Game Preview & Chat: The Indiana Pacers

Kurt —  November 20, 2007

Records: Lakers 6-3; Pacers 4-6
Offensive ratings: Lakers 109.2 (11th); Pacers 103.3 (22nd)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 105.9 (18th); Pacers 104.4 (13th)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Ronny Turiaf, Chris Mihm
Pacers: Jamaal Tinsley, Danny Granger, Mike Dunleavy, Jermaine O’Neal, Troy Murphy,

Lakers Notes: A sentence that starts “Ben Wallace fell into your leg…” is not one that’s going to end well and it didn’t for Kwame Brown, who will miss at least a month. His defensive presence in the paint will be missed on nights like Friday (facing that Boston front line).

Good news on the injury front, Ronny Turiaf made the trip with the team and is expected to play tonight (and they will need his D with JO in the opposing colors).

While the Lakers have been playing great, there are two areas of concern that have come up in the comments. First has been the play of Kobe the last few games. You’d think he was the last guy we need to worry about (on the court, anyway), but fans are concerned. Rob L. made the point you really don’t need to be:

Kobe’s last two games haven’t been spectacular, but also not as bad as people think. If one looks at his ORtg, instead of just his shooting %, it tells a much different story.

Vs Pistons: 111.68 ORtg using 19.15% of Lakers possessions. 38.89% EFG, 47.03% TS

Vs Bulls: 91.59 ORtg using 21.14% of Lakers possessions. 37.5% EFG, 47.17 % TS

I’ll grant you that the Bulls game numbers are merely good, not great. But Kobe had a great game against the Pistons offensively. Yes this is due in part to all those assists, as his EFG and TS were nearly identical in those games.

Then there is the ongoing turnover problem, and just how big a problem that really. Right now the team is overcoming it, but it is something the team needs to get a handle on as the year wears on. Come the playoffs, teams will be better able to exploit those kinds of mistakes (so far, only San Antonio really has, although other teams have hung around games longer because of it).

The Pacers Coming In: Get your track shoes out, the Pacers are running the ball under Jim O’Brien — they are averaging 96.9 possessions a game, the same pace as the Phoenix Suns. (The Lakers are at 94.8. seventh in the league.) They also go relatively small, with Troy Murphy as their starting center (although Jermaine O’Neal certainly helps along the back line).

Despite the pace the Pacers have lost six straight, and part of the problem is that O’Neal is playing his way back into shape, his left knee is not fully healed and has not got his offensive game on track, shooting just 39.7% from the field (he also did not practice yesterday due to swelling in his knee).

Really, few Pacers are shooting well, as a team they are shooting just 48.2% (eFG%). Only Murphy (54%) and Danny Granger (50.7%) are shooting over 50% (of the guys who do much scoring). (Side note, Ike Diagu is playing and shooting well too, but is out with an injury.)

But if you check out Indy Cornrows, you’ll see the Pacers have looked better their last couple of games. And one guy to watch for is athletic rookie Shawne Williams out of Memphis — he was an “upside” kid in the draft with questions about his work ethic. More of those guys fall out long term than GMs seem to think, but so far he seems to be making it work, as evidenced by 7 of 11 shooting off the bench in the Pacers win against Utah the other night. He is the first Pacer wingman off the bench.

Pinky, Are You Pondering What I’m Pondering?The Orlando Magic front office got pounded for that Rashard Lewis contract this summer, and it was probably larger than it needed to be, but I thought from the start he was a good fit with the pieces in there. And for once I was right about something in the East. Because he was in little-televised Seattle I think a lot of people didn’t realize how good an offensive player Lewis is. Well, the Magic are 10-2, second in the East, and Lewis is shooting 62.6% (eFG%) and 48.1% from three.

Keys To The Game: The Pacers and the Lakers like to run, and they both turn the ball over a lot — the Pacers on 18% of their possessions, the Lakers on 17.8% (23rd and 22nd in the league). If one team can limit those turnovers tonight they will have a big advantage. Also, converting the turnovers that do happen into easy buckets will be important.

