Game Preview & Chat: The Golden State Warriors

Kurt —  December 9, 2007

Records: Lakers 11-8; Warriors 11-8
Offensive ratings: Lakers 110.8 (9); Warriors 111.8 (7th)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 105.8 (11th); Warriors 109.3 (21s)t
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: (Lakers.com predicts Walton starts, I think he sits out tonight, so here’s a guess)Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Ronny Turiaf, Chris Mihm
Warriors: Baron Davis, Monta Ellis, Stephen Jackson, Al Harrington, Andris Biedrins

Lakers Notes: It’s a little surprising to see the Lakers with the 11th best defensive rating in the league this season, it doesn’t match with what the eye sees. The Lakers defense has been inconsistent, at times quite good, at other times painful. Overall, The Lakers defense is better than last year, but still has some weak spots, which kwame a. pointed out well in the comments the other day.

1) Fish/Farmar-Neither of these guys are that tall or that quick (Farmar is fast) so they have had big problems containing players like Parker, D. Williams, C. Paul, AI. I hope Phil switches up to zone d some times and also change up the pick and roll strategy (instead of always going under the screen, aggressively double or switch)

2) Kobe- He is still roaming for most of the game. The best solution to this is to put him on the ball, he plays great on-ball d, but if he’s guarding a player who moves and shoots, his roaming d creates open shots and lanes for the opponents.

3) Mihm- When Kwame comes back, this should easily be solved.

The Warriors Coming In: They’ve won seven in a row and seem to be a hot and fearless team (have they seen a shot they don’t like?) To find out what’s behind this run and how far it can go, I asked a few questions of Atma Brother #1 from Golden State of Mind and The W Column?

The Warriors are as hot a team as there is in the Association right now, and it’s all thanks to Stephen Jackson. Right? That’s what I keep reading anyway. Seriously, what helped turn this team around a few weeks ago?

Jack has played a tremendous role in helping right this sinking ship after that 1-6 start. We call it The Jackson Effect.

Another big reason for the turnaround is that the Warriors are playing infinitely better team and individual defense. They’re using their speed and smarts to make up for their lack of bulk. Monta Ellis returning to his MIP form has also helped. Nellie’s pretty much killed the Marco Belinelli experiment too, which was just a disaster early on. Belinelli is still a young rookie, who has a lot of rough edges to work out before he reaches his seemingly high potential, and it really showed on the court. DJ Mbenga was a decent in-season acquisition as well that has given Nellie a big (very big) body to give teams a different look for a few minutes a game. Oh yeah not having to face the Utah Jazz twice in the span of 5 days really helps too.

2. Monta Ellis has played great of late, being a key part of this current run. What has evolved in his game to help him fit into the system Don Nelson runs?

Monta’s follow up season to his MIP campaign got off to a pretty rocky start. His defense (like every other Warrior) was pretty poor and he was oddly playing like a high volume, low percentage scorer, which wasn’t the case last year. For the past 10 games though there’s been a lot to like about Monta’s game. He’s playing smarter and using his uncanny speed and quickness to his advantage again. He’s been taking good care of the rock and sprinkling in some very nice dimes to complement his great scoring.

The most impressive addition to his game that really wasn’t there earlier in the season or even last year has been his rebounding. In the past 5 games he’s averaging 7.4 rodmans, which is a big reason Nellie has been able to stick with his smallish lineups and the Warriors have gone 4-1, with that one loss to the Magic in OT. Nellie probably still would like him to be more of a distributor in a more traditional point guard mold, but if Monta’s rebounding like he has been, I’m sure Nellie doesn’t mind Mississippi Bullet shooting for the rim before looking for others.

3. The knock on the Warriors is defense. Is it better than the early season numbers suggest, or is it still the Achilles heal? Is it the key to the Warriors taking the next step?

Depending on who they’re playing the Warriors are either an excellent defensive squad or a historically atrocious one. Slow rosters without a big bruiser down low are going to get locked up, picked, and run out of the gym by this speedy Warriors cast. Reasonably athletic rosters with skilled big men who know how to work the post and have a few shooters (Spurs, Jazz, Celtics, Magic, Cavs, and even the Lakers to some extent) will eat this team alive. Watching the Warriors this season and during their 16-5 spring run last season to make the playoffs has made me realize how stubborn and blind some NBA coaches can be. Feed your big men and pound the Warriors inside with even a good to average big man (Chris Kaman, Samuel Dalembert, Antawn Jamison, or even Al Thornton) and you will own the Warriors on most nights. If the Lakers want to win tonight’s game just feed Andrew Bynum, Ronny Turiaf, or Lamar Odom in the post and then dish it out for some open jumpers. I’m not even kidding. It’s really just that simple.

4. He’s a personal favorite (and still very popular in LA) — just how much fun is it watching a healthy Baron Davis every night?

