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Lakers 101, Utah 77: It may not be "X" hat worthy, but 10 straight wins is pretty damn good

Am I wrong, or does it look in that video like I somehow ate my own neck for dinner? Hopefully it's just a lighting issue. Breakdown below.

BK

Three Good

    -Defense: As mentioned in the video, the D done went gangbusters after Phil Jackson's timely third quarter interlude. After ripping off an 18-8 run to close out that frame, the Lakers proceeded to step on Utah's necks even more, limiting them to just 2-18 shooting and six measly points over the final dozen minutes.  That kind of effectiveness makes it hard to narrow down the evening's singular defensive highlight:

    Do you go with Lamar Odom batting a Mehmet Okur miss to himself, a rebound he eventually converted into a fast break layup for Pau Gasol? How about Jordan Farmar blocking Deron Williams' jumper in space, the highlight of a possession doomed to result in a 24-second violation thanks to equally busy hands from LO, Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest? Or maybe the other pair of clock gaffes in that same quarter? Farmar and LO converging to force a D.Will turnover, with the ensuing possession good for an Artest trey ball? Walls of Laker bodies forming on several baseline drives to force desperate kick outs for lower percentage shots? 

    And hey, the choice becomes even more difficult when you consider the first half also featured nice moments: Gasol blocking Carlos Boozer. LO following suit against Okur on the heels of standing his ground to force a Paul Millsap missDerek Fisher batting Williams' pass to disrupt his former protege's flow, then Andrew Bynum stepping out to bother the point guard's jumper in the lane? Gasol's presence preoccupying Booz down low, allowing Kobe to creep in like a ninja for the sneak attack block?

    Am I allowed to choose "All of the above?"

    Oh, and FYI. That six point quarter represents the fewest allowed by the Lakers over a quarter since they surrendered THREE points (I'm being serious) to the Clippers in the second frame of a Dec. 14, 1999 win. It's almost ten years to the day, actually. In other words, if you're a betting man and can find a bookie willing to take action on a Lakers game taking place in December 2019, if he's offering a prop bet involving single digit quarters at some point during the month, give him your money.

    -Kobe Bryant: 27 points on an efficient 10-19 clip from the field, plus eight trips to the line. And typical of the story line, as the third quarter began turning positive for the purple and gold, Mamba was right in the mix.  Seven points over the games final six minutes, with assistance provided on another trio of buckets.  Kobe added another five dimes over the contest's course to tie a season-high (8), then chipped in six rebounds, a pair of steals and blocks each, and predictably lent his presence to the second half clampdown.  Such all-around efforts are common enough to possibly become ho hum, but I think most would agree, they remain well appreciated in this neck of the woods.

    -Sasha Vujacic: He doesn't often get the chance to pop up in this section. Or any section, really, considering how drastically his PT has been slashed. And judging the stat line alone, it's not readily apparent why The Machine would land here.  3/1/1, albeit with a pair of steals. But when you consider the issues that cost Sasha his spot in the rotation, the way he conducted himself during meaningful minutes (more or less his first six) bears mention.

    Getting a surprise nod with about three minutes left in the third and the Utah's lead chipped down to a tie, Vujacic didn't let the tense atmosphere translate into anxious play. Instead of frantic defense that often results in dumb fouls, he created two turnovers via quick, controlled mitts and stuck with CJ Miles on a drive to the rack, forcing a miss. Even more impressive, he only took one shot, a three pointer drilled in rhythm. That extended the Laker lead to a lucky seven and prompted Jerry Sloan to call time out.  Kobe took Sasha's place when the action commenced, but not before Sasha was able to make relatively few minutes matter, never an easy proposition for Vujacic.

    I hope Sasha truly understands why this stint was successful. The Achilles Heel during his entire Laker career has been a maddening habit of trying to cram fifteen minutes of stats into five minutes of burn, which typically resulted in forced (and sometimes selfish) shots and a perpetual habit of confusing activity for achievement. Tonight, we saw Sasha do what's been asked and often resisted: Allowing the game to just come to him without worrying about "producing" his way into a bigger role. This could be a stepping stone towards getting back in Jackson's good graces. I'm not suggesting tonight landed him back in the rotation. I'm very confident Friday's game plan against the Wolves will involve the same eight-man crew.  But during an important time, Phil offered Sasha the chance to earn trust, and the guard didn't disappoint. That should mean something to both parties.

