Work is still kicking my a** this week, so today itâ€™s fast break, collection of notes Iâ€™ve been compiling.
â€¢ Iâ€™m not a season ticket holder, but events I want to be a fly on a wall for include an exclusive event next Wednesday at Staples where season ticket holders get to hear from and ask questions of Mitch K. and other members of the Lakers front office. There should be some very interesting give and take here â€” well, mostly give with the frustration of Laker fans this season. I have a spy, er, friend going to that who is reporting back to me.
â€¢ How bad was the Laker defense against the Suns? In the first half the Suns shot 73.3% (eFG%) and put up 70 points by halftime. They cooled off in the second half and for the game only shot 65.3%.
â€¢ Injuries are making this collapse appear worse than it actually is (and it isnâ€™t good). But injuries have been slowing this team for some time. My favorite example recently was the game against San Antonio: Kobe got the ball with time winding down for a last-second, potentially game-winning shot. The double team came followed by a switch off a pick, and Kobe was one-on-one with Robert Horry, a guy Kobe can take off the dribble. Hamblen was frustrated that he didnâ€™t and said so afterwards, but the combination of Kobeâ€™s shin, ankle and tired legs means he may not have been able to beat Horry, who is long and smart defensively. Just a little thing, but symbolic of all the little things contributing to one big, bad season.
â€¢ Last night at 2:30 a.m., up with a teething child, I replayed the end of the loss to the Suns again and focused on Sasha, who was playing the two. On offense he looks pretty good â€” he had a team-high seven rebounds and three of them were offensive. But in man-to-man defense he is lost. He went crashing into some screens hard, lost his man and never recovered several times, just got beat on others. He needs to play a lot this summer and get coached on that end of the floor, if he can improve to decent defensively he could come off the bench next year. But heâ€™s got a long way to go.
My other thought while watching that garbage time: Vlade looks slow and old. First game back though, so he gets some slack.
â€¢ A ways back I used an unscientific system to predict the rest of the season and gave the estimation the Lakers would finish with 38 wins â€” and I thought that was pessimistic at the time. They need to go 5-3 the rest of the way just to do that.
â€¢ Interesting note posted by the Stats Pimp on the APBR boards recently. He figured out the number of ejections (of coaches or players) by each official from the 2001-02 season through last season and figured out the average is one 12.3 games. The ref with the most ejections was Steve Javie, who had 31 in 215 games, or an average of one each 6.9 games. The fewest ejections was Dick Bavetta with 7 in 239 games, or an average of one every 34.1 contests.
â€¢ I link and talk about otherâ€™s more often, but the best writer (and my favorite) at ESPN.com is Eric Neel.