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March 30, 1:30 PM ET
Chat with the Kamenetzky Brothers

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:32 PM)

Hey everyone. Thanks for coming by. Andy's taking the day off, but I'll be here for a while to answer all of your Lakers questions. Or at least as many as I can. Thanks.

natalie (lexington, Kentucky)

Is it right to feel very confident in the three-peat? Are the Heat the only one that should scare me right now?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:35 PM)

Hey Natalie-I think confidence is absolutely warranted. They've won 15 of 16, seem to be rounding into form at the right time, and have erased a lot of the problems associated with playing too many road games in the playoffs. No guarantees, but where before it looked almost certain they'd play three road series, now they're only likely to have to play one. Maybe two, but there's a chance if they can keep it up, they'll host the Finals (should they get that far).As for opponents, I think both Chicago and Miami should scare you.

Sam (Torrance)

Do you think we can get No # 1 spot? Any update on Theo?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:37 PM)

Hi Sam.Phil Jackson said Tuesday at practice it's a long shot, and I agree. They still have a game remaining against the Spurs, but with three games to make up in the loss column and only nine to play, the math favors San Antonio. The Lakers would still have to be near perfect to catch them, unless San Antonio has just the mother of all collapses. As for Ratliff, there's no reason to expect he'll play again this year. Maybe it's possible, and he's still working towards coming back, but don't expect anything.

Chris (NB)

Just curious about the the J. Rose story of him getting a DUI. How come ESPN isnt covering this? If it was any other athlete/ex-athlete who had trouble with the law this would be front page news. He is an employee.... Why the double standard? Thanks guys

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:38 PM)

Chris-It's on the front page of ESPN.com in the headline stack, and I've seen it on SportsCenter. How much more coverage are you looking for?

Surya (Brooklyn, NY (from Agoura though))

Would u say a large factor in the bench's struggles are because of shot selection, and not playing the game inside/out when either Pau or Bynum are on the floor with them?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:40 PM)

Hey Surya, thanks for the question. It depends on which member of the bench you're asking about. With Shannon Brown, he has shot selection issues at times. When he gets a little stuck, he tends to try and create off the dribble, which isn't really his strength, instead of continuing to move the ball. He's best when he can be a catch and shoot guy, or work perhaps off one dribble to rise up. Barnes generally takes good shots, but while he's a good shooter, has never been a great one. Blake can knock them down, but doesn't shoot enough. So it's a bit of a mixed bag.

Ray (San Jose, CA)

Who's older? I'm going to go with Brian. Haha just kidding BK

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:40 PM)

Andy. Ouch, Ray.

Anie (LA)

Thursday's contest v. Dallas is clearly a critical game in terms of keeping the#2 seed in the west... If you could pick one other important opponent that the lakers face down the stretch- who would it be?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:44 PM)

Hi Anie-Fortunately for the Lakers, they have what amounts to a two game lead on the Mavs right now, since they hold the tiebreaker on them. Dallas would have to finish ahead of the Lakers in the standings to hold that two seed in the postseason. So even a loss leaves the Lakers with at least a tiny bit of wiggle room. A win basically sews up the spot. As for the other critical game, I'll go ahead and point to the San Antonio game to cap the season (home portion, at least). At this point, it still seems like a long shot, but certainly there's a chance it could have serious meaning determining the top seed in the West. LA needs some help, but right now the Spurs are obliging.

Matt (Salem, OR)

I have a question about tiebreakers. If the Lakers beat the Spurs in their final game to even the season series at 2-2, and the two teams finish tied, who owns the tiebreaker for the top seed in the West? And if they finish tied with the Bulls (with whom they split the season series) and then meet in the Finals, who wins the tiebreaker for home court? Thanks, love your blog & podcast, keep it up!

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:45 PM)

Matt-I believe the next tiebreaker with SAS would be conference record. If they finish tied with Chicago, the tiebreaker is record against the opposing conference, so LA's record vs. the East vs. Chicago's against the West. Short of a couple shocking losses by the Bulls, they'll have that tiebreaker. The Lakers would hold it, though, against Boston. Hope that helps.

Travis Y. (Glendale)

Theo Ratliff, Joe Smith, and Characters barely played this season. There has been a lot of wear and tear on the 3 big men. Will this bite the Lakers late in the playoffs?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:47 PM)

Hey Travis. No way to know, but remember, those guys played a lot last year, two. It's not like DJ Mbenga piled up minutes. They ought to be able to keep all three in the mid-30s in terms of PT on most nights, which is pretty good.