AK

Two Bad: (It was a 24 point win with a completely dominating final 18 minutes-- let's not pick nits just to find a third thing to harp on...)

    -Defensive Rebounding: In the first half, the Lakers limited the Jazz to 42.6% shooting, but still found themselves down by four. Why? Nine second chance points certainly fueled Utah's attack, and to be honest it could have been much worse. The Jazz, not an overly robust offensive rebounding squad over the course of this season, managed 11 of them on 27 missed shots, an almost 41% rate (they came into the game with a 26.8 ORB%, by comparison). That's fairly absurd. On any given night, the ball can bounce in ways that can artificially create opportunities for teams to get second chances. Teams that bomb from distance, for example, tend to get a lot of long rebounds. The Lakers gather a lot of them with their height inside. But tonight, it seemed to be a combination of Utah's aggressiveness, a lack of awareness and organization defensively from LA, and moments where the Lakers were probably just outworked (I'll have to watch the game again to see exactly what went on, but even in live viewing it was clearly not a positive development.) On a night where the Lakers didn't turn the ball over much (a manageable seven in the first half, only nine overall), and shot well (52.6% in the first half, 47.4% in the third quarter) the inability to secure Utah's many misses was the big reason LA was behind at the half.

    -Andrew Bynum's Rebounding: There was a moment during the live blog where I defended Bynum after a play in which Carlos Boozer snuck inside for a putback of a Deron Williams miss, noting how Drew had to come off his man in order to challenge the shot, leaving Boozer unmarked underneath. This sort of thing happens over the course of a game, and no doubt against a mobile player like Boozer who can shoot on the perimeter, score inside, and rebound with strength, Bynum has a tough assignment. I get that. But c'mon, man. No rebounds in the first half? Not one? In almost 20 minutes? That ain't right.

Said Phil Jackson, when I asked him about his night on the glass:

"I think it's just a reactive quality that of getting after the ball and finding it and understanding where the ball's going to come off at, and going to get it at the point where it's coming off the rim or coming off the backboard. Those things have to do with getting turned and planted and prepared to go get the ball. I think a lot of times he just wasn't in space, or have spacial relations to where the ball was goign to come off at. There were a few that he picked off the floor in the second half, and we kind of congratulated him off those rebounds. Four, I think is what he ended up with. We're not trying to make an issue out of it, we're trying to help him get through that and find his way to being a better rebounder, a guy who can track the ball down a little bit."

Tuesday at practice, I spoke to Brian Shaw about Bynum's rebounding (a conversation that seems a lot more germane in light of tonight's performance, and something I'll try to share over the rest of the wee), and he echoed a lot of what PJ said tonight. Lamar Odom is the team's best rebounder, Shaw told me, because he has that innate skill of anticipating the flight of the ball, and the aggressiveness to go to it. Bynum, despite his height, isn't necessarily a natural rebounder. Some of that is instinct. Some of that is attention to detail (put a body on a guy). Some of that, no doubt, is a question of motor. Great rebounders make every missed shot theirs. Odom isn't as big, but has that mentality and the instinct to go along. Bynum will have to develop it from the ground up. Overall, he's been better this year. Tonight, he wasn't. To his credit, he put responsibility the first half glass donut on himself. "I wasn't out there really being active towards the basketball tonight," he said. "I wasn't being active, and going to get the ball."

One Big Thing:

    -Win Streaks: One of the things I found to be amazing about last season's 65 win regular season was the steadiness with which they did it. No double digit win streaks, but a big collection of six, seven, and eight game runs. There was a level of consistency. As most Lakers fans know, the team hasn't lost three in a row since Pau Gasol arrived, but over the past couple of seasons, they've also avoided those stretches where they lose four of seven, or go .500 over 12 games. Despite the dominant stretch of play they're currently in, it'll be interesting to see how things play out. Steady, like it was last year, is better than gaudy streaks with middling play in between. Of course, gaudy win streaks without the middling play is even better.

