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Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 at 9:20 am  |  49 responses

Mike D’Antoni Surprised By Kobe Bryant’s Passing and Playmaking


The Los Angeles Lakers won their third straight game last night, and once again, Kobe “Johnson” Bryant was in pass-first mode (racking up 11 assists and just 12 points.) Afterwards, head coach Mike D’Antoni admitted that he didn’t know Bryant could be such a force with the pass. Per the OC Register: “It was Bryant, who had 11 assists Tuesday night to cap the highest three-game assist output of his career (39 total) to encourage another night of feel-good sharing and winning for the Lakers. The Lakers beat the New Orleans Hornets, 111-106, for their third consecutive victory and to reach 20-25 for the season. They had 34 assists on their 39 field goals compared to New Orleans’ 21 on 39 field goals. ‘We have a bunch of guys now who can hit shots, not one or two,’ Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. The last time the Lakers won three consecutive games, they were relying on Bryant scoring at least 30 points every game. But Bryant has altered his method of attack after the initial plan for (Steve) Nash to be the one carving up defenses and setting up teammates fizzled — and Bryant’s teammates are responding. ‘I didn’t know Kobe could be so devastating that way,’ D’Antoni said.”

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  • He is in magic mamba mode for now…

  • Dagger

    To me the last three games are among the most impressive of Kobe’s career. When a scorer can dissect opposing defenses without scoring . . . that’s greatness.

  • Psycho8

    Never liked his game, but now I have no choice. It’s beautiful to watch. Reminds me of penny during his prime.
    Guys don’t misinterpret this and start a kobe vs penny debate!

  • Ugh

    I see D’Antoni admitted they’re not using a ‘system’ now, but ‘just playing basketball’ in these three wins.

    That’ll last 4 games in the playoffs.

  • Avery Smith

    The Black Mamba meets Magic Johnson.

    Introducing, Black Magic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509819249 Gaurav P.

    Why? I saw the game yesterday, they are essentially just reacting to the defense via passing. You don’t have to run a system to win basketball games, you just have to make the right basketball plays.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509819249 Gaurav P.

    Last night’s game was impressive. Earl Clark is killing it…was a bit disappointed to see Pau on the bench in crunch time, but the Lakers won so it doesn’t matter.

    Also, Kobe is quite precise with his passes. He would have had way more assists if Jamison and Meeks had knocked down a couple of wide open 3s he got them in the 4th.

  • http://twitter.com/thursti_tyht Thurstian Tsui

    So who’s going to jump back onto the Lakers bandwagon?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    D’Antoni has always said the same things about his system man. It’s cool that you are paying attention now and all, but some words to the media don’t prove anything.
    .
    They are running the exact same offense they ran in the last part of D’Antoni’s time in Phoenix. They are just shooting less 3′s – and finding higher % shots. It’s a small adjustment, within the same offense.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    they are running a system. they just aren’t running the SSOL offense that everyone is so familiar with. So D’Antoni just says it’s not a system, as it really is just some very simple principles.

  • i_ball

    Maybe not 4 games but no more than 6…

  • shockexchange

    This dude has obviously been studying “The Horry Jr Rules … Keys to Stopping Kobe Bryant” from the Shock Exchange.

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    It is impressive. The test will be will he stick with the script, and the question must be asked “Why not before?”

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    So what you’re saying is that it doesn’t matter what anyone says about the system or lack thereof, you say that they are running the same system based on what you’ve seen?
    So, the proof is basically “NBK says so and he knows more than you”?
    I mean, you have to see why this isn’t being received well.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    I have the same question.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509819249 Gaurav P.

    I think earlier in his career, he wanted to prove himself individually, so he did what he had to do to get his name out there. Post-Shaq, he wanted to be the man, so he wanted to get his numbers. 2008-2010 he did a great job of trusting his teammates to make the right play while also balancing his scoring.

