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Five things to take away from Lakers' 105-102 overtime victory over Golden State Warriors

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1. Who knows when Kobe Bryant will be 100%, but he's clearly getting better: The Lakers have spent much of this preseason where they went 4-4 monitoring Bryant's minutes, aware that they don't want to force the issue regarding his surgically repaired right knee. After revealing that his knee is at about 60% following the Lakers' first exhibition game, Bryant hasn't provided an updated percentage. It's obvious, however, that Bryant's improved his rhythm and mobility as the preseason has progressed. The stat's don't lie: Bryant's 22 points on six-of-19 shooting in the Lakers' 105-102 overtime victory over the Golden State Warriors on Friday in Ontario put him with a 24-of-90 clip in the six exhibition games he's played. That's 26.7%.

The Lakers will need to manage a way to absorb those kind of shooting numbers from Bryant at the beginning of the season, considering he's still rehabbing and Lakers Coach Phil Jackson plans initially to limit his minutes. But the public shouldn't equate Bryant's preseason struggles into possible misfortunes for the Lakers in June. He's not injured. He's coming off summer surgery. So the tales about needing around-the-clock treatment and draining his knee in the playoffs isn't something that will be duplicated, assuming Bryant doesn't suffer another injury.

I wondered whether Bryant would push the issue too much this pre-season and allow his well-intentioned competitive spirit to kick into rehabbing the knee right away. But he and Jackson agreed the right approach entailed going through a gradual process. I wondered whether it was necessary for Bryant to play 27 minutes in the Lakers' game in Spain against FC Barcelona and there were instances he shot the ball too much. But all in all, Bryant showed progress.

Interestingly, Bryant's gradual rehab mirrored his performance Friday against Golden State where he started off slowly and began establishing a rhythm late in the game. After missing three of his first four shots, Bryant ended the first half making two of his next three. He missed the next three of four attempts and sat out to start the fourth quarter, leading many to believe he was done for the night. But with the Lakers making a rally, Bryant reentered with 6:39 remaining. He missed three of his four shots, but his layup and four free throws pointed to Bryant's improved mobility and aggressiveness in creating his own shot.

Bryant will have to get to the point where he's knocking down shots on a consistent basis, but the fact that his movement has improved each game clearly shows he's on his way. The Lakers just don't know how fast his improvement will accelerate from here.

569968122. The Lakers' No. 1 concern involves health: I'm not just talking about Bryant's rehabilitation, which is obviously important. But there's plenty of other players to monitor as well. Lakers center Andrew Bynum says he should return by late November, but that's coming from himself and isn't an actual medical prognosis. Lakers forward Luke Walton aggravated his right hamstring Friday against Golden State. Lakers center Theo Ratliff sat out with a swollen left knee. Lakers forward Lamar Odom also missed the game because of a sore left thumb and tight back, though he told reporters it was just precautionary and he'd play in Tuesday's season opener against Houston. Lakers forward Derrick Caracter just returned to the lineup after missing three games because of back spasms. And, of course, there's Jackson, who missed the last two games because of flu-like symptoms.

With exception to Bynum, all the other injuries at this point aren't considered long term so it's not as if the Lakers will suddenly regret letting go all of their training camp invitees. But it's something that will surely make Jackson even more cognizant of minutes. It'll also mean that each Laker will need to be ready and flexible to play multiple positions, if need be.

3. The Lakers need Lamar Odom to have a solid season: Odom sat Friday's game and it clearly showed how much the Lakers will need him this season. He ended the preseason as the best Laker out there on the floor, with his 10.9 points and team-leading 10.7 rebounds in a team-leading 31.7 minutes a contest clearly showing that his experience in the FIBA World Championships kept him in shape, sharpened his focus and improved his leadership. Beyond the ability to play up top and in the post, Odom relentlessly cleaned the glass, fired outlet passes and ran the floor. There's no doubt Golden State's 47-35 rebounding margin wouldn't have been as high had Odom been out there.

Obviously Bryant's effectiveness will prove to be the most important factor for the Lakers this season. No one can really duplicate Bryant's scoring mentality, work ethic and ability to hit clutch shots. But Odom's skill at so many things, such as hitting outside shots, penetrating in the post, using a wingspan to dominate the boards and assuming a positive presence in the locker room, would go to waste if he's not healthy or can't carry the preseason success he's built so far.

