Lakers-Clippers postgame quotes and thoughts
With injuries to Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Luke Walton prompting lineup tweaks, Shannon Brown got the start during Saturday night's opening round against the Charlotte Bobcats and hardly made the most of it (0-6 from the field, four turnovers). His effort against the Clips represented a very nice bounce back: 8-13 shooting and a tie with Andrew Bynum for team-high scoring honors (20). Brown offered a sincere but funny explanation for what went wrong during the first night:
"I think it was the Frappuccino I had before the game. I was out there really bouncy. Going too fast and not reading what was going on out there. I even felt it in the layup line when I was bouncing around. I know my body so I can measure what's going on, and I was really jittery. So today, I switched up my little pregame (drink). No coffee at all. It felt good tonight. I settled down a little."Let this be a lesson to you, kids. There's a reason the great John Wooden never took his players to Starbucks before a game, and it goes well beyond the franchise not existing at the time. Coffee and roundball don't mix.
BK: Is it harder for you to find the right spots to be in defensively, as opposed to offensively?
AM: Yeah. You know, since I came into this league I've always been known as a (makes finger quotes) "poor defender," so that's always been a challenge for me and probably always will be. But we have a good system where we send everybody baseline and have good bigs, so that helps.
BK: How do you think tonight?
AM: I did okay. I let Rasual (Butler) and Baron (Davis) get some jumpers, but I got a hand up in their face. I probably did an okay job.
AK: When you examine your own defense, what aspects do you think need the most improvement?
AM: Just on ball. But like I said earlier, with the way we play and the bigs that we have, it helps a guy like myself out a lot, to able to send a guy baseline and know that he can help.
AK: So this could actually be a good system for you on both sides of the ball.
AK: Are you starting to anticipate better the spots you're supposed to be in defensively, to make all that happen?
AM: Yeah. We worked on it during training camp and obviously, getting more reps helps.
No quote, however, topped Kobe Bryant's classic response when I asked how he felt Kurt Rambis would fare as a head coach in Minnesota. As it turns out, despite spending time under Rambis' charge during the '99 lockout season, Bryant recalls nada about Clark Kent's style.
"I honestly don't remember. It was so long ago. I really do not remember most of that. I just remember the (Dennis) Rodman experience. You know how when you're young, you don't remember traumatic &@%$ ? You know what I mean? That's how that goes. I remember that stuff. The stuff that scarred me, I remember.
Finally, BK had a few thoughts regarding Bynum's performance:
-Clearly (AK and I) weren't the only ones wondering how Bynum would come out against Chris Kaman, easily the most talented center he's had to face this preseason. Bynum was very aggressive early, coming out with an assortment of post moves and hooks over Kaman in the first quarter... most of which didn't go in. Phil Jackson said he didn't have much of a base in his shooting, reflecting perhaps a lack of patience. It certainly seemed from press row like he was rushing and forcing things. It wouldn't have killed him to kick back out to the perimeter on a couple early trips and reposting.
-He's obviously very competitive, but there were times where it felt like Bynum was in danger of getting wrapped up on both ends in the battle with his guy. Particularly when the real games start, he can't get tunnel vision.
-I liked that, as Bynum noted, he responded by changing tactics after initially struggling with his shot, instead cranking up his pace. There were a few trips where he worked hard and simply beat Kaman, one of the league's better running centers, to the block and established great position. One second half sequence saw him contest a Baron Davis shot near the rim, then get upcourt in time to beat out Blake Griffin for an offensive board and putback.
-The Lakers are having him release quickly on
shots he contests near the perimeter, confident they can secure the rebound
and deliver him the ball at the other end. It's led to a few very easy baskets
already in the preseason.
-Defensively, there were some down moments mixed with the positives. I thought overall he rebounded aggressively, but I still don't always think he's conscious of putting a body on guys. On a couple occasions, Bynum was slow to close on jumpers well within Kaman's shooting range. Overall, though, he felt like a presence on the floor, which is exactly what a talented seven footer should be.
Bynum, on playing against Kaman: