Archives For February 2006

For the record: I’m taking the Seahawks, and you can keep your four points.

(We’ll talk Lakers tomorrow, the Superbowl is basically a national holiday, so I’m considering it part of my vacation. Besides, it looks like the talk here has been lively, even if the Lakers haven’t been. Gatinho — well done!)

On Tap: NO/OKC Hornets

Gatinho —  February 4, 2006

Record: 23-22

Offense: 91.6
Defense: 92.8

Last 10: 7-3

What Vegas says: Lakers +4

Injury Update: Lamar Odom looks to be out until the All-Star break and is definitely sharing too much. “I can’t bathe properly. This morning I couldn’t put on deodorant.” Chris Mihm had a X-rays taken after the game and was diagnosed with “a mild to moderate right shoulder sprain.”

You wanted him to pass out of the double team: Brian Cook went 1 of 8, Devean George 2 of 9 and Luke Walton 1 of 6 as the Lakers not named Bryant shot a collective 35.7 percent.

“We know what kind of player Jumaine is.”: “We deserved that.” Phil Jackson lamenting the trade of Jumaine Jones is a little maddening, but he absolutely killed the Lakers last night. 30 points, 9 rebounds.

Marvin Williams or Chris Paul?: Rookie of the year candidate Chris Paul has John Hollinger pondering whether the Hawks made the correct choice in the last draft. Paul may be the ROY, but it is more common for guards to make an immediate impact before big men. Williams is raw and has only one double-double this year, but he could turn into a monster. Paul and teammate David West could give the Lakers fits tonight.

New faces and a flightless bird: The Hornets have acquired Steven Hunter from the Sixers and Aaron Williams from the Raptors, both for two second round draft picks. Chris Andersen has had his wings clipped for violating the league’s drug policy.

3 games left: Tonight’s game becomes pivotal in the face of the looming All-Star break and before that, dates in Houston and San Antonio. If they are to salvage this trip it begins tonight. Being patient and finding the positives in losses is territory Laker fans don’t like to visit.

I’m off like a Luke Walton 18 footer: Kurt will be back from the land of spam and pineapple tomorrow. Hopefully returning with the Laker’s mojo in tow. Thanks for continuing to stop by in his absence.

-Gatinho

On Tap: Charlotte Bobcats

Gatinho —  February 3, 2006

Record: 11-36

What Vegas says: Lakers -9, Pittsburgh -4

Offense: 94.5
Defense: 100.0

Last 10: 0-10

Injury Update: Forward Lamar Odom said he would not play tonight against Charlotte because of slightly torn rib cartilage and a minor case of whiplash. (Insert watching Kobe go by joke here) Sasha or D George are likely candidates to replace him in the starting line up.

Young and Injured: Playing without injured leading scorer Gerald Wallace and leading rebounder Emeka Okafor, Charlotte has dropped a franchise-record 13 in a row. Ex-Laker Kareem Rush has just returned from a finger injury that caused him to miss 13 games. Rookie Sean May is out indefinitely after recently having knee surgery. Melvin Ely will be back in the starting line up.

Since the Big Night: Bryant has shot 34-91 over the last 4 with a shooting percentage of 37%. (If anyone knows how to calculate his TS% and has the time, help a brother out.)Have the defenses “learned” Bryant? Has he become predictable beyond the fact that we know he is going to shoot the ball? Doubtful, but obviously the backlash of scoring 81 points is that defenses will want to make sure, if possible, that they are not the next victims.

More familiar faces: Ex-Laker Jumaine Jones will start and be among the few who might be able to guard Bryant decently. Bernard Robinson should also get an opportunity after having done a serviceable job in their previous game in L.A. Kobe was 9 for 30, but Robinson commited the foul that sent him to the line to ice the game.

Desperate means dangerous: In their last meeting, the Lakers came out sluggish and almost handed the game over. Chris Mihm scored 21 and Sasha Vujacic scored a season high 12 points. You may remember it as the game that had the Staples Center crowd giving courtside seated Shaquille “It’s not easy to be me” O’Neal a warm round of applause accompanied by his familiar “Superman” theme song.

The Bard of Chick Hearn Court: Check out excerpts from the Kobe penned article in Dime Magazine:

“The only thing I truly worry about is that my drive and my will are sometimes too much for my teammates to handle. Do I expect too much from them? How can I elevate them to play with my same passion every night?”

