Game Preview & Chat: The Boston Celtics

Kurt —  November 23, 2007

Records: Lakers 7-4; Celtics 9-1
Offensive ratings: Lakers 112.3 (3rd); Celtics 112.0 (5th)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 104.8 (11th); Celtics 95.1 (1st)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Ronny Turiaf, Andrew Bynum
Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

Lakers Notes: There is a buzz about tonight’s game. Boston is back near the top of the East, and the Lakers have surprised as one of the better teams in the West so far. Two traditional rivals playing well, plus the whole KG trade drama, make this a fun match up. Well, for us the fans, I imagine the coaches don’t find it as fun.

The Lakers have had a couple better defensive games of late, at least until the other night in Wisconsin (the Bucks shot 53.4% eFG% as a team and had an offensive rating of 116.6 for the night). The offense will keep the Lakers in those games (as long as they don’t just start chucking up threes) but to win consistently they need to be consistent at the defensive end. And that is especially true tonight.

Trevor Ariza (wearing number 3) likely will suit up tonight and get a chance to show what he can do on defense, as the Celtics have several athletic wingman he could spend time defending (Mr. Ariza, meet Mr. Pierce).

The Celtics Coming In:The Celtics have been even better than I and many others expected — and I thought they would be good. To get a little inside perspective on the Celtics, I turned to one of the bloggers I most admire, Jeff from Celtics Blog. He kindly answered a few questions.

When the big three were put together everyone knew the offense would be potent, but nobody expected this kind of defense (I mean, Ray Allen is one of the three). How are they doing it?

Part of what made me so excited to get Kevin Garnett is his All World defensive ability. He can guard anyone on the court and anchor the defense at the same time. So that was a great start. Then consider that the two “other” starters Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins are both above average defenders. Then toss in James Posey, enough said. Finally the whole thing is tied together by new assistant coach Tom Thibodeau (a defensive genius) and you have a pretty good snapshot of how this got put together.

Also consider that Pierce and Allen don’t have to carry the team offensively anymore. They’ll never be shutdown guys, but they can put in a little extra effort within the team defensive scheme and make it work.

The other knock on the Celtics was it was going to be the “Big Three” and then some guys who might be D-Leaguers other places. How are Rondo and Perkins doing? Who else is stepping up?

I think the best point about this was made by Ainge, who played with the original Big Three. He said that the majority of the game was focused on the Big Three. Ainge, DJ, and others were there in a support role. That’s all were asking of the guys like Rondo and Perkins. Know your role and do it as best you can. Rondo’s big issue was shooting, but when you leave him wide open (sometimes there’s nobody for miles around him) he can hit shots inside the arc. Perkins has no post moves, but when 3 people collapse on KG and he finds Perkins under the rim, the only move he needs is a two handed slam. He knows his role is to rebound, defend, and pick up garbage dunks.

The bench is all role players too. House is our own Vinny “the Microwave” Johnson. Posey is a shutdown kind of guy. Tony Allen attacks the basket relentlessly. Pollard fouls people. Big Baby Davis is our human victory cigar. It all works (so far).

You’ve got the Celtics, the World Series winning Red Sox, and the undefeated Patriots. Are Bostonians sick of all this winning yet? And who is dominating the hearts and minds of the city?

Please. Boston fans do not have a complex anymore. We are happy to be winners. It is the rest of the world that is sick of Boston winning. And that is a little unfortunate. There’s always going to be that one cocky Boston guy that goes around shoving his teams’ accomplishments (like he did anything to help them win aside from buying a hat) in people’s faces. That never helps. But I most fans are just enjoying the moment, loving the ride, taking it all in to remember for when the natural cycle of things takes a downward turn.

Boston will forever be a Red Sox town, and since they won it all, they still have the hearts and minds of fans. With that said, the Pats are a steamroller right now and they have a mini-dynasty thing going on too. It will be hard for the Celtics to take a spot away from either of those two. They are kind of like the new kids on the block, which given the team’s history is infinitely ironic.

Keys To The Game: Boston has been very good, but their schedule has not been that tough (opponents have won 51% of their games, the Lakers are at 58% and that has dropped recently).

The one place teams have had success attacking the Celtics is at the five — while Garnett is always a good defender in the paint teams have been able to attack Perkins — opposing centers are shooting 51% and have a PER of 17.4. Assuming the Celtics use Pierce and not Ray Allen on Kobe (Kobe should destroy Allen), then KG likely will be on Odom. Pull the Lakers two outside and Bynum should be able to get some isolation on the block. Points in the paint will be a big stat tonight, the Celtics have dominated that in their wins and if they do tonight it will be because Garnett is getting good position and Pierce is slashing into the lane. The Lakers need to defend these options without fouling. The Lakers also need to keep rebounding position and keep the Celts off of the offensive glass.

The Lakers have the advantage of depth, although the Celtics leave at least one of the big three on the floor at all times (at least until the Human Victory Cigar Big Baby is in the game). This is a game where the Laker bench really needs to step up and punish the guys off the Celtics bench — if it is starters on starters that decide this the Lakers will struggle to get a win.

Also, to win this one the Lakers are going to need a big night from Kobe — and I expect he’s fired up for this one. He lives for these type of games.

Tonight’s Game: Where Rivalry Happens: I grew up hating the Celtics and wanting to deck that little gnat Danny Ainge. Now I look back on just how much fun it was to have a great rival like that, how the meetings of the two in the regular seasons were like mini-finals. (Still, I’d like to punch Ainge.) For the last few years I didn’t feel that hatred well up in me when we played the Green, but it is back now. I can’t wait for this game.

Where you can watch: Game time is 4:30 p.m. (Pacific but KCAL (9) is not going to start showing it unitl 5:30, so if you are watching the game live and commenting try to use a spoiler alert. Online check out ESPN’s gamecast.

