Fast Break

Kurt —  March 1, 2006

The Lakers beat a team they were supposed to, something we shouldn’t take for granted, especially heading north tonight. I’m not doing a full Portland preview because we saw them just a week ago, but don’t underestimate the importance of this game. The Blazers have dropped six straight and the Lakers need to get on them early, shake their confidence and not let up.

• The Lakers followed Kobe’s lead last night in playing an aggressive, gambling style of defense that still allowed Orland to shoot 55% (eFG%) on the night but forced them into 16 turnovers. That might work again against Portland, but the three point guards the Lakers see after that — Barron Davis, Chauncey Billups and Tony Paker — are more likely to exploit gambles.

• Nice to see the good third quarter, nice to see the energy and guys bringing energy off the bench. Now, they need to carry this kind of effort over to the second game of the back-to-back. The Lakers this season are 4-9 (.308 win percentage) in those second games, not great but a little better than last year’s 5-14 (.263).

• In case you didn’t see it, the tryout invitees for the World Championship/Olympics has been leaked. Kobe is on there, as he should be, but Odom is not, and I don’t think he would have made my list. I like the mix of guys (although some choices could be quibbled with, like Jamison). Clearly someone watched the last Olympics and took notes.

• Of course, we could just go with The Onion’s suggestion for the 2008 team.

• When did Ronny Turiaf develop that mid-range jumper? I saw him in Summer League and thought his range was six feet and in. Still, great all-around game and effort from him last night, he changes the team dynamic when he is on the floor. I can’t get enough of this guy.

• It’s a long time to the draft, but let me say now I love the idea of Washington’s Brandon Roy as the initiator for the Lakers’ triangle. He is a 6-6 guard who can drive and has developed a nice outside shot, plus (from the couple games I’ve seen) seems to have the kind of basketball instincts the postion needs. Problem is, he may not last until the Lakers draft near the end of the first round. (Remember that the Lakers traded their first round pick to Boston, although it has been passed around like a joint at a Foghat concert and now I think the Suns have it. The Lakers still have the Miami first rounder, but it will be late.)

• Kwame was aggressive and confident on offense last night and finished a team-high +20. What was the motivation: Tired of being told just to rebound and play D? Wanted to show up the high-school number one pick who is getting raves? His biorhythems were at their peak? Whatever it was, I hope he brings it tonight in Portland.

• After reading so much about Darko’s failings, I was curious to see him in action. Not bad. Not a future star, but not bad.

• This year is the 30th anniversary of maybe my favorite movie, “Network.” (Think “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore,” a phrase I may soon need to tie into some Laker commentary.) Sadly, what was then an over-the-top satire three decades ago, and still seemed like a less wild satire when I first saw it 17 years ago, now looks damn prophetic.

to Fast Break


    Guards such as Tony Delk, Penny Hardaway, and Rick Brunson were waived recently, and supposedly Kupchak and Phillip discussed signing one of them to provide some backcourt help. Unfortunately, the only good one (Delk) is probably going to sign with Detroit..


  2. I saw that as well, Delk is the only one I’d want. And, like you said, he’s wisely going after the ring.


  3. kurt, i really agree with you about Brandon Roy. He’s a very versatile player, legitmate 6-6 small forward with a great inside out-game, can shoot the three, defend and ball handle. Two problems with him. 1. his knee problems are a cause for concern, hopefully he learns to play with diminished athleticsm without getting hurt further (more Ron Harper, less Derek Anderson) and 2. he’ll be long gone by the time the lakers pick.

    other guys the lakers should look at
    1. marcus williams- big pg from UCONN, formerly of Crenshaw, doesnt play the best D, but is an actual 6’6 PG who looks to create plays for others
    2. dee brown
    3. hasaan adams


  4. I know, Chad Ford has Roy going 18th and moving up the charts, has him going 14th. The Lakers (as of now) pick 26th.


  5. Air America’s Randi Rhodes
    has been using Network and Godfather 1 and 2
    as distillations of the current sad state
    of national affairs for quite some time now,
    and I’m sure Chayevsky and Puzo are rolling
    in their eternal interments at what has come to pass.

    O my Lakers, whither goest thou every other night?
    The mental fortitude waxeth and waneth.

    Thank you indeed, Ronny Turiaf aka Turok!
    for looking for the Kobe give,
    thank you Kwame Brown, aka the Egyptian Enigma,
    for using both hands
    and not leavng the ball to the whims of gravity
    ( for most of the time ),

    thank you Lamar Odom aka Captain Wingspan
    for not second guessing but instead piloting the craft
    strong into the painted runway ( most of the time ),

    thank you Devean “Furious” George for using
    your hops and hustle in your contract year,
    thank you William “Smush” Parker
    for staying interested in the third quarter.