More for the bulletin board from Charlotte.com :

“Los Angeles has a different dynamic. Get rid of every teammate who will compete with Kobe for shots and headlines, and get Bryant a scoring championship. ”

A measure of respect or popularity?: Kobe Bryant was selected to the NBA All-Star game for an eighth consecutive season, receiving 450,000 more votes than he did last season.

Bynum inspired by snub?: Andrew Bynum will not be playing in the rookie game for now. The participants were selected by the NBA’s assistant coaches and the results were announced the day of the Knick game. Look for the Man-cub to get some run tonight if this one gets out of hand.

Micahel Jordan versus the Dallas Cowboys: Who doesn’t love the absurdity of Super Bowl prop bets? Oddly enough, the roots of these goofy bets can be traced to Jordan. “In the ’93 Super Bowl, The Cowboys were expected to score around 29 points, just about Jordan’s per game average, and you could take one against the other on that Sunday.”

-Gatinho

Transition Game

Gatinho —  February 2, 2006

(Off) Key Stats: 30% from the field. 11 total assists. 3-7 on the tail end of back-to-backs. Two more back-to-backs left on this the longest road trip of the season.

Turiaf update: The Press-Enterprise reports that one of the representatives for Lakers rookie forward Ronny Turiaf said his client hopes to get his work visa from the United States government in the next couple of days.

Dunk you very little: Nate Robinson was reprimanded by the coaching staff for flexing his muscles and twirling around following his dunk in the final seconds against the Lakers, a jam that cut the deficit from 35 to 33. Brown had the score superimposed on the tape when the play was shown to the team. Bryant, who has three championship rings, burst out laughing at Robinson’s antics.

On Tap: Indiana Pacers

Gatinho —  February 1, 2006

Record:21-22

Last 10: 2-8

Offense: 92.7
Defense: 91.4

What Vegas says: Lakers -4

Oct: 5-3
Nov: 9-5
Dec: 6-7
Jan: 6-10

Walking Wounded: I think old joke goes something like, “They have so many injuries that their team photo is an X-ray.” The biggest injury being Jermaine O’Neal, there are sevral others joinig him including Austin Croshere who got a concussion in last night’s game. Jamal Tinsley is also out. Foster, Pollard, and the newest Pacer, old friend Peja Stojakovic, will probably play but have nagging injuries. Only Stephen Jackson and rookie Sarunas Jasikevicius have played in all 41 games for Indiana.

What’s behind the Pacer’s slide?: Most media pundits are blaming the Pacers disarray on one Ron-Ron Artest. His trade demand was a distraction, but now that he’s finally gone, O’Neal gets injured, so it might take a little longer to get over that hangover. Lost in the Artest maelstrom is the oft overlooked factor of the leadership vacuum left by the retirement of Reggie Miller.

A sprained right pinkie finger: Seriously, that was one of the reasons why Peja was placed on the IL this season before the trade. As Charles Barkley once said about Marcus Camby, “I think the guys made out of tissue paper.” Living in the Bay Area and having the enjoyment/horror of listening to King’s radio, the King’s faithful are already feeling like they got the better end of this deal. But Larry Legend has been after Peja for two years and he finally got his shooter. But Peja can opt out at the end of the season and the Pacers could possibly end up with an Artest for cap space trade.

A ruthless duo: Terence Moore, a columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, called Bryant’s 81 point performance “one of the worst things to happen to basketball,” and characterized Bryant and Jackson as “a ruthless duo (who) couldn’t care less about the other Lakers or about the game already rolling toward a rout against pitiful Toronto, or about the effect of this selfishness on youth.”

New York state of mind: 58 free throws! Andrew “A-bomb” Bynum gets 16 points in 14 minutes and yes, it was garbage time, but that was Eddie Curry still in the game for conditioning reasons that he dropped those points on. Like a proud Papa, Cap got out of his chair on a 6 foot hook shot, “That’s my boy!”

How disturbed should we be about Kobe’s hijacking of the offense in the second quarter? By my count, 8 straight possessions where he shot the ball leading to 1-5 and two trips to the free throw line for a total of 6 points. Two caveats, the Lakers were already up by 19 points and it was New York. You didn’t really think Kobe was going to resist did you?

Update: A year ago today the Lakers beat the Blazers 92-79 to raise their record to 24-19. This would be the zenith of their season. This was the one and only time that season that they were 5 games over .500. Tonight the Lakers have a chance to match that mark.

-Gatinho