Kurt

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71 responses to Game Preview & Chat: The Boston Celtics

  1. I enjoyed reading somewhere today that Kobe was asked if he was hoping the rivalry between the Celt’s and Lakes would be revived, and he said something like “well yeah, cause that would mean we’re both playing at Championship level” and of course he’d welcome that! (wouldn’t we ALL??!)

    I’m looking forward to #3 playing tonight, anxious to see how he scraps on D, and crashes the offensive boards.
    as you said, we need a big night from Andrew, and of course the bench…and I think they want to really show their skills tonight, so I expect a playoff intensity.
    go Lakes!

  2. Off topic – “”Jason Kidd just opted out.
    =======================

    He filed for free agency”"Right now there is no light at the end of the tunnel,” Kidd said in two published reports.

    His team was about to extend its losing streak to six in a spectacular way, about to get blown out again in Utah. The Nets were about to lose by more than 20 points for the third time in four games, and Kidd decided it was time to send out his distress signal, a clear mayday call from a 34-year-old star who knows he’s got far less time than A-Rod to win a championship ring.

    “We get to the playoffs and everything disappears,” Kidd was quoted as saying.

    “The same thing happens year after year.”

    http://ballhype.com/story/o_connor_kidd_may_soon_leave_nets_via_a_trade/

  3. I’ve waited for this moment for nearly two decades… FInally the Celtics are stronger than us, at least theoritically.

    I want the Celtics to be damn good so we can silence the Boston crowd once again. No x’s and o’s before this game. No secret weapon or key to win the game. This is just pure emotion… (I’ll talk about the x’ and o’s after the game though)

    I believe Magic once said… “You don’t know what basketball is until you play game 7 of a Lakers-Celtics Finals”

    Maybe we can get a glimpse of that once again…

  4. Bynum is working to stability and the Lakers are becoming more cohesive.

    Do we think this talk to Kidd opting out will effect Lakers team play at all?

    Honestly what if Bynum and Kobe begin to act weird b/c of this?

  5. Hm, punching Ainge. Maybe that’s why West signed Robert Horry immediately after he threw his towel in Ainge’s grill when he was coaching Phoenix.

  6. Mike in the Mountain West November 23, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    If the players can handle the incredible hoopla that was (it feels good to say was, at least for now) the Kobe trade saga I’m sure they can handle Kidd rumors. Plus, my guess is Bynum is pretty untouchable at the moment, and for good reason. Odom on the other hand…

  7. I think Odom might be my favorite player to watch, and even I’m getting tired of his deal. He should’ve been scoring like crazy in the post against some of his recent matchups at the 3.

    Then again the whole team/coaching staff should’ve recognized and exploited those mismatches.

  8. I don’t see why Kidd opting out would put any mental strain on the Lakers. Even if he goes on the trade table, it wouldn’t make sense for the Lakers to trade assets when they have a free shot some months away. ESPN might run some stories if New Jersey continues to struggle, but, it’s really not a big deal.

    As for tonight, I expect Bynum to play well, I know Kobe will get his (probably will be that type of game where you see the line that says he has 26, and ask yourself if you can remember him scoring at all so far). For me, Odom is the big key. I don’t think he needs to put up a chunk of points (though it’d be nice), but rather, he really needs to hit the glass. We know Bynum will suck up some boards, but if Odom attacks it with some real passion and energy, that will help the Lakers tremendously limit the Celtic’s offensive opportunities. Plus, the more boards he grabs, the better our break will be with him just leading it right off. Aside from that, just keep the offense flowing, and play efficient.

    LAKERS

  9. I’m really looking forward to tonight’s game, more than I have any Laker game in recent memory, including playoffs. If that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right.

    There’s long been an unspoken of local contingent rooting for the Celtics, so that when we play them, it means something more. I still think McHale gave his buddy and former (in his mind-current?) team a cinderella deal that should be investigated by Minnesota and the NBA, but tonight, GO LAKERS!

  10. I don’t know about you guys, but I really like this team. I don’t want to change any aspect of it. The only thing they could really use on this team is another Ronny Turiaf type guy. I’d love to see David Lee in the mix next to Bynum and Lamar in the front court. But other than a subtle move like that, there is no reason for the Lakers to consider making any move. Including going fo Jason Kidd. Let’s sit back and enjoy watching this team develop.

  11. I’m with you Jones, PJ is good at looking at the whole season, building confidence, building from mistakes, so the whole season is a preparation for the “second season”. it’s not about winning as many games as possible but end the season worn out and broken up, bruised and half the team burnt out.
    this team has a great potential, like watching Ronnie become a legit starter, the bench rising up believing in themselves that they can be a real difference making unit, Andrew coming into his own…all this and more, (who knws what #3 will bring, eh?) means to me that we should sit back and watch these guys gel, grow into a solid team that competes every night, learns from their mistakes and gets tougher, building all the while for the “end run”.
    I think they’ve got a real shot at something this year!

  12. Mike in the Mountain West November 23, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    SPOILER:

    Where is Odom in this game?! I’m listening and watching on gamecast but Odom scoreless in 13 minutes in inexcusable! He is really starting to make me angry. We need him to play up to his talent if we’re going to go anywhere.

  13. Mike in the Mountain West November 23, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    SPOILER ALERT!

    Notes from the first half:

    1 or 13 from behind the 3 point line??!! First of all why are we shooting so many threes? That’s just lazy. Attack the basket! .

    Bynum’s 3 fouls really hurt us. Mihm is not playing well.

    Odom has got to get aggressive. He has the most uncanny ability to just disappear. He should look into joining the CIA I hear they like people that can easily blend into a crowd.

