Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, our gang from ESPNLosAngeles.com and ESPNDallas.com will stop by for a mega chat as the Dallas Mavericks-Los Angeles Lakers Western Conference semifinal matchup gets heated up.
ESPNDallas.com kicks things off with Jeff Caplan (12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT) and Tim MacMahon (1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT), followed by ESPNLosAngeles.com's Brian Kamenetzky (1:30 p.m. ET/10:30 a.m. PT) and Andy Kamenetzky (2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT).
Send your questions now and join the chat Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT!
Jeff Caplan (12:31 PM)
Welcome to Mavs chat after an extremely entertaining and surprising Game 1 with Dallas taking a 1-0 lead over the Lakers. Let's get to your questions.
Stephen (princeton,wv) [via mobile]
The lakers should start Odom and bench Pau to let Pau know he better step up
Jeff Caplan (12:32 PM)
Pau had 15 points and 11 rebounds last night, but you are right he was not a major factor and his counterpart, Dirk, went for 28 and 14.
Bob (Columbus, OH)
Much has been written about how these Mavs are "soft" and "damaged" after their past post season disappointments. This team has a lot of veterans who have had great careers without ever winning it all - Dirk, Kidd, Terry, Marion, and Peja. Knowing that their windows to win a championship are closing, does this make them more motivated than the Lakers? Is it enough to make a difference against such a talented team?
Jeff Caplan (12:33 PM)
Bob,I wrote about this very subject at the start of the playoffs -- thanks for reading,ha, just kidding -- but yes,this is a big motivating situation for the Mavs players. They have plenty of decorated 30-somethings who have no rings. They have said all season that they have bought in and sacrificed for the good of the team. We are seeing that now.
Billy okc [via mobile]
Ok. I'd heard the "these Mavs are different" chatter but refused to believe. After the JET/Dirk debacle I turned off the tv and went to bed. Same ol Mavs... Thank God I couldn't sleep!! They didn't cave! Are these Mavs different!?
Jeff Caplan (12:34 PM)
The Mavs certainly don't make anything easy on themselves, but at least this time they could savor the fact that they rallied from a double-digit hole and not the other way around.
How important is game 2 for the lakers? I know we lost in 2006 being up 2-0, but that was when we were at thier place for game 3, here we would be at our house.
Jeff Caplan (12:36 PM)
Chris, clearly Game 2 is critical for L.A. They don't want to go to Dallas down 2-0. It's time to forget about the Mavs' past. Only Dirk and Jet remain from the '06 team and this group has shown it is resilient within a game and series. Game 2 will be fun.
Angie (Little Elm)
Chandler/Haywood did a AWESOME job last night gaurding the paint. Is Bynum the type that disappears if he has a bad game or responds? I don't know enough about how he typically plays in a case like this.
Jeff Caplan (12:37 PM)
Angie, we'll find out. He doesn't have a tremendous amount of playoff experience because of his injury situation in past seasons. I doubt the Mavs can consistently hold him down. The Lakers will make adjustments, but as long as he's not allowed to have free reign and shoot 70 percent as he did against the Mavs in the regular season, it plays in the Mavs' favor.
Is Dallas going to live with Kobe putting up 29 shots and getting 0 assists? Make the rest of the Lakers Kobe watch, while the Mavs utilize Dirk and also spread the wealth? Or was last night a fluke?
Jeff Caplan (12:39 PM)
Well DC,I don't think fluke is the right word. Kobe came out firing from the start, that's the tone he set. He had nine shots up before the first quarter was half over. In game 2, he could go the entire first quarter without putting up a shot. It was obvious that the Mavs don't really have anyone to guard him full time, so they take the committee approach and then use Jason Kidd on him at the end.
The SHEEHAN (Mgr's Office)
What a big win, can we expect to see more corey brewer now? The kid brings a ton of energy that Mavs seem to feed off of when he is in the game. I know Kobe scored alot on him, but Kobe was in the zone and can't hold him down forever.
Jeff Caplan (12:41 PM)
That's a good question,Sheehan. Look, the only reason the kid got in the game last night was because the Mavs fell behind 60-44 and needed a quick energy boost. Brewer provided it. But, if they're not down 16 it's doubtful if Brewer plays. Thing is he's not going to move ahead of Peja, whose 3-ball is a constant threat. I will say this, Brewer is beloved by his teammates and they're all rooting for him to play.
mindset going into game two if we got one why not get two....
Jeff Caplan (12:41 PM)
John S (Addison)
Is it possible that Mark Cuban can remain quite threw this Mavs playoff run? I don't care if he speaks after the NBA season but lets hope he just lets the focus be on the court.
Jeff Caplan (12:42 PM)
That's a tall order for Mark Cuban, especially if the Mavs lose and he feels the refs had a hand in it. Look last night he needed a shower as badly as the players and was still letting off steam about calls not made on his guys. I told him, uh, there was also no call on Kidd holding Kobe on that inbounds play that resulted in a turnover.
Tom P (Plano)
Was this clutch Mavs play or LA just getting lazy being up by 16? Kind of reminded me of Mavs big blown lead against portland when they just relaxed thinking it was over?
Jeff Caplan (12:44 PM)
Tom, only explanation is that it must be both right? Surely the Lakers let down after going up 16. They were rolling, but rolling because of Mavs self-inflicted wounds --- the stupid Terry foul on Odom, Dirk's T after that, the three consecutive turnovers to start the third quarter. The Mavs stayed calm and realized that if they just play the way they had been, they can win the game.
