Game Preview & Chat: The Boston Celtics

Kurt —  December 30, 2007

Records: Lakers 19-10; Celtics 25-3
Offensive ratings: Lakers 107.4 (6th); Celtics 107.6 (5th)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 102 (12th); Celtics 91.6 (1st)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Trevor Ariza, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum
Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkin

Lakers Notes: From Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune is the stat that tells you almost everything you need to know about the Lakers win Friday night — LA’s first 18 points came on lay-ups and dunks.

They attacked the heart of the (surprisingly soft) Utah defense. Eventually Kobe was draining three pointers over the top of the defense (and hitting them like they were lay-ups) but it was that initial attack inside that won the Lakers the game. Andrew Bynum rightfully gets a lot of credit for that attack inside.

But I think another part of the attacking style comes from starting Trevor Ariza the last couple games. He is a slasher who gets to the hole through some tight spaces (watch him go baseline after somebody runs at him on a corner three, he gets through seemingly impossible spaces). He also moves well without the ball, giving the Lakers another cutter in the triangle offense.

All that should be interesting tonight.

The Celtics Coming In: They come to this game on the second night of a back-to-back, their fourth game in five days and the last game of a West Coast road swing. Usually those are key ingredients for teams to have let downs, but the Celtics (with KG leading by example) just have not had that kind of let down this season.

While you knew the big three would be good — and they may be better than expected — one other guy that has been hot the last 10 games is PG Rajon Rondo. He’s shot 50.5% (eFG%) in the last 10, throwing in 5.4 assists per game. The Lakers cannot ignore him tonight.

Loving to Hate Bostonians? Are the Celtics and their fans becoming obnoxious now that they are winning again? Kings fans thing so, and even Boston fans are asking that of themselves.

I’m just enjoying the irony of a Lakers blog getting to talk about the arrogance of another team’s fans.

Last time these two met: The Lakers were just not prepared for the intensity of the Celtics defense when these two met the first time. For the game, the Lakers had an offensive rating of 101, well off their season average, and they shot 48% (eFG%), again down from what they are shooting for the season. The Celtics offense was slightly above its season numbers, but as it has been for the Celtics all season it is the defense that won the game.

Keys To The Game: The Lakers were able to get into the lane a couple nights ago against Utah, and if they can do that again tonight it will go a long time toward a win. With KG and Perkins, the Celtics run a virtual zone inside and both love to come from the weak side for the block — if the Lakers can keep up the interior passing we have seen of late they can make the Celtics pay for that weak-side attack.

What they can’t do is see that interior defense and go bombs away from three over the top of it.

Last meeting, Pierce and the other Celtics were able to penetrate at will, the Lakers need to stop that. Also, turnovers will kill the Lakers tonight as the Celtics will make them pay.

If you want another opinion, check out Don from With Malice’s take on the game.

Tonight’s Game: Where The NBA’s Best Rivalry Happens: The Lakers will be wearing the 87-88 throwbacks tonight, which is very appropriate. The Lakers are playing so much better than the last time these two met, this is a good measuring stick for just how well the Celtics are playing.

Where you can watch: Game time is 7 p.m. (Pacific). In Los Angeles you can watch the regular broadcast on Fox Sports or switch over to the “courtside view” showing on Fox Sports Prime Ticket. Remember the courtside view is the one without announces and shot as if you were sitting somewhere next to Nicholson. It’s a fun view.

Kurt

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80 responses to Game Preview & Chat: The Boston Celtics

  1. Looks like no Sasha and no Luke tonight. Let’s hope our two-headed monster at center plays well, Lamar goes to the hole, Ariza plays good D on Pierce, Kobe plays an efficient game, and the Lakers come out with a win…meaning that Phil has passed Red on career victories. Sweet, if it happens tonight.

  2. I’m watching the Lakers-Celtics history stuff on NBAtv today. Right now, they’re doing the 1988 back to back Laker championship. They’re showing the Lakers and Mavs in the conference finals, and they just cut to a courtside shot of OJ. Awesome…but sad.

  3. 1. I was watching that too, I saw the game 6 of the 87 finals. Great stuff. Then tonight the Lakers will be wearing the 87-88 jerseys and supposedly the short shorts. Now if we can just see a Sky hook.

  4. A) the trade Utah made today for Kyle Korver makes them more dangerous. Not that he can right their ship, but he adds something they lacked outside of Memo. In return, Philly gets cap room after this season (Korver had 4 years left, Giricek is in his last).

