View Full Version : Good Times in LA...

12-05-2002, 10:34 PM
After another disapointing loss to Utah last night, Shaq has directed some very pointed comments toward his teammates and team management. Over the last couple of years the press has blown up Laker chemistry problems many times with no result, but I have a feeling that the Lakers' difficulties this year are producing an infighting that will seriously threaten their season and the continuation of their dynasty. The Laker bruhahas of the past three years have always dealt with Kobe vs. Shaq. Now Kobe and Shaq have both made some very acidic comments about their supporting cast- commentary that is not going to do anything but completely alienate the supporting players whose modest but efficient production allow the Lakers to win games and championships. This may sound like a truism, but it is accurate to say that two players can't win championships completely on their own...

Three consecutive championships was an amazing feat, but I think it ends here. It is easy to imagine that Shaq and Kobe can just "turn it on" in the playoffs, but if their teammates aren't with them, this dynasty may very well end up prematurely dumped in the ashcan of NBA history...

Lakers lose, Shaq losing cool

Medvedenko injured in Utah victory
By Howard Beck
Staff Writer

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Lakers can grit their teeth through the losses and they can stave off the panic and perhaps even convince an antsy audience that all is still well in the halls of the defending champions. But they cannot, any longer, pacify the building rage in their franchise player.

With every loss, Shaquille O'Neal grows more testy, more impatient with his teammates, more concerned that this five-week rut is not an aberration, but a reflection of reality. That the three-time champions have indeed lost something along the way.

Another listless effort ended with another deflating loss Wednesday, and O'Neal was seething after a 93-85 to the Utah Jazz at the Delta Center.

He avoided saying anything outright damning, but his feelings seeped out in his expression and his tone. And when he was asked, point blank, whether the Lakers still had the right personnel to win a fourth championship, O'Neal was all body language.

He paused for five seconds. He cocked his head.

"No comment," he said.

Do the Lakers need to make changes?

"Talk to Mitch (Kupchak), I don't know," O'Neal said, referring to the Lakers' general manager. "It's not in my department. I'm sure if some changes need to be made, Mitch and Phil (Jackson) are going to do what's best for the team. My only thing is, I just want eight guys out there with me that want to play."

Asked whether the Lakers have that now, he said, "Sometimes on the court, yes. Sometimes on the court, no."

"Guys who don't know what they're doing shouldn't be out there," O'Neal said.

That seemed to be another swipe at Slava Medvedenko and rookie Kareem Rush, who O'Neal has called out twice in the last week. On Wednesday, O'Neal was visibly upset and cursed when Rush failed to throw him an entry pass in the first half.

Medvedenko might not be an issue for a while. The third-year forward tore a tendon in the top joint of his right pinky Wednesday and is expected to be out six weeks.

It's just the latest setback in a season that has yet to see the Lakers at full strength.

The Lakers have lost four of the last six games and are 4-4 since O'Neal returned from toe surgery. They reached the season's one-quarter mark Wednesday six games under .500, at 7-13.

"We need a tourniquet," Robert Horry said.

Which only begs the question of where to apply it.

The Lakers' offense was a disaster Wednesday, converting only 35.7 percent of its shots, and the defense was as soft as it has been all season, allowing the Jazz to made 50 percent of its field goals. Utah's aggression led to a 29-for-39 night at the foul line, while the Lakers' passivity translated to only 20 free throw attempts.

Jackson repeated his usual laments about his team not competing hard enough, which once sounded alarming, but now sound like the status quo.

"We're digging a real deep hole for ourselves," O'Neal said. "We're just going to have to work extra, extra hard to get out of it. I still think we have it in us."

O'Neal, still gaining his strength and playing on consecutive nights, appeared to have little lift, and he converted just 8 of 23 attempts, but went 7 for 10 from the line, for 23 points. Afterward, he said he needed to get the ball more. Kobe Bryant played a measured game -- Jackson called him "tentative" -- and finished with 17 points.

And outside of a surprising 11-point burst from Tracy Murray, there was little help to be found from the bench.

Always a step late, the Lakers watched helplessly as Karl Malone scored 29 points and John Stockton carved them up for 10 points and 11 assists.

"We've got too much talent to be floundering around like that," Horry said.

Which raises the question once more: Are the Lakers missing something?

"Apparently so," Horry said. "We're losing."

Only Bryant stuck to the old company line.

"We know we have to play much better basketball than we're playing right now and we will," he said. "But it's not time for us to panic."

12-06-2002, 12:04 AM
I love Laker misery.

12-06-2002, 12:35 AM
Dynasty die nasty.