That’s where the Lakers bench — and particularly the pressure defense of Jordan Farmar — can be key. The Pacers bring some raw but athletic guys off the bench (Diagu, Williams) but the Lakers second team should again be able to have a good night.

One other note, the Pacers foul a lot — second highest percentage in the league. This is a night the Lakers slashers (Kobe, Odom) could get to the line a lot. If they hit their free throws that’s another plus for the Lakers.

Tonight’s Game: Where The Over Happens: My guess is this game looks like a faster-paced version of the Bulls game — close for three quarters, the Lakers bench gets a double digit lead with 8 minutes or so to go. But, as this one is on the road, expect the late comeback push by Indiana, the Lakers will need to hold on and hit a key shot or two in the end.

Bottom line, in a back-to-back on the road like this the Lakers should at least get a split, and it’s a lot easier to win that first one. They need to come out focused tonight and not play to the level of the competition.

Where you can watch: Game time is 4 p.m. (Pacific), but in Los Angeles KCAL (9) is delaying the start time until 5:30 p.m. (something they often do with mid-week games out East). Nationally you’ll need league pass, but my guess is a larger portion of us than normal will be watching online with Gamecast.

Kurt

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73 responses to Game Preview & Chat: The Indiana Pacers

  1. Watch out for Danny Granger and Jamal Tinsley, otherwise we’re fine. Granger is a slasher but puts up 3′s at a high clip hope we close out on him and Kobe doesn’t help off him.

  2. Kurt, I think the channel 9 is tape delayed, but there seems to be conflicting information on the start time, this is from the LA Times-
    TONIGHT

    at Indiana, 4 PST; Channel 9, 5:30

    Site — Conseco Fieldhouse.

    Radio — 570; 1330.

    Records –Lakers 6-3; Pacers 4-6.

    Record vs. Pacers (2006-07) — 1-1.

    what do you think? is it time delayed?
    doesn’t much matter to me cause I tivo’d it, but thought it might be important to some fans out there.

    for me tonight, I’m just hoping to see more of the same…a team that comes out and hustles, and when the second unit comes in it’s a team that hustles even more, then the combination of players that PJ plays, well, they hustle even more…
    that means a W.

  3. Marc Gasol’s Watch:

    Marc lead Akasvayu Girona roll over sleeper Ricoh Manresa, having a tremendus game.
    22 points just missing one shot and scoreing 2-2 3pointers and 6-8 FT. 9 rebounds, 3 ass, 3 blocks.

    Earned player of the week honours. thats his 3rd player of the week award in just 8 weeks.

    You should be more than happy thinking that this guy could be dressing purple by next year

  4. Guys,

    Love your site, you do a great job and it’s much appreciated. I think that the key is how hard we play. The Pacers have fallen apart in the second half in all of their losses. We must contend every shot and rebound with a vengeance and we will win by 15. the Pacers just don’t have horses to contend with us.

  5. 2. You are correct, I wrote that yesterday and forgot KCAL does that. Thanks for the catch, I made the changes.

  6. The reason the Lakers haven’t felt the full impact of their TO rate this season is rebounds. Compared to last season the Lakers are a much better rebounding team. This looks to hold, barring injury. The squad gtets good position on court and (without having run any numbers) seems to be taking far fewer ill-advised threes. That has led to greater opportunities for offensive rebounds, which is where I think the higher growth has come over last season.

    On the turnover issue, I don’t think we’ll see this squad get to a point where they consistently turnover in single digits for games. I’d be happy if they could start averaging in the 12-15 range. As long as the rebounding holds, that shouldn’t hurt them too much. Especially considering the pace and style of the team this season.

  7. Another quick note, Kurt. The Pacers had lost 6 straight, until they blew the doors off the Jazz when Utah came in on Saturday.

    Looking for Kobe to stroke it tonight.

  8. Turnovers,
    It was to be expected, since we both changed the pace at which we wanted to play and were playing our young players more. I feel we will cut down our TOs by the 2nd half of the year, but I doubt we will be in the top 10 in the league.

