Suggested Reading

Kurt —  May 11, 2006

A few links to pass along while I keep wondering why the Lakers didn’t foul someone with seconds left in game six, or at least let them have the uncontested two pointer:

• Want a detailed look at Kobe and Raja Bell in game 7, well, Kevin Pelton gives us a good one over at 82games.com.

What did I learn from watching the game in detail? Well, the first thing is that the match up between Bell and Bryant in Game 7 was more physical than I thought. Watching the game live as a fan, I only made note of the two plays which ended in Bryant offensive fouls and actually thought the match up was fairly mundane. There was much more going on away from the ball than was evident from the TNT broadcast.

The other clear point was that most contact was initiated by Bell. This is a natural product of the two players’ contrasting defensive roles. Bell rarely turned his attention from Bryant, frequently faceguarding him and ignoring the basketball. Bryant, meanwhile, had more of a read and react role on defense, rarely playing within five feet of Bell, who was typically spotting up in the corner.

• Update: Kobe has been named to the NBA’s first team all-defensive team.

• Kevin at Clipper Blog is brilliant, and has a great breakdown of the Clips dominating win last night. And, for those of us talking about what Kaman can and can’t do in the comments before, there is great stuff in here:

Look, Kaman is going to struggle defensively at times when the Suns space the floor – he’s a big guy who makes his living on both ends below the foul line. He can’t run with Diaw and gets in trouble when Thomas draws him out. But those are just the realities of this series. So you return to the Great Law of Basketball Reciprocity:

It’s impossible for Team A to have a matchup advantage without surrendering a similar advantage on the other end to Team B. If the Clips don’t use Kaman to abuse Phoenix inside in some form or fashion, then there’s really no reason for him to be on the floor. Tonight, they put Kaman to work, and it paid off.

• Just wanted to point you go a new blog worth checking out, called The Outside Score. He’s based here in LA so there have been plenty of Laker opinions, but it’s a general sports blog and doing good work.

• The Cavalier, who is the driving NBA force over a yaysports.com, is putting together a movie called Who Shot Mamba and could use a little support.

Kurt

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23 responses to Suggested Reading

  1. Watching the Clips so far this series, they definitely can scramble defensively better than the Lakers. They have quicker, longer players and have been challenging the 3 a lot better than the Lakers were able to.

  2. They certainly are more athletic than the Lakers.

  3. Does Kobe play enough defense to merit being on the all-defensive team? He seems like a very good defender when he wants to be, but I got the impression he’d save his energy for offense sometimes. I wouldn’t say he takes plays off, but he doesn’t have the tenacity of a Bowen on every single play. Of course I’ve seen very few Laker games this season, so I could be wrong.

  4. notreallyimportant May 11, 2006 at 4:12 pm

    Kobe is a very good on the ball defender. I can’t recall ever seeing him beaten of the dribble.

    He is also very good at reading plays, often he will leave his man instead of running through the screen, and come out of a crowd exactly where his man is starting to spot up.

    His biggest weakness is that he plays the passing lanes too often. He is pretty good at it so he doesn’t get exposed, but once in a while you will see his man get an open shot because he tried to play center field.

    As far as effort goes, I think that is the most erroneous conclusion you can come to about Kobe. If we know anything about him it is that he has a burning desire to compete, he always tries to take on the star swingmen, remember him guarding LeBron at the end of that close game the Lakers won at home?

  5. Kobe is a good on-ball defender, but he does like to gamble to go for steals, something that does backfire at times. He’s athletic enough to cover his ass on this most of the time.

    He does not get the top defensive assingments most nights because 1) you don’t want him expending all his energy on defense, he is still the best scorer in the league; 2) Phil doesn’t want to risk foul trouble on Kobe. What happens is, like against Phoenix, Kobe was on Bell most of the night then went to Nash in key moments.

  6. I remember reading this article by Kevin Pelton:
    http://www.82games.com/pelton8.htm

    Small sample size warning of course. I remember Kobe guarding Lebron in the last few minutes of that game, but I agree with Pelton that to be on the all-defensive team, you have to bring it on every play, 2nd quarter or 4th. I, too, haven’t seen enough Laker games to say Kobe is one of the top 2 defensive players in the league. Neither can I say that Kobe takes plays off. But I do wonder if that “halo effect” Pelton mentioned can possibly apply to Kobe or another star player who made one of the defensive teams.

  7. Yeah, Kobe never gets lit up by the stars of the league like say, oh I’ll just pick a backcourt off the top of my head, Steve Blake and Juan Dixon. The Portland games alone should have booted him out of the running.

  8. Just like one good defensive play does not make an all-defensive player, neither does one bad defensive game make a horrible defensive player. The whole point of my post was asking what did Kobe do consistently.

  9. To be fair, this voting can be about reputation, and Kobe’s defensive reputation was certainly helped in previous years by the fact that when he did gamble and miss, Shaq was in the paint waiting.

    That said, Kobe certainly is one of the better defensive guards in the league

  10. I finally got around to reading the Clippers Blog. Good Stuff. They are third on my list of teams to root for, behind Lakers and Dodgers.

    I did notice something interesting… On the Clippers Blog, John R seems like a valuable contributor with useful comments. So why does he come to OUR blog with senseless Kobe bashing and idiotic arguments with the intent to get under FB&G skin?

