Lakers Now

Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

« Previous Post | Lakers Now Home | Next Post »

1-0 in games where I'm on the road and dealing with annoying issues left and right

NOTE: AK had some serious tech issues both at the Arena and the hotel.  Thus, there's a lot that didn't make it in, or did... but perhaps rather less elegantly than he'd prefer.  That which is missing he'll try to deliver Wednesday

But more on that in a bit. 

Whatever complaints I have on the evening, I imagine they're all canceled out to some degree (at least in a Laker fan's head) by tonight's 102-100 win over the Mavericks.  The victory featured its fair share of chills, thrills, spills, good, bad, and ugly.  The Lakers came out of the gate humming on all cylinders, racking 59 points while holding the Mavs to 38 points and 33% from the field.  After halftime Gatorade and orange slices, the good times kept going for the Lakers, until, oh, about three minutes short of the end of the third.  At that point, L.A. enjoyed a comfortable 22 point lead, and seemed destined to win in shockingly convincing fashion.  Unfortunately for them, league rules insisted the Lakers play until the last of the third... and fair to say the final fifteen minutes belonged to the Mavs. 

Dallas shaved the Laker lead was shaved down to one, and had Dirk Nowitzki's prayer at the buzzer found some cord (or if NBA games were 49 minutes), we'd be having a very different conversation right now.

Click below for the breakdown.

THE GOOD

Vlad Radmanovic (especially in the fourth): All in all, Vlad was pretty good in the first half, too. 3-5 for 7 points to complement his eight rebounds.  But he didn't necessarily impact the game in strong fashion during the opening 24.  Down the stretch, though, Vladdy came alive like Peter Frampton.  10 points in nine minutes.  Three of four from behind the arc.  Two key rebounds in traffic.  Put it together and you get 21 points, tied for a season high, and 10 rebounds, his second double-double as a Laker.  Given how up and down his purple and gold career has been, when I say this was one of Vlad Rad's best games as a Laker, I'm not going out on a limb.

Kobe Bryant: I'd have put him in here just on the merits of his ultra-acrobatic third quarter twirling layup (the sort of thing most can't do in a game of HORSE).  But the rest of his game was pretty good, too.  29 points (20 of which came in the first half) on a none-too-ball dominating 12-23 shooting clip, seven assists and a trio of steals.  That being said, looooooved the layup!!!

Lamar Odom:
17/17, with the points coming more at the stripe than from the floor (5-15).  Odom got to the line with aggressive play, making seven of eight overall, including two massive makes in the last minute of the fourth.  Six rebounds in the final frame also reflects an assertive mindset.  His D on Dirk was also big on several occasions, including Dallas' final possession. 

Ronny Turiaf's D: Some very tough play on the "other" side of the ball.  Four blocks, five boards and a few plays where his contesting directly set up a Dallas miss and a Laker make.  His physical play against Dirk inside (both delivered and absorbed) is also worth noting.  Offensively, Ronny helped fuel L.A.'s early lead with ten first half points.  From there, the sledding grew considerably more difficult.  But when a guy works so hard to defend his squad's paint, it's easy to overlook a one-point second half. 

The First Half
: Like I mentioned earlier, pretty freakin' good.

Turnovers:
The Lakers may have lost some composure and/or focus in the second half, but they didn't often lose the ball.  Only nine turnovers in all. In a game where everything else seemed to fall apart around them, refusing to gift wrap the rock for the Mavs might have been the difference maker.


THE BAD

Luke Walton:
Eight attempts with only two makes (it felt like fewer).  Two shots blocked (it felt like more).  Sometimes Walton manages to get away with poor shooting by filling up the stat sheet and doing some of the proverbial "little things" that help a team win.  Making the great outlet pass.  The "pass before the dime" pass.  Crashing the boards.  Taking a few charges.  Whatever might counter some rather touchless shooting. Wednesday wasn't one of those nights, especially in the second half where he brought little to the table.  There are times when I think fans reflexively pile on Walton, rather than citing legitimate criticisms.  Tonight, Lakers fans have plenty to gripe about, at least as #4 is concerned.

