Fast Break

 —  March 1, 2005

That was a punch-in-the-gut loss last night in New York, and I’m a bit too shaken for another long post about the lack of defense for most of the game or how the Lakers had 4 turnovers in the five minutes of overtime compared to zero for the Knicks. Here’s an assortment of thoughts from last night and other things I wanted to get to.

• Apparently the best way to beat the Lakers is to make sure they have a four-point lead with about 2:30 left in the game. It worked for both Toronto and New York.

• Frank Hamblen echoed my post of a couple of days ago about the Lakers in the clutch:

“Our guys have to quit deferring to Kobe so much,” he said. “There’s a lot of other things that we have involved offensively and Kobe’s going to get his. Right there at the end, Luke has a little 5- or 6-footer or a layup or whatever.”

• Chris Mihm = Inconsistency. He played 21 minutes against New York and the Lakers were -14 while he was on the floor. He was a team high -15 against Toronto. I’ve expressed frustration in the past with him not getting late minutes, but the fact of the matter is he doesn’t play well enough consistently to earn them.

• While it seems like the Lakers have tried to push the tempo more recently, they have averaged 93 possessions per game the last five games, very close to their 93.5 average for the season.

• There’s a great no-trade post mortem from Eric Pincus at Hoopsworld on the Lakers’ lack of a move at the trade deadline. While there was no move this season, think about this for next year:

Adding up all the players with ending contracts (including a team option on Brian Cook, which I think they’ll probably end up taking), The Lakers will have roughly $21 million dollars in last year players to move out. They’ll also have Butler and Vujacic, two young players that hold differing degrees of trade value.

• While the general media consensus was that Sacramento threw in the towel when they traded Chris Webber, the guys at Hoopsanalyst make a very convincing argument that the move will make the Kings a better team. The Kings/Mavs first round playoff matchup that looks like it will happen will be a great playoff series.

• Frank Burlison of the Press Telegram has been elected to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame. It’s a well-deserved honor, he is one of the few hoops writers that really knows the game from the high school level on up. If there were just more Burlisons and less Plaschkes in the world….