    B) I’ve been grinning all day looking forward to tonigh’t game; there’s no game I’ve looked more forward to in recent memory (PHX game 7?). Say what you will about the Celtics “weak” schedule thus far, but they’re beating all the teams they’re supposed to beat, which is something everyone else, especially the Lakers, strives for.

  5. Mostly I just watch Lakers games these days, but every once in awhile I’ll catch the good other games on LP. Naturally, I’ve watched some of the Celts this year… Great team. KG’s passion and energy is a wonder to watch. One thing, though:

    Their announcers make me sick.

    Most other local announcers are generally at least kind of close to just calling the game. They’re obviously home-towners, but they at least respect the game and call a spade a spade, just favorably to the home team. That’s cool. That’s how it should be. It’s a home team, after all.

    Not in Boston.

    It’s like they’re not even watching the same game. Ever. Originally it was an annoyance. Then it turned into specifically not watching any Boston games because it just made me mad. I mean, let’s be honest, at some point it becomes so bad that you’re kind of being disrespectful of the game more than you’re being favorable to the home squad through generous interpretation. They cross that line with a hearty outburst while watching a replay clearly vindicating the refs at somewhere around the 6:31 mark in each first quarter.

    I’m praying we don’t have to suffer through that action tonight and can get a well called game….

    Sorry for the rant.

    Enjoy the game, folks!

  6. Opened a nice Bordeaux. Wife’s cooking steak. FIRED UP for tonight’s game. A huge litmus test for both teams. It has the makings of a classic regular season game. I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

    3. That Korver trade is interesting to be sure. I’m really surprised Philly traded Korver. He was a centerpiece of their marketing there and was a fan favorite AFAIK. I think Utah gave up a little too much though. Giricek ain’t too bad of a player and I think the 1st rounder was the part where Utah “overpaid” for Korver.

  7. 6. SHarky – the future 1st was the one that made that deal interesting. It is said to be heavily protected, will start in 09 (so as to give Philly more cap in 08) and has 7 years to complete. I still think Utah won the trade but I bet Philly doesn’t feel too bad about it.

    On Boston…

    Kurt, winning makes one proud. Its ironic that Boston is still so proud in spite of all those years of sucking. The Lakers, meanwhile, well, we still own this decade you know…

  8. HA.

    you’ve gotta be kidding me……

  9. i don’t know how i’m going to get through this game. without needing to go to the hospital for rupturing something from laughing…

    shorts > awesome

    are derek’s shorts shorter than everyone elses?

  10. Please dont mind my venting. But whoever oked these short shorts in the middle of the season against the best team in the league SHOULD BE SHOT. I guarantee you this is playing on the minds of all our players. Why the heck did they do this when these stupid shorts havent been worn by anybody in 15 years is beyond me. It seems like every stinking time we get on a win streak something stupid like this happens. Im so pissed I can barely type right now. Why isnt Boston wearing these stupid short too? Crap this pisses me off.

  11. The one time Fox SW interviews someone worth listening to during thier livewire segment and you can’t hear the Logo.

  12. Hopefully that Fish three gives us a shot (no pun intented) of momentum coming out in the second half.

    Are the Celtics _that_ intimidating in the paint? All those missed layups (and free throws) are increasing the pressure on the outside shots, which are therefore a little bit off.

    Also, I mentioned this the other day, but Bynum needs to clean up the mental mistakes like swiping at the ball, which kept him from escaping the half with only 2 fouls. In all fairness, one of his fouls (the block on Perkins) was tough to swallow.

  13. Mac, I agree, the Lakers could have been distracted by the short shorts. Everybody was laughing, even Doc.

    Edit: they’ve changed their shorts for the second half. Didn’t help them on that shot by Pierce.

  14. Man, when you get jobbed by the refs even when it’s all ball, it’s hard to have confidence on defense.

    Kobe looks like he did when he first had his groin injury. Do we know if that’s healed yet? It’s hard to overcome that many wasted possessions on missed long jumpers.

    Can’t put everything on Kobe, though. The rest of the team needs to be better about executing their offense and taking it inside.

  15. That 3rd quarter did not end well.

  16. The 4th quarter has not started well.

  17. The Cetics are this good but the Lakers are not this bad.

  18. The big run the Celtics went on started mostly when the Lakers bench played really bad offense at the end of the 3rd. I’m sure a lot of it was the Celtics defense, but the offense was horrendous. After that the Lakers got really out of sync and the Celtics pulled away.