Dave M (Flowermound)
J-E-T, jet jet jet. Seems like he has decided to show up in this years playoffs, does Dirk finally have a sidekick?
Jeff Caplan (12:45 PM)
Well Jet certainly has had a better playoff run than the past couple of years. Last night though he really disappeared after his bonehead foul.He had a great first half -- 13 points on 5 of 6 shooting. But,he was just 1 of 4 in the second half and missed a couple of shots that would have been big,including a 3 that would have given Dallas the lead.
Kevin B (Addison)
This series is every other night, how has J-kidd typically done in stretches like that this season with his knees. If he needs me to chip in on ice packs I'm more than happy to get him some.
Jeff Caplan (12:47 PM)
That's going to be a big test for him no doubt. After every game he immediately has both knees wrapped in ice while soaking both feet in a big bucket of ice water. Rick Carlisle has really done a masterful job though of supervising his minutes. Last night, Kidd played 33:35, which is really perfect,especially considering that this game went down to the wire and would figure to need Kidd's presence out there. Give J.J. Barea some credit for that too in the backup spot. In last year's series vs. S.A., Kidd played 40 minutes nearly every game, so he's in a good spot right now.
Jeff, I would have like to have asked this yesterday because it sounds silly now. Anyways, have the Mavs ever given any thought to playing Dirk, Haywood, and Chandler together to combat the Mavs size Advantage? I'm not talking long stretches either, just a few mins here and there. I think Dirk would hold his own against Artest on the perimeter. Thoughts? Thanks
Jeff Caplan (12:48 PM)
Ryan, I've answered this before and the answer is no. It's just too many non-scorers on the floor at once, in my opinion and puts players out of their normal or natural positions.
We stole one in LA, huge game. I like the Mavs shutting down the rest of the lakers and letting kobe feel he has to shoot all the time. Is this the game plan going forward?
Jeff Caplan (12:50 PM)
J.W., I think the Mavs would live with that to be sure, but I'm not so sure that was the Mavs' doing as much as Kobe taking it upon himself to shoot. Look, the guy was hot, especially in that third quarter. But,they've got to get Gasol and Odom involved. I thought Odom could have gone to the rack every time.I think the Lakers will look to diversify more in Game 2.
J. Ismail (Los Angels)
Yes I'm on your Dallas site as a Mavs fan in LA (just moved here recently from Dallas). I can tell you LA fans not concerned with the game 1 loss. Do you think Dallas takes game 2 to finally put a little worry in Lakers fans?
Jeff Caplan (12:51 PM)
Nor should they be overly concerned.They did have a 16 point lead and just didn't put the game away. Mavs fans know well that teams can blow big leads and recover.
kobe need's to change up his game plan and not let pau gasol lead our team in assist cause thats never good. also not take so many shots 15-20 can get it done and not being a ball hog!!
Jeff Caplan (12:52 PM)
Pretty crazy that Kobe finished with as many assists last night as you did Jeremy. Not sure when the last time he had zero assists, but it is surprising.Also, all of Kobe's points came on jumpers, no drives and finishes, which might tell us a little something about his sprained left ankle.
Kevin M (Jax, FL)
With the grit and determination the Mavs showed last night, are you changing your prediction of this series? I'm hoping you can be a bit more optimistic when it comes to our Mavs, although I understand your skepticism.
Jeff Caplan (12:54 PM)
Kevin, once I make a pick it's locked up. It is what it is. that was my feeling going in and so I'll stick with Lakers in 6 and we'll see. I don't mind being wrong. But, I didn't change my pick in the first round -- Mavs in 6 -- when it didn't look like that was going to happen. Many of mistake writers for being negative or whatever, but I report to you as an objective observer,not a pom-pom waver. You can find those folks, too, and that's great. Just keep that in mind.
ERIC (Kansas City)
Why on Earth would Phil Jackson sit a HOTT Kobe for so long and let the lead dwindle away as if he wanted to lose?
Jeff Caplan (12:55 PM)
It was his normal rest. Look, Phil can't burn out Kobe. Other guys have to step up. I'm going to let the guy with 11 rings handle his rotation.
Lance Gregory (fresno / riverside CA)
Kobe Bryant the best closer in the league, best player in the league, 5 time world champ, olympian and you mean to tell me he cant get a foul called when he gets grabbed by the waist and tripped up by Jason Kidd. the Lakers are still gonna win the series.
Jeff Caplan (12:57 PM)
Lance, I tell you what, I half couldn't believe it either. Kidd was practically groping him on the inbounds play. Better question is why in the world did Gasol push Dirk on the Mavs inbounds when Kidd just lobbed that pass up near halfcourt? It put Dirk on the line for the go-ahead free throws. That was incredible.
Allen (Kansas City)
Mavs clearly weren't rattled when down by 16 in 3rd quarter. Can they pull this win into a statement defining series win, or do the Lakers come back and win the series?
Jeff Caplan (12:59 PM)
That's the big question now...I think we know this is going to be a long series and won either team can pull out. The Lakers clearly aren't the team of old that wouldn't let an opponent off the mat. Should be fun finding out.
Nick (Los Angeles, AL)
What do you make of the critism of Kobe shooting too much particularly in the Game 1 loss?
Jeff Caplan (1:00 PM)
I didn't make that criticism at all. Had the Lakers not given up the lead, people would have looked at Kobe's 29 shots and said it was a night he felt he had to take over the game and who could argue. But,they lost so it comes into scrutiny.
