Game Preview & Chat: The New Jersey Nets

Kurt —  November 25, 2007

Records: Lakers 7-5; Nets 6-7
Offensive ratings: Lakers 111.4 (6th); Nets 96.2 (29th)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 105.6 (15th); Nets 104.4 (11)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Ronny Turiaf, Andrew Bynum
Nets: Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson, Vince Carter, Malik Allen, Jason Collins

Lakers Notes: This year’s Lakers team is off to a good start, but it has played two teams playing at an elite level early — San Antonio and Boston. For all the Lakers are doing right — and there is a lot — consider what happened Friday night a reminder that this team is not at “title contender” status and what that status looks like. Credit to Boston in that game, they’re aggressive defense threw Bynum and Odom and others into a funk. (For the game, the Lakers had an offensive rating of 101, 10 points per 100 possessions off their season average, and they shot 48% (eFG%), well off the 51.2% they are shooting for the season. The Celtics offense was slightly above its season numbers, three points per 100 possessions. And thanks to Rob L. for the stats.)

The question is, can the Lakers put that behind them and get back to doing what won them games?

The Nets Coming In: The Nets are a lot stronger when all three of their best perimeter players are in the game — and Vince Carter missed several games during a recent losing streak. He came back the team’s last game, played 34 minutes and the Nets got the win (against Seattle)

Jefferson is thriving with Kidd feeding him the ball, scoring 25 points per 40 minutes, 10th in the league, and he is using a quarter of the Net’s possessions when on the floor. (For the record, Kobe is second in the league at 29 points per 40, trailing only some guy named LeBron.) Jefferson is getting to the line a lot this season — the Lakers need to not foul him.

Jason Kidd is, well, Jason Kidd. He’s not shooting great (41.8% eFG%) but 39.3% of his possessions end in an assist (third best in the league). Then there is the enigmatic Vince Carter, who is shooting 46% and has a PER of 15 (right at the league average). He may not be playing well, but ignore him at your own peril.

The Nets don’t have much beyond the big three, in part because Krstic is out with an injury. The one guy to watch for is Sean Williams, the Boston College rookie that was popular with this board prior to the last draft. He is shooting 62.5% and is averaging 4.4 blocks per 40 minutes. But, he also has been a turnover machine.

Chise meets Kobe: In case you missed this, commenter Chise went to the game in Boston then was in an IHOP at 3 a.m. (I’m not going to ask why) where he ran into Kobe Bryant.

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.

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.

Keys To The Game: This is going to be quick, there are two big keys as I see it. One is perimeter defense, the Lakers have been sluggish there this season and they can’t be tonight, the Nets run out three good perimeter players. The Lakers have to play better man-on-man, be crisper with their rotations and the bigs have to show and recover better on the pick and roll.

Second, the Lakers should be able to pound the Nets inside and get to the rim, Bynum needs to bounce back.

And as a third bonus thing (at no extra charge), this is a game where the Lakers bench should again dominate.

Tonight’s Game: Where Chick Hearn Night Happens: Back home and smarting from that embarrassment in Boston, I look for the Lakers to get a comfortable win. If they can focus on containing the Nets on the perimeter and not let this be a shootout. The Nets have been horrible on offense, but they have weapons that will beat you if you are sloppy.

The Lakers had better not lose on Chick Hearn night, that would piss me off.

Where you can watch: Game time is 6:30 p.m. (Pacific). In Los Angeles tune into Fox Sports.

Kurt

Posts

109 responses to Game Preview & Chat: The New Jersey Nets

  1. Great story Chise. Nothing close to that good ever came of my 3am visits to all night diners in Boston.

  2. Lamar was going against KG and Pierce on Friday. Tonight it is Vince Carter/Richard Jefferson. If he flames out tonight I think the dye will be cast. LAMAR – punish those guys inside – do it!

  3. Haha Kobe’s so awesome, where else is there to eat at 3 am? Would’ve been one of the best nights of my life to realize Kobe is such a cool cat. Great story Chise.

  4. When you hear sound bits about Kobe on TV they are very cut and short. When you hear longer interviews Kobe sounds like a regular dude (of course there as limits because no one can sound like a regular dude when ‘confronted’ by the media a zillion times a day about the same thing).

    Kobe is is complex person with tremendous talent and drive and under horrendous pressure. I compare the media pressure on him to that on Wilt, in his heyday. He was Goliath and nobody wants to say good things about ‘the giant’. The media doesn’t like it that Kobe is so great, but also so private and they punish him for it.

  5. “In case you missed this, commenter Chise went to the game in Boston then was in an IHOP at 3 a.m. (I’m not going to ask why) where he ran into Kobe Bryant.”

    Not sure if you’re wondering why I’d be in the IHOP at 3 AM or if you wondering why Kobe would be. My friends and I had gone to a club in downtown Boston and were craving some pancakes afterwards. I guess the same was probably true of Kobe and the two guys he was with.

  6. just read on hoopsworld in the NY paper gossip, (so take it for what it’s worth) that Ariza has a “strutural foot problem”…sounds menacing.
    anyway, I’m sure the teams were aware of this and it was covered in the physicals, so I’m not going to stress about it.
    I would like to see him get some PT tonight, and I’m also curious to see if PJ goes back to having Andrew come off the bench, seems to me he’s better coming in replacing Mihm, gives the whole 2nd unit more punch.
    time for a W tonight fellas.

  7. One key to the rotations is that the 1st unit can cover up defensive liabilities a bit and the 2nd unit cannot. Not a big difference, but noticeable – Walton, Vlade. Therefore, I also agree that Bynum is better with the 2nd unit, as he is able to cover their defensive lapses better than Mihm. Again, not a big difference, but a noticeable one.

