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Extra! Extra! (12.11)

If third quarters were report cards, the one the Lakers had in Sunday night's 106-99 win over the D_on_duncan Spurs was one worthy of prime refrigerator real estate, if not framing (as opposed to the kind you skip school to swipe out of the mailbox before your parents get home... not that we know anything about that).  Especially since it came only days after Phil Jackson declared that his bunch wasn't ready to hang with the likes of San Antonio.  Don't tell that to Gregg Popovich, who said his team folded during a third frame in which the Lakers forced nine turnovers, scored 37 points, and generally put more pressure on the Spurs than a mob heavy collecting for the boss.  Did they expose some serious San Antonio flaws in the processThe box shows Kobe Bryant, who wasn't going to sit this one out, led the way- go figure- but he didn't work alone, a good thing for the Lakers.  Walton and Odom came up big, as did Kwame Brown (in the second half, at least) as the Lakers stayed at the top of the Pacific.

Don't count out A.I. in L.A. (but seriously, don't spend a lot of time counting him in, either).  And don't be afraid to pre-order this fine bit of entertainment.  Un-Cut and outrageous?  Just one would have been enough!

 
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I want to let everyone know that Eva Longoria is OK. After losing the bet her and I had (Lakers win, she dumps Parker), she dumped Parker after the game. Needless to say she was a little depressed since she had actually grown some-what attached to the young French fruitcake. Being the good citizen that I am, I held Eva and consoled her in her time of need. She is doing much better this morning and will soon get over having to dump Parker. We appreciate all of your condolences and get-well cards.

I still can’t get over that cereal incident involving Bynum. It got me thinking and trying to draw comparisons between how the Lakers are handling Socks, and how the Wizard handled Kwame. Bynum is obviously in a situation where he is being nurtured and developed. Rambis couldn’t help but smile when he found Bynum eating cereal because he got light-headed. As Kurt explained, Bynum is still a child and has a lot to learn about life, let alone basketball. He understands that there will be growing pains, and he can laugh at the subtle occurrences, such as Bynum sitting on the trainer’s table eating Fruit Loops.

What would have happened if that was Kwame when he was a rookie?

You have to believe that Jordan and Collins would have lit into the kid and harassed him until he broke down. It seems that no one understood that Kwame was still a teenager. Having grown up in a small town in the South he needed time to grow as a man, not just a basketball player. Obviously, no one within the Wizards organization saw that as the case. Luckily, Kwame has landed in a situation where he is being encouraged to grow.

The again, not many organizations have some guy named “Cap” providing the mentoring.

**REPOST**

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/powerranking

Lakers up one to #5
Suns on top
Lakers kept Spurs from the top spot

We've beaten 3 out of the top 4 teams through 20 games. The fourth one is Dallas.

The Spurs got rattled in the 3rd but they shot the ball extremely well. Hard to remember them shooting that well and losing.

Because their inside game is so good, when they shoot lights out from range it's usually a chalk up W . But we beat them inside, all night. I wouldn't be surprised if that wasn't one of the secrets Phil was talking about. This team now knows they can control the paint against the best in a league where few teams can.

THE JACKSON JOURNAL: 20th Game – San Antonio Spurs (14-6)
By Michael C. Teniente

A thumb’s up for Phil Jackson!

KEY OBSERVATION

QUOTE FROM LAMAR ODOM

"I think that's the best defensive quarter I've played in as a Laker," said Odom, in his third season with the team. "It was just effort, energy, rotating, talking. We got our hands on so many passes. That was the difference tonight."

Now that was some serious D! Props to the whole team!

What makes it so impressive was that the Spurs shot .514 from the field and hit 12 of 23 three pointers. Usually you play a team tight, you say something like this: If you can beat us with the three pointers, you deserve the game. Usually when you play a team tight and they hit the outside shot, not necessarily the three pointers, you say this: you deserve the game. Tonight our D transcended both of those ideas. That is hardcore! But that brings up the question. What the “F” happened against New Orleans?

2nd OBSERVATION

The 2nd unit played big in the first half. The 1st unit played big in the 2nd half. What more can you ask for from your team? Speaking of team. This is a team. Contributions from all the players!

3rd OBSERVATION

I guess I have to back peddle on Luke Walton. He’s playing great! He looks good out there finishing plays and it’s paying off. Big ups for Luuuuuuuuuuukkkkkkkkkkkkeeeeeeeeeee! A Walton for sure, without doubt!

4th OBSERVATION

Bynum’s big defensive game in the 1st half. The young man is improving. It’ll be one of the keys to the season.

5th OBSERVATION

Kwame Brown’s snagging a rebound away from Duncan and dunking the ball! He came from the weak side and created an impact moment. LOL! That’s what it’s all about. It was a backbreaker!

6th OBSERVATION

I haven’t forgotten about Kobe and Lamar. What you see is what we get. It’s the other players who have to contribute on consistent bases for us to be successful.

NOTES:

OK, the Texas connection is on its way. Yao Ming? I remember our last game against Houston. Kwame Brown had a heck of a night trying to keep Yao Ming out of the paint. He did an excellent job but Yao Ming was just hitting shots. Nothing you can do about that. We won the game anyway.

There’s nothing you can really do against Ming but try to keep him out of the lane and hope he misses the 10 footers. It’s all we can ask for. But this would be a great game to take advantage of Bynum while Ming is out of the game. But it’s not really about Kwame against Ming or Bynum against Ming. It’s about the team defense that will lead us to victory.

I heard that PJ had told the team that it doesn’t matter where you play if you’re playing basketball right. And it shouldn’t matter. It’s all about energy. That is how you play basketball right. With energy, especially on the defensive end of the game, is what it’s all about.

I don’t know but, to me, when a team plays with defensive energy somehow, someway…it leads to points. I sometimes think that the universe rewards the positive energy that is being put out. I wonder why? I think it’s because it’s rooted in what we term as: Doing the right thing. When you do the right thing, it seems that you put yourself in harmony with the elements of the universe. Once you’re in harmony with the universe…it creates opportunity for you to succeed. Call me crazy…but it seems to work. I wonder what PJ thinks about that? A little PHILosophy 101? LOL!

I know! I know! It’s only basketball but it’s still part of the creation so it’s subjected to the laws of the universe, too. LOL! Pure energy is the most powerful thing that exists. Applied in basketball…the sky is the limit.

We had 11 turnovers in the 1st half and we down by 2 at halftime. We had 6 turnovers in the 2nd half and we outscore the Spurs by 9 points. It’s not that we can’t put the ball in the hole. It’s about playing disciplined ball!

We missed 5 free throws. All by Kwame Brown. Dang, if the guy would have hit just 3 of them he would have had 14 points. All of this in the 2nd half? That’s something to think about. What is this guy going to do when he puts a full game together?

PHOTO OF THE DAY

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/photo?slug=getty-71796595ab009_spurs_lakers_11_08_33_pm&prov=getty

Good to see Cookie back! Why isn’t this block in the boxscore?

mike

20 GAME REVIEW

1st 10 game differential.

The Lakers scored a total of 991 points, which averages out to 99.1 points per contest.
The Lakers allowed a total of 972 points, which averages out to 97.2 points per contest.
The differential is 1.9 points.

2nd 10 game differential.

The Lakers scored a total of 1048 points, which averages out to 104.8 points per contest.
The Lakers allowed a total of 993 points, which averages out to 99.3 points per contest.
The differential is 5.5 points.

That is a 3.6 differential improvement from the 1st ten games to the 2nd ten games differential.

20 games differential totals.

The combined totals the Lakers scored 2039 points, which averages out to 101.9 points per contest.
The combined totals the Lakers allowed 1965 points, which averages out to 98.2 points per contest.
The differential is 3.7 points.

BREAKDOWN OF THE 1ST 10 GAMES: 7 GAMES KWAME IS OUT WITH INJURY: (2 games without Kobe)

The 1st seven games with Bynum as the starter the Lakers scored a total of 711 points, which averages out to 101.5 points per contest.
The 1st seven games with Bynum as the starter the Lakers allowed a total of 719 points, which averages out to 102.7 points per contest.
The differential is –1.2 points.