  14. SPOILER:

    Seriously, MitMW. At the same time, what did we get from the center position? A handful of fouls, bad D, and 2 points? Against Kendric Perkins? WTF?! Pathetic.

    Second half:
    -Bynum keeps out of foul trouble and finds his game
    -Farmar gets back into his game – on both sides
    -Lamar. ’nuff said.
    -Kobe shoots better. He’s playing the right way, taking shots he normally makes, not forcing anything at all – if a few more go down we’ll be in better shape. Good for him for sticking to the game plan when no one can buy a bucket.

    We’re really missing Kwame. Crazy.

  15. Well, as I’m typing this, it’s in the 1st Quarter on KCAL-9 and the Lakers are down 23-10. I’m going to reiterate what I’ve been posting about, and that is the fact that Mihm should be starting. Andrew plays much better with the second unit to start the game, and at least in the previous two games, Mihm has no chemistry with the second unit. I think the coaching staff is trying to force things by starting Andrew, and it’s not working.

  16. Mike in the Mountain West November 23, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    Current mood: disgusted

  17. Defense. Defense. Defense.

    Rajon Rondo 6pts 3-5 shooting
    Kendrick Perkins 14pts 5-7 shooting
    Eddie House 1-1
    Tony Allen 1-1
    James Posey 1-1
    Scott Pollard 1-1
    Ray Allen 4-9
    Paul Pierce 7-13

    Great.

  18. Mike in the Mountain West November 23, 2007 at 8:23 pm

    We’re never going to win when Scalabrine and Pollard are able to match Odom in scoring.

  19. first off, credit Boston which executes on both ends of the floor much better than I thought they could. They did it early on when I watched part of a game a couple weeks ago, but they are still playing with great, great energy.

    In the face of that the Lakers look tentative. They look young and scared. Kobe and Odom need to step up in these situations for the Lakers, and who is doing that?

  20. Defensive rotations have been largely sloppy.

  21. KG is killing us.. and also Lamar Odom (in another way) 2 points in 30 minutes of play? and 0/3 3pt?

  22. Mike in the Mountain West November 23, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    I’m ok with our defense. We kept the big three to 40% 20 of 49. Kendrick Perkins is the one who beat us and in theory I’m ok with that. It’s the Celtics defense and our own ineptitude on the offensive end that killed us.

  23. Boston is great defensively. Not just tonight. Matchups. odom can’t handle Pierce. Ronny can’t handle KG Bynum, tonight, couldn’t handle Perkins. How’s that? Trade Odom please!!!

  24. The Lakers are still shooting the 3 too much. I cringe every time Lamar throws one up.

  25. Lamar Odom numbers for the last 4 games
    ==========================

    ppg 7.75 Rpg 6.25 Turnovers per game 3.25 fgs 10-29 3pt fg’s 0-7

    :-( (

  26. sorry guys. I know i’m struggling, but give me a chance!

  27. SPOILER: Game summary:

    Maybe it’s obvious to say, but this one was lost by the frontcourt. Let’s start with the positives.

    Farmar played great. Really. I wish he had more minutes, but that’s tough to fault PJ for because…

    Fisher played solid. Not great, but better than the rest of the team most of the time he was on the floor. A few times when we were on the brink of letting the game REALLY get away he hit timely shots.

    Kobe played solid. Great D (holding Ray Allen to 5 for 15). Solid offense. Played team ball. I hate to beat this one too much, but it seems that almost the best thing you can say about Kobe is that he plays within the team concept in a game this frustrating. You know those times when he hits two in a row and you know he’s ready to go off? He had them tonight, and instead of pulling up from 27 he continued to work in the flow of the offense. Maybe hurt them tonight, but in the long run that’s what we need. Really nice work.

    VladRad: Solid. He got some good minutes, but I would’ve liked to see more touches. He didn’t get a lot of penetrate-and-kick-out looks until later. His D was suspect early, but he cleaned it up in the second half and wasn’t (as i saw) much of a liability on that side.

    Like a gradeschool scorecard – needs improvement:

    Lamar. I don’t know what to say exactly. I love his versatility, but at some point you have to wonder if the team is best served getting someone less talented who can fulfill their potential in this system. Granted, I don’t think we’re close to that point yet, but how many no-shows does it take before it’s a real issue? We all love him, that’s not the issue, I mean…. just…. come on…. give us something here…

    The 5 spot. Let’s be fair here, Mihm can’t be expected to do much. He’s a real 3rd stringer, so I’m not even going to address his contributions (or complete lack thereof) BUT… Bynum is a little different. I know he’s in a tough spot, but he needs to learn how to stay out of foul trouble. You can’t be successful if you’re not on the court. His biggest (maybe only) fault tonight was not being on the court.

    The last few minutes of this game softened the blow a bit, largely due to Farmar.

    I’d like to say something positive to close out the post, but honestly, I used up pretty much all of my optimism up top. Come on, Lamar.

  28. Mike in the Mountain West November 23, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    Misareaux,

    You’re exactly right with players who can hit the three like Kobe, Radmanovic, Farmar, and Vujacic, Odom should not be shooting any. He should also be taking more than 6 games a shot. After admitting he didn’t play well and taking a lot of responsibility for the loss in Milwauhkee, this is how he tries to redeem himself? Ughhh.

    We threw up 30, yes 30 threes. That’s totally unacceptable.

    I know I already said it but I’ll say it again. Our defense wasn’t bad tonight. Perkins had a career night and the big three actually shot pretty poorly. It was their defense that killed us.