There are very few players in the entire association that are as fun to watch as Baron Davis on any given night. He dazzles you with his amazing handles, crafty finishes, unbelievable dishes, swift footwork, power in the post, and big shots. BD is one of the few players in the league that could fit right in to those 80′s Showtime Laker squads or 90′s Run TMC teams and they wouldn’t miss a beat. Boom Dizzle has incredibly high hoops IQ and his game is very old skool in many respects. We’re lucky to have him in the Bay. You take away Dizzle from this Warriors squad and this team’s win totals will instantly fizzle as they go Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Minus Baron the Warriors are possibly the worst team in the league. Hopefully this is the year fans and coaches around the league finally recognize game and put this man in the All-Star game. We could us your help Laker fans!

Injury Update: Kwame Brown and Luke Walton are game-time decisions. Luke twisted his ankle in practice the other day (and if I were going to give him a game off, this might be it, he is not a big match up plus in a run-and-gun style). T

Keys To The Game: The book for beating Golden State is pretty simple and Atma Brother #1 told us what it was — pound the ball on them on the inside. Heavy doses of Chris Mihm and Andrew Bynum on the block, and the Lakers should be posting up Lamar Odom as well (maybe even Kobe). Also, the Warriors give up more offensive rebounds than any team in the NBA — the Lakers need to pound the offensive glass to get the easy putbacks (and slow the Golden State break).

This is going to be a fast-paced game — the Warriors play at the fourth fastest pace in the league, the Lakers sixth — but the Lakers can’t get sucked into Golden State’s game. At some point Don Nelson will try to run the Lakers out of the building by going small, putting Al Harrington at center and matching him with a bunch of shooters and Baron Davis. Pat Riley’s Heat had a comfortable lead the other night when Nelson went small, and after a few made buckets, Riley decided to match that style. Big mistake, and the Warriors got a great win. The Lakers need to stick with what they do and not play the Warriors’ game.

One other thing the Lakers will need to do is play good defense in the paint, not giving up lay-ups and forcing the Warriors to shoot jumpers. They will do it, they love to shoot and shoot fast, so just take away the path of least resistance to the basket.

Tonight’s Game: Where Boom Dizzle Happens: I’m just looking forward to watching this one. I love to watch Baron Davis play. I think Bynum could have a huge game. This is a team the Lakers will be battling for playoff position at the end of the year, so a win here is a big plus.

Where you can watch: Game time is 6:30 p.m. (Pacific). In Los Angeles tune into Fox Sports, if you can listen on the radio check out AM 570 where Spero Dedes will rock the mic.

Kurt

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86 responses to Game Preview & Chat: The Golden State Warriors

  1. think we’ll see Trevor come in for Defensive purposes tonight? would it be for stephen jackson? is that a match up we should be looking for? I like the way Trevor came in on AI against denver, his length and quickness seems like he could become a D specialist, something that could benefit this team to no end!
    thoughts?…

  2. http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-lakerep9dec09,1,4001169.story?coll=la-headlines-sports&ctrack=6&cset=true

    PJ is playing mind games again. I’m pretty sure he’s trying to motivate Bynum to perform at an even higher level.

  3. 1. I am certain we will see Trevor, unlike Luke this is a game and style that fits what he does. Who he’ll cover likely will depend on who is hot for GS.

    2. Exactly.

  4. Re: Lakers defense being 11th best in the league.
    I don’t think you can discount the quickness of Fisher on defense. He has the ability to get in a players path and take a charge as well as anyone in the league, and although the ref’s know his flopping reputation, he still gets the call more often than not. His work ethic and example seems to be wearing off.
    Vlad has stepped it up quite a bit with some timely rebounds and much more effort on the defensive end. Add to that the speed of Farmar, the positioning of Walton, the presence of Bynum, the new Turiaf, and the overall defense of Kobe and it adds up to at least 11th best to me.

  5. Lakers, Golden State, Dallas, Denver, Houston, New Orleans and Utah. All these teams are within 2 games of eachother. Head to head games will be a premium, we have beaten Denver(twice), Houston (lost once), and Utah (lost once) as well as losing to New Orleans. This game tonight counts as 2. Hopefully Phil continues his strategy against G.S. of pounding the ball and trying to control tempo.

  6. Kurt,

    We need to think we are facing a team better than the Celtics or Orlando–even though those are the only teams to beat us both recently. Beating them defines our future–one way or the other. This Warrior team scares me to death!

    I do think we know how to “offend” them. Could you help me understand how we defend them? Nelly seems to have built in mismatches all over the place. Do we have the players and discipline to be a Utah, or are we destined for defeat like Dallas?

    Let’s start with the starters. I’d guess that Ronny gets Harrington, and Bynum/Mihm get Bierens. The rest I’m not sure.

    If Kobe takes Ellis, we’re left with Derek or Jordan on Baron Davis–and we still haven’t got to Lamar and Jackson.

    We’ve got Azabuke, Pietrus (will he play?), and Barnes to worry about as well. I understand that they basically play only 8, so how do they substitute these guys in?

    I agree that Ariza has an opportunity to be a hero in this game, but which of these guys does he defend and when?

