On Tap: The end of the regular season

Kurt —  April 19, 2006

Rest? Who needs it? Thanks to Seattle playing their 82nd game like the first 81 – meaning with historically bad defense – the Lakers need a win in the last game of the season. So, expect to see Kobe and Lamar and the other starters play until this is wrapped up. It’s simple, win and get a good-but-slowed-of-late Phoenix squad in the first round, lose and get the Spurs, who are 7-3 in their last 10 and playing some of their best ball in a while. Besides, if we can help make sure of a first-round series where Ron Artest and Bruce Bowen meet, we can all win some money betting the under.

About that winning thing: The Hornets are a classic case of a lesser team that creates match up problems for the Lakers. In the three games these two have played (with the Lakers winning two) the Hornets are averaging 102.3 points as a team, with six players averaging double digit scoring.

Those match up problems (similar to ones Phoenix presents but not as dangerous) start with David West, the four who can step away from the basket some (64% of his shots this season are considered jump shots). In the three games against the Lakers, he has averaged 19.7 points shooting 52% (eFG%). Then there’s soon-to-be rookie of the year Chris Paul, who has averaged 19.3 points on 53.8% shooting against the Lakers, plus dishing out 9.7 assists per game.

Other guys of note: Desmond Mason is shooting 63% against the Lakers, Rasual Butler is shooting 56.3% and Speedy is scoring 13 a game but could go for more.

The Hornets are not that good on offense – for the season they are 25th in the league in efficiency. Bottom line, if the Lakers want to play the Suns they’ve got to play some D…

But they can’t stop the Lakers:
Some Lakers have had big nights against New Orleans, giving the Lakers wins this season.

In the two Laker wins against the Hornets Kobe has averaged 35 points and Lamar 20.5, and both were +16. But the Lakers have gotten good play out of Smush, who has been +25, and out of the center position (Kwame in one game, Mihm in the other), which is +26. Just like always, when the support players around the big two play well, the Lakers get the win.

Other notes, Kwame is shooting 76.9% against the Hornets this season, and Cook is at 73.8% (both eFG%). That said, when the Lakers went on a fourth-quarter run to win the last game between these two, Cook was benched for Luke Walton.

Mihm is back: This is a good spot for him; he has shot 57.1% against the Hornets this season. Also, it’s key to get him back before the Suns series because to win that the Lakers are going to need to get points in the paint, lots of them, and Mihm is a more polished inside scorer than Kwame.

Kurt

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21 responses to On Tap: The end of the regular season

  1. Phil said the only team the Lakers fear is the Suns. The Lakers haven’t beaten the Suns in a non-scrub game since Shaq left town, but they have had relative success against the Spurs.

    The Lakers control their own fate. Join the tank club. Just lose baby!

  2. A month ago I might have wanted the Spurs too, but now….

  3. maybe I’m too confident, but seeing how lamar and kwame are playing right now… i feel like the match up with the suns could end up with a lakers victory…

    without amare and having bell and marion trying to stop kobe ( wich is impossible) lamar and kwame will need the late game the have been playing.

    the only big problem will be stoping that great playmaker that some named the 04-05 nba MVP….

    by the way… kobe’s april and january have been pretty similar…

    april: 42,6 ppg 5,6 reb 3,7 ass 2,1 stl shooting 51%FG and 41,5% 3s

    january: 43,4 ppg 5,6 reb 4,1 ass 1,8 stl shooting 47%FG and 39,7% 3s

    lets hope we can see that kobe the whole play-offs

  4. The Lakers might beat the Suns without Amare. I can’t see them beating the Spurs, period. They had enough trouble with the Spurs back when they were winning titles (2001 playoffs excepted).

    So Kurt, I understand you have a boarder coming to stay sometime next week. I assume this won’t slow your Playoffblogging any, right? You owe it to your fans.

    Priorities, Kurt. Priorities.

  5. Dan, the new arrival may be coming sooner than that. We’ll see.

    I knew the one way to make sure the Lakers made the playoffs was to have my wife due right when they started. Murphy’s law. I was helping the Lakers make the playoffs nine months ago, I think ahead.

  6. The Spurs have much more playoff experience than the Suns, and they play something called defense, especially on Kobe. I think the Suns, while good, have more exploitable holes in their game.

  7. On behalf of all Laker fans, I’d like to thank you and the missus for your efforts.

    My daughter was born the night of game 2 v. San Antonio in the second round in 2002. The Lakers lost, but went on to win (in case you didn’t know). So i don’t know. do with that what you will.

    Bring on Oilcan!

