Game Preview & Chat: The Chicago Bulls

Kurt —  December 18, 2007

Records: Lakers 14-9; Bulls 8-13
Offensive ratings: Lakers 111.3 (6th); Bulls 99.7 (28th)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 106.0 (11th); Bulls 105.0 (8th)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum
Bulls: Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, Joe Smith, Ben Wallace

Lakers Notes: Swamped at work so we’re going to be short and sweet today. Just a quick injury update. Vladamir Radmanovic has sprained both wrists — with is a pretty impressive feat, when you think about it — and he is listed as day-to-day, but I don’t expect to see him tonight. Fisher and Kobe are sore but will play. Kwame Brown will not be back against the team that gave him the injury one month ago.

The Bulls Coming In: The Bulls have played better of late — they are 6-4 in their last 10 after that horrific 2-8 start. Not that the improved play has inspired a lot of confidence in the Windy City yet.

Part of what held them back early was poor shooting, and that seems to slowly be turning around. In his last 10 games, Loul Deng is shooting 49.1% and Kirk Hinrich is shooting 40.7% from three in the last 10 (but just 43% from inside the arc). The Lakers need to contest shots tonight

Last time these two met: Loul Deng was out with back spasms and the Bulls started Eddie Adrian Griffin, both very good signs for the Lakers then that will not happen tonight.

The Lakers pulled away in the second half on a charge led by Farmar, Walton and the Lakers second unit. Pressed into more minutes after Kwame went down, Bynum made Ben Wallace look old at times (something a lot of people have done this season). By the end this was a laugher, but that was because the bench did well. The starters were not terribly impressive for the Lakers.

Keys To The Game: What the Bulls do on offense is not rocket science — high screen and roll, drive the lane and then kick it out for the open jumper. They live and die on the perimeter. The Lakers cannot suck down into the lane when the penetration comes (as is their tendency), rather they need to stay with their man on the perimeter, let the weak-side help defense do its thing to prevent lay-ups. Rotations will be key.

Also, the Bulls are a team that pressures the opposing guards, picking them up earlier and tighter than most teams. Fisher and Farmar (and Kobe) need to take care of the ball because turnovers given to such an athletic team will spell trouble.

Tonight’s Game: Where A Road Win Happens: This is not the Bulls team the Lakers saw a month ago, Los Angeles will have to play better to get the win. That’s what good teams do. I look for another big night from the bench and Bynum keying the Lakers to a close win.

Where you can watch: Game time is 5:30 p.m. (Pacific). In Los Angeles tune into KCAL (9), nationally you’ll need NBA TV or League Pass or a good “black box” to illegally decode the cable signal.

Kurt

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70 responses to Game Preview & Chat: The Chicago Bulls

  1. Skiles actually started Adrian Griffin, but ‘undercover brother’ would’ve been just as effective.

  2. 1. Thanks Matt, fixed it. I like to make one major screw up per preview, just to keep people on their toes. I decided to change up the routine of messing up the TV listings today, but you guys are quick :-)

    Anything else we should know, Matt?

  3. The game is on NBA TV tonight for all those not in the LA/Chicago area.

  4. Thanks for those of you that voted for me in the Busted Coverage tournament. This blog drew a 13th seed but got shipped out to the Eastern Bracket, basically making us a mid-major. And like a lot of good mid-majors, we drew a traditional powerhouse in the first round with Hardball Times. I love that site. But the point is I was shocked how many votes I got, so thanks.

    (http://www.bustedcoverage.com/?page_id=1122)

  5. it’s looking like we are settling into who will be the starters now, and I think it’s working out ok. Andrew is growing into the starter mentality nicely, (and those worrying about his conditioning, well, he’s young, and don’t you get into condition by working out? isn’t that what he is doing?)
    then for the second unit, I’m all in favor of keeping Ronnie as Drew’s backup, he brings the hustle, aggressive rebounding, and he’s a better shot blocker than Chris. I think we need to let Chris work his way back, get his minutes in practice and garbage time.
    then, if Kwame ever comes back, let him earn his minutes competing with Ronnie to anchor the middle of the second unit…this gives PJ some flexibility to play with moving Ronnie to PF with the starters.