The –1.2 points per contest led to a 4-3 record. That is a bubble team.

NEXT 3 GAMES: KWAME RETURNS FROM INJURY:

The next 3 games with Kwame backing up Bynum:
The Lakers scored a total of 280 points, which averages out to 93.3 points per contest.
The Lakers allowed a total of 253 points, which averages out to 84.3 points per contest.
The differential is 9 points.

The improvement from the 7th game differential (–1.2 points) to the 10th game differential (9 points) is a 10.2 point differential.

The Lakers went from a 4-3 record to a 7-3 record. This is a little better than a bubble team.

THE OVERLAP OF BYNUM’S GAMES: 14 GAME TOTAL AS THE STARTER:

The Lakers score a total of 1408 points, which averages out to 100.5 point per contest.
The Lakers allowed a total of 1389, which averages out to 99.2 points per contest.
The differential is 1.3 points.

MORE OVERLAP: BYNUM’S 7 GAMES AS STARTER WITH KWAME AS BACK UP: (The 8th game to the 14th game)

The Lakers scored a total of 697 points, which averages out to 99.5 points per contest.
The Lakers allowed a total of 670 points, which averages out to 95.7 points per contest.
The differential is 3.8 points.

BREAKDOWN OF THE 2nd 10 GAMES: BYNUM’S LAST 4 GAMES AS THE STARTER: (The 11th game to the 14th game)

The Lakers scored and allowed 417 points, which is a 0 point differential.
The Lakers went 2-2, which brought the team record to 9-5. This is a little better than a bubble team.

KWAME’S 6 GAME TOTAL AS THE STARTER: (1 game without Kobe)

The Lakers scored 631 points, which averages out to 105.1 points per contest.
The Lakers allowed 576 points, which averages out to 96 points per contest.
The differential is 9.1 points.

The Lakers went 5-1 and brought their record to 14-6. This is the making of an elite team. (That stupid Hornets game cost us a 6-0 run.)

What does it all mean? It means that the defensive rotations are the biggest part of our success. That’s the difference between Brown and Bynum right now. It means that Andrew Bynum needs to improve on his rotations. It’s not about the blocked shots but the rotations, which cuts off the easy baskets. You can have 4 blocked shot per game but if you give up 10 easy lay-ups what good is it?

If Kwame Browns improves his game on the offensive boards and Bynum improves his defensive rotations, this is a Championship caliber team. Some may question Kwame’s consistency but his defensive rotations are solid through and through.

Note: This review was written before the Spurs’ game (well, I added tonight’s point to the totals for the stats). This night Bynum’s defensive rotations were looking good and Brown had 5 offensive boards…go figure.

Repost:

the gooffy Espn ranking is out.

Of note, lakers have beat 6 out of the other 9 teams. And are ahead of Houston, detroit, Orlando.
Mr stein now feels we belong with the Elite. Not bad for a team that is not supposed to even be in playoffs.

Beautiful win last night!!!! I love what I'm seeing from our guys, and I LOVE the way MY MAN SMUSH PLAYED LAST NIGHT. I think he is really showing growth. He went out there last night and made (Tony)Parker have to play him on the offensive end.

He stepped up to the challenge last night, and had a solid game against one of the best pg's in the league!!! If MY MAN SMUSH, can just keep his confidence up, and play with the fire he showed last night, he WILL be a good player in this league.

Oh Jeez, somebody needs to buy that Christie's DVD for Rick Fox. Best Xmas present ever.

The Christie's "Un-cut"?! Now cut that out K's. I mean really.... This is a serious Laker blog. No room for sick purverted DVD's. Remember, children are watching. Besides, I just ate my breakfast and don't want to loss it.

Great game by our team, I must admit I was nervous about this game since it was the Spurs, but we showed what we are made of. Phil is just kidding about AI being a Laker. AI is a great scorer but he does not work well with others. If we want to see a fist to cuffs on the hardwood with him and Kobe than go get him. It would be a fight for the ball and control of the team. AI is a team killer, he hates practice and authority. Let him make a home somewhere else besides lakerdome. The clippers need him not us. Next victim will be Houston.

Mike, I think your posts are getting longer every game.


Ho hum. The Lakers continue my theory that they play looser on Sundays. People wonder why the Lakes showed no energy with New Orleans - because it was in the middle of the week. That has been the Lakers pattern all year long. Actually, a lot of last year too. I think Phil gives them the day off on Saturdays or most of Sunday and when they come in they are fresher.

Are the Lakers really interested in AI? If so, what would it take to get him? And if he is here, how do you think it would play out?

Mike,

I just want to say, even though you don't care about the bloggers, that your Journal's are a great read and I continue to look forward to your observations even if I don't always agree...and I knew you would come around on Luke...

ZZ

AI is going to end up in Sacramento, guarantee it.

Great game by everyone! Very exciting.
My only problem is that Kobe had ONLY 1 assist. At times too much dribbling, which led to turn overs. Give up the rock more my man.

GO LAKE SHOW!
LIGHTS OUT!!!

One question that a lot of people seem to be asking is why did the Lakers have so much trouble with New Orleans, and yet are able to compete with San Antonio? There seems to be an obvious reason that stands out. The Lakers have a lot of trouble controlling quick, athletic rebounding big men. The Laker players do not do a good job of laying a body on these types and I am not talking about just the bigs, but also the guards. Kwame is not a great leaper, he cannot sky above everyone else and snag a rebound, especially in a crowd. Bynum has problems in a crowd also. This is not always their fault, as other players should be blocking out. Consequently, the Lakers got killed on the boards against New Orleans.

Against San Antonio, however, it was a different story. Even though Tim Duncan presents his own unique problems, he is not especially quick, but rather tries to overpower people and has a variety of shots. The one player that presented the biggest problem for the Lakers, as far as quickness and leaping ability was Elson, and he got into foul trouble. Kwame and Andrew, basically only had to worry about Duncan, and not 2 or 3 other players penetrating and crashing the boards.

Luke, I believe, is also more effective against an older, slower team.

Roger

Mike,

I don't think you can point to a simple factor like who is starting at center, calculate point differentials, and then extrapolate things like "Andrew needs to rotate better." Watch the game - you can see that normally Andrew patrols the paint just as well, if not better than Kwame.

The problem with your calculations is that they don't take into account other factors, like what teams they were playing, what style of games those teams play, what players are injured on those teams, or other factors that have to do with other areas of our team: what if we had better defense from the PG position? What if we hit more free throws? What if Kobe's out? (I guarantee you if we had a healthy Kobe for the first two games, we would have scored more points). The other huge problem is that you're dealing with such a small set of data, any sort of anomaly is going to skew your results heavily - anomalies that could very well have nothing to do with the conditions you've set (in this case, who starts at center) - for instance, what if Kobe doesn't sprain his ankle? What if Luke didn't blow a layup once a half? (Just a little teasing there - like every Lakers fan, I love my man Luke!)

I appreciate a mathematical approach to the game, but you just need to be careful to keep it all in perspective, and realize the limitations as well as the power of statistics.

Roger B,

I disagree. I think the reason we got beat by the Hornets and then beat the Spurs was solely due to the level of energy we played with. Against NOK they were after every rebound and loose ball, against the Spurs, it was us making all the hustle plays. We're not yet talented enough to not show up and play with high energy and expect to win. I loved watching the game (especially the third quarter) last night. That's the energy this team needs to find a way to bring every night, it's what champions do.

Mike T,

Really good post! I am a bit puzzled about one thing. You are supposed to be the person that is in love with Kwame, the person who always heaps too much praise on Kwame, the person that is always accused of placing too much value on Kwame. I personally think you are not giving Kwame enough credit. Consider this; Kwame is playing for a new team, in a new city, with new coaches, in an offensive scheme (the triangle)that is completely new to him, AND at a new position, the 5 spot. Remember, Kwame has only played about 25 games at this position. I think his transformation from the player we saw in Washington to what we see today is remarkable.

