The goal here was to post moving pictures from Monday's practice in El Segundo, but whether it's a YouTube thing or a problem with my computer, all I'm getting are "Error" messages. So with that in mind, we're going to kick it old school. I'm gonna type, you're gonna read, then we're all gonna lie back on our Naugahyde couches and watch some Carson.
On issues with the offense:
"There's a slippage point where things aren't working well. Guys aren't picking up the ball off the dribble, or not handling the ball when they get a shot. They're not making the correct pass in situations, they're not setting a good pick. It really came to play in Charlotte. That was probably one of our worst execution nights we've had as a team in a few years."
On problems with inside play, and Kobe's performance against the Magic:
"One of the things we don't like to have happen is turnovers when the ball goes inside. We had a couple of those (Sunday) that are just execution things that are creating problems with us having the ball inside. We want security, we want passes out of that, we want scoring. That's important. It was pretty well done. I thought that was o.k., even though Kobe kind of dominated the third quarter and it hurt us a little bit, the fourth quarter was a better run."
On whether or not teams respect L.A.'s outside shooting (you might remember, I've pointed to this as a problem):
"It looks to me like people are giving Ron (Artest) the shot. He's been wide open for shots, and that's happenchance if he makes them or doesn't. Right now he hasn't really gotten in rhythm. He's our leading three-point shooter, but it's not been a consistent thing for us. We want him to get consistent for us. He practiced out here with some of the guys and it was just to try and get that back, and shot the ball well... I'm not one of those guys who says you have to have three-point shooters out there to open up the inside. Other people are into that. It's about movement, and ball movement, that creates post up possibilities. If the ball's stagnant and doesn't move it's going to be hard to get the ball in there."
Commentary: I agree, to a point. Both matter. It certainly doesn't hurt inside spacing to have guys who the opposition must respect dotting the perimeter, making it that much harder to sag on or overplay guys in the paint. But PJ is absolutely right pointing to ball movement as a major culprit of L.A.'s current issues offensively. Some of it is as simple as making an extra pass to create a better entry angle.
But fundamentally, the Lakers need to shoot the ball better.
More on the offense:
"Our offense has really fallen off recently. We haven't been as precise. We're not getting easy baskets, we're not getting baskets off turnovers. Those are the things that kind of get us into these games, or tit-for-tat as we go down the stretch in these games. We had a breakout game before we left against Indiana which looked like we were kind of through that spell and back into the kind of ball we can play, but we brought Miami back into the game right off the bat."
On whether or not the title defense has been harder than expected:
"No. Not really. I expected it to be really, really hard, and it's just going to get harder I think. We haven't faced the hardest part. So far we've got the best record in the (Western Conference), we've got a three-game cushion. We're trying to pursue the best record in the league... but I think the hardest part is going to come in the last stretch of the season and in the playoffs. That's where we're really going to have to tighten up and be at our best."
On whether teams are trying to bully them:
"No, teams are just taking advantage of our mistakes, I think. Everybody wants to beat the Lakers. There's no secret about that, we're all familiar with that. But we're giving them too many opportunities and they're capitalizing right now. As soon as we cut down on those mistakes, and we play more aggressive defensively and understand what we need to do offensively to make things easier for ourselves, we'll be in better shape."
On what opposing teams are doing to gum up the offense:
"Well, good defenses, they'll try to take away your first and second options, forcing you to go to your third and fourth one. That's what we need to understand. They might force Kobe into double teams and tougher shots and might force me to get rid of the ball in the post and make the extra pass, and that's what we need to do. Understand that's how we're going to free ourselves up, too."
Commentary: Again, Pau implies the ball isn't moving enough. One thing fans have to remember- he's not simply talking about shots. It's not a question of him saying "Get me 20 hoists a night." He's talking about moving the ball, keeping lots of hands on it, and working to use the totality of the team's skill. "Touches" and "shot distribution" aren't necessarily the same thing, yet are often used interchangeably.
It's a hard point to argue. If Gasol simply meant "I want more shots," his position would be far less compelling.
On any frustration building:
"We don't like losing. This team, with the players we have here and the coaching staff, we shouldn't lose the games we've lost lately."
On whether March represents the "dog days" of the season:
"March is to me a good time of year. Playoff focus starts to come in, and you start to see how teams are going to line up a little bit. Teams start playing at an elevated level. I don't think it's so much about dog days, I just think that the season is long and to do something a hundred times, there are more opportunities for you to have great times when you do it and not so great times when you don't do it well. That's what we're going through. We've still done it right 46 times and haven't done it right 18 times. That's still a pretty good percentage, and we'll keep fighting to get better."