    There were still some lapses sure,
    ( hello, eight seconds to cross halfcourt )
    some gambles that a better team would exploit
    ( see Clippers game )
    and that pesky pick and/or screen and roll problem
    ( Sasha sashimi )

    but if Parker could keep his head in the game 48 mins
    and Lamar remembers how good he felt after that
    full extension slam and looks to repeat that feeling,
    well, back-to-back games wouldn’t be such a concern
    and losses of the recent kind whould be less of a possibility.

    It’s always the little things, isn’t it?


  6. [5] That reminds me of Flea’s poetic musings on his Lakers Blog…


  7. Ok, I’ve been attacking the effort/aggressiveness meme and this is the last time you will have to suffer me about it. Kwame played 20 minutes off the bench against a weak and shallow Orlando team. This makes him look good. When he plays against the good to elite forwards, and there are many, they make him look bad. Somehow, Lakers fans are translating this to “effort”.

    Extrapolate to all the Lakers and the Lakers as a team, and voila, the true state of the team. Its not that they don’t play hard, its that they have inferior personnel. The effort meme is a function of denial.


  8. John R. — Kwame’s production is partially about who he is matched up with, but it also has to do with his desire. He has actually had some of his best defensive games man-up on Shaq and Yao (I still say he’d best be used as Mihm’s backup), Plus, he has had some shitty games against other lesser teams. Most of Kwame’s issues are between the ears.


  9. “Network” is downright Orwellian at this point. Gonna have to revisit that one. Throwing your flat screen out the window probably doesn’t have the same dramatic effect, though.

    Baron (and J Rich) is still questionable for Friday’s game. So if the guards are rookie Monta Ellis and Dunleavy, the Lkaers could still get away with gambling. I will be in attendance, but right now Barry Bonds dressed up like an ex-Laker girl is getting more run in the Bay Area than the Warriors.

    Has anyone caught the new Bob Knight reality show? Caught one the other day and thought of you, Kurt, because the first thing he made the walk-ons do was memorize Kipling’s “If”.


  10. Kwame would benefit from another quote from the Wizard of Westwood: “Go fast, but don’t hurry.”


  11. speaking of kwame and I’ll keep this quick but I heard that Ronny has said some posative things about K.B. and that before games Ronny is out there playing defense on him taunting him to make a move on him.. I know that Kwame has tried to be taught from the best in the game (i.e. Phil and Michael), but maybe its time for him to learn from someone closer to his age that can break it down barny style?


  12. jon barry, jim jackson or penny hardaway. i suggest we cut slava and green or wafer and sign barry and one of the other two for the remainder of the season. Barry and Hardaway offer passing ability and high basketball iq on offense, while jimmy offers instant offense. does anyone think we should pick any of these guys up?


  13. that’s all, folks.

    congrats, sacto.


  14. DJ not damon jones March 2, 2006 at 12:27 am

    when will they ever learn? i thought phil jackson was an influential coach. why do they struggle all the time but somehow bounce back then decline again? so many questions, so little answers…. on second thought, who on the west side has lost in portland 2 times this season ? the answer is nobody but the lakers, and this really demonstrates the lakers’ weakness in back to back games and relying too much on kobe.(10-27 !) phil jackson better do something before those dreadful games(3x against SA) following these soft should-win-but-wind-up-losing games.


  15. 1 point for Kwame. 1 point! What a bust. The Lakers had too many small forwards. It’s better to play Lamar at the 3. He is a pitiful 4. It was right to trade Caron for a 4. But, why didn’t Cupwit package Caron with the expiring contracts of George and Slava for a little better 4 than Kwame. Given that Lamar is not really a strong second scoring option. It would be nice to get some scoring out of the 4 position. Cook scores but can’t defend 4’s adequately. He is best as a backup 3. It seems that Cupwit has no understanding of power forwards. First, Brian Grant and now Kwame.


  16. Well I give up….


  17. Why does Blake own Kobe? Is there any answer for this? This is twice now.


  18. Man losing hurts, especially to a last place team. I agree with DJ in that with the schedule coming up they have the potential to be out of the playoff hunt with Utah and Sac breathing down our necks. I’m getting to t he point where I’m starting to become numb to the fact that this team is playing awful. It just doesn’t make any sense. Back to back games should be problems for seniors in the YMCA.


  19. A good point that was brought up the P-Land announcer last night was that Kobe was doing his normal distributing in the first half, which is the right idea, but he was being guarded by Blake and the double teams weren’t coming hard. He should have been taking advantage of that from the get-go.