My evening with Marbury, plus mo' video of a Laker-centric variety
Some talking video boxes from Tuesday night's win over the Knicks. Derek Fisher, Andrew Bynum and
that Kobe fella the kids seem to dig. But first, a brief retelling of my "Stephon Marbury bro-ment."
As most folks know, Steph is a currently exiled member of those exact same Knickerbockers and attended the game in a purchased courtside seat (opting to mostly fiddle with his PDA). At halftime, a media crush circled Starbury, with BK and me joining a few minutes in. But even catching the tail end, we saw plenty of the scene recapped by ESPN's J.A. Adande, which wrapped with Marbury "hugging a blogger he'd never met before." Guess who the Internet writer just happened to be?
That's right, yours truly.
Just before this odd chain of events, Marbury had informed us that he's
loving life right now (who wouldn't love getting paid $21 mil to do
to get freed of his deal and, I quote, "doing my thing." A New York writer replied, "Isn't 'your thing' basketball?" Marbury didn't budge,
repeating instead his "doing my thing" mantra. Then he turned to me,
flashed a wide grin, and the
following exchange takes place:
Starbury: Doing my thing, you know?
AK: Hey, doing your thing.
Starbury: Doing my thing.
AK: Doing your thing.
Starbury: My thing.
AK: Your thing.
Don't let the instant bonding and banter fool you. I actually have no earthly idea what Steph's talking about during this "NBA TV meets Samuel Beckett" moment.
From there, he leans over and we exchange an awkward semi-man hug, followed by a low five. Mind you, this is the first time I've ever spoken to the guy in my life, putting a bizarre cap on an already strange 10 minutes. Media session now concluded, Marbury returned to his seat and that was that. All very cheery (dude couldn't have been nicer). All very... odd.
The vids are below...
Asked if the Lakers were aware of the Knicks' outside shooting tendencies, Derek Fisher explains how they're making an active effort to force teams to beat them at the three point line, since it's a lower percentage shot than ones coming from the paint. Obviously, such an approach isn't foolproof (as evidenced by New York's ELEVEN triples in the first half alone) and adjustments will often be required (as evidenced by the Lakers limiting the Knicks to just eight trey-ball ATTEMPTS in the second half). But as Fish notes, it's very difficult to sustain success over an entire game from 20+ feet out. Obviously, shots must be contested (an aspect where the Lakers struggled in the opening 24 minutes), but it's easier to live with those shots falling than giving up easy layups.
Fisher also did an nice job not registering what would have been reasonable disdain for the question's phrasing. Let's see. The Knicks lead the NBA in three point attempts (30 per game). They're coached by Mike D'Antoni. They have no classic big in the rotation. Al Harrington alone fires nearly seven per game. Quentin Richardson is a former three point shooting contest champ. Tim Thomas isn't even aware you're allowed to shoot inside the arc. I'll go out on a limb and say the Lakers weren't shocked to see the Knicks chuck a few from distance.
More from Fish on New York's early scoring bonanza. As mentioned earlier, some of their success was due to the Lakers' lack of success guarding what I've decided "The Machine" calls "the far line." But the Lakers also missed a boatload of layups, which were often rebounded by a nearby Knick and transformed into transitional opportunities New York always seeks. It's also a defensive scenario that doesn't exactly play to the Lakers' collective strengths.
As BK and I have often harped, defensive success isn't purely dictated by the one on one abilities of the five cats on the court. It's also the situations you place yourself in through offensive execution (or lack thereof). Made shots allow a greater ability to set your scheme and run a game plan. Missed shots often lead to covering on the fly. Obviously, you have to be prepared for imperfection. But a smooth, effective O makes life on D a hell of a lot easier, all in all.
Andrew Bynum has typically ridden pine during the stretch of fourth quarters, with Phil Jackson exhibiting more trust in Pau Gasol's one-on-one D, screen-roll coverage and general game IQ. But we've also seen glimpses of Drew doing well covering in space (against Chris Bosh, for example) and PJ always stresses that Bynum is coming along. Thus, it may not have been shocking to see him do well late in the game both altering shots around the basket and even covering a water bug like Nate Robinson around the perimeter. But moments like those are nonetheless refreshing and hopefully up PJ's confidence to play Drew in crunch time, creating more options.
This requires less analysis, but still contains good info. Kobe Bryant talks about defensive adjustments after taking in what the Knicks do (which is different than anything they've faced from other opponents) and the impact Bynum can make on the defensive end.
Picture of Stephon Marbury: Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images