Zephid (PA)

Am I wrong to think that OKC is the greatest threat to the Lakers this year? The Spurs are hurting, plus they'll have to go through OKC before they play the Lakers. The Heat will probably have to go through both Boston and Chicago, both on the road. Boston is weaker without Perkins. Chicago is unproven and the Lakers showed against OKC that they can stop a dominant PG.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:49 PM)

Hey Zephid!I don't think you're wrong at all. OKC, on paper at least, matches up against the Lakers better than any team in the W.C. They have the dominant scorer, the great PG, guys who can effectively guard Kobe in Sefolosha, and even Harden/Durant have had success, size in the middle with Perk--- this is a tough team. Good news- the only way they play OKC is w/ home court advantage, and it would mean San Antonio (likely) had been eliminated. As for the E.C., I don't really worry as much about Boston anymore, because I don't think the O'Neals, even if they're healthy, are enough to stop LA's size inside without Perk. Plus, I don't think Boston's O will be effective enough against the Lakers. They're still very good, but not good enough. Chicago and Miami are both very intriguing, because they're strong on the defensive side and have ways to limit the Lakers.

Dave (Canada)

What did the Lakers have to gain by sending Derrick Caracter back down to the D-League?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:50 PM)

Helps get him some game reps when he's not playing here. There's no harm in the move.

Brain (Bridgewater, MA)

How much weight do attach to advanced stats like PER in determining what players should win awards like MVP? If so Kobe, LeBron and DHoward and Wade have a better case than DRose.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:51 PM)

I think it's a worthy stat to consider, among all the other factors that go into it, but it's not the only one, for sure. But as a whole, I personally think advanced stats should be factored in, because they give a better idea of what's happening on the floor and who is performing at higher levels.But I don't get an MVP vote. As to how much it matters to the guys who do vote, I have no idea. Probably depends on the individual.

Younger (Redondo Beach)

Upsets don't happen like they do in the NCAA given that they play a series of games but which team do you see being upset in the first round? I think the most susceptible team is San Antonio. The Lakers seem like the biggest lock to me to make it to the finals.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:53 PM)

I don't see the Spurs going out in the first round, but they could lose to OKC in the second, for sure. Portland is a scary team, as is Denver. Both are capable of beating higher seeded teams. Memphis- a potential opponent for the Lakers- is a little scary, too. Not that they'd beat LA, but I wouldn't be in a hurry to play them, either.

Mark (Temecula)

Do you think that the Bulls may lose another game sometime, and (assuming the Lakers catch the Spurs for #1 in the west) that we could end up with the best record in the league?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:54 PM)

I think more likely is second best, or third behind the Bulls and Spurs.Remember, If the Lakers lose even a couple games down the stretch, the complexion of the standings could change a lot. Can't just pencil in the Lakers for nine more wins.

Caleb (dallas, tx)

Everybody seemed cautiously optimistic about Caracter and Ebanks right after the draft. Might either of them have a future as role players -- in LA or elsewhere? They seem like decent guys.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:55 PM)

Hey Caleb-I think both have the potential to play in the NBA. Ebanks has so much athleticism on the wing, and has looked pretty good in very limited minutes. He's a guy who, if he can develop a good shot and improve his handle, could become a pretty handy player to have around. The Ariza comparisons seem to make sense. Caracter needs to continue working on his body, but has a lot of skill with the ball, good feet, and soft hands. There's upside to both, for sure.

Jon (Tucson)

When do you think Kobe's injuries will catch up to him? He's still been playing with multiple injuries and I gotta figure it'll effect him soon.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:59 PM)

Jon-Well, as Dave McMenamin reported recently, Kobe had his knee drained a couple more times than we knew about in last season's playoffs. So there's always stuff going on behind the scenes, and I'm sure that's the case this year despite the fact Kobe hasn't missed time with injuries the same way he did last year. At some point, he'll start to break down in a real, substantial way, but I'm not sure when that'll be. And for the time being, he's rolling along pretty well. The guy takes incredible care of himself, and is very aware of what he needs to do to extend his career. I wouldn't worry too much.

