Byron Scott Screwed Up in a Number of Ways in the Last Play (Lakers vs. Grizzlies)

I don’t have time to write too much, but wanted to comment on that last play in last night’s game between Lakers and Grizzlies. The bottom line is, Coach Scott screwed up in more ways than one.

The first way he screwed up was to not call a time out. Now, I understand the GENERAL argument for not calling time out so you don’t give the defense a chance to set up. But if I remember correctly, that play didn’t occur out of transition anyway. I recall that it came out of the Grizzlies being unable to inbound the ball. So Lakers got the ball out of bounds. So the defense was already set up anyhow. So that GENERAL argument for not calling timeout does not apply to this situation. But aside from that, there are plenty of other reasons to call timeout in this SPECIFIC situation. To me, in this SPECIFIC situation, calling timeout was a NO BRAINER for a number of reasons!

There are lots of things they needed to discuss, such as whether or not it makes sense to go for 2 points or 3 points to tie the game. In this situation, with 37 seconds left in the game down by 3 points, it’s not a NO BRAINER that you would ONLY go for 3 points to tie the game. You could consider going for an easy two points, if the defense won’t let you get off a three. Not saying that going for a quick 2 points is the way to go, but I’m saying that it’s something that needs to be discussed–especially since this team is all new to one another and they’re also new to the coach. And it’s also the first time they’ve been in this situation in the regular season together. So lots of firsts. Nothing can be taken for granted in this situation. They need to be discussed in a time out.

Also, if the Lakers want to go for 3 points, they really need to draw up a special play to get 3-point shooters open. The Lakers are not the Warriors. They can’t just get a 3-pointer whenever they want. In the game vs. Grizzlies, they Lakers only have ONE legitimate 3-point threat and that’s Jeremy Lin. They can’t just waltz past the half court after inbounding the ball and somehow get a good look at a 3-pointer, because that’s not really in the Lakers’s game plan. They needed to call a timeout to draw up a play specifically to get a 3-pointer if that was their intention.

Aside from not calling time out, there is one even bigger consequential error that Scott committed that concerns me even more greatly than him not calling time out. That mistake is that Scott simply just wanted to play Kobe iso ball on every possession in crunch time–even in the instance when they possibly needed a 3-pointer. That is a huge and very concerning mistake. Lin was their best 3-point option last night and all Scott wanted Lin to do is pass the ball to Hill, screen for Kobe and then let Kobe jack up a contested 3-pointer. That was the play that Scott wanted Lin to run, but couldn’t visually communicate it to Lin.

I don’t blame Lin for misinterpreting Scott, because Scott ran that same exact damn play the last two or three possessions in a row. Are you fucking kidding me?! He wants to run that same damn play again with the game on the line? (You actually get paid for this shit?!) That was a very low odds play for that type of situation.

If Scott wants to win, rather than just be lazy and play Kobe iso ball, Scott should have done a little thinking. Call timeout and come up with a play, using Kobe as a decoy. That would have been the smart thing to do. Since Kobe commands so much respect and had been going iso for all of crunch time, why not draw up a play where it looks like the Lakers want to just give the ball to Kobe and let Kobe go iso again, but instead, the real intention of the play is to free up Lin wide open behind the arch for Kobe to pass it to Lin. That would have been a high-odds play. And the fact that this type of play didn’t even cross Scott’s mind is what is the most troubling about that last play to me.

The biggest problem is that Scott isn’t going to change and so Kobe has no reason to not want the ball and go iso in those situations. Granted, Kobe is probably the best closer in the game, but it’s a huge mistake to just give the ball to Kobe and let everyone stand around and watch him work. And it’s negligent as a coach to completely misuse your best three-point shooter (who’s also proven to be clutch) in last night’s end-of-game situation. Lin shouldn’t be the one screening for others, he should be the one running off screens! This type of insane logic pisses me off!

It just infuriates me why Lin is, once again, with YET ANOTHER coach who’s a complete moron when it comes to end-of-game situations. Why don’t these fucking coaches just use their damn brains?! I’m pissed off writing this. Why do these guys have jobs coaching if they can’t figure simple stuff like this out?! This stuff pisses me off.

Not gonna go into the game too much, cause I don’t have time. But overall, I thought the Lakers looked very good last night on both ends of the floor. To come back from being down 17 points in the 4th to the best defensive team in the NBA on the road is incredible. The fact that the Lakers were able to do that says a lot about this team. My only complaint (and this is a big one) is that they took a step back in how they played Lin. Lin hardly got any screens and hardly got the ball back after he passed it. I’ve been tweeting both Kobe and Lin pointing out this glaring coaching error.

It seems like every team Lin goes to, the coach (except D’Antoni) completely ignores the fact that he’s one of the best PnR players. Every other team seems to constantly set picks for their point guards, even though their point guards are no where near as good as Lin at the PnR. Lin has to constantly fight through screens when defending opposing point guards. But opposing point guards rarely have to worry about screens at all when defending Lin.

