I am not here to make a great, tumid judgment call on LMA and his future. I'm not going to advocate a trade, a benching, more minutes, less minutes, or even a new coach.
I just thought I saw something in the last few road games and I wanted to see if anyone else saw it too.
In the last three road games, I've been pretty happy with LMA on the defensive end. He's going for blocks, getting rebounds, etc. His defense seems sound to my untrained eye. His offense looks good...
... that is, his offense looks good in the first three quarters generally speaking.
In the fourth quarters of the last few games, I swear it seems like LMA is a little bit afraid to shoot the ball. Like he's not looking for his offense even a little tiny bit. Almost as if he's eager to defer to Roy and even Fernandez.
In the Atlanta game, before Rudy made his awesome little turnaround jumper (with just a leeeetle bit of travel) I was shouting at the screen the first few possessions for LMA to take the shot. He'd come out top and not even glance at the basket where in the first few quarters I'd be expecting a jumper or a drive.
In the New Orleans game... same sort of story. I remember crying at the TV just begging LMA to look for a little O... but it didn't happen. We got Rudy and Roy pushing... and they couldn't come through that game. The only shot I remember LMA taking is the baseline 3-pointer. I know he missed it but I was happy to see him take it. That's sort of his game. (But a little part of me now remembers that the shot was short... a sign of nerves, pundits will tell me at halftime shows.)
Then in the MN game--and I'm looking for it now--in the fourth quarter, it seemed to me like LMA was very eager to defer to Roy and Rudy in the 4th quarter. Even Outlaw.
I strolled through the game message board. I saw charming comments (from blzrfan with several comments like this) "Maybe LMA will get his head out of his butt" and (from tweener) "Buck up LMA we need something" and (from odiferous emanations 74) "I wish LA were playing tonight. We could use him" (from norsktroll) "LMA and Rudy are non-factors so far (with about 6min to go).
What was really intersting is that there was a resounding, echoing silence regarding any LMA in the 4th quarter. Plenty of chatter about Oden, Rudy, Roy, and Outlaw. Nothing for LMA but these plaintive mentions.
So I'm wondering... does anyone else have this suspicion that LMA doesn't want the ball in the 4th quarter? If so, is that ok given we have Roy, Rudy, and Outlaw all eager to take those shots? Or am I wrong?