Game Preview & Chat: The Utah Jazz

Kurt —  November 30, 2007

Records: Lakers 9-6; Jazz 11-5
Offensive ratings: Lakers 111.5 (5th); Jazz 112.2 (3rd)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 104.9 (11th); Jazz 104.2 (8th)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: (This is what I’d do, I have no idea what Phil will do after last night) Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum
Jazz: Deron Williams, Ronny Brewer, Carlos Boozer (day-to-day), Andrei Kirilenko, Mehmet Okur (day-to-day)

Lakers Notes: The Lakers played very well for 60% of the game, and that was enough to get a comfortable win over the nuggets. Early on (in the first on court stint for both Fisher and Farmar) the Lakers seemed caught off guard by the aggressive, gambling style of the Nuggets. But when Fisher and the other starters came back in halfway through the second quarter the Lakers offense settled down, stopped turning the ball over and that took the Nuggets out of their running game and easy buckets that fueled the lead.

Radmanovich has not thrived as a starter (last night in the first quarter he had two turnovers and two missed threes, and he was the first guy subbed out (of course, Turiaf is in for him and makes a turnover on the second possession in the game). The ying to that yang, Luke Walton has struggled off the bench but got a start in the third quarter (moving Lamar to the four) and he and the offense thrived in their familiar roles.

When the gambling wasn’t working, at the start of the fourth quarter the Nuggets started playing more zone. There are conventional wisdom ways to beat a zone — pound it on the inside, or shoot over it. Sasha Vujacic almost single-handedly beat the zone by shooting over it (yes, kwame a., maybe too much but when you’re hot….).

My favorite play of the game, in the third quarter on a mini-fast break Fisher just took the ball right at Camby, used amazing savvy and body control to draw the foul and hit the shot. About three times a game he just makes a veteran, smart play that we haven’t seen since, well, he left.

As for the Nuggets… I tried to post this in the comments yesterday and screwed it up. But after the game I thought it was dead on. It is’s David Thorpe talking about Denver.

Allen Iverson, Marcus Camby, and Carmelo Anthony are three big names for Denver. Thorpe singles out this team as the antithesis of San Antonio’s approach of accumulating good role players. “Denver’s like an AAU team, where every time they lose everyone thinks they should have gotten five more shots.”

What About Odom? He was off his game again in the first half against Denver — not aggressively going to the hoop on offense (and missing his jumpers), not physically challenging to Carmelo on defense (although that is a tough match up), not taking charge of the second unit when he was the best player on the floor for the team at the start of the second quarter.

In the second half he got a few lay-ups, then hit a wide-open three later. Is that the start of him turning it around? Do you want to bet on that? Is he just better suited at the four?

I’ve waited for him to turn the corner, but I’m settling into kwame a.’s assessment that Odom is what he is — inconsistent. At times he can be brilliant, but to expect him to maintain that over 82 games is asking too much. He’d be a great third option, but is not the second option that can take this team to the next level.

The question is: How do we get the most out of him? Is it moving him back to the four and setting him up closer to the hoop? He said he is a natural three, but hasn’t played like it. Do we give him more time? It is only November, just 15 games into the season. Is it just a matter of making him more comfortable? Or uncomfortable?

I’m not sure what the answer is, and I don’t think the coaching staff seems to either. Off the court, Odom is maybe my favorite Laker right now and after all he’s been through even Scrooge is rooting for him. But I’m not sure what to expect on the court night to night, and that isn’t good for a second option on a good team.

The Jazz Coming In: They are good, they are deep, they are 7-3 in their last 10 and Carlos Boozer is leading the way in that stretch shooting 60.8% and scoring 25 a game. Not to mention his 10 boards.

Jerry Sloan is an old dog with a new trick this year, opening up the offense — the Jazz play at the seventh fastest pace in the league, almost identical to the Lakers. The results have been great — the Jazz are the third best offense in the NBA this year, shooting 51.6% (eFG%) as a team.

Both Boozer and Okur and game-time decisions tonight due to nagging injuries. Whether or not they play will be a big factor in how the Lakers line up and match up.

Last time these two met: It was a Sunday night game four games into the season and the Lakers got the win. Kobe led the way, with 33 points, a +13 and he shot an incredible 71% (eFG%). But it was Andrew Bynum — against one of the best front lines in the league — who shot 85% and was a +14, while Jordan Farmar was +11 and shot 68.8% off the bench.

Those three stood out in the key stretch in the fourth when the Lakers pulled away. To be fair, it was the second game in as many nights for the Jazz, and the fourth quarter is often where teams on a back-to-back fade.

The highlight of that game — Kobe rejecting an AK-47 dunk.

D-Fenders note:
Coby Karl with 19 for the D-Fenders, on 7 of 14 shooting (1 of 3 from deep). He had 15 in the first half. Sean Banks led the team with 28. Oh, and the D-Fenders won, 123-111.