  19. The only cool thing about this game was I really really hate Boston again.

  20. I actually liked the idea of putting on the old short shorts for this game, although I wish Boston would have worn them too. Some things I noticed: 1) we really don’t have someone who can guard KG (does anyone?) 2) we gave up way too many easy buckets which led to them getting a bunch of open 3′s later in the game. I think in the end though I’m more upset that we didn’t really put up much of a fight.

  21. The Celtics are a better team right now than the Lakers are. Let’s see if they learn from tonight.

  22. This game was a joke from the beginning…just a very dumb idea…stupid ploy…killed it. Players got away from the game, and Kobe hated it…

    I tried to watch the ‘courtside view’ but it reminded me of the bs the Lakers experience (at Staples) has become. Honestly, down 20 somethin’ and you’ve got the building playing some stupid disco hit, and Buss shoving advertisements down people’s throats.

    F that! I don’t want a courtside view. I want a ‘nosebleeds view’. Up there where all the real fans are at. Now that’s excitement.

    This is also a reminder that the team is a piece away from contention. And a reminder of how useful Kwame can be on defense.

    What I learned today:
    Short shorts+crappy refs = ultimate buzzkill

  23. i agree with you, tony b. you would think that years and years playing for teams that never had a real shot at being successful (yes you garnett, allen and pierce) would make the smug punks they call celtics a bit more appreciative of the collective talent pool that has been gift wrapped for them. nope, no appreciation, not a bit of humbleness, just a bunch of disgraceful chippy-ness.

    how is kevin mchale still employed?

    no wonder boston sports teams are so reviled.

    and a note about the short shorts… very funny move, i like to see that the team has that collective sense of humor, but i think it was ill-timed. not good for this particular game, i think it was distracting to the players, whether subconscious or not.

  24. Well, we get another chance to see how this team responds to a frustrating loss. Not every game needs to be a W — just keep winning 6 or 7 out of every 10 and we will be fine.

    Boston has had our number so far this season, but I’m sure the coaching staff will keep working on cracking that puzzle. They sure do a good job of taking teams out of their game plans, especially when that game plan involves getting to the hoop.

    Andrew basically gets no lobs, handoffs, or putbacks against the Cs, which is a huge % of his offense.

  25. yeah and whats up with the horrible calls? atleast on friday it didnt matter in the end, but we could have used some legitimate refereeing tonight

  26. Mike in the Mountain West December 31, 2007 at 12:07 am

    I didn’t get to watch the game but the stats are right in line with what Boston has done to teams all season. Thier defensive numbers put them far and away as the best defensive team in the league. The difference between them and the rest of the league is just ridiculous. There’s no comparison.

    I don’t know what their new defensive coach is doing but every single team should have a scout at every one of their games taking notes.

    I’m curious where this team compares to the best defensive teams in league history. My guess is they would rank very high.

  27. I can understand why Doc has been getting a lot of flak in Boston for playing the starters too many minutes. KG was still in the game with three minutes left and Boston up 20, and he absolutely spiked one of Lamar’s shots while screaming, “Get that sh*t out of here!” Lamar got very angry and took out Ray Allen with a body block on the rebound. Lamar missed a bunch of layups in the game before this play, and he was obviously extremely frustrated. He was the only Laker starter left on the floor, while the Big 3 were all still on the court. I hate to say it, but if KG or Ray had gotten hurt on that play, Boston would have deserved it. You don’t leave your starters in the game with three minutes left and a 20-pt lead, and let them taunt the other team.

    Edit–Bynum let it slip that Boston was supposed to wear the short shorts as well, but they pulled a fast one and didn’t. I know for a fact that the Lakers came out edgy at the start of the game, I wonder if this played into it.

  28. Man, I hate Boston!

  29. I was at Staples tonight … what a disappointment! The atmosphere at the beginning was electric but the Lakers really laid an egg. People can talk all they want about the shorts, but the fact is that the Lakers were wearing their normal length when they closed to 72-66 and then let the Celtics go on a 21-2 run. So sorry, it WASN’T the shorts. One thing that was obvious from tonight was that while Bynum has improved exponentially this season, his lack of post moves really is going to undermine his game against the top defenses. If Bynum can’t get the ball by the basket on a lob or offensive rebound, he gets extremely frustrated and isn’t reliable when a body is put on him. Overall, the team seemed shockingly fragile mentally, and they clearly did not respond when faced with adversity. This game does not wholly take away from an otherwise impressive month, but it was a humbling experience that is a reminder that despite the improvements, this team is not a title contender.