  9. I need to write a whole post about how much better the Lakers.com web site is this season. Anyway, from the scouting report on the Pacers talks about another team that like to run the pick and roll in transition or early in the shot clock, in particular

    One of the specific types of screen and roll that they will try and set is the one where the picker has his back to the baseline. These “Rear” set pick and rolls pose a problem because 1) the side is usually vacant so if the picker’s man doesn’t help it can create a clear line path to the basket for the ball handler. 2) If the picker’s man does help, then the picker will pop (usually beyond the three point line) and stretch the defense. 3) It sets up nicely for a re-pick which is very difficult to guard.

  10. We’re gonna miss kwame in this trip. We needed him against Oneal, Bogut/Yi, and Kevin Garnett

  11. the other Stephen November 20, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    kurt, you’re like shakespeare. the breadth of your knowledge spans far and wide, and even includes pinky and the brain.

    indiana has given rebirth to a young team that struggles with many turnovers and foul trouble, so it will be interesting to see who makes more stupid errors tonight.

  12. The Other Stephen, you made my day. I was hoping somebody would get the Pinky and the Brain reference. I still watch that when I can find it on.

  13. Mo and Brian have been traded to Orlando.

  14. From where?

  15. Nevermind. I see it on Rotoworld, via the Orlando Sentinel. For Trevor Ariza.

  16. one of my all time favs, no relation to B ball, but a funny ‘toon
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhzvCyhkg8c

  17. We now, apparently, have a UCLA connection.

  18. I really like this trade for the Lakers. It eliminates the duplication of roles by Radmanovic/Cook and gets the Lakers a younger, more athletic version of Maurice Evans. Plus, with Evans due to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year and Ariza under contract through the 2008-09 season, we were able to acquire a low-risk, high-reward type for a player we may have let walk at the end of the year anyways.

  19. I always thought Ariza needed one more year at UCLA, but he’s made it so more power to him.

    Working on a post, but while I have stats and what I remember of him, I’m trying to get info on his game from someone who has seen more of him than I have recently to fill in the gaps.

  20. Ariza is not a good outside shooter — hitting just 21% on jump shots this season — but he gets to the hole a lot. The bad news is his defensive numbers this season are horrible, but I’m not sure what exactly is going on there because last year they were just slightly worse than average.

  21. feels like a good deal to me, another one of the “addition by subtraction” kind of deals.
    this also opens up a roster spot, not that I’m advocating running out and signing webber or pj brown, but we could use another power forward/backup center.
    I guess this will mean more sasha or j. critt backing up KB.
    Ariza is 6’8″ so I guess he’s not going to be a back up 2, so he’ll have to earn his minutes at SF…?
    also, it feels like this will mean more time for Radman, and I’m liking what he’s bringing this year, can’t wait to see him shoot for 30, get in a zone, it’s always fun when a pure shooter gets in a zone, and we know that’s what he is, a shooter, he really wants to show his worth this year.

  22. Chris-

    He’s a forward, I’m guessing he’ll be playing at the 3.

  23. I tried this trade on the ESPN trade machine and it didn’t work, since Orlando is over the salary cap. Anyone know the details of how this is able to go through, or is the trade machine not smart enough?

  24. Well, I think Kwame’s injury prompted this trade. It’s a two for one, and the Lakers didn’t have an extra roster spot before, and I guess they really like Coby Karl so they don’t want to waive him. Now they can get a defensive-minded 4 or 5. I do wonder how this trade will affect the bench mob’s chemistry. I doubt Ariza will be a quick study on learning the triangle, but maybe he will prove me wrong. I was expecting a win tonight, but I think the trade will hurt our chances against the Pacers. Overall, it does get Cook’s contract off the books…but I’m curious about Ariza’s salary. Does he make in the $4 million range? Edit: I see the Magic used their trade exception of $2.6 million from the Tony Battie injury. So, good for us. I also see that Bo Outlaw got waived by the Magic…hmmm….