BK

VIDEO:

Bynum, on the fourth quarter defense and LA's talent:

Odom, on his team's fourth quarter run, defense, nature of momentum:

Derek Fisher, on the team's defense, and how momentum can shift:

Fish, on criticisms the Lakers haven't played a strong schedule, and Friday's game against the T-Wolves (there's irony buried in that line somewhere):

Sasha Vujacic, on his effort tonight, and LA's defense:

Shannon Brown, on PJ's third quarter TO, rebounding, defense:

 
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great win against an excellently coached gritty team.

Lamar lamar.... you crack me up. fast break you're literally two feet in front of the rim and could just throw it down but instead you go under your legs behind to a trailing artest.... classic lamar... i'm sure utah will study the tape and just flip out.

phil... thank you for recognizing the deron dfish mismatch and breaking your normal rotation by going to shannon early in the 3rd.. that was the turning point and lakers never looked back.

artest... we love you and everything you bring to the team! damn you so strong!

luke... i give you the mvp of the game and you didnt even have to suit up.. lol.. thanks to you and your little pinched nerve we officially have our first 10 game win streak of the season. wooooohooooooooo


@ Jon K and Thirty2
Thanks for the reply.

@ LAL_Fan
Welter weight, Welterweight. Mezz0-Soprano, Mezzo Soprano. My instructors for Voice Over classes have spelled it both ways. Besides, my SARCASM font was on. So yes it is for females.

LOL yellofevver.

Dissin Luke to the fullest. "little pinched nerver" lol

What about sasha? He needs to get a pinched nerver as well. Anyone thinking famar is finally getting his 15 minutes?

beating Miami with a last shot: there's Kobe

holding the Suns under 90 and Jazz under 80: Lakers or Jazzercise

Dang, Drew's stats are consistent as heck.

4th in minutes,
4th in assists,
4th in turnovers,
4th in points

AND

5th in rebounds (tied with FARMAR)

Glad to see Phil is playing Sasha a bit more. Good job of coaching, Phil.

Good morning,

My takeaway from the game is the importance of willpower. For the first 27 minutes of the game, the Jazz were in charge mainly on willpower. They wanted the ball more. The Lakers on the other hand lost the edge their talent gives them by ceding the mental part of the game.

After Phil's third quarter time-out, everything changed.

This Laker team is different from editions of the recent past. They are more able to flip the switch. When they play with discipline, when they refuse to lose, they can bring it to a level opponents simply cannot match. That collective will maximizes the amazing talent the Lakers have assembled.

I like what Phil said about helping Bynum to be better. Whatever has to be built from the ground up, Andrew should never go 25 minutes without a rebound. Now it's up to Andrew to take the coaching. Phil keeps talking about Andrew's importance on the defensive end. Andrew needs to buy-in.

One last note. Shannon used his athleticism to shut down Deron Williams early in the second half. A good call by Phil. Even better was Jordan Farmar in the second half. As overwhelmed as Jordan seemed in his first seven minutes, he was suffocating in his second half 14 minutes. During the game chat, bloggers who were torching Farmar earlier, were able to take a step back and recognize what he was bringing. It was symptomatic of an entire team determined to impose its will.

The Lakers are capable of winning every game. But it will be willpower as much as talent that will determine the fate of our season. Go Lakers!

One word: Next.

TOTAL DOMINATION!!!!
Slow and steady might be nice, but I like Fast and Gaudy!

When Kobe (Bryant) or Pau (Gasol) or Lamar Odom are initiating the action, it's different than anything you've ever seen anywhere else in the NBA." I'm sure Lakers fans will appreciate, too, the confidence Fish shows in his team and its personnel. It's reflective of a belief they all share, that if the Lakers play as they should, properly utilizing their myriad skills, there isn't another team that's better than they are. BK

My God, a lump came into my throat, my heart started to swell and I even became a lil misty eyed. GOD IT'S GREAT BEING A LAKER FAN!!! OUT FREAKING STANDING!!!!!!

The Lakers defense is outstanding this year. Last year they would show flashes of this but often lapse and give opponents easy buckets. I think they all know what they are doing and where they are supposed to be on the floor. There aren't many times where you see an uncontested layup or an open three followed by five guys in purple and gold looking at eachother with confused looks on their faces. I say this every time I post a comment, "I can't wait to see Ron Artest punk Lebron up and down the floor on Christmas day."

