Live from Staples - Lakers vs. Bucks
Semi-interesting bit of minutia. The Bucks have two guys named "Michael" (Redd and Ruffin), two guys named Charlie (Bell and Villanueva). Thankfully, Ivey is the only "Royal," or else practices could get very confusing.
-AK (with the first quarter)
10:53 - D.Fish's hot streak doesn't appear immediately in danger of getting the baking soda treatment. First shot taken. Forst basket for the Lakers.
9:39 - Bogut sinks the jumper over Bynum from about 15 feet out, but only after Drew pushed his similarly named counterpart back even further a few steps. Granted, Bogut can make those shots, but that's just better than Bogut going from just next to the rim. You can live with the Aussie hitting that one.
7:52 - Yi stands arms up under the rack, trying to bother Drew's shot. It works. Jianlian's smaller, but I think Drew's positioning where he caught the ball sorta left him in no man's land. Might have been better off passing out, were an option available.
7;29 - Great offensive rebound by Kobe off Fish's miss, snatching the ball from Charlie Bell and allowing a third chance (Drew had previously boarded #24's miss). Three didn't end up a charm, as Kobe's shot also clanged, but it was still worth mentioning, in part because it was a quality board, in part because it reflects the improved rebounding accross the board for this team.
4:43 - Some fan behind me yells, "C'mon Kobe! Start scoring!" Five seconds later, kobe drains the trey. Never let it be said The Mamba ain't a man of the people.
FYI - We just received word that Kobe's playing with a viral upper respiratory infection. That means two things:
1) Given Bryant's history of succeeding while playing sick, we're probably awaiting a 50 point night in the making.
2) BK is handling Kobe's postgame interview, not me.
3:50 - LO recovers late on Yi, allowing the Chairman to hit a long two. Kobe teaches the rook a lesson. You hit a basket, I'm gonna hit a bigger one. Kobe's third triple of the night hits nylon.
1:40 - Lakers in the midst of a 14-2 run. Unfortuately, Mo Williams is making a game of it for his team, putting up three buckets on three consective Milwaukee possessions. Not the prettiest display of transition D the Lakers will ever put on display. At least, one hopes not.
44.0 - Kobe scoops the up and under layup for his 16th point of the quarter. It's a shame the guy's health is keeping him from succeeding.
End of the first: Lakers 29, Bucks 22. Both teams shooting .45.5% from the field. For that matter, both have 6 assists, 4 offensive boards and 6 assists. Weird. Basically, keep shooting the ball well, clamp down on transition D (specificially on Mo Williams) and they should be okay. BK with the second.
Big minutes (aren't they all?) for the second unit. They've got a lead, and still have LO on the floor to help keep things smooth...
10:00- Nice little give and go with Kwame and Farmar. That's a play the Lakers use a lot, where the guard gives the ball to the big, then scrapes off him to get the ball back and attack the hoop. Looks great when it works!
8:24- Lakers up 34-29. Those of you who have been waiting for a grind it out, slow, reasonably low scoring game may just be in for a treat tonight. Both second units are not exactly lighting things up right now. It's been a game without a whole lot of zip. Not surprising, given that The Lakers are coming off a big win, are playing a pretty bad team, and the Bucks don't exactly provide much zip on their own. The Lakers have missed some open looks, but overall haven't been quite as precise on the offensive end as they've been in games past. Defensively, when they can get Milwaukee into the halfcourt, they're having some success.
It's pretty clear who the better team is, though.
7:43- Lakers 37, Bucks 31. Ariza to the line.
6:27- Critter called for a travel, one possession after a TO. He's doing way too much offensively. At least too much of the bad things, like dribbling too much, forcing too much, and that sort of thing. Just not a smooth effort for him. There are nights where he'll look very much like a rookie, and this would be one (at least thus far).
5:55- Farmar to the line- looked like it could have been a charge, but LA got the call. Timeout on the floor, Lakers up 40-37.
They're playing "Funkytown" on the PA right now. Nice little ditty. Lakers put the starters back in after the TO, Bogut back in for Milwaukee.
4:50- Great pass from Fish from beyond halfcourt to Bynum, who beat a sleeping Bogut back up the floor for an easy dunk. As the commentators like to say, you have to reward the big man for running the floor!
3:00- Kobe picks up his third foul, right after getting ticked off the previous trip up the court when the ref didn't give him the call on a jumper from the perimeter. It looked on the replay like he might have been hit on the arm going up, but he was so far clear of the defender by the time the ball went up, I don't think he saw it.
Meanwhile, Kobe is replaced by Coby... a clear indication that PJ wasn't happy with Critter's first stint on the court.
2:49- LO picks up his third foul, and will join 24 on the bench. Lakers up 47-43, but these last three minutes of play before the half will be big, with both of those guys on the bench with foul trouble.
2:00- Great play by Drew, gathering a potential TO off Karl. Coby lost the ball going through the lane, and Drew put out a big paw to save it before it went out of bounds, then put the ball in for a layup. Really, really soft hands.
1:00- Lot more up and down over the last few minutes, as both teams are getting up and jacking shots in a hurry, then turning the ball over just to add even more pace to the game. Not a lot of structure, here.
:35.8- AB to the line, with a chance to put the Lakers up by five... makes the first, misses the second. 54-50, LAL.
Lakers 54-50. This has not been a game for the time capsule, by any measure. Not very smooth play, Kobe and Odom both in foul trouble. Lakers shooting under 40%, but are still up, which is always a plus. Meanwhile, Milwaukee is up closer to 44%, but eight TOs hasn't helped their efforts. Actually, if you looked at everything in the box except the score, it's actually kind of tough to figure out how the Lakers are winning. BUt they are, which is what matters.
