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Lakers 99, Spurs 85: Afternoon Delight

A lot of Lakers fans talked about this afternoon's matchup against the Spurs as the stuff that "revenge Drew_2 matches" are made of.  Pau Gasol, however, maintained that despite recently leaving San Antonio with a team-wide sour taste in their mouths over a last minute game winner from Roger Mason Jr., that was ancient history.  "A new day.  A different battle," shrugged El Spaniard.    For the folks in the middle, Kobe Bryant didn't mention fuming emotions surrounding the game, but conceded that a victory against this particular team always feels good.  Thus, no matter how you stand on the topic, coming out on top 99-85 is guaranteed to feel good to anybody with a rooting interest in purple and gold success.  And in particular, the manner in which is was crafted was pleasing.

After a tight first quarter concluded one point behind, the Lakers steadily began lapping their longtime Nemesis, beating San Antonio by seven point margins in the second and third quarters.  The enemy never shot higher than 43% and book ended their afternoon with sub-forty clips.  The Lakers won the battle of the boards 43-40, swatted an octet of shots and kept everyone on the Spurs in check, including the Big Three.  43 combined points for Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli, who registered just nine points on eleven attempts.  Only in the fourth quarter did the Lakers delve into sloppiness, turning the ball over ten times after limiting themselves to just eight over 36 minutes.  Then again, that was also a quarter where regulars Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher and Andrew Bynum never got off their butts, so it's understandable that peak efficiency would be lacking. It's also a mark of just how strongly the Lakers took possession of this game.   

Throw in Jordan Farmar's return to action about a month earlier than predicted, and the breakdown is mostly chock full of sunshine, candy whistles and moon pies. 

Three Good

  • Andrew Bynum: After a pair of games spent dominating an interior the likes of Brian Skinner, DeAndre Jordan, and the stiffs Washington trots out, this matchup against Tim Duncan would provide a true look at how big a wave Andrew Bynum is currently riding.  Judging by how things shook out, surf's up.  The fifteen points, eleven boards and four blocks were nothing to sneeze at, even if Drew was unhappy with his 4-10 shooting clip. (In a case like this, it's kinda nice that everybody is a critic).  But more impressively was how Drew's numbers matched/bested Timmy's 15/8/0 swats, leaving no doubt as to who got outplayed.  Socks used his length and strength to make Duncan work for everything, and did so without becoming a whistle magnet.  After picking up his second foul with a little less than four minutes remaining in the first quarter, Bynum played the next sixteen or so minutes without drawing the refs' ire.   That made it easier to alter countless San Antonio attempts into bricks.

    Also cool was seeing Bynum draw multiple defenders on a more regular basis and appear comfortable handling the attention.  "He's starting to recognize the double teams and where to move the ball to," praised Kobe.  "That's the next stage  of development for him.  He obviously hasn't seen double teams like this since he's been in the league."
  • Lamar Odom: Unlike Bynum, Lamar's impact won't come revered by a scoring enthusiast (6 points on 3-9 shooting).  But like AB17, he made quite the defensive impact on the boards and forcing misses.   Ten boards off the bench can obviously be tallied up in the box score, but the amount of shots LO used his length to bother won't grace a score sheet.  But make no mistake, he was making his presence felt, and in a variety of ways.  Shadowing guys like Mason all the way to the hole and forcing a wild miss.  Staying with Tony Parker in the paint through a series of dribbles, forcing a tough fadeaway that didn't come close.  Closing hard on a Matt Bonner triple.  While rarely a true "lockdown" defender, I've always felt LO's defensive abilities often go underrated.  This was a great showcase of everything he can do.
  • Trevor Ariza: He turned the ball over four times, but beyond that, not much else TA screwed up.  Seventeen points tied a season-high, as did his five canned at the stripe (on as many tries).  And while I'll never become entirely comfortable with Ariza spending too much time spotting up (It's simply too far removed from his strengths, in my opinion.), a pair good from the downtown stripe presented more proof of an outside shot continuing to improve over the course of the season.  But like I said, The Cobra is always at his best when he's playing at the rim, which he demonstrated while skying high for an alley oop from Farmar and a drive that went "and one" after he completed a layup while spinning backwards.  I wouldn't be shocked to see either play on SportsCenter. 

The Bad

  • Ten fourth quarter turnovers:  I'm not going to harp on them too much, particularly when you take into account how well the Lakers had taken care of the ball up until then and how Jordan Farmar's presence after a month's absence likely meant guys getting reacquainted.  But I should at least mention them. 

One Big issue

  • Jordan Farmar's return:  In the most literal sense, Farmar's startlingly quick return from knee surgery provided a boost.  He was 5-7 from the field for 14 points, with a pair of treys and dimes to boot.  Phil Jackson said he planned to only play the Bruin about seven minutes, but ended up tacking on an extra ten.  "Good thing I made some shots," joked Jordan.  Having him back and able to go 15-20 (at least) does wonders for this roster.  Not only, as Kobe noted, is the rotation able to "fall back into their natural positions," but being newly at full strength allows Phil Jackson's long term goal of limiting minutes for entire squad (especially the Mamba and Derek Fisher) to become a reality.  It can't be overstated how huge this could be come April and beyond.  Potentially, we're talking a major ace in the hole game changer. 

    PJ certainly wouldn't disagree.  When asked how important having Farmar was, Phil didn't beat around the bush.  "A lot.  Big."

AK

AUDIO

 

Kobe Bryant on Andrew Bynum recognizing double teams

   

 

Pau Gasol on not treating today as a "revenge" game   

 
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Trades anyone? How about Jason Kidd for Andrew Bynum?
How about trading Jordan Farmar? Maybe Mitch isn't a cupcake.

THE BEAST IS BACK..

While the doubters dwindle daily, Andrew Bynum posted his third beastly game in a row, this time outplaying future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan as Kobe Bryant, the Bruise Brothers, and the Bench Mob swamped the hapless San Antonio Spurs 99-85. Drew was a force at both ends of the court, attacking the rim on offense, protecting it on defense, vacuuming up rebounds, and playing superb man-on-man defense on Duncan. 15 points, 11 boards, 1 dime, 1 steal, and 4 blocks, including 2 playing 1-on-1 on Tim Duncan.

Make no mistake about it, Andrew Bynum is the player that elevates the Lakers defense. Not only was he able to play Duncan 1-on-1 but his presence and help defense down low really forced the Spurs to be a jump shooting team. And just as it happens in every game, when Drew goes to the bench, the other team starts getting dunks and layups. As Phil lets Drew more minutes, our defense will steadily become better and better. Drew finishing close games will be the next big move to make us a better defensive team.