That fourth quarter burst was some of the most impressive ball I have seen in a long time.


The team defense is so improved - hustling, unselfish help defense. Artest is one reason. Pau is also a hugely improved help defender. Bynum's instincts on defense are still developing, but his size helps. The result is that Fish and Jordan look a lot better on the perimiter. Instead of being on an island with a quick, talented PG they are part of a team D concept where they can apply pressure, and they can also force the PG into the help and know it will be there. Derek in the first quarter and Farmar in the fourth were really able to disrupt Deron Williams.


Pau Gasol is a much better player this year, especially on the defensive end. He understands his role on D, and he goes at it hard. Defense and unselfish offense are both contagious and the Lakers have a good case of both.


I always like it when Kobe's shot attempts are 15-20. It is usually a good sign for the Lakers.


Continued growth from Farmar. And he looked like he was enjoying the game. Maybe our little elven-eared PG is growing up.


This was a game played against an organized well coached, hard playing team. Drew's lack of playing experience shows up in games like this. His instincts are not well developed yet, especially on D and on the glass, and he doesn't have that nose for the ball. Pau and Lamar both went to the floor for balls last night. Does Drew ever do that? He needs more time to develop instincts and to see the floor on D. Rebounds are just a case of wanting it more. I expect Drew to look a lot better in a couple of months, especially with so many smart, hard driving teammates around him.


Saturday on the road, back-to-back should be a pretty good test. To do what they did last night, out executing a Jerry Sloan and basically taking out their heart, that was a real accomplishment. They will be hungry in Utah.


Tom D.

Lakers will improve. Bynum, Farmar, Brown and Sasha will play better.

Absent injuries its not certain Lakers will have many losses in the offing because the team has players who can pick the team up on Mamba terrible shooting nites.

INDESTRUCTIBLE
I have heard of Total Domination but what The Lakers are doing is Annihilation.
Destruction is so total it don’t seem fair, The Lakers are acquiring a Mike Tyson air
Tyson’s fights were won before the 1st punch, his foes were too busy loosing their lunch
So it is when the Lakers comes to town, The opponents give up before the whistle sounds
This team is like the Bulls at MJ’s best, they played for each other, cause no team was a test
Read between the lines what opponents say, they’re resigned the Lakers will have their way
Imagine what this does to ones heart, to be playing for 2nd place before the game starts
All Princess Jimmy can do is dance, cause he know’s against the Lakers he has no chance
Now they’ve brought “The Puppets” back again, It’s only in make-believe anyone else can win
Some say it’s more exciting to see a close game, I say destroy the foes & leave them lame
Remember when none believed the Lakers would be back, Now not a word, not even a lil crack
And so this is how it is going to be, Not whether The Lakers win, but how big the victory
So Jan. 31 when the Celtics we meet, I want not just a win, but a devastating Celtic defeat
And then the final question will be, You’re The Freakin LA Lakers, who the hell are we?

Yeah, if he wants to make the All Star team, Drew's going to have to rebound better than that. His reb avg. has been steadily decreasing since Pau got back. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think he's had more than one 10+ rebound game since Pau's return.

Did I see Ron dunk last night?

"Odom isn't as big, but has that mentality and the instinct to go along."

But he doesn't consistently do the work with positioning himself/boxing out the opponent, and depends on his athleticism. He does put in effort, though. In his case I suspect it's just bad habits that he has not put the effort in to change.

Bynum has the same tendency towards a lack of positioning, but he doesn't typically put in the same level of effort as Odom; in his case I think it's because rebounding is not high on his list of priorities yet. Hopefully that will change, because with his reach, soft hands, and size, he could be leading the league in rebounding.

This Lakers squad has actually entertained me and my friends more with their impressive defensive displays lately and since Gasol's return than ever their offense has, which, considering the average person's psyche and overall superficial understanding of basketball, seems noteworthy. I cheer them forcing 24-second violations more than anything now.

I'd like to note that not only putting Vujacic in the line-up, but also yanking Bynum and swapping him out for Odom (in the 3rd?) was what really kindled the massacre against a premier team. Once all cylinders were firing under his effort and energy, Bynum then returned and it seemed like he was reinvigorated as well.