The Third Quarter Upon Kobe Taking a Seat:
  With just over three and a half minutes to play in the frame, Kobe picked up his fourth personal.  As he went to the pine, I noted during the live blog that you never like seeing Bryant in foul trouble. At the same time, the Lakers were sitting on a 22-point cushion.  Kobe may be a great player and Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum may be unavailable, but all the same, I figured these guys were capable of holding down the fort for a few without their star.  I figured dead wrong, as evidenced by a 10-1 Mavs run filled with lifeless Laker play.   When it was over, the Mavs were down only a dozen, and they'd keep the momentum into the fourth. 

Laker PG Play: Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar combined for just a quartet of field goals on a very unlucky 13 tries.  That quartet of buckets also matched their combined assist total.  Not the most noteworthy of evenings for either.

Technical Difficulties:
I wasn't given the individual log-in code each member of the media receives when they pick up their credential in order to access the arena's wireless network.  By the time I managed to track it down, the first quarter of the live blog had elapsed.  Sorry about the delay.  On top of it, I also had trouble staying online.

Tech problems extended to our MP3 recorder, where I somehow managed to record thirty-plus minutes of nothing, but at the same time erase most of the good stuff (and by "good stuff," I mean "Lakers talking").

Difficulties Getting Into the Mavs Locker Room:  Mark Cuban wouldn't let me in.  Well, to be more specific, his goon wouldn't let me in.  Truth be told, the guy wasn't a goon (he was actually pretty nice), but that's a lot more fun to describe him that way.  In any event, when I showed up at the door and showed my credential, I was immediately greeted with, "Hold on a second.  You've been asked not to be in the locker room."  The security guy literally recognized my name on the spot, which normally would be flattering but tonight was simply annoying.   

I was offered the chance to speak with Sarah Melton, the Mavs' head of media relations.  Sarah, an extremely nice woman with whom I've worked before, came out and we discussed the situation.  Nothing heated or out of hand.  Just me breaking it down exactly like I did in my open letter to Cuban, reiterating my opinion that the Mavs owner is both abusing his authority and not being honest about why he's doing it.  I'm curious to see how the league handles this issue (I can't imagine it won't come across their desk at some point), but in the meantime, I'm enjoying my status as an E-list folk hero of sorts. 

Somewhere between Rubin "Hurricane" Carter while in prison and Smush Parker while in Miami.

AK 

 
Comments () | Archives (28)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Very funny to read the live game comments having missed the game but knowing the final score.

We give up hope way too soon...

This is a huge win for us. I don't care how they did it, just that they got 'er done. I am very surprised that we find ourselves back in first place.

Anything can happen in Utah now, though I still think a win is unlikely.

And it may not even matter that we get Bynun, Gasol and Ariza back the way the Celtics are playing.

Great win.

Wes

Buenos días, Lakers Friends:

Very glad the Lakers won! But the squandered lead is a bit worrisome. Nevertheless, a win is a win, so Great!

Saludos desde España,
David

Many of you owe Mitch "Cupcake" as you called him an apology for criticizing him for not trading for Jason Kidd. Now Mark Cuban looks like a dunce for trading for Kidd an overrated point guard who can't defend or shoot a lick!

Would rather have Jordan Farmar than Jason Kidd right now and for the future.

GO LAKERS!!!

Had me a bit nervous at the end of the game against Dallas, but a WIN IS A WIN :D It'd been nice to finish with a 20 pt plus lead, but poor Dallas, losing to the Lakers twice in such close games, each with relying on Dirk to make that 3 pt play. Kudos to Dallas for that awesome rally, but Lakers toughed it out and bring on Utah!!

We're undermanned and we still beat Dallas which says a lot about how dangerous our team will get once our team is completetly healthy. Like I said, never lose faith, keeping believing that your team will win. The losses against Houston and New Orleans was heard, but I think we were a little shell-shocked from Gasol's injury. Let's keep up the good defense!!!! And thank you Kobe for leading that late night practice, we needed it!!

GO LAKERS!!!

I was waiting for this thread to pop up to listen to some audio. Seems like Cuban and other problems prevented that from happening.

I am happy regarding the win, and was impressed with the double teams on Kobe. I think when teams start doing that Kobe should move to the PG spot so it puts him at the top of the floor and he can survey the defense and attack more efficiently.

OT: I really do not want the Lakers to get matched up against the Warriors in the first round. Being in the Bay Area and attending one of their recent games, the crowd can single handily change the momentum of the game. The Warriors do not like the Lakers and Baron wants to annihilate them. What do you guys think?