Jeff Caplan (1:01 PM)
OK, folks, great having you with us and remember to get all your Mavs coverage at espndallas.com...Here he comes, the one and only Tim MacMahon (don't let him talk back to you)
How would you compare the crowd in LA to what they were dealing with in Portland?
Tim MacMahon (1:03 PM)
There is a heck of a lot more eye candy at Staples Center. It's a lot louder at the Rose Garden. No question that Portland is a tougher place to play, as far as the crowd is concerned. The buzz in LA is as much about which celebs are in the crowd as it is about basketball. The reason Staples is a tough place to play is because of the opponent, not the atmosphere.
You think there was any thought to bringing in Brewer for the last possession to guard Kobe last night?
Tim MacMahon (1:05 PM)
That's an interesting thought, but the answer is no. Rick Carlisle considered going to Shawn Marion, but Jason Kidd talked him into sticking with him. It worked. I wrote about Kidd's outstanding crunch-time Kobe-stopping on the ESPNDallas.com Mavs blog. You'll see a chart provided by ESPN Stats & Info in that post breaking down Kobe's FG percentage against Mavs defenders. He was 3-of-8 against Kidd, 0-of-4 against Marion and lit everyone else up. Brewer gave the Mavs a great spark, but Kobe was able to score on him.
Am I the only one that thinks Shawn Marion should close the game defending Kobe? Kobe chuckled when asked if Kidd had an effect of his faiure in the clutch
Tim MacMahon (1:06 PM)
Kobe did chuckle when I asked about Kidd's D. Not sure what's so funny about the Lakers going to Kobe five times in the final three minutes and getting two points and two turnovers out of the possessions.
Jeremy (Fort Worth)
Do you think Brewer will start game 2? I thought his energy was a big part of the 3rd quarter comeback.
Tim MacMahon (1:07 PM)
No. They'll stick with DeShawn Stevenson, although he didn't play well in Game 1. But Brewer's performance last night should at least eliminate any hesitancy Rick Carlisle has to bring him off the bench. This will be a topic of conversation when we talk to Carlisle at practice today.
Did you know that in the post season the only stats that Kobe beats Dirk in are steals by .2 and assists by 2? Dirk didnt have Shaq to help him out either.
Tim MacMahon (1:10 PM)
The only thing preventing Dirk from being considered one of the premier playoff performers in NBA history is a ring. He's one of four guys with 25/10 career playoff averages to ever play the game. No doubt that Kobe is one of the all-time greats, as evidenced by his fistful of rings. But Dirk would have a lot of jewelry, too, if he played with Shaq in his prime and had a supporting cast as strong as Kobe does now in LA.
Caleb W. (Dallas)
I'm a Lakers fan in Dallas. Coming into last night's game most of the local media saw this as a losing battle. Has the mood shifted? Are the Mavs considered favorites, now, or is it still an uphill battle?
Tim MacMahon (1:11 PM)
It's still an uphill battle. The two-time defending champs don't roll over after one loss. But there's certainly a feeling that the Mavs have a legit chance now. They needed to win one of these two out here for that to happen. This looks like it's going to be a long, fun series.
Shawn Jacob (Carrollton, TX)
Any chance that Carlisle pulls out the zone defense from his arsenal to force the Lakers to shoot more perimeter shots in Game 2 after having more points in the paint in Game 1?
Tim MacMahon (1:12 PM)
You probably won't see much zone in this series from the Mavs. "They shredded it," Carlisle said, referring to what the Lakers did against the Dallas zone in the regular season. You'll see it as a changeup from time to time, but the Lakers are too smart, skilled and versatile for the Mavs to zone on a regular basis.
Will Roddy play at all now that Brewer made his presence felt. who else would be a candidate for the inactive list?
Tim MacMahon (1:14 PM)
After Brewer's performance last night, I think we'll get a good look at Roddy B's suit collection this series. Remember that Roddy looked and played like a scared kid in his two games against the Lakers this season.
Dallas looked great last night, however, i think gasol and bynum are a load to keep shutting down night after night
Tim MacMahon (1:16 PM)
No doubt about that, although Gasol has to spend a lot of energy guarding Dirk on the other end. (Dirk was 5-of-5 when defended by Gasol last night.) Andrew Bynum ranks right behind Kobe as priorities for the Dallas D. Tyson Chandler set the tone right after tip-off last night, keeping Bynum from getting the low-block position he wanted. Bynum admitted that he let the Mavs' big men hit first in Game 1. He swears that will change. We'll see. The Mavs have to hope that the officials keeping letting the big guys bang on the block, too.
Should Dallas feel confident after this win or just relieved? For Dallas to win 3 more will that have to be all close ones or can they pull away from LA?
Tim MacMahon (1:18 PM)
The Mavs feel confident but far from satisfied. In their minds, they pulled out a win despite not playing close to their best basketball. They gifted the Lakers four points at the end of the half and committed turnovers on the first three possessions of the third quarter. That was part of a 21-2 run that felt like doom. The Mavs showed incredible mental toughness by recovering from that on the road. If they can do that, why wouldn't they be confident they can win this series?
If we have Caron Butler, dont you guys think it would have been easier than last night?
Tim MacMahon (1:19 PM)
If the Mavs have Caron Butler, we probably would have had to wait another round for this series. I firmly believe the Mavs would have been the top seed with Butler. Maybe, if the Mavs win this series, Butler can play in these playoffs.