Keys To The Game: If the Lakers win tonight it will be because of a good defensive effort. First, the Jazz love them some pick-and-pop and high screen plays (you would too if you had Williams running the point) and the Lakers need to defend that well, with the bigs showing out strong then recovering, or it will be a long night.

Under any circumstances the Jazz front line is a tough match up. Bynum on Boozer? I think Boozer will play — he came back from a sprained ankle last game to play the fourth quarter (although those tend to swell after the game is over and the tape is off). Okur went out with back spasms and just judging the tone of Jazz beat guys I think he sits. But then, who do the Lakers use on AK-47? Walton? Odom? Whoever it is the Lakers will need to control the paint to win.

Kobe took it to Brewer last meeting and will need to do it again. And the Lakers bench will need to play like it did in the fourth quarter again.

Tonight’s Game: Where At Least We’re Not All Knicks Fans Happens: A back-to-back with travel going up against one of the NBA’s best teams is not a recipe for success. The good news is that the great play of the Lakers bench last night means that Kobe, Odom, Fisher, Bynum and others got plenty of fourth-quarter rest.

Still, it’s hard to predict a Lakers victory here. What I want to see is a good game and good effort, not a young team that takes a night off.

Where you can watch: Game time is 7:30 p.m. (Pacific). In Los Angeles we get a choice: KCAL (9) or ESPN. I’m still not quite sure why Joel Meyers is better than Paul Sunderland and that change needed to be made, but I’ll take Joel and Stu over just about anyone at the WWL. Nationally, you don’t have a choice. Sorry.

to Game Preview & Chat: The Utah Jazz

  1. I don’t think Joel Myers is the best play by play
    annoucer, but Paul Sunderland deserved to get fired.



    This is taken from the link above. I thought it was interesting.
    In the NBA’s most recent player survey based on opening day rosters, the Lakers rank as the NBA’s 9th youngest team at 25.90 years of age, trailing only Memphis (25.87), Philadelphia (25.73), Chicago (25.72), Utah (25.61), Atlanta (25.48), Golden State (25.42), Seattle (25.35) and Portland (24.06). Of those eight teams, only Utah at 11-5 has a better record than the Lakers at 8-6.

    However, with their November 20th acquisition of 22-year old Trevor Ariza from Orlando in exchange for veterans Brian Cook and Maurice Evans, the Lakers now rank as the SECOND youngest team in the NBA (25 years, 158 days) behind Portland (24 years, 53 days) and ahead of Seattle (25 years, 167 days) as of 11/26/07. Additionally, the Lakers have two of the league’s 10 youngest players in Andrew Bynum (tied for 6th youngest with Milwaukee’s Yi Jianlian) and Javaris Crittenton (5th).

    We are the 2nd youngest team in the league. That is good news for our future.


  3. 1. Maybe it’s my untrained ears, but liked Sunderland. I like Meyers too. I guess I don’t see/hear enough of a difference to understand why make the change.


  4. Two questions:-
    1- With Kwame out who will Jackson put on boozer tonight?
    2- Jackson Extension To Keep Kobe In LA?

    Yet Jackson rejected the idea that his good relationship with Bryant, and his commitment to stay through 2010, might influence Bryant, – who can opt out of his contract in 2009, – to rescind his trade demand.

    “I think Dr. Buss has stated, maybe twice, once this summer and once this fall, that it’s not our intention to trade Kobe,” Jackson said. “It never has been our intention to trade him.

    “Since the season started a month ago … there’s not been one iota of trade talk. It went up to a certain point and then the door closed and we’ve been going forward since that time.”


  5. I hate to be pessimistic when it comes to the Lakers. Getting Utah at the Nuclear Waste Center, on a back to back? Will be a tough go, but I feel the NBA’s second youngest team will make it a game.

    A more confident Farmar against Deron will be interesting. Having LO back in full swing as well as our D a little more mature, can make us tough to beat. But on the otherhand, it could be a Boston embarassment all over again.

    Good measuring stick whether we win or lose on how we are maturing as a team.


  6. Does anybody think by Phil signing the extention he’s making a statement to Kobe? I think he really likes the talent this team has (and also the 24 mil) Next year trading Kobe will be even more difficult because of the opt -out clause Kobe has in his contract. I think teams at that point will probably just sit back and wait.


  7. Kurt-great preview. You’re right about the quicker pace of Utah, and it’s really all because of Derron Williams, it is amazing to watch him dribble the ball, it’s like he has it on a string, he also has confidence in his game right now, and you can see it. Boozer is a beast, he’s gonna get his regardless, like Williams.

    For the Lakers to win Okur can’t have a big game, I’d expect us to start Drew on Boozer, hopefully he doesn’t get into foul trouble. Rebounding will be a big part of this game to, both teams have big frontlines. Should be a good game, the two best system offenses in the leauge, how come Sloan never came up with a nifty name?


