Bizarr-o Lakers Making Most Of Role Reversals

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST — As this most recently re-imagined Los Angeles Lakers squad seeks a third consecutive victory tonight with the New Orleans Hornets in town (10:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV), let’s review the strategic and — ahem — metamorphic changes that have led to such rare rays of sunlight poking through the storm clouds.

In a rout of the Utah Jazz last Friday and an impressive grind-out win on national TV Sunday afternoon against the West-leading Oklahoma City Thunder, the Lakers suddenly became a slow-it-down, halfcourt, utilize-the-bigs offense. The very kind of stuff critics have demanded and the offensive genius, Mike D’Antoni, deplores.

Pau Gasol has made 14 of his last 18 shots as he internalizes dissatisfaction with losing his starting job to a guy named Earl. Dwight Howard has 23 rebounds in the two wins as he wears a smiley face trying to convince everyone — especially himself — that he’s happy.

And, most unpredictable, in this Lakers mini-surge that could tie for the second-longest win streak of the season with a win tonight, Kobe Bryant has become Magic Johnson and Steve Nash has become, um, Kobe?

Kobe dished 28 assists in the two wins, six more than his total shot attempts (22), which is equal to or less than his total shot attempts in 10 of 12 previous games this month.

As for Nash, who ranks fifth all-time in assists and is some 4,300 ahead of Kobe, he has 32 points in his last two games, his second-highest two-game point total of the season. Playing mostly off the ball — and probably more like a modern-day Jason Kidd than Kobe — shooting guard Nash had just seven assists in the two wins, including a season-low two against Utah. Before this odd role reversal, Nash had fewer than seven assists in a game just once in January.

So this is how the Bizarr-o World Lakers roll now, just shake up everybody’s traditional role?

After the OKC game, Gasol gushed to a Spanish-language newspaper that the Lakers aren’t really running D’Antoni’s famed offensive system any longer, which had become quite apparent. Then Nash offered the opinion that they aren’t really running any system at all, just playing.

Bryant said he’s open to all possibilities and that he lies awake in bed at night thinking up new ways to attack this thing.

So here we are with the Lakers seeking their best win streak since winning five in a row from Dec. 14-25 before embarking on a long seven-game road trip.

The offensive genius coach has had to swallow his system. The 7-foot power forward has had to swallow his pride. Kobe’s become Magic and Nash has become a spot-up shooter.

Sure, it all makes sense now.


  1. killuabest says:

    No were just playing the game-Nash. Means THEY DONT NEED DUMBTONI. Make Dumbtoni sweep d floor, sell tickets instead..They ca win without the coach.period. Laker Fans will be happy too.

  2. 16going417 says:

    So, D’Antoni benched Gasol in the 4th again last night. Funny how Gasol mentions to the Spanish viewers that the Lakers are not running D’Antoni’s offense and next game he is benched in the 4th.

    D’Antoni has some serious problems. I don’t think he is about winning, but doing things his way. I hope the Lakers get rid of D’Anotni before they even think about trading Gasol.

    Lakers have the talent to win. It is D’Antoni’s ineffectiveness that is keeping them below .500.

  3. Showmen says:

    As of now, the Lakers are the equivalent of this year’s New York Jets. All headlines with no substance. Media needs to focus more attention on teams like Golden State, Indiana or Houston. Those teams have earned it this year. This overexposure of a few teams is lazy reporting. Everyone doesn’t have to write or cover the same story. Everyone shouldn’t.

  4. BIGMatta23 says:

    That’s heart breaking Lakers-R-Us… hang in there mate. Meanwhile, 2 game sample, hardly large enough to spin it as a turn around. Simply kobe actually playing the way he should have been from the goddamm start. He had to make it about him right from the get go because he is a selfish egomaniac, set the tone so Dwight and Nash know this is his team and it’s all going through him. He was the problem, though few said it aloud. Now when he actually plays properly and they win, he is seen as the saviour, it will once again be about how good kobe is and not because of anyone else on the team. Just the way he likes it.

  5. digitioli says:

    Reality check – none of these guys are who they used to be, and yet they are still great players.
    Basketball is a team game that is played best as such, and even if we’re talking about a pickup game, if you want to win, you do what it takes to beat the other team, and if you’re smart you find that formula and exploit it and you win, and if you have that mindset, you don’t need a coach to tell you what to do, you just know it. Who cares who does what if you win?
    Defense is the core. Find the easy shots and make them. It’s not rocket science. Egos don’t win games, they usually lose them.
    Reputations, systems and stats don’t win games. Fundamentals, teamwork and effort win at every level, almost every single time.
    Play hard and take what you can get easily and you’ve got a shot.

  6. Lakers-R-Us says:

    Get your act together. I’ve put in two nice posts, and they didn’t go in! Thanks for letting me waste my time!!

  7. Trade Deadline says:

    Maybe if we…

    Trade Steve Blake for Kyrie Irving
    Trade Jodie Meeks for James Harden
    Trade Jordan Hill for Kevin Love
    Trade Darius Morris for Paul Pierce
    Trade Robert Sacre for Brook Lopez

    You’re Welcome.

  8. NBAfan35 says:

    (sigh) this is a 2 game sample and they are playing desperate. I believe Kobe will revert back to being a scorer. I dont think they will make the playoffs because they never shld have been in this hole in the first place. Plus even if they do end up in the playoffs itll be against okc, the spurs, or the clips. And with no way of stopping Parker, Westbrook, or CP3 without tiring Kobe out by hahving him guard them plus have either Kawhi, Thabo, or Bledsoe on him to guard him.

  9. bryan says:

    lakers needs to change the coach to utilize the bigs Pau ang Howard

  10. Nash fan says:

    I LOVE how the LAKERS is playing right now! If they keep on playing like how they have played in the last 2 games…. maaaan they’ll be UNBEATABLE! I believe that they’re gonna end up in the Playoffs in the long run with how they are playing! BIG RESPECT for the team and especially to the Black Mamba!

  11. roy says:

    seems like they dun need a coach!!!!

  12. Arun says:

    Whatever system they are running is just great. Kind of remainded me Kobe dishing Pau during title run. I noticed that Pau wasn’t particularly in the pain too when D12 was sitting on bench. i think Pau should go to paint and play inside out whenever he can. Meeks should play more minutes and I can’t wait for Steve Blake for this return. Hope he still has his shooting touch.

  13. Max says:

    Nash—A true “team first player”. But need a “tech’ shot? Call on Nash!!! He can knock down those FREE THROWS!!!! FREE THROWS do win or lost Basketball Games!!!!