It will be interesting to see what perennial Bynum non-believers like blitz have to say about Drew right now. Will they recognize how the Beast transforms the Lakers? How he makes the Lakers a much tougher team? How he has tilted the focus of the offense to inside-out basketball? How he has elevated the team’s shooting percentage and free throw attempts? How, as Kobe said, his presence makes the Lakers championship caliber? Or will they dodge and hedge and hem and haw like trolls suddenly caught in the headlights?

Should we be surprised at Andrew’s breakout? Seriously, whose judgment would you have rather trusted as far as Drew’s potential – the Lakers front office and coaching staff or kobeblitz and bunch of misguided bloggers on the LA Times Lakers Blog. JK, blitz. I do think it is time, however, for you and the Lakers fans who’ve been overly critical of Drew to make your apologies and jump on the Andrew Bynum bandwagon with the rest of us. No need to still play the Grinch. Time to believe and enjoy the return of the Beast.

The truth is that it is not hard to project Andrew Bynum as the Next Great Lakers Center. He has great height, length, athleticism, a soft touch on his shot, great footwork, and a pair of the best hands of any big man in the game today. And he showed last year before he was injured that he could be a dominating center. It’s not like we are seeing anything new in my mind. What we are seeing is why the Lakers gave Drew the big money. What we are seeing is more proof that the Lakers front office know what they’re doing.

While I’m picking on blitz, what a great game by Jordan Farmar, surprising everybody by making his comeback from Christmas surgery weeks early. So much for those ripping the Lakers trainers and doctors. Jordie looked very sharp and under control for the most part tonight. Contrary to what blitz thinks, there is nothing wrong with Jordan Farmar’s fast breaking style of play. When he has problems, it is with not making correct judgments, not with his style of play, which is exactly what the Lakers want from him – change of pace.

Kudos also to Pau Gasol, who with Drew are becoming the Lakers Bruise Brothers. Pau is not only getting better each game but he is also getting tougher. That was a great quick jam and one against Duncan. Drew and Pau are the best front court duo in the NBA today. Great game also by Trevor and of course the MVP, who is an orchestrator extraordinaire. Luke also kept his 3-game streak of eating leather alive but does do a great job of feeding the ball to Drew and Pau and is like lubricant for the Triangle Offense.

The Beast is back and the focus has now swung to the Bruise Brothers. Playing inside-out basketball produces a higher shooting percentage, a foul and free throw advantage over the other team, and a parade of wide-open 3-point shots – which is what we saw tonight. Now with double low-post power in Drew and Pau, the Lakers are going to ride the Bruise Brothers to the NBA Championship. When we finish demolishing Boston and Cleveland on the road, our current 4-game win streak will have been extended to 11 games and our best record in the league to 42-8. And we will have swept the season series against both.

The Beast is Back. Unleash the Beast. Feed the Beast.

As always, JMNSHBO!


Tom

Houston's Luis Scola and Sasha Vujacic look like they could be twins!

(i'm watching the houston/detroit game right now).

lol.

Great win today over the Spurs - GO LAKERS!

I hope the defensive kicks in a little more as we approach the all-star break/road trip/getting reacquainted and get back into mid-season form that we had in the first 10 games.

I think Bynums problem is having confidence in his legs..That or the injury just took that long to completly heal.You can see that he is jumping higher and playing stronger.And think..hes only 21...What were you doing at that age???

LakerTom,
To add to your post about Bynum:

If Bynum continues not making dumb fouls, the other team's bigs have a very high potential for getting into foul trouble when defending Bynum and Gasol. When this happens, it just accentuates the bench advantage that the Lakers have.

With everybody back in the line up, the third unit must workout thier skill to play as a team. Chris and Josh should take the lead. They should always be prepared in playing together and blend properly with the rest of the team. In the last 3 game, they contributed on TO or they cause the TO being not in proper coordination.

This is now the time to send Sun Yue in the D-League where he hone his skill and learn the NBA style of game. I believe he can be develop into a reliable point guard like Farmar. Since he claim that he is the Magic Johnson of the East, why not ask Magic Johnson to teach him a few of his Magic Trick. He maybe become a good protegee. He is the perfect backup for Farmar when Fish retire. Remember Lakers will not have a First Round pick next year. Unless, there are hidden talent left in the Second Round.

LakerTom,

If you're going to pick on blitz, don't forget to mention
Trevor. 2 of 5 from 3pt land equals 40%. He didn't
think that Trevor would hit that.

He's about to post stats showing that Trevor isn't producing
40%. I can feel it coming thru the data lines .... :)

Beteween this and the Cleveland win the Lakers look very ready for a stretch run. Now on to the road to prove they can win there.

Bynum's surge is now officially for real with a strong game versus Duncan. This is a whole new dimension. He is back to his pre-injury level.

Props to Farmar on an amazing bounce back.

REPOST:

Player of the game...FARMAR

I know Drew was very impressive and Ariza was great off the bench but Farmar came up huge. The game was still pretty close when Farmar shocked us all and came in the game in the second quarter. He ended with 14 points with 2-3 from behind the line. Not only did he play the game but he was very aggressive and drove the ball hard to the basket. I was excited to see Farmar in the game and even happier after the game he had. Clearly he didn't have the best game but I think it showed a lot about his character to come out "early" and play hard. I'm sure Fisher is extremely happy he's back and so am I.

GO LAKERS

In rebuttal to Laker Tom,

No the beast is not yet fully but not to take away Bynum's production. After being embarrassed by Dwight Howard he really took his game to another level and did the job defensively on Tim Duncan. Does that mean he's already great not necessarily besides in the summer I already defended him against people like Mike T. when he held Duncan to a very low FG% 2 years ago (it was still 2007). But he has indeed rebounded back on the rebounds which was a constant a fair criticism of him. Otherwise he has done very well but defeating Cleveland and Boston on their home floors will be tough. To be more honest, Bynum has to show the same production on the road before declaring him "A beast".

Make no mistake I was more than happy to see Jordan not to mention get Derek more rest. And I was glad to see him focus more in following the offense instead of trying to create it himself. Having Pau with the 2nd Unit which I thought was better than Bynum because it settles down the 2nd Unit and when Jordan cannot push the tempo Pau's superior passing makes up for it in a half court set.

It was a great win and glad to see the Lakers back 100% since for a month but now the road beckons and it won't be the same atmosphere as it is in the Staples Center.

Kobe and Pau is still the 1-2 punch of the Lakers. Bynum contrary to what you champion LT is becoming the 3rd option the Lakers had last year with Lamar Odom (16.2ppg last year with Odom as 3rd option behind Pau Gasol).

Otherwise good win and one more Staples Center game before the road beckons.

