On Tap: The Los Angeles Clippers

Kurt —  February 24, 2006

Record: 30-23 (33-20 Pythagorean), 5th seed in the West
Record last 10 games: 4-6 (lost 5 straight)
Offensive Rating: 106.5 (15th in the league)
Defensive Rating: 104.6 (6th in the league)

No Trades Is Good Trades:
On message boards and talk radio yesterday I kept hearing this sentiment, “If we had just gotten X we could have made a serious run in the playoffs this year.”

No, we couldn’t (unless Minnesota decided to trade us KG for Slava and a pick, which seems a tad unlikely). The Lakers wisely are about being in position two or three years from now to make a deep playoff run, and Jamal Crawford, with his huge contract and nonexistent defense, is not how you get there.

Frustrated as we may be at times with this year’s Lakers, no move is still better than making a move “just to shake things up.”

By the way, great note in the LA Times this morning: “The last Laker deadline-day deal came when shooting guard George McCloud was acquired from New Jersey for Joe Kleine and draft picks in February 1997.”

About Last Night: That’s two good games in a row. Isn’t that fun to watch (even on TNT)?

As a team, the Lakers had an eFG% of 59%. Odom was driving the lane liked we’d all been praying for and was hitting the outside shot when the D laid off him, he had a true shooting percentage of 59.4% and was +21. Kobe, 10 assists and just 1 turnover, a TS% of 62.6% and was +30. Cook and D. George had good games. Kwame Brown played as well as we can expect and was a +23. Even Turiaf got in the game to blow off some of that energy he expends on the bench.

But again the key was defense – the Kings had an eFG% of 45.1% for the night, well below the 48.6% they shot for the season. The Lakers had 10 steals (while the Kings had 2).

As a side note, Smush had a tough defensive night on Bibby, and was -2 for the game. I think he gets too far up in the face of quick guards, trying to use his quickness to cover them but he’s not fast enough at this level. Smush is tall and long, he should stay just a little off the guy and use that length.

About the Clips: Clipper fans are worried. And they should be, this team that showed so much promise has been losing games at a pace like, well, the Clippers. But now they’ve solved their problems by bringing in Vin Baker! He’s a four-time All Star and Olympian! What? That was in the 1990s? Oh, never mind.

The Clips haven’t been playing as bad as you’d think lately — they almost beat Dallas the other night. In the last 10 games, as a team, they have a true shooting percentage of 52.6% while holding their opponents to just over 50%. Keep that up and you’ll win more than you’ll lose.

Elton Brand is a stud – he has 30 double-doubles this season. Chris Kaman’s hair is Gallagheresque, but the guy is a solid center – he has a true shooting percentage of 56.7% (Chris Mihm is 56%) and he pulls down 16.3% of the rebounds when he is on the floor (Mihm is at 14.3%).

A few guys to watch: Vladimir Radmanovic is a guy who seems to still be trying to find his way around the offense but is always capable of a big shooting night; James Singleton has looked good coming off the bench in the parts of a couple recent games I’ve caught; Shaun Livingston should give us some highlight reel passes but his defense is suspect.

Key’s to a Laker win: Play like they did last night and they should get a win – this team has been fun to watch. That said, this is the second game of a back-to-back and that opens the door for the inconsistent Lakers team to return. I just hope we left that version of the team behind.