I was so impressed by Dallas in the final minutes when they rotated the ball so well. Dirk, Kidd, and Terry all passed up on shots and found Marion. Meanwhile, Kobe is shooting every time The Lakers touch it. For me... THAT was the big difference. Mavs defense knows who's shooting. Lakers don't. Thoughts?
Tim MacMahon (1:21 PM)
The stats show that the Lakers are very beatable when Kobe ballhogs. That's what happened last night, when he had 29 shots and no assists. When the Mavs are playing well, they are the best ball-movement team in the league. That's also what happened last night, when they had 30 assists on 39 buckets.
How differently would your chat be right now if Kobe makes the 3?
Tim MacMahon (1:22 PM)
It'd be a ton different. There would be a lot more focus on the mental meltdown at the end of the first half. But the fact would remain that the Mavs recovered from a 21-2 run to make it a dogfight on the road. That in itself deserves a lot of respect.
Any chance Brendan Haywood and Tyson Chandler get on the court together if Odom, Gasol, and Bynum are on the court?
Tim MacMahon (1:23 PM)
Only if Rick Carlisle decides that the Mavs don't want to score many points. That pairing would be an offensive nightmare.
Darren (Washington, DC)
I really think Pau Gasol should share the blame for the game one lost. I saw a portion of the fourth quarter that he had three or four turnovers. Plus on the next play his shot was blocked. He is not playing up to his level. I hate to say this but I think the three peat is done.
Tim MacMahon (1:24 PM)
If you're looking to assign blame in LA, Gasol is behind Andrew Bynum and Ron Artest and arguably all-one-me Kobe.
Darren (Washington, DC)
I hate to question Phil's coaching tactics but why let teams go on long scoring runs before calling a time-out. I understand he's won eleven titles but I don't think this team is capable of recovering like his teams of past championship runs. Any thoughts?
Tim MacMahon (1:25 PM)
I agree that it's tough to be too critical of a man who has more rings than fingers, but his decision not to call timeout and rest his starters so long in the fourth backfired in Game 1.
When you were making your pick, did you consider that this, very talented Mavs team, was finally going to play basketball with nothing to lose and not a ton of pressure?
Tim MacMahon (1:27 PM)
I did. I still didn't think they could beat LA in a seven-game series. They might prove me wrong, but there's a long way to go. No matter what happens this series, the Mavs can't be considered underachievers, which they were the previous four seasons. Very few thought they could beat LA before the season started. They won 57 games and got here despite losing their second-best player to a knee injury. All they can do from this point on is prove people wrong.
Shot of the game was Dirk's game-tying free throw with 19 seconds left (the one that bounced back, bounced left, bounced right, bounced high, and 180-degrees-rooolllllled its way in). That voodoo shot broke the curse of the SameOldMavs. Agree? Or am I being superstitious?
Tim MacMahon (1:29 PM)
Well, Patrick, that's an interesting perspective. I think the same ol' Mavs stuff went out the window when the Mavs went on a 17-4 run after Corey Brewer came off the bench.
JC (Fort Worth TX)
Chandler had a minor confrontation early on and Bynum disappeared. He even was so lost that barea was able to drive with ease. Do you see him successfully being more agressive throught the rest of the series?
Tim MacMahon (1:30 PM)
Bynum basically admitted that he played soft last night. He gave the Mavs' big men credit for hitting first, but he said the rest of the series would be different. He will definitely be motivated after pretty much getting his butt kicked. If Tyson Chandler wins the big man matchup, the Mavs will win the series.
I know this is long down the road and we need to get past LA first which is going to be a hell of a ride itself. But what are your thoughts on a Mavericks and Heat finals rematch. Do mavs conquer revenge?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:31 PM)
Hey everyone. How's it going. It's about time for the L.A. guys to grab the steering wheel, though I certainly won't kick Jeff and Tim out of the room if they'd like to hang around.
Tim MacMahon (1:31 PM)
My thoughts are that would be an absolutely sweet storyline, but let's worry about the Mavs winning a second game this series before we skip ahead to the Finals.
Tim MacMahon (1:32 PM)
Folks, it's time to wrap it up and head to the Clippers facility for practice. Appreciate all the questions.
its tough talking mavs talk being from la..isnt it
Brian Kamenetzky (1:33 PM)
Technically, I'm from St. Louis.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:33 PM)
Hey all. How's it going?
Will (Stamford, CT)
It's not good loosing game 1 but I mean come on. It's going to be a good series but I still see LA coming out in 6. It'll be similar to the Hornets series. LA will win the next 2 drop game for and take 5 & 6.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:35 PM)
Will, that's basically the formula I figured on, too. Split in LA, split in Dallas, LA wins five and six. That's the one they've been working on for most of the last two postseasons. But Monday's result almost guarantees a longer series. Anyone who went with LA in five is likely to be disappointed.
Jack Nicholson (Staples Center)
Brian, We let one slip away last night. I'm confident we'll win atleast one in Dallas. What do we need to do different in game 2? Whats wrong with Gasol?