And no it was all mental to Bynum. Once he overtook that mental block that I have said he should get over he is fine. THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH THE KNEE.

-blitz

ex,

>>>>>If Bynum continues not making dumb fouls, the other team's bigs have
>>>>>a very high potential for getting into foul trouble when defending Bynum
>>>>>and Gasol. When this happens, it just accentuates the bench advantage
>>>>>that the Lakers have.

Excellent point, ex. By the way, I am sure glad that you were right about Drew having a chance of returning to the Beast this year and I was wrong that it might take to next year. The turnaround in the last 3 games has been remarkable. Like Kareem and Kobe both have said, it is all about confidence with Drew. The Beast is definitely back.

I don’t normally focus on one specific player in the game but I did tonight with Drew and could hardly find a play where I thought he did not give a great effort. His defense on Duncan and help defense protecting the rim were outstanding. When he is in the game, the Lakers are a much stronger and tougher defensive team.

Just like last year, it is as if Drew finally got it like a light bulb suddenly being turned on. Offense, defense, rebounding, toughness – he is unique due to his size and position such that there is an incredible synergistic domino effect on the entire team. He allows Kobe the luxury to be Kobe Nash, as he was during the recent 5 game stretch, or Kobe Doberman, as he was tonight hounding Ginobli into an ineffective game.

I never had a doubt that Drew would again be the Beast even though his phenomenal success last year was only for a couple of meteoric months. And I never bought the doubters’ criticism that Drew’s performance was just dunks and alley-oops. The great footwork and repertoire of offensive moves he has displayed during the last 3 games were All-Star caliber. Next years, the Lakers will have 3 All-Stars for sure.

JMNSHBO!

Tom

Let's not overlook the great defensive effort by Kobe on Manu, punctuated by that block as the clock winded down in the first half. Manu could not get a field goal until 5 min left in the first half and was just hounded by Kobe all over the court. With Manu rendered ineffective, the Spurs were toast.

Of course, the Spurs fans would characterize that as Manu having an 'off night'...

Times have changed. Two seasons ago, the Lakers were looking up to the Spurs as role models. Now the biggest danger is falling asleep on them like with the Kings and Pacers. The defensive effort today (dominating the paint on both ends) shows that the Zlakers still take the Spurs seriously.
I was completely not shocked when the Lakers pulled away in the third. The Spurs still match up with anyone else in the West but against the Lakers they look old and thin. They barely managed to win at SA against a depleted Lakers squad on the night after a tough road win.
About the only thing the Spurs have to teach is Bynum facing against Duncan and I was pleased to see him hold his own. That plus Farmar's play of course.
From now on it's the three Eastern elite teams that'll consume the Lakers' attention.

Lakertom


1. Kobblitz is a fraud,great commentary Lakertom.
2.Phunk36 needs to apologize to Luke Walton.

Tom - as Jackie Gleason would say, "how sweet it is!"

Butchiky - I like that idea, Magic mentoring Sun.

Jim Buss did a much much better job than Michael Jordan, Jim picked Bynum,Michael choose Kwame. I liked Bynum when i first saw him, i did not like Kwame when i first saw him playing in LA. Some Lakers fan on this blog should learn the lesson, because they did not like Bynum, they want to trade Bynum for Jason Kidd... LeBron James, Dwane Wade, did they play good agaisnt Kobe when they first started in the NBA ? No, this is the first year of Bynum,last year did not count because he was injured. Let's wait 2,3 years from now, before you criticize Bynum against Howard, ok.

Greetings Fellow Lakeshow Fans,

Nice DEFENSIVE win vs an always game Spurs team...Still can't get over those immaculate Sunday white unis...Nice job by the Lakers in limiting damage by Duncan and Parker as well as Manu. Drew really held his own against a future hall of famer. Gasol was a stud as usual. Again, the frontcourt did their job WELL.

Hmmm...Once both guys start to FIGURE things out together on the court, our Lakers team is going to be a SERIOUS force for ANY team to reckon with. Looks like it's getting there!

Like I've said in previous posts, our Lakers have to start exploiting and CONTINUE to exploit their awesome SIZE advantage up front against teams PERIOD! Folks, we've GOT THE RECIPE for a championship!

More importantly, our Lakers team, when healthy, is one DANGEROUS group of guys. This is especially true of our bench players. Farmar, Ariza and Odom were huge today in terms of energy and passion. With Vujacic and the rest of the mob, they will have their chances to contribute as they have done in the past. SCARY!

Farmar, considering his knee, looked like a guy with a second wind. He was QUICK! Odom, when focused, is a nice all around defender and rebounder with length. Ariza is just a ball of energy on both ends of the court...his shot is looking pretty good to boot...When Farmar and Odom play with an EDGE (controlled PASSION and SMARTS that is), the Lakers are UNBEATABLE!

BTW, with a full compliment of players today, Kobe and Fish experienced the joy of BREATHING once again in terms of limited minutes...As we all know, keeping their minutes down is of most importance. Keeping the most valuable leaders fresh for the stretch run is ALWAYS a GOOD THING!

Speaking of the stretch run, don't think for a minute that rival Boston has the same thing in mind for their three amigos...Trust me, Boston, seeing the way things are shaping right now for the MUCH improved Lakers, is going to have to shore up their bench by the deadline (both Cleveland and Orlando in the conference will give then fits for sure as well). THEY KNOW IT! THEY HAVE NO CHOICE! Anything's possible....

They may be tough and physical, but once you force them to play at both ends HONESTLY for 48 minutes, especially KG and Perkins upfront, they will have no opportunity to CHEAT off their assigned man, just like they did in the Finals last year (all they did was build a Kobe wall pretty much). They will NOW have to WORK even more! In a sense, we let them OFF the HOOK with our perimeter play. Because of this, they really didn't expend so much energy INDIVIDUALLY! I'm curious to see the matchup on Feb. 5th and how it plays out...

Looking down the road, they will have to play an improved Bynum and experienced Gasol up front at the SAME time. Imagine Odom in the mix...Also, their last year's James Posey is now our Trevor Ariza. WE HAVE SERIOUS LENGTH! What a difference a year makes! We shall see...

Still a bit to go, but looking BETTER each day!

Laker pride through ADVERSITY!

Great win.

I thought Drew looked great, but really, Farmar was fantastic. I too was particularly impressed with the fact that he was aggressive. That his shot was falling didn't suck, either.

Pau's passing was beautiful. He's gifted, El Spaniard!

I love how the guys are sharing the ball. All the extra passing is really facilitating the open man, and they're knocking those shots down. Man, they look good. They made the Spurs look old and discombobulated. I'm not sure if they Lakers just look so much better or the Spurs are finally on their way out. Their big three was no match for this Lakers squad today, and I don't worry if we meet them in the finals. It's obvious we can beat them. I'll never count them out all the way, but even with Pop and TD, Parker and Ginobli our team is just way too deep for them to ever be a huge threat. That's just MHO though.