It’s almost as if there’s a concerted effort to not give Lin screens and it’s totally baffling to me. I don’t know if it’s a function of Lin not being vocal enough and telling his coach that he needs screens (maybe because he doesn’t want to go impose himself onto the the coach’s offensive system). Or I don’t know if Lin is avoiding doing PnRs, because it reminds him too much of Linsanity. So I’m not sure if this is Lin’s fault or if it’s the coaches fault. Either way, it needs to be fixed if the Lakers want to win games. I just don’t know how it’ll get fixed, because I just don’t see PnRs in the Lakers game plan.

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  • MrPingPong

    You said it all, Philosopher. BS inaptitude as a coach is beginning to show.

    As noted by Dr. Teng , BS owes Kobe big time for this coaching job, so he has to let Kobe do whatever Kobe wants. The whole offense strategy is let Kobe do the shooting! I just don’t see any change coming soon!

    Switching topic to the Pels game tonight… I missed the first quarter. What I saw was rather frustrating. There was no ball movement at all with Kobe jacking up shots and Lin going standing in a corner. I try to look for positives but can’t find any. Sad story!

    • Dr. Gary Teng

      Mr. Philosopher King,

      I feel your pain. But please clam down.

      I am pretty positive that you have heard this expression before: “It’s not who you know, it’s who you blow.”

      This translates into that I believe both Kobe and BS want to win badly. But, at least for the time being, Kobe’s top priority is to surpass MJ as the 3rd highest scorer in the NBA history, and BS’ is to make Kobe well-fed and happy all the time. Therefore, short of some miracles (or God’s grace), our collective disappointment and frustration will go on in the foreseeable future. Be prepared!

      Professor MrPingPong,

      I am NOT a conspiracy theorist.

      Nevertheless, I tend to believe that BS on-purposely tries mighty hard not to put Davis and Lin on the court at the same time for one simple (political) reason — this dynamic duo is too lethal and productive to Kobe’s liking.

      Basketball used to be fun to watch. But lately, watching Lakers’ games has become a sadomasochistic self-torture and self-flagellation. 🙁

      BTW: Because of Kobe, I have stopped devouring Kobe steak lately. This difficult but courageous decision will benefit both my pocket and my health in the long run. I have to give Kobe some credit for this.

      • MrPingPong

        Dr. Teng, you are what the French would call “un bon vivant”, chomping on Kobe steak and bathing in Dom Peri. I envy you! 🙂

        I came back to watch the NBA because Lin brought fun back to the game. But Lakers basketball at this point is anything but fun. The smile is gone from Lin. In fact, nobody but Kobe is having fun playing ball out there. I thought Kobe was a smart guy who knew how to play ball to win. But ball hogging, volume shooting, forcing contested shots after contested shots! Sad story!

        • Dr. Gary Teng

          Oh là là! un bon vivant…

          The sad truth is that those kind of things (i.e., chomping on Kobe steak and bathing in Dom Peri) only occur in my dreams after watching the Lakers games and taking my daily dose of anti-depressant pills thereafter. 🙁

          Class resumes now — Introductory Psychology 101

          We are witnessing the prototypical self-fulfilling prophecy live now.

          Kobe: He truly believes that his teammates are chumps and pushovers. He therefore mercilessly runs them over.

          Teammates: Sensing this, they are dejected, dispirited, discontented, discomposed, etc. They lose their focus and motivation while playing with Kobe on court. They spend too much time instead as spectators watching Kobe’s one-dog doggie show. Consequently, they are not performing up to their true talents and potentials.

          Kobe: Pounding his hairy chest and screaming silently to himself, “Look! What a smart ass I am! They are indeed a bunch of up-to-no-good softies and pussies. So why should I even both to throw any leftover dog bones to them?!”

          Teammates: Sensing this, they are further demoralized…

          To borrow a famous quote from John Bright, “Kobe is a self-made man and worships his creator.”

  • Steven Ko

    Come on. We all know Kobrick (Mr. One-Point Per Shot) is the real coach and he only wants to win if he’s the reason the Lakers are succeeding. This is a joke situation for Jeremy. If he was still in H-town, at least he would be playing for a playoff team. His usage rate is even lower here than in H-town. Sad. BS is just a puppet and nothing more. Hope JLin can hook up with the Cavs or Spurs or Mavs next season. Another year of JLin’s prime wasted. Sucks man. Are you still positive on Kobrick?

  • Chirico

    Thank you guys for these great posts. Just want to have a little forecast probing here. There must be an endurance threshold to this, from Lakers managements perspective. It seems that the days of BS job as lakers coach, aka puppet show, is numbered if the duo keeps doing this(one man army show and blame the defense). I know they cant afford to let go of Kobe, but Wait until they are in a muddy situation like 3/30 this season and someone needs to do something about it. To me, BS got one more week to go. Two strikes!
    I hope this helps you calm down a little, Mr. Philosopher.

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