  8. Sorry to harp on Bynum so much but you two suggesting that Mihm should start over Bynum is outrageous (6, 7). Do ya’ll realize how well Bynum is playing this season? Do you know that Bynum has the best + – stats of anyone on our team? He is putting up fantastic numbers. He’s not perfect but he is so far ahead of Mihm is isn’t even funny. Have you people watched Mihm play basketball this year? He can’t do anything, and I mean that literally. Mihm’s + – stats are atrocious. You seriously want to start him and not Bynum simply because Bynum only plays good and not perfect. Nobody is perfect, but my God Bynum is really bringing it thus far and the last thing he should be doing is coming off the bench behind an injured scrub like Mihm. Have you guys looked at Bynum’s stats? Is there a single big man in the entire NBA that averages a double double and doesn’t start, particularly one that shoot 58% from the field and 80% from the free throw line? Has that ever happened in recent memory?

  9. Ariza and his asthmatic condition?
    =====================

    http://www.nba.com/knicks/community/ariza_040929.html

    Ariza, who was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma at age 11, talked about growing up with asthma and how it affects him when he plays basketball.

    “My asthmatic condition is not as bad as it can be,” Ariza said. “But it’s still asthma so you still have to worry about it.”

    hmmm ..

  10. Bobby Smith,
    The first question is not whether or not Mihm is a better player, the question is are the Lakers a better team right now when Bynum plays more with the second unit, and less with the first unit. The second question is which is better for Bynum’s long-term development?

  11. call me crazy but when bynum isn’t on the floor our interior defense is non-existent he’s not perfect but he is miles and miles better then mihm.. and overall he is miles ahead of kwame also.. I hope for some good defense from the whole team tonight and a nice win..(but hey I’m just praying)

  12. we’re not asking for Ariza to put in 20mins per night, so asthma or structural foot problems shouldn’t be a big deal. it’s not like we thought we were getting a budding all star or something… we weren’t even looking for somebody to do damage, just somebody who will be managing damage while other, better players rest.

    as for the Kobe tidbit, that’s cool. it really must be annoying to have people come up to you and disrupt your peace, but it sounds like he was really nice about the whole thing and actually doing the fans service by staying longer than he needed to. I mean, he could’ve just rushed off…

  13. As for the Bynum / Kwame / Mihm stuff….

    I actually like where we’re at when Kwame is healthy. He’s grown into a solid post defender – and a bearable help defender. Bynum, on the other hand, is growing into an extremely capable scorer and rebounder. His defense will come.

    My point is this – you have to work with what you have. I’m from Philly, so I think back to when the sixers did the right thing for a few seasons leading up to the run in 00-01 and surrounded AI with rebounders, defensive specialists, and roll players. They didn’t need more scoring, so why bother compromising their defense to add unnecessary offense?

    In the same way, sure, to get to the contender level we need a reliable low post scoring threat. But before you can be a contender you have to be a solid playoff team. And for that, we need a consistent post defensive approach much more.

    Once we can consistently guard down low, then we can begin to worry about consistently scoring down low.

  14. Bobby Smith…

    Bynum’s +/- is can be attributed to the fact that he has been coming off the bench and destroying every backup center on his path. However, in moving him to the starting lineup, he gets to face real centers that are top 30 in the league. This could become a point of motivation OR a point of frustration for the young guy. Therefore, I agree to benching him for the first 6 minutes, or at least until the opponent’s starting center catches his breath or leaves due to foul trouble.

    Its really more of a strategy rather than ability or seniority. Plus, him and Farmar are a snug fit. Bolts and Nuts of the same mold.

  15. Hey… I know this is a longshot, but I live in Malibu and the fires have taken cable down for the whole city.

    Does anybody have a Slingbox that can setup a stream of the game tonight? I would be sooooo stoked.

    It’s a longshot, but if you can do it email me at sharky @ brotools.com.

    Sorry to post this here Kurt.

  16. The Nets are on game 4 of a 4 game road trip that’s lasted 7 days, never playing back to back nights. Their previous 2 games were on the west coast, so they’re travel fatigue will just be limited to getting on and off a plane, not jetlag.

    The Nets got blown out by Utah in game 1, and barely squeaked by Portland and Seattle (5 point wins, both of em). The Lakers on their worst day should be better than Seattle and Portland, and on their best day better than Utah, so on paper this should be an easy home win.

    The Lakers are home for the first time in a week. Winning tonight and next against Seattle will hopefully give us good momentum against Denver (as Jekyl and Hyde as we are) and Utah.

    Remember when Carter and Kobe were the two best dunkers in the game? Would be nice to get some youtube highlights out of tonight’s game.

  17. great comment by fish. I guess this will never show in any PER, EFG% or any stat line, but this is why he is so vital for this team:

    http://www.pe.com/sports/basketball/breakout/stories/PE_Sports_Local_D_lakers_notes_25.3336b5b.html

    As one of the leaders of the team, Derek Fisher planned to talk to some of his young teammates. He wants them to get prepared to play the New Jersey Nets tonight at Staples Center.

    “It’s like the game in Milwaukee that you let get away from you that cost you in a game like this,” Fisher said, referring to the 107-94 loss to Boston. “When you come on the road and you play against really good teams, even if you give yourself a chance to win, sometimes you might not win, so games that are winnable, you’ve got to get them.

    “And we let that one get away from us in Milwaukee, and I think that hurt our psyche a little bit and kind of knocked us back. We came in a little lackadaisical, not really playing as hard as we should have.”
    The Lakers (7-5) are seventh in the Western Conference. Fisher doesn’t want his teammates to get down. He wants them to learn from the mistakes they made in the losses to Milwaukee and Boston.

    “We’re 12 games into the season, so I don’t think we should try and forecast what we’re going to do for the next 60 games after tonight’s game,” Fisher said. “But this just gives us an indication of how far we still have to go to be where we want to be, which is fine. We shouldn’t be comfortable at this point in the season.”