Anthony Moats (san diego, CA)

Is it me or is OKC the biggest threat to the Lakers in the West?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (1:59 PM)

See below :)

mujtaba (kingdom of Bahrain)

Its obvoius that Lakers are in need to some point gaurd to help and add some young blood to the team and support the experienced Fisher. I beleive the team needs some one like Curry or CP3. It will be a dream team. Since we dont have any Live NBA games on TV here in Bahrain I give lots of credit to the guys from LakersNation for their ongoing update on Twitter.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:03 PM)

All the way from Bahrain! Nice!I have to disagree with you, a little, though. The narrative about Fisher killing the Lakers is overblown. I'm not calling D-Fish an elite PG. He's really one of the worst, measured traditionally, starting PGs in the NBA. But that was the case last year, and the year before, and they've won two straight titles. Fisher does for them what they need. Takes charges, organizes the offense, doesn't make too many mistakes. And while yeah, they ought to be looking for a younger PG to work in with Fisher and Blake, I don't think Curry or CP3 need to be a high priority. Thanks for checking in!

John Equihua (Bellflower)

With all great guard play this year, does Kobe still make the All NBA 1st team? I think he should but it seems to be a real tough call this year

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:04 PM)

Hey John (e-kee-hua)-I think he will. Yeah, there's some competition, but my gut says he'll sneak in.

Paul (San Mateo)

A distant but important Lakers related question ... It looks for sure like a Boston vs Miami second round series. How important is homecourt?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:04 PM)

Vital for the Heat, I think. That's a team that can use any advantage working through their first postseason as can be had.

Tmart (New Orleans)

Who gets more tired of questions about home court advantage and tiebreakers, the media or the players?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:05 PM)

Players, though we- or at least I- get tired of them, too. At some point, you just kinda run out of things to ask, right? 82 games is a long season. :)

chibi (las vegas)

last season, the lakers were top 10 in the defensive rebounding percentage category. this year, they're in the bottom 10. getting stops is fool's gold if you don't corral loose balls and limit 2nd chance opportunities. so, should the lakers be concerned? and how do they go about shoring up this weakness?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:09 PM)

Hey Chibi-Nice question. Last year, the Lakers were ninth at 74.4 percent in DRB%, this year they're 23rd at 72.1. No question, they've slacked on the defensive glass at times this season, and have been hurt in more than a few games by second chance points. Moreover, the Bulls, Blazers, and Grizzlies- all teams they might see- are 5,6,7th in ORB% this year. They have to be better, but have been more of late (monster Bynum helps), and once the playoffs roll around, will probably be even better. But it's a weakness, no question, relative to the rest of their overall game.

Jay (Santa Monica)

If the playoffs started today, the Lakers would face New Orleans. Thi is by far our best case scenario. Am I right to overlook NO?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:09 PM)

Yes. Honestly, as much as I love CP3, any shot the Hornets had of scaring the Lakers went out the door with the West injury. Memphis is a much tougher draw for LA, based on matchups.

Lawrence (Toronto)

Who would the Lakers rather play in the first round; Memphis or New Orleans?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:10 PM)

They won't say, but New Orleans.

Paul (San Mateo)

As there is a good chance we will have homecourt in Finals is there any real chance that any of the East teams (Chi, Bos, Mia) can beat us? I just don't see it if we have homecourt.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:10 PM)

I'd pick the Lakers against any team in the league with home court advantage in a seven game series.

Ray (San Jose, CA)

Is Kobe really going to retire with 1 MVP? Really?? Can't you two do something about this!

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:11 PM)

Well, Ray, as I mentioned, Andy and I don't get MVP votes, but I do think there's a chance he gets one more, simply because some people will think exactly what you're saying. How does he only have one? So he could absolutely get another, whether he completely "deserves" it that year or not. Think of it as a lifetime achievement award.

Anthony Moats (san diego, CA)

How difficult do you think it will be for the Lakers to substain their current run?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:14 PM)

Hey Anthony-If by run you mean winning 15 of every 16, very. No team wins 95 percent of its games for long stretches. But if you mean a high level of play- it's absolutely sustainable. Nothing about what they're doing seems totally out of the ordinary, as it was when about half the team was shooting over 50 percent from downtown earlier this season. Kobe has been very good at times, but has also had some clunkers. Artest has played much better, but it's not like he's pouring in tons of points every night. The bench is still hit and miss, and so on.Even if Bynum slips a little in production, there are still other places they can improve. Doesn't feel flukey.

keeya (atl)

How likely is odom to win the 6th man award? I know you don't have a vote but you must talk to other writers at ESPN.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:14 PM)

Hey Keeya-Far as I can tell, it's a two man race between Odom and Jason Terry. My feeling is Odom has a lot of sentiment behind him this year, and will win.

