My favorite Laker team pattern for this season continued in the overhyped “Battle for Los Angeles” last night at Staples Center — in the Lakers five wins they average 21 assists per game, in the four losses 14.25.
It sounds simple, but remember there are really several parts to any assist. First, somebody has got to drive the lane or do something to draw multiple defenders, then spot the open man and then get him the ball. Finally, somebody has to hit the open shot. In the Lakers losses some part of that equation came undone (missed early shots led to fewer passes later, for example).
Last night the Lakers shot 51.3% from the field, taking advantage of Kobe and other’s generosity. Six players end up in double figures. It appears to me Kobe and Chris Mihm are working especially well together, on pick-and-rolls (or pick-and-pops, if you prefer) and with Mihm moving without the ball and getting into open spaces near the basket. When Vlade starts taking some playing time down low next week, it will be interesting to see if he and Kobe can generate that same chemistry.
On the Clippers side of the ledger, this was the first time I had seen them at length this season, and I was really impressed the energy and aggressiveness they are getting inside from Bobby Simmons and Chris Wilcox. They are both young players (Simmons 24, Wilcox 22) who may be very good players some day. Whether or not that will be with the Clippers…..
Among the things we Angelinos like in our sports franchises are tradition and consistency. That includes on television, and the Lakers are giving us that.
The Lakers have extended their contract with KCAL (channel 9) through the 2011-2012 season. That contract was to expire by the end of the year. The Lakers also will stay on Fox Sports through that season as well.
By that second season of the next decade, the Lakers and channel 9 (through its several owners) will have been together 35 years.