Further, I doubt we have seen anything near Kwame's full potential. I can't wait to watch him grow the next couple years. The Wizards are going to regret the day they traded Kwame Brown. Also, Kwame's developement here in LA goes a long way in proving that coaching really is important.

So back to you Mike....... Why can't you give Kwame the credit he deserves? :-) Kwame Brown makes us a tough team in the paint and he's only going to get better!

Pleased but not surprised…

That is how I felt following the Lakers win last night. For some, they were surprised at how the Lakers performed against the Spurs, yet I was not surprised at all. If you watched the head to head match-ups between the Lakers and the Spurs last season, nothing that transpired yesterday should have surprised you. The play of Andrew Bynum against Tim Duncan shouldn’t surprise you because he did much of the same last season…he just wasn’t given enough minutes to do it as impressively. The ability of Smush to take Tony Parker to the basket, was what he did to him last year…it just wasn’t utilized that much. The ability of Lamar Odom to do almost whatever he chose to do against the Spurs, was there last year…he just didn’t take advantage of it much. Finally the play of Kobe Bryant…he normally has big games against the Spurs despite those that believe that Bruce Bowen can shut him down. Here is my assessment of yesterday and my look for the future.

Smush & Jordan – First, the Lakers have a clear advantage (which I stated last season) when Smush is being guarded by Tony Parker. If put on the weak side, Smush can drive on Parker on night long for two reasons…he’s bigger and frankly…Tony Parker is not a good defender. Think about it, how many times has someone said that Tony Parker made a great defensive play? Much the same like all of these little, fast and exciting point guards…their focus is strictly offensive. It only makes sense that if you want to beat them…beat them up on defense. On the other hand, if Smush is not working Parker over offensively, he is going to be hurt on defense because Parker, Tony that is, is quicker. Where the Lakers benefited last night was that the other players rotated well especially in the paint, forcing him to make some crazy passes on the kick outs. He did manage to connect with a 3-point shooter on some, but overall this practice hurt the Spurs. This is very similar to how the Lakers have been able to hurt the Suns at times with Nash. Jordan Farmar is more of the mold of the smaller type guards except he plays better defense than most of them do. He isn’t as quick as they are on the offensive end, yet his ability to make the right pass or shoot the right shot, makes him a strong asset off the bench. Smush and Jordan together are a solid combination at point guard.

Kobe and Maurice – First, it still amazes me how people classify Bowen as a strong defender AGAINST Kobe Bryant, when Kobe has had many strong games against him. He may make Kobe work harder…but he is no more effective in stopping him, than any of the other guards in the league. The true way of slowing Kobe down POSSIBLY, is with a taller, longer player like AK47. Even he can’t stop Kobe or even slow him down if Kobe is in the zone though. Notice…against teams like the Spurs, it requires a different formula between Kobe and Lamar. Instead of Kobe dishing out so many assist, he needs to be attacking more, while Lamar racks up the assists. What Kobe exposed in the game was how soft the Spurs are inside. Look at how many points the Lakers had in the paint. The Spurs were a more defensive team last year with Rasho and Nazr. Hopefully, the Lakers will be even more aggressive inside next time we face them. As for Maurice…He provided what he is needed to provide. Some nights he will need to be like he was against the Hawks. Some nights it will be more like last night. Either way, I liked it. What I especially like is how he is fitting in at the 3-spot. I recall some people saying that he was going to be too small to play the 3…but he’s doing it….and doing it well.

Luke Walton – Weren’t there a few people on here recently saying that he shouldn’t be a starter and that his services would be better served off the bench as a reserve? How many still feel that way after the last 2 games? Like I said during preseason, Luke has won the starting spot and his maturity within the game makes him the wise choice as a starter. I see no reason to change his place at this point or quite possibly at any point in the season. Vlade is going to have to fit in as a reserve…case closed.

Lamar and Brian – I really wish Kwame would have shot that last basket, but I realize it wasn’t about individual stats. Thus, Lamar remained with only 9 assists and had another ALMOST Triple double. If there was a stat for the player with the most “almost” triple doubles…he’d be up there pretty high. I agree with a post I saw on here earlier which said that all of the trade Lamar talk should officially be banned. I would like to add a extra note on that which says that all of the “I wish he would be more aggressive talk” would also stop. His attitude, his game, is exactly what this team needs. If the Lakers had a player that had the things which some claim Lamar doesn’t have but needs…I predict that it would hurt the chemistry of the team and cause friction at times that isn’t there right now. The Lakers have harmony which hasn’t been there consistently in some time. It was great to see Brian back in action. He only had 4 points, but I liked his presence, plus he forces a player to cover him no matter where he is on the court because he can shoot so well and so quick from the outside. He may one day become the new version of Robert Horry…lol.

Kwame and Andrew – I must admit that during the first half, I was thinking that no matter what the finish, my first post on here today would begin by saying…BYNUM SHOULD BE THE STARTER! However, Kwame did redeem himself after a poor showing during the first half and come up big late. I still think that Bynum should be the starter, BUT, I will concede for this season because the team appears to be working overall well this way. I would like to point out though that for all the talk about Kwame needing to start to lay the defensive foundation for a game…it was really Andrew Bynum who set the defensive tone last night. Whether you want him to start or not each night, whether he plays the same each night or not, Bynum brings things to the table that Kwame just can’t…and those things are needed most against the best teams in the league. The key to Bynum is getting him energized for the game. What Kwame exposed is that Tim Duncan is no longer quick defensively (if in fact he ever was). When Kwame brought him out from the basket…he was able to drive by him. It worked well. What Andre exposed is that his length hurts not only the smaller players…it also affects Duncan as well.

Like I said, I was not surprised by the game nor the outcome last night. I would have been upset if the Lakers hadn’t won, because I honestly believe that the Lakers are the better team…if they commit to playing like they are. The major flaw of young teams is that they don’t enter each game with the same type of aggressiveness and focus. It is why they seem to look great against the great teams and poor against the poor teams.
Next, they will face the Mavs and Rockets which are two teams…(based on last season)…we can play against. I would not be surprised if we win 2 out of the 3 games at least. I want to see Bynum on Yao as much as possible. It hasn’t been mentioned, but Yao doesn’t get much arc if any on his shot. He shoots more of a line drive shot which goes in because it’s accurate and soft. However, against a shot blocker that’s tall…he can be had (or so I believe). Kwame isn’t as much of a shot blocker, but he will be needed to push Yao out away from the basket. People don’t realize it because his height stretches him out, however, he does have some pretty big legs. As for the other match ups…at point guard we should have an advantage if Smush and Farmar play up to their potential. Lamar Odom will be the one player with the biggest advantage in the upcoming 2 meetings. The Rockets may put Shane on him, but that will hurt them with Luke bringing Juwan outside. If they put Juwan on him, he will drive right by him. Chuck Hayes would be a better option, but Lamar would still have an advantage. REALLY, the Lakers should beat the Rockets simply because they appear right now to be the better team. We’ll see. One prediction is that Bonzi Wells may be a factor in one or both games. He would probably be a tougher match up for Kobe or Lamar, especially when he is on offense.

As for Dallas…has anything really changed? They were winning loads of games last year, yet the Lakers beat them then, and should beat them now. I am really not concerned about these next 3 at all.

Yes AK/BK, no more AI talks after that impressive performance. However, it is only one game it can be bad again when dealing with our young players. NEVERMIND, let's take it one at a time, people can criticize when they see something bad but never don't forget to praise them when someting great is going on. My bad, if I lost faith for a while but still, it is just my desire that they perform continuously on that level. No teams can beat them on that tempo, not Hornets, Bucks and Blazers. This STAPLE SHOWTIME is now in the offing in the Kobe/Lo era. Will it be an era or just one game?

