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Kobe, Mike Brown say Gasol, Bynum had better step up now

May 11, 2012, 11:06 AM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers players Jordan Hill, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum sit on the bench shortly before their defeat by the Denver Nuggets in Denver Reuters

Is there any upper echelon team in the NBA that can lay an egg like the Lakers?

Denver came out at home in Game 6 with an energy that the Lakers just refused to match and they got their doors blown off. What was hard to swallow for Lakers fans was that Kobe Bryant spent the day throwing up and came out and put in a gutty effort (complete with one ugly flagrant foul) and their big men mailed it in.

Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol combined to shoot 5-of-21 shooting night where neither seemed to contribute. For the last couple games the Lakers defensive rotations from their bigs have been nonexistent — nobody is protecting the rim. Bynum was back to his not sitting in the huddle, disengaged ways.

Coach Mike Brown was ticked after the game, via Scott Howard-Cooper of

“We’re going to need more out our two bigs,” Brown said as the Lakers faced the reality of going from a 2-0 series lead to a Game 7 in Los Angeles on Saturday night. “They’re our second- and third-best players. We’re going to need a lot more out of those guys in order to win the series. But not just scoring wise. Defensively. Defensively to follow the game-plan discipline and do it with some effort and some energy and really just lay it out on the line.”

Kobe, you good with that?

“Of course I agree with that,” he said of Brown’s critique. “I talked with Pau a little bit after the game and I’ll speak with Andrew as well. It’s one of those things where psychologically you have to put yourself in a predicament, in a position, where you have no other option but to perform. You have to emotionally put your back to the wall and kind of trick yourself, so to speak, to feel that there’s no other option but to perform and to battle, when you have that, when you have that mindset, your performance shines through, your talent shines through. It doesn’t matter what the defense does. It doesn’t matter because you’re emotionally at a level that is above that. That is the mindset that they have to put themselves in.”

For years, both Gasol and Bynum have done that in spurts — and they both very well may do that in Game 7 — but they are not consistent. And if the Lakers beat the Nuggets and advance, if they think they can take a night off against the Thunder and still have a chance to win the series they are kidding themselves.

I will make one point in defense of Bynum and Gasol — the Nuggets defense is collapsing on them and the Lakers shooters are not making them pay by knocking down outside shots when the ball is kicked out. In Game 6, the Lakers were 2-of-9 on spot three pointers and 6-22 on spot-up jumpers overall. In Game 5, the Lakers were 4-19 from 16 feet out to the arc and Lakers not named Kobe were 4-13 from three. Until somebody knocks down those shots and makes the defense pay for collapsing in, it’s going to be a rough go for Bynum and Gasol.

  1. dolphinatic - May 11, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    They couldn’t put a beach ball in the ocean if they tried last night. Might as well have been taking half courters. Ron Ron, where forth art thou Ron Ron.

  2. noname728 - May 11, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    I cant help but get the feeling that Bynum and Gasol simply dont enjoy playing with KOBE?

    • cdog0o7 - May 11, 2012 at 11:37 AM

      Don’t you dare put #17’s lack of effort on Kobe. (#17 no longer gets name recognition from this fan. I’ve lost that much respect for him)

      Gasol and Kobe won 2 Championships together without much help from #17 (he was, at best, a role player on those teams), and went to 3 straight finals. They are brothers, who have battled together, and have utmost respect for each other. Every series they’ve lost together, the team that beat them WON THE TITLE.

      I personally think Gasol hates playing with #17. Gasol is a post up player who is meant to play center and have a stretch 4 with him so that he can get to work.

      Gasol is NOT a stretch 4 meant to play with a Lazy Center who can’t get back on defense.

      Hence, Gasol and Odom were the Lakers crunch time lineup – Not Gasol and #17

      If Lakers lose on Saturday – #17 has got to.

      But really – he’s got to go anyway. He’s a cancer to the Lakers, and crushes their team spirit.

      • noname728 - May 11, 2012 at 2:48 PM

        Cdog I tend to agree with almost everything you said except for the”they are brothers” theory.. KOBE beleives he is an army unto hisself. Didnt Kobe cause a rift between Pau and his lady? Dont get me wrong the Lakers will win this series… and #17 im sure rode the short bus to school as a kid. But its hard to get in the game when you know you only get to touch the ball every 8th offensive poss.