    One key that you didn’t mention for this game is turnovers. They average 13–and Jackson makes the most individually (about 4)–but their opponents make more. That’s how they make up for fewer rebounds.

    This game could well hinge on which team makes the most points on turnovers.

    Please reassure me me about our defense. I’m scared–very scared.

  7. 2/3..anyone care to post a quote or two?

  8. Kurt,

    I just made a post that disappeared into hyperspace. If it appears, it will be redundant with this one (but better written). Here’s the jist of it:

    I’m very scared of the Warriors.

    We’ll be meeting the true “enemy.” I believe that this is a truly monumental game for the Lakers. It could define the rest of the season.

    I agree that we know how to “offend” the Warriors, but do we know how to “defend” against them?

    Tp Nelly it’s about matchups, and we clearly have matchup problems against the Warriors from start to finish.

    I can see Ronny doing a pretty good job with Harrington, and Mihm/Bynum doing well with Bierens. The rest is just a blur. If Kobe does Ellis, can Fish/Farmar do a credible job with Boom Dizzle? or vice versa. And then there’s Lamar vs. Jackson . . . . . . . .

    I believe that Ariza may be better than a bandaid, but on what wound?

    The Warriors will be substituting Azabuka, Pietrus (is he playing?), and Barnes. Does Trevor guard Jackson, or one of these other three–and when?

    The Warriors have compensated for fewer rebounds by getting opponents to make more turnovers .

    Could turnovers be the key to this game?

    I’m very afraid, Kurt. Tell me not to be afraid.

  9. Goo, here is the key stuff out of the LA Times:

    The Lakers probably were not going to win 50 games, but Coach Phil Jackson made it semi-official Saturday.

    Jackson said after practice that he told his players following a 127-99 win over Denver on Nov. 29 that they were not good enough to win 50 games…..

    Jackson said Bynum, who’s averaging 10.4 points and 9.6 rebounds a game, had regressed in his fitness.

    “He’s gone backward since the season started,” Jackson said. “He hasn’t had consistent playing time and misses a game . . . it’s a little bit troubling.”

  10. Mike in the Mountain West December 9, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    From the Jackson article:

    Jackson said Bynum, who’s averaging 10.4 points and 9.6 rebounds a game, had regressed in his fitness.

    “He’s gone backward since the season started,” Jackson said. “He hasn’t had consistent playing time and misses a game . . . it’s a little bit troubling.”

    News of Bynum’s regression, though, was news to Bynum.

    “I haven’t taken a step back,” Bynum said. “I don’t feel that way.”

    Bynum, the team’s leading rebounder in his third NBA season since being drafted out of high school, said he put in a lot of work during the summer to get in shape.

    “I’ve been progressing,” he said. “I think I’ve been doing all right all season, except for the last game — I was recovering from food poisoning.”

  11. Bynum is probably not getting as much of an overall workout now (playing 25-28 minutes per game) as he was during the summer, so it is not surprising that his fitness has decreased somewhat. He may need to do extra working out to maintain his fitness level.

  12. Mike in the Mountain West December 9, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    My hope is that Jackson will start playing him more minutes. Of the top centers by PER in the league he plays the fewest minutes by far. Bynum should be playing at least 30 minutes a game.

  13. I’m very excited. After 5 years in the Bay Area, I’ve reached the questionable point of sports bigamy where the Warriors winning makes me almost as excited as the Lakers winning. I love watching this team play. Fisher’s D on Baron will be a big key. Bynum needs to show he can overpower “these midgets” (6′ 9″ midgets, thanks Charles). He’s also going to need to protect that rim from Monta’s spectacular drives, without picking up fouls. How Kobe handles Captain Jackson’s pressure will also be big (I think SJax should be getting DPOY talk, but he never will cuz he plays for a “no-defense team”).

    Should be a great game.

  14. Mike (12),

    I believe that so far Phil Jackson has been doing an excellent job with Andrew, following the “Goldilocks” principle.

    Playing Andrew consistently for much more than 20 minutes could be catastrophic!

  15. Definitely some Phil mind games going on. Without my calculator we’re already projecting at around 48 wins or so by the end of the season, with the tough start and injuries.

    Glad that he is though. It’s a rough week. We could very well be smacked down to .500.

  16. I’d rather have Andy unleashed in April than in December

  17. 13-14: I agree. He will play more when he is ready to

  18. 13~15: Y’all make it sound as if Andrew is a mean beast to be kept hungry until the main event. ‘Let him starve for minutes so he can pounce once the more ‘meaningful’ part of the season comes.’

    i don’t know, but as a mediocre distance runner, sprinting out in the beginning has helped me much more than pacing myself throughout. Lakers, in my eyes, are a mediocre team but with great ‘spurt’ potential, so they should really forget about pacing and get wins whenever they can. If that means getting Bynum more playtime early, then so be it.