Chris Webber commented on League Pass halftime a couple games ago (when the Lakers D managed actually to push their opponents' offense into their own backcourt) that the Lakers at times are so good that they aren't playing their opponents, but playing against themselves, and how good they could be in their own minds.

We saw plenty of that last night, and kudos to them for it.

AK / BK - I'm sorry to ask again, but last night during the live chat my comments stopped going through, even though I could still see everyone else's. Were you not seeing mine? I'm trying to figure out if there's something wrong on my end or not....

NOW IT ALL MAKES SENSE:

As to why some folks are having a difficult time with Luke as a color commentator, some "elder" fans are hearing Luke's voice in mezzo-soprano, which is a type of FEMALE classical voice residing between soprano and contralto.

I wonder if there is a device that translates a mezz-soprano to Baritone.

As Johnny Carson's side kick Ed McMahon used to go HAHAHAHA and we have our own side kick in Mamba24 who goes OUT FREAKIN Standing!!

Another good win for the lakers!!


This from the SI.COM article on last night's game:

'Just how bad was it? On the 21st anniversary of Jerry Sloan's first day as Utah's head coach, he was more clinical than angry after the game - a sure sign of his greatest degree of disappointment.

''They came out and just destroyed us,'' Sloan said. ''We were hanging in the ballgame, but that just shows you what a great team they have. ... We have to learn to stay within what we are trying to do. You can't go out and play street basketball against this team. They will annihilate you.'''

Mamba24 who goes OUT FREAKIN Standing!!Another good win for the lakers!!Posted by: lakerfan | December 10, 2009 at 08:22 AM

A GOOD ONE LAKERFAN!!! LOL!

I'm trying to figure out if there's something wrong on my end or not....Posted by: justanothermambafan | December 10, 2009 at 08:09 AM
Head of the Mamba Clan, are you asking a god, A GOD! If something is wrong with your end?


On The Road to 34? #10 but you can ink in 11

Bresnehan said the only thing that can beat the Lakers are boredom, injuries or the Eastern Conference All Stars.

I agree with boredom and injuries.


Poll question: which TIMEs writers turned on camera talent duo rules the post game?

The Bresnehan Turner Overdrive Show or K Bros LIVE?

Hint: have Bresnehan and Turner ever been introduced?

Going from a "lack of energy" game to holding the opponents to six (6) six? points in the final quarter (including scrub play) was pretty darn impressive.

This is the type of game that instills fear into your opponents. Teams that play against us now know at any time during a close game things can very quickly go horribly, terribly wrong for them. Teams have already found out that if they get far behind they aren't making a comeback.

The maturity and depth this squad has developed over the last three years is truely impressive when we see where they were to where they are now, and God help the rest of the NBA, because there's still room to grow and for the young players to get better. Lebron better join a really good team, because the bar has been set very very high.

LAKERS!

JustanotherMambaFan,

Not sure what the problem was, but it wasn't intentional. Your comments weren't being blocked on our end.

AK

@ lakerfan.
Imagine Luke Walton using Vocoder or auto tune. Nasty. T-pain as the color guy.

Regarding my last post about T-Pain and Luke Walton using Auto tune.

Before I get dinged for posting from Planet Esoteric, here's a funny link about Vo-Coder or Mezz0-Auto Tune.

The Funny or die guys are great.

http://tinyurl.com/5fkumy

Enjoy

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INDESTRUCTIBLE
I have heard of Total Domination but what The Lakers are doing is Annihilation.
Destruction is so total it don’t seem fair, The Lakers are acquiring a Mike Tyson air
Tyson’s fights were won before the 1st punch, his foes were too busy loosing their lunch
So it is when the Lakers comes to town, The opponents give up before the whistle sounds
This team is like the Bulls at MJ’s best, they played for each other, cause no team was a test
Read between the lines what opponents say, they’re resigned the Lakers will have their way
Imagine what this does to ones heart, to be playing for 2nd place before the game starts
All Princess Jimmy can do is dance, cause he know’s against the Lakers he has no chance
Now they’ve brought “The Puppets” back again, It’s only in make-believe anyone else can win
Some say it’s more exciting to see a close game, I say destroy the foes & leave them lame
Remember when none believed the Lakers would be back, Now not a word, not even a lil crack
And so this is how it is going to be, Not whether The Lakers win, but how big the victory
So Jan. 31 when the Celtics we meet, I want not just a win, but a devastating Celtic defeat
And then the final question will be, You’re The Freakin LA Lakers, who the hell are we?