  18. 8, much of Bynum’s stellar +- stat can be attributed to his play with the second unit for the majority of the games. He hasn’t had to play as many minutes against the opposition’s first string center. Not only that, his strengths (post-up option down low) are minimized when he plays with the first unit, as Fish and Kobe provide much of the offense overall, and Lamar (when his head’s in the game) and Kobe can provide a lot of the post-up offense. Andrew also has to worry more about foul trouble when he plays with the first unit, so he isn’t as aggressive challenging smalls in the lane.

    When he plays with the second unit, on offense he is the primary post-up option, and maybe even the #1 option overall. He also is usually playing against the opposition’s #2 center, so can more easily dominate on both ends. He also doesn’t have to worry as much about foul trouble, as the other team’s 2nd unit center and penetrators aren’t as proficient.

    You keep harping about how you think we’re not aware of Mihm’s deficiencies, as if you haven’t been reading our posts. We know how weak he’s been playing. We just think his weaknesses hurt the second unit more than they hurt the first, and his strengths (open 12-15 footers) can be maximized in the first unit. We’re also not saying that he should get the majority of the minutes. A 2:1 ratio of minutes between Andrew and Mihm would still work, even with Mihm starting both halves.

  19. Well, it’s not like Andrew is going up against a top-notch starting center tonight. Collins might be the least productive frontcourt player in the league. It’s either him or his twin brother.

  20. Lamar has to snap out of his funk. I know its too early but for a team needing all the help we could get, Lamar needs to bring it! Starting tonight vs. New Jersey…

  21. 2:45 remaining in the first and here are Lamar’s stats:

    1pt, 1foul, 1turnover, 1-2fts, 0-0fgs

  22. bobby smith, maybe you don’t mean it to sound agressive (maybe you do), but when I read your comments it sounds like you’re going off on us for our opinion.
    none of us are experts in this field, ie; are you getting paid in the professional sports business?
    we all have an opinion, right or wrong, but we do share a common thing, and that is that we are Laker fans, some for longer than others, I go back to ’84, so I’ve seen a few games too.
    chill…

  23. Looks like Ronny is the backup center tonight. The Mihm experiment is over, I guess…LOL

  24. How about we put Luke back on the 1st 5?

    Once again, its a strategic positional move. Luke compliments Kobe and the passes he creates. He has snapped out of his own funk being on the bench too and its Lamar who needs to regroup.

    We start Fish, Kobe, Luke, Vlade and Drew.

    In terms of the focal points, Kobe and Drew are the main options. Inside outside punch. Fish and Luke are really good passers and can hit the open shots from 20ft and beyond. Vlade Radman or Turiaf plays at PF depending on matchups.

    The second unit will then be Jordan-Sasha-Lamar-Ronny-Chris.

    A slower version of the bench mob but still with 2 legit options: Ronny’s jumper and Lamar’s game. Perhaps with Lamar playing against the “lesser” 3′s or 4′s of the game he can regain confidence in his shoulders and in his game.

  25. Off-topic: Is San Antonio on a funk too?

    They have givenup 64pts on the half vs. SEATTLE! wtf?
    Durant is 7-7 from the field and Wally’s World is having a field day 8-11 for 22pts AT THE HALF!!!

  26. Woo hoooo! Mihm dominating as third-string center. Maybe he and Bynum took the loss to the Celtics personally.

  27. My oh my. Its Trevor Ariza’s debut. 6:35 left, 2nd q.

  28. I totally agree that bynum should (for now) be part of the second unit. the 1st unit center only needs to defend, rebound and pass. Kobe, Lamar and fish can take care of the offense. Add to that, bynum faces lesser opposition from the centers to the penetrating guards and forwards, so like the others said, foul trouble won’t be too much of an issue. Frankly, Mihm never had, and will never have a back-to-the basket post up game. so why force it now? he can be a ‘luc longley’ type, that gets his points from 8-10ft face up ‘set shots’. i’ve seen mihm hit some with good consistency. he can benefit more from hanging in the elbow or baseline area and get drop passes when centers help out on a penetrating kobe, lamar, or d-fish

  29. And he makes an 8ftr! on his first shot… good sign.

  30. Didn’t we mention not to foul RJ too often? 5-8 so far…

  31. Both teams should be embarressed by their FT% so far. .583 for NJ, .636 for us. And 8 first half turnovers? Against Kidd who can’t play defense, and three guys who are just thankful to be in the NBA, who lucked into a bad team and ended up starting? I can’t watch the game tonight, but how are the turnovers coming? On good defense, or bad offense?

    Bynum is just grabbing every rebound in sight, going by the box score. With Radman starting, and Odom not rebounding lately (he’s scoring well this game, yay!), I’m just glad we have Andrew in there, otherwise Farmar would be leading the team in rebounds.

  32. Odom is performing tonight, he’s committing more fouls than I’d like, however.

    Kobe seems to be in quite a funk, 3/14 is really really unlike him. Then again NJ has always held Kobe to about 18~20 pts or so, so this may not be a surprise (both that he’s not scoring much AND that he’s shooting much).

    For once we’re meeting a team that shoots worse from the three and that turns the ball over more, so I’m not too worried about winning…

  33. For some reason, I cannot watch this game using my NBA League Pass. I think it must be because it is on the Nets network here (YES Network). This has to be the best local commentating team in the league, though, in Marv Albert and Mark Jackson. Jackson has really been giving props to Bynum all game. He even said he felt last year that he wouldn’t have done the Bynum for Kidd trade either.

    Anyhow, I am really liking Lamar’s effort tonight. He is playing much better than he did against the Celtics and Bucks. Farmar, likewise, really impresses me every game. You can just see the confidence he has in his game now and is a pretty good rebounder for a guard as well.

