Game Preview & Chat: The Utah Jazz

Kurt —  December 28, 2007

Records: Lakers 18-10; Jazz 16-14
Offensive ratings: Lakers 111.3(7th); Jazz 112.0 (5th)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 105.9 (11th); Jazz 107.6 (14th)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Trevor Ariza, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum
Jazz: Deron Williams, Ronnie Brewer, AK47, Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur

Lakers Notes:Quick injury update: No Luke, no Kwame tonight.

Inside Hoops has done an interesting Q&A with Andrew Bynum, which gives us some insight in to how he went from gangly 17-year-old to breakout player:

InsideHoops.com: How’s it going working with Lakers staff as they try to teach you new skills and help your development?

Andrew Bynum: Kareem has been the biggest help to me. We work out before practices, defensively, and offensive moves. And then my trainer, Sean Zarzana really changed things around for me. He got me in shape. Got my body right.

InsideHoops.com: And how did he do that? What kind of changes did he have you make?

Andrew Bynum: Running track. Hitting the weights. That’s pretty much it. Basketball stuff, I did with him and Gerald Wilkins.

InsideHoops.com: I remember when you were a rookie I asked if you were maybe going to try to learn Kareem’s sky-hook. Did that ever happen?

Andrew Bynum: Naw. I tried to pick it up, but still haven’t gotten it yet. We shoot it every day. I shoot it against Vlade [Vladimir Radmanovic, who is sitting next to Bynum during this interview] repeatedly. It looks good against Vlade. I got him scared.

The Jazz Coming In: Gordon Giricek should be back, but once again when the commentators talks about “the loose cannon” we don’t have to assume they mean Kobe.

The Jazz are 3-7 in their last 10, although you might not know it from the drubbing they gave Dallas a couple nights ago. Okur was back after missing some games with an injury and the Jazz starters had a 16-0 run to start the game and an 11-3 run early in the third quarter, and as you might guess that was enough for an easy win.

The Jazz starters have been playing well through the slump, if you look at the numbers, it’s the production from the bench that has been a big drop off. Millsap is the only guy giving them much in the last 10 games, although though against the Mavs a couple nights ago the Jazz I saw looked like the Jazz of last season. The only question is how much of that was because Dallas is slumping right now.

The Other Thing To Read Today I’m back at TrueHoop for one more day. Can one man bring down a vast media empire in one day? Stay tuned…..

Last time these two met The Lakers and Jazz have split their two meetings this season, and both times the losing team was on the second game of a back-to-back. Coincidence?

That last loss (Nov. 30) by the Lakers was particularly ugly. The Jazz were without Boozer and Okur but still outscored the Lakers in the paint, the Lakers had 20 turnovers, the Lakers let Deron Williams drop 35, Lamar Odom was MIA, and… I could go on for another 300 words. Let’s just try to put it behind us.

Keys To The Game: The Jazz are a disciplined team that runs a double high-post offense with a lot of cutters — that means the defense has to be disciplined too. Based on the last meeting, the Lakers need to do a much better job on AK47 and Williams, who did as they pleased then.

With Boozer and Kirilenko, the Jazz protect the paint well on defense, the Lakers need to get the ball into Bynum and use his passes out to shooters to open up that defense. Kove/Fisher/Ariza driving and kicking could do the same thing. This could be a night that Radmanovic and Sasha play key roles shooting over the top of the packed-in Jazz defense.

Where you can watch: Game time is 7:30 p.m. (Pacific). In Los Angeles tune Fox Sports, nationally you’ll need League Pass. Or just head on down to your local sports bar, which is my plan.

Kurt

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82 responses to Game Preview & Chat: The Utah Jazz

  1. Kove Vryant ( ;) )needs to have a big game today. The Lakers need to exploit the Jazz with Kobe, just as the Jazz exploit our mediocre defense at the 1.

  2. The guy formerly known as Lamar Odom December 28, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    I’m predicting a comfortable win tonight. Lakers by 10 +.