Younger (Redondo Beach)

Malcolm Lee would be an intriguing prospect for the Lakers as a future PG. The guy plays solid defense and has great size. His shooting would need to improve but I think there is good potential there.

Travis Y. (Glendale)

What would have happened if the Celtics let Perkins contract run out? They would have lost him but what are they going to do with J. Green? Will he accept what Perkins didn't?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:16 PM)

They control Green for at least another season, I believe. But to the larger point, I have no idea why they made the deal. Even if you KNOW FOR SURE Perk isn't coming back, you still have to hold on to him, because this Boston team doesn't have a three or four year window to play with. It's this year, maybe next, and that's potentially it. Totally mystified by the move, as is every Celtics fan and journalist I've spoken with.

jq (la)

BK,I think having a Twitter account may have helped Bynum. Sounds crazy, but he always seemed distant to the fans (especially after putting off his off season surgery). Twitter is connecting him to the fans and this interaction may help him be more accountable for his game on a personal level. The guy is a millennial after all. Sounds far fetched, but in a big picture of a human being and not just a ball player.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:17 PM)

JQ-I think a Twitter account, or FB, or other forms of social media, are a great thing for athletes provided they handle them in a responsible way. Too many guys haven't figured that out yet, but I doubt Bynum will be one of the guys who finds himself in hot water thanks to ill-advised Tweets.

Anthony (L.A.)

When's the next session of the "Triangle" looking forward to it...How long ago was your picture taken Andy? you seem to have a full set of hair, unlike on the show, no shame on being bald (Im bald by choice, lol), it can become the Kamenetzky Brothers new look, or the Show's new look if you get McMenamin to go along with it...Thanks!!

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:18 PM)

Ouch, Anthony. I don't think Andy will like hearing that review of his thinning hair... though I think it's funny. The pic is getting pretty old now, though. We could probably use a fresh one. More accurate, at least.

Jared Andrea (Chino Hills)

Speaking of "windows", with the recent fabulous play by Bynum, do you think that the Lakers window for championships has been extended at least a little longer, like say 2 more years instead of just next year?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:20 PM)

Hey Jared-I think LA's window probably went into the next couple seasons anyway, but no question it's opened wider by Bynum's play, assuming he can keep this level of play (which isn't guaranteed) and stay healthy (which REALLY isn't guaranteed). But remember, the Lakers have a financial decision to make on Bynum after next season, in terms of picking up his option, or even extending him. So it's not guaranteed the composition of the team will be the same two years down the road, you know?

Jason Terry (Dallas)

Odom has a lot of sentiment behind him this year? why cause hes now a reality tv star who plays basketball?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:20 PM)

Sour grapes, Jason Terry.

Travis Y. (Glendale)

Why does everyone care about the MVP? We live in LA and know the only two things that matter are the Larry O' Brien trophy and the FINALS MVP trophy. C'mon man!

Jay (Santa Monica)

It appears that the 2nd unit has been running the trap randomly in games, with some success. Am I dreaming this or is this a viable strategy that Phil is testing for the post season?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:22 PM)

Hey Jay-Typically, the coaches like the second unit to come in and change the game's pace on both ends. That can mean pushing pace offensively, and also trying to change the tempo at the other end. SOmetimes it'll be full court pressure, sometimes they might try and trap more aggressively.Seems like part of an overall philosophy.

The Dude Abides (In N Out Burger on Camrose)

BK, do you know if Bynum does leg strengthening exercises in the weight room during the season? It just seems to me that with all these recent days off, it gives him time to rest from the pounding on the floor, and strengthen his knee in the weight room. It sure looks like he's getting his explosion back.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:24 PM)

Hey, Dude!What he does, I can't say exactly, but no question Bynum does a lot of leg work, to help strengthen his body around the problematic knees and hopefully lessen the risk of re-injury. I think the schedule has definitely helped him, too, as did the suspension (though I don't think it helped Pau by any stretch). Time has been Bynum's biggest help, though. It takes a certain amount of it to come back from that sort of procedure, and a lot of it is mental. Once he pushed through that block (among others), he was good to go. But his improved play isn't simply a function of getting healthier. He's also accepted his role with more enthusiasm, and the Lakers have done a great job of validating his contributions. Are you ordering off the special secret menu?