Every fan in the association wants what we have, This season is the start of their end.
Put on the ring but make room for another, It is inevitable Dynasty 4 now begins. @VMan
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C.Santana, DownTownLakerD, Brian Aufderheide, MCGARNAGLE
(You-EVER-NOTICE.…>Holding The Line Against CHAOS)
*
ALL TOGETHER NOW
We’re the World Champion LA Lakers , we’ve won 15 Rings
10 of the 50 Greatest players played under our wings
We’ve had 3 Laker Dynasties, and now are starting on 4
That’s 2 better than any NBA team ever had before
The best Winning Percentage in History, yeah that’s true
You want Hall of Fame Coaches, Check it, we’ve got two.
We got the Finals MVP, You know the Name Kobe Bryant
He scored more points than an entire team without even trying
He scored 81 points & in the game could have scored much more
But he said Rings not points is what we play the game for.
We got NBA-LOGO Jerry West & the first great Center George Mikan
The smooth one Elgin Baylor & Magic Johnson the Icon.
The greatest centers like Shaq & Wilt & of course KAREEM
Worthty, Silk & Goodrich all claim The Lakers as their Team
Karl Malone & Gary Payton, A glove & Mailman we just leased
A 10 time Title Winning Coach who mastered Zen in the East
Chick Hearn the Legend, Broadcasted our Lakers Games
Now he’s Broadcasting from Heaven & is in the Hall of Fame
We got Sports Winningest & Best Owner, Thank you Dr. Jerry Buss
We play for Rings & Rings only , which is why teams fear us.
That’s just a summary of our Resume, we don’t talk we Do.
We’re The Freaking Champion LAKERS Who the Hell are You


As good as the Lakers are and I admit, they are playing great.
But they are still a team that cannot win it all without their star player.

U feel me. lol Andalso keep in mind that other teams will start to get better as the season goes along. (I.e.) My Houston Rockets.

Peace

AK - thanks for letting me know. It was really weird. I was up & running, commenting, and then nothing of mine was posting. I could see everyone else's comments as they appeared, except mine.... And I had so much to say that was witty, insightful and, well, at the risk of sounding immodest, downright awesome!! Oh well....!


I guess it's time for a new laptop or something. Has anyone else experienced this? And did you need a new computer or was it a simple fix? HELP ME... HELP YOU...!


Mamba24 - NO WAY was I questioning the Blog Gods. Just going for a little insight lol!

One more thought - DANG was our 4th Q defense outta sight or what????? Holy crap. I love what I saw - and I have a sneaking suspicion that it can ratchet up from there even further. Watch out NBA - you guys are in troouuuuubbbbbllllle.

I have to agree with exhelodrvr's comments on LO, Drew, and rebounding. LO puts out more effort on a consistent basis and acts like he WANTS to rebound. Drew does so reluctantly. Both players could improve by working to get better rebounding position. Both are long. The combination of good position, great length, and soft hands would corral many more rebounds. And this would put opposing teams in big trouble by minimizing second-chance points. The two keys for the rest of the season are defensive focus and rebounding. If they stay healthy and do those two things, I really don't see any other team mounting a significant challenge.

With regard to Pau's "improved" defense, it's always been there. Pau has been a very consistent position defender. He plays solid defense against the pick-and-rolls which other teams love throwing at the Lakers.