  3. Oh yea, and Bynum needs some touches too…

    Fabulous answer…
    “Andrew Bynum: I came in, and needed to gain some confidence. Wasn’t playing a lot, about 20 minutes a game. As the year progressed, the team started to trust me more. And now I get touches in the first half. Still need to earn the team’s trust in the second half”

  4. Ariza Adjusting to Life in Lakerland
    =====================
    Source: Los Angeles Times

    The move that brought Trevor Ariza to the Lakers and sent Brian Cook and Maurice Evans to Orlando was met last month with raised eyebrows, even genuine concern, by players who thought the success of the Lakers’ second unit could be affected by losing two peripheral contributors.

    That unease has gradually faded.

    Ariza responded to his first start as a Laker with 14 points, seven rebounds and a memorable dunk over Grant Hill in the Lakers’ 122-115 victory on Tuesday over Phoenix.

    Ariza’s minutes have risen in recent games, while Evans and Cook have seen a decrease in their playing time with the Magic. Evans had one point in six minutes on Wednesday against New York, and Cook did not get onto the court for a fifth consecutive game.

    Evans is averaging 6.2 points in 18.6 minutes a game with Orlando, and Cook is averaging two points in 6.2 minutes.

    Ariza is averaging 5.8 points and 14.2 minutes since joining the Lakers.

  5. The way they were thumped and embarrased their last game with Utah should motivate the Lakers tonight.
    I don’t see them getting punked 2 games in a row by the Jazz.

    Time for some payback.

  6. the other Stephen December 28, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    instead of one big slavishly cumbersome article, will they let you release 20 mini-posts throughout the day all devoted to the Lakers, including several odes and poems?

  7. Hey Kurt I love the site. I have been checiking this site for over a year(but this is my first post). I check everyday and I cannot get enough. Keep up the great work.

    I think having Trevor Ariza as the starting 3 is a brilliant move. I really hope Phil stays with this line up for a while. One of my buddies who is a big lakers fan like us says Ariza reminds him of Eddie Jones, but without the outside shot. I would like to see what he can do on AK47.

    Good peice on Bynum. It seemed all of a sudden, maybe you can clue me in when this happend, but Bynum stopped getting in foul trouble. He just played smarter. Which has been huge to have him as much as he physically can not becaue of his foul situation.

  8. I think that this game is about defense–both ways–especially in controlling penetration. I’m expecting a strong game from Trevor on both ends and significant minutes for Ronny. I also think we will see Chris Mihm in the mix.

    If we win, we need to keep in mind that Utah is a completely different team on the road–so the win is not that big a deal.

    If we lose?

    Oh my . . . .

  9. 6. My poetry sucks. Trust me you don’t want that.

  10. Interesting topic for discussion at Fanhouse: Will Bynum’s success lead other teams to take gambles on project big men? These moves fail far more than they pan out.

    http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2007/12/28/will-bynums-ascension-cause-more-draft-gambits/

  11. Do you guys think that part of Bynum’s foul trouble disappearing is more respect from the ref’s as he has gotten more publicity throughout the season?

    As unbiased as they may try to be, it cannot be denied that rookies and young players don’t get the same calls all the time as the veteran players.

  12. 81s biggest fear, the Lakers overlook this game and mentally prep for Sunday at Boston. Much like 81 has.

    Three keys:

    1) The Jazz turn the ball over frequently. Apply pressure (half court press) and force the Jazz to pass their way out. Either that or force them to shoot the 3 (poor team % + league low in attempts).

    2) As Kurt mentioned slash. The Jazz foul the most in the league. Frustrate them early and make them rely on their bench. Fish, Famar, Kobe, Odom, Ariza, and Sasha must have strong slashing games.

    3) Box out!!! The Jazz get a good number of ORs and the Lakers need to defend against 2nd chance points.

    All in all, the Lakers need energy this game and cannot induce themselves into a lull. Otherwise, it will be a long game.

  13. Elyse,
    I don’t think it is the refs so much as Bynum not ‘leaning in’ with his hands when a shooter goes straight up on him and his not trying to block shots by jumping at them.

  14. Kurt, I love the site, it’s my first post but I’ve been reading a long time. Continued success to you!

    I just finished reading Kareem’s latest book – a really good read, for all of you who haven’t checked it out – and it made me reflect on how happy it makes me, as someone who grew up watching and idolizing the Captain, that not only has he become such an active, intelligent contributor to our culture in his post-playing career, but that his legacy and knowledge has found an outlet on the basketball court as well in his tutelage of #17.