More to come in the third...
10:58 - The first points of the half come from Luke Walton connecting from mid-range. Hopefully, a sign of things to come. And by "things to come," I didn't mean Kobe picking up his fourth foul 20 seconds later. This would be sticky territory. On one hand, if Kobe picks up a fifth, he's sitting for a LONG time. On the other hand, save Bynum, nobody outside of Kobe is doing much scoring. Kobe signals to Phil that he's got it under control. We shall see.
10:08 - Luke takes a couple steps inside the circle, fakes the shot (and Bobby Simmons), steps inside another couple steps, then feeds LO a pretty bouncer for the easy dunk.
7:55 - Kobe works Redd in the post, backing him down... down... down... then spins for the one-handed floater while just inside the paint. Pretty shot many others would have missed.
By the way, BK and I were just talking. If you're Larry Krstkowiak (spell that five times fast), why on Earth do you still have Royal Ivey on the floor for Kobe to guard? I'd put Redd back in the game, hurt or not. Even if Fish guards him and Kobe switches to Mo Williams, it's still somebody Bryant's gonna have to guard besides Ivey to possibly force a fifth foul. I hope the thought doesn't occur to the other Coach K, but still.
6:46 - During the timeout, Erik "Ponch" Estrada is on the jumbotron. Predictably, the crowd loves them some C.H.I.P.S. nostalgia.
2:58 - Fish's 13-footer is short, but LO skies for the strong board, then steps inside to draw the contact for the and one layup. Timeout LA. It's been a considerably better half for Lamar since locker room Gatorade was served. Entering the game with 2 boards and zlich in the scoring category, he's now got 7 points and 8 boards. The Freebie makes it 8's all around.
2:14 - Kwame fakes Ruffin onto the floor, creates the clear path to the basket, then nurses the ball up and blows the layup. The crowd bristles with annoyance. I can't say I blame them. Seeing a 6'11" center play like a guard is never fun.
End of the third: Lakers 78, Bucks 74. That wouldn't sound so awful, except they were up 12 with a scant 4:35 left in the game. From there, LO's layup consisted of their only bucket, while Milwaukee put in a fast 13. The energy, to say the least, has been lacking. The Lakers could find themselves lulled to sleep, then waking up to find themselves with a loss if they're not careful. BK with the fourth.
Welcome to the fourth quarter of the least exciting four point game in history.
11:27- Kobe kicks things off with a bang, getting to the line for three shots after being fouled on a triple. Four point lead quickly becomes seven. Lakers 81, Bucks 74.
10:40- Now the fans are buzzing. Incredible play by Kobe, to wrestle the ball away from the Bucks on the offensive board after a missed Lakers J, then hitting a cutting Ariza on a no look, over the shoulder pass for an easy bucket. That was sweet. Farmar hits a triple (assist from 24) on the next trip down, and suddenly the Lakers are up by 10, 86-76. This is the sort of thing Kobe has generally done all season- playing in control, distributing, taking better shots, and not forcing much, then taking control of games in critical bursts.
Hard to argue with the results.
10:18- Timeout on the floor. If the Lakers can fight off the Bucks for the next three minutes or so, they can probably put this away. Two nice plays by Drew help there- one great rebound to clear the ball, then he cleans up a Farmar miss for a layup on the other end. Limits chances on one end, adds them on the other. Nice ratio.
Wow. Then he sticks with (I believe) Williams (could have been Redd) coming off a screen all the way down from the top of the key to the hoop, forcing a wild and missed shot. Great footwork, no foul.
5:31- Timeout , Lakers, up 98-86. The first couple minutes of this quarter belonged to Kobe, who helped stretch out the lead, then the next couple belonged to Drew, who was a force on both ends. Then, they combined for some great plays. LAL has definitely rode those two to what looks likely to be a win. Drew has shown some nice awareness, too, and confidence in that baby hook. He had Michael Ruffin on him, and rather than back him down all the way to the hole and bring himself into a double, mabye a triple (two more Bucks were waiting on him in the lane), he simply got a step or so closer, than shot over the much shorter defender. Nice play.
The only big mistake he's made in the quarter was giving up on that last Charlie Bell three, turning his back on the shooter and conceding the shot.
2:09- Timeout on the floor, Lakers up 108-95. Milwaukee has tried to make a few runs, but the Lakers/Kobe haven't let them get to a really threatening margin. Every time the Bucks push, LA pushes back. With two minutes to go, all they really need to do is take care of the ball offensively, and they'll win. There just isn't enough time for Milwaukee to get back into it if the Lakers avoid breakdowns.
1:20- It helps too to get second possessions, as the Lakers just did with a Walton offensive rebound. The crowd wants Tacos. One minute to go, Lakers holding on to a 13 point lead.
Redd hits a layin- only three points of taco margin to play with. The crowd is on the edge of their collective seats!
A potentially taco preserving block from Farmar!
Yi hits a jumper. Bucks on 99 with 15 ticks to go...
A chorus of boos rains down on the court as Charlie Bell hits a taco-eliminating three pointer. Seriously, I'm not sure if the crowd would have been louder if Charlie Bell had punched Kobe in the mouth.
A couple meaningless threes from Bell and Yi make the game a lot closer than the 110-105 final score might indicate. It wasn't a total wax job, but the Lakers controlled the game throughout. Great efforts from Drew (25/17, 3 blocks), and Kobe (37/5/7). JF hit some big shots, and overall the Lakers were very effective from three point land (10-21 overall).
Plenty more to come. Thanks for following along.