  6. Anyone know what is going on with Turiaf? He played 13 minutes against GS and 2 minutes against the Clips. He was our starting power forward to start the season getting big minutes and now he is MIA. Why didn’t he play last game? What has Luke done (other than shoot well 1 game) to earn back that starting spot?

    I don’t really care whether Turiaf starts or not but we need the guy playing because of his energy so I’m curious if he is injured, in the dog house, or what?

  7. Kobe’s Message: “Don’t Waste A Day”
    ======================
    Chicago Sun-Times –
    Kobe Bryant made a West Side stop Monday night, addressing the boys’ basketball teams from Whitney Young, Von Steuben, Farragut, Marshall and Oak Park as part of a Nike-sponsored event at Attack Athletics gym.

    “I do this as much as I can,” Bryant said. “We’ve done this in Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles. This is my 12th year in the NBA, and I want to pass on whatever knowledge I can to the next generation. This is a great city, and there is so much young talent. Some of the greatest players have come out of this city.”

    The players seemed mesmerized by the Lakers’ star.

    “This was a great opportunity,” Marshall standout Ryan Hare said. “It was a great idea to get us to listen to him speak about his every-day work ethic.”

    Bryant said motivation was never a problem for him.

    “To me, it was simple,” he said. “I wanted to be in the NBA. I wanted to be one of the best basketball players. It was easy to stay focused.”

    “My message is that you don’t waste a day. I just keep going. I know one way, one speed, one gear. I really don’t need outside motivation.”

  8. 7. Pau, thanks, change made. I knew that, but when I rush these things sloppy follows. I’ll try to do better.

  9. Bobby Smith: I think Ronnie’s suffering from Phil’s effort to get Lamar to perform. As much as we wanted Lamar to perform well at his “natural position”, we all saw it wasn’t working. So Phil has gone back to playing Lamar at the 4 to start the game, then leaving him in there to play some with the 2nd unit. So, Ronnie’s only burn has been coming as Bynum’s back-up, especially since Phil has gotten more comfortable playing RadMan as a four man with the second unit.

    I don’t worry about Ronnie, though. He is going to bring the same effort every night whether it’s for 5 minutes or 35. He is a real pro and a genuinely good teammate. Plus, I trust Phil to get his rotations right and figure out how to get the most from all the guys.

  10. I’ve been wondering if Ronny is quietly suffering some hip or other flared-up injury. The rotations partially explain the time reduction, but it seems to be more than that the last couple games. Phil likes his energy too much to bury him like this.

  11. Too bad the NBA doesn’t have a detailed injury report for each game like the NFL. I know that the coaches are not always truthful, but it would be interesting nonetheless to know that a player is “probable-hip flexor” or something to that effect. At least then, we may have some real answers rather than just speculaton like my earlier post…

  12. Remember that Turiaf sprained his ankle and missed a few games, and hasn’t really been back in the rotation since then. Those can drag on for months if someone isn’t careful.

  13. The big quote from Kobe Bryant this summer was “Get your Bulls jerseys, fellas,”

    While Bryant still won’t out and out say his trade demand is rescinded, he’s got a lot of positive to say now that the Los Angeles Lakers have gotten through a quarter of the season playing very solid basketball.

    “We’re a much better team right now than we were last year. I don’t even think it’s close,” said Bryant. “We’re much better defensively. We’re better offensively. Our chemistry is much better. I think we’re a year older and a year smarter . . . healthier.”

  14. The guy formerly known as Lamar Odom December 18, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    I’m looking forward to seeing how hot The Machine still is from Sunday’s game. Good play from Sasha can give Kobe a rest during this road trip. The Machine better be on full gear tonight.

  15. Considering it’s Vlad, I thought you were joking about his injury. Any word on how he did it?

  16. The guy formerly known as Lamar Odom December 18, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    It appears Vlad was skateboarding this time. He was quoted in the AP saying: “Well, there’s nothing in my contract that says I can’t take to the skate park and show my skills. I’m trying to stay away from snowboarding and it’s hard. I had to skate. Skate or die, you know how it is, you’re American. I ate it. I tried to break my fall by landing on my hands and look what happened.”

  17. I took a risk skateboarding, just like you took a risk signing me.

    Fer the love of…..

  18. 14. Gr8dunk

    If you are going to copy another blogs/articles material verbatim you need to at least mention who you are taking it from and would be nice if you left a link. For anybody that wants to read the whole article here is the link:

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?STORY_ID=6542

  19. Just for the record, Vladrad injured both wrists breaking a fall during the Clippers game last Sunday. He may or may not have been skateboarding during the game, I wasn’t watching that closely.

  20. Hi folks, long time lurker, first time poster… :) Apologies in advance for the wall of text (I get a bit wordy sometimes).

    It’s slightly off the topic so far, but I got to thinking about Phil’s comment today (last night?) about how the first unit has looked really rough lately, and he sometimes can’t wait to get the second unit in there. (Incidentally, I think this is part of what’s up with Ronnie…it’s not just getting Lamar back to his usual 4, it’s also getting Luke and his smarts/savvy in there with the first unit to restore some flow to the game…hopefully the last game was the first of a return to form, and not just a fluke).

    I realized what it is that Kwame really brings to that first unit besides a big body on defense: a simple, almost childlike adherence to the offense. In a way, he reminds me of a kid in the third-grade, one of the slowest in the class, coming in for a math test furiously reciting the multiplication tables under his breath so he can remember them. Doesn’t matter what the test questions actually are: he’s going to write down his memorized tables and hope for a C- this time instead of a D or F.

    When he’s on the floor with the first unit, the ball moves much better because Kwame is only capable of focusing on just one thing: moving where he’s supposed to as hard and fast as he can. He’s not really bright enough to think about anything else at the time. That’s probably a part of why his hands are so rubbery…he’s concentrating so hard on making the right cut, or setting the right pick, and suddenly someone passes him the ball and he’s thinking “What’s this? But I’m supposed to be moving! Not catching! Mongo no move and catch at same time!” Almost like a toddler, actually.

    But the flip side is that the motion of the offense flows really well when he’s out there (because that’s all he’s thinking about), which makes the whole team play better. It’s also probably part of the reason that once he does catch the ball, and stops thinking “Move now” and changes to “Score now”, we see some amazing post-up and/or face-up moves from him; I know I’ve seen some KG-like drives from the free-throw line that make me crazy, knowing he can do that and yet seeing it so rarely. We don’t see it all the time not because he isn’t trying, but because he’s almost savant-like, and needs to totally change his mindset from one task to the other, and can’t freely move between them the way the great players do.

    This also partially explains why the first unit goes so stagnant sometimes when Chris and Bynum are out there…they aren’t bad players (well, Chris, but he’s still hurt and rusty, not ready to write him off yet), they’re just capable of thinking through multiple tasks at once (move, pass, score), but they’re not really good at it yet (like Kobe, Luke, Jordan, etc.). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Chris and/or Bynum flash to the post at the same time that Luke or Kobe is also making that same move, and the entire possession (and their overall flow) is wasted as they reset the busted triangle…it’s because they’re thinking too much.

    So, in a way, Kwame’s low basketball/triangle IQ is one of his greatest strengths. Odd, that.

    BTW, Kurt, this blog is epic, keeps me sane right now when work is so slow. I know what kind of effort it takes to keep it running and keep posting day in and day out. So thanks.

  21. Is anyone else having audio issues with KCAL? I have static on both HD and normal channels…

  22. 22. All the better not to hear Kobe’s early clanks (1 of 5 to start).

    Sorry, can’t help, I’m still at work watching on gamecast. But I couldn’t avoid the dig.

  23. I am loving this particular lineup defensively the Lakers put out there once Luke got into foul trouble in the 1st.

    Fisher
    Kobe
    Ariza
    Odom
    Bynum

    their length and Fisher’s aggressiveness really look like a strong unit when they are out there together. Ariza just can fly out there and should only get better this year. But that group will challenge every shot.

