all behind.

George, whose jump shot has been accurate, made all five of his shots in Monday's first half, including three three-pointers. In 16 minutes of the second half, he shot only twice.

O'Neal, who makes 60% of his shots, played 41 minutes against Jake Tsakalidis and Lorenzen Wright. Because the offense was not crisp — Malone and Payton apparently remain vague on many of the details and Bryant can be defiant — the Grizzlies turned more than a few attempted entry passes into run-outs. O'Neal took only 14 shots, and watched helplessly as the Grizzlies turned long rebounds into fastbreaks and easy points.

"I think there's a point in the game where things got stagnant and Kobe stepped into a game where he's had a tremendous amount of success, against Memphis in Memphis particularly," Jackson said. "He was hoping to repeat that. It didn't work for him. Those things hurt us a little bit. Some nights, we're going to be successful because of it. Our message is that as long as we stay involved, it doesn't mean it's a one-[shot]-and-out situation because Kobe misses his shot. We can still rebound, we can still operate, we can still play defense and get offensive opportunities from our defense."

Meanwhile, Bryant is going to have his moments of aggressiveness, and Jackson said he would not entirely discourage him. Bryant averaged 30 points last season, primarily over at least one defender, sometimes over two or more.

"He's an advantage player," Jackson said. "He's got opportunities to play, to get to the basket against people. That's what you want, a lot of guys in trouble, having to play from a deficit, having him get to the free throw line, stopping the clock. That's all part of it.

"We want to have opportunities for our players. I want to run an organization, a team that has the ability to differentiate between who's hot and who's not, who has advantage and who doesn't. That really is the key.

"We want to go in to Shaq if he's got advantage. We want to go in to Karl if he's doing the things he can do all these years. Gary's the other player. And Devean's playing very well for us.

"We're not trying to say one person is going to capture the game at the end of the game right now. We want to use advantage and read the defense. That's up to the players and up to my direction to lead them in that way. They're not going to find it on the first road trip of the season. Hopefully in December, we'll start coming around and playing that way. We need a lot of time on the court, in practice, and consistently."

11-12-2003, 06:45 PM
Kobe hogging the bal?!?!

Must have been a mistake in the article.

11-12-2003, 06:49 PM
I remember when Phil Jackson named his kidney stone Kobe because it wouldn't pass...classic

11-12-2003, 06:58 PM
Originally posted by: MavsFanatik33
I remember when Phil Jackson named his kidney stone Kobe because it wouldn't pass...classic


That is classic.

What is the deal with Kobe? Is he just crazy? Totally self destructive?

11-12-2003, 07:48 PM
There is supposedly a article saying that Payton wants more minutes.. I can't get a LA times subscription to work for some reason. Anyone with a subscription could you grab that article?
There is a link to it here

nba (http://www.nba.com/index.html)

11-12-2003, 09:25 PM
Here you go, I've already taken the SPAM hit for subscribing months ago. IMO this is one of the those BFD's.

Payton Seeking More Floor Time
By Tim Brown, Times Staff Writer

Practice concluded Tuesday afternoon and Gary Payton strode from the floor, the talkative guard pausing only to say that his left ankle felt "great," before disappearing into the trainer's room.

He played 27 minutes Monday night in Memphis, 28 Friday night in New Orleans, and it appeared to be eating at him by Tuesday.

Shaquille O'Neal said he expected Payton to have a talk about his playing time with Coach Phil Jackson.

"I know he wants to be out there a lot more," O'Neal said. "He's probably going to have a little discussion with Phil today. … He's like me; he doesn't like to come out."

Said Jackson: "He'll be fine. We're asking a guy that's been here for five weeks, six weeks, to operate in a system that's very complicated and under high duress."

Through seven games, Payton is averaging 14 points and 7.9 assists. He is shooting 43.3% from the field, 23.5% from the three-point arc.

11-12-2003, 10:01 PM
Thanks, WOW.

Less dramatic than I had hoped. i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif

11-13-2003, 12:25 AM
The real story here is how Payton has started whining about playing time. Once Kobe gets over his Knee rehab he will again dominate, ESPN will start licking his ass, and all will be well in Basketballdom.

Anyway who care all this bodes well for the Mavs and the rest of the WC