      • zxrated - May 11, 2012 at 4:40 PM

        Bynum’s attitude is not to be defended at all given he’s getting paid, but to say Kobe bares no responsibility for Drew’s ire is being a selective memory Kobe apologist. Bynum has been the center of trade talk since he became a Laker. Kobe threw 17 under the Buss in 07 when he called him a bust and demanded that 17 be traded for Jason Kidd. How was a 19 year old supposed to feel about that? Kobe himself has never forgiven those in Philly for turning their backs on him when he was a youngster making the jump to the NBA. Kobe has all kinds of grievances he still holds onto to this day for mistreatment by others in the NBA from his youth. Bynum will never forgive Kobe for that trade talk. I’ve contended all along that this relationship is almost as toxic as Kobe and Shaq.

        This squad has not been a team since 2009. We won on sheer talent alone in 2010. The implosion of 2011 was inevitable. I hate to see all this talent be blown up like it was in 2004 but they cannot coexist any longer IMO.

      • larry14r - May 11, 2012 at 5:03 PM

        I think Gasol will be traded too because he is the reason why we won’t win it all along with Bynum. So leave the championships in the past and focus on the present. So in short Bynum is a cancer, and Gasol is a p**sy, and they both need to go.

    • mytthor - May 11, 2012 at 3:15 PM

      I don’t care what they enjoy. As long as they enjoy cashing those checks, I expect more effort then I see in a pickup game from a 35 year old pothead.

  3. mungman69 - May 11, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Artest is back, right? The Lakers should have plenty of energy.

  4. jeffw - May 11, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Lakers players remind me of Junior Seau or the Cowardly Lion… no heart!

  5. lawest111 - May 11, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    This team is so painful to watch. Moments of brilliance and sometimes games lacking interest and effort, except for Kobe. #17, as cdog as said, is garbage, his effort is pathetic, get him out of here!

  6. newgene1187 - May 11, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    No Kobe, how about YOU step up. I swear this is MOST over-rated AllStar the league has seen thus far. Hard to survive without Phil Jackson stroking your ego and having you play on a DOMINATE offense scheme is it Kobe?? Yea, you hit 4 in a row, how about those last 3??? One of those you forced up when Steve Blake was WIDE OPEN. Attack the basket, stop trying to be Jordan with the jump shots. How about stepping up and live up to your GOAT claims. Please…Jordan never lost a finals, definitely didn’t allow a game 7, and dominated. Hang it up kobe. You will forever be in the shadow of Shaq and Phil Jackson from here on out.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - May 11, 2012 at 1:18 PM

      Is that you, Barkley? IS THAT YOU CHUCK???

    • cosanostra71 - May 11, 2012 at 3:36 PM

      1. Kobe has never claimed to be the “GOAT” as you appear to believe. He’s never even claimed to be better than Jordan.
      2. You’re suggesting a 34 year old, 16 year NBA veteran with several knee surgeries (who also happens to be 19th all-time in regular season minutes played and 2nd in playoff minutes played- let’s just say he’s got some wear on his tires) should attack the basket more often? That seems like quite a swell idea!
      3. Kobe shot 56% last night. Bynum shot 36%. Gasol shot 10%. Kobe could shoot 100%, but if his frontcourt is shooting a combined 23%, you’re not going to win many (or really any) games.

  7. j2hoops - May 11, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    Oh sure, The Nuggets don’t get any credit for coming back from 3 and 1 to literally blow the Lakers out of the arena? The Nugs are younger, faster, more athletic, deeper on the bench, and are playing outstanding ball. Yet I read nothing in this article except excuses why the Lakers lost. Koby is throwing up, Gasol is not doing his part, Bynam is slow to get back on defense, they don’t like to play together, etc..
    Look, the Lakers are getting schooled by a better team. Why can’t you get that? They may win game seven, but If they are to play on, they’d better bring the very best they have and hope for a very unlikely meltdown from the Nuggets. Can you say, Momentum?

    • Mr. Wright 212 - May 11, 2012 at 1:23 PM

      No, they don’t. The two in question quit and that’s the only reason the Lakers didn’t win in 5.


  8. abchome - May 11, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    I read some where that Bynum was smiling after shower…he simply doesn’t care at all…

    • Mr. Wright 212 - May 11, 2012 at 1:25 PM

      he was smiling and laughing ON THE BENCH! No shame.