  29. Without the bitter, the sweet aint as sweet.

    As Stu says, let success be your guide, which the Lakers definitely didn’t do tonight from downtown. Perkins getting +20 is a joke. The dude can only score on dunks, layups, and putbacks. If someone that limited is lighting you up, you’re clearly not doing a good job on defensive rotations (sfJayp is right, crazy to be missing Kwame this much; Bynum’s foul trouble was equally bad). Just inexcusable to jack up that many 3s (Stop it Lamar. Just stop it.) and to allow that many open dunks.

    Some positives to work off: we did scrap back to single digits after being down 22. Couldn’t sustain and get the stops needed down the stretch, but that’s worth something. Vlad showed again that he can be a significant weapon. Farmar continues to play great 4th quarters. Kobe’s D is vicious. Not a whole lot more you can say about a loss like that. Not devastating, but “needs improvement” is right.

  30. I know you guys don’t think talent-wise Jermaine is a big upgrade over Odom, but he would be if he fits in our system. Plus, he can play interior defense.
    [edited]

  31. I have been saying that Phil Jackson has to call a timeout and pull LO the first time he attempts a 3pt shot. Then tell him he will do the same again if he shoots that again. I think that is the only way to get through to him. Again, as I have said, LO goes mentally missing at times in games in both passing and shooting – he seems to forget the script and attempt dumb, flat passes. Great talent, questionable mind.

    It wasn’t just LO tonite, but he was this way last year too. I think he is our $13M man for the next yr+ so let’s just forget the trade discussions concerning him.

    After the first 7 3ptrs tonight I couldn’t stand it and turned off the TV. Then I turned on the radio, got the final score and just pouted.

  32. Without Twinkletoes Brown, we were in deep ****. PJ apparently told Bynum that Perkins was “kiiling him,” and asked if just once Bynum could stop Perkins. I guess we know the answer.

    A career night of 21 for Perkins. Hold him to his average (7) and we go into overtime. Or, we could go by the difference in score between Bynum and Perkins–and we win!

    It is natural for Bynum to come off the bench with the 2nd team. That way, Andrew faces a weaker defender on offense, and his defense isn’t so embarrassing.

    Right now, I’d start either Walton or VladRad at the 3 depending on the circumstances–with the other one first off the bench.

    Lamar needs to earn his playing time for awhile. I’m not that concerned about his lack of scoring. I’m a bit concerned about his offensive turnovers–because they are so bad. The real problem is that he does not contribute to team defense.

    Not only is Lamar’s D weak to nonexistent–Lamar’s improper switching makes Andrew look even worse than he is.

  33. why would Indiiana trade for Odom anymore? Won’t happen, unless its for Odom and Bynum, which the Lakers woulnd’ t and shouldn’t even consider. From what I understand, NJ is still interested in moving Richard Jefferson for O’Neal, which would be a much better deal for Indiana unless Bynum is in the package…..Also, re: earlier posts, Kidd is not a free agent after this season, he is after NEXT season, when he’d be 37 years old in ’09…so, not sure about that one —.. I DO think that Kidd on this team would have mad them a contendor this and next couple years, so we’ll see….think the Lakers team is what reasonable prognosticators thought they were/are : 42- 48 win club, probably in the middle…..

  34. Odom’s done folks. It’s boiling over too much and this, the 4th year, just show what it is and we need to CALL Lamar’s bluff of ever being our 2nd guy. Triple double waiting to happen? Funny he’s barely averaging over 2.5 assists a game. Talk about we have what we have and talk about what Lamar COULD bring to the game but that’s enough. This is the Lakers and such a team legacy demands more than ifs and maybes. So actual trade talk being useless he still needs to go somewhere else cause he’s worse then Cook because you KNOW he could be incredible. He just never will be.

  35. For those suggesting we start Mihm you must not have watched Mihm play this season. He cant run or jump so he sucks at offense, defense and rebounding. Bynum had an off night tonight, particulalry with the fouls. Lets not get carried away. This was a playoff atmosphere from the opening tip and Bynum was clearly excited. He will learn from this. Like it or not, Bynum is by far the best 5 man we have and so he should start and get the bulk of the minutes. Not having Kwame when Bynum got in foul trouble really hurts because Mihm has no business even suiting up if that is how he is going to play–all he does is hurt the team. But since Kwame can’t stay healthy to save his life then we are stuck.

    Although his shot was off, I like’d that Bynum was aggressive.

    The fact is, the Lakers haven’t beat many teams this year that are at full strength and on full rest. They’ve been overachieving largely by luck of schedule and injuries. This isn’t a very good team without a legit wing man for Kobe. Lamar, for what ever reason, is simply not getting it done right now–maybe he is playing hurt and not saying anything b/c ever time he shoots it comes up short.

  36. Well that was disappointing.

  37. I used to think Lamar’s game is held back with Kobe in the lineup. It made me think that if only Kobe plays team ball, Lamar’s strengths will be exploited.

    Of course I also picked the Bulls to win the East.

    Its time to accept the fact that the Lamar Odom experiment has failed. I do believe he is a very good player who will fit on all 29 other teams except LA. I don’t know anymore if its Kobe or its the Triangle, but sad to say, Lamar has to go.

    Ok I am holding myself back here but my unending quest to get better AS A TEAM leads me to one conclusion: find Lamar a suitable destination East and proceed with the wave.
    [edited]

  38. Stop with the JO and other trade offers until the people paid to actually make the moves start talking.

  39. Actually 35, I have been watching Mihm play this season and I’ve been the one suggesting he start, despite the fact he gets schooled, which I’ve commented on as well. As you seem to have skipped those comments and only focused on the comments I made saying he should start, I’ll reiterate some of the reasons.

    His offensive strengths can be maximized with the starting unit, as Kobe, Ronny, and Lamar are all better post-up players, and Kobe and Lamar have big skill and size advantages over their defenders when they post up. Since Mihm is worthless down low but a much better shooter than Andrew from 15 ft, playing with the 1st unit suits him better, especially at the start of the game when both teams are feeling each other out.