I LOVE LA!!!!
WE LOVE IT!!!!
GO LAKERS!!!!!!!

LakerTom,

As long as Kobe is willing to continue to take a slightly lesser role on offense, they will be extremely hard to beat. Gasol has arguably the most well-rounded game of any PF/C, although not particularly "powerful", he's not "soft", either. Bynum has a better set of offensive weapons than probably any other center (Yao the one possible exception). His problem has been knowing which one to use, and how to set them up within the flow of the game. Now he is figuring that out; the added confidence from that seems to be affecting his rebounding and defense, too (or maybe it's the other way around). I liked the way that PJ kept the Farmar-Gasol-Odom-Ariza-Vujacic lineup on the floor longer than he normally would, and longer than he had to today. It gave that group a lot of quality time together; I think they will be the primary "second string". Hard to argue with the way the Odom-Gasol-Bynum PF/C rotation has worked so far.
Just stay healthy!!

I disagree with our excellent blog leader AK on Ariza and 3's. With the Lakers strong post up game any 3 on the floor has to be able to hit spot up 4's to space the floor, and Trevor has shown growth there.

Think Coop - with even more athleticism. But Pau and Drew make athletic forays to the hoop tough in the half court set and spot up shooting ia the key to keeping Trevor on the floor for his D, hustle and spectacular finishes.

hobbitmage,

>>>>>If you're going to pick on blitz, don't forget to mention
>>>>>Trevor. 2 of 5 from 3pt land equals 40%. He didn't
>>>>>think that Trevor would hit that.

LOL. No way I want to debate blitz. He has too much time on his hands and wiggles like a worm better than even AK when on the hook in a debate. The only way to beat blitz is to use guerrilla warfare, hitting him with quick jabs of criticism veiled in friendly humor, and then running and hiding so that he cannot drag you into a never-ending debate.

I just like to tease blitz because, despite his encyclopedic and impressive knowledge of basketball, he often puts his foot in his mouth by proclaiming opinions that are naïve and biased. It’s a problem that sooner or later dogs any of us who talk or post a lot. While I love him, blitz is sort of like the blogs Joe Biden. An expert who regularly suffers from foot-in-mouth disease.

Like Trevor Ariza will NEVER shoot over 40% or Andrew Bynum will be a run-of-the-mill center or Jordan Farmar’s problem is his style of basketball and not his execution of it. More off-the-cuff guesses and spur-of-the-moment speculation disguised as proclamations and astute analyses. Kobeblitz, next to Mike T, the last Lakers fan on the Andrew Bynum bandwagon. What will he say when the Lakers beat Boston and Cleveland on the road?

Andrew Bynum, the Next Great Lakers Center. Unleash the Beast.

Tom

I was worried about Andy B. But he has shown himself to have some game. The 42 solidified his status as a potential threat. He has made a strong presence in the games since. No one is the high scorer every game, but a strong presence indicates the 42 was not a fluke. He has that potential every night.

That is enough to scare other teams. I did not see the Spurs game, but I am very encouraged to hear Andy B. was drawing doubles. That makes a huge difference.

I am also glad that Gasol is willing to just let Andy B. take 1/2 the responsibility.

The three punch with jabs behind them! This was the dream. The plan is working!!

GOOOoooOOO LAKERS!!!

Richard,

Thanks for the kind words. For the record, Kobeblitz is a great blogger who knows as much about basketball as anyone on the blog. He just has a problem with admitting he is wrong once in a while and needs a little smack down to keep him from getting too big for his young britches. As his friend, it is my duty to let him know when he is wrong, which he has been about Andrew Bynum.

And Luke Walton surely does not deserve the ridicule and derision that the blog dumps on him. Shades of Mike T and the guy on the grassy knoll, the crazy conspiracy theories as to why Phil starts or even plays Luke are hilarious. Why not accept that he starts Luke in order to get the teamwork on offense and defense off to a good start because that is the real motive behind Phil’s thinking. Good to hear from you.

As always, JMNSHBO!

Tom

Excellent game Lakers!


Kobe MVP


TIme to become Road Warriors!

The only way to bag a classy lady is to give her two tickets to the gun show!!! Ron Burgundy

And Lakertom is back...unleash tha laker tom

Time to rub some serious noses in it fella...'Why no do a rap in a club about the flavour of your behind? its the done thing these days....

'On this day we gather becasue we have chosen hope over fear' :President Obama.

Good for you lakertom you said it before he did.

what a great name for a thread 'afternoon delight' makes me feel like watching anchorman except someone pinched my DVD...wow I started this post in a great mood an now I'm PO'd.

Richard Lewis,

You know that Pfunk36 will not do that. He is too much Anti-Walton, Anti-Jackson, and Too much Pro-Kobe without seeing KB's limitations.

Bynum is becoming a very solid 3rd option. Now people will probably interpret that as "not good". Far from the case. What he has done is what he should have been doing since the 1st game of the season. Now he's rounding back into form and is taking advantage of Kobe's and Pau's presence to score and is finding ways to pass out of doubles/triples. Lamar Odom averaged 16.2ppg as a 3rd option and while Bynum's numbers are a bit inflated because of the 42 point effort but still great none the less.

And that is what Luke being in the starting lineup will help do: passing to get Bynum's touches in the middle.

Defensively is WHAT HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN DOING all along. 10 rebounds, 3 blocks. It is still unlikely he will be averaging 20 and 10 (Laker Tom if you want a "Beast" admittance from me, make him average 20 and 10 and when he outplays Dwight Howard).

I don't take it as a sign of dominance. In fact I take it more as what was to expected out from him when he came to camp. I'll still say 15ppg and 10rpg but considering Pau and other people to score, I still won't say 20ppg and 10rpg. He is doing what is needed as a 3rd option and is doing well and starting to build consistency and providing EFFORT to get the rebounds rather than let the round ball come to him (assuming it bounces in his direction he can't do anything if it bounces a different way).

The beast? Not quite yet. Biggest Compliment I will give him though? With the way he's playing tagging him with Kobe and Pau is making the West into a one team race. 65+ wins is my still present guess.

Or still you going to say that I am a Bynum criticizer (believe it or not I have defended Bynum in the past)

The road still beckons and we'll see what happens to the team as a whole.

And Hobbit,

Again you miss my words. It was 40% ONE SEASON. You want to still bet with me on that? Besides Trevor has shot more than 40% on some games this season so eat your words Hobbit!

Btw with Jordan back Sasha's touches will go down as well.

