Lakers News: Magic Johnson Questions Lakers Defense vs. Bulls

Lakers News: Magic Johnson Questions Lakers Defense vs. Bulls

Magic is Not Joking Around
Magic is Not Joking Around

The Lakers lost to the Chicago Bulls last night in heartbreaking fashion. After battling to push the game into overtime, the Lakers would tie the game at 100 thanks to a Nick Young’s baseline jumper. All that was left was to get one last stop and the game would head to a second extra period.

We all know what happened next as Taj Gibson got free for a wide open layup at the buzzer and the Lakers failed to run their winning streak to three. The Lakers were clearly disappointed with the outcome, but they weren’t the only ones. Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, no stranger to voicing his opinion about the Lakers, took to twitter with his disappointment:

The Lakers defensive struggles this season are no secret. They currently rank next to last in the entire NBA in points allowed, third worst in turnovers, and dead last in rebounds allowed. With the amount of injuries the Lakers have suffered this year, it is no surprise that defense has not been their strong suit.

As one of the greatest Lakers to ever don the purple and gold, and someone who has a considerably large platform to voice his opinion, Johnson is a voice that holds a lot of weight in the Lakers community. Johnson clearly cares about the Lakers franchise and wants the team to improve as quickly as possible.
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  • Lakers Fan

    Can’t say whether I agree or disagree with Magic. On one hand, we have been awful on defense all year(outside of last night). That last play was a simple mistake that unfortunately cost us the game. If Pau hadnt of been trynna do too much and caused 3 key turnovers, we wouldnt have been in the situation to start off with. If he is gonna criticize anything, it should be why Pau stopped the ball from moving and cause 3 crucial turnovers. Magic is also one of the greatest to ever play the game, and his passion and love for the Lakers is second to none. So I understand his frustrations.

    But on the other hand, he has to realize what we are working with here. We are full of injuries, a team full of cast outs trying to resurrect a bustful career so far, and the expectations are extremely low. Why add fuel to the fire? I think Magic needs to become more of a mentor to these players instead of criticize them. A good word from one of the greatest point guards to ever play the game can go a long way with such a young, inexperienced team like ours.

    • tlmang

      Magic has always been critical of the Lakers. Always take his with a grain of salt!

    • C*HarrisTHEboss


    • GM Jack

      He is the Greatest players in modern times.

      It is hard for him to see players of lesser light, why they do not get it.

    • nlruizjr

      he wasn’t directing his criticism towards the players, directing it towards the coaches.

    • Joseph Apohen

      Can’t you find anyone else to blame besides Pau? What more can the man do? He played a great game. My question is, why is Harris have more minutes than Wesley Johnson? Is he hurt? With 0.9 seconds left why not Kaman or Hill play the middle to attempt to block shots and crowd the lane. Harris has no business being in the lineup at that time, unless you’re tanking the season. Johnson is one the better defenders the Lakers have.

    • Joseph Apohen

      I don’t think Magic is criticizing the players. I think he is more disappointed with the coaches decision, which I thought was terrible with 0.9 seconds left.

  • Jack

    Lakers fans worldwide question the lakers defense every time they play. No article hear.

    • Jim213

      Nothing to question here as this has been a problem since week 1.

      • kobe24

        Agreed,sometimes though I wish Johnson would come and help the Lakers guys out like one of the guys above said be a (mentor) send some shutouts encourage the guys instead of criticism

        • Rhondel

          But what do you really expect him to do? Come on the court and coach? I understand what you are saying but correcting defense is the responsibility of the coaching staff. It’s not realistic to expect him to come on the court and start coaching defense. And giving advice about defense won’t help.

    • hookedonnews

      Actually they played some pretty good defense in this game. Their half-court defense has been decent for a while. Their main problem has been fast break points in the paint that mostly result from too many turnovers. No one is saying they are a top defensive team, but if you look at the stats their half-court defense is in the middle of the pack.

      • Dragon7s

        Don’t confuse people with the facts. They won’t have anything to rant about if they actually look at them. 😉

  • Sanford

    2013 playoff eastern conference final game 1, lebron socre a layup against the leagues best defensive team Pacers

    • Ttkin

      Thats comparing lebron james to taj gibson tho

  • LakersHeatBeef

    The Lakers defense is garbage.The Post defense is a big let down.

    • Teo

      What do you expect with Pau anchoring the middle? Dude will get you 20pts alright, but he gives it up on the the end with his lack of rim protection. When the ball handler see Pau in the middle, his eyes just light up like its Xmas morning.