    Seeing Bynum grow so confidently into his body and his abilities is a thrill in its own right, and bodes well for the Laker present and future, but it’s a sweet link to the past for those of us whose roots go back that far.

  15. I just read that Bynum interview. For a young player, that was the most impressive interview I have heard. He was humble, but not shrinking. His answers were thoughtful and focused to the question asked. He demonstrated a tremendous understanding of both basketball and team dynamics. This is one intelligent person – nice that he is being tutored by another really intelligent person (Kareem).

  16. 10-
    Kurt, what do you mean gambles on athletic big men don’t always pan out?

    **cough**cough**kwame**gasp**cough**

  17. The guy formerly known as Lamar Odom December 28, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    Thank you JA Adande. This is exactly what I’ve been saying in the comments.

    From the chat:

    Jim (Boise, Idaho): You’ve been around the Lakers for a long time. How does this year’s team look? Right now, Hollinger’s playoff predictor toy has them among the West’s elite and a prime NBA finals candidate. Is this realistic? Can this year’s Lakers really contend for a title? Also, is Lamar Odom the most overrated player in the league?

    J.A. Adande: (3:38 PM ET ) This group clearly has the most potential of the post-Shaq era. For the first time it’s easy to envision them in the second round of the playoffs and possibly even the conference finals. The only Western team I would firmly say they can’t beat is San Antonio. They’ve shown they can beat Phx (home and away). the way the Mavs look lately I wouldn’t give them much if any edge over the Lakers. But like I said about Portland earlier, let’s see how the Lakers handle the tough part of their schedule. A big, 9-game Eastern trip that starts at the end of Jan. Only 3 home games in February. If they fare above .500 in that stretch, you can really believe in them. And Lamar isn’t the most overrated, just the most tantalizing.

  18. The guy formerly known as Lamar Odom December 28, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    sorry for the double post, but i’m gonna have to go out on a limb here: Bynum will be better than Dwight Howard. Maybe he won’t put up better numbers statistically, but he will help his team more, a la Duncan.

  19. My Attempts at Lakers poetry:

    Create turnovers,
    plus good pick and roll defense,
    equals easy points.

    Stop Deron Williams,
    make him work on defense too.
    Who needs Smush Parker?

    Good outside shooting
    opens things up for Bynum.
    Sasha and Vlad time!

    Need the good LO.
    Tonight, ball movement is key.
    That means you, Kobe.

  20. You can’t stop D-Will
    only hope to contain him
    Kobe too. It’s on!

  21. 19. Wow that should be published.

  22. 18. I love Bynum, but I’d give him up in a second for Dwight Howard. Bynum is just not as athletic as Howard and I think they are both pretty good students of the game.

  23. Deron Williams is a beast when he’s got the ball. He’s so strong and punishes smaller defenders and obviously he can shoot when he gets going. Hopefully the Lakers can control the paint and limit second chance opportunities.

    I’m feeling good about this game. Lakers have confidence after beating Phoenix and aren’t weary from back to back games.

  24. I’m in east Tennessee for the holidays, up at 3AM tomorrow for a flight, so the sports bar is kind of rough, (since the game starts here at 10:30PM)…
    so, is there a link to hear the game?
    of course I’d love to be able to see it, but if it’s only audio, I can live with that.
    now Sunday, that’s a different matter, I’ll be in Dallas, and there’s no way we’re missing that game!
    I hope Trevor has a great game tonight, love to see him evolve into a hybrid between Eddie Jones and Michael Cooper, that would be a great addition to our squad.
    who do you think he guards tonight?
    if anyone has a lead on where to tune into tonight’s game, thanks in advance!
    cheers.

  25. How come every game the Lakers play seems like it’s a “statement game”? Seriously, I feel that they need to keep proving themselves, which isn’t a bad thing. They’re obviously young and are treading on thin ice as far as success is concerned, but I still have the feeling that one bad loss would send the whole thing in a downward spiral.

    That being said, the highlight of my season is their ability to fight and come back strong after a defeat, also stepping up to every big challenge/game that they’ve played.