  25. two trips to you tube today posting a link- trevor highlight reel-
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_p6MpMn47mE

    this guy reminds me of Mo in his game as a trailer on fast breaks, and skying on rebounds for the slam dunk following a miss.

    regarding the trade machine business, I read somewhere that Orlando had some kind of injury exception that they used to make the salaries work.

    bottom line, I like the move because while I’ll miss Mo, it looks like we got a mo-like player back, and were able to move Cook who was really not working in the system, and too much of a 1 dimensional player. Trevor can sky, and isn’t afraid to take it to the hole, can’t have too many of those.

  26. 24 – Apparently, the Magic had a $2.4 million trade exemption to make it work.

  27. In Coby We Trust November 20, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    I agree with the addition by subtraction reasoning. I also think that Ariza is a bit of an upgrade over Evans. Evans is much older and has probably already maxed out on his talent while Ariza is only going to get better and seems to be the type of player that will excel in the triangle once he learns the offense. Plus, the kid is from LA and probably dreamed of being a Laker all his life which can only be a positive in the locker room. I’m also excited to see the pairing of Farmar and Ariza off the bench… that will speed up the game even more.

    Real GM gave Mitch an A for the trade and called it the best of his career… wow.

    http://www.realgm.com/src_fromtherafters/126/20071120/grading_the_deal_lakers_steal_ariza/

  28. I like Samuel’s take on this… my impression of Ariza from limited views (few games last year, only one this year) is that he is a motor…
    I’m a little worried about Kurt’s find on his D… that was Mo’s main claim to fame.

    I’m just glad we’re done with Cook.

  29. I think this was more of a financial trade than anything. It saves the lakers alot of money. I’m not sure if it puts them under the luxury tax but it puts them pretty close, so it saves them like 4.4 million this year. Someone correct me if my numbers are wrong.

  30. The Lakers are already $15 million over the cap, so the $3 million in savings ($4.5M once you count luxury tax), while nice, is probably not the major onus for this deal–at least, I hope not. With the Lakers getting off to a solid start, I’d think that Kupchak is looking at trades to help the Lakers while also alleviating the glut of similar players they have. Ariza gives the Lakers an athletic wing forward unlike Radmanovic or Walton.

  31. Okay, so is this a deal done in a vacuum or is this a precursor to other things? Maybe acquiring another PF (PJ Brown or Weber)?

  32. I think there were basketball reasons for this trade as well, but I also think that 4.5M looks good to the Lakers board of directors.

  33. This is incredible. Im sitting in lecture and put my hand up in the air with a huge smile on my face. God I hated cook so much. Totally worth a dirty look from my TA who definitely knows I wasn’t paying attention

  34. The Lakers are NOT $15m over the Luxury Tax. The Salary Cap controls trade options, but only the Luxury Cap controls additional taxes. This trade will bring them within, or very close, to the Luxury Tax level. Below it they get money from those over the tax.

  35. Mitch said that Trevor gives the Lakers an athletic 3, which Walton is not, and they can use him against quick SF that are 6’7″/6’8″ and too quick for Lamar.

  36. @36

    So a poor man’s Caron Butler?

  37. Craig, you’re right. Got the two confused.

  38. According to the ESPN article about the trade, Ariza is in the final year of his contract (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3121132), meaning that the Lakers could be stockpiling expiring contracts for a big move. Kwame and Sasha are both expiring this year at $9M and $2M respectively, so that gives the front office about $14M in total expiring contracts to work with.

    HoopsHype.com shows that Ariza has a player option for next season though…I’m not sure which is correct. Either way, it’s nice to see some movement.

  39. I watched Ariza a lot as a Knick, and I was sad to see him go (esp. considering who we got). He’s a good rebounder, and moves well in the half court. From what I recall his handle is OK. Finishes pretty well around the hoop. His jumper is a work in progress, which is a nice way of saying he doesn’t have one.

    On defense he’s good at anticipating the passing lanes, and will get (my favorite expression) his hands on a lot of balls. He’s not a lockdown defender, well at least he wasn’t as a teenager in New York. But he stays with his man well enough. You’d think he’d be able to block more shots with his athleticism, but he doesn’t.