      • Joseph Apohen

        Pau just can’t do anything good with you guys.

  • john cox

    Magic is right,and any fan ,or talking head that thinks they know more than him?wake up…
    Its all jim buss and mike no d-tonni..
    WHY put in the least experienced player harris at the most important moment??DUH
    and get 4 million a year for that nonsense ??
    Fire that Bum NOW….!!!!!!!!

    • Ttkin

      It was either harris or marshall…and dj just scored 27 pts w marshall guarding him. I agree w the sub, disagree w the defensive scheme

      • Joseph Apohen

        Agree with the sub? It was terrible. What’s wrong with Wes Johnson instead of Harris? The guy just joined the team and already he has more minutes than Johnson, Kaman, and Hill!!! I don’t get it. One night Johnson scores 20 somthing point, block the shot of a guy about to make a layup.and the next night he
        is on the bench.

    • Marlowe Howard

      For real! Jim Buss has screwed the Lakers up, I’m a “LAKER FOR LIFE”, this is the worst I’ve seen since the early 90’s. Earvin was right, 2 horrible coaching dicisions in Mike “Cleveland” Brown & Mike no “D” D’Antoni. Should have sent Howard packing b4 last year’s trade deadline, but let him walk and got nothing for him! This is the Lakers Dr. Buss knew that! We get the best! The best players, the best coaches; Dr Buss was smart he put people in place that knew the NBA and he just signed the checks. Jim is seemingly trying to do it “his way” and it ain’t working! We’re your drowning… you better yell for help quick!….

  • Kracken

    you know, you can let this one go. at least they played very well all throughout, they played with heart and determination.

    with that said, taj’s man on that play is manny harris. really, the guy just came from the d-league and is maybe lost in the defensive rotation.

    • hookedonnews

      Harris is not the one who didn’t rotate over.

      • Kracken

        I’m pretty sure it was harris… he was looking towards the middle while taj cuts to the basket. pau is on the inbounder, and kelly was on noah. but if you have evidence then i’m going to concede. :)

        • hookedonnews

          Harris was guarding Taj. When he got by him someone was supposed to rotate over and pick him up and they didn’t.

          • Kracken

            why would they rotate it wasnt a kickout situation. harris was reading the play all wrong and he got beat by a half step. if someone would rotate over it will leave another man open and so on.

          • hookedonnews

            Because that’s the way team defense works. You don’t let someone have a clear path to the basket without moving over and trying to help.

          • Kracken

            it wasn’t a switch or a blow by situation. situations like that you have to defend your man up, face him up or put him on your back. if someone rotates over to defend the cutting gibson, someone else will get free. Harris fault is he read the play wrong and that shouldnt be blamed on some else. Actually, D’Antoni’s decision to keep Harris there is questionable in the first place.

          • hookedonnews

            Why don’t you read or listen to what D’Antoni said about the play? If you rotate over and someone else gets free that’s no guarantee he’s going to get the ball or score. If you don’t rotate over they’re going to score for sure. You can debate about whether Harris was in the correct position, but there’s no doubt that someone should have tried to help out once Gibson got by him.

    • Joseph Apohen

      Again my reply to that is why does Harris have more minutes than Wesley Johnson, Hill, or Kaman. Any of those three guys should have been there in place of Harris.


    If they question about their defense, it’s all because of the coach .

    • hookedonnews

      They have a defensive coach–Kurt Rambis. And the coach is not the one on the floor who has to rotate and cover the guy breaking to the basket.

      • nlruizjr

        sorry but KR is no defensive coach !!!!!

        • hookedonnews

          I couldn’t say whether Rambis is a good defensive coach, but some people seem to think he is. As I said, they played pretty good defense in this game. To have a good defensive team you need good defensive players. The best 2 perimeter defenders (Blake & Farmar) are out, and other than Wesley Johnson I can’t think of anyone else on the team that’s an outstanding defender. That’s the reason you need good team defense. Eliminating turnovers and the run-outs that result from that will help the defense.

  • jayjay

    dont know if this should have come as a surprise we all know d antoni’s style of coaching doesnt include defense.

    • Dragon7s

      The Lakers actually played very good defense right up until 0.9 seconds left in OT.
      Gasol was active down low and players were rotating to help.

      Getting tired of so many people saying MDA doesn’t coach defense.
      You won’t get to stay coaching in the NBA if you don’t coach both sides of the ball and MDA’s been around a long time.