    At this point in his career, with 5 rings under his belt, winning takes precedence. How do I know? Well, he tried to get his numbers earlier in the season but realized it wasn’t working for the team, so he adjusted his game to better suit the personnel because they were losing games.Kobe cares more about being seen as a winner than anything, and realizes that if the Lakers don’t make the playoffs, this team’s underachievement is going to be a spot on his career for fans to pinpoint.

    I’m not sure how long he will keep it up for, but Bean even passed the ball in the clutch yesterday. It was weird. The game sealing play was made by Jamison of all people.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    It wouldn’t be “nbk says so” if people actually paid attention. really, all it takes is the ability to watch basketball and know what you are seeing. If you want to chalk it up to me just seeing it and nobody else, that’s fine. whatever makes y’all happy. i’m just trying to relay good information, not my opinion.

    .

    Mike D’Antoni: – “i don’t have a system” —> http://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2013/1/29/3928720/nba-lakers-video-mike-dantoni-i-dont-have-a-system

    .

    The Lakers finished last nights game with 33 three point attempts, and 34 assists. Up from season averages of….24 three point attempts & 22 assists —-> indicative of a D’Antoni led offense.

    .

    Pau Gasol’s stat line last night was 7 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists. —> indicative of his role as “Boris Diaw” off the bench, especially if you watched and saw where he was playing in the offense (top of the key).
    .

    Earl Clark is out here playing Shawn Marion’s role in the offense —> 5 3pt attempts in 35 minutes, 12 rebounds, and the role as athletic defensive hybrid. —-> 2004-05 Shawn Marion played 38 minutes a game, shot 4.2 threes, averaged 11 rebounds, and started at Power Forward.
    .

    – Here is the Lakers shot chart, absent you will notice are mid range jumpshots. Instead, it’s all 3 pointers and shots in the lane. – indicative of a D’Antoni led offense, http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=400278389
    .
    This is the Suns offense. I recognize it. I watched it every other day for 5 years. This is one of those times where I am completely comfortable saying I trust my eye’s and memory over everyone else’s. And the data backs me up.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Chris Duhon, who ran D’Antoni’s offense for two seasons with the Knicks, likened it more to playing pickup. Kobe, of course, was able to sum it up more bluntly: “It’s not rocket science.”

    In other words, D’Antoni is keeping things simple.

  • z

    Well said. The only ppl still griping about mamba are haters. There’s just no other word for someone who cant appreciate what he’s doing currently

  • LakeShow

    Really? It’s pretty obvious. I can explain for you if you like.

  • LakeShow

    Well explained.

    Obviously it is going to look a little different, but this is definitely a D’Antoni system we’re seeing.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i just wish people paid attention. This is the 2nd day in a row i’ve had to explain that this is D’Antoni’s system. I’m not confused. Would you be confused watching a team play the triangle after all these years of watching the Lakers day in and day out? — I mean, is the question whether or not I actually pay attention? Really?

  • robb

    instincts vs. reason. I hope reason prevails.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    We all know how you are with Kobe and the Lakers. No need for you to explain anything.

  • LakeShow

    And we all know your prerogative.
    Kobe has had a lifetime of success playing his way. Fact.
    Why would you change your formula?
    You wouldn’t. Unless you are losing. KB hates losing. So much so, that he would give up the one thing you and others said he never would. His scoring.
    I wouldn’t think about changing my formula if I was KB either. Until now. They had no option, but to switch things up altogether. Nash is now the shooting guard and KB is the PG. Who woulda thought that was the key for success? No one.
    That’s why he didn’t do it sooner.
    Your welcome.