  24. The Machine known as Sasha is shooting his little tail off tonight boys.

  25. Sasha and his new hair do… something must be right. Tearin it up tonight…

  26. Kobe and Sasha switched bodies? Fun stuff.

  27. Kobe, Drew and Fish a combined 1 of 13 with two minutes to go in the first half. The bench is doing it for us again.

  28. jellosjigglin’ December 18, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    I’m following the game through gamecast, so I cant tell why, but whats up with the lack of production of Drew?

    Not many touches? Tough D by Big Ben?

    Glad to see the machine still doing his thing though

  29. Lamar is grabbing rebounds and putting forth the effort, but his first half performance is another classic no show. What is he doing? I’m really not sure how he thinks this type of play will get him on an all-star team. We really need Lamar to figure out whatever it is he needs to figure out to have a more significant impact on the game. I can’t really explain it b/c he is getting some stats, but his impact on games this season is nonexistent.

  30. Watching the telecast, you notice a really disturbing pattern and just know when the lakers will take a three. Luckily Walton made his, but Fisher missed. Lakers’ idea of stopping runs is to answer with threes, and we’ve seen a ton of them just now… is that all within the game or were they forced?

    Yay, double double for Odom coming up. Don’t miss those FTs.

  31. Deng is absolutely destroying Lamar Odom. When is Odom going to take this personally and at the very least put the guy on the free throw line. Just once I’d like to see Odom gets pissed and do something on defense.

  32. The Lakers shooting clip is horrible. I cannot credit Bulls defense for this but I must say they are quite pesky customers on D.

    I am having this insinuation as to what Lamar SHOULD do. Forget scoring 20pts, forget jacking up threes…

    I want him to rebound like a madman! An average of 14-15 rebs will do for me. We all agree he is not Pippen, and we see he is not Toni Kukoc either. Let him be our Rodman!

  33. Nice countering a shot clock violation with two blocks and abucket.

  34. Bynum has a mean streak……….I like it.

  35. i have a man crush on jordan farmar.

  36. it’s really great to see lakers maintaining such high intensity and not folding under pressure, because bulls have kept up with the lakers the whole game!

    also it’s great to see bynum getting more involved one way or the other.

  37. Sasha for MVP. Dang, that kid just had a game that would make Kobe proud.

  38. I never in my wildest dreams imagined getting production like this from Sasha. It’s a pipe dream, but imagine if this guy keeps up similarly good play all year? It could be one of those x-factors that makes us a real winner.

    I know, it’s Sasha, but he seems like he has such good chemistry with the team. Easy guy to root for. Certainly adds to our versatility even if he comes back down to earth a bit.

    Who gave him the nickname “The Machine”?

  39. 36. Goo, me too! I’m beginning to question my sexuality now… hmmm… :lolz

  40. Wow, Bynum played 40 minutes. And he played as well or better in the second half as the first. Is that a career high for him?

    Also, our bench is now limited to Farmar, Ariza and Sasha and there’s almost no drop off.

    Our turnovers are down, our execution is getting more consistent. I’m really enjoying this team right now. Hopefully we can get healthy going into the brutal February trip and keep improving into the playoffs.

  41. I know I was probably the only one in the country watching this game on NBATV, but I heard something tonight that got me excited. At one point during the third quarter Hinrich drove into the lane and got fouled by a jumping Andrew Bynum. During the replay, the color commentator described the play as such, “Hinrich drove through the entire blue team there.” I took it as a shout-out to the readers of this site. Keep up the good work Kurt.

  42. 35-I agree. Drew turned Andres Nocioni into a screensaver. How about Sasha “the Machine” Vujacic! He scored more than Kobe in less time! ::claps::

    With each game, I’m starting to love this team even more. Whether it’s the bench stepping up when Kobe’s cold, the extra hustle on plays, or Ronny dancing on the bench whenever someone makes a dunk…it makes Laker games very fun to watch. It’s no wonder the Lakers are among the highest in road attendance in the league! I’m looking forward to Thursday’s game against Cleveland. For now, I’m gonna savor this win.