Mamba24 - NO WAY was I questioning the Blog Gods. Just going for a little insight lol!Posted by: justanothermambafan | December 10, 2009 at 10:01 AM

Of course you were not, just a lil bit of that Mamba24 levity gone haywire again. Sorry Head of the MambaClan. I will go to my room now. LoL

Mamba24

Andalso keep in mind that other teams will start to get better as the season goes along. (I.e.) My Houston Rockets.Posted by: sportslady777 | December 10, 2009 at 10:01 AM

ROFLMAO! Lady they better get a hell of a lot better. And by the way do you think the Lakers will be standing still while the other teams get better. Finally "PRACTICE" To paraphrase Alan Iverson, the regular season for the Lakers is nothing more than practice. Gaudy win loss records are good but the only thing that matters is the ring in the end. Which is why they hang no banners other than Finals banners. but keep that optimism and I too think the Rockets will get better. I wish the best for your team I am just sorry to say they are not in the Lakers league. Of course no team is or will be for the foreseable future.

With regard to Pau's "improved" defense, it's always been there. Pau has been a very consistent position defender. He plays solid defense against the pick-and-rolls which other teams love throwing at the Lakers. Posted by: Lakerfan70 | December 10, 2009 at 10:08 AM

Great Post LakerFan70!
Mamba24

I really hope that we aren't congratulating ourselves too much here. The Jazz are really banged up right now...and the Lakers are very familiar with the Sloan offense. Moreover, Fisher has inside knowledge of Deron Williams' tendencies. I don't think the team had to prepare much for the game after grinding out a playoff series against them last year.

Without Andrei Kirilenko and Kyle Corver, the Jazz are a very different team. The elderly AK is still an excellent shot blocker, passer, and rebounder. Corver is a solid 3-pt. threat, which would stretch the Laker defense. Aside from Corver, the only other long distance threat is Okur.

Not sure if this was a great test for the Lakers. Expect a closer game on Saturday night (2nd night of back-to-back + altitude effect). I think PJ will want to use the Bench Mob as much as possible on Friday...so that the starters will be well-rested for Saturday.

@ Lakerfan70

I have to agree with you, agreeing with exhelodrvr.

Huh?

sportslady777...I agree that the Houston Rockets get better because teams get better as the season rolls along.

Here's the scary counter-argument: The Lakers have room for improvement and continue to talk about getting better than what they're currently doing on the court.

@ Lakerfan70 I have to agree with you, agreeing with exhelodrvr. Huh? Posted by: Charles | December 10, 2009 at 10:28 AM

Sir Charles, I have to agree with you, agreeing with Lakerfan70, agreeing with exhelodrvr. Huh? Huh? Lol!
Mamba24

ex-

I think there's some truth to that about Odom, but some of what you're talking about is intentional, I think. He's very long and very athletic, but Odom isn't necessarily a guy who gets by on brute strength down low. He anticipates the ball flight very well, and I think gets off opposing bodies specifically because he knows he can use high quality body control and those other assets he has (lengths, speed, etc) to find the seams and get the ball. He's really good a wriggling into a space, creating a tap, and getting the ball on the second jump. That sort of thing. I agree with you that there are times where he just needs to put a body on a guy and doesn't, but there's something calculated to Odom's approach.

The guy who really boxes out, old school, the way coaches teach it, is Artest, but that's because he's stronger than he is tall, and can't really seem to jump anymore.

But yeah, Bynum needs to make glasswork a higher priority. I think because it's not his natural wheelhouse (mentally, physically, whatever) it requires more conscious effort and awareness, and it's not there every night.

BK

With regard to Pau's "improved" defense, it's always been there. Pau has been a very consistent position defender. He plays solid defense against the pick-and-rolls which other teams love throwing at the Lakers.

Posted by: Lakerfan70 | December 10, 2009 at 10:08 AM

Absolutely true. Its funny that people often give credit to power forwards believed to be strong, gritty, full of activity, etc. It seems like the guys that get the most credit at that position are 'hard-workers', like every team should have power forwards that moonlight as construction workers or truck drivers (not that those are bad vocations).

Pau doesn't strike anyone as being of that ilk. But he has a couple of tools that make him a smart defender that doesn't fit that hardhat mold.

He's tall AND has long arms, making guards think twice about shooting over him. He also is able to move his feet really well, to discourage drives. And, I can also see that he works well with whomever is being picked, to the point that they can coordinate their defensive alignment on the fly (credit Rambis for some of this).

Pau simply has the tools to work smarter, not harder on defense. That's something that won't be recognized by half the country who is enamored with the Paul Milsaps, Kendrick Perkins, or Kenyon Martins of the basketball universe.