    Andrew can come off the bench with the 2nd unit against the other team’s backup center and dominate, and be the primary post-up player on the offensive end. He thereby gains confidence for the end of the game, when he finishes with the first unit. He is way better than Mihm, and can play aggressively at the end because the matchups have hopefully kept him out of foul trouble.

  40. Look anyone can see that Lamar isn’t playing well but the best thing we can do right now is give him a chance. The guy is still coming back from injury. I find it encouraging we have been playing so well without lamar really contributing. Imagine how much better we will play when he does…

    Personally I think the story of the season has been Kobe and the effort he is putting in. I just love his intensity on defense. Even when the game was lost he was still giving it to ray allen. Personally I think his shot has been a bit off lately and he needs to attack the basket a bit more but when his shot starts falling and lamar starts performing I have high hopes for this team.

  41. Mike in the Mountain West November 24, 2007 at 4:59 am

    For those of you who watched the game I have a question. I too was really disappointed by Lamar’s contribution. In particular, a guy who is supposed to be our second option should be taking more than 6 shots. Even if he’s not hitting them he needs to stay aggressive and get his touches. Now to the question. Was Lamar tentative out there? Did he look as absent as his line in the box score or was he active but was stymied by Boston’s defense?

  42. Wowzers… people need to chill on giving Lamar such a hard time (myself included). Had he not had such a strong first game, we’d be writing all this off as easing back from his injury. Overrelying on 3′s is a pretty clear sign he doesn’t have complete faith in the shoulder just yet.

    Take a big breath. Garnett is capable of making look lots of dudes foolish on both ends. We ran up against a very talented team that’s been the hottest in the league, with a playoff-type crowd behind them.

    Lamar’s health and consistency have always been problems, but give the guy a chance to rework himself in. He’s still one of the most talented guys out there. I agree he needs to chill on the 3s. But let’s not write him off after just cuz we dropped a couple games on the road.

  43. I watched the 4th Quarter Mike but I can say that Lamar had his hands full covering up KG. I guess thats the major reason why Kendrick Perkins got loose. Bynum and Odom were doubling him but Bynum was slow to recover.

    The defensive effort / output of Lamar on this game was the only thing encouraging. He held KG to 4-12 at some point but KG eventually made some dunks and went 3-4 after that finishing with 7-16. To me, what was inexcusable was Perkins’ 8-10 from the field. At least foul him hard once so that he will be a little tentative the next time. We missed Twinkletoes on this one…

  44. Why do people keep insisting to give Lamar a chance? What is 4 years of chances worth? Have people lost the ability to see when a player with tons a talent and no heart he is worth less than a player with far less talent but plenty of passion? You can’t instill that in anyone. You can’t “give him a chance” to find it if he never showed it in the first place. Come on people, we return to this subject repeatedly over the past few years, are we blind to see something needs to be done about? As of this point he is a liability. This isn’t the pee-wee leagues where everyone gets a trophy (another problem with sports instilled in youth today), this is where people spend hard earned money to see their players in their team’s colors play with the same passion or more so than if those fans were out their on the court. I guarantee you I could score 4 points in an NBA game over the course of Lamar’s minutes. I bet a lot of us could if we have any kind of spot up jumper. And that’s ridiculously indicative of both Lamar and the quality of the NBA today.

  45. Guys (and gals) — this is our team and this will be our team in the foreseeable future. All of us – me included – get too upset with loses like last night. We need to recognize that we were playing a team with three 1st team all-stars who are dedicated to win this year and devil take the hindmost next year; while we have youngsters just learning how to fight through the tough times in the season.

    As was mentioned above, Lamar WAS tasked with guarding KG a fair amount of the time and that wasn’t the easiest assignment available. With our center play he also had to help out down low. Neither assignment got an “A” last night, but the work was tough anyway.

    I haven’t changed my mind on LO, but I do think banging on him and screaming ‘trade, trade, trade’ doesn’t accomplish anything either. He our third guy, not our second and that is not going to change. We need to develop a second scorer. Phil – let’s experiment with our rotations and see who starts to shine. Farmar anyone? How about giving Crit some minutes? Yeah, I know his defense sucks, but we need to see who can consistently score. Vlade should be that guy and perhaps we should start him on that basis? Let’s experiment now so that we know what we will do come the end of the year.

  46. Not to make excuses for the guy, but have there been any injury reports for Odom in the past week or two? I don’t live in the LA area any more, and so don’t always catch such things online.

    If he’s playing hurt, it explains his limited number of shots recently. I figure if you’re in a shooting funk, you go 2 for 15. If you’re hurt, they dont run the offense through you as much and you go 2 for 7.

  47. Bryan,
    Lamar is not hurt, but he is still recovering from his spring surgery. He is not at full strength, but that is true of many players. Lamar, like Kwame, is supremely talented, but doesn’t seem to see the big picture in playing NBA games. His heart is better than Kwame’s, but he seems to get caught up in the moment and the pressure for stretches during games. Often when these occur our team offense gets muddled and we suffer turnovers or poor shooting choices. Not all are his mistakes, but his influence seems to affect those around him.

  48. I am really happy with the start of the season; the Lakers have been a pleasant surprise this year. They have managed to put the Kobe trade drama behind them and focus on playing basketball, by the way I think he is staying with the Lakers the book I bet with http://WWW.Wagerweb.com NBA Lines has the odds oh him leaving at 20/1 so about a 4% chance of him leaving, hope they are right and he sticks around long enough for other players to evolve and have a shot at a championship

  49. First of all, we need to recognize that the Celtics have a very strong starting lineup, so there’s no shame on losing a game to them. However, their bench is really thin and I don’t believe they will even reach the Finals…

    Problems with the Lakers that have been exposed in the last few games (some don’t have a solution on the short term):

    1 – Odom is really a problem. High salary, no basketball IQ, no will to succeed as a top player in the league. The Odom experiment as failed, as stated above. Why is Odom taking 3 pointers when he could be hitting mid-range jumpers or working down-low?