  43. This team is good. Not the best perhaps but I think and I hope that this team can give the top teams a run for their money during the playoffs.

    If this is the break out year for Andrew, Sasha, Jordan and Trevor, wow!!! Kobe may not notice it but he has all the pieces he needs to complete his championship puzzle.

    Too early to declare success but I am enjoying what I’m seeing right now.

  44. The Guy Formerly Known As Lamar Odom December 18, 2007 at 11:41 pm

    Bynum has great foot work. I liked his spin move against Wallace. He missed the dunk, but he knows what he has to do. That is good.

  45. Just a quick note first about the NBA TV broadcast. For whatever reason, the NBA TV crew was the Chicago announcers. I thought it was going to be impartial, as opposed to the homeresque announcers i am used to on League Pass for road games, but I digress. At least they weren’t as bad as the Celtics or Bucks announcers…

    Anyhow, I love the Ariza pick-up the more I see him play. If this kid ever developed a consistent jumper, wow. Just the threat of a jumper would make him so dangerous. I was telling a guy I play basketball with at my gym, also a Laker fan, that Ariza should be the first guy off the bench unless Bynum gets in foul trouble. And it seems that Ariza has been the first or 2nd guy off the bench lately.

    Glad to see Walton playing with confidence. THat is really his game and I’m glad he’s found it.

    For everyone bashing Odom, he quietly had 16 and 17 I believe. That’s pretty productive. And I haven’t been the biggest Sasha fan, but that’s two consecutive games where he’s been on. That’s a big spark if him or Radman can come in and hit 3’s like that.

    I am just really enjoying the season so far. They are playing really well together and their play has really impressed me thus far. As long as they don’t lose games like Golden State and New Jersey, where they clearly gave those games away in the last 5 minutes of the game, they’ll be fine. I’m still of the opinion that Odom is still working his way back after missing the first 10 games so I see him only getting better as the year goes on.

  46. @Kurt: Just thought I’d point it out since I didn’t notice before…I can see the comment numbers in Safari now. I can’t remember that working before…

  47. The Lakers are playing more and more like a team. Two of the “usual suspects” (Walton and Odom) played great.

    The Bulls may have figured out how to stop Kobe’s offense, but they were totally helpless against “the Machine” Vujacic. After Bynum intimidated and misdirected their shots, Lamar swooped in for the rebound.

    The Bulls played extremely well, but ran out of gas against Laker depth in the fourth quarter. Chicago didn’t lose it; LA won it.

    Laker defense for this game was better than decent: the Bulls scored in the 90’s!

  48. 42. You’re right about Bynum’s footwork on that spin move. One thing nobody noticed (except for the official scorer) on that missed dunk was that Tyrus Thomas blocked it from behind. TT was all over the place on D, and had a decent game on offense as well.

    It’s amazing to me that Noah didn’t get off the bench at all in tonight’s game, and also amazing that Noah and TT have not been on the court at the same time all year, except for garbage time, if that. A Noah-Thomas-Nocioni front line would be a devastating second unit on D.

    One thing about the Laker lineup down the stretch–Phil went small, and had Kobe playing small forward when he came back in for Ariza in the early part of the Laker run. This was definitely a wise in-game adjustment, as it was done because Sasha was on fire from the outside (and no other Laker could hit the 3). It worked, as the score went from 77-77 to something like 102-83. Sasha doesn’t have good lateral quickness on D, but he makes up for it with his sheer tenacity. He never gives up…and finally, this year, we are really seeing his fearlessness transfer to the offensive end.

  49. It was interesting to watch Bynum’s impact on this game, even when he wasn’t scoring. The Bulls made a conscious decision to collapse on him and use tight spacing to close the passing lanes into the block. This strategy succeeded in containing Bynum for a while, but he still made some nice passes that lead to layups. He kept after the Bulls inside guys all game, wearing them down so that by the fourth, things really opened up inside.