569966634. The Lakers bench looks better than last year's reserves: Last season's bench carried an infamous reputation for blowing leads and making untimely mistakes. This season's bench has infused energy and eagerness into a team that will have to find ways to avoid complacency during a long season. Though all the newcomers in Steve Blake, Matt Barnes, Ratliff, Devin Ebanks and Caracter are still ironing out mastery of the triangle offense, every one of them plays as if they want to help the team any way they can. Add in Shannon Brown's preseason consistency in outside shooting and Sasha Vujacic's resurgence following a concussion, and you have a unit that actually brought the team back into contention against Golden State.

The Lakers entered the fourth quarter trailing 79-69 and largely played as if they wanted to end the preseason and walk away without any further injury. Instead, the Lakers' second unit kept slashing the lead. Ebanks dunked off a put-back from Vujacic's missed jumper to cut the lead to 83-77 with 9:52 remaining. Vujacic made a 21-footer to cut the deficit to 83-79 with 9:14 left. Caracter's maneuvering under the baskeet for a one-handed slam gave the Lakers an 87-85 lead with 6:50 remaining. Vujacic's up-and-under shot pushed the Lakers ahead, 89-88, with 4:28 remaining. And Brown's 24-foot three-pointer with 30 seconds left tied the score at 98-98.

The Lakers chat featured some debate on whether the starters should return, or if the bench should be given a chance to secure the win. As much as the bench deserves credit for the comeback, it's good Lakers temporary head coach Brian Shaw inserted the starters because it gave them incentive to play with better focus. Bryant's six fourth-quarter points and Artest's two late-game baskets surely infused some energy for the Lakers' starters.

If the bench can consistently inject some hunger and help to protect the leads, the Lakers should be rested and focused enough to three-peat.

5. The Lakers' defense needs to improve: Part of this points to the Lakers just wanting to end the preseason as quickly as possible. Part of this points to the Lakers lacking Bynum's length and size that intimidate players from driving in the lane. And part of this points to Odom's and Ratliff's absence.

But the Lakers also lacked any semblance of interior defense because of effort. Warriors guard Monta Ellis exploded for 41 points on 16-of-30 shooting,Golden State manufactured 42 points in the paint and the Warriors outrebounded the Lakers, 41.2%. Part of that points to Derek Fisher and Brown getting beat on the perimeter. Lots of it points to Pau Gasol's seemingly disinterest in putting in any defensive effort. But lots of these lapses point to the Lakers not performing help defense. The Lakers have added defensive toughness with Bryant, Artest, Barnes, Ebanks and Ratliff, but that pays off mostly on individual matchups.

This has been so much of a problem that Jackson has stopped practice numerous times to go over concepts on defensive rotations, but it's still not registering. The Lakers will need to sharpen that area soon.

Stat of the Night: 53 -- That's the amount of minutes Ellis played. I understand Stephen Curry sat out because of a sprained right ankle he suffered Thursday against the Lakers. But there's no need to play someone 53 minutes in a preseason game.

Quote of the Night: "You can't really think about how long it's going to be or how hard it's going to be because it will be. We're excited and we want to start off strong." -- Lakers forward Pau Gasol to KCAL's John Ireland on the regular season starting.

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Lakers point guard Derek Fisher and assistant coach Brian Shaw discuss strategy during an exhibition game against the Warriors on Friday night in Ontario. Credit: Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Photo: Lakers forward Derrick Caracter and Warriors forward Jeff Adrien go after a rebound in the second half of an exhibition game on Friday night in Ontario. Credit: Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press.

Photo: Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic challenges the driving layup of Warriors guard Monta Ellis in the first half of Friday night's exhibition game in Ontario. Ellis played all 53 minutes in the game and scored 41 points. Credit: Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press.

 
Comments () | Archives (27)

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MM - good summation. It should be an interesting first month of the season. I'm hoping Phil has some rotational plans to put some spark back into the first team, a sense of controlled urgency.

For late night consumption:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzZUyTpmy3g

Caracter looks like another solid #45 classic rebounding Laker beast from back in the day.
Ebanks putback! That started the run.
Sasha looks very engaged. To Basketball.
Flying Squirrel. UPS. Shan-Wow. Im starting to see all the improvement everyone has been talking about. Plus much clutch tonite.

Here We Go LakeShow! HERE WE GO!

If I'm Jeremy Lin, and I know that Stephen Curry is already out, and I see my coach Keith Smart playing Monta Ellis every single second of both the 48 minute regular session and the 5 minutes regular session in this final pre-season outing, relegating me to a scant 2 1/2 minutes, I think I'd be pretty ticked off. But hey, that's just me.
The other thing that I was struck by in watching this game is that without Bynum and without Lamar, this Laker team is extremely soft inside with their interior defense. Pau really looked as though he couldn't be bothered with defending the basket and painted area. Yeah, I know it's preseason but it really looked as though the Warriors were being allowed to run a lay-up drill out there.
Still, it was great to see the bench players pick-up our starters throughout this game. Despite his 0-5 outing, I really, really like what Steve Blake is doing out there - he's doing a great job running the offense for the second unit. Barnes and Ebanks continue to impress and Sasha looked pretty good tonight. Thanks goodness the preseason is over - time to GET IN ON!

ooops, that was supposed to read, "get IT on"...