    I don’t want to ‘save Bynum’ and find ourselves in a situation where no amount of Bynum makes any difference…

  19. Eesh, Vlade’s starting again…

  20. Vlade has a better % than Kobe atm. Monta is causing some trouble as forseen…

  21. I was going to say that Bynum is key to this game. Just as I typed it, he posted 6pts 3rebs in the 1st q already. There is just nobody on that team who can guard Drew esp if they look for him early.

  22. Rambis-stache spotting! why did he ever lose it?

  23. whoa, are we trying to play the GS game by going ultra small and ultra bench?

  24. Giving up way too many offensive boards.

  25. Ariza is a nice piece. He needs 10-15 mins a game, he is a good defender.

  26. We’ve held them to under 40% fg in the second qtr, but 8 offensive rebs are keeping them in the game.

  27. Ariza!!! Wow what a good trade that was.

    Hell yeah

  28. The Dude Abides December 9, 2007 at 9:58 pm

    The Ariza for Evans and Cook trade appears to be the rare trade that helps both teams. As for the game tonight, I wonder if they’re going to start calling fouls on Kobe’s drives, or if they’re going to let him continue to get hammered in the paint the entire game.

  29. Well if they don’t start calling that foul guess what our man Kobe will do?

    Answer: Shoot more J’s and if he has an off night guess who will end up with our boards…. Drew!

    then again if no one’s cutting with the ball the D will crash on Drew and he’ll get shut down.

  30. Halftime thoughts: I was looking forward to the the Sunday whites (always a favorite of mine), but the rounded collar and blue numbering with the white shadow was a good look. Trevor really was a great pickup, we need that sort of activeness. Bynum’s doing everything we need him to do. People gotta start boxing out to prevent the second chances, that’s killing us more than points of TOs at this point.

    Outside of that, this is what basketball should look like all the time.

  31. I think kobe does the opposite when they are not calling fouls. He usually forces the refs to start calling them by driving in constantly. At least, that I what I have observed.

  32. At least once a game Kobe thinks he got fouled, stays back on d and the team gives up a layup.

  33. ELyse…. kobe’s actions since i wrote what i wrote is falling in line with what youve said.

  34. Looks like a 20-10 night for Bynum, and was half expecting a two digit assist performance from Kobe, but doubt we’d get that today.

    And the Ariza trade is looking better each passing game. Kinda sad that Odom had his chance to really krank it up tonight but didn’t…

    .. it’s only natural that as i type, Lamar buries a long two

  35. stop the presses! lamar hit a 3!

  36. If we lose this game, I’m ready to blame Kobe for it. 6/21, that’s not KB type numbers, it’s more KD like numbers. KB really should know better too.

  37. Hudson, to be fair, he’s been fouled on many of those attempts. I mean, he has been driving into the lane most the game and he has shot 5 free throws? If they lose, there will be enough blame to pass around.

  38. sorry, I meant harold

  39. No lead is safe. I am constantly worried about a 10-0 run in 75 seconds. We have to go back INSIDE!!!!

  40. farmar, sasha, ariza, vlad & ronny. not quite sure if thats the squad we want to be playing together in the 4th. cmon phil, dont play around here, get the starters back in, we all know GS scores a lot of points in a hurry. no time to get cute

  41. Mike in the Mountain West December 9, 2007 at 10:43 pm

    As exhelodrvr pointed out his conditioning may be suffering because we aren’t playing him as many minutes as his offseason conditioning has prepared him to play. What happens come April when we want Bynum to start playing 30 or minutes a game but we’ve only played him 26 minutes the rest of the season?

    The more time Bynum gets the better in my book. He’ll have more opportunities to learn and in the long run it will help his conditioning. It’s time to stop coddling him.

  42. Mike, I definitely agree. Plus, in a game like tonight’s when he is clearly dominating and playing well, what type of message does it send to have him ride the bench so much of the 4th?
    Shouldn’t Phil be rewarding good play rather than playing mind games all the time? I’d be pretty frustrated if I was in Bynum’s shoes.

  43. I think as far as bynum goes, it is important to remember how limited his experience is in playing basketball. Last year I think we saw a second half slump maybe in part because the conditioning wasn’t there and it is a long season. I think it is smart for the lakers to monitor his time, and slowly build it up, so that he can just build on his conditioning rather than being worn out.

  44. No tacos for tonight but at least its looking good atthis point… lets see if they could hang on with that lead.
    114-99.

  45. Looks like GS is giving up on the lead. Substitution en masse. Hudson, Croshere and Pietrus in.

  46. Limited or not, I like this Bynum kid tonight. He’s got infinitely more blocks than fouls at this moment, and plays like our 1st option.

    I personally think games like this, he should play near 35-40, because this seems like a perfect confidence building game. No fouls, 5 blocks, 20 points, 10 boards… sure he’s got some TOs but no more than Bryant. A confident, hardworking Bynum would be something. Really something.

  47. showcasing crittenton?

  48. Phenomenal stuff… 7 players in double figures, and as stated by harold, I really liked what Bynum did tonight.
    20 pts, 11 rebounds, 5 blocks & 3 assists in 28 minutes. Boy-oh-boy…
    And who continues to be the team assists leader?
    K. Bryant. Who woulda thunk?

