Fast Break

 —  February 23, 2005

A collection of thoughts on the Lakers win against Boston, trades and other stuff:

• That was a sloppy game last night from both teams, but the Lakers got it together in the second half. The Lakers had 11 first half turnovers, just three in the second half.

• The Laker triangle spacing is horrible at times, especially if Kobe, Luke or Cook are not in (the guys who played the system last year). The key to the triangle is to keep proper spacing, and the Lakers (Atkins and Mihm in particular) were often in the wrong spot and bunched up the offense. This should get better with time, at least I hope so.

• My favorite stat out of last night — 21 offensive rebounds. Mihm alone had 8, more than the entire Boston team.

• After the guy he walked out the door destroyed his team, Celtics GM Danny Ainge said after the game he really wanted to keep Chris Mihm. I bet he does now. And that was the Gary Payton I remember, a once great guard who is now average and getting older fast.

• Payton may not be his old self, but why did the Celtics go away from the Payton isolation plays? Atkins and Brown were getting abused by that play. The Lakers never adjusted their rotation to it, but Boston seemed to stop running it when Pierce was on the floor.

• Did you notice Jumaine Jones hit two of his four threes from right in front of the Celtics bench, and after the second one seemed to have words for Doc Rivers? By the way, the Lakers were +20 when Jones was on the floor, the best number from the Lakers last night.

• With the clock ticking down to noon tomorrow, no reliable trade rumors out there right now. The buzz in Sacramento apparently is still some sort of Peja for Odom trade, but I just can’t see why the Lakers do that. Do we want another small forward who hangs out by the three-point line and is a poor defender?

• I hope Shaq’s injury isn’t serious.

• I’ve been looking for the right way to say I’m saddened by the passing of Hunter S. Thompson. I would love to do a Gonzo trip to a Laker game, something that starts out with me heading to Staples and somehow ends with me drunk and shooting guns in the backyard of some guy’s house in the Valley. But I’m not as fearless as Hunter, so those things don’t happen to me.

I first read HST in high school, where my senior English teacher gave us the option of doing a paper on Hell’s Angles. The book hooked me, and I soon read his other classics, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail. If all you’ve read of HST is the stuff from the end of his career, when he became a parody of himself, do yourself the favor and read the early stuff. His was a unique voice, and I’ll miss it.

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