    That said, I agree with those who have said we miss Kwame more than anyone seemed to realize before he went down. I said before the season that he was a big part of our defensive effort and I still feel that way. We are just a better defensive team with him starting and Bynum coming off the bench. Besides Bynum being able to dominate more in the 2nd unit, I think he gets lost in the shuffle so to speak with Kobe, Fish, LO, and even Radmanovic.

  34. JKidd was due a break in scoring, but wow, he’s hitting nearly 50% of his shots today. Not to mention he has pretty much brought the Nets back into the game (as did SWilliams with his blocks).

    Was hoping that Kobe responded with his own little dominating stretch, but it’s not happening yet. At least he’s not hoisting 3s.

  35. Whats with Kobe’s shot these past few games… I mean, it’s just getting awkward now.

  36. after limiting the nets to 18 and 19 pt qtrs, they waste it with a 35pt 3rd qtr… so disappointing

  37. I hold Phil criminally responsible for the run in the 3rd. This is not the 90′s Bulls or Shaq/Kobe Lakers. This is a young team and when they are screwing up continuously you HAVE to call a timeout. Besides, it would be a good place to replace Vlade.

  38. Kobe’s caught something really odd, but at least his FTs are amazing. Maybe it’s the defense that’s messing with his legs.

    We had 17 TOs, 4 from LO, 3 each from Vlad and Luke both of whom could really not score at all today. We got like 4 points from those two, while they shot like 13 times. Fish had just his first miss of the game, and looks like we’re going 3 balling from now…

  39. The way Kobe just beat his man to the basket was absolutely incredible… wow!

  40. Kobe rules. OMG he rules. Oh man.

  41. lol samy, I was right there with you about kobe but now he is on fire!

  42. Again, I feel Phil’s poor coaching let the Nets extend their run and was as much responsible as anyone for the tight finish.

  43. Why was Vujacic even IN the game with 30 seconds left, and TO foul anyone? The guy is the 12th man on the bench, how is he in the final minute of a close game?!?!

    18 turnovers. What’s the league average?

    Odom, Radman, and Turiaf combine for 4 rebounds. 4. That’s criminal, they should each give back some of their salary for tonight’s game.

  44. 0 fer 10? If you’re Kobe, keep shooting. AI, keep shooting. Hell, Nowitzki, keep shooting. But when you’re a mid-level sixth man STOP SHOOTING THE DANG BALL.

    Im upset about this loss.

  45. So… the last play wasn’t run for Kobe? It’s tough to tell, but it looked like Fish wasn’t even looking at him – like they were definitely looking for radman. If that’s the case, wow, that makes me sick. Was PJ just trying to get in Radman’s head to make him step up?

    I’m trying to think of an analogy of how it makes me feel losing a game by 2 when Kobe was denied a shot at it by his own team. I can’t. You just feel cheated. That’s how I feel. Laker’s games aren’t supposed to end without Kobe having a chance to do what he does best.

    Great game by Fish, though.

  46. Our first three game losing streak of the season. Let’s see what happens now, this may be a defining moment of this team.

  47. Oye. How do you give the inbounds pass to a spot up shooter when the receiver of the inbounds pass will 75% of the time have to take a dribble? Nevermind that Rad was something like 0-10 for the game before that. At least Sasha had made a three earlier. Sheesh.

  48. Mike in the Mountain West November 25, 2007 at 11:32 pm

    Our bench plus VladRad lost that game. In particular Walton and Farmar were really off tonight while Mihm and Vujacic were the only bench players not be negative in the +/- column.

    Ultimately I put this loss on VladRad. 0 for 10. I mean what else do I need say?

  49. Defense! Defense! Defense!

  50. God I’m sick of this. Jesus.

    We’re in year 4 of this rebuilding project. Can they PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE finally understand that you have to play every team full out, at least until you get a 20 point lead or so heading towards the end of the game?

    Screw all the prognosticators. THIS is the big problem that keeps us from getting a higher seed in the playoffs.

    It should probably be the main freakin focus of this team this season– CHRIST, learn how to beat Atlanta and Seattle.

  51. Phil! Phil! Phil!

  52. I hate to say it but I think what good we’ve seen in the last 4 wins is the Lakers ceiling for this year. The bench has played superbly well and its the starters that need to step up. Vlade is allowed to have off nights… I mean, he is a shooting big, what would you expect? What’s inexcusable is Lamar and Luke and the other starters including Kobe.

    Next up is Seattle. This is one game I expect the Lakers to go all out with guns blazing. They should get some morale back from 3 tough losses where we should have won 2.

    No more excuses, no more slacking. The Lakers need to tighten up on D. Explore some other players not currently on the rotation if needs be. Sasha is decent at best all year and I think someone else should get that slot for a change. Perhaps have Crittenton as a designated playmaker and have Jordan play the 2 or Ariza playing the 2.

    I don’t know anymore. Have Luke start instead of Lamar and have Bynum back at the bench. His rebounds have always been solid but aside from him there has been no one else.

    Where’s Ronny? Is that ankle still bothering him?

  53. i blame this one on phil. first off for not calling time out when the nets went on a run until they were up by 10 points! and secondly after two timeouts was that last play the best he could come up with?

  54. Time doesn’t heal this wound, I’m still pissed about this loss.

  55. What the heck was Phil thinking on that final play? Yea, lets give it to the guy who was an ice cold 0-9 for the game before that shot. If they were going to run a diversion play with Kobe, I at least expected Derek Fisher to take the shot with the other option, Odom, out of the game.

    Part of the blame goes on Kobe as well on the go-ahead attempt. With 15 seconds left on the shot clock he decides to shoot with both Kidd and Nachbar on him. There had to be a better play than that? What happened to attacking the basket, you were only down by 1?

  56. the other Stephen November 26, 2007 at 7:56 am

    23. aw seriously–if we can’t even play mihm at center, we should get ready to play him at backup cheerleader.

  57. 22. Don’t mean to sound aggressive, so sorry if I came across that way.