Do you guys see the Lakers taking game 2 and splitting on the road or do you think that the slow start is going to catch up now? I'm confident of the game 2 win and a split at the very least. If we held onto that win which should have been the case, nobody would be praising the Mavs like they are today. The Lakers really really created this illusion that the Mavs are tough by taking random jumpers with that lead instead of pounding it inside.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:39 PM)
Randy: No, I actually see the Lakers going to Dallas split. While I certainly wasn't happy with how the Lakers played in the second half, at the end of the day, I was expecting a split after two games. So in that respect, not much has happened unexpectedly. It's just a shame to see the Lakers use up their allotted "L" so quickly.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:39 PM)
Jack-Agreed about letting it slip away. As well as the Mavericks played down the stretch, anytime the Lakers hold a 16 point lead in the third quarter of a playoff game, they should win. As for Gasol, he had a poor final 30 seconds with the foul on Dirk, but overall played a strong game. He was easily LA's best player in the first half. In Game 2, the Lakers need more balance in their offense (inside/out, not just a matter of Kobe's shot total-- if Bryant wants to get into the post, go for it) and have to show more attention to detail. Can't relax.
K Bros, i know its phil's m.o. to leave the starters on the bench as long as possible in the 4th? but do you think he shouldve pulled the trigger a little sooner? was he saving them in part cuz of the every other day schedule?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:42 PM)
Joe: Actually, I do think Phil should have pulled the starters a little earlier in the fourth quarter. I know it's often PJ's M.O. to let guys play through issues, and generally speaking, I'm a big fan of that empowering style. But the reserves (save Lamar Odom) didn't play well in the first half, either. Thus, I think Phil should have recognized/assumed last night just wasn't theirs and reacted accordingly. Considering the lack of leash he gave them in Game 6 with 5:22 remaining and a 19 point lead, the decision raised my eyebrows.
What do you think causes Pau to be so lethargic when it comes to playoffs games. He looks scared. Also, do you think FISH should get the ball more in fourth quarter rather than Kobe because he can make more shots in crunch time.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:43 PM)
Again, not sure why all the vitriol for Gasol. Bad play at the end sending Dirk to the line, but overall he played a good game. In the second half, he didn't touch the ball, because, quite frankly, nobody else on the Lakers played a strong role offensively. Bryant took 17 shots, the next closest player took 5. While Kobe was on the floor, he outshot his teammates 17-11 (12, if you count a putback attempt from Artest on a Bryant miss).The offense went away from the post completely. As for Fisher, I certainly don't mind him shooting late, but what i'd really like to see is the Lakers do more with Kobe away from the ball and force defenses to account for him while other players have it.
Why aren't more people talking about the fact that Dallas had to come back from a 16 point lead in the second half. Sure LA blew the lead, but if you are Dallas, don't you have to be a bit worried that you were down that big to begin with? Won't always be able to count on a comeback like that.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:43 PM)
No, I think you give yourself credit for making the good comeback. Accentuate the positive.
Kobe doesn't get half of the respect that MJ got when it comes to calls. They called palming on him on top of it. Unreal. These teams get away with so much on him.
Brian Kamenetzky (1:45 PM)
Kobe gets plenty of calls.
Why has Pau been so unclutch in close games lately?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:45 PM)
Clint: I'll do you one better. Why haven't the Lakers been very clutch lately? Throughout April and heading into May, the Lakers have often been terrible as a unit, from Kobe to the reserves, during crunch time in tight games. It's very surprising, considering their credentials and pedigree. And with the stakes currently at hand, it's also a little unsettling.
Kobe shouldn't be taking 29 shots a night should he?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:47 PM)
Hey Chris-Generally, no. It's not really a question purely of shot totals, but balance. It's not healthy for Kobe to take nearly three times as many shots as the guys around him, particularly when he's so heavy on jumpers. No FT's in the second half. It puts an enormous amount of pressure on him and his jump shot to operate the way they did last night. In Game 1, the percentage was good enough to keep the Lakers on the board, but the Lakers can't expect him to thrive like that every night. The Lakers need to get him, and teammates, more easy baskets, and that happens with more balance and inside-out play.
If lakers don't 3 peat can you attribute it to this bench at all?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:50 PM)
Hi Sam.Well, if it makes you feel better, the bench last year was pretty inconsistent and unproductive beyond Odom, as well. But your larger point is true. The Lakers, particularly at home, need more from the more supporting bench players like Blake, Barnes, and Brown. They weren't horrible last night- Artest, for example, was a much bigger problem- but the Lakers rarely "outbench" the opposition.
Todd Bates (CA)
How vital is Ron's offensive production to the sucess of the lakers? Only 2 points in 30+ minutes? Cmon Ron!! Lakers will be fine in 6.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:51 PM)
Todd: I actually do think Artest's offensive production is fairly vital. Not in a literal sense (i.e., how many points he scores), but what the points represent: Matchups being exploited, a balanced attack and Ron in rhythm. We saw in the Hornets series, and over the last few months in general, how much better the Lakers are with Ron in a comfort zone and involved offensively.
Why r there no one talking about how Phil lost the game by letting a 16 point lead dwindle down to 3 before talking a timeout?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:55 PM)
4Life- I agree he could have brought the starters in a minute or two earlier. The timeout thing, though, is something I always feel is totally overrated. People want to see the TO because it looks like the coach is "doing something," but as far as I know there isn't necessarily an actual cause/effect relationship between timeouts and stopping runs. You get a finite amount of TOs in a game, and PJ likes to make sure they have them for end-game situations to advance the ball, make adjustments, etc. They did need them last night. So fault PJ for his substitution patters, it's totally fair. And I don't think he should have had Gasol on Dirk at the end of the game, but Odom. Given the play was going to be in the perimeter, LO covers Nowitzki better in space. That was a mistake as well.
