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Five things to watch in Lakers-Minnesota matchup

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1. Can all the Lakers starters play less than 30 minutes? -- The outcome doesn't even appear in question, what with the Lakers starting off 7-0 and Minnesota (1-6) clearly showing that the rebuilding project is going to take some time. No need to exert all your energy on an opponent that doesn't deserve it. The Lakers need to build up a sizable lead, grant rest to the starters and allow the bench take care of the rest.

2. Does Minnesota cause bad luck for the Lakers' health? - Another good reason for the Lakers to build up a double-digit lead entails the fact that it'll make it less likely any of the starters get hurt. That's a universal fact in all games, but for some reason the Timberwolves were present for some rather significant Laker injuries. In a meaningless regular-season game Dec. 11, 2009, former Lakers guard Jordan Farmar fed a poor entry pass to Kobe Bryant that ultimately resulted in an avulsion fracture to his right index finger, and arthritis eventually developed in the knuckle. Then in March 19, 2010, Lakers center Andrew Bynum strained his left Achilles tendon while running up and down the court, an injury that sidelined him for the final 13 regular-season games. I don't really believe in omens, but perhaps some of the Lakers do.

3. See Kevin Love on the bench: UCLA fans might feel inclined to attend the Lakers game tonight considering Love, a former Bruin, will be in town. Not a bad idea, just don't expect him to play much. Perhaps Minnesota Coach and former Laker Kurt Rambis will consider otherwise considering this is a homecoming for Love and, well, he is a good player. But it would strongly deviate from what has happened so far. With the T-Wolves trading Al Jefferson to Utah this summer, it was assumed Love would receive more than a bench role. Despite the third-year power forward leading the Timberwolves with 16.9 points and 11.7 rebounds per game, his 26.4 minutes per game has baffled plenty. As one NBA scout told ESPN's Chris Broussard, "You have to be on crystal meth not to give Love more minutes on that team. It makes no sense.''

4. See the difference in how triangle offenses are run - What's impressed me the most about the Lakers' 7-0 start entails how smoothly they've run their offense. The Lakers' league-leading 114 points per game, league-leading 45% rate from three-point range and league-leading 13.6 per contest reveals a well-oiled machine. The usual consistency from Pau Gasol (24.1 points and 10 rebounds) and Lamar Odom (15.9 points and 11.1 rebounds) showcases their dominance in the post. All these parts, however, reveal how well the Lakers have run the triangle, thanks to constant ball movement, sharp cutting and effective spacing.

"When the triangle works the way it's supposed to, it's beautiful," Lakers forward Luke Walton said during training camp. "It's fun to watch. It's fun to play. When you've got guys working on the same play and making the right reads, it's great. It's the way basketball is meant to be played."

Ever since Rambis' arrival last season with the Timberwolves, he's instituted the triangle system, but it's not run in its entirety simply because of the learning curve. He told the Star Tribune that he doesn't need to tinker with the system other than just allowing time for the team to fully learn it.

"There's nothing that we're doing that's complicated," Rambis told the Star Tribune. "This is all stuff that they know. Young players just have trouble being consistent."

If nothing else, tonight's game should serve as a visual reminder why the Lakers' offense has functioned so well. Having experienced and talented players makes a heck of a difference.

5. The Lakers won't be tested on defense. For all well the Lakers have played, the defense could still be sharpened. But that's going to be a problem against Minnesota. No player shoots above 50%. And for all the concern about how Bynum's absence exposes the Lakers' interior defense, they can be comforted by the fact that T-Wolves center Darko Milicic only shoots 23.1% from the field, considering his attempts mostly come from, you know, inside the paint.

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Kobe Bryant takes the ball past Minnesota's Wesley Johnson during an exhibition game in Europe. Credit: Dylan Martinez, Reuters.

 
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Nice.

I am also of the opinion that PJ will be back next year - health providing - to take a shot at the illusive Quat-row. And YES - we're winning the 3-peat this year.


FABULOUS!!! You have your powers back!!!

LET US PRAY


Dear Lord, we thank You for love, grace, mercy and success. You lead us. You guide us. You give us confidence. You have clearly given our Lakers the confidence and poise to stand the many challenges of this season. And we thank You for it.


Our prayer today is a simple one: May we never lower our standards as a team to match the standards of our inferior opponents. Destiny compels us. We can ill afford to treat any NBA game like a throw-away game. This team has the chemistry and potential of being the greatest Lakers squad ever. The anticipation is high. The goals are real and legitimate. If we are indeed good enough to roll through a string of inferior opponents by 12 points or more, LET US DO SO. PERIOD.

We know it is not bullying...for the bullies in Boston do so to cover up their weaknesses, insecurities & fear of losing. It is, quite simply, playing up to the standard that we, the 16 time NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers, are called to play upon. Let this mindset be in the forefront of every Laker who takes the court from now until that final whistle in the 4th quarter come June 2011 when we will hoist that flag upon the mountaintop for the 17th time!


AMEN!

FINAL PREDICTION: LAKERS BY 8! Because of the Rambis factor. otherwise it would be Lakers by 38!

AMEN!
OUT FREAKIN STANDING CHAPLAIN!!!! NOW WE'RE READY FOR THE GAME!!!

The two issues I take with this new post is the little faith MM has on Michael Beasly. He is on my FBB team and I believe he will have a great night in a losing effort. Kobe has to play big minutes because that should yield big numbers. Kobe will have a career night in a winnig effort. Fantasy vs reality, oh so close.