    Fans that can’t see past his inability to hit a jumper will hate him. Fans that like athletic players will like him. Just remember he’s only 22, so he’s got a lot of room to grow.

  40. 39. Ariza is in the last year of his deal but has a player option next year for $2.9 million, which he is expected to pick up.

  41. Getting rid of Cook is the best thing to happen to the Lakers in sometime. This day should be an annual holiday for the Lakers and their fans.

    Nice Mitch. Very nice.

  42. Ariza goes all out on defense….I like this a lot. I have nothing against Cookie. He did what he could but I think he’ll get more opportunities in ORL also. He can back Turkoglu up and hover when some of the more aggressive guys get to the basket and shoot. And Ariza, well, he’s good for a fantasy team also because he does all the little things. He plays bigger than a 3. This seems like a great trade. I would imagine that the minutes Mo Evans had will now mean the Lakers can run some nightmare matchups out there with Lamar at the 3 and personally I’d like to see Sasha be allowed to get in and annoy people as he does also.

  43. Mike in the Mountain West November 20, 2007 at 6:55 pm

    And what’s the deal with Odom? 1 point?

  44. we’re losing the war on rebounds, but making up for it with relatively low TOs for our team as well as high FG%…

    and just as i type this, vlad turns it over.

    hrm, guess bynum really doesn’t want o’neal here… :)

  45. I would have traded cook for a song and a beer… good riddance. vladrad will get more minutes now. though its sad to see mo go, we get a good player in return, and the lakers probably decided on keeping sasha. i’ve said before that one of them had to go. I see ariza as a lockdown defender and more of a defensive presence/rebounder more than anything else. sort of a rajah bell role without the shooting. he’ll bring toughness and hustle to this team. i really like this move. Maybe mitch has a brain after all. good basketball trade, and good for the financial aspect also

  46. man, the players legs look really heavy in the first half. slow to the rebounds and looseballs. if they played a little harder, it’d be 20pt halftime lead instead of 8. if they ar e playing this lethargically tonight, what more tomorrow?! they needd to pick up the intensity in the second half, especially mihm, walton and lamar. we need this win tonight! maybe its the cold weather is getting to them…

  47. If you’re going to post about the game before it starts on KCAL-9, please start your post with SPOILER ALERT. Thanks…

  48. SPOILER: The Lakers are actually not losing the rebounding war that badly in the first half. It is 21 to 25 total rebounds in the Pacers favor. The reason the Lakers offensive rebound total is so low…is the team is shooting 60.5% from the field. The Pacers are only shooting 43.1%, thus giving them a few more chances on the offensive glass.

  49. SPOILER / Time Warp Alert:
    http://broadband.nba.com/cc/playa.php?content=lpintl&url=http://boss.streamos.com/wmedia-live/nba/9917/500_nba-league_pass_indiana_051201.asx&gid=152
    link to the Pacer broadcast! You’ll have to sit through Pacer commercials though (gross..)

  50. Being that I see a lot of Knicks games being on the East Coast, I was always impressed with Trevor Ariza. I thought he was destined to be a lockdown defender at the 3 until Larry Brown started jerking him around and called him delusional. He totally shot the kid’s confidence and then they gave him to Orlando in the dreaded Francis trade. Bright side for Ariza is that he played well in his time in Orlando. He was kind of coming into his own last year but his playing time went to hell with the Lewis deal this year.

    Anyhow, he has great athleticism, finishes at the rim well, and if I am not mistaken, had a decent 15 foot jumpshot. That’s not great and the range on his jumper has always been his biggest flaw, but he’s still very young at 22. I love the move for the Lakers and while I liked Cook for the most part, he’s been terrible this year. Can’t see why the Magic agreed to this.

  51. add PJ Brown or chris webber and we’d be ready to contend!

  52. Don’t know where to post this, but, I’ve been in Miami for the last week so I haven’t been on the net at all. That said, I did catch the games against the Rockets and Pistons and continue to be impressed with the Lakers so far this year. I really like the 3-headed monster at center with Kwame/Bynum/Mihm and love the bench play so far. Fisher has been equally impressive and Odom, while sometimes passive, has been pretty good all around. I just hope Kwame gets healthy soon and Drew/Mihm can hold it down till then.