    I am just perplexed at the notion that we should start Chris Mihm, who can barely run and jump and has no chemistry with the team because of his sporadic playing time and plays unquestionably terrible defense, over Andrew Bynum, who is one of the overall top performing big men in the league.

    Bynum is the 41st most productive/efficient player in the league (nba eff. stat), putting him ahead of Rasheed Wallace, Lamarcus Aldridge, Paul Gasol, Chris Wilcox, Tyson Chandler, Shaq, Zach Randolph, Brendon Haywood, Lamar Odom, and tons of other big name starters in the nba. Bynum is one of 9 centers averaging a double double, and all 8 of the others are the starting big man on their team and play more minutes than Bynum I believe. That is extremely impressive.

    I’ve played basketball all my life, including in college, so I do know a good bit about the game, but I am certainly no expert. My opinion is that Bynum is the best big man we’ve got by a LONG shot, and right now he is our second best player, so I think he should start and play the bulk of the minutes to get conditioning, gain experience, building chemistry, and generally keep kicking azz like he has been. Converserly, when Mihm is in the game our team usually gets run over as evidenced by his horrific + – stats.

    I don’t even like Bynum that much and I wish the Lakers would have moved him for a veteran, but when a guy plays this aggresive, this efficient, and owns the glass that is fantastic. He should be celebrated, not relegated to the second unit.

    As for the argument that Bynum’s + – stat is inflated b/c he played with the second unit early in the season–I think that is somewhat true. But Bynum plays more minutes than any of our bigs (but not enough IMO) and he has done well generally no matter who he is going against.

    But as usual, almost everyone disagrees with me that Bynum should start and get the bulk of the minutes at center so I guess there is something to be said for that.

    I am going to try as hard as I can to make this my last andrew bynum post………..LOL.

  58. 65 2nd half pts to a team that was averaging only 96 pts a game. What more needs to be said.

  59. I guess we did enough work in the 1st half — we just had to show up in the 2nd.

  60. Mike in the Mountain West November 26, 2007 at 11:19 am

    First off people need to calm down. Take a deep breath. This is not the end of the world or the end of the lakers season. It’s one 3 game losing streak.

    Let’s also put those wins in perspective. Milwaukee is better this year than people are giving them credit for. So far they are 6-0 at home including a win against Dallas. Boston is well Boston. We couldn’t expect to beat them unless we had a little bit of luck on our side. And the Nets, although they haven’t played well recently, are a dangerous team. Although it hurts not to get the W I think there are a lot of brightsides to that game.

    -We only lost by 2 points even though two of our starters, including Kobe went a combined 7 – 31 from the floor and our bench only shot 40%.

    -Even though we went down ten very quickly we were able to fight our way back and it wasn’t all Kobe. We got a clutch three pointer from Vujacic and Fisher. But it was our defense that gave us the opportunity to come back, including a great block from Vujacic. That is very encouraging.

    None of those losses were anything like the losses we had to really bad teams last year. Certainly a tough loss, but nothing to panic over.

  61. Mike in the Mountain West November 26, 2007 at 11:21 am

    Oops. In the second paragraph above “wins” should be “losses”. Wishful thinking I guess.

  62. the only reason Bynum doesn’t start is because they’re just wary of him hitting the wall like last year and want to limit his minutes..shouldn’t we be more concerned with who finishes the game anyways? Bynum usually does

  63. Re the last shot-
    Kobe was very effectively doubled and the Nets gave no decent passing angle to Kobe. In Post-Game Phil said the play had multiple options,but seemed to imply Bynum was primary option! Kobe made little effort to come to ball,for whatever reason.

  64. Whats with Lakers.com not putting up post-game stuff anymore – Im pissed.

  65. I’ve been following the games online rather than watching them and I’ve been reading your comments. So, forgive me if what I’m about to say is obvious. But it seems what we are missing is Kwame Brown (the only other big change between the winning and the losing would be the trade).

    I understand that’s a bit of an exageration. But consitent defense, and a stronger second unit seem to be the two elements lacking in the past few losses. Kwame for all his offensive faults is a reliable first unit defender and starting Kwame strengthens our second unit.

    Injuries are inevitable and losing KB should not be that bad. But please tell me if I’m missing something, or are the Lakers just that off-Kilter without their starting big man. And, if so, this should be a long season for the Lakers since it is reasonable to expect them to suffer more injuries.

  66. Kidd and Crittenton
    ============
    Kidd came into Sunday’s game averaging close to a triple-double this season: 11.2 points, 10.2 assists and a team-high 8.5 rebounds. He had 15 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds in the Nets’ 102-100 victory.

    “He’s a great player, a great acquisition if it happens,” Jackson said. “But those [trade] things, as we know, 90% of them don’t happen.”

    After several seasons playing with a gaping hole at point guard, the Lakers now have veteran Derek Fisher and surging second-year player Jordan Farmar.

    Jackson, however, insisted on talking about rookie Javaris Crittenton, who has had very little playing time.

    “Even though I’m sheltering this young man, he’s going to be a player,” Jackson said.” We know that. He’s got a future with this club.”

  67. Kwame goes down and we start losing…I don’t understand why he is so important but Lakers really do play better when he is on the Team. I still think Bynum is the future but we need Kwame back soon.

  68. Mike in the Mountain West November 26, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    For those of you wondering if that last play that got an ice-cold Vlade the shot from three was the best Phil could draw up… well it wasn’t. He didn’t draw that play.

    Lakers lose by two
    Confusion in the final seconds led to the loss.
    By KEVIN DING
    The Orange County Register

    Andrew Bynum made a colossal mistake on the game’s final play of the Lakers’ 102-100 loss to the New Jersey Nets on Sunday night at Staples Center, misreading Phil Jackson’s diagram to set up a potential winning shot for Derek Fisher’s hot hand.

