No Kobe, No problem

Kurt —  November 2, 2006

How could you not feel confident about this team after those two wins? What it’s shown me, more than anything, is that the Lakers have a depth this year that was certainly lacking last year. Oh, and that Lamar Odom is damn good — I love that when the Warriors made a little run late Odom came back in and just took charge of the game.

Now, let’s not go overboard — there are 80 games and five months of basketball before we even get to the playoffs, but things are looking good. Maybe a preseason for this team to find itself without Kobe turns out to be a blessing?

A few other thoughts:

• I said I thought defense was the key to beating Golden State, and while the Laker offense cooled some from game one they beat the Warriors because they held them to 43.3% shooting (eFG%), and 15.8% from beyond the arc. It was team defense for the second consecutive night.

• Radman has yet to find his shot, but I like the way he works the offense from the high post. He made a couple of great passes to guys cutting from the weak side. He’s a better passer than I thought.

• Mickael Pietrus and Monta Ellis may be keepers.

• The coaches need to guard against a letdown when Kobe returns (likely this Friday). You see this all the time, the team goes “Ewing Theory” with the star out but once he returns they go right back to their bad habits. The Lakers need to incorporate Kobe into what the offense is doing now, keeping the player movement going.

• Looks like lights out was a hit, so we may well see it all season. In cased you missed it, here’s the comments from sthomp625, who was there:

Got in just as Jeffery Osborne was finishing up the national anthem. The dim lights and the blinding bright court looked amazing as we took our student seats to watch Magic, Kareem, Scott, Worthy and Coop take floor at the For…Hey wait a minute!
This ain’t the Forum and I was fortunate enough to be in section 119, row 17 and Sasha was starting but I have to say as strange as it might sound for some, having the lights out over the crowd makes a world of difference. The game looks different, the crowd reacts differently it was really like being back at the Forum!

• One note on team discipline. Last night the Suns beat the Clippers because — based on the little bit I saw and what I read — the Clips got sucked into the Suns’ game. The Clippers have a better low-post game than the Lakers, but they didn’t get the ball to Brand much or in good spots. Then Dunleavy went small against the Suns, using Brand as the center and sitting Kaman for long stretches. The exact opposite of what the Lakers did with success the night before. I don’t put this up to bash the Clips as much as say it is another example of how well the Lakers are sticking with the game plan.