  8. chris henderson April 19, 2006 at 4:56 pm

    just to be sure the Lakers would make the playoffs, me and my fiance decided to get married on April 22nd…so I’ve warned her, if there’s a playoff game on April 22nd, at 2PM, then I’m gonna have to watch the game, run out and say my quick “I do’s” then run back and see the rest of the game…
    then she pointed out to me that we do have Tivo. at home…
    good point.
    but, just wanted you all having babies to know that we’re doing our part too.
    Go Lakers! beat the Hortnets tonight…(what with this negative “tanking” business??) let’s win tonight, and go into the playoffs with a win streak, the Suns can be beat, anything’s possible in the playoffs.

  9. Chris, congrats!! Enjoy the day, since you’re paying for a bbig party for your friends and all.

  10. chris henderson April 19, 2006 at 6:25 pm

    thanks Kurt…and a very big CONGRATS to you too!
    wouldn’t a “W” over the weekend, at least one, wouldn’t that be a nice gift to us from the Lakes??
    hehe

  11. First things congratulations to you Kurt, and thank you for this blog all season. Aside from 99-00 title season, this has been the best lakers regular season ever and this blog has a lot to do with that.

    Second, with a commitment to getting the ball into kwame and kobe and lamar attacking we can beat the suns, watching this team grow and develop chemistry has been a thing of beauty, far from a team trying to tank in the last 3 weeks of the season, only to lose to denver, typical clippers, typical dunleavy (see game 7 western conference finals)

  12. DJ not damon jones April 19, 2006 at 10:07 pm

    this is OFFICIAl! lakers are playing the suns in the playoffs….

  13. damn, what a great season. all in all the team rounded out into the vision realistic yet optimistic laker fans had going into it. the future looks bright.

    remember those early games, when it looked like it could’ve gone either way? ahhhhh. it’s been a pretty crazy [and sometimes unbelievably unnerving] yet very satisfying ride.

    good luck with the birthing, kurt. hope it comes on a travel day.

  14. Any idea when game 1 will be? I might have to make a trip to Tucson…

  15. Way to finish strong, esp the 10 out of 11 at home. Let’s shock some folks.

    Kurt, hoping the Lakes christen the new arrival with a W.

    Nice to see us FB and G’ers populating the ranks of the next legion of Laker fans…

    Game one is Sunday @ 12:30…

  16. chris henderson April 19, 2006 at 11:47 pm

    yeah, I need to find out what time, what channel on Sunday, (I’ve heard 12:30PM), so I can Tivo, we are getting hitched on Catalina on Saturday, and taking the boat back on Sunday afternoon, so I GOTTA do the Tivo thing.
    anybody know what channel the game will be on?…TNT? ABC?…
    Kwame is really rounding into form, like PJ says, could be the “X” factor…that and LO averaging a triple-double..hehehe
    we know Kobe will get his points, I’d lik to see Deavan come in for tough D on Marion, too.
    Go Lakes!!!

  17. the game is on abc, congrats to you too chris!

    lakers in 5

    watch out for our bench, cook/mihm/george, they can be the difference!

    a lot of “laker fans” are gonna be back on the wagon, as long as they are cheering come along,

  18. congrats to chris, but…

    day after your wedding? skip the laker game. no kidding. even if it is the playoffs. it is a series, after all — not a single elimination.

    for realz. enjoy the wedded bliss and all that.

  19. notreallyimportant April 20, 2006 at 3:35 am

    As a bachelor todays comments are starting to scare me…

    However wiht playoff basketball at hand nothing can spook me too much.

    Speaking as a huge lakers fan: unless Nash is injured I just don’t see us winning more than 2 games.
    I mean how can you expect Smush, Mihm, Cook etc. to perform well on the big stage. Can’t you just see Smush hoisting airball after airball? Mihm gimping about beeing eaten alive by Diaw?

    To win we would basically need 20/10/5 from Lamar, 15/15 from Kwame and of course 40/5/5 from Kobe, along with excellent defense from those other people who happen to wear purple and gold.

    I’m not saying it can’t happen but it pretty much needs a perfect storm.

  20. This is why I got the wedding and honeymoon done with on February 20th. Miss a few somewhat meaningless games and have the wife used to my Laker loving in time for the playoffs.

    I think 11 months ahead!

    And man, two things make me really happy watching this team. Kobe rising up from 30 feet it seems and knock down three’s no problem, and ANY time Kwame does something to show he’s worth it. Nice seeing a player come along before our eyes like that.

  21. I wonder what would happen if Kobe started to guard Nash…