I think there were no flaws at all on the Spurs, the Laker just matched their exhuberance by going inside and pound in every way they can do by going to the hoop. T/O's were minimized the action was relentless from get go, going and gone! The Lakers helped one another, switching the high pick and rolls, get that triple block on Tony Langoria, of course he got his usual shots but not all of them. Eventually, Eva was seen clapping for the Lakers secretly. Ginobli could not apply his tactics of shooting threes or beat them on the inside, his move were fully scouted. Duncan lost his cool after being blocked by Andrew, as if I saw Ali decking Liston...it is so significant that we witnessed the changing of the guards. Will it be like that all the way to the playoffs?

Anyway, it is still one game and there are 41 more wins before we achieve the 55 wins but they have crossed the 25% mark (games) of the season.

SBLakerFan,

"Watch the game - you can see that normally Andrew patrols the paint just as well, if not better than Kwame."

Now that is just crazy. I've been following this since last year. It's what I was saying about Mihm. This year I was determined to prove it. I bought myself a new T.V. and hooked up the cable just so I can see it for myself. Say what you want but winning and losing with Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom comes down to the play of the center on the defensive end. In other words: Kobe and Lamar are going to give what they usually give but if our center is weak defensively it's always a hit and miss. That mean messing around the 500 mark. Now that is a fact.

That 9 point differential that the Lakers have with Kwame in the middle in no fluke.

mike

Weighing in on the Iverson debate…

First off, I heard that Iverson said that Cheeks can’t coach…lol. I’m not going to say that it is true or isn’t, however, it is funny. It’s almost as funny as the idea of the Lakers going after Iverson. Obviously Phil was playing because clearly he would be the first one ready to choke AI after the first loss with him shooting 35 shots and making 13. We all know Phil likes a good joke almost as much as he likes to stir the pot.

However, I did see an interesting idea and trade scenario for AI that just might happen. It’s not the T-Wolves (who don’t have enough to offer unless ironically, they trade KG for him…lol), or the Celtics (who have wanted him since the summer); it is in fact the Kings. Apparently, Artest really likes AI, and would be happy at the him coming and playing with him. This could actually work for both teams if done correctly. For instance, a trade of Mike Bibby and Corliss Williamson for AI would actually work financially. I can see how it would work in other ways as well.

For Philly…

First, they get rid of AI who doesn’t want to be there anymore, and yet they get something VERY useful in return. That’s the goal of a trade of this magnitude when involving a player like Iverson. Second, from a coaching perspective…what better scenario for Cheeks who played with Henry Bibby, to have the opportunity to coach his son? Who knows how long they have know each other. Third, this trade would be reuniting Webber with the player that got him to perform at his best. Bibby knows Webber and the two of them worked the Pick-N-Roll like Stockton and Malone use to. Webber would play inspired ball. Finally, it would help the overall team because Bibby’s game is more suited for the personnel that the Sixers have right now. This would almost be like another Sacramento team like before. If this happens, look for the Sixers to overtake the Nets and end up winning this division.

For Sac…

First, Artest would be happy with the trade. That is big as an unhappy Artest might as well be considered like losing him all together. Second, the Kings are missing offensive fire power, which Iverson would bring. They are a defensive minded team first and no longer have the offensive movement that Bibby is use to. Martin would be a nice compliment to Iverson in the backcourt as Martin can also handle the ball on offense freeing up Iverson to play some 2 guard at times. Third, the team isn’t going to lose much with Corliss gone. He is only a marginal performer right now. Finally, Iverson brings excitement back to Arco and with the fan support, this team would become a greater presence in the West. They are still going to struggle to win a spot in the playoffs, but they will be more prepared to do so with AI in town.

This looks like the best of the potential offers out there right now.

AZ,

I disagree with you on one point..."we are not talented enough yet..." I believe that the Lakers are talented enough. In fact, the Lakers may actually be the most talented team in the league.

Instead, the statement should be..."we are not experienced enough yet..." The 3-peat team was no more talented from 1-12 than we are right now. What gave them the latitude to mail it in some nights during the season was that they were experienced. The first season they played hard every night. But after they won 1, they started relaxing at times, because they learned how to turn it up enough to win. This team is learning how to win right now. Once they get it right, they will have the experience to go with the talent.

I don't believe anyone is saying that Kwame is not a good defender in the middle. It is simply that he has a different way of defending than Andrew. Kwame will muscle a player out of the middle and cause them to take bad shots. Bynum will instead not muscle them out but jump to block their shots. Both are methods that help this team. The question is...which method is more effective each night, and from moment to moment? Last night, Bynum's effectiveness was obviously seen in the first half. Part of it has to do with the fact of the energy with which he played. Like Phil said, he plays with more energy against the better big men. He's young...it's understandable that he would be more excited about facing the tougher opponents. The other thing is that the way the Spurs were playing in the first half, Bynum's length in the paint to stop those floaters and layups by slashers was crucial.

In the second half, after the middle had been secured, Kwame could begin locking down on Duncan. There is no overlooking (though) the talents of Bynum and the potential for the future. I would hate to see him leave after his current contract and go to a team that eventually kills the Lakers.

JJ,

I can agree with that. This deep is definitely deep, and I think players like Luke, Kwame, etc. are finally starting to show what talents they have, so from now on I'll say we need more experience or development. However, I do believe that consistently high level of play is more of an indication of talent rather than inexperience. I guess its a debate of semantics, kind of like the team "core" debates of the past. lol!

But good points nonetheless, thanks.

JJ,

Kwame is a speed and position defender, whereas Bynum is better at giving weakside help and "freelancing" a bit more, using his length and height. They are actually perfect compliments to each other, I'd love it if they could learn to play together, maybe next year when both get a little more experience under their belts.

I agree with Andrew Z...I think to some degree Kobe and Phil are used to getting geared up for certain games and not for others this rubs off on other guys....its been a consistent pattern for the lakers...even last year they could beat good teams or win big road games and then they would inexplicably play terribly and lose to someone ridiculous...I guess its hard for K & P to get excited about facing certain teams when there are so many games but they still get it done obviously however the younger guys probably really feed off the extra energy when its there and feel flat when its not...like the spurs game or the edge of playing without Kobe.

lakers really impressed me during this game...so did kwame with his Off rebs. looks like bynum triggered kwame for the 2nd half.

Mike T., you might be right about Kwame replacing Bynum in the starting job with the point differential, but it also might be because kobe (except for the New Orleans game) is getting healthier as the season progressed.

JJ you make sense but I am not sure Artest would necessarily like to play with AI...he doesnt like being upstaged...also from the kings perspective its a risk with two such combustable personalities....that said they are obviously prepared to deal and take risks...theyve shown that.

Let's just hope AI doesnt go to Minnesota so we can still get KG through free agency.

JJ,
Experience generally equates to improved talent level, because skills improve with experience, until the point that the decrease in physical capability offsets the increase in skill level.


Only 1/2 game separates the 3rd and the 6th seed, so this upcoming road schedule is going to be a real test for us.

Kiwi,

It's not a matter of Phil or Kobe. It is common knowledge that young teams get up for the big games. This is why we always hear debates about the potential of young teams after they play against an elite team. They play so well on those nights that all of a sudden people want to give them a high rating. IF you want to judge a team look at how well they played the game before and how well they play the game after a big game. Normally, the good teams play well in those 2 games and not just the big games.

Roger B.,

"Why did the Lakers have so much trouble with New Orleans, and yet are able to compete with San Antonio?"

Every Laker fan who are long-timed watchers were asking the same question. I think it is more on the attitude and confidence of our young players. When we were a young man, we aspired to knock-off the biggest bully in our class, if we had a chance so we always come prepared on every situation of an encounter. On the contrary, we also took things for granted and played goofy on guys that we could easily handle with a mindset that we could step on them anytime without any effort. Then, we get surprised when we were overwhelmed by over confidence. Perhaps, JJ said it right, it is more on the experience or maturity that they cannot sustain on that level - the A-game. Having said that, I hope I am wrong when they go on a road trip. This is the real test of our Lakers, how they'll perform on the road. Kobe is a known team killer when he's is on the road, the more boos, the more motivation he'll perform to the highest level. Will the boos and jeers affect Kwame, Walton, Bynum, Smush, Farmar and so forth? They can't reach the top if they don't win the road games.