  8. I think the Lakers match up OK with Utah. Size helps against the Jazz and the Lakers are very long. Turnovers will be the key, because Utah is so strong defensively. If the Lakers can control the ball (and the boards) they will have a decent chance to sneak one out on the road. The fourth quarter rest last night was a luxory they don’t usually have, so it could be a factor (especially for Bynum who was brilliant in limited minutes and didn’t have to play above his threshold). Overall, I like our chances to be competitive tonight and maybe even have a statement game.


  9. LO struggling right now is the only reason this team isn’t killing it. Bynum has become the presence we needed him to be, he’s just as good a position defender as Kwame right now I think. If LO can step it up, we have a really good core of 3 players. He doesn’t even have to be 20-10, just 15-9-3 and I’ll take it.


  10. Kurt, in my calendar I have the game time at 6pm Pacific. Has it been changed?


  11. Sorry to be off topic, but I attended the game last night and towards the end of the blowout I “found” myself sitting about a row away from the end of the Lakers bench. It was great to see all the guys (especially Bynum and Turiaf) really get excited when J Critt got in the game. I know a few people have mentioned it already, but in the past few days…….he has gotten tremendous praise from Phil and Tex Winter. The both concur that he is going to be a special player (even Kenny Smith said he should get more playing time). There is something electric about him. I hope we don’t make any changes at the PG spot…….I think we are set in the future for a very long time (finally).

    It just seems like to me that the team really enjoys playing with and for each other (of course this is off a win!). Its nice to see a glimpse of that every now and then.


  12. 10. I double checked at, the official schedule. But it could be wrong.


  13. 7. You may be the first person every to use the words “Jerry Sloan” and “nifty” in the same sentence.


  14. I also prefer Paul Sunderland to Joel Meyers. I like how he’s more emotional and into the game than Joel is. My favorite play call of his has to be the game winning shot that Kobe hit against the Blazers to win the Pacific in 2004. Watching that still makes me smile.


  15. my biggest problem with Joel is that he is not a Laker, he was the Spurs announcer for a long time and he does Big 12 college football and NFL football and college basketball…and the Lakers. To me its just a notch in his belt, Sunderland, for all his faults, was the Lakers announcer, first and foremost and thats the way i think it should be


  16. 4. I don’t think Phil resigning had anything to do with Kobe staying. I think he is having fun coaching right now (as much as you can its a stressful job) and he fells healthy, so why turn down 24M? Would You?

    I think the key tonight will be defense on Williams. If he gets into the lane anytime he wants the Lakers will have a long game. But I think if the Lakers can get the rebounding edge (they are 2nd in rbs/game and tied for second in rebounding margin, actually that has impressed me the most so far) and cut down on the turnovers they will have a good chance to pull out a W.


  17. For me, the key to beating Utah is rebounds and the pick and roll. Keep them off the offensive glass, particularly Boozer, make him a shooter. Keep Utah from executing their offense, and for godsakes stop turning over the damn baseketball.

    Don’t put Drew on Boozer, that’s a recipe for early foul trouble. Put Rony on him, he plays him as well as anybody and can keep him off the glass for the easy putback. Also, challenge him on offense, make him work on defense. The lakers must also maintain the energy on defense, Utah will not quit until the buzzer sounds.


  18. Kurt, one suggestion on the format of the game preview: Home or away? Or maybe I just missed it.


  19. I hope the Lakers show good energy tonight against the Jazz and focus on defensive rotations.

    I think it’s interesting that only Doug Collins knew anything about Crittendon whereas the TNT studio guys knew nothing about him. And how can one fancy dribbling play warrant more playing time if that’s all you know about him? It seems like there are a number of players who can make fancy plays once but don’t deserve more playing time. Maybe the TNT guys don’t prepare as heavily as other folks might.


  20. 18. Collins probably got his info because he sat down with Phil and the coaching staff, who have been signing Crittenton’s praises while not playing him. The studio guys didn’t.


  21. re: #15- i agree that Joel Meyers is not a Laker, but he is a decent announcer. What I would like to occur in the next couple of years is for Spero to move over to the TV broadcast side. His play by play is quite good.


  22. wouldn’t be surprised that after I have been denigrating all things Odom that he comes out and puts up a huge game, I would love some crow for dinner if it’s chased with the good taste of a win.(although a big game would really only reinforce his inconsistent nature)


  23. Yeah, there’s not exactly much of a difference between Sunderland and Joel Meyers. I prefer Sunderland because he seemed like a real nice guy and his personality doesn’t grate on me as much. And hey, I’m not gay or anything, but he’s way more telegenic.

    Wasn’t his fault the ratings freaking dropped. The Lakers stunk it up that year.


