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.

Kurt

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16 responses to No Kobe, No problem

  1. The team looks good. Most people who come here to “the forum” thought this team had talent. But will they be consistent? Only time will tell.

    There was a point in last night’s game that made me happy. It was second half (I think) and a Laker missed a lay up on the fast break. There were tons of bodies at the glass. Then Turiaf cleans the board and gets the basket and foul. Last year, when that kind of thing happened it looked sloppy. This year, it looked energetic.

    Also, I’m beginning to think injuring his hand might wind up being alright for Vlad. He hit the boards last night and had some sweet assists. I think he is truly working on his all around game, as he has said.

  2. Just to move a comment from the last thread over here — I think Bynum’s performace last night was more about him not getting the ball in good spots from the guys feeding him. Smush made a horrific entry pass early, and there were other blunders. Add that to the fact Bynum got a couple early fouls and he was just out of the rhythm of the game.

    That said, he didn’t take great advantage of his chances.

  3. i think Bynum’s foot is still hurting from the suns game.

  4. The comment about the Lakers forcing their game on the Suns and Warriors was made, but bares repeating. Everyone talks about adjusting to the Suns, but how about making them adjust to you.

    I first heard this comment in the late ’60s from John Wooden. Of course the team has to have a firm structure and be in outstanding physical condition, but it can be done.

    I see the Sonics as the same kind of team as the Suns and Warriors, so we are getting plenty of practice in staying within our gameplan and not succuming to run-’n-gun.

  5. Craig, the Sonics are an odd bird in that they are really a perimeter half-court team, they don’t run that much (20th in pace last season). But they are horrific on defense. I’ll have more tomorrow.

  6. In my opinion, Bynum’s early fouls were the result of fatigue. I don’t remember the fouls specifically, but early foul trouble is often the result of lazy play.

    Also, in response to the comment that Bynum wasn’t getting the pass from the perimeter, my response is that he was not getting deep inside position either. I was the fist to yell that Sasha should have thrown him the **** ball in that pre-season game but I didn’t see any moments like that last night.

    The true test will be whether this becomes a trend with Andrew and back-to-backs. Only time will tell.

  7. The thing to remember about AB is that he not only is 19, but he played very, very little high school ball. He was all potential and no practice. He was barely an athlete .

    What this means is that he has to learn not only basketball, but athletic conditioning, then professional athletic conditioning. I would be stunned if he were able to handle back-to-backs at this early stage of his career. It would sort of be like Smush playing all 82 games and then expect him to be fresh for the playoffs.

    I doubt AB will be a force of nature this year. If he is good every other game for 25 minutes I think that will be a fantastic addition to the Lakers.

  8. At truehoop, a commenter noted:

    “Apparantly, when you ask Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to give you a few pointers, that guy puts on a 1-on-1 clinic. Did you see the legal pad and notebook and all that crap he was taking notes in during both Lakers games so far? I wouldn’t be shocked if Andrew Bynum was shooting textbook skyhooks all over everyone by season’s end — or practicing Kung-Fu for that matter.”

    So now I wonder what Kareem standing around trying to look busy that one open-door practice session was all about.

  9. Dan, what is it you hate about Kareem so much? I am pretty sure that we are not consulted about his teaching techniques so there is no reason to believe that we should know when he is and is not supposed to be providing his services. Just because he didn’t step on the head coachs’ toes at their practice, maybe it was time to learn team offense and/or defense. We don’t know…the fact that during the open practice he wasn’t being vocal doesn’t mean he hasn’t helped. I think anyone who has watched Bynum has to see his influence. I am not trying to be rude, I just think we should give one of the best players of the game, ever, a break.

  10. Hate Kareem?!?!? Where could you possible have gotten that idea? I just remember somebody mentioning that Kareem looked like he was trying to keep himself busy during that one open-door practice session. I thought the idea of that was a little silly. And now that Kareem seems to be extremely precise and judicious teacher, I now wonder what exactly was going on during that practice session.

    I was merely pointing out that someone who was talking copious notes on his pupil does not seem like the same person who would stand around doing nothing at practice. So I wonder what he actually WAS doing at practice. Sorry if it didn’t come out like that.

  11. I am sorry, I thought that was you who made that post earlier and were re-iterating what you had seen. My bad….But I totally agree with you, which is probably why when I read that, for a second time I thought to myself “now, someone needs to point out that Kareem actually seems to be doing a good job”.

    Anywho, sorry again.

  12. I hate Chad Ford so much it burns.

    Two days in a row on the Daily Dime on ESPN he’s taken shots at Lakers; first it was Kobe yesterday

    ” I love Lamar Odom. He can score, rebound, pass … he has a way of taking over games and still keeping his teammates involved. I hope Kobe’s been taking notes from the trainer’s room.

    • Andrew Bynum has 18 on opening night … then Ronny Turiaf has 23 in the next game … that would never happen with Kobe Bryant on the floor. ”

    and now he takes a shot at Kwame.

    Chad Ford: Amazing that after all the complaning the ball still bounced on opening night and went into the basket. This will be a dead issue in a few weeks … but I think you’re right … someone will use it as an excuse. I’m thinking Kwame.

    God, I hate Chad Ford. Why does he live and Ralph Wiley have to be dead? Life is so unfair.

    On another downer, I’m pretty much cut out of any Lakers games until the playoffs. Canada sucks :(

  13. Can’t you buy a season ticket pass?

  14. Elyse,
    No big deal. I overreacted, too. Sorry about that.

    Yeah, I get real annoyed listening and reading haters like Chad Ford.

  15. Ian, I can’t because my apartment doesn’t allow satellite feeds :( Plus there isn’t any kind of digital cable I can get to purchase a season pass either. I’ve tried.

    I’m going to hope someone starts putting up HD games somewhere in torrents :D

  16. The NBA needs to replicate MLB online. They need to offer team game packages to watch live on computer. Or at least for download after the fact. Sheesh.