Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  November 20, 2006

It was ugly, but there are two things I’ll add to that. First, there are some boxers that make a fighter look awkward, win or lose nobody looks good fighting them. The Bulls are like that — their defense and hustle can make a team look out of sorts. Second, and more important, a win is still a win.

UPDATE:
Fast moving up the list of books for me to read (maybe right after Freakonomics, which I start this weekend) is Seven Seconds or Less, the inside tale of the Suns last season. Henry from True Hoop has gone all Truman Capote Literary Critic and raved about it. And today he posts about notes from last season’s Lakers/Suns playoff matchup.

* When the Lakers were in Phoenix, McCallum reports, someone left a page of the Laker scouting report at the Ritz Carlton which found its way to the Suns. It reportedly read: “Everyone must contribute offensively. We can’t win this series if Kobe shoots over 30 shots a game. Balance our attack.”

* Meanwhile, most of the Suns’ coaching staff totally agrees. For instance, Marc Iavaroni is quoted saying ” …for every shot he makes, the other guys are saying, ‘Oh shit, Kobe’s doing it all again…’” On the other hand, Iavaroni says, the Lakers sometimes play with a team concept that’s tougher to handle. The Suns want to avoid that.

How would 14-6 sound? Halfway though the early home stretch and the Lakers are 7-3, meaning they are on that pace. This summer in a poll on this site I asked about what you wanted to see the record as after the first 20, and the winning vote getter was “at least 14-6.” With Kobe slowed I would say 13-7 is the low end, a pace the Lakers are better than so far.

Big Ben on Bynum. When Bynum is focused and rested he’s been very good, and he was both those things against Ben Wallace. He went all Nuke LaLoosh and “announced his presence with authority” with an early block of a Wallace shot and was a defensive force all night, plus he was great on the boards and picked his spots on offense. Here’s what Ben told the LA Times:

“He stays away from some of the things that he can’t do and he just does whatever he can do to help this team. That’s a sign of a great player to come, especially in this league.”

About that other center… Kwame Brown had a solid game as well and finished a team best +17 on the night. Overall the Lakers did a great job of pounding the ball in the paint and working inside on the Bulls — especially the couple times the Bulls went into a zone.

Good perimeter defense. It helps when the big guys are changing shots behind you, but my big concern coming in was shutting down the Bulls guards, and Smush, Evans and Kobe did a good job: Hinrich was in foul trouble and finished with 3 points and -1, Duhon was 0 points and -12, and Gordon was 9 points and +9.

Farmar not bad. According to the post game reports, it’s a sprain and he is on the bubble for Tuesday’s game but should be back to face Deron Williams on Friday. By the way, someone mentioned it in the comments, it looked to me like it started because he slipped on a wet spot on the floor.

The opposite of 7-3 is… Bulls fans are frustrated after last night’s loss, and I get that. But to be honest, every season there are teams I search out to watch (after the Lakers) because I like their style. Phoenix was that for a couple seasons, but the Bulls are that team for me right now.

I love that roster, Tyrus Thomas is going to be a beast and that motor will make him a fan favorite (Matt from Blog-a-Bull is right, he needs to slow down a little when he gets the ball, like Bynum is doing this year). Thabo Sefolosha is another who is going to be good, combine that with Hinrich, Gordon, Deng and man, that is a good roster and can be fore years to come.

And remember, they have both cap space and the Knick’s first round pick this year. They are only going to get better.

Kurt

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25 responses to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. the bulls are a low-post threat away from being a good team, but without a guy who can score on the block consistently they wont be more than a 6-8th seed

  2. Ugly wins are not necessarily bad. Good teams find ways to win. Even on nights when they are not at their best.

  3. Both Bynum and Kwame looked good. Bynum as an offensive threat and shot blocker, Kwame as a rebounder and defensive stopper. In other words, Kwame does power forward things from the center position. It’s too bad he can’t learn to play the PF. He needs more playing time.

  4. The Magic are that “team to watch” for me this year, after the Lakers. Golden State, Portland, and NOK are interesting, too. I haven’t seen Utah play yet this year, but something tells me they’d be up there, too.

    Ask Celtic fans about not being able to win close/ugly games. If our only complaint (and it isnt) is that our wins are ugly, we’re in pretty good shape.

    As for 14-6, that’ll be tough. We play the Clippers and Utah twice, San Antonio, and NOK. Indiana, Atlanta, Milwaukee, and NJ. I hope we can split the LAC and UTA games, take 3 of 4 from IND, ATL, MIL, NJ, and drop either NOK or SA. 6-4 would be good to me. The second UTAH games comes the night after they play SA, so we should win that one. The Clips will be rested both times we play them. NOK comes in with 4 days rest, SA has one day off before they come to LA. Can we go 7-3? Absolutely. I’d consider 6-4 a realistic goal, but we could go 4-6 if we’re not focused.

    December has to be a successful month for us, too. We only play back-to-backs twice, one of which with the Wolves as the second game. I’d like to see us go 10-6 for December.