  24. Mike in the Mountain West November 30, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    I think we’re judging Odom a little too quickly. He just came off major surgery and changed position in a complicated offense. I also think he naturally likes to play with the ball in his hands so having to play off-ball more is probably throwing him off. Ultimately I just don’t think his and Kobe’s game mesh that well. I think his career would take off if he were on the right team.


  25. So, I need FB&G help. I am having friend over for tonight’s game and we are going to be drinking. Heavily. What I would love to have from your keen minds are any suggestions you have for “Lakers drinking games.” So far I have: take a drink every time Raddy misses an open 3. Take a drink every time Sasha takes a “Sasha Time” shot. If he makes it, drink more, and if he slashes and gets the two, chug. Every (I mean EVERY) time Rhonny slams, drink. Every time Kobe makes a shot that you would have declared impossible before seeing it actually happen, drink. I know you guys probably have a lot better ideas than I, so please, help me out. My soon-to-be-plastered friends and I thank you all.


  26. 24-my view of Lamar is based on his erratic career all the way back to the Rhode Island things, review his career, my problems with him: lack of consistent mid-range j, right-hand, movement without the ball, have been problems for literally 10 years. Also, he’s always coming back from injury


  27. 25. Take a drink every time Lamar or Fish blow a layup.

    Or for possibly more intoxication, take a drink every time Lamar could dunk the ball but he lays it up instead.


  28. 25) MS,
    Drink every time Sasha or Kobe argue over a foul/non-foul. Make it a double if Sasha makes “Sasha face”.


  29. 25 — If you want to get really wasted…drink every time Mihm misses a shot.


  30. 25. Drink every time t eh camera shows a close up of Phil Jackson as he does that two-finger whistle thing.


  31. Drink every time Ronny dances.


  32. I’ve got another one for you if you’re watching the ESPN-televised game:

    Drink every time they show Phil’s “angry” stare after the Lakers make a mistake.


  33. Take a shot every time they describe Jerry Sloan as “old school” or “hard-nosed.”


  34. drink every time bynum scores and they cut to kareem.


  35. Drink everytime Doug Christie points to the sky or his wife….oh wait…


  36. Re: 29. I think it would be great to get some insight into why Mihm has been fairly disappointing. Does he not know the triangle? Does he rush his shots? I don’t seem to recall him being all that awesome before the injuries, but that was a long time ago and it seems like expectations were high in his return. And why in the world is Chris Mihm the world’s strongest foul magnet? He reminds me of medvedenko. If Chris Mihm is on the floor, any whistle has a 90% probability of being a foul on him.


  37. If he was playing, drink every time Kwame fumbles the ball in the post.


  38. 36-are you trying to kill MS.ha


  39. 28 – I almost just got in trouble at work for laughing out loud. I know EXACTLY what you mean by “Sasha Face.” I love that face. Priceless.

    Seriously guys, keep these coming. They are gold.

    Kurt – Is it ok if I ignore Commenting Tip #6 tonight? It’ll really only be an issue if we win.


  40. Lets talk about Lamar…

    Craig I want to see Lamar as a player and not as an asset… explore his advntages rather than bash him for his shortcomings… to make him facilitate rather than assert himself in scoring. But the politics involved are too much to ignore. He is earning a good chunk of money at 13M and that is very hard to justify that we only got a “facilitator” for that much. Luke Walton is not as gifted physically but he does this role very well at 9M less the cost.

    I see where we are coming from in making trades. They hurt morale, they hurt familiarity and they hurt chemistry. Over-all, lets make trades the second-to-the-last resort when it comes to this matter.

    As I have mentioned 34 threads ago, while Lamar might be a natural 3 playing the 4, his height and his muscle memory warrants that he has already become the 4. Yes he is undersized but he is a 4. I guess playing him 3 and 4 alternately in between games is the best formula to go, to be both effective and healthy.


  41. Kurt, so those “drink every time…” comments are worth keeping and mine are not? what is this?! My Varejao comment even got deleted, even after I added a disclaimer saying it wasn’t even a rumor. This is insane!


  42. Mike in the Mountain West November 30, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    On Mihm – Prior to his injury he was a consistently average center. Not much of a presence on the defense end, although not horrible, he made his contributions on the offense end averaging about 50% from the field for the past 4 or 5 years as well as 15 points and 10 rebounds per 40 minutes. The problem is his game depends on being able to finish around the rim (for all the talk about his ability to hit 15 footers he was very spoty from any where other than the immediate basket area according to the NBA hotzones) and it seems like he has completely lost his ability to elevate which even if your 7 feet tall makes it kinda difficult to put the ball in the whole probably because your surrounded by other 7 footers. Hopefully this is just a strength deficiency that he can correct rather than a permanent loss of hops because if that’s the case he becomes almost worthless whereas if he returns to his career norms than he can be an excellent back-up and could be a starter on a few teams (Chicago, Dallas, Seattle, Indiana, Sacramento, etc).