MM - you really are a workaholic and we're lucky that you are!
-Kobe: i think he was just "feeling" things out during the PS and i don't expect him to be taking all of those wild and crazy shots when the season begins next week. actually, i'm expecting him to trust his teammates more and in doing so, we should see a lot more ball movement during offensive posessions and when necessary, i'm sure he will get into creation mode and make the shots.
-Health: the big "if" is on AB, Kobe's knee and finger and i'm concerned about LO hurting his back due to the fact that it was one of his major complaints along with a bad shoulder last season. i'm not concerned about luke because by now, we should all be used to him not playing and i'm not too crazy about his "game" anyway. too anxious to pass in order to avoid shooting - displays lack of confidence in his shot. my other concern is theo and the tendinitis in his knees. we're in PS, he played limited minutes and he's already out. we've got bad luck with centers having bad knees.
-Bench: we've waited all summer to see the potential of the new additions and they did not disappoint. ebanks will be the stand out and that will motivate caracter even further to contribute. we've got saavy, hungry vets for that unit and i have no doubt that we will have the deepest bench in the league a la the Pistons back in the 90's. PJ is likes his bench and he likes his rookie, Ebanks. That's a good sign.
-Defense: man, that's something that has to improve and the team can never play with that high level of intensity at both ends of the floor for the full 48. I trust they will address it more than ever this season because the team is "marked" and everyone will be gunning for these guys. The only way to survive the onslaught will be DEFENSE and then more DEFENSE. They have to discourage every team they play and the way to do that is with DEFENSE. They have the players on the team to do it so all they have to do is "Just Do It!"

AndTheJellosJigglin - I haven't been this excited about our rooks in awhile. Barring accidents, it looks like Ebanks might really turn into something truly special in a few years (not discounting him now, just that he won't be given THAT many minutes... knock on wood). But as he blossoms, he could be a bit of a Rudy Gay-type. Stronger D, though.

And Caracter... you said it: "looks like another solid #45 classic rebounding Laker beast from back in the day." I love players like that, and other teams always seem to throw them at us, so it's nice to have one of our own. He has some great footwork, too.

Guess all that yoga with all that stretching during the off-season didn't help Luke

Just in case we don't see Bill's son for awhile here what he did tonight

02:31 Fisher Substitution replaced by Walton
00:52.7 Walton Foul : Shooting (1 PF)
01:25 Steal:Walton (1 ST) 01:25
11:03 Walton Free Throw 1 of 2 Missed
=====Walton Free Throw 2 of 2 Missed
10:01 Walton Substitution replaced by Ebanks

well he did get a steal

I will always be a kobe and lakers fan forever and i think that kobe will always be better than mj! :)

LAKERS/YANKEES FAN ROLL CALL !!!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Double your pleasure, double your fun…
~


01 – LakerTom 

02 – KobeMVP888

03 - Lewsters

~
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~

World Series Triumph #28 coming…

It’s not over until the Fat Lady sings….


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TOM
Posted by: LakerTom | October 22, 2010 at 02:15 PM

---------------------------------------------------------------------

the Fat Lady pulled her hamstring. She was replaced by an Anorexic "bummed knee" Lady!

actually is more like TRIPLE the Fun (u don't mess with Texas)

did Derek Jeter cry in his post interview? take that weak-ish out of here!

still coming #28. nothing beats the Energizer.

Need another PF/C on the bench!!!!!!!!!

I am really excited about this Laker season--all the way to another 3-Peat!!!! But I am concerned that the preseason showed: a lack of depth at PF/C. With Drew down--we are 1 injury away from a very serious problem. I think we have too many SFs and need another PF/F-C--somewhere between a rookie (Caracter) and Lamar--we need this for interior defense and rebounding.

I love these open lines from the 2010-11 preview of the Lakers' forwards from Lakers.com:

"On paper, the 2010-11 Lakers should be even better than the team that won the NBA title in each of the past two seasons.

Wait … how is that possible?

It’s not like a team can do better than winning a championship, of course, but it certainly can play better basketball along what Phil Jackson often refers to as “the journey.” Whether or not motivation can be drawn from what Jackson says will be his last season as coach, the one in which he searches for his remarkable fourth three-peat, remains to be seen."