  11. Refer to my comment a few posts back. He’s a hater. Probably has a hater wife, they’ll have hater kids. Plus, he’s a Clippers fan and even Bill Simmons has commented on that relationship. He’s the guy who really likes this girl but she’s dating his next door neighbor, but him and the girl are close friends. The girl breaks up with the guy after a big fight and comes running over to John R, who consoles her all night. John now thinks he’s got it made and offers to take her out to dinner and a movie the next night, they go, and she is laughing and having so much fun. When he walks her back to her house she says “Thanks for cheering me up John R, I think I can take back my boyfriend now thanks to you!”

    Then John R goes home and burns the little hair voodoo doll and cries into his pillow. This is basically why he hates on Kobe, since Kobe basically did this to the Clippers.

  12. Last season really exposed Kobe’s tendency to gamble on the defensive end. Honestly, I never really noticed it until Kobe had nobody to cover his back. This year, with PJ back running the show, the Lakers played decent team defense and Kobe’s tendency to gamble was not quite so costly.

    That said, basketball is a team game and Kobe should be able to count on his teammates.

    Therefore, Kobe’s tendency to gamble should be a factor that is weighed against him. But it shouldn’t be a big factor. Also, Kobe’s ability to turn many of those gambles into steals should weigh in Kobe’s favor.

  13. notreallyimportant May 11, 2006 at 11:38 pm

    Are we sure John R is for real? I’m not quite convinced that anyone could make the comments he does and believe them, it has to be someone trying wind Laker fans up…But he can still go to hell.

  14. Actually I could be a great contributer to this site too, and I was a decent one at one time, but I got labelled a “hater” so why bother, since, again, that is a word used by people who are afraid to think critically about their sexual assailant (allegedly) hero(es).

    Kobe’s on the team due to reputation, not due to deserving it. Guys on that team should ALWAYS be drawing the toughest (within reason, I don’t expect a PG to be asked to D up Shaq, etc) defensive matchup. Whoa slow down John R., thats some crazy hater stuff you are talking.

    Call me when he gets Vince Carter to pull himself out of a game in the third quarter because he was being shut down so totally. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=260125012 Or when he gets Carmelo so frustrated that CA gets the foul call but gets Carmelo thrown out of the game in the process. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=260404012 Or hell even just call me when Steve Blake stops torching him because it wasn’t one bad game. Steve Blake, somehow, owned Kobe on both ends all season. Kobe is not one of the seven best perimeter defenders in the L.

    I have never written ANYTHING senseless. It is just that it is impossible for some of your small minds to process anything but “I heart kobe”.

  15. Mr R,
    That was senseless.
    It is more impossible for you to believe that we can process anything but “I heart Kobe”. We are very critical of each player on this team. Kobe does not get a pass from our criticism. Maybe what we do is try to understand his mistakes. You know, try to make sense of them. That is different than defending his every action. But of course there is a point where we will defend his worst mistakes from the incorrigible critics (haters) like you, who can’t process anything but “Kobe sucks”.

    The folks here in FB&G were not the ones who named Kobe to the first team all-defensive squad. It was probably decided by the same people who voted Nash the MVP. Your point about reputation helping Kobe’s vote may be a valid one, and some people here might even understand how you could feel that way. But maybe you can defend your point better (more than saying he got torched by Blake in 2 of the 82 games this season). And if not Kobe, then who is better suited for his votes? I am listening.

  16. The voting panel consisted of the NBA’s 30 head coaches, who were asked to select NBA All-Defensive First and Second Teams by position. Coaches were not permitted to vote for players from their own team. Two points were awarded for a First Team vote and one point was awarded for a Second Team vote.

    John R knows basketball better than the 29 head coaches that have to plan how to attack the Lakers 82+ games a night. Tell me another one.

  17. I enjoy John R., hes fun to spar with and he brings something different to the table, as much as you annoy me and offend my basketball and intellectual sensibilities, I think that you should continue to post and participate John. Im looking forward to showing you each foolish mistake Mike, never won nothing, Dunleavy makes in the playoffs.

  18. notreallyimportant May 12, 2006 at 11:40 pm

    Marion finaly showed up, I gues he got tired of being called a playoff emberrasment.

  19. i like john r, too. thought he was off on his laker conspiracy ideas, but i’ve been pretty sure of a few myself. his being a laker fan, it was a little odd reading the vitriol in which they sounded like they were written, but hey. i’m glad he’s stuck around.

    and yeah, kobe didn’t deserve first team.

  20. I thought the Clippers would win for sure when I saw Brian Grant enter in the first half, he screws up the Suns spread offense becuase you don’t need to cover him. But alas…

  21. marion defintely showed up in games 5-7 too

  22. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?columnist=wojciechowski_gene&id=2444327

    Kobe cannot fucking win.

    When he listens to Phil and follows the gameplan and his teammates don’t execute, it’s Kobe’s fault for not taking over. When he takes over and they still don’t win, it’s his fault for not getting his teammates involved. I hate, hate, hate this biased old white boy media bullshit that keeps throwing the most ridiculous trash at Kobe no matter what he does.

    Even if Kobe beat the Suns, beat the Clippers, stunned the Mavs and then somehow worked past the Pistons, people would still find ways to hate on him – probably say he did it once but can he do it again? I hope Kobe and the rest of the Lakers read these articles, I hope he knows what these people say about him and what these reporters are saying about their team.

    And next year we’ll keep proving them wrong.