I'll be listening to the show tomorrow its really awesome, until you start talking about baseball. ha

good night

the lakers we lucky to win this one. what a difference Pau makes.
one point i would like to make is the very poor play of derek fisher. he seems like a shoot first kind of point guard. his assist number are awful, and come playoff time he is going to struggle in a big way against the likes of deron williams, chris paul, tony parker etc.
Also i the shooting woes for Luke Walton seem to be getting worse. He is consistently throwing up bricks.
Anyway i cannot wait till pau and bynum are back, because without them the lakers have no chance winning it all this year

Many of you owe Mitch "Cupcake" as you called him an apology for criticizing him for not trading for Jason Kidd. Now Mark Cuban looks like a dunce for trading for Kidd an overrated point guard who can't defend or shoot a lick!

Would rather have Jordan Farmar than Jason Kidd right now and for the future.

Posted by: Todd | March 19, 2008 at 02:07 AM

Todd,

Great post. I must agree with you in regards to Kupchak not pulling off a trade for Jason Kidd although I haven't been too enthralled by Farmar's play as of late. I've mentioned this several time on this blog that Jordan doesn't seem to like playing with Sasha Vujacic when they're on the court together and has way to little assists for someone that handles the ball as much as he does when he's in the game. Seriously, watch the games closely and you'll notice that Jordan doesn't pass the ball to Sasha even when Sasha is wide open. What made the bench great at certain stretches this season was their ability to run and get easy baskets and sharing the ball. Jordan and Sasha haven't been doing that lately, instead both have become more selfish with the ball and have become more one on one oriented which is not helping the team. Again, watch closely and you'll see that it becomes a shooting contest between the two when in the game together or they both become tentative and make dumb mistakes which is detrimental to the team. I'd also have to point out that Jordan is a real defensive liability and for someone his stature is surprisingly slow afoot(doesn't come close to penetrating the lane like a Tony Parker, Devin Harris or Monta Ellis to name a few). Trust me when I say that IF Farmar becomes the starter next season which I seriously doubt, it would only happen if there is a steep decline in Fisher's game. Whenever you play keep away with your own teammates(primarily Jordan and to a lesser extent Sasha), you're going to struggle in the triangle offense predicated upon moving and sharing the ball. Watch how often Jordan and Sasha avoid passing to each other especially when a better or wide open shot is available. They even seem to bicker about who brings the ball up the court. Someone should sit them both down and slap them upside the head!!!

BK/AK,

Since you're at the games in person, do you ever notice any friction between Jordan and Sasha? Seriously, are they playing against their opponents or each other? I could be wrong, but I notice some bickering between these two whenever they're in the game together as to who should be running the offense and both seem to avoid passing to each other unless absolutely necessary and both jack up shots as much as possible when in the game unless Kobe is out there yelling at them. I admire their passion and energy, but those two seem to have a competition between themselves that's not healthy for the team. I'm sure many will argue that competition amongst teammates is natural and good thing because you want playing time and you want to contribute to the team, but it's not healthy if it affects your game and the overall play of the team. IMO, both Jordan and Sasha should settle down and get back to what they were doing earlier in the season which was playing team ball and having fun instead of worrying about personal stats and numbers. Both should have more assists than they have, take better shots, attack the rim more and play better defense. Please share your thoughts and observations. Thanks and have a great day. Go Lakers!!!

Good Morning: Charles, Toad, JustAnotherMambafan
Guess what? Can you keep a secret?..........
WE'RE NUMBER ONE BABY!!! YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Even though I said it was on vacation till Playoff
time this calls for a Roll Call later on toady
NUMBER 1 NUMBER 1 NUMBER1

*______________________________*
NO AK ALLOWED IN MAVS LOCKER
ROOM THEN NO CUBAN IN PLAYOFFS
& SOMEBODIES GOING TO COURT
BANDWAGON
*_____________________________*
(01) MAMBA24 - Driver & Owner

http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-31-60/
Pity-the-Security-Guard.html


Seems like you and Abbot were in the same canoe.