  9. boondocksaint224 - May 11, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    Kobe had better step up and start passing them the damn ball, then. In the series, Kobe has taken 27 more shots than Pau and Bynum COMBINED. Pau and Bynum have combined to outshoot Kobe just twice in the series, and both times it was by one shot. In game 5, Kobe shot the ball 13 more times than the both of them. And prior to game 6, Pau and Bynum were shooting 10% better than Kobe from the field.

    • adamthompson24 - May 11, 2012 at 1:18 PM

      Nice stats, except for your conclusion is terrible. Would you prefer the bigs to be shooting over double and triple teams because that’s their only option. Apparently u have decided to talk without actually watching the series. Karl has decided to completely remove any chance for Bynum to get going with aggressive double teams. Same goes for Pau. Denver is daring Lakers role players to step up which is a pretty smart bet for Denver. Game 7 will be very interesting…

      • boondocksaint224 - May 11, 2012 at 2:12 PM

        Bynum’s shooting 57% despite those double and triple teams.

    • cosanostra71 - May 11, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      and in Game 6 they came out and shot 23% combined.

    • cosanostra71 - May 11, 2012 at 3:44 PM

      not to mention those two’s defensive efforts are laughable. The Nuggets are luring Bynum out of the paint with guards, and he’s falling for it every time… Gasol gives up when guards are driving on him… the effort from the paint has been terrible on both ends… the perimeter players are clanking every shot out… just overall the team has been playing poorly. If we want to win though, it has to start with the frontcourt establishing themselves and taking pressure off our perimeter players, who aren’t good shooters outside of Kobe.

  10. shockexchange - May 11, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    Robert Horry, Jr. positioning himself so that someone else takes the fall … the wheels of the bus go round and round

  11. labratre - May 11, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Jeffw, that comment you made in reference to Seau was really tasteless. I think you are the one with no heart, no brain, and frankly to be honest look like the lion a little right now due to that comment you made. I bet if you said Seau 3 times and he appeared you would go all over yourself. The guy is dead, have some class, he has nothing to do with this topic at all.

  12. thevza - May 11, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Hey, Dwight Howard. You suuuuure you don’t want to come play in L.A? Otis Smith, you suuuuure the Lakers can’t tempt you with a trade for young, 24 year-old “phenom” center? Sure he’s lazy, immature, and selfish, but hey, can’t get any worse for Orlando than the current situation, right? And David Stern, please stay out of this one.

    • larry14r - May 11, 2012 at 5:06 PM

      He doesn’t want to come here Howard have already made his mind up.

  13. progress2011 - May 11, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    Over kobes career, how many guys have gone on record and stated they do not want to play with kobe:

    1. Robert Horry
    2. Gary Payton
    3. Karl Malone
    4. Rick Fox
    5. Shaq
    6. Artest has a video on how his entire job is to ” pass the ball to kobe”.
    7. Phil Jackson even wrote a book about how unmanageable the “wanna be like Mike” guy is. Phil only went back to coach the team a second time because the owners daughter threw in some fringe benefits, in addition to the gigantic salary.

    It’s obvious that Bynum and Gasol have gotten fed up and want out of playing with the ” Glorified Harlem Globe Trotter “.

    You can give me all the thumbs down you like ( there are about 50 laker regulars that patrol this site) but you can’t change the facts


    The excuses have worn old

  14. lakerluver - May 11, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    I am P. O.’d!! Kobe is out there giving his all while sick as hell! Meanwhile, Bynum and Pau didn’t even show up!! I was totally against trading them for D. Howard, now I don’t know!! Howard might be a whining, prima dona but at least he comes to play every night!! If the LAKERS lose gm 7 Kobe is gonna GO OFF! At this point what does it even matter, the LAKERS are gonna get smoked by OKC anyway! How can these guys get millions to play a game and not give max effort?!! Pau 3 pts, 3 boards?!! I could’ve done that!!! I’m disgusted as a LAKERS fan.

    • obijuan13 - May 11, 2012 at 2:26 PM

      AS a fellow Lakers fan I couldn’t agree more.

  15. obijuan13 - May 11, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    I agree with Brown, DEFENSE!!!!!!!! There were times that Bynum was 4ft away from the basket, flat footed, watching Denver get the Off rebound 3 or 4 times and score. He then turns and trotts back down the court.

  16. progress2011 - May 11, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    If the lakers are upset with Bynum and Gasols performances, trade them to a team that may appreciate them:

    1. The Bulls with Rose
    2. The Clips with CP3
    3. The Heat with LBJ
    4. San Antonio with Parker
    5. OKC with Harden

    I can guarantee you….those teams will get them all the touches they want ! And they will play up to their performance level.

