Lotâ€™s of work that they pay me for today, so just passing along my notes rather than organizing them into a coherent post:
â€¢ Sunday nightâ€™s game was the best the Lakers played this season, particularly in running the triangle. Look what happens when you run the offense smoothly â€” not only does Kobe still get his, but the front line gets involved. Chris Mihm had a very good game (the kind we saw flashes of last season and hope to see more of than that this season) and Kwame, while less so in part due to foul trouble, had some moments. That’s not to say things are perfect, still way too many turnovers, for starters (19 total, 4 from Kwame).
â€¢ Iâ€™m waiting for someone in the media to write a â€œKobe Bryant is being more selfishâ€ article because his scoring is up and he is averaging 7 more shots per 40 minutes than last season. But, the offense is giving him better looks, plus is fade away is unstoppable, and that is leading to more efficient scoring than last season. So far this season he is shooting 49.4% eFG% (up from 48.2% from last season), he is averaging 34.3 points per 40 minutes (27.1) and his true shooting percentage, which includes getting to the free throw line, is 56.5% (56.3% last season). His rebounds also are up from 5.8 per 40 last season to 6.3 so far this season.
(For those that donâ€™t know, true shooting percentage is the same as points per shot attempt, just divided in half. While I still prefer the per shot stat, the general consensus in the hoops statistical community is that the TS% is a more understandable, digestible number and it should be the standard. So, Iâ€™m going to bend to the will of the people.)
â€¢ Lamar Odom is still not shooting the ball well for the season (40.2% and 3 of 16 from beyond the arc) but heâ€™s getting in the flow better the last couple of games. Heâ€™s averaging 15.6 points, 5.8 assists and 2.4 turnovers per 40 minutes.
â€¢ Phil Jackson is right to be complaining about the Lakers on the offensive glass â€” they are rebounding 25.6% of their misses. Last season they got 29.5%, and the pace they are on this season would have had them 27th in the league.
â€¢ Whatâ€™s the deal with Kobeâ€™s tights? By all accounts it is just a way to keep his legs warmer and looser.
â€¢ In a comment, John asked what I predicted for the Laker first three games in the previous poll. I had 1-2 (picked before the first game, by the way). As was also said in the comments, Iâ€™m very happy to have been wrong. That said, if the Lakers can go 2-2 on this road trip it will be a success. They need the opening night win in Atlanta, because then they fly all night to take on Minnesota, and weâ€™ve seen the Lakers in the second game of a back-to-back.