    2 – Bynum is a typical high school prospect. College is essentials to grasp fundamentals during real ball games against proper competition. He will catch up, but his defense on pick and roll situations his not good enough.

    3 – Kobe should really stop with that “I’ll bring the ball upcourt and shoot it myself” routine. It’s getting boring.

    4 – Kwame really makes a difference in our defense. As of right now, Mihm is not a contributor whilst Kwame was…

    5 – We shouldn’t be forced to help our perimeter players that much. I know other guys are good, but when you’re guarding someone better than you, you don’t have to prevent him from shooting… Just force him (invite him) to do things he doesn’t like or want to. Maybe Ariza can provide some aid on that.

    6 – And why don’t we take more mid-range jumpers? The system is designed for that. And the one we should blame is…

    7 – … Phil Jackson! He’s not using the proper rotations and not benching players when he should. You have enough room to take a jumper 5 meters away from the basket? Take it, no need to be 7m away from it (sorry, metric system in my country). Run the motion all the way, and we get easy jumpers with high %. Simple as that. And Mo Evans absence will hurt. I like Sasha as much as the next guy, but for the past couple of years he has shown that he simply does not have NBA 3pt range.

    All of the above hurt more when they only had one of the big three (Pierce) on court and we couldn’t close the gap. You don’t hgave to beat their starting lineup, but you got to beat the whole team…

  50. My condolences to Laker fan/blogger Flea.

    http://www.drunkenaudible.com/?p=117

  51. I admit that I felt a big key to last night was Odom really bringing it, not necessarily in a scoring form, but just contributing. However, I don’t think we should blast him off to outer space just because of that performance. How about his game against the Pistons, he was productive in that match up with Prince. Even if a trade is the best route to improve our team, no one is going to start dealing starters until at least 30 games or so into the season. So, for now, we have no choice but to see how things pan out a little bit more. I also don’t see how the “experiment” failed, he has been a good contributer in rebounding and assists the past few years. Everybody, it was one game, we all would have loved to see a W, but, the Earth is still rotating, so, take a breath.

    As for the comment that the Lakers should develop another scoring option, I think Vlad is the top candidate. He has been pretty consistent at not only filling it up, but maintaining the flow of the offense throughout. Also, Renato, you make some good points, but to say Lamar has no basketball IQ is something I can not at all agree with. I agree he shouldn’t take too many threes, but he didn’t jack them up without regard like he did against the Bucks, which, was also, one game. He can hit the shot, and he missed some open ones. Who really wants to attack the rim against Garnett? As good as Odom is at slashing, you can bet that factor has an impact on that decision.

    Judging Bynum’s D when he was in foul trouble for an entire game is not a good sample for conclusions. Also, Sasha indeed has NBA range, his problem has been consistency. Can’t remember if it was agasint the Bucks or Celtics, but on one play, he received the ball in flow of the offense, took a shot that was open one second, but got closed out quickly, and the product made his decision to shoot look quite unwise. Yet, it was indeed last night as he got the ball in the corner, sent two Celtics flying in the air with a quick fake, and then fared much better. Bottom line, with experience, he is learning, and he has the skills and abilities to be a solid contributer off the bench. For Sasha, range, is not the problem.

    Breathe…

  52. George,

    My point with the pick and roll on Bynum comes from the fact he he doesn’t know how to use his arms (or not to use him, to be precise) to stop the penetration. And I’m not saying he is a lost cause. He will improve on that for sure. And you can body check a player if your arms are “glued” to your torso.

    Regarding Sasha, if one lacks consistency at one task, how can you say that the games where he can score the 3 pt are not the ones that happen by accident? But he has other abilities, he should just shoot the ball from closer range, imo.

    About Odom, 10 rebounds a game when you’re playing 40 minutes per as PF, is good but not excellent. Having 5-6 assists at F is really good, I agree. But those are raw numbers… I don’t like the way how he kills the flow of the offense by NOT being a triple threat. What irritates me and the next is that he HAS the tools… just not the brain. He’s on the 3rd year of the triangle offense and he still doesn’t use his abilities as it should. Is it HIS problem? Is it Phil’s and the coaching staff problem? I really don’t know, but the fact is that he is not making the offense flow as he should…

    A couple of months ago I wrote that post about the triangle offense about how good Odom would fit on such offense… I stand by my words, but his refusal to use his strenghts is weird to say the least. He’s never going to be an outside shooter, so why push it? If I was Phil, I would be brainwashing Odom… “Do you have enough room to shoot? Take a step closer and shoot! Your opponent is smaller? Get him down low! Is your opponent a big stiff? Take him out and beat him off the dribble! Is your opponent KG? Be physical and try to get some fouls… He doesn’t know how to play without intensity!”

    All mental…

    But, yep, I must breathe… I hate losing to the Celtics. Tomorrow will be a better day for sure.

    PS: Haven’t seen JAvaris play yet.Could he fill the role of Kobe’s backup? Or is he more suited to be the ball carrier?

  53. Kurt, please post up a new topic for discussion – be it tomorrows game or your new favorite type of cereal, I just can’t stand to be reminded of last nights game…. I beg you :)

  54. I went to the game last night in Boston and sat in the 2nd row. There were some aspects of the game that I liked, but I was not impressed with the defense, the rebounding, or the offensive execution (for the most part). Guys were jacking 3′s outside of the rhythm of the offense, not cutting, and sometimes passing up good shots to pass it to someone who would have to create a shot basically one on one. Some of the offensive execution made no sense. I am wondering if maybe bringing in Webber might not be such a bad idea.