  5. Kurt said: “By the way, someone mentioned it in the comments, it looked to me like it started because he slipped on a wet spot on the floor.”

    Phew — I’m not just seeing things! :-)

    I think that wins like last night show how our depth and balance has improved over last season. No need to ride Kobe’s back all year.

    Good teams find ways to win even the ugly games, and every win they can get right now will come in handy during the home stretch, especially in the tough Western Conference.

    Not to take anything away from the play of Andrew, Kwame, Smush, and Mo, but I think that the key last night was once again the play of Lamar. He took 17 shots (made 8), got to the line 9 times (made 7), and — most importantly — played aggressively, ending up with 23/10/4. I could do without the 7 TOs, though …

  6. Re: my last comment …

    LO’s 17 shots did make bespectacled people smile, but I meant to say that he “made 8″ of them, within parentheses.

    8)

  7. I’m afraid to say nice things about Odom, for fear of jinxing him in the next game.

  8. Eric Neel has a good recap of last night’s game:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=neel/061120&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab4pos2

    On Bynum: “When you hear he’s working with legendary Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, you figure he’s working on the skyhook wrist-flick, but if this game is any indication, it’s the shot-blocking Kareem (the one who swatted back three to four shots a game in the late 1970s and early 1980s) the kid is going to school with.”

    Most of us probably watched the tail end of Kareem’s career (if any at all) and probably thought the same thing about Bynum bringingback the skyhook. But, it makes mountains of sense that Cap would be focused on Bynum’s defense first and foremost.

    The complinments keep piling up for this kid, my favorites being, “he doesn’t try to do too much”.

    For a 19 year old to handle the pressure that comes with wearing the FB and G better than grizzled vets, who have wilted under the Hollywood spotlight (yes, you GP), speaks volumes more than 4 blocked shots or double digit rebounds ever could.

  9. From the Neel article…

    On Bynum: “When you hear he’s working with legendary Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, you figure he’s working on the skyhook wrist-flick, but if this game is any indication, it’s the shot-blocking Kareem (the one who swatted back three to four shots a game in the late 1970s and early 1980s) the kid is going to school with.”

    Most of us probably watched the tail end of Kareem’s career (if any at all) and probably thought the same thing about Bynum bringingback the skyhook. But, it makes mountains of sense that Cap would be focused on Bynum’s defense first and foremost.

    The complinments keep piling up for this kid, my favorites being, “he doesn’t try to do too much”.

    For a 19 year old to handle the pressure that comes with wearing the FB and G better than grizzled vets, who have wilted under the Hollywood spotlight (yes, you GP), speaks volumes more than 4 blocked shots or double digit rebounds ever could.

  10. Last nite was a perfect example of how the lakers need to get Lamar the ball early and often. He established a rythm, and although Kobe didn’t get into rythm last nite, he will not have a problem finding his spots as the season progresses. As long as Kobe moves the ball, Lamar gets his touches and the ball goes inside once in a blue moon, the offense will get better. now the turnovers…

  11. Apparently that dunk “UPS” delivered was something to see. Too bad I didn’t see it.

    (UPS is our nickname for Kwame. ie,”What can Brown do for you?”)

  12. Love the nickname.

    The question is, did you like Kwane’s dunk or Smush’s better? I lean slightly toward Smush because he posterized Ben Wallace and we haven’t seen as much of that agressive Smush this season,

  13. I like Mr. Parker’s better in that
    he could have that opportunidad
    most ANY TIME he wanted if he’d look for it
    rather than hoisting a low percentage 3-pointer
    from the hinterlands,
    ( et tu, Sasha– watch Earl Boykins
    red face the defense when he splits them
    and drives for two )

    but– the parcel from UPS man
    ( I do like that indeed )
    was a HUGE delivery.
    I forget how big the man is
    until a demonstation like that, my stars.

    Moved my TV two inches to the right
    on the shelf, I swear.

    - 5 -

  14. It made us remember what Brown could do for us…

  15. I just saw the new power rankings on cnnsi.com, and it puts the lakers at #11. Record-wise, teams thru 7-10 have worse records than LA, add to the fact that the team is on a 3-game winning streak. and their previous weeks ranking was #8. Does that mean they became worse by winning 3 straight games?! The team really gets no respect from the media. How come? I then saw another “more-accurate” rankings at hoopsworld.com where the lakers were at #6 from last weeks #7. Why so much hate for our team?

  16. Power rankings are so subjective, I don’t take them too seriously or fret over them. It’s not like in college football where power rankings pretty much decide who goes to the title game. Besides, if we keep winning we’ll move up. Let’s see how we do against the Clips, Jazz, etc.

  17. I’m jumping on the UPS nickname bandwagon. Let’s get this started. Tell a friend ;)

  18. What do you think about this game? All comments accepted.

    England 3-0 Russia

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    respect others opinion as much as you consider your’s. i think our community will continue expanding as internet keeps going.

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