    Not going all homer on everyone, but I think the Lakers win by double digits tonight. I make that prediciton because this squad seems to have the ability to focus and channel that into “good” energy on the court.

    Should be fun to watch, especially since it’s Friday and I can have a few and not pay for it at work tomorrow.

  26. 24. just go to NBA.com and on the left side under the list of games click to listen to the audio, log in and listen to Spero for free.

    Ok, well Im heading into LA to catch the game and whatnot. Peace and victory is all I ask.

  27. PHX- (win)
    Utah- ?
    Boston- ?

    Can the lakers beat utah and boston and be 20-10 ?

    possible but i have my doubts ; Utah’s still a very good team andWe don’t really have an answer for KG. Lakers need to bring their A game and keep the defensive intensity up for 48 min and hopefully Ariza can live up to his defensive name. will see.

  28. I think it’ll be interesting to see what Phil decides to do with Bynum tonight defensively. If they put him on Okur, Memo is know to spread the floor and might bring Andrew out to three-point country. I think they might be better off putting Drew on Boozer to keep him plugged inside and let LO take care of Okur on the perimeter.

    We really need this win to carry the momentum into Sunday night against Boston.

  29. Samy, have a good time.

  30. 25) ANdrew Z,
    The blow-out loss at Utah didn’t do that, and neither did the loss to Cleveland (in a game they should have won.)

    I don’ t think we need to worry about this year’s team going into “a funk”, but as the recent play of the bench has shown, with these injuries they aren’t a very deep team.

  31. A couple quick points, iin addition to those already stated:
    1. Fish has to take it to WIlliams offensively, the biggest difference between Utah this year and last year is the absnces of Fish (who may also be the biggest difference between the Lakers last year and this year as well). Going at Williams could get him in foul trouble which would force them to play Hart and at the least it will offset what Williams does on the offensive end.
    2. The Jazz our a system offense, to stop them from scoring you have to disrupt their rhythm. This means bumping cutters, trapping, and playing the passing lanes.
    If we hold the Jazz under 95, we win the game

  32. Under 95 points would be great. I want to hear the “We Want Tacos” chant tonight.

  33. I wanted to take a second to comment on the Ariza trade which is mentioned upthread. I think it was about the smartest move Kupchak has made and thought so at the time. An athletic 2/3 type who can run, jump and defend was one of the three missing pieces:

    1. A low post player who can score and defend.
    2. The athletic 2/3.
    3. More consistent, less mistake-prone play at the point.

    The Lakers need to do everything they can to keep Ariza. It was only one game, but the way he played against Marion was, I felt, a crucial aspect of the W.

  34. the guy formerly known as lamar odom December 28, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    Kurt, I think it’s ok that Bynum is not as athletic as Howard, that may be a plus. Look at Shaq, he’s done. I just hope Bynum doesn’t put so much stress on his body. I’d like for him to be more fundamental than athletic, like Duncan. It would be great if he can develop that sky hook. That would keep him playing longer than Shaq. Kinda like Kareem.

  35. On a completely random tangent-

    No matter how many times I see it (Over 100 now, has to be), and no matter how much I hate the guy…

    That D-wade commercial with the two consciences’s (sp?) telling him whether or not to dunk the ball makes me giggle every single time.

  36. I’m just wondering how Bynum will fill out. He’s just 20, and who knows if he’ll be like DH(not likely), Boozer (likely), or TD (maybe?) in physique? I kinda like to have my centers in the mold of Kareem, since that’ll put less weight on their knees, or, as we all know, toes.

    As for missing pieces, I really don’t think we’re missing any. We just need our pieces to play consistently on the defensive end. Pressure from the starters, hustle and energy from the bench.

  37. Oh and, in response to your TH post… Shaq will sit out against Howard. Shame it is, really.

  38. “As for missing pieces, I really don’t think we’re missing any.”

    Right; that was the point. Bynum is providing #1, Fisher and Farmar #3., Ariza #2. That is why they beat the Suns. When everything is working, they are very tough.

  39. I wouldn’t go as far as saying we do not need more pieces anymore… our frontcourt still has a gaping hole.
    We need that “bruiser” guy that we had hoped Ronny would become with his size and range.