    Bynum’s error spoiled an otherwise strong night for him and resulted in the Lakers settling for a contested three-point miss from Vladimir Radmanovic at the buzzer; he was hardly the Lakers’ preferred shooter given he had missed all nine shots he tried.

    Bynum accepted responsibility afterward.

    “Honestly when we drew up the play, I thought that I was supposed to set the pick for Vlade for the three,” Bynum said.

    “Really, he (Jackson) wanted me to face the ball and get it on the inbound — you know how the defense falls asleep — and then Fish steps back inbounds and I was supposed to give it right back. But the way he (Jackson) diagrammed it, I thought I was supposed to set the pick for Vlade.”

    Jackson’s way might have worked perfectly if Bynum had gone to get the inbound pass and given the ball to Fisher, who made 8 of 10 shots on the night for a season-high 20 points.

    New Jersey’s Antoine Wright left Fisher, the inbounder, to double-team Bryant at the top of the floor, so Fisher would have been wide open.

    You can find the rest of the article here http://www.ocregister.com/sports/bryant-bynum-jackson-1929300-lakers-three.

  69. @ Brian P. Kwame is important because he’s a large physical presence in the pain that contributes a great amount to the first teams defensive performance.

  70. Did anybody notice Phil’s comments in the times on J. Critt? He really likes this kid!

  71. Guys, just so you know why I suck and didn’t get up a new post today, I was out of town for the holiday weekend at my inlaws place that has no internet connections (well, I suppose I could have rigged dial up, but this was supposed to be a vacation). Sorry, nothing new today. If you really want, you can go over to sportshubLA and join the Kidd or Bynum discussion (but do it there, not here).

    http://www.sportshubla.com/2007/11/26/armchair-lakers-gm-kidd-or-the-kid/

    Anyway, sorry for the stale posts. I’ll have up a new preview and some new thoughts tomorrow. But, I think Mike in the Mountain West said it well in comment #60.

  72. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woAoCrjssmU&eurl=http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/simmons/index

    This is for you Kurt since I know you like the “NBA Where Amazing Happens” videos.

    @ Misareaux

    I understand his defensive presence and actually said right after he got injured that I was worried and that we need him back soon.

    What I don’t understand is that he lacks ANY other skill besides low-post defense. He isn’t a great help defender, not a good shot-blocker, not a good rebounder, and is hopeless on the offensive end.

    I don’t understand how he can be a liability in all those categories and still be so crucial to our team. Bynum isn’t that much worse on the low-block than he is, and he is much better in the other categories Kwame comes short in.

    Just puzzling thats all. Either way we need Kwame back soon.

  73. It may be possible we are losing because now we are playing teams that have their best players suiting up and aren’t on the first back to back of the season (see Utah, Pho, Det, Chic, and Hou wins). It doesn’t look like it on paper, but the Lakers caught some major breaks with opp. strength coming out of the gate and that to a certain degree accounts for the eary wins I would venture.

    Also, this team clearly misses Kwame because he is a good defender and would be a great person to bring off the bench. And when we don’t have Kwame, we have to rely more heavily on Mihm or others that aren’t as helpful to the team. So not having Kwame hurts, yes, but there are many other factors involved (including the recent play of Lamar Odom).

  74. Just read this interesting blog topic about Kobe in relation to Hakeem Olajuwan. Definitely worth a read…

    http://weritegoode.blogspot.com/2007/11/sometimes-best-trades-are-ones-you-dont.html

  75. And along the linking lines, if you haven’t read Eric Neel’s piece on the Celtics you should. It sums up how I feel pretty well:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=neel/071126&sportCat=nba

  76. The Celtics piece is great, that pretty much sums it up for me too. I’m one of those international fans who got to introduced to the NBA from games (PC-game back in the days of Intel 8086′s), the original Dream Team, and a Japanese Manga titled ‘Slam Dunk.’ In game-terms and cartoon terms, Celtics are the ultimate nemesis – the big bad guy with all the banners – so rooting against them is really automatic.

    And, as a Laker fan, for some odd reason, seeing the Celtics rise again makes me feel as if the Lakers will rise too. I know it’s totally illogical, but it there is a feeling of destiny or something – if the Celtics regain their elite status, somehow the Lakers will too. It’s only proper that when the Lakers become true contenders, that the Celtics should be there waiting.

    Bynum is still raw, Kobe is still too much in his prime, and Lamar is getting lamer, but if the Celtics can rise again… so will the Lakers.

  77. Brian P,
    “I don’t understand how he can be a liability in all those categories and still be so crucial to our team.”

    The Lakers are not a deep team; the fact that they have a bunch of players from roster positions 4-12 who are roughly equal in overall ability (although obviously at different positions, and with varying skill sets) is frequently confused with being deep. The fact that an injury to someone as limited as Kwame is can have such an apparently significant effect demonstrates the lack of depth.

    Would anyone on the bench be starting for any other team in the league? Probably not (considering Bynum a starter here.) Another sign that a team is not deep.
    How many of their players

  78. Kwame is important to this team and not because we don’t have enough players.

    We have been dogging Kwame so long that it is hard to realize that he has a real place in our structure. So does LO, but they both suffer from overhyped expectations. They are also overpaid for what they contribute.

    That is exactly the reason I feel Mitch was right to retain our ‘young guns’ and not trade for more vets – that would most likely disappoint and be overpaid also.

    Taking the salaries out of the picture, Lamar is a good #3 on our club and Kwame is a better-than-adequate defensive center. That is who they are and the positions they fill. It does no good to complain about their not being someone else. Bynum is our offensive center and he may develop more defensive presence as time goes on. We have to grow a #2 shooter on our team and I have thought we should give Vlade 1st crack at this.