-blitz

Games that "matter" are not won or lost in January.

Greatness is not cemented in the regular season.

It takes a consistent effort and a Finals win, for us to really stand out. For our players to really stand out.

But for today, I'm feeling oh so good with our depth, and the amount of weapons we can throw out there on a nightly basis. And although the perimeter defense imo was sub-par (with the exception of LO tonight), the internal presence could be felt. Props to both Pau and TD for winning us the game. And for Jordan for his quick recovery.

Go Lakers!

Hobbit,

Again why didn't you go on me during these games:

Cleveland 2/2-100%
@Houston-66.7%
@San Antonio-50%.

Those are 40%+ games.

Oh wait about other things about Trevor:

Orlando-0%
@Clippers-33.3%
New Orleans-29% (rounded up because I like all Lakers if it was LBJ I would round down lol).

I will say it now: Tell me when Trevor averages 40%+ A SEASON.

I said he extended his range. That is true. Rasheed Wallace extended his range as his career went on (to the point where it ruined his chances to become a better post player Trevor will most likely not do that he's too smart to be like Sheed). But Sheed NEVER averaged 40%+ after he shot more than 2 3 pointers per game.

Trevor has extended his range but trust me being a 40%+ shooter? Then why not replace Sasha with him?

If you want to say that he will average 40%+ this season then say he is a better shooter than Kobe Bryant. Are you willing to admit that?

Sidenote: Kobe's best 3 point year was 38% in 2002-2003.

Tell me when Trevor tops that and averages 4 3 point attempts per game.

Laker Tom,

Thanks for the kind words.

-blitz

If there was ever such a thing as a timely injury it would have to be Farmars...he was mentally shot when he went out of the lineup.Looks like hes regrouped well.

Even my obnoxious and unrealisitc spurs fanatic friend predicted a pasting before the game - the guys been getting so depressed this season that I have to say things like 'All it takes is one road win in the playoffs'

and 'The spurs always fly under the radar and do well every second year'

I mean he has to at least believe his team can win or it won't be any fun come playoff time....the lakers are feared!


The Lakers now have a unique opportunity.

Is it possible to OWN last year's defending champs?
The team that OWNED you in last year's finals?

The Celtics are on a 8 game winning streak.

If the Lakers roll into their HOUSE and HOUSE them again it will send shockwaves through their system. They'll know what they have just isnt good enough. They'll try to make a silly trade, sign Marbury, do whateva, but nothing they do matches adding Bynum and Ariza.

I cant wait till Feb. 5th.

That, my friends, is the NEXT BIG statement game that the Lakers can really announce that it is OUR year...

"And Luke Walton surely does not deserve the ridicule and derision that the blog dumps on him. Shades of Mike T and the guy on the grassy knoll, the crazy conspiracy theories as to why Phil starts or even plays Luke are hilarious. Why not accept that he starts Luke in order to get the teamwork on offense and defense off to a good start because that is the real motive behind Phil’s thinking."

Laker Tom,

Besides Luke's passing gets Bynum deep position in the post to score more (as well as Pau and Kobe).

Radmanovich may open the floor but is a poor passer. When the shot is off it is basicallly 4 vs 5.

Ariza has the best defense and a good finisher but only an average passer at best. He has extended his range though.

Luke is not the shooter Vlad is or the defender Ariza is but has the best passing. It gives more attempts for Kobe/Pau/Bynum (especially) and Luke can score from time to time. Luke being at SF makes Kobe more into a Forward as well rather than ball handling guard.

The problem that guys like Pfunk and Mike T. has? His unathletic ability (there are other bloggers who do not like him as well). Basically athleticism helps big time but is not necessary to become great.

Like you said he doesn't deserve that much criticism. Besides passing is so much underrated by the blog. If it wasn't important, consider Amare-me Stoudemire to be better than Gasol and Bynum to be no more different than a Al Jefferson who can defend. (Both are poor passers).

Btw I won't say I'm wrong about Bynum because I have always said he needed to rebound better and he *had* the ability to. When he rebounded now it is not surprising because it was what he needed to be doing and I'm hoping he keeps it up and out rebounds Pau Gasol by the end of the season.

Scoring wise is not bad. I have said 15ppg and by going by the Spurs game he will that. Defensively he has been great (most times since there are some games where he slipped a bit).

The beast yet? I have already said it not quite yet. Putting 15 points on Duncan is great I won't say anything bad about it (I could criticize the 40% but he scored 15ppg in 26 minutes which is great, Shaq at age 34 averaged 20ppg for 30 minutes). But I've seen more people putting up good numbers against Tim as well (Amare-me averaged 37ppg against Tim Duncan in the 2005 Playoffs).

So that is what I'll say concerning Bynum Laker Tom. He is doing well and is meeting expectations. But here's a deal since you do want me to say "The beast".

If Bynum drops 35 points on either Tim Duncan, the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, or on Orlando Magic (hopefully in the Finals or next year perhaps) then I *will* admit I was wrong about the "Beast" thing and that he is a true beast. (Doesn't matter if it was a win or loss though a win is much preferrable).

Why do I say 35 points? Simple. Kobe has had better performances and when Bynum does that then yes he is a beast.

-blitz

I like how bloggers on here are still talking like the best basketball Drew has ever played was last year.

Last year,he never displayed anything CLOSE to the string of games he has played in the past week!!!!!!!!!!!

The Beast is here now, not last year!!!!!!!

hog

I mean, can't we all just move on from what he did last year?

That was nothing compared to what he can do now!!!!!!!

Whenever Spurs and Lakers meet, its always Tony PArker leading the way. The only time Parker couldn't is when he is being guarded by somebody taller and as quick as him. Remember when PJ put Trevor Ariza on him. Parker is bothered with Trevors length.
How come PJ puts Fish on Parker a lot though. Fish cannot keep track of him. Just watch Parker whenever Fish is guarding him vs Ariza.
How come Fish gets a lot of minutes still, when all he does is spot up shoot. He has not been good defensively, and commits mistakes more now. He's not a threat to make a drive to the hoop at all. Why not use Sasha or Trevor more for Fish position, then let LO bring down the ball, andd Kobe faciltitate the offense and triangle

Louie:

1) Fish is a good defender. He takes charges. Sure he isn't "lock down" defender but he is a real solid one (some coaches gave him all defensive team votes last year).

2) Fish is a great shooter. He is not just a spot and shoot. Plus he is a great leader and brings up the ball up. Sure he isn't a natural dish and drive but you need to have shooters to make sure that teams simply don't clog the lane (passing helps against it but still needs some spacing).