    Mihm’s return to form is especially important because it would allow us to trade Kwame with a clear conscience.


  43. 41. If you haven’t figured it out yet — every time you post in the first person it is gone.


  44. No Boozer, no Okur. Breaks for the Lakers, but this is still a good Utah team.


  45. 44. Yes Kurt, this is one game they should win too in spite of it being back to back.


  46. How do you boo Derek Fisher after that playoff series? I was pretty sure after hearing about the crap these fans reportedly yelled at the Warriors during that series, but this seals it for me: WORST. FANS. EVER.


  47. Speaking of breaks, the Lakers have had ’em a few times this year.

    Re Mihm:
    His athleticism does look like it has taken a big hit. I remember Mihm had a soft touch around the rim, but it seems that all that time off has messed up his shot. This season, you could tell the coaching staff wants Mihm to increase his range to move him to the four position, but his shots aren’t falling. He’s not ready yet…


  48. Utah is completely outhustling the Lakers in the first half. We’re being killed on second chance points, loose balls, etc. I don’t know if they can keep this up for a full game, though. If the Lakers can stay in the game mentally and keep the first half lead under 20, they can come back and win.


  49. gosh, i hope our body language is reflective of being tired from 3 games in 4 nites, and not because of lack of effort. we gotta work together, not the time to play pass to kobe and watch.


  50. 25 pts so far from Kirlienko and Milsap. turiaf and odom giving us nothing offensivley/defensivley


  51. Lamar has been a total liability tonight.


  52. Phil, giving it to Lamar.


  53. Kirilenko is pretty much exactly the type of player I’ve wanted Odom to become


  54. Kobe with Kirilenko would prbably be the closest to Jordan and Pippen today, I think, down to their personalities.


  55. I’m a pretty smart guy, but I can’t even count how many layups and offensive rebounds the Lakers gave up tonight.

    To #46: I agree, what was their problem? There was a quote by Fisher in the LA Times today about how he was excited to return because he had such a special year with the team and the FANS.


  56. There was a time in the 3rd quarter that I feared that our pathos would surpass the Knicks. Fortunately, Kobe, Jordan, and Ronny made the loss appear almost respectable.

    Unfortunately, nothing could make the Laker interior defense respectable. We needed Twinkletoes Brown desperately–and we need to consider more seriously making Lamar an out of the rotation “energy guy” off the bench ASAP.

    I spent much of the night focusing on Lamar, and he didn’t do much. He just kind of coasted around–staying away from the offense, and (unfortunately) staying away from the defense in the paint.

    The most optomistic event of the night (at garbage time) was seeing Trevor Ariza defend and run the floor . . . .


  57. Poor Farmar and Fisher just got scorched by D.Williams in the 2nd Qtr. Milsap worked the Lakers because he is two things they are not: Fearless and Physical. In the end, the Jazz chemistry and hustle was on display – the Laker’s lack of the same was pretty clear.

    Why do the Lakers go away from Bynum so quick?

    What the heck is Odom’s deal? You can’t be that tired after a game last night – especially when the starters got rest. Odom looked sleepy and pedestrian.

    As for #46 – the Boos for Fisher are the result of mixed reactions here. Most fans still love Fish and bonded with him in SLC last year – and it wasn’t all fans booing like it sounded on TV, it was less than 1/3. Another factor, many BYU students going to school here, but that are from California get together in large groups and come to this game each year. So the fans tend to have a lot in their face in Laker games and react sometimes in less than desirable ways -so Booing Kobe (enemy #1) is first, Phil Jackson is 2nd, and then Fisher (to a lessor extent) is a by product.

    Last thought – $24 Million for 2 years? Phil Jackson has got quite the gig. I discussed that and tonight’s game on my Jazz blog –

    Digging the Forum Blue and Gold site – perma linked today!


  58. The Jazz are talented, tenacious, deep and athletic. They are disciplined and well coached. On these points alone they will win many games. But it is their team chemistry and willingness to make their fellow teammates shine that sets them apart from the rest of the league. In close games this alone will tip the scale in their favor.


  59. This is pure speculation, but maybe the reason why lamar has looked as terrible as he has is because the team has told him they’re going to trade him.

    The reason I say this is because I’ve never seen him play so poorly, without a glimpse of effort or tenacity. At least before you could tell he gave a damn, or was at least trying. That doesn’t seem to be the case right now.

    But i could be wrong!

    I feel pretty bad about this becasue i’ve always been a fan of his.


  60. Ok, there’s a lot to talk about with that loss (how bout that Fesenko?!) but I’m still hung up on the Fisher booing:

    1) he left so that his daughter could get proper treatment for freaking cancer. the fact that she still has both eyes is a miracle owed in large part to the fact that she’s being treated by the best of the best in LA. I’d hope that anyone who left LA under similar circumstances (even Kobe) would be welcomed back with understanding.