@ Mamba 24.

In the Jerry Macguire living room full of estrogen:

"You had me at Good Morning. "

@ Mamba 24.In the Jerry Macguire living room full of estrogen: "You had me at Good Morning. " Posted by: Charles | December 10, 2009 at 10:58 AM

Sir charles any morning a post by you appears on the Blog it is always a good morning!
Mamba24

Our best defensive effort of the season so far, or may be last season included!!

Absolute stifling defense, we just smothered the Jazz players who had the ball into giving up the ball, or making them take ugly shots or cause them to violate the shot clock. We forced THREE shot clock violations in one quarter.. WOW.

The Jazz, never having experienced this kind of D from a Lakers team, got frustrated and lost their focus completely. The result - losing their confidence and even the shots which they make with eyes blindfolded were not falling!!

The timeout PJ called yesterday when we went down 8 in the mid 3rd quarter was priceless. Being used to seeing PJ sit on his chair letting the team suffer/deal while the opposition made big runs, seeing him jump out of the chair and call a TO in anger was a big surprise. Not sure what the Master told the team during the TO, it helped like anything.

If we play this D more consistently, this Lakers' team could be one of the best defensive teams and no one could even touch us.!!

Could the Brace that Drew wears on his knee be the reason for his lack of rebounds? I'm not concerned with Drew's production or lack there-of till the brace comes off.

If the Lakers would be losing games, then it would be a concern.

Great win, and great post MAMBA24.

Kobefan in Cupertino,

Kobe already let that secret out a few years ago. When PJ does the call an immediate and angry time-out routine he doesn't usually say anything -- just to show his disgust -- until right before the timeout is over. He likes to let the team stew in their own filth for awhile. Knowing full well that everyone in the stands and on TV knows that they are in trouble.

You know, like when your Mom calls you out in public for something. For most dudes, their own pride handles the rest. No need to actually rant.

I think it works so well with the Lakers because PJ does it so infrequently. Only maybe once or twice a season, and maybe once again in the playoffs.

You NEVER want to be the other team when you notice that PJ has jumped out of his throne. Because you are about to get served.

--Fearless

MAMBA24, I can't argue that the Lakers are in a class by themsleves right now. They are coasting!!!

All I am saying is that the Rockets' building blocks (the players they preently have) looks a lot like the way Phil built the team he presently has. I like the direction my Rockets are traveling. I won't put them in the same league with the Lakers but they are the team no one would want to play in a 3 game play-0ff series.

Thank you 2Phatt. Now let's have an even better one tomorrow. Except we can't make Kurt look to bad.
Mamba24

All I am saying is that the Rockets' building blocks (the players they preently have) looks a lot like the way Phil built the team he presently has. I like the direction my Rockets are traveling. I won't put them in the same league with the Lakers but they are the team no one would want to play in a 3 game play-0ff series. Posted by: sportslady777 | December 10, 2009 at 12:20 PM

My Lady you are indeed right. In a couple of years we may have a serious rivalry here. For now enjoy the ride as your team grows into maturity. It will make it that much sweeter when they finally suceed.
Mamba24

I am enjoying the ride bcause I love the game! I like the fact that the Rockets show up every night. That's the way the game should be played. Also, I had a brother that survived 20 years in the NBA so I kknow BBall and I love talkn hoops!!!

Look forward to chatting with u in the upcoming games Mamba24 (aka Kobe lover)

BK, Great article, esp. re: Sasha and Drew.

Sasha needs to keep playing unselfish, smart, focused basketball, not being a selfish gunner like Brian Cook without the jump shot or an energetic, overplaying spaz on D.

Hope Drew starts drinking coffee and taking more rebounding tips from Lamar, Artest or - sorry Drew - Jordan Farmar.

@ sportslady777 Hi! I'm glad when some other team supporters show up here and talk with us in well polite manner (as you do).
And I like that you support Rockets! Please, send sweet Trevor lotta love!
I wish him and the Rockets a great season. And I thank you for servicing LeBronze ass that amazing way the other day ;)

Rivalry in sport is all good, when it's about loyalty and great effort.

You love the game.
We love the game.

As others would say here, it's always aboutr love, in the end.

Have a great time hanging around.


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