  49. Here’s the combined line for our two centers tonight:
    30 pts 12 rebs 5 assts 5 blks 71% FG 75% FT

  50. Ah…another game where I find the post DURING the game hilarious after the fact.

    Kobe would be to blame for the loss? That’s funny.

    Good stuff from Bynum tonight, that’s for sure. And Ariza…sure as hell glad we got that trade.

    Now another freakin 3 days off. I know it’s good for the fellas but really hectic on my watching schedule.

  51. ummmm..so what? just because they win doesn’t mean everything they did wrong during the game is magically absolved

  52. I was at the game tonight. There’s just someting about those Forum Gold Unis from the 80s that feel so right. They should have never switched from those in the first place. I wish they would bring them back permenantely. I mean, they already brought back the lights out concept from the Forum, why not the uniforms too?

  53. Lakers are looking jvery good and balanced, looking at the western conference, I’d put them maybe at number 4….what do you guys think? ( after 20 games, a predicted finish)

    1.Phoenix
    2.San Antonio
    3. Utah
    4. Lakers
    5. Dallas
    6. Denver
    7. Houston
    8. New Orleans
    9. Golden State

  54. Just got back from Staples, yea I made it out there!

    Bynum – He was a monster. Whenever the Lakers called on him, he was there. Whether on the help defense or down low in the block. BTW, Golden State will get killed by teams with size and athleticism at the 5.

    Ariza – He brought out a lot of energy. You could see how the Lakers tempo and attitude changed. They went for the throat when he was on the court. They pushed the ball without turnovers. He’s a good addition to this Lakers team.

    Odom – Played well as a facilitator. Got pissed when he took his sole 3, but he made it.

    Walton/Mihm – Disappointed that neither played tonight, but others took on their role with success. Scary to say, or maybe it’s a good thing, but Mihm looks like a better defensive option at the 5 then Turiaf.

    Don’t get me wrong, Turiaf had good help defense, but was not spectacular off the post D. He can use some improvement there in his game. Especially before going up against Timmy on Thursday.

  55. 48, I really don’t mind being wrong if that means a Laker win. But I still think Kobe almost cost us, as silly as that sounds in a ‘near-blowout.’ Warriors are a team that live and die by the 3, and tonight they died.

    [edited]

  56. This was a very important win done the right way.

    Given what Trevor does, who needs Ron Artest?

    Given Fisher and Farmar, who needs Jason Kidd?

    Now, let’s see how we do against the Spurs!

  57. Everyone, until there are credible reports of talks between the Lakers and the Nets (or anyone else), this is not going to become the Jason Kidd Speculation blog. I’ve already started deleting and editing comments — I don’t care if his agent asked for a trade, why don’t you ask Kobe’s agent how easy easy it is to broker a deal. There are great Lakers sites where whole comment threads can be/are dedicated to this and I’d recommend you go there if you want to talk deals.

    This site is back to dealing with the on the court stuff.

  58. I’ve been saying this for a while, I like what Trevor brings to this team, he is always looking for an offensive put back, he makes a living doing that, so it’s great to see some hustle for the loose balls and boards.
    good to see him guarding their main guy jackson tonight too. I think we’ll be seeing him get more and more minutes as the season progresses.

  59. Great win despite all the offensive rebounds that the Lakers gave up and the non-calls on Kobe.

    I’m loving Bynum more and more each game, and he’s only going to get better.

  60. Having watched them against the Suns, the Nuggets and now the Warriors, it is safe to say that the Lakers know how to beat uptempo teams, through better execution, especially down th e stretch, and by pounding the ball inside. What’s missing for this team to have a real chance to go deep into the playoffs is a consistent second scoring option and perimeter defense

  61. There’s no one on this Laker team right now that doesn’t belong or doesn’t contribute.

    It’s a great feeling.

    I can’t remember when I felt that way before. Let’s see where we are vis a vis last year.

    Our starting point guard was the Smusher–backed up by Jordan, a rookie many felt should start. There was little or no cohesion between Smush and any of the other guards–or the rest of the team. Vets were brought in as backups who rarely played.

    Smush and the Vets are gone.

    This year, we have a tandem that complements each other (Fish/Farmar), backed up by Sasha from time to time. Even Sasha, who has seemed lost in the past, seems to have found a role on this new Laker team, providing size, defensive presence, and the 3 from time to time as a backup to Kobe.

    This is the first year that KOBE has truly embraced his Team Kobe role. It may have started with Derek Fisher, who has proven his ability to hit the 3 long ago, but it has spread tio VladRad, Jordan, and Sasha. Kobe is more and more willing to get them in the flow of the offense to take those 3 point shots.

    Last year, there were games in which Kobe made a higher percentage of 2′s, 3′s, and free throws than any of his teammates. This year, there are times that the entire team hits a higher percentage than Kobe–a great sign for the team.

    Last year, Kobe’s defense was sparodic and episodic. This year, Kobe’s defense has been intense and inspirational.