    Bynum’s impact on defense was huge. His four blocks lead to even more altered shots and Bynum did a nice job of knowing when he could get to the swat and when it was enough just to keep his arms up and force the offense player into a tough release. This is something he has struggled with in the past (even earlier season, when he was getting into foul trouble on a regular basis).

    Finally, I thought Odom played the right kind of game against the Bulls. He really used his length and athleticism for all it was worth and didn’t take a lot of bad (lazy) shots. More games like that would go a long way toward making the Lakers a legitimate sleeper threat in the W.C.

  50. 41.

    Nice name pgblooded… I like it.

    Boy do I like watching and following this laker team. The next 3-5 years are gonna be awesome.

  51. I don’t know if anyone noticed but the Lakers have the 4th best record in the West. If they do well this week, they might be seeded third by the end of their trip. Honestly I was very doubtful in the early season about their chemistry and progress, but the Lakers rapidly developing into contenders. So far this team is full of surprises. First Bynum and Farmar were the first to cast our doubt away. Radman showed at times he can shoot lights out. Now Vujacic is amazing us with his offensive arsenal. Phil is putting his piece together nicely, now If Brown can catch the ball, Odom shows his heart in the playoffs, Walton find his rhythm we would be very dangerous. Oh, don’t forget about Ariza and Crittenton, it’ll be nice to see how they will fit in the picture in the future.

  52. I hope the Lakers can keep up this effort and execution when they get to the easier parts of the schedule, especially towards the end of the season. There is a good chance the Lakers could go into the playoffs (I’m assuming they’ll make it) with a decent winning streak, and then it could get really interesting depending on how the matchups work out.

    I think the next three weeks are especially crucial since there are some more tough games close to each other.

  53. 46. Chise:

    BUCKS ANNOUNCERS ARE SOOOO BIASED! I watched the lakers play them the night Hakeem was recognized at half time and wow, those guys were douches…

  54. 51. Been pgblooded since the day I was aware that the NBA is already being shown in the P.I.

    Yup, 3 to 4 years from now I hope to see the Lakers of the 1980’s if not the early 2000’s. It will be a blast!!!

  55. Chise,
    “For whatever reason, the NBA TV crew was the Chicago announcers.”

    I watched it on NBA TV as well. (In Sn Diego, so usually don’t get to see the road games.) The broadcasting crew is always the “local” crew from one of the teams in the game.

  56. I think that Kobe is still trying to figure out how to integrate his game with this group of players. The offensive arsenal is vastly different from last season. Fisher, Vujacic, Farmar, and Vlad are all shooting pretty well from outside, and Bynum has a solid inside game (although no real range yet.) The combined threats of outside shooting and an inside game really open up the middle for penetration. That is what Lamar should be concentrating on.

  57. 55 – I thought I was watching the game on NBATV, but it was blacked out. I called and they said I could just watch it on KCAL.
    What provider do you have?

  58. The Guy Formerly Known As Lamar Odom December 19, 2007 at 9:48 am

    what’s up with Ronny coming in at the last minutes of the game???

  59. I watch the games on NBATV when they are on and I think the crew is always the home teams regular announcers. I didn’t like the Chicago announcer’s, they were biased (which is somewhat expected) and a lot of their facts were just wrong. They said Odom was a good 3 point shooter and that Bynum was in his second season. Kind of sloppy.

    Good game defensively particularly in the 4th quarter. Bynum seems to be improving every game on the defensive end. He is really starting to learn how to use his length to make players shoot over him instead of always going to for the block and picking up cheap fouls. Also he is developing an attitude on the defensive end. There was one play where Gray did a little turn around jump shot; Bynum just waited for the shot, swatted it away then looked at Gray like come on is that best you have. I’m really starting to like this kid. I hope he keeps it up.

    Interesting scouting report (I guess thats what you would call it) on Bynum. Its basically a rank of where players rank with trade value.