  79. “It may be possible we are losing because now we are playing teams that have their best players suiting up and aren’t on the first back to back of the season (see Utah, Pho, Det, Chic, and Hou wins). It doesn’t look like it on paper, but the Lakers caught some major breaks with opp. strength coming out of the gate and that to a certain degree accounts for the eary wins I would venture.”

    Whoa, that sounds like me.

  80. the other Stephen November 26, 2007 at 8:21 pm

    today, henry at truehoop wrote about last night’s game in which bynum’s misreading the last play led to vlad, and not fisher taking the last shot. i clearly remember bynum standing at the outside of the huddle looking in while they laid out that last play, as well as secretly thinking, you’d better be listening, andrew, cause this is damn important. apparently he wasn’t. but it’s okay. i forgive you.

  81. I agree that we look too much on the salaries and the expectations rather than look at it on the perspective of contribution. But I also agree that it makes no sense paying someone 13M if the production can be had at 8M. Its simply running the team in a cost-effective manner that allows you to further strengthen whatever you have going. We have to face it that this is not high school ball. Salaries are always a part of it.

    Kwame earns a good 9M. If you ask me, he can be had for 5M. This can only happen if we keep him and let him expire for ourselves. Or, we can trade him to some team that gets rid of him immediately thru waivers or thru a buy-out wherein he can sign with the Lakers for a lot less after the trade commences.

    Lamar Odom will be hard to trade but its not an improbability. There are a lot of teams interested in beefing up the frontcourt IMO Chicago, Washington, New Jersey, Golden State and Phoenix. There will also be teams that will look at it on a more temporary basis as a good stopgap of salary to unload in 2009. Teams like Sacramento, Seattle, Portland and Minny.

  82. Question for the gang (and the sooner you can answer the better, I was asked this and need a little input since I didn’t see any of the Nets game). We’ve talked around this for a couple days:

    Biggest difference between the Lakers that got off to the fast start and the Lakers of the three-game losing streak?

  83. Kurt,
    1) Kwame! Sorry, but that is the case here.
    2) Teams with good outside shooters.
    3) Consistent defense for 48min.

  84. Kurt I know this is short, but it is definitely true:

    The identity of the second unit.

  85. 1) Not catching teams at just the right time

    2) Perimeter defense

    3) Kwame/Turiaf/Evans injuries and trade throwing the rotation out of whack.

  86. IMO, the biggest difference is the injuries to Brown and Turiaf, which necessitated the breakup of the second unit. The chemistry was great with those two providing defense down low for the starting unit and Kobe, Fish, and to a lesser extent LO providing the offense.

    Then we had the second unit coming in and altering the tempo of the game, in a good way. Great chemistry there. Then, down the stretch, Phil could go with Kobe and whoever he felt would be needed or who was playing well, depending on how the game had been played up to that point.

    Losing Kwame altered the chemistry/dynamic of both units. Ronny hasn’t been starting as much since he’s come back, so Andrew’s main help on the defensive end down low has either been Vlad or LO, neither of whom is a shot-blocker. Also, Andrew was able to rack up better numbers by dominating the opponent’s backup center. He’s not getting those opportunities now, even though the effort still seems to be there.

  87. Injuries to Kwame and Turiaf, and bringing Odom back from injury, trying to get him healthy again.

    Same as last year, our health stops us more than any opposing team has.

  88. One other possible reason: teams early on may have been sleeping on Farmar and Bynum (and the 2nd unit). Studying game tape of the first few weeks may have negated their effectiveness.

  89. Injuries to Kwame and Turiaf has a lot to do with it. It missed up the rotations and the chemistry with the second unit that they were still developing. Also Lamar is trying to come back from an injury and adjust to a new position and new role in the offense and defense. The offense is a little out of sync (as evident by the decline in assists) and it seems that they feed off their offense so the defense has declined as well.

  90. Kurt

    Two answers, perhaps.

    1. Injuries
    2. Predictability

    Injuries hit us hard, we lost two starters, really. Sure Turiaf and Kwame aren’t HUGE improvements over Vlad, Bynum, Mihm, but they were our starters, and probably so for a good reason.

    Starters are setup to complement Kobe. I think Kobe’s recent scoring drought came with starting Bynum; I think it messes up with Kobe getting into a rhythm. Kobe needs an energy guy in Turiaf (or an emphatic Yes-man) and some comfort having Kwame protecting the paint.

    The bench needs a good, reliable offensive option, which Bynum has blossomed into, to be effective. For all of Farmar’s talent, his passes ending up with Mihm or Sasha just isn’t the same.

    Also, I think we are pretty much exposed. Kobe is prbably the heaviest-scouted player in the league, and while Bynum and Farmar flew under the radar for a bit, other teams have adjusted.

    Phil has never been known for his X’s and O’s… he is all about massaging egos, development and mindtricks. He beats opposing teams by making his players smarter, not by outhinking the opposing coach.

    Since we’re not getting Kwame back soon, and since Phil is not going to try outcoaching the opposing team, I don’t think there’s anything we can do other than to try keeping mental lapses to a minimum. Any team in the NBA can compete, and as long as we minimize our mistakes and have Kobe, we should be able to win our share.

  91. If Phil is so bad on X’s and O’s, why not let Rambus be the game coach?

    Actually, that is a serious question.

  92. I can’t help but feel what the Lakers need is a good PF. (Lamar doesn’t count) The bench mob + Ronny would be fierce and the first unit would have a reliable scorer in the front court (again, Lamar doesn’t count). Vlade needs to improve his defense before I’d consider him a first teamer.

  93. The next post I read that blames lack of Kwame for last night’s loss will probably make me shoot myself in the face.

  94. Turiaf not playing in the starting line up the way he was at the beginning of the season has definitely switched things up a bit. The starting five is missing his energy and defensive toughness.

