Preview & Chat: The Dallas Mavericks

Kurt —  March 11, 2007

Lakers are back home. Since the team on the court has been hard to watch of late, maybe we should just focus on the top 10 Laker fans in the crowd.

It was the best of times.
Back in January, the Lakers played maybe their best game of the season, going on a late 10-4 run to beat the Mavs and end their 13 game winning streak, despite Lamar Odom being out. Kobe had 14 in the fourth quarter, but it was a team effort as Walton chipped in 21, Sasha 16 and Turiaf had maybe his best game of the season. It was back then that you could see the future of the Lakers clearly.

It was the worst of times. A depleted roster, role players being asked to do too much and what you get the last few weeks is the Lakers looking like a team that should be in the Oden/Durant sweepstakes. And frustrated fans.

Meanwhile, the Mavs come in erasing much doubt they are the best team in the NBA. They come in with a 16 game winning streak. They come in with the second most efficient offence and fifth most efficient defense in the league, a hard-to-beat combo. They come in with the guy who is going to win the MVP. They come in with the deepest, best supporting cast in the game.

Kwame starts? If you’re going to start Kwame, today is a good day because Eric Dampier is the kind of wide body the young Bynum struggles with right now. Not that Dampier is an offensive force, but Kwame can cover him and help off on Dirk or driving guards who get past our guards.

As for Smush and Shammond. Looks like no change is coming to the starting lineup. But both of them are free agents at the end of the season, and looking ahead of the Lakers bring in a veteran PG in the off season, I think Shammond’s recent play, and his reasonable price, would make a good third guard off the bench.

What to watch for tonight: Just how good the Mavs are playing right now, they are fun to watch as a basketball fan. Of course, if they were going to have a let down….

Watch Kobe, remember he put up 62 on them last year, and he may have to have another game like that for the Lakers to have a chance. With the depleted Laker roster, I’m curious how the Mavs choose to defend him tonight. Right now, teams are trying to deny Kobe the ball, doubling him and daring any other Laker to beat them.

What I may end up watching is The Amazing Race at 8 because I fear this game will be all but over.

to Preview & Chat: The Dallas Mavericks

  1. Yo, sorry Kurt, gotta big up all the la teams/pac 10 teams in the tourney. Being out here in boston, im hearing a lot about ACC this ACC that, whatever, Im callin it right now, UCLA to the final four, SC beating Texas in the 2nd rd and Strong Beach taking out Tennesee and Virginia.

    Had to take my mind off this feb/mar tank job


  2. Odom back in about a week! yay


  3. Was that mentioned in the telecast? Will it be because he’s playing in pain or is he getting better?


  4. Doesn’t matter.

    We’re so out of sorts right now as it is that even with players coming back we’ll be in midseason form at best…not finishing strong.

    Feels almost like 2 years ago all over again.


  5. Smush is making the decision Laker management has about bringing him back next season much easier with play like tonight. (I’m not saying we should be bringing him back, but I’m not sure what Mitch et al are thinking).

    And things are not as bad as two years ago, this time there is direction to focus the talent. It just doesn’t look or feel like it right now.


  6. In the past Kupchak has seemed to make certain personnel decisions based on team chemistry. I know a lot of folks aren’t necessarily high on Mitch, but the guy knows championship chemistry. He saw it first hand as a player. Chucky was sent away, in part, due to problems with the team. It would not shock me if Mitch let Smush go, as it seems to be a similar situation.


  7. Well Kurt that’s why I said ALMOST. To tell the truth though my reaction to this season coming to the close is similar to what I felt 2 years ago. Granted it can change (and most likely will) but it can be tough since I have nowhere near the “run home as quick as possible from work” to catch the game feeling I did early on.


  8. Phil basically did everything I thought we should do tonight–and we lost by 38!


    I’m not sure that it was the best time to experiment–but I hope he keeps it up.

    One thing has changed. In no way, shape or form can we blame this one on the Smusher!


  9. Dan, it sounds like Odom is pretty much healed and the injury wasn’t as bad as they thought it was..they didn’t really mention anything about him playing with pain..anyways I don’t think they’d rush him anyways..

    Lately I thought this team just blew and injuries were just an additional kick to the groin but really this team’s problems are multiplied exponentially without Luke or hard is it to triple Kobe and deny the ball from him and hope Shammond Williams plays like…Shammond Williams


  10. Today was the first game all season where I actually stopped watching. That game made me sick. Our guys weren’t even trying. You could see the frustration on Kobe’s face.

    Lets try and be positive. How bout the news saying Odom might be back by the weekend. That, along with getting Luke back and now that Kwame is ready to start again… We still have like 4-5 weeks left in the season to get into a rythm. VladRad we wont miss because his minutes basically just go to Cook. But we all know how Phil’s teams are known for hitting their stride going into the playoffs.

    The point I’m trying to make is this season is still far from over. We are not out of it by any means. We’re pretty much locked into the 6th slot so all we have to do is get our act together by playoff time and get ready to play either the Spurs or the Jazz, both of whom I think we can take.


  11. Of all times, this is NOT the time to give up. And let’s not be unfair to ourselves or insulting to our team, coaches, and management. Earlier in the season, we suffered through some injuries and still played like champions.

    We got Kwame back–and he’s playing better every night. Turiaf is back again. Odom and Walton are not far behind. Who knows, even Mihm and Vladrad might appear before this season is over!

    Now let’s see what we learned in the meanwhile. Paired the right way, without playing too many minutes, Cook can contribute offensively without being too much of a defensive laibility. The Vets can PLAY! Shammond may be the “emergency” point guard we didn’t trade for at the beginning of the season. When he’s healthy, Mo Evans is amazing. Sasha’s play has become acceptable.

    Maybe we’ll put it together and surprise those naysayers in the playoffs? Maybe we’ll continue to lose . . . I don’t know what will happen.

    I still like this Laker team–and I’m not backing off–win or lose.

    Let the Mavericks gloat. Let the Lakers not forget.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to meet them in the playoffs and . . .

    If not this year–next year for sure.


  12. Just in case anyone’s Monday needed brightening, word on the street (ESPN and Philly Daily News) is that the NBA is looking into Kobe’s elbow of Korver in the Philly game.


  13. According to the LA Times this morning, we get both Walton and Odom back on Thursday. For all the frustration lately, bringing those two back will be a big step to getting the ship righted.

    1) Kwame a, I’d love a second round USC/Tex matchup, that will be some very athletic team facing off. Also, Long Beach is not the kind of team you want to face in the tourney — five senior starters and a team that like to shoot and hit the three. They have a puncher’s chance.


  14. Lovely.

    Tell me when Stu jackson realizes he has some 400 more players to look at night to night.