Chat with the Kamenetzky Brothers
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, we'll have ESPNLosAngeles.com Los Angeles Lakers bloggers Andy and Brian Kamenetzky stopping by for their weekly chat.
Before joining ESPNLosAngeles.com, Brian and Andy hosted Lakers Blog for the Los Angeles Times from 2005-09. They host the ESPN Kamenetzky Brothers Lakers PodKast and frequently appear on ESPN Radio 710. As contributors for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com, they have written about virtually every sport known to mankind.
Send your questions now and join the Brothers Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. PT/1:30 p.m. ET!
Andy Kamenetzky (1:31 PM)
Hey everyone! Let's get 'er rollin'!
Love Pau's game, but he was brutal offensively last night. Harrington owned him on the block. Why are the Lakers moving the ball so slowly out of the post? They're getting double-teamed and not making Denver pay for it with quick ball movement.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:34 PM)
Heath: The Lakers aren't doing a good enough job moving off ball to draw defenders and create passing opportunities for the big man with the ball, and also need to, as you said, be decisive with the ball. Pau is better at this than Bynum, as he's just a smarter player with more overall awareness. But both can always improve.
Might be the minority here, but I'm glad last night happened exactly as it did -- Lakers playing poorly, Kobe going nuts and almost bringing them back, but ultimately losing. A good lesson for a lot of these players on what it REALLY takes to close-out a series (yes, Bynum too). Hopefully we'll see that urgency on Thursday and in the future.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:37 PM)
Nate: I understand what you're saying in theory, but in reality, "lessons" at this level is a dangerous game to play. These guys are pros, and with the exception of Sessions, Ebanks and Hill, the other five regulars in the rotation have been around the game long enough to understand what's at stake and the importance of not screwing around. And unlike the Lakers, Denver has gotten better as the series has gone on. You don't wanna give a team like that extended life.
CoolCos (Encino, CA)
Lakers are being exposed as a poor outside shooting team with sporadic episodes of greatness. Do you expect OKC to be addressing these faults if the Lakers make it to the next round? Also, when will the series start if it ends by game 6 or game 7?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:40 PM)
CoolCos: Lakers haven't been "exposed" at all. We've known this about them for a few years. This was an issue even while they were winning titles. Outside shooting has been a consistent problem, which is why most teams tend to either pack the paint or play zone in an effort to induce jumpers. Assuming the Lakers make the second round, OKC will likely follow a similar game plan until the Lakers burn them.
How much of a difference do you think Metta World Peace would have made had he not been suspended? With little production coming from the SF spot (especially Barnes missing all those 3s), and Andre Miller being guarded by a smaller Blake instead of Kobe who has to guard Afflalo, I think this series would have been over yesterday had MWP played.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:43 PM)
Never: Metta's absence is a big deal for the reasons you mentioned, plus his defensive versatility in general and overall energy. The ability to guard players ranging from Miller to Harrington to Gallinari is a big asset for the Lakers, and MWP has sometimes galvanized games through his intensity. Metta doesn't always play well, but he rarely doesn't play hard. I don't know if the series would necessarily be done if MWP was around, he'd absolutely make a difference.
Mike (Ladera Ranch)
Do you think that Bynum's continued entitled and immature attitude will make Lakers management look at moving him this summer? I know he's only 24 but he will be looking for a max extension and I would be a little leery.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:49 PM)
Mike: The decision to extend Bynum isn't as easy as it should be. He's extremely talented, and capable of being an impact player like few others in the league. But as you said, his attitude and engagement can be problematic at times. Plus, there's the injury risk, although Drew's been fairly durable this season. He's gonna cost a lot of money and years to lock up, and while the Lakers probably can't do any better through free agency, it's still a dicey proposition. Age might give him a pass to a certain degree, but at the same time, he's been in the league 7 years. He's been in a professional environment long enough to know what being professional means. It's up to him to decide how important that is.
how long til Kobe grows tired of Bynum's "edge" he claimed to like. It was cute in the regular season but he's gotta realize now that Drew is the key to another ring and he is seemingly throwing it away.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:50 PM)
Andrea: I'd like to think Kobe's tired of it already. Tim Duncan has never been "edgy," but he's reliable like a Swiss watch. I'll take option B.
Bob (Irvine, CA)
Why didn't Brown upgrade to a larger player when Miller was torching Blake?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:56 PM)
Bob: I'm guessing Brown wasn't comfortable with either Barnes or Ebanks down the stretch, which means he's pretty much left with the small lineup. I wrote yesterday about the problematic nature of the Sessions-Blake backcourt and why I'd prefer Ebanks get employed at times in these situations, but clearly Brown doesn't agree. (To be fair, Ebanks didn't play well, anyway.) This, by the way, is a predicament where Metta's absence is really felt. He'd be the obvious solution in these situations.
If the lakers cant handle the nuggets, what chance do they have against okc?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:58 PM)
Landon: Very little. But I thought that even before this series, which I predicted from the outset would be difficult.