  53. SPOILER: Rob L., isn’t it the opposite? we’re only managing 21 boards despite the fact that the pacers are missing so many shots. pacer miss should work more on our favor since it’s a defensive board for us, not the other way around… so really we should, if our rebounding was equal, be at something like 30-10 not 20-20..

  54. This move was obviously a salary dump deal and it also gives the Lakers an open roster spot to bring up Critt and develope him. I like the way this team is looking the Lakers are set for years to come even without Kobe!

  55. The news of Cook’s departure inspires me to break my vow of silence. Good riddance.

  56. Vow of silence? This site is a lot off things but hopefully not a monastery.

    Good to see you again Reed.

  57. The move was indeed a salary dump and it was basically Ariza for Evans. Guess Orlando needed a guard version of athleticism and felt Ariza became redundant since Rashard and Hedo already plays at the 3.

    This is what I have been saying all along, trade Cook to a team that has a trade exception since his BYC status will be hard to match. We hit a jackpot with this deal guys… Cook is earning 3.5M per year and for 3 years. That’s a total of 10.5M on a useless player. Mo Evans earns somewhere on the 1.5-1.7M range and is an expiring contract.

    ESPN’s trade machine lists Ariza at 3.1M with player option. Hoopshype lists him at 2.7M with player option. I’m not sure which to believe but at least we know what price range he is in. His player option next year is listed at 2.9M.

    More than anything, I am excited to see the Lakers make a good move. I too, rate Mitch Kupchak an A on this one. It puts us below the luxury tax line and it gives us an athletic 3 guy so that we can finally put Vlade at the 4.

  58. SPOILER: I am really, really, really, beginning to like this TEAM. Although it seems that they can’t miss today (still shooting 60% right now), and bynum has done quite well so far (though with a LOT of fouls.. just fouled out).

    Kobe seems to be forcing things a bit again, and the game itself kinda looked better without him although his sizzling shots earlier in the game really broke it open. he has missed about three 3pters in a row after making like 5 in a row…

    Anyway, the Lakers are really teasing me with their ‘potential.’ If they only hit the glass as hard as they used to tonight, we’d be up by a whole lot, not just 20… wait, 20 is a whole lot :)

  59. Welcome back Reed your posts have been missed

  60. Sorry to the “don’t start Bynum” crowd.

    17 points, 10 boards, 4 blocks and I believe he was perfect from the field.

    This man is a monster in the paint, and I expect he will never come off the bench again. Now, I realize this may derail Kwame’s bid to become a hall of fame center, but to the victor goes the spoils.

    Farmar also looks like a caged tiger…soon the inevitable will happen and our best five will start.

    Walton looked very good tonight and this was a nice win for the Lakers.

    Mihm got dunked right on top of his head and shot a massive airball in a 2 minutes span……I hope he gets better soon b/c he can’t do crap right now.

    Cheers.

  61. Well the glass is partly caused by Ronny not being 100% and Mihm still feeling that 18-month rust.

    Oh yeah, welcome back reed.

  62. There was no monastic vow — just realized I hadn’t commented in a while (life has been a bit busier than I’d prefer). I did find it interesting that Cook’s trade produced such emotion that I had to share the joy with others.

    Fantastic job with the site, Kurt. The game previews have been wonderful.

    Like everyone else here, I’ve been intrigued by Phil’s substitution patterns so far. He really has been pushing our advantage in the second unit. I have mixed feelings about this philosophy. Some coaches use it to great success, but usually just by allocating one key player to the second unit (Ginobili, Terry). It seems Phil is going a bit further by placing his best point guard, center, and second best forward (arguably Walton over Turiaf) on the B team — even keeping the unit intact with Turiaf’s injury by going to Cook. It looks like he went away from that today in starting Bynum, but I’ll be interested to see what sticks and what happens with Farmar (who is so clearly outplaying Fisher). I also want to see if he shortens the rotation to a traditional 8 or 9 men at some point. We’ll see. It has all worked so far, so no qualms.