Mike T.,

I agree with you completely in putting importance to the Center. If you will notice the floor in basketball, the easiest way going to the hoop is through the shaded area. 75% of the points are mostly generated in the shaded area, of course that also includes free throws. Therefore, the Center is an important lever that moves the team, the PG initiates action but the Center radiates the offense and even finishes them. On defense, the Center should be the strongest position of the defense, if it's weak then you surrender the game to your opponent. Perhaps, that was the reason why we lost to Hornets and Bucks, we gave away the Center and settled for perimeter shooting.

Also, over the coarse of 82 games every team is going to lay an egg or two. I think it's a positive sign that the Lakers do it against the poorer teams, and they are able to play up to the level of the better teams. Of course, not showing up too often is a sign of a team that has not quite made "the jump" and we've already lost to Seattle, Portland, the Bucks, and an ailing Hornets team. That's just too much in my mind.

But, I predicted we would go 13-7 through the first 20 and we're (slightly) ahead of that pace, so I'm happy.

Greek,

It has to do with how involved Bynum is when he is in the game. With the starting lineup they started moving away from him because the type of setting up Bynum had was different than Kwame. Kwame moves around more in the key, where as Bynum gets a position and then stays there. Both styles are effective against different types of teams.

greek dude,

I don't think that's the case because Kobe Bryant had a season last year that rivals on of the best in NBA history. But until the last 14 games we were around 500. We went 11-3 to end the regular season last year. I said it then and I'll say it now. It's because of the stability at the 5 spot on the defensive end provided by Brown.

mike

I'M EXPECTING TO SEE plenty of posts today congratulating the Lakers...

And Smush haters need to give him his props... He finally played a fully energized game AND he withstood the adversity of the officials giving him phantom fouls...

Give dat man his props... The most hated on Laker came through last nite

rayray on GAURANTEES
4-0

If we had ChrisMihm healthy I'd say that we are a CHAMPIONSHIP team, but we have to WAIT for Andrew to become a BETTER offensive rebounder and a TEAM deffender. All and all STILL nobody wants to see PHIL, KOBE, and the LAKERS in the playoffs.

OR if we could STOP playing DOWN to the competition so CONSISTANTELY, there would be a chance for us to SWEEP our 7 game road TRIP. But we like to GET UP for good teams and LOVE to take it easy when somebody's WORST than us on paper.

I am so HAPPY PHOENIX is up our BEHIND for the PacificDivision lead. I think that, by itself, will keep us on our TOES and helps us not to go NUMB. Cause the CLIPPERS suck ASS, the KING have a HIGH SCHOOLER for a coach, and WARRIORS are the WARRIORS so it's good that the SUNS are keeping us ALERT.

We could be the DEEPEST team in the LEAGUE and that is HUGE. when you've got 82 games to play and then you have the PLAYOFFS, DEPTH becomes one of the most important ASSETS you can have as an NBA team. I think we have an EDG on that department. OVER, alomost, anybody in the LEAGUE.

Brandon (Charlotte, NC): enough on AI.......let's talk about the Lakers performance last night against the Spurs. Do you think the team chemistry will continue to grow stronger in LA? What are your current predictions for the Laker's playoffs pictue this year?

John Hollinger: (2:21 PM ET ) L.A. has looked good all year and the Kobe-Odom chemistry indeed seems much better than last season. I pegged them as No. 5 in the West at the start of the year behind San Anto, Dallas, Phoenix, and Houston -- they seem right on track for that.

John Hollinger: (2:21 PM ET ) Well, No. 6 in terms of seeding (thank you, Northwest division) but you get what I mean.

AK/BK

even thinking about AI coming to LA is .... (well, not right). Is anybody asking for it? They are either CRAZY, named MARC STEIN or something MEJIA, or write for SPORT ILLUSTRATED. Bunch of dumasses.

Roger -

I wouldn't necessarily call San Antonio "older and slower" in comparison to New Orleans, considering two of their leading scorers are Ginobili and Parker. I think the letdowna against them was mental - they just didn't get their game on for a team they thought they could essentially sleepwalk through. I think they were already focusing on this San Antonio team and overlooked New Orleans, plus I think NO is a little better than most folks give them credit for. It happens - every team loses games they should have won. Even the '96 Bulls lost ten times.

Good solid win lastnight. Now the team needs to prepare for the road and set a road warrior mentality for the next string of games. Kobe has to shift into high gear and do what ever is necessary to get his team mates playing the best ball of the year. We need this road trip not only for our team's confidence but to send a message to the league that this LAKER team is ready!

Andrew Z

I have to disagree with your disagreement, although you do make valid points. However, in the NBA, matchups are important. New Orleans, is exactly the same kind of team that the Lakers had trouble with last year. Portland, Seattle, etc. Young athletic teams. Energy is important, but I believe that success breeds energy, and energy has to be focused. Unfocused energy with little success, leads to young players getting discouraged. Too often, in the past, I have seen Laker teams playing their hearts out, but not using their heads, and getting beat in the process. "Energy" is a buzz word that everyone uses, and seen as the cure-all for everything. It surely helps, but it is not always the complete answer. Every coach in the NBA uses the same excuse, as it turns the attention away from their lack of preparedness.

Again, I don't totally disagree with you, it is just my take on the situation.

Roger

What I want to know is how many of the people reading this blog have already bought "The Christie's" DVD as a gag gift for Christmas. I'm tempted, because I owe a DVD to my buddy for a lost bet, and he'd probably throw the thing into a fire pit. If I knew Rick Fox's address, I'd send him one, for sure. They should make a 'Special Limited Edition' that comes in the shape of a purse.

Andrew Z,

I say AI will be a Chicago Bull. I know they won't want to trade him to the east, but who else has a better combination of young players, and draft picks? I'm not saying you're wrong, but I just think the Bulls have the best shot (even though I think he would be better in Minny).

also from the hollinger chat, thought it was kind of funny...

Dan (Newark DE): I love you guys at ESPN, one good Lakers victory, your all over them again. What's your secret to being the biggest Laker fans to ever hit the global media?

John Hollinger: (2:55 PM ET ) I'm confused. The Laker fans all swear I hate them. Please make up your minds people

Chat wrap from Hollinger for those with no insider...Not terribly interesting, thumbs down to AI-Lakers, and notes about Kobe....

Mike, LA: Allright, one more AI rumor, the LAKERS. Kobe and AI, any chance? Thanks.

SportsNation John Hollinger: (2:08 PM ET ) Not seeing that one. This is another team that might hold their cards for the Garnett sweepstakes, because Kobe-Garnett works a lot better than Kobe-AI.


Brandon (Charlotte, NC): enough on AI.......let's talk about the Lakers performance last night against the Spurs. Do you think the team chemistry will continue to grow stronger in LA? What are your current predictions for the Laker's playoffs pictue this year?

SportsNation John Hollinger: (2:21 PM ET ) L.A. has looked good all year and the Kobe-Odom chemistry indeed seems much better than last season. I pegged them as No. 5 in the West at the start of the year behind San Anto, Dallas, Phoenix, and Houston -- they seem right on track for that.

SportsNation John Hollinger: (2:21 PM ET ) Well, No. 6 in terms of seeding (thank you, Northwest division) but you get what I mean.

Jensen (Arecibo, Puerto Rico): Hey, when Kobe, AI, or Tmac in the past havent been able to carry there teams to winning records, they've all gotten heat. Why havent I heard any heat on D-Wade

SportsNation John Hollinger: (2:31 PM ET ) That shiny thing on his finger may be one reason. Also, my hope is that people are slowly catching on to the idea that if a team stinks, maybe it isn't the *best* player's fault.

David (New York, NY): that shiny thing on his finger do you mean the three Kobe has on his hand?

SportsNation John Hollinger: (2:34 PM ET ) I was thinking more of AI, T-Mac and (though he wasn't mentioned in the question) Garnett, who has been hammered more than any of them.