What up K-Bros, I realize Gasol does a lot for this team with his passing and basketball intellegence but his offensive game has really dimished this year and his aggresiveness is at an all time low. Is there anything Coach Brown can do to motivate him, or is this the Gasol we are going to see from now on?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:06 PM)
Lex: I don't think the issue is a lack of aggressiveness or motivation on Pau's part. He's playing the role that's being asked of him, which is often to run the offense from the high post. He'd rather be stationed in a wider variety of spots, and bee more of a featured scoring component. But for the time being, it is what it is. Brown could perhaps employ him more in the low post and specifically run plays specifically for Pau every now and then. But also, Pau can just call his own number at times, regardless of the set.
Ben Pomona [via mobile]
Hey guys! I noticed Andrew becomes easily frustrated or completely disinterested when the lakers (Kobe) start going away from the game plan of throwing it inside working the paint with patience instead of racking up jump shots. Don't know exactly how many touches or shots Bynum got, but it should be a lot more than he did last night. Just wondering if this is a real problem and is it a big issue going forward?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:11 PM)
Ben: Bynum's defensive engagement is definitely dictated by his offensive involvement, and that can become problematic in games where Kobe shoots a lot. But the Lakers were having legitimate difficulties getting the ball inside, particularly to Drew. He was being doubled throughout the game, sometimes before the catch, and Drew wasn't able to create better angles through his positioning, and his teammates didn't adjust well enough, whether by reversing the ball or hitting outside shots to force defenders to come out on them. Plus, bottom line, there's an onus on Bynum to stay focused whether he sees the ball or not. It's part of being a professional.
Moses [via mobile]
I think you guys are forgetting MWP is a big part of our team so losing a defender like that (especially the way he played in April) would make it difficult to brush pass the superstar-less nuggets! I think you guys are just overrating the thunder a tad bit, especially not knowing how healthy Perkins is!
Andy Kamenetzky (2:15 PM)
Moses: I haven't underrated MWP's presence at all. When I wrote about his suspension, I specifically said his absence would cause real problems on both sides of the ball. He's an important part of what the Lakers do. But having acknowledged this, I just think the Thunder are a better team even with Metta out there, in large part because of how they completely outplayed the Lakers in two wins this season. And as thrilling and gutsy as the double OT win was, I don't consider it much of an outlier, because OKC didn't have Harden for the second half, and he's exceptionally important to their success.
I did not watch post game comments from Brown but did anyone ask why he plays Sessions and Blake in crunch time and why Ebanks does play in the 4th quarter? They are exposed defensively with lack of size and are constantly getting torched by the 1 and 2's. Like to see Ebanks...
Andy Kamenetzky (2:16 PM)
Fernando: I wrote about this very subject ahead of yesterday's game. Check out this piece, which includes a lengthy explanation from Mike Brown. http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/lakers/post/_/id/30263/mike-brown-discusses-the-sessions-blake-backcourt-ebanks-and-choices
What the heck is up with Matt Barnes and his 3 point shooting? This reminds me of when Robert Horry shot some insanely low 3 for 24 against the Spurs back in 03'
Andy Kamenetzky (2:20 PM)
Mappy: I suspect Barnes' ankle is really causing problems. He's never been a dead-eye 3-point shooter, but this series has been brutal. He's working hard, but it's tough to play through this.
Ali (Harrisonburg Va)
With all the struggles of late I can see Kobe Exploding now in the playoffs and helping the Lakers win their 17 championship agree or disagree?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:24 PM)
Ali: I don't think the Lakers are good enough to reach the Finals, much less win the whole thing, under the most ideal circumstances. But it ABSOLUTELY won't happen with Kobe as a one-man wrecking crew. He's not capable of carrying a team three rounds by himself, and said as much after the Game 5 loss. If the other guys don't carry their weight, there's no way the Lakers beat the Thunder, much less win a title. Frankly, there's no guarantee they survive this series in that scenario.
Expectations and hope seem to differ from game to game. Can't remember a Laker team this unstable in a long time. I honestly can't predict anything other than anything can happen. Why is this so?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:27 PM)
jq: The Lakers have been an inconsistent team all season. All pie-in-the-sky optimism aside, should anything else be reasonably expected?
Andy, why in the world is Steve Blake guarding Andre Miller, when it's clearly a mismatch? Doesn't Mike Brown know this? What's your take on that Sessions-Blake backcourt especially in poor mismatch situations like that?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:28 PM)
Eugene: Scroll down a bit and click on the link I provided Fernando. All of my thoughts are contained within. #SelfPromotionAlert
Hey at least that was just a Meaningless regular season game last night...... Wait what, that was a playoff game where a win would get us to the next round, I couldn't tell by the Lakers attitude and effort!
Does anyone have Bynum's ear? Who can tell him to knock it off and play ball?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:33 PM)
Greg: That's a really good question, and to be totally honest, I don't really know the answer. At times, Kobe seems to get through to Drew, and he's always respected Pau a lot. And Fisher definitely was an influence, although that's no longer a source of help. But at the same time, you can listen and even value good advice or mentoring, but still fall back into bad habits. At the end of day, Drew is the one who controls his own professionalism and engagement.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:34 PM)
And that's all the time we have for today. Be sure to drop by the blog for all the playoff coverage leading up to and after Game 6. Plus, we'll be filling in for John Ireland on Mason and Ireland between 2-6 pm PT from 710 ESPN.