    2) He won you a freaking playoff game!!! That was one of the most heroic/dramatic/awesome postseason moments ever. The kind of performance that should by all rights grant a player infinite and permanent gratitude. Have we ever booed George, Horry, Lue, etc, etc? I sure hope not. Any player that’s a part of such success in your uniform should forever have a pass.

    3) His leaving actually HELPED Utah. He went to another team that is less successful for less money. How the heck can you bitter?? The fact that you got out of paying him his ridiculous contract is something you should be grateful about, not pissed off.

    Bottom line, I’m appalled, in case you couldn’t tell, at the Utoanians.


  61. Teams don’t tell players they plan to trade them. That would be like your employer telling you they plan to lay you off in three months. Doesn’t happen. Look what happened after Buss said he would accept offers for Kobe, but didn’t want to trade him.


  62. Bringing up a 7′ from the D-league and having him do well the day they call him up. Wow! Now that is depth.

    See ya all in 10days – unless I decide to pay for internet access on those cruise ships. At $1.35/min it can get pretty expensive.


  63. Kurt,

    I propose we have a thread next week discussing what this team can do about Lamar Odom, including potential trades. The trade talk can be allowed for one thread and as long as people make honest efforts to make reasonable suggestions.

    This organization is very aware that it is not going to win anything in the playoffs with Lamar as #2 and so I think such a thread might generate good discussion on the blog.

    I did not expect the Lakers to win this game. Playing at Utah on a back to back after you already whipped them once is a tough task.

    Unfortunately, as hard as our team has been playing, we are barely above .500 and that include quite a few scheduling breaks…..not looking good.


  64. The Lakers didn’t match the Jazz energy. A lot of the time when a team is missing a kep player or two they will come out with more energy then usual and play very well and if the other team takes them lightly and doesn’t match the energy they tend to lose. Thats what happened here.


  65. 63. Bobby Smith – This is by far the best suggestion I’ve heard all week. Lets do that for a day Kurt. I suggest make it the day after the game @Denver. There will be 4 days off… and I will long be ready for a number of decent proposals. I’ll mail em to you for your perusal Kurt.


  66. A couple of things: 1) Start Farmar against the quicker PG’s. His perimeter defense is a tad better than Fish’s, if a Williams posts up Farmar, then Kobe’s gotta double down. Done deal. 2) You think we could have got Krilenko for Odom, Cook, and Evans, when he was crying for a trade?


  67. Hi Adam (58),

    I doubt that the Lakers would tell Lamar that they intended to trade him, but he might have decided it on his own. After all, his name was paraded around all last summer.

    If he didn’t want to be traded, he might decide to “lay low.” After all, if he looks anemic, no other team will want him.

    Once the trade deadline passes, he might suddenly become a real tiger.

    I don’t think that’s the real reason or explanation. I think that by missing preseason play and practice, Lamar failed to learn his new role. That’s not his strength.


  68. For all of you that said Lamar is a better fit on the Lakers that AK47 would’ve been…you were wrong.
    AK47 would be a true 2nd option on the Lakers.
    AK47 is everything Lamar is not.
    plays tough D

    The only thing Lamar has on AK is that he has a better handle on the ball. So what. Which would you rather has? An inconsistent Point Forward with all world potential or a consistent forward that plays all world defense. I’ll take the latter.

    Mitch should’ve went after him hard when he wanted out of Utah. He would’ve been the perfect compliment to Kobe. Our loss.


  69. I’d boo too if I was a Jazz fan.

    If LA was the BEST care, why did they start out treatment at a specialist in New York?

    Don’t delude yourself. Fisher (and the Lakers) pulled some dirty pool and tricked the Jazz.

    Of course, they probably had it coming for the Boozer thing.


  70. Anyone else excited about our boy Marc Gasol? Just noticed he was the MVP of November. Here is some video of him. He looks pretty damn good…


  71. This is why I’m hesitant to do trade-talk threads, we all watch the traditionally inconsistent AK-47 and everyone thinks somehow we screwed up not getting him. AK47 said he wanted out, the Jazz really didn’t want to trade him, they made less of an effort than the Lakers did with Kobe. No deal was made because the Jazz brass were disinterested in the idea from the start. They know what he was capable of, and they knew how well he fit with what they had.

    That said, a discussion of what to do with Odom is a worthy idea. I want to work up a good post on that topic, too. Just remember, it’s no secret that he’s struggling, and teams will want more than just him for a quality player.