  95. Kwame. Bang!

  96. Seattle is up next. Any idea how we could beat this team?

    For purposes of predictability, it might be wise to consider Luke to the starting 3 again. Its not like its gonna change the dynamic of the whole team, its just the jumpstart. Furthermore, it might surprise the other team knowing that their backup 3 will have his hands full covering up Lamar Odom and the bench mob.

    Start Fish-Kobe-Luke-Vlad-Mihm.
    Off the bench Farmar-Sasha- Lamar-Ronny-Drew.

    We could start by running screens for Vlade and Kobe with Luke on top. Fish gets the occasional corner look and Mihm will be the one defending the middle. Well its Seattle. They have Wilcox and Kurt Thomas who are not great offensive players.

    As soon as this team holds its own for about 8 minutes, have the subs en masse by placing in Lamar, Drew and Ronny. That will throw them off. Then afterwards, Sasha and Fish.

  97. Oh and you guys all got to see first hand why I was so high on Sean Williams. Outside of his weed habit, there is no way that guy should not have been a top ten pick. Imagine if he would have fell to the Lakers. A young big core of him and Bynum would have been ridiculous. Although, we also didn’t do too bad with Crit. Can you believe that there was a draft where Crit, Williams, Stuckey, and Nick Young all fell out of the Lottery?

  98. Can I be the sunny optimist/dissenter here? The Lakers are better than their record. The team had a good hot streak, they’ve hit a cold one now. Their point differential points to a team that should be about 9-5 (yes, I know they haven’t played that many games yet). It’s still early and the point differential is still swinging a bit from game to game, but my point is this: Chill out everybody. This squad is good and they’re going to bounce back.

    And they’re going to do it with Kwame injured. Just wait and see.

  99. Warren, after last night’s game, i really don’t want to see Luke and Vlad play at the same time. Neither can rebound, and with Mihm there instead of Bynum, that lineup is just screaming the other team to just put the ball up.

  100. Warren, also there are no easy points in that lineup. We would be at the mercy of whether out perimeter guys are hot or not.

  101. Kurt,

    1) We are now playing teams at their full strength unlike our early wins. I mean really, 5 of our 7 wins were against teams either on their first b2b or that were missing their best player. The Lakers have lost every game this season against a strong opp. at full strength. This team isn’t as good at their early record indicated.

    2) Injury to Kwame and Ronny has gutted our big men because we had to rely the likes of Mihm and Cookie and, well, that’s just not going to work. For all of Bynum’s production, he needs Kwame and Ronny in their going to battle with him.

    3) Lamar and Luke are generally playing very poorly and Kobe is shooting a very low percentage.

  102. Phil’s style of coaching – let the guys figure a lot out for themselves during the game – is easier for a veteran group who have good Bball IQ. This is a young team and will struggle with this approach until they do make the connections. It is much more important that our team have a high Bball IQ than for a team that plays for say Skiles, who is a control freak.

    We cannot afford ‘space cadets’ because they don’t seem to learn. This is where Brian Cook was so frustrating. Truthfully, our team is fairly bright, but young. Kwame is frustrating, but mostly because of his offensive confidence and hands. I think the jury is still out on Vlade. Sasha is a bit on the flakey side. When these guys are on the floor Phil needs to take more control than when they are not.

    Actually Lamar worries me because I do worry about his Bball IQ. Kobe’s greatest strength is also his greatest weakness – his stubbornness. Phil has to be very careful, but very firm with these guys. I think Lamar has to be pulled when he shows any evidence of ‘brain fade’. He can then be put back in later. I think with Kobe Phil has to work with the PGs not to give in to Kobe’s demands when he seems particularly worked up. Fisher is used to this, but Farmar needs to be encouraged in this area – he is already a strong leader type.

  103. Here are a couple of notes from Hoopsworld I thought you all might like…
    “However, Lewis was able to make a pass into the lane for an easy basket because the two new guys – Ricky Davis and Smush Parker – were standing around. This will get better as they play together, but the learning and improvement curve better be almost vertical in these next few weeks.”

    and…
    “Whether they can be good enough to challenge the best teams in the East is another matter, and that may be determined by some guy named Smush, a rusty old Penny, and some youngsters named Potential.”

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?STORY_ID=6194

  104. A simple question…since I live in the East Coast, I don’t get to catch many Lakers games. Why does Bynum average so few shot attempts a game? He’s averaging 11 points on about 8 shots at this rate. I wonder what would happen if he shot around 12 or 14 shots a game.

    Is it a concerted plan by the coaching staff to limit his shots, or does he simply not take him when given the opportunity.

  105. kurt, I think #86, the Dude who abides answered your question (in my humble opinion) best.

  106. DY,
    Bynum is a young 20, knows it, and is trying to learn the game. He does not assert himself like a Shaq yet and strong egos can ignore him without his complaint. This will change, but right now the coaching staff is trying to get other players to feed him more. Farmar has developed a rapport with him and did feed him on the 2nd unit. On the first unit he is not considered a 2nd option yet.

    Actually he should be the 1st option on the 1st unit because he can pass so well. Perhaps this year’s experience for the entire team will lead to this.

  107. Everyone, thanks for the input that both confirmed and added to my thinking on the recent slump. Later today, in the Sonics post comment thread, I’ll link to the reason for the question.

  108. 104. I agree with Craig’s answer to your question. I would also add that Bynum has generally be taking very high percentage shots. Were he to up his shots to 12 or 14 a game as you suggested, then some of those shots for sure would be more diffcult. That assumes we don’t up his minutes. If we up his minutes to approx. 32-35/game then I would think he would shoot more of those high percentage shots.

    That said, I do think he should get around 12 shots/game and, like Craig, I would like to see the team run the offense through Bynum a good bit of the time.

  109. I am enjoying the patient approach with Andrew, at this rate, it won’t be too long before he is putting up more shots, and (hope to dear God) the offense funnels through him a bit more, and we can all cheer and say, That’s Bynumite!