Sam (rtp, nc): Speaking of all-stars... I was looking at the ballot and it seems like the forward spots are going to fill up fast. Dirk, KG, Odom, Melo, Duncan, Boozer. Who's going to get turned away this year?

SportsNation John Hollinger: (2:47 PM ET ) I think they'll fudge things a bit by taking Duncan as a center behind Yao Ming. That would leave six spots for a forward (presuming only four guards make it), so Dirk Melo, KG, Randolph and Boozer should be fine if they maintain their recent standard. Last spot should be interesting -- Marion, Stoudemire, Brand, Odom, Lewis and T-Mac will all be in the chase.


Stan (CA): How 'bout a three-way with AI going to Wolves, KG going to Lakers, Odom and Mihm's expiring contract going to Sixers?

SportsNation John Hollinger: (2:49 PM ET ) There is absolutely no point in trading for AI if they're going to get rid of Garnett.

Mike (DC): better records to end season Knicks or Bucks......Lakers or Clippers?

SportsNation John Hollinger: (2:54 PM ET ) OK, I get the LA question, but Knicks-Bucks? Is it me or is that matchup an unlikely choice for rivalry week?

SportsNation John Hollinger: (2:54 PM ET ) But to answer you, I'll go with the Lakers and Bucks.

Dan (Newark DE): I love you guys at ESPN, one good Lakers victory, your all over them again. What's your secret to being the biggest Laker fans to ever hit the global media?

SportsNation John Hollinger: (2:55 PM ET ) I'm confused. The Laker fans all swear I hate them. Please make up your minds people.

Went to that incredible game last night & I was surprised by the outcome (no reason to come on the blog & lie to you guys!!!) I knew we would compete but I had no idea we would dominate a very good San Antonio team!!! I was in awe of how solid the team looked (starters & bench) and think this is the type of win that'll serve as a springboard for a great season!! The hardest part of the game for me was the last three minutes of the fourth quarter!!! I just wanted the game over & it seemed like it took an hour!!!

Of all the many great plays there was one play in particular that I loved! Kobe was coming down court with the ball & LO had sealed his man and gave Kobe that look to throw it over the top. It was a "one mind" teammate moment, that takes teammates a few seasons to trust each other for a play like that to be successful. Kobe gave the ball up with a perfect pass, Lamar got the bucket with a dunk and they came back on defense. No smirks or smiles but a look like they've been there before!!! Great moment!!! They are the 1-2 punch!!!

Another observation (I'm sure Laker Sth would agree) when Jordan came into the game in the first quarter, the entire energy of the Staple Ctr crowd went up!!! He's like a folk hero out here!!! Although, I think this was Smush's best game so far this year. His experience seemed to benefit him and I liked his activity.

I also realized why I have a problem with Smush's game so far this year. Where he is in his career, he should have "that" type of intensity every single game. Every match-up should be a showcase for what he can do in this league!! Tony Parker was that type of match-up for him!!!

Great Game!!! Great Win!!!

The League must take notice!!! We are for real!!!

Weave-Man,

Chicago is definitely the first team that comes to mind anytime a superstar is on the block, for the exact reasons you mentioned. The reason I think they won't go for him is because they are holding out for the KG sweepstakes. Plus, it seems Chicago is definitely on the fence in regards to letting some of their young talent go, and as good as he is, AI really isn't a "safe" bet. I think there has to be a bit of desperation in a team to deal for AI, and Chicago has as good a chance as any team in the East RIGHT NOW of getting to the Finals. Teams like Minnesota and Sacramento have to feel a bit of desperation (especially Minny) at this point and would be more willing to go after AI. I actually want to see him go to Minny, that would make that match-up more fun.

The Lakers went 0-3 to finish the playoffs last season. Kwame Brown was the starting center. That is the only possible explanation.

Bynum is the only one how predicted that the Lakers would go 15-5 and Luke Walton said we are going to win the Championship. I am rolling with these two guys. What you guys say on the blog is false

JJ

its not the 'getting up' for the big games that needs explaining....its the 'getting down' for the small ones...maybe its inexperience,maybe its alot of things but I wouldnt be suprised if a couple of guys who have been around as long as Phil and Kobe struggle to get as excited about beating certain teams...these guys live for the playoffs,san Antonio,suns etc ...not the pistons with a crap record minus BB and Rip,the bucks,or the hornets without half the friggin lineup at home...I have no idea ...these guys have spent pretty much their whole careers 'flicking the switch' and these youngsters guys dont know how to do that...If Kobe gets geared up it makes a difference.I'm not saying he could or should do anything different ..its just the way it is.These guys follow Kobe to a huge extent and they dont always know how to bring energy if he doesnt provide it...wheras he is probably standing there thinking 'its the hornets,theyre crap and Ive got a bum ankle...somebody do something!'

In sum...its combining inexperienced youth with a couple of salty seadogs who are used to preparing for the best not the worst.

Hey man I dont know much for sure its just a theory to explain what has become a pretty solid pattern

My STH Experience - San Antonio

Last night's win felt so good, I didn't care that I had to pay $30 for parking even though I showed up 2 hours before the game or that I had to navigate a sea of big rigs and haulers leaving the LA Auto Show.

Old Friends: Sasha was hanging out with Udrih during shootaround. Eva Longoria stopped to chat with David Robinson and his kid before she headed back to the visitor's locker room. Horry and Kobe caught up during half time. Turiaf and Tony Parker hung out after the game. Both teams were loose and ready for a battle.

The 2nd Quarter: When you do check out the box-score, click on that "play-by-play" link and check out the second quarter. No, not the third quarter that everyone is talking about being the key to the Lakers winning last night - the second quarter. The beginning of the quarter was a real defensive battle. San Antonio went scoreless for almost five minutes and the Lakers were equally inept until the Lamar Odom 3 pointer followed by Bynum's left-handed lay-up which led to San Antonio's first time out. Cook scored again to tie it which led to another Spurs time-out. Then comes Bynum's big block on Duncan. From then on out, San Antonio knew they were in for a fight and it set the table for the Lakers to be able to come out in the third quarter and take over the game - much like the Utah game, except last night they brought the energy on defense rather than just having Kobe go off for 30. I brought up that second quarter because it allowed for the third quarter to happen. Much like Smush Parker's seemingly ill-advised 3 pointer over Nash when they were down by 5 in Game 4 last year set the table for Bryant's game winner.

Big and Small: I couldn't care less who starts at PG or C this year. Because what matters is that Farmar, Smush, Kwame and Bynum have the potential to deliver a solid 48 minutes combined at those positions like they did last night regardless of which of them was on the floor. No drop-off. Just reliability and consistency. You combine that with Kobe, Luke and LO's production and the team is going to win the majority of it's games. If Evans, Cook and Vlad can improve then the team becomes scary.

Managed Expectations: Beating the Spurs is a good start to this Texas Triangle week. But just like the loss to Milwaukee tempered the blow-out against Utah, last week's disappointment against the NOOCH balanced out last night's win over the Spurs. Keeps the expectations for this team managed while giving glimpses of their potential.

JJ -

I totally agree with your points on Bynum and Kwame - both styles are important, and I think who gets the most minutes is going to depend on whose style fits the gameplan better from game to game.

Mike -

Everyone has their opinions, and I'm just saying that the math you presented as proof of yours is flawed. I just watch the game and see what I see, I'm not looking for proof to back up a theory about why a favorite player should play more.

The AI talk should stop, seriously. Phil said when he came back that this team is on a three-year plan toa championship, and it looks like we're ahead of schedule. Why mess with everything this team has built? I mean, we're deep at every position, we've got people who know their roles - why do we need to import a head case who shoots 40% from the floor and doesn't know the offense? Why set ourselves back when we're already on the way up?

Keep the team as-is. Parade in June.