So you guys aren't even going to address the Pau ticky tack foul on Dirk and Jason Kidd dismantling of Kobe and Pau on the ensuing possession?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:56 PM)
Darius: My biggest beef with those two sequences and the ensuing foul/no call isn't whether Pau actually fouled Dirk or Kidd actually fouled Kobe, but the lack of consistency. I felt the contact in both cases was comparable, so if you're gonna blow the whistle once, you have to blow it twice. I absolutely could have lived with a no-call in either case. Not even because it was "the end of the game," but I just generally prefer when guys are allowed to play unless it's really, truly a FOUL. But either way, I didn't like the lack of consistency.
Hey Brian do you think Corey Brewer will start getting more of the playing time at starting SG since he provided a spark last night
Brian Kamenetzky (1:57 PM)
Hey Coby-I'm sure that's something Tim and Jeff will ask Rick Carlisle at practice today, but it's certainly possible. Brewer did some nice things, for sure, but he's not going to shut down Kobe defensively (Bryant got some good looks against him last night) and I'll live with him taking threes if I'm the Lakers. Overall, I'm not sure how much you change the rotation based on one game.
Michael (Santa Monica)
Odom should be going to the rack to finish or dish every chance he gets, right? Who on the Dallas 2nd unit can guard him? All of the championship runs have had big contributions from Odom - when is going to step up and assert himself?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:59 PM)
Hey Michael-Generally speaking, I agree the Lakers should be attacking the rim more, particularly attacking Dirk and making him work defensively. Early on, Gasol was very aggressive going at him, and over the course of the series that'll make a difference. But you're right, when Odom went to the basket and put the ball on the floor, he was very successful.
Odaye A. (Los Angeles)
Where was Bynum ? For the 3 days leading up to Game 1 , all i heard was how Bynum was gonna be the second coming of Shaq. It got outplayed and outhustled by Tyson . What do you see happening?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:00 PM)
Odaye-don't forget Haywood. He did good work against Bynum. After the game, drew said he was very disappointed in his effort (literally) and performance defensively, vowing to be far more aggressive, "hitting" the other guys first before they can hit him. He wasn't very good, nor was Artest. I'm pretty sure Bynum will bounce back Wednesday night, and suspect at the very least, Artest's shot selection will improve.
What's your guys take on the non-chalent play even in the second round? I really thought Hornets giving them problems might have woken them up?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:01 PM)
Matt (LA): Personally, I don't think the Lakers' second half issues, at least in the third quarter, had as much to do with nonchalance as impatience. Specifically, I think they tried putting Dallas away for good in the third quarter, as opposed to just methodically building a lead out of reach. This instinct took them out of their offense, created empty possessions and allowed Dallas to get back in the game. Yes, there were also bad rotations defensively, which could certainly be written off as complacency. But I think the Lakers, as is often the case, tried to finish off the game far too early.
I've said it before, the LAKERS win in SPITE of kobe, not BECAUSE of him
Phillip (FB (Bakersfield, CA)
Any thoughts on LO's lack of aggression for most of the game? When he attacked Dirk, he had success, but he didn't do it nearly as often as we would have liked.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:02 PM)
Yep. It's a popular sentiment this morning.
When will you people accept KOBE isn't and NEVER has been a great closer? Final 3 possessions he turns it over, falls on his face, then misses an open 3. NBA.COM tracked the shooting percentages of all players a couple of years ago..Carmello was at 65%, Kobe a mere 25%. Hard for you all to accept, but just like in "A FEW GOOD MEN", these are the FACTS and they are NOT in dispute!!!
Gilbert C Derriso jr (Cincinnati, OH)
I dont put a lot in this first game the lakers are by far the better team but did not play like it all game I am confident that the lakers will reach four before Mavs
Andy Kamenetzky (2:02 PM)
SheppardJim neither wants Kobe on that wall, nor needs Kobe on that wall.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:03 PM)
Hey Gilbert-I agree the Lakers are the better team, and think over a seven game series that will bear out. But they're not "by far" better than Dallas. The margin for error, as we saw last night, isn't all that big. If the Lakers don't play well, they won't win. This isn't a series through which they can cruise. Dallas is far too good for that.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:05 PM)
That's a little strong. But in the sense they have to have more offensive balance than they did last night, you're correct. 29 shots vs. 10 for the next two leading FGA'ers won't work. Makes the lakers FAR too one dimensional. Quite often he Lakers win because of, or in large part thanks to large contributions from, Kobe.
I thought the mavs really controlled the whole game. Besides the slow start and the meltdown before half that rolled into the beggining of the third. Mavs played their game and continued to ease back into things. I feel if we play that way without a meltdown going into half time. Lakers are going to have a very tough time defending nearly perfect basketball. On top of things mavs dont have a big head and stated after game that they were far from playing their "game". If thats far from their game i dont know if there is even a point to watching the second game.
do you think the lakers are underesimating these mavs on past playoff failures
Andy Kamenetzky (2:06 PM)
Rey: The Lakers will inexplicably relax or get away from what's working against any team, much less one with Dallas' specific back story ("chokers"). I'm guessing one has nothing to do with the other, in terms of the Mavs getting back into the game.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:06 PM)
Again, a little hyperbolic, this time from the Dallas side.
Michael (Plano, Texas)
Why is it professional sportswriters tend to publish apologetic analysis whenever the Lakers lose. It's as though no one can beat them, they can only beat themselves. How about giving some credit to the Mavs?