    Bynum crushed Oneal tonight in all head to head matchups.

  63. SPOILER: 54. I’ll take a look deeper into OR%, but 21 boards at half when they were mostly defensive rebounds does correspond to what I was saying. Or to put it another way, the Lakers’ defensive rebounds are tied to the Pacers offensive rebounds. Add those two numbers and you’ll (EDIT: usually) have the number of Pacer misses. The fact that the Pacers had a fairly gaudy number of total offensive rebounds is partly due to so many misses. This all ties in to the pace of the game, which should be fairly high.

    I’m going to eat some dinner now, but I’ll actually figure what the game OR% was for the Pacers and see how badly the Lakers did on that end of the boards. I’ll post it later. Maybe I’m figuring it wrong in my head on the fly.

  64. The Ariza trade might help Mitch salvage his job. Saves on the luxury tax and gets the Lakers another athletic body. I don’t think the Lakers need to get C Webb or PJ right now with the way they are playing.

    I believe the Lakers are saving up for a stud FA next season to keep Kobe in LA.

  65. Well just finished the game on KCAL. Although the Lakers got rid of Brian Cook, I think the trade had an impact on the team as they weren’t playing as well as they have shown these previous games. The 2nd chance points almost killed the Lakers if it weren’t for the hot shooting.

    Uh, Jordan Farmar? Dude’s got game. Hope the FO doesn’t let him go.

    LO needs to be more assertive. Kobe is Kobe.

    Overall, a well played game. Bad 1st half but made up for it the 2nd half. Up next are the Bucks. Hope the Lakers won’t succumb to last year’s tendencies and play down to the competition. They need tomorrow’s win to build some momentum for Boston.

  66. 65. Yeah, this’ll be the deal that keeps Mitch employed.

    Were Evans’s defensive numbers good? I know he had some injuries, maybe that slowed him. I liked having another good perimeter defender outside of Kobe.

    Oh well, the money makes great sense, and it’s probably wise to get someone who can D up small forwards.

  67. Well Mo can claim he was traded for T-Mac.

    McGrady was traded for Francis,Cato and Mobley.
    Mobley became Christie,who was waived.
    Cato and a First became Darko who was released.
    Francis became Penny’s expiring contract and Ariza.
    And Ariza became Mo Evans.

  68. I’m the guy who asked everyone commenting on the game to use SPOILER to start the post, since I and probably some others were watching on tape delay. Everyone was so considerate that I’m almost embarrassed. Kudos on that, and some great comments too. I absolutely loved Andrew blocking three of JO’s shots tonight, including two on one possession. Let’s compare their stats, since some moronic sportswriters still believe that the Lakers should trade him and Lamar for JO:

    Bynum 17pts 10rebs 4blk 100% FG 83%FT
    O’Neal 14pts 3 rebs 0blk 31%FG 67%FT

    Salaries:
    Bynum ~$2.5m-3m not sure exactly
    O’Neal ~$19m

    Age:
    Bynum 20 yrs
    O’Neal 29 yrs

    I don’t know, what do you guys think? If I’m Isiah or McHale and I have Andrew and LO on my team, I make that trade. Mitch may not be a Buford or a Colangelo, but he’s about five levels above Isiah and McHale in competence.

  69. I have the feeling Bird will ring up the Lakers asking for only Bynum and fillers.

    The young guy showed up tonight. He showed he was worth more than the Pacers valued him.

  70. So I ran the numbers. Even given the pace of this game, which was a blistering 99.51, the Lakers did a poorer job than I imagined. The Lakers TMOR% was a paltry 12.50. That’s pretty hideous.

    The Pacers TMOR% was 29.03. That’s bad, but not the worst the Lakers have allowed. In the second Rockets game Houston had 34.48%.

  71. Let’s welcome Trevor Ariza home!

  72. 70. Bird’s probably smart enough to not come down the lane with that weak stuff.