This is somewhat unrelated, but the latest issue of ESPN Mag has "8 things you should know about the Lakers, by Kwame Brown (as told to Sam Alipour)". Here's number 7 on the list:

"Nicknames? We got plenty. We call Brian Cook 'Columbine.' Not nice, but he's crazy; any moment, he can snap and start pushing people."

Really?!! Cookie's a badass?!! Who knew!

SBLakerFan,

I'm watching the games, too. Bynum, over the last 2 games, has improved his defense but before that he was costing us. I mean PJ pulled him from the starting line-up for a reason. And it wasn't because of his lack of offense. This has nothing to do with favorite players. That was Chris Mihm's problem, too. The guy couldn't guard the lane. It's that simple.

mike

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2694335

Clueless Stern,

Think if Kobe was getting cuts from the ball (how does that happen?) he would do anything about it?

Mr. MVP gets cuts, gotta change the ball ASAP. Arrgh!

Maybe Nash & Kidd get cuts cuz their teams don't play defense and they feel the need to top 300 combined points in a game.

Desperation to deal for AI? how about desperation to sign Ben Wallace for that amount of money?...Chicago are absolutely crazy not to deal for AI..they are the obvious team.Hes exactly what they need.

I am unsure of where all this 'AI's a cancer'stuff has come from...its more media garbage...I mean who would you trade Kobe for...AI's previous indescretions are irrelevent...its been years since he got in any trouble...all hes done is given his heart and soul for one team right to the bitter end...ok sure it got a bit shaky (he blew off a team bowling event big deal) but to me there is a far far greater chance he goes somewhere and plays inspired ball...dude wants to win.hes been playing night in night out for a noncontending team for years and been pretty good about it.Most of Iversons stuff has been overblown and they are playing on his old image.You guys should all understand after seeing what has happened to Kobe.Iverson has made a few mistakes but nothing for a LONG time...hes completely misunderstood.

The concern with Iverson is that he is getting older and his contract is big...theres three years on it...hes going to give you at least two at a very high level if not more....anyway chicago has Ben wallace who has how long left at the top of his game?...chicago dont have a go to guy the time is now...Iverson is exactly what they need.

Props to the Lakers who proved they are definitely not D-challenged. That third quarter defensive effort was the best I've seen since the 2004 playoffs when Shaq/Kobe and gang turned the tables on T. Parker/Ginobili after showing up soft for the first two games. The Spurs, because they are an older, less athletic team than many of the up-and-coming young teams that are patterning their play on the Suns success, are a more favorable matchup for the Lakers. I was not surprised by the outcome. It remains to be seen how consistent the Lakers will be on the defensive end, especially in their intensity. I suspect that we fans will see several patches of defensive funk before the season is over. Hopefully, great lessons will be learned and the Lakers will be playing consistently at the elite level by playoff time.
Previous postings on this thread have just about said it all for me. I just want to add that I was impressed with the increased PHYSICALITY on defense. Seeing T. Parker hit the floor hard on one of his forays to the hoop due to an aggressive foul, I believe by B. Cook, left me grinning from ear to ear. I was also stunned to see Smush actually attempting to fight his way through a screen! He was hit hard and was spun right out of the play, but it showed a desire that I haven't seen much from him lately.
Look for a relatively easy victory in Houston and a hard-fought, close loss to Dallas on the B to B.

BREAKING NEWS!!!!

Stern has just announced that the old ball will be back Jan. 1!

Rizzo from Florida here, just been on the San Antonio blog and they are so mad about that game they are fuming its GREAT: i feel that swager of a new Dynasty coming on. On another note I have just in the offseason started reading this blog and we have a multitude of commentators that insist they know whats best for this team, but thats what the coaching staff gets paid for, so i suggest all you SMUSH HATERS and the trade away our future pundits, would just STOP. The Lakers have a young future, and Kwame is a monster ready to awaken, ask Phil jackson who is his most physical big man its Kwame he dominates in practice now he has confidence and the Lakers this year have a real shot of beating anyone in 7.The sports writers will soon be talking about our triple threat of big men that we can just pull out the closet. Remember the Chicago dynasty allways played center by commitee WENNINGTON/LONGLEY/PURDUE Phil has done it again watch this week HOU/DAL are gonna feel it.

Man, what a great win...

As I said last week, my friends, we just need to have a little patience with this team... Good things await us... Maybe our guys will have some brand new finger jewelry sooner than we expect... Lamar is showing night in and night out that keeping him (and killing any trade talks) will be the best move for this and the next couple of seasons... KG??? Only if he really opts out and comes like the Mailman did... It's been said before in the blog: he needs the Lakers more than the Lakers need him...

Cheers from Brazil...

Great game, Lakers! Solid play all around.

I think it's time to resolve a couple of debates:

1. Phil Jackson is an excellent coach who systematically constructs and develops teams which relentlessly pursue championships until they succeed. This team is right on track to meet Phil's expectations upon taking over this team for round two: Contend for a championship in the third year. The real trick is that he may get them there in year two, at least as far as being "in contention." To say that Phil as a coach is only as good as his players (Jordan, Pippen, O'Neal, Bryant) is foolish.

2. Lamar Odom is getting better, playing with more consistency, and fitting in very well with Kobe and Phil's system. If he maintains or improves his averages, this will be a career year and place him exactly where Phil challenged him to be: somewhere around 18/9/6. (I made these numbers up bc I can't remember what Phil said last year, but I think they were right around these numbers.)

3. Luke Walton is a good player who will most likely continue to improve and be an invaluable part of this team, long term.

4. Kobe IS a team player. In the past two years, he was like a Ferrari trying to conduct a race against Corvettes with only stock Mustangs on his team. Phil and Kobe have been sending the stock Mustangs to Carroll Shelby's garage, and soon Kobe will have a stable of GT500s running with him. They still won't be able to keep up with the Ferrari, but they'll be more than able to compete with the Corvettes of the league. The problems in his past are disappearing fast in the rearview mirror and he is helping this team gradually build up to his level of intensity and performance.

The rest of the West is in trouble.

AI On the Lakers would work only because of Phil Jackson - the greatast coach ever at mending talents and egos together.

However, he's getting older and if we are giving up Odom, I wouldn't do it. The Lakers are heading in the right direction with the current roster.

Kwame Brown is turning into a new person. All because of Phil Jackson. Brown and Bynum are the keys for the Lakers to go far and win the 55+ games everyone wants.

I felt the Lakers would have to go key injury free all year to win 55+ games and I still believe that. I would love for the Lakers to win 60 games even though I thought it would only be 48 - 50..

Zakee,
did we go 15-5?

TMac might miss the game Tues. (back spasms)

Right back atcha, Fabio!

You Brazilians have the best music on the planet. One of these years, I'm going to spend a few months in your beautiful country and take some lessons from some of your great percussionists.

You're right about KG needing the Lakers more than the Lakers need KG.

So the new ball is back- no more bricks that somehow turn into made field goals. Here's my favorite new-ball related quote:

D Wade: "My bank shot is nonexistent now. All those game-winners? That's in the past."

I'm not sure what he means by "all those game winners". Did he use to bank his free throws or what's he talking about?

Phil has always been the best at getting people to buy into a concept. Phil knew that by challenging his big men and ripping them as a group about that NO/gm they had to respond .Last night i dont think some on this blog understand what REALLY hapened both KWAME and BYNUM took terns in rippin Tim Duncan a new orifice and now will continue to reek havoc in the league THIS year, DONT need KG DONT need AI and we will see Miami in the post season if they make it.

Mike it really looks like you have a lot of time on your hands.R u a Maytag repair man?

forgot to mention...

It was ironic to see Kobe dribble himself into so much trouble looking for calls late in the game and, on the flipside, see Kwame getting all the "and 1"s.

Going after Duncan once he was in foul trouble is normally something you yell from your seat but never see happen. But last night it did. It doesn't even really matter that Kwame forced it for some turnovers a couple times or that he missed some free throws. He got Duncan on his heels.

Does anyone know why Vald didn't get any minutes last night?

