Fast Break

 —  March 19, 2005

Thoughts I had in addition to wishing I’d picked Vermont to beat Syracuse like my wife did in her pool:

• 32-33. Below .500. I didn’t expect things to spectacular this year, but I figured we’d be above that line. It is painful to watch. And I’m not sure we can make up 2.5 games.

• Remind me not to write anything bad about Reggie Miller again. While Miller was in vintage form, the rest of the Pacers still shot 50% (eFG%). The Lakers lost four in a row by not playing good defense. (Man, I’m tired of typing a variation of that sentence.)

• Lamar will get an MRI today but the way the injury his shoulder is described I would think he’s going to miss a few games at least. Yes the Lakers will miss his scoring, but what they are going to miss more is his rebounding — he grabs 15.9% of the available rebounds when he is on the floor (called “rebounding rate”), the highest percentage on the Lakers.

• Kobe looks tired. A lot of the team looks tired.

• Magic Johnson is pushing for Pat Riley to be the Laker coach, just like he did last summer. I think he’d be good for the Lakers, he likes the up-tempo game, but I don’t get the impression he can’t wait to be back on the bench. And I’m not sure Magic is helping the coaching search any going public like this. Update: in response to this Riley told the Miami Herald there was no chance he was going to coach in Los Angeles or anywhere else.

• Former Laker coach and current Magic assistant coach Paul Westhead got passed over for the interim job in Orlando this week.

• Which Laker will have the bragging rights in the locker room when the NCAA tournament is over? Brian Cook (Illinois) may be the favorite but Caron Butler (UConn) may give him a run for his money. Luke Walton (Arizona) has a chance while Tony Bobbitt (Cincinnati) is a long shot. Chris Mihm (Texas) is already out of the running.

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