    Anyhow, some notes I had from the game:

    - Odom has looked out of sync for some time. He’s only played 2 or 3 good games since coming back from the injury and I wonder if he might not be ready yet. He winced at one point while stretching his left arm and I really wonder if he’s maybe not ready. That’d be a shame but better if they diagnose that now rather than a month or so from now.

    - Bynum and Mihm both looked terrible. To their credit though, the refs weren’t cutting them any slack. They both got called for some cheap fouls that really had no business being called. That seemed to take both of them off their games. Mihm was so furious once Fisher had to calm him and when he went to the bench during the timeout, he accidentally sat in Phil’s chair he was so irate. Good thing he moved before Phil joined the huddle.

    - That brings up an interesting point, I never knew that during timeouts, Phil lets the team go to the bench first while he huddles with the assistants and draws up plays. He then joins the huddle and gives marching orders. He did this every timeout I believe.

    - LA played terrible in the first half. It was real ugly. They had a shot in the 4th when they cut it to 9 with 5 or 6 minutes left but that long 3 they missed led to a break and Boston stretched it to 12 (I think) which was a momentum killer. It could’ve been cut to 6 or 7 on that play.

    - Bynum borrowed Kwame’s hands. Farmar gave him a beautiful no look behind the back feed but he mishandled it.

    - Speaking of Odom, he looked lost. I mean, during timeouts, he seemed disinterested in the game. He was staring off into space, not talking to anyone really, and just chilling by himself. He did this on the bench too. At one point, while he was on the bench during a timeout, Kobe whipped a towel at him that barely missed him and was like “Let’s GO!” I don’t think Kobe was trying to hit him but moreso that he was trying to tell him to get his head in the game, which he needed to do. I was wearing my baby blue Odom jersey and was quite displeased with his play.

  55. Sorry for the double-post, but forgot to add something. The highlight of the night came at 3 AM when I got to meet Kobe Bryant himself at the IHOP. Kobe was there eating pancakes at 3 AM all decked out in a suit and tie. Despite what people say, he’s a really cool guy. A lot of people were going up to him and getting autographs, pics, etc. He seemed to love it. We let him finish eating before we went up to see him. I shook his hand, told him he was the best, and wished him luck on the season. He was pretty cool even though a ridiculous amount of people kept going up to him. He was actually there for awhile too. I wish I had my camera though.

  56. This blog shouldn’t be about changes to the team this year – we have our team, like it or lump it. Maybe someone gets dumped at the trade deadline, but it is looking more and more doubtful.

    Let’s talk about changes in roles and rotations that could play to strengths, cover weaknesses, and give younger players experience and exposure.

    How about a topic specifically aimed at this.

  57. thanks for the report Chise. honestly I don’t know why LO acts the way he does sometimes. Does anybody know about this, someone close to him or who has followed his career? Players, even 2nd bananas, should always keep their heads in the game.

  58. From Lakers Daily News
    ==============

    http://www.dailynews.com/lakers/ci_7545619

    No Laker looked more out of sync than Lamar Odom.

    Two nights after he trashed his own play in the Lakers’ loss to the Bucks in Milwaukee, Odom had another poor game. He scored four points on 2-for-7 shooting and grabbed five rebounds in 32minutes against the Celtics.

    Odom has had a difficult time adjusting to a new role, one that requires him to play without the ball in his hands more often than in the past.

    The Lakers are pushing the ball up the court more frequently this season and playing less in their triangle offense.

    “He needs to learn his way in this offense,” Jackson said of Odom. “We’d like him to solve it immediately. But it was a hard one tonight. He had a number of opportunities. He just didn’t go through with it.”

    The Lakers’ troubles were too extensive to pin their loss on one player.

    Plus, the Celtics had something to do with the Lakers’ struggles, jumping out to a 9-2 lead and never trailing while delighting a sellout crowd of 18,624.

    “Great team, great team,” Bryant said when asked about the Celtics. “My reaction right now is that Danny (Ainge, Boston’s general manager,) did a great job putting that team together. … They do a great job of spreading the floor. They have a lot of shooters and every time they (pass) the ball, they seem like they (pass) to their snipers.

    “They are a well-built team.”

    The Lakers, on the other hand, continue to be a work in progress.

    “We will get better as the season goes on,” Bryant promised.

  59. Chise,
    Your account of meeting Kobe at the IHOP is very interesting. To many outside of LA,Kobe is thought to be an arrogant a**hole,yet every first-hand account I’ve read of fans meeting Kobe all tell of a friendly,gracious person who interacts great w/the fans.

  60. The interesting thing is that most of our team compliments Kobe very well. We have the right role players for the most part, and the chemistry between them and Kobe has been great this season. What’s missing is the one guy that will make the other team pay for focusing their entire defense on Kobe. This is supposed to be Lamar, and he has never done that at any time during the last four years. I’m not so sure this player has to be at the 3 position. A defensive player like Ariza at the 3, and a scoring 4, might work better on this team. We are really close.

  61. @Stephen: Exactly. I was there with 4 friends from Boston and a friend of mine from home in Connecticut and they told me they were surprised he was so nice/cool. They had all figured he was a prick given what is said about him in the media. From what some people were saying, Kobe even paid the bill for like 5 tables or so of people that were sitting near his table. He just seemed like a real down to earth humble person.

