A few thoughts from last nightâ€™s win against the Clippers, plus some other stuff.
â€¢ Chalk that game up to Lamar Odom, who basically played Brand to a standstill â€” both got 20+ points but Odom had more rebounds and had one of his best defensive games of the season. Nobody stops Brand, but he wasnâ€™t the hyper-efficient player he can be. The Lakers second-quarter 14-1 run that gave them the lead for good basically started when Odom came back in the game. In the end, Odom was +15 and Brand -15.
â€¢ Count me in the group that liked the â€œcourtsideâ€ experiment on Prime Ticket (or Fox Sports 2 or whatever they want to call it). For those outside So Cal, the game was simulcast on both Fox Sports, but on 2 there was no commentary and all the camera angles were from basically courtside levels. I caught myself flipping back and forth between the two â€” itâ€™s hard to see all the player movement from the lower angles â€” but I enjoyed the different looks (plus it was fun and different). One suggestion, next time still run the little score and time box in the corner of courtside.
â€¢ Luke Walton starting instead of Cook, this is all about defense. When Walton is playing the Lakers have a defensive rating of 105.7 (opponent points per 100 possessions), when Cook is on the floor it is 108.1. There are times I would play Cook more than Walton â€” I think for a team that likes to keep its bigs close to the basket Cook and Kobe on the high pick and roll can be devastating, it worked some last night. But while Cook is the better scorer, the offense still runs well with Walton in the game, there is better ball movement, and the defense gets better.
Remember, Walton was talked about seriously as a starter before the season started, but an injury slowed him. Iâ€™d stick with this for a while.
â€¢ Along those same lines, I like that Phil tends to go with Smush or Sasha, whichever one is playing better on a given night. Last night, that was Sasha, he finished a team-high +26.
â€¢ Other props last night to Kwame, who took Kaman right out of his game. The Lakers did a good job of making the Clippers a perimeter team last night â€” when teams do that to the Lakers Kobe can still slash to the basket, the Clips count on Maggette for that.
â€¢ Finally, the Lakers seemed to settle for a few more threes and not get the ball inside enough for my taste last night, but Iâ€™ll let it slide and just say the Kaman/Brand combo was part of that.
â€¢ Glad to hear Julius Hodge of the Nuggets was not seriously hurt in that motiveless drive-by he got shot in the other night. In fact, Henry at True Hoop had the same reaction I did â€” how do you get shot three times in the leg and be ready to come back to play in two to three weeks.
I bet Marcus Camby could just look at Julius Hodge’s wounds and be out for a month
â€¢ Headline of the day comes from the New York Times about the Angels/Yanks:
â€˜Yankees Rough Up Angels’ Colon.’
The journalism axiom I was taught was â€œdirty minds = clean copy.â€ No way that would have got past me onto the page.