    I don’t think this counts as trade spec but the one player I’d like to “add” here is Udonis Haslem. Without parting with Odom…

  40. “I wouldn’t go as far as saying we do not need more pieces anymore… our frontcourt still has a gaping hole.”

    They need an upgrade or two, but when everything is working, they are competitive with even the top teams. Bynum and Ariza are the keys.

  41. Warren, if the Lakers do have all thier pieces what will to do with all of your free time. J/K the Lakers could use another classic 4.

  42. Per Lakers Live Kwame IS playing tonight.

  43. Does anyone know why this isn’t being broadcast in High Def like usual?

  44. Click on my name to see NBA.com’s filephoto of Kwame Brown.

  45. I know Kurt hates the LiveWire comments but I can’t help but say – we are tearin’ up the Jazz tonight!

    Tacos!

  46. 75 points in the half versus one of the NBA’s decent defensive teams… what is the NBA record for most points in a half? in 3 quarters? The Lakers could hit the 100 mark by the end of the 3rd…

  47. Final comment before I keep it shut till the game is done… I hope Phil plays Crittenton in the 4th quarter.

  48. Ahhhh…payback is sweet, isn’t it?

  49. Andrew looked lackadaisical as the game went on today, maybe because his teammates stopped looking for him and he became frustrated by some of the foul calls. He’s been doing a good job this season of going straight up and avoiding fouls, but he’s been prone to mental lapses where he brings his arms down or stops moving his feet, and that’s what got him a couple of times today. For all the strides he’s made since last year, one more thing he needs to keep improving is not tying too much of his motivation to his offensive production (which will come if he’s patient), and also staying focused on defense and not picking up cheap, avoidable fouls.

    Great game overall, though — especially in that first half. The ball was moving around on offense, and the shots were either easy ones in the paint or open ones on the perimeter. Defensively, the Jazz missed some shots, but the Lakers’ energy and hustle really did the job. Taking Deron Williams out of the game was key.

    Hopefully we can keep that kind of play going against Boston, which will be a tough test.

  50. Kobe has been excellent the last few games, and playing within the offense too (mostly!). I hope he can turn in another dominant performance against the Celtics.

  51. Thanks Kurt. So the crowd got pissed when our second unit started breaking down on defense in the fourth and losing our taco chances.

    On that note, although it was cool to finally see the lakers in person – doesn’t everything seem so much bigger on TV? I mean the court seemed, well, like a normal sized court.

    Also, recently, the second unit’s defense (ie 4th quarter) has been lackluster to say the least. Why? I thought we were strong when it came to the second string performing.

  52. 35 – I admit, in general Wade’s commercials make me laugh, too. Even those stupid ones with Charles Barkley. Lebron’s are funny, too. Kobe needs to take himself less seriously and put out a funny commercial.

  53. Good defense by the Los Angeles Lakers drama boys, if only we could patch up the difference, this will be a Los Angeles good season. They are running, switching in defense, rebounding see those efforts. We don’t have yet the Lakers team down.

    I which I could see some Lakers games live. I was looking for tickets all the good seats on ticketmaster were taken I had to check broker. And man you don’t want to do that especially for the Los Angeles Lakers. Thanks god there sites like Ticketwood which work as comparators here is the site
    Lakers Tickets
    http://www.ticketwood.com/nba/LosAngeles-Lakers-Tickets/index.php.

    I like slam dunks that take me to the hoop my favorite play is the ally-hoop,
    I like the pic n roll,i like the given goal its basketball yo, yo lets go!
    Go Lakers Go!!!

  54. I’m still trying to take this all in.

    The Laker team I saw beat the Utes tonight was awesome–almost scary.

    Last year they gave us hope–and then they broke our hearts. We didn’t really blame the team. They were so beat up in the front court that some of us were expecting that Coach Rambis would suit up.

    We just won’t be able to handle it again this year.

    We did blame the Smusher.

    Still, even when Smush departed last year, almost everyone felt we were a mediocre team–or worse.

    What exactly has turned a mediocre team into this Laker team that we barely recognize?

    Don’t ever underestimate Derek Fisher. Now Kobe is not the only Laker to win a championship–nor is he the only one to make the winning shot in the platyoffs.

    Jordan Farmar already knew how to be a champion from UCLA. He knew how to manage and organize his unit on the floor–and he knew how to play defense.