    So, solve your issue and simply trade them and I bet you get spanked, when you face them again.

    • loungefly74 - May 11, 2012 at 2:56 PM

      uh…what do those teams give up to get Bynum and Pau? jezuz progress, i feel like i’m debating with a little kid.

      • fouldwimmerlaik - May 12, 2012 at 6:31 AM

        He IS a little kid.

  17. wfon1 - May 11, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    bynum and gasol need to step up but also bynum needs to shut up the &#”% up with his ignorant comments (close out games being easy, didnt play in the 4th etc)

  18. lakerluver - May 11, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    Idiots blaming Kobe!! Is it Kobe’s fault Pau’s soft a$$ grabbed 3 rebounds?! THREE!!! Is it Kobe’s fault Bynum is getting abused by a scrub center?!! Is it Kobe’s fault the LAKERS are making Lawson look like CP3?!! Kobe may have off nights shooting the ball, all scorers do. But without him the LAKERS are a borderline playoff team. No matter what you say about him he comes to play EVERY night!! And he already has 5 rings and a place reserved for him in the HOF!! Bynum’s lazy a$$ needs to fight harder for position if he wants the ball. I can take the LAKERS losing to a better team. But losing to an inferior one because of a lack of heart and effort?!! Kobe’s heart has never been questioned like Pau’s has. Trade both Pau and Bynum for Howard! And if there’s anyway to get D. Will after that MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!!!

    • larry14r - May 11, 2012 at 5:09 PM

      There is no way we get D. Will or Howard because neither of them wants to come here, and also we can’t afford both anyways because of the new CBA. So the Lakers need to just rebuild and get some draft picks because they don’t have a choice.

    • stickesabado - May 11, 2012 at 8:01 PM

      exactly… people are just haters who just talk and have no idea what they are talking about… the internet these days

      • stickesabado - May 11, 2012 at 8:03 PM

        embarrassing though, embarrassing… come on now lakers, grow up..

  19. prosourcetalk - May 11, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Lakers are a joke

    • stickesabado - May 11, 2012 at 8:02 PM

      8======>~~~~ O-:

      haha suck it, gargle it, and swallow it…. hater

  20. ajacobs1979 - May 11, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    I think the issue(s) affecting the Lakers are a combination of everything said above, minus the criticism of Kobe. He is not without flaws (shoots a lot; he IS a scorer), but you cannot question his heart and dedication to winning. I’d take that player EVERY single time. Let’s give this guy a break…he’s proven himself time and again for 16 seasons!

    The Lakers have been out-coached so far, plain and simple. Karl has made adjustments from game to game, and Brown does not appear to have changed a thing. This explains why the Lakers had no response to Denver collapsing on the bigs. Karl gambled on the Lakers’ perimeter players not making shots, and he won. However, what was the Lakers’ counter to that? Exactly…they kept doing the same thing hoping for different results.

    And Gasol/Bynum were awful last night. Yes, Bynum had a bunch of rebounds, but his overall defense and offense were MIA. With his size, strength, and athleticism there’s no excuse. Double-teams never seemed to stop Shaq from finding a way to “impose his will” during his prime years. Gasol just seemed disconnected and uncomfortable for whatever reason. He’s not a young player anymore, so perhaps the years are starting to catch up? No matter what, elite players find a way to get it done, and Bynum/Gasol flat-out didn’t play to that level.

    My guess is the Lakers win the series, but the Thunder are basically the Nuggets with more talented players and an above-average center. We better wake up or it could be Broom City.

  21. dal24la - May 12, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    If Lakers lose Sunday or lose badly to OKC in 2nd round who is most likely to stay: Bynum, Gasol, or Brown?’
    Right now I could care less about any or the 3…

  22. omniusprime - May 12, 2012 at 8:49 AM

    Now that the Lakers are back to full strength after Stern punished the Lakers with that overly punitive 7 game suspension of MWP we’ll see if the Nuggets can keep the Lakers down. Time for the outside shooters to make shots loosening up the interior defense where Pau and Andrew can get to work. Mike Brown better get his pathetic coaching act together because he is not motivating this team properly, if the Lakers lose this series Brown better lose his job. Go Kobe!! Go Lakers!!!

  23. labratre - May 12, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    I thought Bynum was better than that. I mean, not getting involved in the team huddle pouting and things. The way he acts is just down right childish and IGNOOOOOORAAAAAAANT!!!

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