Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  May 8, 2007

Just a few thoughts from the playoffs (part two of the Winning Now breakdown comes tomorrow).

• I fear that all the talk on this blog about what the Lakers needed to do in round one could have drowned something basic out — the Suns are very, very good. I picked them to win it all before the season started, and did so because the Suns are a team that has talent that perfectly fits its system. Steve Nash is unbeleivable, but Barbosa and Stoudemire and Marion and Bell are perfect compliments. That is what an NBA contender looks like.

Kevin from Cliperblog said it well:

The only way to beat the Suns is to field a lineup that can defend their playmakers straight-up. Even the most well-oiled defensive rotation can’t possibly keep up with the speed of the Suns’ offense. You may have the best help defenders in the league, but at a certain juncture in a PHX possession, something will beat you.

The Suns deserved the win and all that comes their way.

• Of course, what came their way in game one against San Antonio was a loss. The Suns found their shots at the rim contested, as they did their threes. Nash took 18 shots an had 8 assists — the Spurs made him the shooter. And they scored a lot themselves. That’s how it is done, and it was still a hard-fought win. This is going to be a great series.

• Kevin from Clipperblog also had a great breakdown of Dirk Nowitzki in the playoffs and reaches a wise conclusion:

There isn’t a worse crime in the NBA than dispassion, and that’s why fans are turning on Dirk. It’s not the losing, or the lousy shot selection, or even the historic nature of the upset. It’s the close-mouthed manner in which Dirk absorbed the blow from GSW. That’s the transgression.

• Can Golden State play in a game that’s not fun to watch?

• One final Lakers note, from Kevin Ding in the OC Register (I pasted this into the comments yesterday but thought it dserved to be in a post):

Who cared: Bryant, Odom, Turiaf, Luke Walton. Who sort of cared: Maurice Evans, Jordan Farmar, Aaron McKie, Sasha Vujacic. Who didn’t care: Kwame Brown, Bynum, Brian Cook, Smush Parker, Vladimir Radmanovic, Shammond Williams.

“There’s a certain sense of dedication that players have to the game and to their responsibilities,” Coach Phil Jackson said. “Kobe matches that in all points. He sometimes overmatches it. And the intensity he brings to the game is sometimes not on a level guys can live up to. That frustration, more than anything else, is why our team didn’t survive and flourish, even though we had injuries.

“Even though guys came back at the end of the year, that was the disrupting element. Guys didn’t work hard enough. There was some selfishness that came along with it.”

Kurt

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18 responses to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. Was anybody listening to LA radio this AM?
    Two local sports stations interviewed Kenny Smith (TNT) and one asked him which team looked to have a better future…Lakers or Clippers? He said Lakers, definitely. He felt the Clippers regressed this year and didn’t look good going forward, but the Lakers were able to stay in place, even with the injuries and therefore looked in better position to improve going forward.

    Kind of makes me feel good.

  2. Nothing to be proud of, Craig…
    it’s still the clippers.

  3. What I hope, CW, is that the “sort of cared”
    and the “didn’t care” guys now know that it takes more
    than they thought it took to play this game
    and will bust chops during the off season
    to put body and mind right, and not just say
    the right things.

    I remember that entry about the Lakers 1996 team
    when Ceballos gushed about Magic coming back
    and being able to play with him, then he tripped out–

    jonesonthenba.blogspot.com/2007/02/
    magic-johnsons-1996-comeback-clash-of.html

    So the situation isn’t new, nor is it exclusive
    to the Lakers, as Kenny suggests,
    but there’s only so much the team captain
    or the coaching staff or the salary can do
    to motivate a player for 90-odd games plus postseason.

    If the performance of a guy 2 years removed
    from near-fatal open heart surgery can’t provide
    a clear enough example to follow, get thee to the D-League
    and let somebody else take that spot.

    - 5 -

  4. Rico…I gotta admit — you are right!

    I just don’t think the Lakers are a complete mess. They are a young team (Kobe & McKie are the only vets) and had injuries that decimated the frontcourt. They had a weak backcourt and unraveled – I think because of the injuries. Because they were young they were never able to get it back together, like their opponents.

    They do need a couple of vets to help watch all this youth and I do think the heart of some players needs to be questioned. However, I don’t think wholesale changes will help anything. I think it will just set the current mediocrity permanently in place in the organization.

  5. Clippers are solid but have key issues they will have to face very soon.

    1.) Elton Brand is a stud. No worries there. The fatigue is to me not why he had a poor year (by his standards). That’s one guy you can bank on (Lakers would kill for Brand or a Boozer-type player).

    2.) Sam Cassell is an old man getting older. Can’t count on him much longer. As steady of a force he is, his health is not something you can count on.

    3.) Chris Kaman — ugh. Okay Clipper fans, make fun of Kwame and Bynum all you want, but that guy tanked this year once he got paid. Clipper fans need to do their own laundry instead of coming over to this blog throwing jabs.