AZ, I read somewhere Vlad had turned his ankle in practice but was cleared to go. You'd think that's why he didn't play.

http://www.nba.com/news/346211.html
The ball is baaaaack! Does this mean Kwame's "bad hands" will be back as well?

Respect,

Let's hope they offer Luke a good deal. I love that guy. He's one of the league's best glue guys.

Vlades ankle still was sore from a sprain he suffered in practice on saturday.

Key to the game: 2nd quarter!!!

Right on lakers_sth, absolutely!

When I was watching the game I couldn't believe the score at the half since it felt like the Lakers were controlling the game and "on it" defensively.
After re-watching the second quarter I counted that the Lakers were 5 for 10 at point blank (one of the misses resulted in a put-back). Convert on a few of those and...

Even though the Lakers missed a few too many in the paint in my opinion, the good news (and reason for the eventual 3rd quarter outburst) was that they were attacking the rim and getting into the lane.

The problem and reason the Lakers almost lost it in the 4th: They simply went away from that attacking mentality during the opening minutes of the 4th. Once they re-asserted themselves (and re-inserted Kobe), the momentum swung back in favor of the Lakers. This is sort of a microcosm of the season thus far as a whole. Passively take outside shots late in the shot clock and you get a hornets game. Attack defensively and offensively and you get this last game.

Frankly I thought Horry was a liability for the Spurs. But hey, it is just the regular season, right? We won't see the real Horry for 5 months.

Gripe 1: Duncan moves on just about all of his picks: the big fundamental cheater...

Gripe 2: Kobe gets NO calls. Well at least it is prep for the road.

So what if Kwame starts fumbling the ball again when we get the old ball back?

Can we call Stern to use the new ball for our home games?

lol

Vlad didn't get any minutes because he is being traded for AI...duh.

Andrew Z,
Two reasons.

1. He sprained his ankle. He was eligible to play, but Phil probably decided to rest him.
2. The Lakers are famous for leaving out significant players in big games (during the regular season) against a team they might meet in the playoffs. Vlad will be a significant piece.

The Lakers did this A LOT during their 3 championship run. The spurs couldn't get excited about beating the Lakers because they weren't at "full" strength. Its a Zen thing.


*** LAKERS READY FOR TEXAS TRIP ***

Like I said before, this team knows that they can beat anybody. Now they just learn to beat everybody. Props to the Lakers for a truly great team performance. Even the Laker haters in the media now recognize that this team is for real. So much for flying under the radar.

Kobe was MVP sensational and his timely 3-pointers and amazing whirling drives into the paint kept us in the game at every critical moment. His intensity on defense and offense was the catalyst that ignited the team. Mark my word, KB24 is going to end up being this season’s MVP as the Lakers win their 12th NBA championship. He has grown so much as a leader that it will be the feel-good story of the NBA.

Lamar showed the kind of heart that makes fans scream NO whenever his name is brought up as part of a proposed trade. He was relentless, pounding the glass, diving to the floor to save turnovers, nailing clutch 3-pointers. He is vindicating everyone who believed in him and just beginning to tap his great talent and potential. No way would I trade him for KG or any other “traditional” power forward. He and Kobe will be the league’s most feared duo in the league.

Same for Luke Walton, whose aggressiveness the last two games has been reminiscent of his father, who never let up. I love how Luke has learned to go to the rim. The Hornets game was really a blessing in disguise and a stark but needed reminder that good things happen when you go to the basket. I also thought this was one of Luke’s best games defensively. He was a step faster closing on the 3-point shooters and very active with his hands and feet. Primo Walton stuff.

Our center tandem of Kwame and Andrew outplayed the Spurs big men. Andrew’s performance and great rebounding during the first half was impressive. It seemed as if every board he grabbed was at basket height or higher. I think Andrew’s efforts in the first half inspired Kwame to come out and dominate the paint with his quickness and athleticism in the second half. Make no mistake about it, the play of these two young centers was a big reason we won the game and will be a big reason why we can win it all this year.

Our point tandem of Smush and Farmar also played great. I thought this was by far Smush’s best game of the year and the first I can remember where he did not turn the ball over at all. He made some key baskets driving on Tony Parker and showed good hustle on defense with several key steals. He was definitely jobbed by the refs and should have gotten a jump ball on the block he made that the refs called as a foul. I also thought that Farmar played great, made several great passes, pushed the ball in transition, and played tough defense.

It was good to see Phil narrow the rotation and not pull guys who were hot. I am still p!ssed that Parker and Ginobli draw fouls every time they drive but Kobe gets no respect. How can the refs not call obvious fouls such as when he was hit on the elbow on that 3-point shot in the first half? Anybody who claims that there is no anti-Kobe attitude by the refs is just not watching the same games as I am. Touch Wade, touch Parker, touch any other star guard and its automatic free throws. Mug Kobe and maybe you’ll even get away with it. Sad situation.

Way to go Lakers. Now that you have shown that you can beat anybody – Suns, Jazz, Clippers, Spurs – now it the time to beat everybody – meaning the Sonics, Blazers, and Hornets. The sun is shining so bright in Laker land that the rest of the NBA are the ones that need shades.

Tom


I'm a little worried that the old ball will bring back Kwame "Stone hands" brown. Psychologically the new ball gave him extra hope and confidence with the new grip. Hopefully his confidence is way up now so it won't matter!!

Vlad didn't get any minutes because he is being traded for AI...duh.

And Cookie was being showcased for Philly. Definately proof AI is coming to town.

Xodus, I was waiting for you to comment that Kobe shot too many threes... I guess maybe you only do that when he misses them. Also, did you really just use the term "glue guy"? Dude, you'll be writing for ESPN in no time.

Xodus -

From your lips to Mitch's ears. Make it so, Number One.

By the way... Is your handle a vague Bob Marley reference?

Thanks C.S., that's what I thought it was.

Good to see Cookie back by the way.

re: C.S. Gripe #1

You'll be pleased to know that, during the first half, some fans in my section were yelling "MOVING SCREEEEEEN!" just about every Spurs possession and a couple actually got called.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/si_blogs/magazine/sportsman_06/2006/12/its-wade-your-thoughts.html

A little something to make your day brighter.

Lots of anti-Wade posts re: SI Sportsman of the Year. Includes references to palming, flopping, hack defense, and phantom calls.

Korey

I will get back at you after Wed.
I just wrote your name down on my desk to remind myself about your question.

Zakee,
why would you get back to me after Wednesday.

here is a clue: the Lakers are mathematically eliminated from going 15-5.

Why? Cuz we're 14-6!!! ... lol...

i was just messing with you a bit man ... but you should know that we can't be 15-5 no matter how hard we try!!

Respect,

Actually it's not, but I do absolutely love Marley.

Mcgarnagle,

I do think that Kobe takes too many threes but it's nitpicky to say that when he goes 4-5. And I normally make those "Kobe takes too many 3's" comments for those nights when he's taking 7 or 8 of em. Five I can deal with. If Kobe had gone 1 for 5 from 3 I doubt I would have said anything.

And as for Walton being a "glue guy" I don't see what the problem is with calling him that. He's a key role player that helps everything to run efficiently. As for writing for ESPN, let's all hope so cause I'd pimp the Lakers every chance I get LOL.

A 10-game win streak usually sounds impressive, but the Suns are benefitting from a soft schedule in which they've only played one team that currently has a .500 record or better. (And in that game, at home against the Rockets, the Suns shot more than twice as many free throws.)

Expect the softness to continue. Four of their next five games are against sub-.500 teams. The lone exception is tonight's game in Orlando.

RDaneel or someone else who gets the ESPN magazine,

Could you post the "7 things we should know about the Lakers" as told by Kwame?

Please.

Wes

greenpaz,

10 wins in a row is 10 wins, no matter how "soft" a schedule. Some say the Lakers are 14-6 because of their "soft" schedule, playing 16 or 20 at Staples.

I don't think there are any "gimmies" in the NBA this year. Any win is an impressive one in my book, since they all look the same in the standings.

It would be nice if A.I coming to LA . Just let Odom go for AI. LoL

 
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