is it me, or even with the depleted roster, AND kobe's injured finger, but arent the lakers of today a lot better with turiaf starting than the lakers of yester-year with Kwame "my hands just need a little jergens otherwise i'd be a superstar" Brown. Turiaf provides energy, team and individual D and he must always be accountable on the offensive end. And, he doesnt sulk when the play isnt going his way. He competes regularly, always provides the hard foul if necessary.
Turiaf >>>>>>> Kwame

That being said, i think going back and looking at the Rockets game, I think the Lakers were doing a lot better with Mbenga on the floor than Turiaf. Sometimes when you play those scrappy D oriented teams, you need to go down to their level and Mbenga provided that hard edge inside even though he couldnt do a lick offensively. If we had Pau and Bynum, then we can impose our will on the O side of the ball on any team, but not as currently depleted by injuries.

And although big chief triangle has forgotten a lot more basketball than i will ever know, i think that when Houston went to a small line-up. They should have had lamar be the "center" and let vlad. sasha kobe and fish play the rest of the floor. We STILL would have had the height advantage. But we also would have had SOME shooting pressence and Kobe and lamar would have had some more freedom for their 2 man game.

Whew! Last night's game went down to the W-I-R-E!
Bu they got the W, and that what counts! Love the Mbenga block on Malik Allen. Vlad Rad saved the day!!!!!

I sure am glad we brought Vlad!

--FearlessWhackJob

Good Morning Mamba!

Put me on that no playoffs for Cuban bandwagon, please!

Vlad def made some key shots and Lamar got key rebs..Overall, we got did what we needed to do as a team and SECURED the victory....

I am happy, a W is a W..I am not gonna go back and dissect each players game and find flaws..That was a very difficult game to WIN in a hostile situation, with key players down and we managed to maul them prior to becoming complacent and losing aggression to let them back into the game..Still, we SHOWED heart..gotta love it..

Next up UTAH...

Good Morning Charles---Good Morning Everyone....

well that was quite a ride on the old adrenalin roller coaster---and thankfully, ultimately, a much needed and welcome victory to say the least....hopefully another lesson learned....my neighbors may call the cops one of these nights.....oh the screaming the Lakers can elicit from me.....

and maybe yet another example of the will and character of this team....either that or we may have a little luck on our side.....it was great to see the way we played building the lead---very impressive---I don't have to mention the part of the game that wasn't so impressive....

IF WE SHOOT FREE THROWS AT EVEN A SEMI-EFFECIENT MANNER THIS GAME (AND MOST OTHERS) ARE NOT EVEN CLOSE....PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!!

Great to see Rad play really well---I can't understand when he is playing that well and not in foul trouble that he is taken out for any amount of significant time, not to mention whom he is taken out for.....PJ should really ride the Rad train when he's hot....

Positives for Puke: well he did make a few shots, at least one cool pass, and wonder of wonders he actually made both of his free throws (and three in a row) during a trip to the line---could be a sign of the apocalypse---he still obviously needs to practice shooting the ball---MOST OF HIS SHOTS ARE ACTUALLY TURN OVERS THAT LEAD TO FAST BREAKS--and he must lead the league in getting stuffed---he even had a ball stuffed before he raised it above his waist to shoot--there is a reason he is left wide open by the other teams---they see him enter the game and think "5 on 4--cool!"....the good news?---only 18 years left on his contract.....

Ronny was a beast and was hitting his mid and long range jumper---keep it up Ronny!!!

Lamar played perhaps his best game of the season---great aggressive effort with passion---can we see that in every game please?

Here's a news flash.....wait for it......INJURIES REALLY SUCK !!!

YET ANOTHER GREAT DAY TO BE A LAKER FAN!!

GO LAKERS!!!

Thanks to the person who put this up on youtube:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=UPkoj4TCbDU

RE: Nemaia Faletogo Posting

I agree with your observation regarding Sasha & Jordan which is hurting the Lakers.

You also correctly pointed out the liability of Jordan on the defensive end, which is why Sasha was in the game last night during the critical minutes altho' he was not doing so well offensively.

Best case would have been we go up but thirty in the third and rest our starters in the fourth. But we got a decent plan B out of the needlessly close game....

Other Lakers realize they too can step up to a challenge rather than just waiting for Kobe.

From the incomparable Ronny's fearless patrolling of the paint to the ubiquitous Lamar's aggressiveness on both ends to the clutch-o-matic Vladdy's threes at the end, the cavalry JOINED Kobe's attack rather than just following him as usual.