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    So did her purposely introduce a more complicated version of the same offense initially? Or, are you saying that Kobe was just screwing things up?
    Because it has to be one of those two, doesn’t it?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    from all of the comments i’m hearing from the players, it’s basically on Kobe for not even trying to fit in at first.
    .
    but the rest is on D’Antoni. he’s still being an idiot thinking Pau doesn’t work with Howard. When, since Kobe started being unselfish, has actually been a positive pairing (correct me if i’m wrong).
    .
    I mean, Nash/Pau/D’Antoni/Blake all said in the last few days that since Kobe started including everyone and playing unselfishly the team is more enthusiastic and engaged. It seems like even the Lakers player think it starts and ends with Kobe.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    What’s my prerogative? To be objective and not love all over Kobe like you do. Regardless of how you take it, that’s all I do. You’re still confused. No one is bashing your guy. I never have. Saying DWade is better than Kobe is bashing to you. Saying Duncan is the best player since Jordan is bashing to you. You think the Lakers past success is mainly because of Kobe shooting the ball so much? I disagree. Kobe’s individual success is because of his scoring ability. But his championships? He had great moments but those 99-02 teams belonged to Shaq. Fact. With his last 2 championships, he was the best player. Pau had great moments. Those championships were won because of Pau and Lamar along with their role players playing well despite of Kobe. There’s a reason why Kobe was so happy when Pau arrived. You still can’t wrap your mind around it. He was going to score regardless of if they won or lost. What put them over the top was Pau and Lamar. If he had changed how he played and been more willing to share the ball, Dr. Buss wouldn’t have decided that he had to trade Shaq. If he hadn’t have shot them out of the Finals in 03-04, Shaq may have been able to stick around. They could have won a few more championships. You say Kobe changed his game because they were losing and it wasn’t working. So how many games did they have to lose before he decided to change? They lost quite a bit. So much so that they will be a 7 or 8 seed at best in the Playoffs. Took him a while to make that decision, didn’t it? Who would have thought that Kobe passing more to guys named Dwight, Pau, and Steve would be the key for success? Almost everyone who spoke about it.

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    That can’t be correct. Per every Laker fan on here, Kobe was doing everything he could possibly do for the team and the other bums just wouldn’t fall in line.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    LOL. you know, they have always seemed so intelligent and rational too.

  • LakeShow

    So you always knew that Kobe should do the play making duties and Nash should be the spot up shooter?
    No you didn’t. Shut up.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    Who says “Shut up” in a comment section on a basketball website? Very child-like. You sound like you’re trying to defend your brother. Relax. It’s just a basketball player. I knew that Kobe should shoot less and pass more when this team was assembled. Very simple.

  • LakeShow

    I just really don’t care for your presence here.
    Nothing against your basketball IQ. Your knowledgeable.
    I just don’t like you, so I don’t mind being like a little child to you.
    My bad, i’ll try to stay away from your posts in the future.

    BTW, a top commenter’s name IS “shutup”, so it’s really not all that rare lol.

  • LakeShow

    What was that shooting guard thinking trying to score efficiently and do his typical passing and rebounding that he has done for the last millennium to earn himself NBA top 10 all time player recognition…. What in the worlddd man?? What a dummy that KB… doing what he has always done and expecting it to work.

    Pau’s terrible year, new coaching, Dwight’s surgery, overall team health, those all had nothing to do with the faulty start. Definitely Kobe’s fault.

  • z

    You are a handle jacker. I’m about to register with disqus thanks to you.

  • z

    Redd. That fool can’t argue to save his life so he gets childish like Lakeshow.

  • das

    I wouldn’t call shutup a top commenter.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    Who cares about what you care for? Who cares about who you like? lol. More comments that are very strange to say in a comment section that’s open to anyone. Poor kid has an issue whenever someone says something about your player or team that you don’t agree with or that isn’t 100% complimentary of him/them. And it’s not just me. I’ve seen you get very 2nd grade on other people who say things about Kobe and the Lakers that you disagree with.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    No man you are misunderstanding. We aren’t talking about why the Lakers struggled, we are talking about why D’Antoni’s offense wasn’t working

  • LakeShow

    Who cares if you don’t care for me not caring for you?

    I love it when people do the very thing they preach against.
    Hilarious.
    (2nd grade voice)Now get outta here you poopy pants.

