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System? I don't have no stinking system!

Posted by on Jan 29, 2013 in Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Lakers Analysis, Lakers News, Lakers Video, Mike D'Antoni |

Monday brought plenty of chatter regarding different forms of quasi-mutiny after a weekend of games — successful games! — in which the Lakers appeared to go away from Mike D”Antoni”s offensive system.

No question, a few things looked different, starting with Kobe Bryant controlling much of the offensive flow, as opposed to Steve Nash. And there wasn”t much fast breakin”, either. 93 possessions against the Thunder was L.A.”s fourth lowest total in their last 15. As Kobe and Dwight Howard noted Sunday afternoon, they played closer to the basket. ¬†On the other hand, just as it was Friday the Lakers piled up assists. 29 in 41 field goals. They moved without the ball, cut decisively, showed excellent spacing, and so on.

All stuff D”Antoni has been preaching. So I asked him Monday how he had adjusted his system over the last two games.

“You know what, it”s funny,” he said. “I don”t have a system. I”m just trying to win games, and you try to figure out your talent. The only system I got is you take good shots and move the ball. I think every coach wants the same thing. Anybody can do X”s and O”s. Just get a book and read about X”s and O”s. But it”s the chemistry, it”s the players getting into the right spots, it”s making quick decisions. It”s all the stuff that goes on between the players. I”ve got to give them credit. They came together.”

Many wrote today the Lakers were successful, but weren”t running “your stuff.”

“Yeah,” he said, “but I don”t think we were running anybody”s stuff. We weren”t doing anything. I”m not stuck on — I”m stuck on good basketball, and whatever it takes. You can run whatever you want. You can run a flop, you can run elbow, you can run corners, you can run pick-and-rolls, you can run whatever. If you don”t have good ball movement and good spacing and quick decisions, you”re not going to be very good.”

From there, he noted how everyone needs to understand and feel comfortable in his role. The moral of D”Antoni”s story, though, is that he”s pushing principles more than a rigid, more dogmatic series of sets.

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D'Antoni: Don't call Kobe passing up points "sacrifice"

Posted by on Jan 27, 2013 in Kobe Bryant, Lakers Analysis, Mike D'Antoni, Opinion |

Kobe Bryant took only 10 shots in Friday”s badly-needed-in-the-way-drowning-men-need-oxygen win over the Jazz at Staples, but was a huge factor in the Lakers” offense. 14 assists, one off his career high.

While the “Kobe doesn”t pass!” meme is unquestionably fiction and overplayed by his detractors, watching him play facilitator to the extent he did against Utah is certainly not the norm. Still, it was warmly welcomed by his teammates. “Kobe”s facilitating, I think, is always a big plus for this team. Especially with the kind of players we have. If the main guy, the scoring machine, shares the ball, finds the open guy, makes the right play offensively, it energizes all of us and gives us a better chance to sustain our effort and our energy on the defensive end, too,” Pau Gasol said.

Not that anyone should expect Bryant — or anyone, really — to drop 14 dimes a night, but overall it”s a mindset from which the Lakers could benefit. This year, they don”t need Kobe”s scoring in the same way they need the rest of his skill set, whether setting a tone defensively or helping move the ball in the way Mike D”Antoni”s system demands.

And should Kobe leave points on the table, don”t call it a sacrifice. Asked Saturday at practice whether less scoring should be categorized as such, D”Antoni said absolutely not, as ESPNLA”s Dave McMenamin notes:

“If you win, is it really a sacrifice or is it, “Yeah, you played the right way?” ” D”Antoni said after practice Saturday. “I don”t know if it was a sacrifice, is all, but (Bryant) set the tone. There”s no doubt about it. He played like Oscar Robertson played back in the day — 14 assists, nine rebounds, and he got easy shots all over the place. Some nights it”s 14 points, some nights it”s 30 points, but he”ll read the defense.”

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