    Last year the front court players were hobbled and frazzled. Cook and VladRad seemed to duplicate each other. This year, players are complementary, returning from injury, and improving. Mihm didn’t play at all, VladRad played injured when he played, Odom played injured, Kwame played injured when he played, Walton was injured off and on.

    One healthy big guy, Bynum, played too much, and was a shadow of himself by the end of the season. Ronny, the other healthy big guy, often played out of position. Neither of them had much experience.

    Cook played, but was a disappointment, especially on defense, despite his great three point shooting. He’s gone, and Trevor has given us a new defensive look.

    We are approaching a point this year at which they all will be reasonably healthy, capable of being used in different combinations as necessary. It has helped all of them.

    Twinkletoes Brown came back quicker this year, comes out on the high pick and roll, and even begins to show vestiges of offense. Mihm has been getting a bit more quickness into his body each week–getting more into the flow of the offense as well as maintaining defensive presence.

    The monster has been Andrew Bynum, first on offense and now even on defense. He seems to have advanced into a star overnight, but Phil is taking pains to not overuse him. Andrew is already at the pont where he stands his own against any center in the NBA. Amazing!

    Tonight, he went out on the high pick and roll, realized his “guy” had rolled to the basket, and almost gut back to block the shot. Earlier in the season, he wouldn’t have even known. I won’t be surprized when he reacts faster and makes the play.

    VladRad has not only made the threes this year that he is famous for, but has shown defense and more inside presence than we were led to expect. A year late, but he looks like a great acquisition.

    Odom is still an enigma, but it may be more connected with playing himself into shape than we realize. Tonight, against Golden State, he repeatedly made timely plays on offense and played more than adequate defense–but it was a more freestyle game–not the classic triangle.

    Time will tell.

    Still, all in all, this is a very enjoyable team, just as they are.

    We don’t have to trade anyone even though we now have clearly tradeable parts.

    I really like this team!

  62. Fairly good game by the Lakers. I thought they played a little too much GS type of game in the first half but turned it around in the second half. Too many offensive rebounds by GS in the first half. I think the long rebounds caught the guards off balance a little bit, but they turned that around a little bit in the second half. Good game by Drew, he seems to be improving at the defensive end, he just needs to continue with that and learn to be more aggressive on the offensive end.

    Kobe does complain too much. Yes he was getting fouled, but if the Refs are letting them play that way adjust your game to it don’t complain instead get back on defense.

    After watching Lamar last night I think I came up with his why he struggles so often. He is hesitant. He seems to think too much when he catches the ball instead of just reacting. If he catches the ball and is open for a Jump shot, he tends to hesitate for a second then his shot is not as good or he makes an awkward drive to the basket. His shot is much more fluid if he just takes the shot without hesitating. Also when he makes a quick, non-hesistant decision to drive to the basket he is really good because he has such a long stride and long arms. He can get to the basket in just a couple of steps and his first step is pretty good.

    Scary moment when Odom got hit hard on a drive and his left arm was bent back. Thats how he hurt his shoulder in the first place. Glad to see that, though clearly painful, it didn’t seem to re-injure that shoulder.

  63. Sorry for the double post. I wanted to say something about Ariza. There was play in the 3rd I think where he totally bit for the ball fake from his man at the 3 pt line and looked like he was going to tackle him there. But somehow he was able to get control and come up with a block. Too bad the opposing player was so surprised that he fell causing both players to go to the ground so Ariza was called for the foul. But the athleticism it took for him to regain control of his body after going out of control after falling for the ball fake was amazing. I like what he brings to this team. I think it was a really good pick up.

  64. I liked what I saw in Trevor. Can’t believe he is merely 22 and I think we won on that trade. I’m happy that Orlando feels the same about Mo and Cookie.

    I must say I did not expect Trevor to contribute this much. The departure of Cook and Mo seems so long ago now and I do not regret it one bit.

    Later on, when roles are defined, Ariza will slowly gain Phil’s affection. What he has showed in the limited time he is on the floor warrants that he plays more. We kinda didn’t miss Walton on this game didn’t we?

  65. I wish Trevor would’ve made that monster dunk. That would’ve been ESPN highlight material.

  66. I second what Nate said, I love real basketball jersey’s, not the WNBA ones that the Lakers usually wear now. It defintley made the team look like LAKERS.

  67. Echo Kwame and Jones. What is it about those holes that make those jerseys so much cooler?

    Also, must-read material from Ziller on Bynum (and stats) at the Haus:
    http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2007/12/10/on-andrew-bynums-mountain-of-lies/

  68. Drayeye,

    You wrote:

    “Playing Andrew consistently for much more than 20 minutes could be catastrophic!”

    If by “catastrophic” you mean he will average 16 points and 12 rebounds, shoot 58% from field and 75% from line, block 2 shots a game, and be one of the most productive centers in the entire NBA, then I agree with your assessment.

    Your Kwame agenda is really making you look silly.

    “Given what Trevor does, who needs Ron Artest?”