  72. the other Stephen December 1, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    68, 69: i don’t think we could’ve gotten kirilenko. when you looked at him during that time, the words he said, his demeanor were all screaming “i just want to play basketball.” he loved salt lake. he respected sloan and miller. he wasn’t your typical disgruntled star. all he needed were some reassurances and professional treatment. and with that, sloan and miller dutifully approached him and picked him right back up.

    and there’s something else about it that i’ve noticed about him. i haven’t paid attention to his game enough to tell for sure, but the way he’s been involved with the offense and facilitating baskets and picking up assists just shows me something i can’t quite verbalize about his mentality. i feel like this is all he wanted all along.

    66: as for odom, i like the idea of having him either playing him off the bench with the second unit, or trading him for ron artest. tell me what you guys think.


  73. the other Stephen December 1, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    i just really wonder how Odom would mesh with the second unit, whoever that might be. thoughts, anyone? please?

    my reasons for artest are obvious. he plays d. his game speaks for itself. plus, his contract isn’t a big fatso. either that, or we can trade him for some young, but fairly developed and proven talent from seattle or minnesota. some young team without a direction that we can pillage. something like that.


  74. 72. But Kurt, he’s everything Lamar isn’t. You know. Uh, tough. Consistent.

    Lordy you folks are crazy.

    And all these trade deals you come up with that you want to happen pronto, they’re always coming from when we’re at a weaker place. I mean, Bynum and Farmer were almost certain to improve greatly on their last season selves– yet you were anxious to have something happen before the summer ended. Before their trade value could have a major upswing.

    Lamar’s obviously in a major slump. Let’s see how this team plays AFTER he comes out of it, and take things from there.


  75. Mike in the Mountain West December 1, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    I think Lamar’s biggest problem is that he’s lost his confidence. You could really see it last night. He would get the ball and just stand there or try to pass it as soon as possible. Even when he did try to drive he would turn back around and reset at the slightest bit of opposition. He only attempted 5 shots… 5! That’s definitely the sign of a man who has no confidence in himself. I don’t how you fix that. I hope Phil does.


  76. the other Stephen December 1, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    oh believe me, i’m patient. i’m just saying possibilities and poking at the question of his inconsistency and whether there is something long-term at work in that. would he be better off playing with a different five-man unit? haven’t we’ve always said that given his skill-set, he’s not the best playing with kobe?


  77. I think that the only player Lamar can be is a playmaker with the ball in his hands. He is not a #2 scorer.
    He’s nothing more than a mediocre 6’10” point guard.
    We need to stop expecting him to be anything more than that.
    He’ll get some rebounds. He’ll get some assists. He would be better off making someone else a #2 scorer.


  78. 75- This is nothing new for Lamar, he’s a grade-A headcase. He has teased Jim Harrick, Alvin Gentry, Pat Riley, Larry Brown and Phil Jackson. Each coach thinks they can get him and mold him, but at some point it is on him. Why has he never developed a reliable mid-range shot, or learn to move effectivley without the ball. What does he do every summer? Good players come back better, not the same, he has never addressed it.

    His current problems stem from his confusion of offense in his new role. He is playing off the ball, so when he catches it in space he is usually open because his defender is quite comfortable coming under screens. This has cut down his ability to penetrate and has highlighted his wack J.

    To counter-act this he has to cut towards the basket with purpose, this is what the triangle creates if he would only cut hard (numerous times Tex Winter has called him out for not doing that). Also, he can create opportunities to take his man off the dribble if Phil would run some pick and roll wiht him, and if he would push the ball every other defensive rebound he gathers.

    Again, Lamar is a very talented player, but those talents aren’t what this team needs. we have ballhandlers and rebounders, what we need is a consistent 2nd option. I’d keep Lamar because its hard to make trades, but if there is a player I would target it would be Antwan Jamison. He is similar salary, in his last year of the contract, and is a guarnteed 18 pts per, exactly what the Lakers need.


  79. Everyone’s joining the bandwagon before it is happening. Guys calm down… I do believe Kurt will do something to appease our clamor.


  80. Let’s see if I can articulate the “chemistry” problem Lamar faces this year as an opportunity.

    Upon the anticipated return of Twinkletoes Brown, here is an adapted new form of the two “teams” that lead the Lakers so well before Lamar returned:

    Starters: Bryant-Fisher-Walton-Brown-Turiaff
    Bench: Vuyacic-Farmar-VladRad-Bynum-Ariza

    I’ve substituted Sasha and Trevor for Evans and Cook

    That still leaves Mihm and Critt for backup roles.

    Lamar could replace any of the above players. He can play any position, creating all sorts of interesting mismatches–and that’s a good way to use him right now.

    Maybe we should call Lamar our “secret weapon.”

    Depending on who the Lakers play–or who is injured–Lamar should be brought in to fill the need. Hs is the first Laker player since Magic Johnson with such versatility. It shouldn’t be wasted forcing him to conform–when he can’t.

    If you can’t get Muhammid to climb the mountain, put him on top. Then maybe he’ll find his way down.