    22. Andrew Bynum
    His ceiling: The NBA’s best center not named “Dwight Howard” or “Yao Ming.”

    (Note: During the first 17 drafts of this column, I had Bynum ranked in the 40s because of ongoing concerns about his attitude and conditioning. What happens when he’s eligible for a lucrative extension? What happens when he finally gets paid? Can he keep the weight off? Will he go Oliver Miller on us? And isn’t he too young to keep breaking out that sourpuss in games when things go wrong? Then I watched him play spectacularly last week against San Antonio and Golden State and couldn’t keep him out of the mid-20s. He’s just too talented: light feet, great hands, quick ups, superb timing as a shot-blocker … there’s too much to like.)

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/071218

  60. Mike in the Mountain West December 19, 2007 at 10:55 am

    What’s so amazing about this team, and bodes so well for the future is we don’t have any stiffs or duds. Cook was the last player on this team that really underachieved. I guess we could count Kwame but with his good post defense he’s become valuable. Even so, only one guy with a bad contract, which happens to be expiring this year, is really great.

    I just hope that Kupchak doesn’t screw it up by trading for another Kwame, a troubled player with “talent” that “just needs the right environment” to succeed. Only proven veterans from now on! You hear me Mitch?

  61. 2007-2008 Hollinger Power Rankings
    =======================

    1. Spurs
    2. Phoenix
    3. Lakers
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/powerranking

    Can we just dream a LA vs Boston Finals.?.. that would be awesome.

  62. 62. I second that. LA and Boston in the Finals. Wishful thinking… most likely but it would be awesome, and good for the league too.

  63. The Chicago announcer commented when they were talking about Shaw wearing sunglasses,

    “Showtime era guard Brian Shaw….”

    I know the guys kid him for being old, but I don’t remember him throwing it to Kareem in the post…

  64. 63-

    Oh God, the media would go absolute Bat-crazy. Cue up fifteen million 80’s-era comparisons.

    Not to mention how AWESOME the renewed Boston-LA rivalry would be. I think the riots would come back.

  65. I liked the way PJ put Trevor in on Deng last night, Deng was tearing it up, and LO was helpless to stop him, then when Trevor came in, he went right over and stuck to Deng, and that was a turning point in the 4th quarter when we pulled away. (that, and Sasha lighting it up)

    it’s been a long time since we’ve had a guy like this…
    think Trevor can become a Michael Cooper kind of player? he’s got the hops for the “coop-a-loop” and there ws no better defender, just ask Larry Bird. comes off the bench like Coop, could be one of the top 6th man of the league.
    nice trade Mitch, well done.

  66. Chris, good point about Trevor/Coop. Trevor has the potential to be a decent spot-up shooter like Coop was, as he has a nice stroke from the FT line. But he goes to the hole so hard and fast that he really differs from Coop, and that’s what he should emphasize in the future (while still working to improve his shot).

  67. yeah, you’re right about that, and I forgot that Coop had a killer 3 point stroke, (didn’t he hit 7 in one of the LA-Celts finals?) can’t see trevor becoming a 3 pt specialist.
    but I would like to see him become a new “coop-a-loop” specialist!
    and a Coop-like defensive presence.
    and I like the way he goes after rebounds, very aggressive!
    that would be enough for me.

  68. with this team, i believe all the serviceable pieces are present, but i still feel that we need consistent second go to guy (right now i feel like that second go-to-guy is a platoon of players consisting of farmar, sasha, ronny, ariza and bynum).

    farmar is showing tremendous potential as a point guard, while he is no nash or kidd, farmar does have what it takes to be a true point guard lakers has been looking for in many years.

    i sort of feel bad for javaris… whenever he’s on the court, he’s trying so hard to make an impression but the first and second string are playing so well that it’s hard to provide him with the necessary court time… sort of like darko and coby karl situation i guess…

  69. Mike in the Mountain West December 19, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    Even if the Celtics and Lakers don’t meet in this year’s finals they could very well meet in the next couple of years. Celtics look poised to dominate the east for the next couple of years and the Lakers look like they are just in the early stages of explosive developement.