Just wanted to say thanks to you 4 guys (2 LA, 2 Dal) for the 2 hour Q&A session. You know us fans love this stuff, are you 4 planning on doing this the whole series for us fans?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:08 PM)
Thanks for stopping in, Curt. I do think this'll happen again as the series goes on.
Darius (Oakland, Ca)
After reviewing the tape last night (couldn't sleep) one thing that stood out was how comfortable the Mavs were. The Lakers rarely battled them for position and mostly let guys get to the their spots on the floor too easily. I've long thought that good or bad rhythms can be established early in a game that leads to better shot making due to overall comfort level. I'm hoping the Lakers review how to better fight around screens and be a physical presence against a team that mostly shoots jumpers. The work must be done before the catch, not after.
Caleb W. (Behind Enemy Lines (i.e., Dallas TX))
I love Ron Artest. I have an Artest #15 jersey, and wore it all night, out and about in downtown Dallas. Got a lot of flack for that, let me tell you, as well as 3 separate people who asked for a bicep kiss. Good times.All of that to say, I was really impressed by Artest's underrated offensive game in Round 1, and dismayed by his performance last night. Should we hope that he'll find the efficiency he displayed against the Hornets, or just stop shooting the ball? Maybe pray that Mark Cuban makes fun of his momma?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:10 PM)
Hey Caleb-Good to hear you survived while wearing the "enemy" gear. :) As for Artest's game, you're right- he was more "train wreck" Ron offensively than productive, efficient Ron. There was much more thinking, contemplating, and directionless play than we've seen. To some degree, we saw it coming at the end of the NOH series, but I do think he'll be able to turn it back around, at least from a decision making standpoint.
Chip (Big D)
Do you think that Jackson will play Odom more in the series to get more production against Dirk?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:12 PM)
Hey Chip-I think both Odom and Gasol are very well equipped to produce vs. Dirk, but the one advantage Odom has is he doesn't need someone to feed him the ball because of his ability to handle and penetrate. I suspect, though, PJ will stick with his rotation and distribution of PT.
Haven't seen anything written about Bynum's two-step screen prior to Kobe's last shot. I understand refs letting stuff go at the end of games, but two steps while setting a screen? Really?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:14 PM)
You'd be reading a lot more of it if the ball went in, right? I think what you're getting at is something frustrating fans, and why the Gasol call on Dirk is surprising Lakers fans, when put in context of the non call on Kobe at the other end. Looked like Kidd may have put a hand into him, helping Kobe find the ground. I'm not complaining about the officiating, just saying that the foul you saw on Gasol tends to be the exception proving the rule. Guys just don't like to blow the whistle late unless it's really, really clear.
there doesn't seem to be much communication between the Lakers' 2nd unit. It rarely feels like 5 players operating as a group! Why haven't they worked on this?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:14 PM)
Justin: The reserves certainly do work on playing in unison, but you're right, they often do appear discombobulated, which is certainly disappointing. At times, I think issues are created by Shannon Brown breaking the offense to work off the dribble for shots beyond his skill set. At times, I think Steve Blake needs to concentrate a little less on running the offense and actually take open shots. And it doesn't help that Matt Barnes, while playing with his usual energy, isn't hitting a lot of shots at the moment. Thus, they remain inconsistent as last season's younger version.
Was it Kobe's fault for taking so many shots and having the rest of the team not feel involved? Or was it the fact that the rest of the team wasn't fully invested on offense, so Kobe took over? That usually determines whether the Lakers win a game.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:17 PM)
Travis-I feel like Monday in the second half, it was a question of Kobe finding shots he liked at a time when Dallas was gaining momentum of their own, so he took them. Then he got hot, and kept taking them. Watching the replay this morning, the rhythm of many of his shots was good. But in the end, the balance got away. Kobe was aggressive shooting in the first, but had a 2-1 ratio of FGA's with his next closest teammate. In the second half, it was more than 3-1. That's too much.
ryan (huntington beach)
Do you think Phil will finally give up on ending games with odom out there and keep bynum on the floor. Byum's a monster out there. What's Phil thinking!?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:18 PM)
He didn't want Drew on the floor, but was put in a situation thanks to substitution rules where he had to. Not good management of the game, but having Bynum on the floor wasn't the goal.
Kobe shoots 29 shots because Pau has not been aggressive in getting post position, plus he hold the ball too long......
Pretty funny, ANDY, unfortunately like every other media person, you've managed to avoid the elephant in the room...LESS kobe is a GOOD thing! enjoy
Brian Kamenetzky (2:20 PM)
Bcc-It's not simply a question of shots, but touches. The Lakers are extremely effective when they run the offense, at least in part, through Pau. He sets up teammates very well, including Bryant when the Mavs are forced to double. The post position thing is a valid point and sometimes he'll hesitate a little too long, but at the same time his patience with the ball often pays huge dividends for the offense.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:20 PM)
Sheppard: No, I haven't avoided anything. Brian and I have written on many occasions (including last night), too much Kobe can be a bad thing. Great a player as he is, imbalance like we saw last night does the Lakers no favors, and it's been demonstrated often throughout the years. I don't agree the Lakers win "in spite of Kobe," because I think that's a far too generalized and, frankly, inaccurate statement. Kobe definitely does way more good than bad for the Lakers. But there are undoubtedly times when he makes winning and the game itself harder than need be.
Brewer was +11 while Stevenson was -11. Though that has a lot to do with time spent guarding Kobe, does brewer have a chance at the starting SG spot?