    It was crazy though because I have been a fan of Kobe’s since he first came into the league. I was about 13 then and now I’m 25, so I’ve got the jerseys, sneakers, etc. And it was so out of nowhere. Like, we came out of the bathroom and looked to the left and he was just sitting there. Can’t believe we passed right by his table and didn’t even realize he was there at first. And he was mad polite too. When I first shook his hand, you know, I told him he was my favorite player and the best in the league. He thanked me and I wished him good luck for the season and he said he thanks again and that he appreciated it. Just real humble, down to earth. Even if he was thinking to himself “I know I’m the best” or whatever, he didn’t act like a self-absorbed celebrity.

    Anyhow, another thing I can’t stand about the Lakers defense is how they help. They help on the wrong type of players, i.e. Ray Allen, Kendrick PErkins, Mo Williams, etc., and then get burned on the wide open shot or the drop off pass for the dunk. It happens far too often. They should help but not when their teammate has the offensive player contained. It causes a lapse in the defensive rotation and someone is always open. I am sick of seeing wide open 3′s and dunks. And the Lakers need better post play. It’s been horrific the last two games. And do away with the 30 3′s they take a game.

  62. Craig, the outcry for Lamar’s head does not come as a surprise since he is paid so much. For instance, suggesting Vlade Radman becoming our second option is ok. However, suggesting we keep a very expensive 3rd (or 4th now that Bynum is coming to his own) option is a rather illogical one when you can actually find a legitimate 2nd option at that cost.

    Take this, if Lamar keeps on playing this way, he will be an impediment to a Laker group that has started to play above expectations. If only you could find 2 players who are willing to guide these youngsters or are youngsters themselves, it would fit more on the “team” concept rather than an oft-injured semi-all-star that never seems to finish everything. He had a very valiant effort last year but its time we end the sentimental value of players thing.

    Just like in any ballclub, your minutes and your privileges are largely based on your production and contribution. I am not blasting Lamar to Mars on his output in the Boston game, I am blasting him for everything.

    Just consider the options… If we could have Lamar and Kwame’s salary come off the books next year, with Kobe and the new bench mob, plenty of players will be interested in signing here. Better yet, take away the gamble and risk part by trading Lamar and you have yourself a legit 2nd option or 2 3rd options at a lower cost.

  63. The Lakers are still feeling their way this season–and Boston should not have come as such a surprise.

    The problem became noticeable against Indiana when the Lakers gave up 117. It caught up to them in Milwaukee when they gave up 110, and has continued against Boston with 107. In the previous 5 games, they gave up an average of 90.

    It’s not only Twinkletoes Brown-but he’s a big part of it. He played when our defense gave up the average of 90–and didn’t play when our defense gave up the average of 111.

    Twinkletoes Brown plays against (and wears down) the #1 Bigfoot Bynum plays (and scores) against the #2. It seems that Andrew gets the glory, but Kwame does the work.

    Until we get Twinkletoes back, we might consider a series of adjustments. For all the reasons presented by The Dude Abides, it makes a great deal of sense to start Chris Mihm and bring in Andrew with the second unit. Walton plays much better as a starter, but VladRad may be a better choice at the 3. In either case, VladRad should be considered our #2 offensive threat. Odom should be treated as an injured player and be an “energy” guy at either the 3 or 4.

    We might want to play Trevor for 5 or 6 minutes with Jordan on the second unit. If we had been further along, Trevor might have been the perfect defender when Pierce was playing with the Celtics second unit.

    If our defensive unit gives up 90, we win almost every game. If we give up 110, we lose almost every game.

    It’s that simple.

  64. Warren Wee Lim,
    I am not saying we shouldn’t trade Lamar, I am saying we cannot trade Lamar. Two different situations. At his salary Lamar is not going to be traded. That I why I say he is ours for the next yr and a half and we should plan accordingly. Kwame’s contributions are now becoming evident and that means we are less likely to trade him and to try to sign him at a lower salary this summer. This is our team and we must try to think of things that will help them develop faster. Talking about trades that will not happen is not very helpful.

  65. Craig,
    There are enough teams that have struggled early that Lamar could be traded. The catch is he cannot be traded for an elite player,and while he could be moved for a good player,the Lakers would have to take back an ugly contract in return.
    That said,like you I don’t expect him to be traded. Unless Kwame’s injury is more serious than has been reported.

  66. how ironic is it all that our team rises and falls with Kwame Brown?

  67. Ironic how we want the starters to play as good as the bench.

  68. Ouch! Watching NBATV’s fantasy show and host just recommended Rashard Lewis this week because the 3 teams Magic play are in bottom 10 in D-Seattle,Sacremento…and Lakers. Didn’t realize the Lakers’ D had fallen so far.
    Just had one of the old Red bits on.This one w/Pete Maravich showing some dexterity drills. Pete was amazing. Brought back alot of old memories as we all tried to imitate Maravich’s moves and wore the floppy socks.

  69. Guys, to be fair to Phil, I must also praise one thing that he SEEMS to be doing (or maybe it’s just a coincidence).

    Having a second unit consisting of Farmar, Walton, Radmanovic and Bynum + 1 (it was Evans, now maybe it’s Ariza) will develop their chemistry for years to come. It’s a really young second unit, that will come into his own in a year or so.

    We will then be built more like a championship team, as the Spurs, Suns and Mavs get older…

    Lamar will eventually be out of LA, or maybe even Kobe, but nevertheless, the future is bright (unless the FO messes it all up).

  70. Renato,
    While the FO has made mistakes, they have done a pretty good job over the last 3 yrs or so. Most of the issues we have with them really are either other team’s preferences (read Minni) or other internal ‘shots in foot’ (read Kobe).

    I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and live with their decisions. Of course, we will all be here to advise them.

  71. Agree with Craig W’s assessment of recent front office moves. Injuries have been our albatross, not bad deals lately.