    Derek has begun to take Jordan to the next level.

    Kwame appeared out of nowhere tonight and reminded us that he and Andrew complement each other. With Andrew, it’s the block and the dunk; Kwame shows us strength and twinkletoe quickness. Anyone who saw Twinkletoes Brown play tonight realizes that Kwame has caught the new Laker spirit–he’s IN–BIG TIME.

    Ronny was back to remind us that he still has that magical spirit.

    Lamar played like a madman at times–like we were in the playoffs–but he also played like he was having fun.

    These are some of the pieces of a “better than average” team–but I saw an explosion tonite.

    The spark is Trevor Ariza. I’m sure that many of you will explain why and how–but I don’t think that the explosiveness will go away–which means this team may not breatk our hearts like last year.

    On the radio, Mychal Thompson actually said after the game tonight that the Sunday game against the Celtics could be a preview of a matchup for the NBA Championship.

    I’m not sure we’re up to the challenge of Boston quite yet–but I’m gonna be watchin’ the game!

  55. Bang! Bang!

  56. Hollinger puts the Lakers atop the West rankings. He is even giving us better odds to win the Pacific than the favored Suns. I hope we do win vs Boston and solidify that spot for 3-4 more days or better as the schedule eases even more. I think we can properly evaluate this team at the peak of its Super Road Trip in February.

  57. Great game overall for the Lakers, except their terrible defense in that lackluster 4th quarter. I know they were killing the Jazz and it was the reserves who played mostly, but going from 30 or so up to 14 is not good. At least Phil has material to work with them in practice today I guess.

    That said, I’d keep Ariza in the starting line-up even when Walton is healthy. The Lakers are just so much better with Ariza, especially defensively. Lamar has been playing better at the 4 too and I think Walton can help the 2nd unit more than the first at this point.

    One last thing I’d like to add, I think the tweaks Phil made to the offense benefit a player like Kwame tremendously. He played a very efficient game last night (7pts, 5 boards, 1 steal, 2 blocks in 17 min). He caught pretty much every dump off from Kobe, Ariza, or Fish, and either turned that into points or a nice pass to an open player. I know it’s just one game, but he brings another element to the Lakers when healthy and I’m glad to see him back.

  58. the guy formerly known as lamar odom December 29, 2007 at 11:04 am

    This just in, Lakers #1 in the west in hollinger’s playoff predictor. Kobe will win the MVP.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/playoffodds

  59. 58) Drrayeye,
    “The spark is Trevor Ariza.”

    His increased playing time is certainly coinciding with some of the best games of the season.

    A good defensive player makes everyone else on the floor a better defensive player; having Bynum backing him up gives a player like Ariza the opportunity to be very aggressive. His offensive game meshes well with Bynum’s arrival, too; the threat of Bynum has really opened up the lane for the other Lakers to drive into the lane. Lamar has been doing that more, too.

    I’m still not convinced that this team is a real contender this season, but I am pretty confident about next year, and see the second round as being very attainable this season.

    Still concerned about the depth, at least in the sense that a number of players in the rotation have historically been injury-prone. (Turiaf, Walton, Odom, Brown.)

  60. exhelodrvr,
    I hear you about the injuries, but feel the injury prone types are being increasingly moved to the 2nd unit where they will get fewer bumps and face lesser players. The key is that either Turiaf or Odom is always available. Losing both those guys at the same time really would hurt us.

  61. Saw Mike in the Mountain west make a cameo on Adande’s chat yesterday. Made my day to see some FB&Gers get some love.

  62. Did you guys hear? Sixers traded Kyle Korver to the Jazz for Gordan Giricek and a 1st round pick.

    http://realgm.com/src_wiretap_archives/49992/20071229/sixers_trade_korver_to_jazz_for_giricek_and_pick/

    I think it’s a good move for both teams.

  63. I wouldn’t blame the poor performance in the 4th quarter on the defense as much as I would blame it on the abysmal offense, which had numerous bad turnovers that led to Utah fast breaks. The team defense suffered because the Lakers insisted on having Vlad guard Milsap, who should have been guarded by Ronny. Putting Vlad on his meant that Milsap just overpowered him down low, leading to free throws or offensive rebounds by Milsap, or mismatches that forced another Laker to defend the rim, leaving to an open offensive rebound by another Ute.