  30. I hate Kobe’s shot selection this game. I hate Lamar’s inability to handle loose balls and make shots. And I hate Bynum being in foul trouble.

    Haven’t looked at the box score yet and I didn’t watch all of the fourth, but was there anyone that played well in the game? I remember getting frustrated with everyone at some point, except maybe Ronny, Fish, and Brown. Wasn’t very sure what Phil was trying to do with some of his lineups either.

  31. Sorry for the double post, but Scot (28), Bynum might not have the polished game he will have in a few years, but I didn’t see how he was not offensively reliable. He just never got touches. When he did get the ball, he made his shot.

  32. Boston is just solid all the way around. The play great D. They rebound. They can play both an inside game and an outside game. They’ve got the complete package.
    All of that being said, the Lakers should have competed better

    I don’t think they should have worn the shorts for THIS game.
    I wanted the team totally focused on the job at hand.
    What a disappointment.

  33. Was at the game tonight, sitting behind Vick the Brick and his view obstructing hat. Anyhow, the Lakers did a poor job of getting the ball inside. Boston is a very solid defensive team. You have to make a concious effort to get the ball inside, otherwise they are going to force you into shooting long range shots the entire night. Luke Walton got absolutely abused by Pierce. That was the turning point in the third quarter. Luke must have made like 4 straight turnovers, followed by Pierce abusing him on the other end.

    P.S. did anyone else notice that the short, shorts looked funny because although the shorts were smaller, they were still wearing the oversized jerseys?

  34. I thought the shorts were funny… but… for a game? Sends the wrong message.

    34 – I noticed the normal jerseys. Especially Bynum’s…. ridiculous.

  35. I expected the Lakers to lose this game. Now I know why for sure.

    Composure and confidence.. The Lakers were tentative, unable to score inside consistently on offense, and unable to execute a defensive strategy.

    The Celtics were confident and arrogant.

    Kobe couldn’t match Paul Pierce,
    Lamar couldn’t match KG.

    On offense, Lamar was the guy who needed to score consistently and free up Kobe and Andrew–and he tried–and failed.

    The Lakers would have been far better off starting Kwame. Considering he was just back from injury, he played well.

    Andrew was once again a disaster against Boston–and fouled out.

    Against all odds, the Lakers appeared to be gaining momentum well into the third quarter until Paul Pierce almost singlehandedly blew the Lakers away with both his offense and defense.

    It crossed my mind that the Lakers might look into that final “piece” now.

    BTW, the Memphis Grizzlies are 8-22.

  36. Perhaps the short shorts have taken everyone’s attention away from the fact that referee number 56 was making some VERY suspicious calls…

  37. 1. Enough about the shorts. As Scot pointed out (30), we were down 6 at the half, when we switched to the regulars. I thought it was hilarious. But, whatever, when we got blown out we were wearing regular shorts, so just enough already. If you’re going to blame attire, statistically the long shorts effed us, right? Like a -13 to a -6. Stop saying that had anything at all to do with the outcome, please.

    2. Start Kwame?! Why, cause Bynum was in foul trouble? He just didn’t get enough touches. When he got the ball, he was solid. I love Kwame on D as much as the next guy, but watching him stand wide open 10 feet from the hoop with no one within 6 feet…. and looking desperately for someone to unload the ball to…. I feel we’re better served with Bynum getting the big minutes.

    3. I like Luke, but I’m not sure why he got minutes. Against P.P. he’s not going to do much on either end of the floor. I’m becoming a bigger Ariza fan by the game. I’d love to see the team continue to work to be more defensive oriented.

  38. jellosjigglin’ December 31, 2007 at 4:21 am

    lakers.com has an awesome video of the guys talking about the short shorts pre-game…

    http://www.nba.com/lakers/news/071230_shortreaction.html

  39. Couple things, Boston is really really good, and LA is not that bad. Part of the reason they looked to so bad was because of Bostons Defense, but LA still just had a bad game. They didn’t look to get the ball inside, didn’t move the ball and couldn’t execute a solid defensive game plan. From the few times I have watched Boston, I’ve learned that if you want to beat them, you have to play solid defense. That is the only way anyone will beat them, they are just too good defensively. I think that is because of Garnett. I think he is the one guy, that they can not afford to lose. They can still win if Peirce or Allen get hurt, but I don’t think could if Garnett got hurt. I think he is the MVP so far this season, even though his numbers are down across the board (Maybe because they are down across the board, that says a lot about the guy). I have always thought he was one of the top 5 players in the league, and I just proving once again this year that he still is.