This could be a building block for greatness.

Also, that 360 layup by Kobe was totally ridiculous, like out of a sci-fi movie.

Tej,

I agree. I live in the bay as well and the Warriors crowd is electrifying. In fact, I'm going to the Lakers / Warriors game on Monday (3/24) and Warriors can be pretty dangerous at home. But Lakers have beaten teams in hostile environments, namely Sacto. So I'd give them a good chance to win a 7 game series.

T_Melt

AK,

At least our boys avenged the disrespecting of Laker Nation.

Hopefully Rad Vlad will keep this up. The only good thing about our wounded warriors is that it puts pressure on the healthy bodies to up their play, which will eventually make us a better and more mentally tough team.

Regarding the mental toughness, I'm seeing mixed results.

Jon's Mental Toughness Evolution Evaluation:

Kobe Bryant: Improving (How? One word: Leadership).
Lamar Odom: Improving (Aggressiveness)
Derek Fisher: (Stagnant. Shots aren't falling when they need to.)
Rad Vlad: (Improving. Solid defense.)
Ronny Braveheart: (Improving. Defense. Aggression.)
Luke Walton: Failing. (His shot.)
Sasha Vuljcic: Mixed. (Improving, but a critical junctures his shot does not fall.)
Jordan Farmar: (Failing. His mean competitiveness mainly comes when we're ahead. We need it when we're not ahead.)
DJ Mbenga: (Flat. He's just playing hard.)

GO LAKERS!

NBA players who played great before contract expires and players who played timidly after signing contracts!!
Not the exact order:
1. Luke Walton
2. Vince Carter
3. Tim Thomas
4. Kirk Hinrich
5. Kenyon Martin
6. Jermaine O'neal
7. Marcus Banks
8. Charlie Bell
9. Antoine Walker
10. Bonzi Wells
11. Jerome James
12. Zach Randolf
13. Brian Cook
14. Boris Diaw
15. Darius Miles

Floyd -
IF WE SHOOT FREE THROWS AT EVEN A SEMI-EFFECIENT MANNER THIS GAME (AND MOST OTHERS) ARE NOT EVEN CLOSE....PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!!

I've been saying it for 2 seasons now!!

AK-

Kudos to you and Brian for rarely pulling out the old “the officials had it out for the Lakers Card”. In fact, you guys only point out truly hideous and atrocious officiating.

However, I thought there might be some offhand mention of it in your report today. I try my hardest to be a “balanced” fan, really I do. However, it sure seemed like the officials got caught up in the Mavericks momentum last night. Now I am talking more about the vibe I got in the second half than # of plays/fouls etc. It sure “seemed” like they swallowed their whistles on numerous over the backs (in Dallas’s favor), and seemed to have two sets of rules for what counted as a foul (one for the Mavericks and one for the Lakers). My shock over the fact that Lamar benefited a loose ball foul on a rebound late in the 4th was only tempered by my later absolute astonishment that he made both free throws. Now, I do not think there was an officiating conspiracy, but I did anticipate a mention of the fact that the officiating...ah...let's call it "style"...was another contributing factor to the run Dallas made during the late 3rd and 4th quarters.

Hopeless Homer C.S.

Paul,

>>>the lakers we lucky to win this one. what a difference
>>>Pau makes.

uhhh. With Pau, they had to go to overtime to beat Dallas,
so maybe this is the wrong opponent to make that statement
about.

Jon K,

>>>Sasha Vuljcic: Mixed. (Improving, but a critical
>>>junctures his shot does not fall.)

How about his rebound and made 16-footer late in the 4th
last night? At the time, the Lakers were only leading by 5
with Dallas breathing down their necks. I'd call that a pretty
"critical juncture". He's made 3's late in fairly close games
(say within 10 points) several times this season.

He (along with Farmar and Fisher) have been more
inconsistent lately, but I think it's just the season wearing
on all of them. Not everybody's as mentally durable as
Kobe. :-)


Connect

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video

All Things Lakers »

Your database for all things purple and gold.

Find a Laker

Search a name

Select a season

Choose one of our lists



Categories


Archives
 

About the Bloggers


Bleacher Report | Lakers

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More Lakers on Bleacher Report »



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists:


In Case You Missed It...