    My question, are you trying to win the award for most ignorant blogger or do you actually believe this garbage?

  69. 15 blocked shots for Andrew in the last 3 games. He is getting better and better at staying away from contact, while still altering or blocking the shot. Guards are noticing too, and soon enough some will be intimitaed to come in to the lane.

  70. hey muddywood, yeah, didn’t that move by trevor from deep in the corner, where he could have jacked up a 3 pointer, but instead drove for a slam dunk, didn’t that remind you of the young Eddie Jones when he was with us? remember that time he did that against Karl malone? (Malone just shook his head in a sort of mock admiration). what I like about Trevor is that he is not a mid range shooter, (but he did hot his free throws last night) but rather, Trevor is a guy like Rodman, who makes his living scrapping for loose balls, looking for put backs, he can sky and his hang time around the rim is very impressive, and all this is something we did not have. (we kind of did in Mo Evans, and that was why i liked Mo so much) but Mo is gone, and honestly, I thought Mo wasn’t as strong this year as he was last year, and so far, I think trevor brings that quality to a higher degree, and this is something that will truely help this team.
    I wonder how he’ll be used against San Antonio?
    defensive stopper? but against who…Manu?
    what do you think guys? (and girls)

  71. all this talk about Andrew’s minutes, while i understand this forum is a place where we can debate what we think would be best because that’s the nature of being a fan of a team or sport, or individual star. we all are loyal Laker fans, most of now for decades, for the obvious reasons, that’s why we’re here, (except maybe for John R).
    what I find kind of amusing is the almost hostility we see (kind of like talking politics or religion over drinks at a loud bar) and the degree of passion we feel about “andrew’s minutes”!
    let’s give Phil Jackson his due…he was a plyer for years, then went through the coaching ranks for more years, (I’m assuming he didn’t go straight into head coach, but rather did his internship and asst coaching to learn his craft). he’s a smart guy, or he wouldn’t be getting $12million per year, you don’t get paid that just because you are lucky. Phil not only knows how to manage a team in the way of leading his asst coaches to fufill their roles, (it’s called deligating, giving them a sense of ownership) then he manages the egos of all these multi-millionaire players, and does that pretty well too.
    last night I watched Andrew for his reaction to the recent press from PJ and I marveled at how well PJ uses various ways to motivate his players.
    it’s a long season, he knows that better than anyone.
    he knows more from his decades of front line experience than any of us, and I’m sure he’s thinking of how best to bring Andrew into his prime at the best possible time.
    it’s fun for us to debate all this, but let’s be civil as well.

  72. I’m looking at the lakers’ upcoming schedule. Is 5-2 too much of a stretch? I believe a win against San Antonio will have a great effect on the confidence level and attitude on the next six games. I like the idea of putting ariza on manu. Kobe can concentrate more on offense and facilitating the offense. I hope Kwame returns for the SA game. no one jerks tim duncan around like kwame does. Now if they can just find someone to stay in step with parker…those shooters wont be much of a problem. calling fisher and farmar???

  73. Phil Compliments Bynum
    ===============

    “I just had to give him a little bit of a jolt the other day because he wasn’t at practice on time to work with Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar]when he’s supposed to work with Kareem,” Jackson said.

    Jackson was otherwise complimentary Sunday while providing the latest in-depth analysis of Bynum’s on-court development.

    “One of the things about Andrew is that he’s completing at the offense end,” Jackson said. “He’s dunking, and we want him to keep working on his shot so we have a target to go in to. He’s a good passer in there and he sees the court and he’s willing to pass the ball, but he’s also got to be willing to score out of that position.”

  74. I’ve always thought the Lakers had great complementary players to Kobe. I used to think Lamar was a legit 2nd option, but he’s not aggressive enough. But I’m very happy with Farmar and Bynum. Bynum looks like he can be a classic Center. His finishes around the basket are great. He can power dunk, as he should when he can; and he can put some english on the ball when near the rim, especially when he gets fouled. There have times when he gets fouled and still somehow manages to roll the ball in. Not many centers have the finesse to do that. Being coached by the Great Kareem has a lot to do with that.
    It is very satisfying to see this young squad grow up together and become contenders, and hopefully ELITE within two years. I think it’s possible. The Spurs will be on their way down in 2 years, the Suns will be nowhere, and the Mavs are probably already in decline. Look out for Lakers-Celtics in the future.
    It looks like this team will only keep on getting better as the year progresses, espcially when kwame comes back and no one else gets injured. But I wouldn’t mind seeing one more trade before the deadline, and it doesn’t even have to be a huge one.

  75. Hollinger’s rankings say the Lakers are number one in strength of schedule so far…

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/powerranking?season=2008&column=sos&order=true

  76. 68. Please back off the personal attacks.