3) Derek is a much better defender than Sasha. All Sasha does is try "intense" defense and isn't as good laterally as Derek is. Plus Sasha is way much streakier than Derek. Derek knows where to shoot. Sasha literally almost shoots every time he gets the ball.

4) Trevor is not the shooter Derek is. Plus he is not a good passer. Sure the PG slot in the Triangle offense doesn't require a point guard that can make plays like a normal point guard would but still you need an efficient passer. Dispell the myth that Jackson likes to start "Big guards" Only "Big Guards" that were taller than most point guards were Ron Harper and Brian Shaw. John Paxson (6"2), BJ Armstrong (6"2) Derek Fisher (6'0) and even Smush Parker (6'4). Doesn't matter that Trevor is a good defender, try telling that to D-Wade (who got most of his points when guarded by Ariza), CP3 (who torched all 3 defenders put on him) and LBJ (Trevor got some nice steals off LBJ but most of the King's struggles came from Kobe who is the better defender). Parker did struggle against Ariza no doubt but he didn't torch Fisher either.

5) Derek is simply better. He held the point slot well when Jordan was out and was averaging 30+ minutes at age 34. Kobe had to run the point at times and it diverts him from doing other things like playmaking and scoring. Lamar can run the point too but to run the point in the starting lineup either means to replace Pau (who is better than Lamar in most ways) at the PF slot or put him at SF where it is already logjammed at SF and Walton is a better passer than LO is.

As Phil Jackson says "Sometimes, It's not about putting your best players in the starting lineup it's putting the best combination".

Ariza at the point would be like the 2003-2004 season. Sure the Glove wasn't as active as Trevor is (Payton did lose a step and it showed when he let Chauncey Billups torch him) but neither are great 3 point shooters that Derek is. Floor isn't spread since there will be ZERO outside shooters. Kobe is not the person to be spot up shooting. At full strength, the 2003-2004 Lakers had no outside shooters in the starting lineup. Payton was mediocre, Devean George only averaged 35% from downtown (not an excellent shooter), and don't bring up Malone (when he was healthy) and Shaq. Teams simply clogged the lane and Kobe shot poor that year (43.8%).

Fish is the best point guard for this season so far and don't replace him.

-blitz

Laker Tom,

This is what it is like debate for me hehe.

Purpose of this post:
"Trevor Ariza worked on his shot over the summer" "Ariza shot 2-5 and that's 40% and blitz wouldn't say he wouldn't average 40% (note: the statement was he wouldn't average 40% a SEASON)" "He (Trevor) got a good stroke so he should average 40% from 3 point land".

Those quotes are a complete disrespect to the shooters of the NBA.

It doesn't matter how much work you can put over the summer to extend your range, what you do best is what you do best. Example: Rasheed Wallace. Wallace in his early years was a post player who was a very good one too. He then extended his range out of the 3 point line but never became fantastic 3 point shooter having never averaged 35.8% from downtown when averaging 2 or more 3 point shots. Had Rasheed kept his game near the basket he would have had a better career but instead he chose to shoot 3 pointers more than post like moves. He did get 41.7% once but that is so inflated because Sheed did not take that much 3 point shots. If that were to believed consider Pau Gasol to be the best 3 point shooter on the LA Lakers because he is averaging 50% from downtown! (He only took 2 3 pointers total this season so far).

I bring this up because while Trevor has done a fantastic job extending his range, some of us overrate him in doing so (he is a great 3 point shooter). How? Read the quotes above. Trevor's main strength is being close to the basket and while he hits a few 3 pointers from time to time, don't count on it to be as good as the great 3 point shooters of the NBA.

I don't know about some of us but *I* would take these people to take a 3 point shot with consistency over Trevor Ariza:

Reggie Miller
Ray Allen
Dale Ellis
Glen Rice
Peja Stojakovic
Brent Barry
Mitch Richmond
Larry Bird
Chauncey Billups
Dennis Scott
Steve Nash
Jason Kapono
Craig Hodges
Toni Kukoc
Steve Kerr
John Paxson

Trevor could not even keep up with them in a 3 point shooting contest on his best shooting night.

Even some current Lakers I would take over Ariza:
Vlad Rad
Derek Fisher
Sasha Vujacic
Kobe Bryant
Lamar Odom
Jordan Farmar
(Luke is a wild card since he does have a solid jumper but only 1 season worth of examples)

This is not disrespect to Trevor Ariza or his shooting. He is doing a fantastic job right now off the bench just like Cooper did for Showtime. When some blogger says something not right like "Trevor Ariza is a very good shooter capable of shooting 40%+ on multiple seasons" that is just outright disrespect to guys like Reggie Miller and Glen Rice. Heck that is disrespectful to Kobe Bryant who is a good shooter in his own right but not the shooter that Glen Rice, Mitch Richmond were.

Make no mistake I love seeing Trevor play. I just don't like it when he gets overrated.

-blitz


24 away games left, at the current percentages means 10 wins. The Lakers are really going to have to step it up for the next few months. Looks like all of the pieces are in place. Go Lakers!

check out John Ireland's report at http://cbs2.com/lakers.
"ireland wraps up lakers blowout of the spurs"
there was dead air in his report, twice!
ireland looked like a screensaver to me.

So pers Hoopsworld, Stephon Marbury confirms having rec'd a contract offer from the desperate ass Celtics! No surprise there,but still, isnt that considered tampering if he still is contractually linked to the Knicks???

Desperate suckas!

LAKERSTOM-

I think you need to calm down. We are all Lakers fans here. And just because I am critical of a players game, or lack there of, does not make me any less of a fan than lets say you.

I am not the rah rah rah cheerleading type of a fan. I take more of a methodical approach. I dont like the refs helping out the lakers, I dont like lucky bounces, and I dont like it when a player decides to play hard when he chooses.

I read your post about blitz, and if you remember my name, you probably would have included my name as well. But the fact of the matter is I love my team. I just dont praise them when they or one of them is stinking it up CONSISTENTLY.

Now great game to Bynum. I am actually excited about his play. We do need his strong play to take the next step.

He should be posting 10 and 10 and 2 at minimum with his new contract. I am glad to see him making his way.

Kobeblitz may be critical sometimes, and also harsh. But I do appreciate his view points more than just regular cheerlead.

But fans such as yourself also bring balance to this blog. Because with out fans such as yourself, this blog would be downright pessimistic. So stay as you are.

Mikeandmike
(By the way, I really dislike those guys.)

blitz,

Hola.

you wrote: Again why didn't you go on me during these games:

my response: see earlier posts about me not posting
as much.

you wrote: Again you miss my words. It was 40% ONE SEASON. You want to still bet with me on that? Besides Trevor has shot more than 40% on some games this season so eat your words Hobbit!