    4.) Shaun Livingston — who knows how he’ll come back from this injury. He’s been designated as the future, and that future is cloudy. PG depth is an issue.

    I can understand why Kenny would say what he did. Lakers do have some stability going for them that should make them a bigger “X’ Factor going into the next few years.

    – Kobe, Lamar, Walton, Farmar, Kwame, Bynum, Turiaf make up a better core than the aforementioned Clippers for the foreseeable future. A shame we have to include Vlad, Cook, and Sasha in that core mix, but well….

    Clippers need to get younger if they are going to keep up in the West.

    Lakers need to get older. Interesting change of course. Used to be the opposite.

  6. warren (philippines) May 9, 2007 at 1:13 am

    ahhh I miss watching them on TV.

  7. warren (philippines) May 9, 2007 at 1:30 am

    There is a school of thought I am trying to come up from very recent developments and it goes like this: Kobe will be 29 next year. By all means he is not old. He is simply impatient. He is impatient because he wants to win badly because Shaq has already won his ring on the other side of the fence. Ego plays such a big role in superstars minds.

    Looking at the roster untouched, here is what we have:
    A’s – Farmar, Odom, Walton, Turiaf
    B’s – Kwame, Evans,
    C’s – Bynum, Cook, Shamu,
    D’s – Mihm(injury), McKie(age,injury), Sasha,
    E’s – Vlade
    F’s – Smush

  8. warren (philippines) May 9, 2007 at 1:58 am

    Give it 3 more years and Farmar will be a very good player. He needs to improve on his shot, and his game in general. He will then prove to be a steal at #26. Turiaf is already playing his
    “heart” out. He deserves the contract.

  9. I don’t why people are so high on Kwame. Is everyone resolved to the fact that the Lakers will make no major moves in the offseason? By putting Kwame as part of that solid core, it means that he is not being traded. The fact is that without trading Odom or Kwame, no major deals will happen. They are the biggest contracts besides Kobe. These rules, these dumb rules that the NBA has about trades will prevent a Bynum for KG or anyone for that matter, because the contracts just don’t match.

  10. Paul,
    You have just figured out why a lot of us don’t think a big trade is imminent. It rips too much of the fabric of the team. There is a chemistry in this very young team. If we trade Kwame (the most likely scenario, in my opinion) we must either get back or sign an inside defensive presence. This is hard to find and is the reason some of us feel Kwame will not be traded this summer.

    Our problems largely stem from frontcourt injuries to a very young team with a suspect backcourt. The slower, but I think wiser, course is to find a defensive PG and solidify the backcourt.

  11. Hey guys,
    Aren’t we all happy that we don’t have THIS problem on our hands right now?

    http://blogs.sun-sentinel.com/sports_basketball_heat/2007/05/trade_shaq_part.html

  12. Shaq has accomplished what he wanted. 1) Get a long term deal gets him a lot of dough while he is on the downturn, 2) Humiliate Kobe by getting his championship first. That great, Shaq. if Shaq was really about winning championships, he would have the gracious thing (which is the ultimate in alpha-male-dom) and turned the reins over to Kobe, accepted the role of being a second option, accepted a smaller contract, and allowed Buss to use the extra money to go find solid role players to replace Fox, Fisher, Horry, Horace Grant, etc. If he had done this, the Lakers would have won more championships than the Jordan Bulls and Shaq could have retired in dignity, like Jabbar, as a Laker.

  13. HAHAHAHAHAHA… seems like mr. “I mbdm mbslme, company time, I’ll msbld mbsm mlmk dlkzad company time” has endeared himself to yet another front office and fanbase.

    screw you, shaq… I even bought your moronic book. and you pay me back by playing at 1/4 speed for 30 games… and sitting out another 20. bite me.

  14. and thank you Paul, for stating the obvious. He’s too full of himself (and dinner) to do “whats best for the team and the fans”

    because as little as I would like to admit it… I was more than willing to let the above mentioned half-assed efforts go… as long as he was dunking in the finals every year.
    He refused to admit that it was his game that was slipping… and how are we going to keep him over Kobe, when He’s not even trying????

  15. I wonder if on the side of Shaq’s Ring with the Heat it has an imprint saying, ” To my friend Shaq. From D-Wade”

  16. skigi,
    Loved the blog! I even added a comment to their blog that now they knew how Mr. Buss felt – except it would have cost him $30M, not $20M.

    As I said to them, I think it was worth it to Miami, but now the hangover begins. With all the ‘immediate gratification’ fans this is going to be a doozy of a hangover.

    Now they get to listen to MDE for the next 3 years.

  17. Miami, welcome to the Brian Grant days…3 years late for you, but you get them anyway. Seems you didn’t really get rid of that contract after all.

    At least that is now behind the Lakers.

  18. Whatever can be said, our glory days of 3 championships with Shaq should trump all of the bad feelings.