Here's the link:

http://www.nba.com/lakers/news/1011preview_forwards.html

Good Morning Laker Fam,

Woo Hoo preseason is over and the weekend is here. I'm running of E...so I thought this was fitting:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJYRtOPUonA

Great to see the bench performing well. I wish Kobe could just sit out a few more games till he can shoot again. His ineffectiveness is hurting the team. Why not just let him scrimmage with the team and practice shooting jump shots late into the night ? Also, I hope that Gasol can come to life when the season starts. He hasn't looked sharp latelly.

we need a caption contest 4 the pic:

"do u want me to pull Scola on Monta? i just can't see him."

And so we wait... until the regular season finally begins. And even then, we wait. Will the Lakers be healthy? Will they gel? Will they get their interior defense back to where it was last year? A person could go insane:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfpyoGFJNNE

Soft in the middle....really, I"ve been saying this all preseason. You need another big body, WTH you're going to do to defend SHAQ or Dwight? I know..NO ANSWER. You can't stop guard penatration,SOFT as BUTTER.

Sorry about breaking thread for a moment but,
I think I finally found out why I like the Memphis Grizzlies. They have potential for a reason. I had forgotten that Jerry West was the president of the Grizzlies, and is still a big fan. I got to thinking that if he was able to gather the talents of the Lakers in the 80's for a championship, and he's still an active Grizzlies fan, then that is why his fingerprint is all over the team (which I just realized after finding the article below). Something about the Grizzlies reminds me of the Lakers of 08. I think he is influencing things down there. There's no question in my mind that they have the tools to win, but I don't really know much about the coaching down there. I' m with you Sir Jerry West.

http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2010/oct/20/ex-griz-president-still-a-fan/

Oregonain,Virginalakerfan your smarter then most bloggers on this site.

Good Morning Nation...

4 DAYS TO FILL THE LAT LAKERS BLOG BUS...

DESTINATION: STAPLES CENTER FOR OPENING AND RING NIGHT!!!
Let's show unity and support for this most excellent season coming up!

===========================
[_|___|__|___|__|__|__|__|__|__\
|____LAKERS NATION BUS_\__\__
l__________________________--|
\_(O)-(O)_____________|_|(O)___/

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phred = The Love Chapter
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Oregonain,Virginalakerfan your smarter then most bloggers on this site.

Posted by: JUSTA HATER | October 23, 2010 at 08:49 AM
=====

I'm sure they said similar things last year when Pau was down and you probably concurred with them then, also. Any sophisticated fan of this back-to-back championship team finds little use for what happens during the waste of time, less than meaningless pre-season. The only purpose for this time of year is conditioning and teaching. For you to concur with posts that have concerns about Kobe and Gasol when these shorts-skins scrimmages are pointless, or which cry for desperation for a superfluous PF/C in October, shows your level of sophistication. It's somewhere around the elevation of the Dead Sea.

By the way, that would be "you're" smarter "than" most bloggers on this site, smartie pants.

Ops, "shirts-skins." Stupid me.

Oops again! lol

Okay... after reading everything, and after the due stop to enlighten that MAGNIFICENT post about that amazing book that I will hold dearly in my library, I can write the proper today post before in my Florence House I will for the very first time receive guests (awww ;)).

And today, I'm the one cooking (I'm pretty good at it too... but I LOVED the song you quoted about Karim LRob!!! Babyface... great pick up!), so I need to be quick (I know, nobody believes I actually will...).

Mark you wrote an excellent piece once again.
You pretty much said all that I was ready to, and about Kobe's struggle especially.

I just wanna pinpoint that Kobe is the master of overworking (see also the post about the book, for further pressure about that aspect of his being) and he used to overwork all summers.
This summer he had surgery: in fact, when everybody was saying last year he should have taken surgery, no matter what, i used to say to take that would have implied a very slow... not "recovery",( because that can be of a certain extension that is predictable ), but getting back in that state where the will of the mind and the will of the body are shaped and in synch to be efficacious, and effective.
That takes time and it takes more THE MORE you are crafted and used to do specific and kinda obsessive practices (just as Kobe is).

In this moment he's gaining back the full control of his synchronism, and the imprecision in shooting is just what spares him from the zenit moment in his shaping back up.

Right now, he's rusty, but he's getting where he wants to go.

You better practice patience, because he has to too (which doesn't mean he's not pulling it all right now, accordingly to the rhythm of forces and strengths he has now at his disposal).

Champions are like fine cars, or extremely precise machines... until everything is at its right place, they don't seem that special. But they're not made and customed as the rest, and when they are in roll, they simply belong to another category.