LakerTom wrote: LOL. No way I want to debate blitz. He has too much time on his hands and wiggles like a worm better than even AK when on the hook in a debate. The only way to beat blitz is to use guerrilla warfare, hitting him with quick jabs of criticism veiled in friendly humor, and then running and hiding so that he cannot drag you into a never-ending debate.

I just like to tease blitz because, despite his encyclopedic and impressive knowledge of basketball, he often puts his foot in his mouth by proclaiming opinions that are naïve and biased. It’s a problem that sooner or later dogs any of us who talk or post a lot. While I love him, blitz is sort of like the blogs Joe Biden. An expert who regularly suffers from foot-in-mouth disease.

my response: I'm trailing LakerTom on this one.

The Play: LakerTom with the fast break. A pass of the
backboard. Hobbitmage trailing on the play with the
throwdown over blitz! Oh My!

And 1! Roughly 3 weeks ago, I said something like: The
play of Bynum & Odom will determine the success of the
Lakers this season.

[ dashing back into the forest to avoid the never ending
debate with "the one who wiggles" ]

Tom,

Absolutely wonderful post. Reading your posts can sometimes be poetry. However, since I so rarely post, it seems that my voice gets lost in the din of everyone else. It was me and just a couple other bloggers who were this high on Andrew from the beginning.

Remember when I renamed myself FearlessWhackJob because a certain broadcaster of the local TV press thought that those others' and my opinions about the bright future (to include Drew and Farmar) were mindless Homer Whack Job rants?

It's taken a few years, but I feel vindicated. Fishing for praise, I know. It's shameless. But, I do think I deserve it.

However, you are much more diligent and much more vocal and therefore are much more subject to criticism than I.

Kudos, in spades, to you my friend.

--Fearless

Good morning Mamba24 & the fabulous Laker morning CRUE!!!

Great game yesterday against the worn-out tired old Spores. Too bad for them....

All hail King Kobe & the Beast! Shout out to the Spanish Acquisition & the Cobra! Bow before the Swiss Army Knife & the Zohan!

These Lakers are special. We are seeing the birth of the 4th Dynasty right before our eyes.

Enjoy the ride, people!

GO LAKERS!

LakerTom - I'm another poster who has LOVED Bynum from the git go. He's the key to our success, and I'm finally starting to see the BEAST emerging again this year. This team, with Socks (and Ariza of course) are bigger, better and waaayyy badder than last year. Look out NBA - this Lakers team is unleashed on YOU!

Mike T, Butler, Let's go C are no longer posting, still there is no satisfaction, there is somebody to be blamed because he said it so. There is no peace and harmony in victory, our restless ego is always in search of an enemy. Now it is MikeandMike and Blitz. Is it by coincidence that because of their critical posts, the targeted players improved their games. I believe it is fair if you call it the way you saw it, nothing wrong about that. Similarly, if you are a crusader of a player, nothing wrong to defend his bad and balance it with his good, nothing wrong with that too. What is wrong is going with the syndrome of " I told you so", tearing apart bloggers who are not players. In retrospect, we really don't care what a blogger posted because it doesn't affect the Lakers standing, it is just their reaction or over reaction of a passionate fan.

In a nutshell, why worry with their posts, why not just be happy with the Lakers?

=== End this LakerFan on LakerFan crime! ===

It's real amusing yet sad to see what the posts are following a terrific game ...

On one hand, we have the guys proclaiming that they new Bynum was going to be a Hall of Famer from the start and never wavered on him (LakerTom, FearlessWhackJob, etc.)

On the other hand, we have the guys who are saying let's not get too far ahead of ourselves... Evaluate it as you see it (kobeblitz, etc.)

Basically, the Glass-Half-Full (GHF) vs. Glass-Half-Empty Battles... I TOLD YOU SO 4 YEARS AGO! vs. Let's be happy but not over-react...

Either way you tilt toward, I think Bynum now has 2 major career moments that stick out to me and let me know at the very least Bynum can be a fringe-all-star:
1) The DUNK on Shaq his rookie year followed by the chest bump
2) HE followed his worst and most embarassing performance of the year when Dwight Howard MAN-HANDLED him with his 3 best games of the year.

So yea, that "BEAST" that LakerTom claims is within seems to be slowly but surely coming...

I still prolly fall toward GHE, believe it when I see it, and I can admit Bynum is getting good.
Potentially real good.

But let's not forget for the 2.5 of the last 3 years he was bad, real bad. I remember going to a summer league game and he scored 4 points and got 2 rebounds!

IT's kind of comical to hear "I knew BYnum was a beast and last year's 1 month surge plus these last 3 games prove it!"...Ummm , is that really enough for a definitive YES to Bynum is one of the greatest of all-time questions?

At the same time, it's silly to think that Bynum just sucks and is just now barely getting good.

Truth is, somewhere in between we are all right. Bynum has been sllloooowwwwly progressing this whole time and predicting when/if ever someone will overcome mental hurdles is ridiculous.

After a game like that though, I'd rather just bask in the glory of the TEAM being so damn strong that Bynum could do NOTHING for a quarter of season and we are still 35-8. Then, when he starts we are truly dominant even now that Kobe has a dislocated finger.

This is a really damn good team...I mean WOW.

oh yeah, the blog is spirited today!

great job by AB. wished he scored more points, but the 15 he got was against a pretty good interior defense. Duncan's no slouch. and Phil could've played Bynum more in the 4th. i guess he just wanted to give some more minutes to the bench mob. would've also liked a few more minutes for Mihm and i was hoping to see Sun get in the game.

but upon looking at the box score, 12 Lakers played, and i guess with Farmar back, Sun had to be deactivated. poor Sun. Phil, if he's not getting into the game, please send him down to the D League for a few.

i also loved the very spirited LakerTom post. i'm not gonna break out an "i told you so," statement about Bynum. i acknowledge the comments from blitz and mike about him not being "the Beast" just yet. but i will be bold and predict that Bynum will average at least 15 ppg, 8 rpg, and 1 bpg for the rest of the season. he will continue to have over 20 point outbursts, when LA plays crummy (or Center-less) teams.

Kobe said it best, it's all about what the defense gives you. they tried to double off of Bynum, and so he torched them for it. now they're gonna try to double AB, and he'll have to give it up. the lakers have become a match-up nightmare. Fisher and Luke are gonna get a ton of open jumpers. and kobe a lot of 1 on 1s.

great to see Farmar back! one memorable play was when he led the break on a 3 on 3, and chose to take his man all the way to the hole. didn't make it, but drew the foul. i think teams have forgotten how fast the 2nd unit can be with Farmar bringing down the ball!

Lamar and AB, great defense. although Kobe looked a little timid on D when he had Parker on a switch.

in summation, one day Bynum will be The Beast. one day.