Mamba24 - apparently so. There have been many pretenders to the throne as of late (yes princess - you included), but there is only ONE original.


Often imitated... never duplicated... the one... the only...


(Yup - need more caffeine.. or is it less?)


GREAT POST BLOG GOD!!!!

What have I done to be blessed with so much Density?
*
OK here's my back to back set:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YbvCIXdQmw&feature=related _ Paradise – CHANGE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3N7u4aYC-Kc&feature=related - Glow of Love _ Change

Mamba24 - apparently so. There have been many pretenders to the throne as of late (yes princess - you included), but there is only ONE original. Often imitated... never duplicated... the one... the only...Posted by: justanothermambafan | November 09, 2010 at 11:46 AM
*
Oh this is truly Fabulous News! Truly it is! *sniff* *sniff* I think I'm going to cry!

@PLG - I like your point of view.

@Art - You trying to set off the fireworks...lol.

@Lass - bringing a little culture to blogs music. Well done.

Great points MM and I totally agree with all of them.

I think that the Lakers would need to display their killer instinct on this one. Defend and run the offense onto a whole new level against a team that still doesn't seem to find its identity, yet. The Wolves is a team with good players (except for Darko. LOL), and with experience and growth they can challenge for a playoff spot in the future. However, this is the Lakers' year. I would like to see them shut down most, if not all of the passing lanes as well as clog it inside (they should know the angles and lanes its a basic triangle offense that the Wolves are running).

I'm predicting a 117-72 win for the LakeShow.

~3Heat can't stop the 3Peat~
Brylle

~3Heat can't stop the 3Peat~ Brylle Posted by: Brylle | November 09, 2010 at 11:58 AM
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I LOVE IT!!!!!!


I expect this game to end around the 2nd quarter! Lakers win by 25!

You are forgetting that Rambis also understands how to defend the Laker personnel in the triangle. Gasol is not going to get easy entry passes and the offense will stall. Minnesota playing the Lakers are a different team than they are against the rest of the league.

mamba24, personally i want the lakers smoke the timberwolves tonight! after watching the exhibition game in london between the t-wolves and lakers, you would have thought it was the nba finals the way minnesota was "woofing it up" after every 3pointer or dunk. i was LMAO at minnesota for their nonsensical display. i hope L.A. remembers it too. i want a win by 38! ha ha

i hope L.A. remembers it too. i want a win by 38! ha ha
Posted by: Lakeshowinphx | November 09, 2010 at 12:04 PM
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I do too, but Phil and the rest of the Lakers have to much respect for Kurt Rambis to run up the score on him, especially with the poor record he has now. If things start getting out of hand look for Phil to sit all his starters and just play the Bench.

As long as all the startes play less then 30 minutes im happy.

You are forgetting that Rambis also understands how to defend the Laker personnel in the triangle. Gasol is not going to get easy entry passes and the offense will stall. Minnesota playing the Lakers are a different team than they are against the rest of the league.

Posted by: Baylor fan | November 09, 2010 at 12:01 PM

That's true. But you're also forgetting that this is a different team two seasons ago. The Lakers personnel right now are much more acclimated and inclined to the tendencies of each player in the core group. The bench may again be sloppy, but that may be a result from the Wolves players knowing how to react against the Triangle(30% chance of happening since most of them are first-year players in the system).

~3Heat can't stop the 3Peat~
Brylle

"The Lakers need to build up a sizable lead, grant rest to the starters and allow the bench take care of the rest."

This is the key for the entire season. Of course, there are many other nuances of the game that are imperative, namely the Defense but blowing out teams early and often will give us reserve power for the playoffs, the finals and valuable PT for the 2nd unit as well as the remainder of the bench.

The Wolves may not have offensive power but the team has to play defense at a high level in order to stay "lubed." This is a good "practice" game in that regard because next up are the "Thuggets" and they have a lot to prove on thier homecourt against the reigning undefeated champs.

GO LAKERS!!

@Mamba - Thanks for doing all the roll calls. And since we're all boarding the bus for the game. Here's little roll call to get us fired up....Shabulla...roll call!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTjJJiu2lC0

@MM - why did you have to work in a Darko jab. Poor Darko (but not literally...lol)

Here's little roll call to get us fired p....Shabulla...roll call! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTjJJiu2lC0 Posted by: LRob | November 09, 2010 at 12:17 PM
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GOD%$%$$##!!! NOW THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!! OUT FREAKIN STANDING SIR!!! YES!!!

Thanks for the gameday benediction UTZ!!!
Mamba24, riffing on your paradise theme I feel compelled to re-invoke the great Sade Adu;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jaYrFFm9Tw

LRob,

I was just having a Fox news moment.
You know their slogan, "we report, you decide".
Of course the accuracy of the reporting is irrelevant.

LRob/aka Profess - NICE "Shabuya Roll Call".

5 things DBDH will watch tonight:

1.W
2.E

3.w
4.I
5.N

[dbdh]

I listened to Kurt Rambis interviewed on Mason and Ireland yesterday. He said he literally has no plan when it comes to doling out minutes!

http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/radio/archive?id=2682382

It was actually sad to hear how bad his team is performing, considering he was once the heir apparent to coach the Lakers once Phil retired. I want the Lakers to win; but hopefully things will get better for Kurt and the T-Wolves. Helpful hint: give Love more playing time. He looked solid this summer with Team USA.


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