  • LakeShow

    Basis of claim was strictly on # of comments elicited.

  • LakeShow

    I see that.
    Those are one in the same though man.
    Not completely tied together but virtually.
    I mean as much as this is his(D’Antoni’s) offense, players are playing different roles than they SHOULD be.
    Does it not make the most sense to have Nash play Nash in D’Antoni’s system, and have KB serve as Joe Johnson/Jason Richardson… ?
    Originally, that made the most sense to me.
    Made the most sense to D’Antoni.
    Made they most sense to you at the time. Right?
    Kobe was doing everything(almost… defense was obviously bad at moments) he could within what he thought he should be doing. He thought he should be the shooting guard he has always been, while having Nash be Nash. Makes sense. It just wasn’t working.
    If Kobe didn’t buy in neither did Nash, Pau, and Dwight to say the least.
    You seem to be saying that Kobe switching into a playmaker first is what he SOULD have done. Why? Raja Bell wasn’t a play maker. Neither was Joe Johnson, Richardson, or Barbosa. No SG has played play maker for D’Antoni’s teams in the past. Why is it now the “correct thing to do?”

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    I did say the biggest benefit for Kobe if he really is a student of the game like he seems will be that he is playing with the Hakeem of the pick and roll. But no, I didn’t say this needed to happen. But what we said beforehand is irrelevant, why are you bringing that up? How does that Kobe not wanting to change or realizing it justify him not figuring out that he needed to do it sooner? .
    The fact remains, the team is better mainly because of the way Kobe is playing. And that’s not just because its how Kobe is playing. It’s about how everyone else plays around Kobe while this is how he plays. Which sucks that they couldn’t play hard in spite of Kobe’s style, but it is what it is. You can’t really argue this man. It’s not why they were disappointing, but it is why they were extremely disappointing. .
    Kobe’s supreme individual performance, his most efficient ever was great, but it made literally nobody around him better in D’Antoni’s system. And now that he’s doing this, he’s making them so much better he looks like a top 4 player in the league again.

  • LakeShow

    How come this isn’t Nash’s fault?

    Why isn’t he at fault for not being able to do what he has always done with D’Antoni as his coach with this team?

    How come Dwight was not able to bring his defensive presence with him to LA? He has just as many if not more capable defenders around him?

    How come it’s not Pau’s fault for not being able to muster more than a 42% FG% as one of the best low post players in the game?

    That’s where i’m at.

    KB goes into triple double mode and people are asking what’s wrong with him for not doing it before……….

    Goll dam… That guy literally cannot catch a break.

    Why should he have gone into triple double mode earlier? I’m not so sure he could have or should have. It’s working today. Maybe not tomorrow. Nash needs to be this teams play maker. I can’t say that enough. KB has just bandaged a wound over the last three games, he hasn’t fixed the offense.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Come on Lake, you watch the team more than I do, you don’t know why Nash isn’t a ball dominant play creator? Really? Kobe is using 30% of the teams possessions at his LOWEST. There is no way Nash can be the Nash everyone wanted him to. I thought in order for it to happen it would allow Kobe to be more lethal – but he ended up still killing ball movement and needing the ball as much as possible. Nash can’t be that Nash with Kobe. It just doesn’t mesh like that, no knock on either player. Their needs in order to most productive are just too similar. .
    And I just said he’s not the reason they were disappointing…you read that right? Obviously there are other factors, but he is the staple, it’s HIS team. It’s HIS job to be the guy who figures out what they need. And frankly (just like you said “why after all this success is it on him to change”) it’s remarkable that he did.

  • LakeShow

    I’ll get back to this tomorrow. Clocking off at work, means clocking off at SLAM. Have a good night man.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    You two bud

  • dealcoke

    True. He does defensive about Kobe as if someone called his mom a Bavarian town wh*re. Count me amongst those who think it’s weird.

  • Yi-Cheng Chen

    Kobe has no way to go now… so he has to sacrifice. That’s more like a leader.

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