Faith,

What was great with the game yesterday was the return of the bench mob? I hope it will be a consistent presence on the road trip when they get jeers and boos. Another blessing, Kobe and Fish finally found time to rest their tired legs and aching fingers. Lastly, Vlad, Powell and Mihm played few minutes even though it's just garbage time. It is important to boost their confidence that they belong with the team, we need these three players during the playoffs.

M&M,

>>>>>I think you need to calm down. We are all Lakers fans here.
>>>>>And just because I am critical of a players game, or lack there of,
>>>>>does not make me any less of a fan than lets say you.

LOL! Can you blame me? The Beast is back. And I did remember your name and posts when I was teasing blitz about his comments. I considered making a caustic comment about Mikeandmike being you and the mouse in your pocket but opted to pick on an old friend rather than a new acquaintance.

Frankly, I did not disagree with your basic complaints about Drew but more that you were not giving the kid a break since he was coming back from a serious injury. I just think as fans we should realize that the front office and coaching staff live with and know their players far better than we do as fans, so we should give their opinions and judgments of players more weight and not go off half-cocked. Criticism is fine if constructive which I thought some of comments were not.

And your different style surely does not make you less of a fan than someone over-the-top like me. Like you say, we are just the counterweights at the ends of the blog spectrum but both die-hard Lakers fans. I like you a lot better when you said you don’t like Mike and Mike. Let’s both just enjoy the return of the Beast. It will make the Lakers a dominant team and that is what we all dream of. Peace.

As always, JMNSHBO!

Tom

blitz,

Excellent comments related to Luke Walton. That is more like the blitz that I appreciate and respect.

Tom

Fearless,

How is everything going, longtime friend? Thanks for the kind words. I remember many conversations we have had over the years – your going back to school, the role of the point guard in the Triangle, the Start Farmar Bandwagon, how I told you to drop the Whack Job appellation, and how you and I and BD all thought Drew was going to be the Next Great Lakers Center. This is going to be one of those years that you will remember for the rest of your life. Don’t be a stranger. :)

Tom


Bynum:

"It's a mind-set that you have to go out there with," he said. "People were saying, 'Aw, it's the Clippers,' and 'Aw, it's Washington,' but it's still an effort."

Was he reading our blog?

>>>24 away games left, at the current percentages means 10 wins.

huh? The Lakers are currently 12-5 on the road. That would
predict 17 wins in 24 away games.

lakersrydeordie,

>>>So pers Hoopsworld, Stephon Marbury confirms having
>>>rec'd a contract offer from the desperate ass Celtics! No
>>>surprise there,but still, isnt that considered tampering if
>>>he still is contractually linked to the Knicks???

Actually, the Knicks gave him permission to negotiate with other
teams earlier in the season.

If I was the Knicks, I would wait until 1 day before the last
possible day they could release marbury, call him in and
give him this choice:

1. you can give back 5 million of your 22 and we'll let you
go play for the Celtics and maybe win a championship. And
maybe that would salvage enough of your image that some
team would want to sign you for big bucks next season.

or

2. you can get your full salary for the rest of the season and continue to not play.

hobbitmage,

>>>>>The Play: LakerTom with the fast break.
>>>>>A pass of the backboard.
>>>>>Hobbitmage trailing on the play
>>>>>with the throwdown over blitz! Oh My!

LMAO. That was sweet. Hope blitz enjoyed it as much as we did. LOL’

Tom

i think a big part of the Bynum debate also has to do with his large contract extension that he signed. many people on here argued that it was too soon, and Mitch should've waited until the end of the season. while, LakerTom was very vocal in saying,"Lakers should sign him as soon as possible." Mitch did just that, and could've saved the Lakers some dough in the long run (assuming Bynum plays so well, that he could ask for a max contract).

after Bynum's last 3 games, it's very probable that he's turned the corner, and can continue to progress through the season. (he IS still learning from Kareem, Shaw, etc.) therefore, i think the extension was a good move. in time, his numbers will warrant the contract. one day, i CAN see AB as the 1st option. (although he doesn't have the Kobe killer instinct, so KB would still get last shots)

yet, with this Lakers squad, it's so deep and talented that i don't think there are 1st, 2nd, or 3rd options any more. it's just about which guy is open or has the best shot. where are the mismatches, etc. i can't honestly predict who will have the best scoring night, Kobe, Pau or Andrew.

oh yeah, if Andrew needs any more motivation for playing like a Beast against the Celtics, fans over there were saying their Perkins was "way better" and "dominated" Bynum last year. truly, those guys are idiots! i hope Andrew is aware of these claims, and drops 25 and 15 and 4 on the bums.

Tom,

Doing well. The economy isn't, thus I do not have internet access at home -- or cable (had to pare many expenses). That necessarily means many less opportunities to post.

But, following the Lakers nonetheless. I like the radio broadcasters better than the TV dudes anyway.

I am making ends meet, however. And I am eternally grateful for that as I look around the barren wasteland that is our economy.

I'm also basking in the glow seeing a President get inaugurated who is of my own race (never, in my wildest dreams).

So, things aren't great, but I'm happy anyway. Can't even describe what that means or what that foretells. I have no clue. Completely uncharted territory.

Going with the flow, enjoying the Lakers, despising the Celtics, marveling at LBJ against my own will. But he does that to his critics, doesn't he?

Don't know. Just "being" seems OK for me at this moment. Waiting for the next moment to arrive.

F the Celtics, and all that...

--Fearless

Lakers will win the championship if Bynum averages 15 and 11 for the rest of the season. Mark my words.

Is the beast back? Based on the last 3 games I'd say he's moving in the direction. Right now there's one beast and he plays in Orlando. Drew can be the west coast version as long as he stays focused and continues to play with passion and physicality. Kid Drew has the ability, we know it, that's what makes watching him so exciting. We all know what the fruition of all that ability means to this team.......Rings!!!!!!

zen,

"Was he reading our blog?"

Who knows? Bynum is a tech-head after all.

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!

blitz -

With all respect, I'm not really getting your points on Ariza... why even compare or mention guys like Rice or Kerr or Miller... or even Sasha or Vlad? These are/were bonifide shooters. Ariza's simply doing what he's supposed to do.. developing an outside shot. I'm not so sure I'd take Odom over Ariza as far as 3's go... Odom's had a tendency to love his outside shot a bit much in the past... Ariza seems to let fly in rhythm and doesn't get too carried away. At any rate, why even debate somebody mentioning 40%... these are just stat numbers. Trevor's having a career year.. 'nuff said, y'know? Just let the debate go - dig the fact that the dude's playing out of his mind. It's all good.


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