  • Connector

    I just wish Magic would shut the f##k up! I don’t care what he thinks. Besides, I don’t need his observations to know that the Fakers have no D.

  • sicktiredth

    Ownership and coaching changes could fix the simple problems, get rid of D’Antoni and let Jeannie Buss run the team with her arena of vetted professionals. Little jimmie needs to bow out and lose the ego!

  • Las Vegas Laker Fan

    I’m tired of hearing about all the injuries and listening to Mike D’Antoni make the same excuses night after night. Afterall these are all NBA quality players and the elite in the world of basketball. Not playing defense is effort not excuses. In fact when you are short handed you must push yourself to play tougher defense. Just look at the Bulls. They lost as much as Lakers in Rose and Deng plus not bringing back Nate Robinson. The Lakers are so worried about getting tired and not each getting ther share of 3’s they rest on defense to have energy on offense just as their coach wants. Jordan HIll is a perfect example of a defense guy that should start but seldom does because he plays shut down protect the rim defense. This all started with Mike being chosen by Mitch Kupchek and Jim Buss over Phil Jackson and as a Laker fan my heart breaks with every career high set by an oponent player. It is going be difficult to attract Super Stars with a mediocre coach

    • hookedonnews

      If they’re resting on defense it’s not because they are being coached to do that. Jordan Hill is a great rebounder, but I wouldn’t call him an outstanding defender. The bench is just as important as the starters on this team. I think you would be surprised at how many players want to play for Mike D’Antoni. The Bulls were a great defensive team to begin with because that is where they put the emphasis, and they have the players for it. And no, the Bulls haven’t lost as much as the Lakers. Kobe alone is almost worth all 3 of those players. And maybe the Bulls still play good defense, but they’re not going anywhere this season either. Injuries matter. You can pretend that a team with 5 of its best players out should be able to win against teams who have all or 90% of their best players on the court, but that’s just not the way it works.

  • Tlmang

    Duh! Thanks for the obvious! Laker’s defense has been in question for years! And the Lakers are not the only team that would let that happen… Just look on youtube and you can find plenty of teams that have been beaten at the last second on a dunk, layup or unguarded 3 pointer!

  • hookedonnews

    I thought this was a cheap shot, and just one in a long line of less than helpful comments from Magic Johnson. They played good defense all night. What I don’t like is the “only the @Lakers” part of it. Really? We’re the only team who have ever been scored on in that way? These guys played a good game, and as I’ve said before, this play wasn’t the only reason they lost. Gasol’s 2 turnovers were just as big a factor. I would like to see Magic make a comment just once that was supportive of this team. There are a lot of good things that have gone on this season–the play of Nick Young, Kendall Marshall, Ryan Kelly, etc. Thanks for kicking us when we’re down.

    • Natingwong

      You’re right. But I guess Magic like alot of Lakers fans still thinks that bringing back PJ will solve all the problem when they were never a top defensive team under PJ. Its just that they slowed the game to a crawl to keep the score down for both teams. I think also Magic have more beef with Jim Buss cause he felt like he got forced out of the Lakers, he doesn’t have many good things to say since he sold his shares and bought the Dodgers.

    • Dragon7s

      Agreed, especially about Gasol’s two turnovers except I would say that they were a bigger factor.
      If he doesn’t turn the ball over (or force that bad shot with 4 open Lakers on the perimeter), that inbounds play wouldn’t have mattered.

      Once again, Magic opens his mouth and puts his big foot in it.
      Loved him as a player, hate him as a commenter/commentator.

      • nlruizjr

        once again MD, is playing Gasol to many min. , why isn’t he using a proven replacement in K. Kaman, instead he lets Gasol play and in the 4th qtr. Gasol is tired and makes turnovers, time and time again but MD just doesn’t understand that !!!!!!!

        • Dragon7s

          Gasol played great up until that point.
          Was it because he played too many minutes and hit the wall physically or is it because he’s not good at making decisions under pressure?
          Given his play in regulation, I have to opt for the latter.

  • cesar

    Everyone Should you agree with what magic said.The Lakers have the worst defense in the NBA. The fans are frustrated and nobody wants to watch him play anymore. Unless the get rid off Mike D’Antoni the Lakers are not going anywhere. It is time to let him go. By the way, Jim Buss should turn the team over to his sister. He has done enough damage.

  • Aaron Burr

    when Magic speaks, Jim Buss, Mike D’Antoni and the entire Laker organization should be listening. I know i would be.

  • killer63

    But in the meantime, these players are learning bad habits under Pringles – habits that will take years to undo.