Micah (Richmond, Va)

If the Celtics make it through the east, do you think they still could compete with the Lakers big men after trading away KP?

Carlos (LA)

The only team that worries me is Boston. Do you think Shaq will play a major role in that team? Do you think they can beat us w/o him?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:27 PM)

I put those Q's together, because they hit on the same subjects, really. As I mentioned below, I don't think the Celtics can rely just on the O'Neals to bottle up the Lakers on either end of the floor. The hope is, I guess, that Shaq will have enough in him to change games during a playoff run, but I don't think either O'Neal is reliable enough for that sort of duty. Both are too limited. With that in mind, I think both Miami and Chicago are bigger threats.

Chris (NB)

Brian, send my message in yesterday, sent you another one today explaining that Rose's stuff is on there, but only after every other new outlet was reporting this. He is an employee of the company. Why is ESPN the last to report on it?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:29 PM)

Chris-I don't know when other outlets started reporting it. I saw the news first yesterday (on a link sent to me from a non-espn site) and turned around and saw it reported on ESPN before I went to bed. I don't know the vetting practices of other outlets for news of this sort. Everyone handles it differently, but far as I can tell, it's being reported by ESPN in a timely manner.

Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles)

My man D.Rose is ballin, but do not count me out for MVP. There are still 9 games left, It aint over..

Tony M. (San Diego)

Considering D-Fish's career is approaching the finish line, which PG do you think will be the best fit in the Triangle(assuming Blake doesnt get the starting job:)?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:31 PM)

Tony-It's hard to say. When Fish goes, they might be getting to a point where they segue from a triangle point guard to a more traditional one, depending on what they're doing with the offense. Depends too on how effective Kobe still is in two more seasons, what they do with Bynum, and so on. My guess they won't need an elite PG, because there will still be plenty of talent on the roster, but it's hard to forecast.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:31 PM)

Tony-It's hard to say. When Fish goes, they might be getting to a point where they segue from a triangle point guard to a more traditional one, depending on what they're doing with the offense. Depends too on how effective Kobe still is in two more seasons, what they do with Bynum, and so on. My guess they won't need an elite PG, because there will still be plenty of talent on the roster, but it's hard to forecast.

D. Rose (Chicago)

you can count him out, trust me.

Younger (Redondo Beach)

Dealing with chat issues/bugs? See a couple of questions posted without answers like the one I posted regarding Malcolm Lee.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:32 PM)

Sorry Younger-I thought you were just making a point, there. But I'm horrible as a scout for guys coming out of CBB. The Lakers have some second rounders this year, and could take on on Lee if he was still around, but I'm sure Malcolm hopes he's gone by then.

The Dude Abides (In N Out Burger on Camrose)

Of course I always order off the special secret menu, BK. That sounds like the type of obvious question that Donny would ask. I'll tell you one thing: I'm less worried about the Lakers three-peating this season than I am about the front office hiring Rambis or Byron. The defense Chuck Person designed is so much better than Kurt's, and Byron's substitution patterns and failure to adjust to Miami's zone last night nearly cost his team the victory. Fortunately, Spoelstra stopped playing zone after his team erased that 23-pt deficit, and Parker remained hot despite Byron sitting him for those entire ten minutes when Miami caught up.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:33 PM)

Good news, Dude. I don't think you have to worry. Neither of those guys is coming back. Byron will be in Cleveland, and while Rambis may not be in Minnesota- his future is at least something of a question mark- he won't be in LA. Person, though, could be somewhere else, too. His name is generating a lot of buzz around the league. He won't be an assistant long.

The dallas mavericks ((not dallas))

should we be more worried about the clippers fans or lakers fans? i think we heard the clippers fans are actually true fans

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:34 PM)

Unless you're playing their fans on the floor in the playoffs, I don't think it's a very good question. :)

Travis Y. (Glendale)

You choose an offense system based upon personal. If the Lakers don't run the triangle, what team's offense or system would suit the Lakers with the current personnel?

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:35 PM)

Good question. Honestly, guys like Kobe, LO, Gasol- they're so talented and versatile, any offense would work. This one is particularly well suited to their skill sets, though. But there are others emphasizing efficiency, ball movement, spacing, etc. they could run equally well.

Brian Kamenetzky
  (2:36 PM)

OK, folks. Gotta run. Thanks for all the questions today. Lively hour!If you have other Q's we didn't get to, hit us up at Twitter @espnlandolakers and we'll hit you back. Thanks!