  77. I really liked our SF rotation of Vlad/Ariza. I don’t know how Luke should get more than 15 mins a game, because Vlad helps space the floor and Ariza brings perimeter defense like nobody else on the wing. We are 3 deep at 3 positions now, with each player bringing something different.

    pg: fish/farmar/critt
    c: bynum/kwame/mihm
    sf: vlad/ariza/luke

  78. Regarding the Holl power rankings, does anyone know if it takes into account injuries for the opp. (I asked before and I don’t think I got a definitive answer). For example, if we beat the Spurs on Thur sans T.D. (don’t know if he is playing or not) it seems we would get more credit on the Holl ranking than we deserve. Maybe I am wrong about that.

    76. He has called me an “ostrich” on multiple occassions, which, although funny, is essentially calling me ignorant. I fail to see how my post is anymore of an attack than that. At any rate, I’ll ignore Drayeye’s ridiculous points going forward b/c they never make any sense anyway.

    Also, I’m not sure if others have this problem, but everytime (I mean that literally) I post, even when it is the first post I’ve made in days, I have to deal with the “slow down” thing and then close my browser and reopen the site and then post. It always works after I reopen my browser but it is annoying to do that. Maybe it is my computer or something.

  79. Ariza’s defense may prove indespensible as the season goes on. I don’t think this will be the last game where he steals all or most of Luke’s minutes. We haven’t seen enough of him to know anything for sure, but I think he fits in well on this team. And, his ability to play effectively with both the first and second unit is an asset that Luke doesn’t seem to have. But, perhaps most importantly, Kobe seems really comffortable with him. Did you see their two man game? It wasn’t wildly effective last night, but you can imagine how two guys that quick and explosive around the basket could cause major damage on pick and rolls.

    Bynum had a huge night statistically largely due to minutes. He showed that, if he can play over 30, he’s capable of being the second scoring option… at least against a front line like the Warriors have.

  80. Isn’t Walton just a poor man’s Odom at this point? I like him, but he is not contributing anything to the team that will make them contenders. Perhaps we should package him in a trade (with Critt for Artest)?

  81. 78. Hollinger’s system does not look at injuries, it is simply results based.

    As for the problem with the “slow down” thing after a comment, is anyone else having that problem? I think someone mentioned it a few weeks ago. I’ll ask my tech guy what is going on, it shouldn’t do that.

  82. 78. SA will not be easy to beat on thursday, even if duncan doesn’t play. Just ask the Jazz and Mavs. Besides I believe Duncan will be back before Thursday.

  83. 78. & 81.

    I also get that “slow down…” message. I only get it about 20% of the time and each time after my first attempt to post a comment. If I refresh the page and then try posting it usually works.

  84. My God, I love Ariza already. Did you see his opening play? He stole the ball on an inbounds pass and went for a lay up. Cook would have never even dreamed of doing that.

  85. (68) Bobby,

    though your attributions toward me may be correct, I’m really voicing support for decisions by Phil and the Laker FO. They don’t see it your way.

    As you may recall, the Lakers were in the running for Ron Artest last year. Ron even appeared at a Laker game. Phil seemed enthused.

    The failure of the Lakers to successfully trade for Ron Artest was one of many reasons that Kobe mentioned when he asked to be traded.

    Instead, the Lakers traded Cookie and Mo for Trevor. Some thought it was just a salary dump.

    Wrong.

    For $3.5 million, the Lakers have landed a much younger player than Artest who better meets their defensive needs, fits into their team profile perfectly, has great upside, is a local product, and carries none of the “baggage” associated with Ron Artest.

    If we had traded for Artest, it would have been interesting to see how he would have interacted with his old homies, Jackson and Harrington, last night!

    Trevor has only played a few games and barely knows the Laker system. The Warrior game was hardly a complete test. He’s not perfect. He did throw a cross court pass last night that resulted in a Warrior breakaway.

    Still, I’m willing to go out on a limb and pronounce the trade a huge success. It certainly dooms any serious thoughts of a trade for Ron at this time.

    The Lakers have made a huge investment and long term commitment to Bynum that is clearly paying off.

    They also resigned Chris Mihm and committed to deploying a three headed monster at center this year.
    Phil clearly has the idea of playing Andrew as part of at least a tandem of two, partly for strategic reasons and partly to protect Andrew from too much, too soon.

    As Kwame a points out (77), this is part of a broader strategy to provide more team flexibility against opponents.

    Let’s support the master plan of the Zenmeister!

  86. 85. I see what you are saying about Trevor being a solid pick up for the team. I hope it turns out that way (too early to tell IMO). In fact, I hope he plays so well I never see Luke Walton again. But to suggest that now all the sudden our need for a viable #2 scoring threat and solid defense is solved is over stating it. Trevor can’t shoot and he has hardly played in the NBA. Hopefully he will contribute to the team, but I’m already reading comparisons to Scottie Pippen, which is histerical. Artest, on the other had, is one of the most versitile and consistent players in the NBA. He is a former defensive player of the year and capable of putting up 20/game on 48% shooting. We are a more athletic team with Trevor but Artest would sill do wonders for this team and I still think we need to land a tough #2 player to go with Kobe and Bynum, because Lamar is just not a warrior/champion.