  81. what exactly makes Lamar versatile?


  82. I think Lamar has the physical ability to play at any position but not the right mentality to execute at a high level.


  83. I think Kwame A’s right. Lamar isn’t versatile. He’s a tweener.

    But what makes you think the Wiz would trade Jamison for Odom? Jamison’s having quite the season, Odom is injured, and he’s not going to ask for as much money as Odom…

    It’s a good idea, but I don’t think the Wizards would budge for anything less than Odom and one of our point guards (and not Sasha…)


  84. Lamar Odom was good for nearly a triple double and always a double double last year before his injury. Now, coming off injury and being asked to play a new position he is struggling. Is that really a surprise?

    I understand the need to get frustrated with somebody, anybody, when the Lakers are not playing at an elite level. Last year the whipping boy was Smush Parker. Earlier this year the whipping boy was Brian Cook. Now that those two are gone, the new whipping boy is Lamar Odom.

    Look, Lamar needs to improve his level of play. No doubt. But he’s not going to be traded and he’s not a bad player. So all this talk about who we should trade him for is just plain silly. Odom is not going to be traded and he’s not a bad player, so get over it!

    Now, if people want to talk about whether he is a more natural PF or SF or how he should be utilized, that’s an intelligent conversation. But pretending that this guy is garbage and should be traded is wrong and pointless.


  85. i can’t believe not having kwame has hurt the lakers so bad.


  86. I’m not saying trade him (but it would be nice if we could for a consistent 18pt #2 scorer) I’m just saying that expecting him to be a #2 scorer is crazy. He is inconsistent. He ALWAYS has been. He’s a 6’10” point guard. Thats what he is. He’s happiest with the ball in his hands and creating for others. Yes, he can drive the lane and score. Yes, he can post up and score. He can hit the occasional 3. But that’s not his comfort zone. He wants to get the rebound and run and make a pass for a score. That’s who he is. To expect anything else is crazy.

    I’m guilty of being crazy. I see all that “potential” and want him to all of a sudden be that #2 scorer with a killer instinct and do it every night. But it’s just NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

    I’ve lumped Lamar in with Luke, Vlad, Rony….the guys that will get you some points on any given night.

    The Lakers would be better off devising plays for Farmar and Bynum. Either of them has a better chance to be that #2 guy.


  87. Derek (85),

    I’d never say never on trades, but we need to focus on the opportunity he provides as a player right now.

    If Lamar is used at the right position at the right time, he is a mismatch headache for the opposition.

    Here’s my way of expressing what we all know:

    He can bring the ball up court, drive to the basket, and/or draw up and shoot the short jumper. He can drive the baseline and/or post up. He can rebound and immediately lead a break in the other direction. He is great as a trapping, pressing defender.

    He is not a very good defender or offensive player in a set offense/defense at any position. He is not an effective or consistent 3 point shooter. His passing is most effective when he improvises.

    Lamar needs a challenge–and a belief that he makes a difference in answering that challenge. He recognizes the challenge he has been given, but doesn’t have the tools to meet the current challenge as a 3. He may or may not develop them as the season progresses. I don’t thin we can afford to wait.

    I believe that he must be spotted to very specific scenarios to rebuild his confidence. I don’t believe that he will thrive either as a starter or with the 2nd unit (or be an attractive trade candidate) until he has a chance to prove his worth.

    I’d treat Lamar as a slowly recovering injured player rather than a recovered starter–needing spot assignments.


  88. 87. I agree that Lamar is a better player in the role of a facilitator than he is in the role being a primary or secondary scoring threat. Therefore, our second scoring option needs to be Bynum (and possibly Farmar). Also, even if Bynum can’t play enough minutes to be our second option, we don’t really need a defined second scorer on this team as long as we get double digits from a number of players every night, which is very possible.


  89. If you want to be an elite team, you need a consistent #2 guy.


  90. 88. I agree.

    90. The Lakers don’t need a consistent #2 guy to be an elite team b/c they already score plenty of points. Also, if it’s a game winning shot that we need, then either Kobe or Fish can deliver. What the Lakers need right now is to play better and more consistent defense. Who was the Spurs #2 scorer in 2002-2003? Who was the Pistons’ #2 scorer in 2003-2004?


  91. The Lakers don’t have a consistent #3 scorer at this point, let alone a consistent #2 scorer. Bynum or Fisher could possibly fill that role; however, Fisher is not likely to keep playing at this level (he has never shot above 44%), and can’t create his own shot. Bynum is still too inconsistent to be depended on for that role.

    The number of points is not the only issue when it comes to what is needed from an offense. You can’t afford to go extended lengths of time without scoring, which has been a Laker problem in recent years. And turnovers and missed shots make it much easier for the opponent’s offense, and much harder for the Lakers defense to get set up. So having a consistent offense factors into much more than just the number of points that a team scores.