Ron artest on DIRK!!
Andy Kamenetzky (2:21 PM)
2323: I agree, and hope to see that matchup in Game 2. Phil acknowledged before Game 1 that Ron was an option against Dirk, and I'd like to see him take on that assignment. Artest's physicality could be helpful towards taking Dirk out of a comfort zone.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:22 PM)
Hey Jarad-I think you're overselling Brewer's influence defensively. Kobe hit a couple shots over him, and didn't struggle all that much against him. The +/- figures are more reflective of what the Mavs did around brewer than just his play on Kobe. Not to take anything away from him, just saying. But you're right, Stevenson was a total non factor.
Shawn Jacob (Carrollton, TX)
Is Dirk going to have to get 30+ points and 11 rebounds throughout the series to give the Lakers real trouble and force Phil Jackson to double on Dirk?
Shaq (Boston Medical Table)
Hey, just checking in on little kobe. Does his ankle seem fine or is that why he is taking so many jump shots?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:27 PM)
Shaq: First and foremost, nice of you to put aside the past grievances and think about a fellow player's health. Kobe was asked about his ankle after the game specifically within that context of the outside shots. He said one had nothing to do with the other, his ankle is fine, and just liked the looks he was getting. Of course, Kobe would never be honest if the ankle was bothering him to begin with, so take that answer as you will. My guess is that it's both achy and he liked the looks, for what it's worth.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:28 PM)
Hey Shawn- Before the game, Phil said Dirk is very difficult to double, and as a team they're reluctant to do it. So I wouldn't expect much of that, whether Dirk goes off or not. But I think the larger point, about how good Nowitzki has to be for the Mavs to win, is absolutely true. He was great last night, and needs to stay that way if Dallas is going to pull the upset. The Lakers can get by with lesser performances from Kobe, but the Mavs can't from Dirk.
No Brian I think YOUR underselling Brewer's impact on the game. He's a solid baseline 3 point shooter, and the Maverick best equipped to stop Kobe. Just the fact of him going in to guard Kobe is enough to get Kobe all riled up and get in the ball-hog mode that we've all become accustomed to. Brewer should play 25 minutes per game in this series
Man, funny how LA complains of its all Kobe's fault when you lose. Same thing here when Dallas loses its cause Dirk is soft. Both these teams should understand how lucky they are to have the superstars, won't understand that till they are gone I guess.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:32 PM)
Hey Nick-It's a fair argument. And I'm no huge believer in the difference making abilities of Stevenson. My point is, having watched that third quarter again, Brewer played well, but it's a mistake to say "Corey Brewer is the reason Dallas went on a run." When Dallas signed him, I thought he'd be an effective weapon- as effective as anyone, at least- for the Mavs in guarding Kobe. Still true, but I don't think he shut Bryant down by any stretch. The plus/minus was a little misleading. That's what I'm getting at.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:32 PM)
Deaderick: With the glory of being a franchise face comes the burden of finger pointing when things go sour. That's just the nature of the beast. I think the truth typically lies somewhere in the middle, at least in regards to Kobe (who I see considerably more often than Dirk). There are definitely times when Kobe is over-analyzed/blamed after a loss as a kneejerk reaction. And there are times like last night where I do think he bears fault in the offense falling out of balance. Mind you, that's not the same thing as it being "Kobe's fault" the Lakers lost, because it's not. However, I do think it's a legitimate conversation specifically regarding Game 1. Either way, you can still have that opinion about Kobe's performance while still appreciating what he means to the franchise.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:32 PM)
Agreed, but as Spiderman's uncle once said, With great power comes great responsibility. That was him, right?
Sergio (New York)
Why do Lakers complain so much about Kobe shooting to much? This is a guy that would start on any team he played for, and any other team would LOVE to have the problem of complaining after every lakers loss that kobe shot to much. LA quit whining.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:34 PM)
Hey Sergio-I just don't agree. The goal is to win the game, and there are ways the Lakers can do it that are far more likely to bring it about than having such an unequal shot distribution. The numbers and results bear this out. It's not a question of Kobe being selfish or a ballhog, or whatever. That sort of black or white reduction of him is far too simplistic. But bottom line, the Lakers won't win if they keep the ratio of shots they had last night. They just won't.
Shannon Brown (El Segundo)
Why am I getting so many shots/minute?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:35 PM)
Because you're shooting too much :)Seriously, though, I think it's because Shannon a) is considered the "offensive" player among the non-LO bench players, and B) when he gets stuck, he tends to respond by putting the ball on the floor and/or shooting. Needs to stop.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:36 PM)
Hey guys. Time for one or two more.
Are the Lakers practicing today?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:36 PM)
Yep. Andy will be there. Look for his report later this afternoon.
Gilbert C Derriso jr (Cincinnati, OH)
I agree with you that the Mavericks are a good team and deserve a lot of credit for what they have accomplished so far but I keep telling people dont bury lakers Okc Bulls or Celtics after one game regardless of statistics
Brian Kamenetzky (2:38 PM)
Hey Gilbert-Agreed. Dallas is dangerous, and very capable of winning the series if the Lakers don't play to their capabilities. And you're right, there's still a lot of ball to be played.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:38 PM)
Hey everyone, thanks for sticking through two hours of chat-a-thon. I think the plan is to do this again, but either way Andy and I will be back for our regular Wednesday chat, 10:30 am PT. Hope to see you there.Great questions today on what should be a great series.