Be patient: your patience will be rewarded and right now we don't need "Kobe". He knows. That's why he's not worried about any of his struggles, and PJ follows him there.

I trust him more than myself.

I know and moreover I see those kind of better movements MM described: I'm absolutely serene.

And you should too, if you know what Kobe is, and how he works himself like.

To put back some glittering mood and call our Saviour safe, take this track that I have always loved (anybody sounding a bit as Stevie Wonder is treasured by me since my kid days and this song I used to love when I was ten, so...):

Jamiroquai, The Return Of The Space Cowboy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVC4ESDITuc

I'm instead very sad about Luke, although I know the injury he has is tricky and subtly evil: it takes a lot to fully recover and setbacks are mostly expected (see Pau last year).
I'm happy we really seem to have a good bench this year: this will allow Luke to take his time (and I do believe some of his minutes can be worthy and useful for us especially against specifically tight adversaries, those kind that are strong, but chaotically fast enough to get penetrated best from triangle, in which Luke is and can be of an help in times when we will need to rest a bit the starters).

So Luke... get well. But take your time with it.

To celebrate instead the really great amelioration of Shannon, take the true classic Jump by Van Halen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlq0lYB3iSM

(hope GDUB will find these nice too ;)... and mclyne, KoL are amazing live - true - but there's no way OBTN is better than BOT... and live those are also the songs that shine the most. Caleb's voice shines best without too much noise around, because it's so soulfully rusty itself that raw guitars and drums are the only things he truly needs to support it).

I am so pleasantly surprised by the fact that these new guys look very complimentary AND complementary with the old guard.
Don't know, maybe I tend to watch more than I see, but the whole of bench interactions kinda comfort me at any given camera reveal that they are integrated already and not only in terms of play.
It seems to me that they are clicking in the human department, which is the true root of every achievement.

I'm so positive.

And I leave you with a "quest" song, that speaks about love, but that can be taken as a quest to something we want to grab and take with ourselves as keepers (yep... something like a ring ;)...).

Today my iPod played it randomly and suddenly I remembered how much I've always loved this old song sung so heavenly (it was one of my mum's favs when I was a lil lil kid :) and my musical memory always remember it like a soft caress on my cheek :) ):

Lisa Stansfield, All Around The World:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gh5JwTEWlM

Have all a great saturday and a fabulous weekend :)

time to craft my cooking mastery for my guests.

LLL from (today) Florence ;)

Z. :)


Finally, here's today's entry in my 'across the pond' series...enjoy!

Jazzanova - Let Me Show Ya - feat.Paul Randolph - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwGYXF8TLhw

Jazzanova - I CAN SEE - feat.Ben Westbeech ( YE:SOLAR REMIX ) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtAazZAIim4

Jazzanova - Rockin' You Eternally - feat.Leon Ware & Dwele - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=li4Afl639KE
~

Have a great weekend everyone, and 'see' ya Tuesday on the Live Chat.


Let's go Ls...all the way to a 3-peat!!!!!

Posted by: G in DC(aka GDUB) | October 22, 2010 at 08:40 PM

============
GDUB
I don't recall Jazzanova but I liked them. Thanks for the links.

Need another PF/C on the bench!!!!!!!!!

I am really excited about this Laker season--all the way to another 3-Peat!!!! But I am concerned that the preseason showed: a lack of depth at PF/C. With Drew down--we are 1 injury away from a very serious problem. I think we have too many SFs and need another PF/F-C--somewhere between a rookie (Caracter) and Lamar--we need this for interior defense and rebounding.

Posted by: VirginiaLakerFan | October 23, 2010 at 04:47 AM
----------
I agree and have not been impressed by Theo so far. But another center and losing sf (Luke) most likely and we will be better off.

Lisa Stansfield, All Around The World:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gh5JwTEWlM

Have all a great saturday and a fabulous weekend :)

Posted by: ZairaAmaterasu | October 23, 2010 at 11:04 AM

----------------
Zaira,
I liked that Lisa song the most and think it was her best seller. The link did not work for me but I had luck with this one.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf9q0DN0dGw

Today my iPod played it randomly and suddenly I remembered how much I've always loved this old song sung so heavenly (it was one of my mum's favs when I was a lil lil kid :) and my musical memory always remember it like a soft caress on my cheek :) ): Lisa Stansfield, All Around The World: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gh5JwTEWlM Posted by: ZairaAmaterasu | October 23, 2010 at 11:04 AM
*
With all due respect Goddess, this is the definitive Lisa:
http://tinyurl.com/3yt83ht -CHANGE - LISA STANSFIELD
.


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