  64. OT-Just wanted to share some TNT hilarity from last Thursday…Ernie, Chuck, and Kenny were talking about Damon Jones and his request to be traded to the Heat. Chuck said that announcers/sports talk hosts should be allowed to make trade requests, and said “I want to be traded to the Playboy Channel,” whereby Kenny then said, “You could be one of the girls next door!” The conversation degenerated from there…

  65. There has been a lot of attention lately to Bynum’s improved and effective presence as well as the addition of the atheletic Ariza. This attention is well deserved, but what about the improved play of Odom? I know we expect more from Odom, but the Lakers are 10-3 in December and Odom is averaging almost 16 and 11, a big improvement from Nov. It seems to me the two correlate well, meaning Odom playing well translates into the Lakers play well if not dominating. As of late, Odom has certainly been impressive and much more consistent (with the exception of NY game) and dare I say more Scottie Pippen to Kobe’s Michael Jordan.

  66. That Utah-Philly trade has been proposed many times over… I think its a good deal for both teams.

  67. I loved the way Odom attacked the hole last night. He seemed….almost…..Ariza-like. Maybe Trevor is rubbing off on the rest of the team.

  68. 70) “This attention is well deserved, but what about the improved play of Odom?”

    Odom has never seemed like the type who responds well to the pressure of being the #2 option; I think that the emergence of Bynum, and the strong play of Fisher, has taken some of that pressure off of Odom.

  69. (70) Odom certainly will get an opportunity to “show his stuff” today. Are you predicting 16 and 11 for him?

  70. The Guy Formerly Known As Lamar Odom December 30, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    C’mon kurt, lakers-celtics preview!!!

  71. Here we go, how the Lakers can beat the Celtics:

    1) Do not let them shoot wide-open 3s. They destroyed the Kings and Sonics with wide open looks from Allen and Pierce. Chase them off the 3 point line. Encourage them to shoot the 15-22 foot midrange jumper. Pierce, Allen, and Rondo are not as consistent when shooting a jumper. Especially, when not planted.

    2) Take the ball to the hole. Do not let the Celtics set up their zone defense and make them work. The Celts usually play a soft 3-2 or 2-3 zone with the Ticket and Perkins hovering around the rim. If the Lakers drive, they will create opportunities by forcing these two to play defense.

    3) We need the machine, Vlad, and Farmar. The Celts like to play zone. They are going to get many open looks from behind the 3 point line. Especially after the Lakers bring the dribble drive to the hole.

    4) Play tight D. Make them handle the ball and put it on the floor. They do not have great ball handlers on this team and this is one area the Lakers can take advantage. I am talking turnovers!!

    Did I miss anything?

  72. The Guy Formerly Known As Lamar Odom December 30, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    Lakers will win tonight. I’m guessing by around 5 points.

  73. It’s obvious now that Odom is better suited to PF. He may say that he is a natural SF, but the numbers don’t lie. I know that he is more comfortable attacking off the dribble, but he does not have a quickness advantage against SF’s and he is not a good enough post player to punish smaller guys consistently. But he does have a quickness advantage against most PF’s and it is showing on offense. He is also beasting it again on the glass, which he wasn’t doing when he was playing SF.

    LO loves to play against KG, so I am expecting a strong game where he competes against the Big Ticket. I hope for a strong game 2nite from all our guys, but Odom especially.

    Also, big props to Kurt holding down TrueHoop. Great stuff all around.

  74. Looking forward to tonight’s game. My one comment on the Celtics: everyone complains that their win total has not come against quality opponents. To which I say “so?” Show me an team wins all the “games they should win” other than this year’s Celtics (and Patriots). That is an achievement unto itself.

    Consistent quality is something to strive for, regardless of you opponent.

    Lakers Celtics finals… dare to dream.

  75. Supposedly, SUPPOSEDLY, the Lakers are not just busting out the retro unis but they’re also busting out (maybe even literally) the short shorts.

  76. Lakers/Celts preview is up. Sorry it was so late, the real world kept getting in the way.

  77. 80 — Maybe this is why Rambis brought back the ‘stache? lol