  40. Remember people — The Lakers are the 2nd youngest team in the NBA. That means inconsistency and Boston has the tools to encourage that inconsistency. It is fortunate that they have 4 days off because the coaching staff now has lots of time to work with what was learned about the team Sunday nite.

    Aside from Lamar’s lack of ‘clutch’ shooting (which was to be expected, as he is not a #2 option on any team), the thing that disappointed me most was Kobe. He and Fisher were the ones responsible for getting the ball to Bynum early on and they didn’t do it. This resulted in Andrew going outside of himself to make plays and – surprise, surprise – fouls. By not making a greater effort to go inside the outside shots were much harder and Boston had no worries about fouls themselves (it was expected Allen would have problems guarding Kobe).

    I don’t care how hard it is; Kobe has to go to his teammates repeatedly and not cast up so many long shots – it really kills the offense, even when they go in.

  41. (38) You say, ” Start Kwame?! Why, cause Bynum was in foul trouble? ”

    answer: the most effective strategy for the Lakers against Boston is to match their defense from the start. That’s Kwame. If Laker defense contains Boston from the start, we can wear them down. If Andrew comes off the bench after Kwame wears them down a bit, he can score and be effective on defense.

    By the fourth quarter, Bynum might be able to close out the game.

    I feel that after a few games back for Kwame, Phil will find very appropriate ways to use Twinkletoes and Big Foot strategically in tandem.

  42. Celtics obviously realize that stopping Bynum and making the Lakers shoot jumpers is the key to beating them:

    Rivers on the Celtics strategy: “Our goal was to fill keep Bynum out of the paint and make them shoot jump shots. It worked in Boston, though we got away a bit from it there. But we did it here and it worked. I told the guys it would work and make the game easier. they did it and it worked.”

    Ray Allen echoed his coach’s sentiment: “We have a formula for making the team we play uncomfortable. We trust each other and have great help defense. We thought Bynum was the key. We made sure he didn’t get any lobs and we kept him away from the basket. On the offensive end we did the same, keeping him from the rim.”

  43. Great, funny video of he Lakers putting on the short shorts before the game:

    http://www.nba.com/lakers/news/071230_shortreaction.html

    I don’t think the shorts were a bad call, I liked it (not in that way, not that there’s anything wrong with that). That is not even close to what cost them the game — the Lakers were scared to death of KG and Perkins around the rim, and they fell right into the Celtics trap of trying t shoot over the defense rather than getting into the heart of it. Jones has said it very well.

  44. If the Lakers had won we’d be talking about the genius “short shorts” move of late ’07 and asking that it happen every Sunday night.

    That being said I do think it took their edge away early. The refs more and made up for that, though. The Lakers should have been down by a lot more than they were early. Later on some bad calls went the other way as the refs tried to get control of the game. I thought it was a pretty ugly game overall, but I agree that a) the Lakers aren’t that bad and b) the Celtics are pretty damn good.

    In the meantime it’s a game Kobe and PJ can hold over the younger group as to not get ahead of themselves as they hopefully bang out 5 of their next 7 as W’s.

    And we can laugh at the fact we’re even discussing “short shorts”. Because it was really absurd. I’m still struggling with it really. We all may never recover. With the short socks Fisher looked absolutely preposterous. Good times.

  45. One other link: I did some rare speculation for a post at Ball Hype: What if Phil Jackson had never coached the Lakers?

    http://ballhype.com/story/what_if_history_weren_t_the_los_angeles_lakers/

  46. The guy formerly known as Lamar Odom December 31, 2007 at 11:37 am

    Say what you want, but the Lakers were right in it until two minutes left in the 3rd. They were within 6. Had the Lakers been within 7 to start the 4th it would’ve been a completely different game. I think the Lakers would have won it had they been within 7. I don’t think PJ made a smart move by playing Critt and keeping the starters out to begin the 4th. The reason the Lakers went down by 11 to end the 3rd was due to a couple of horrible calls, one that got Kobe his 4th (terrible call). There wasn’t any homecourt advantage in this game, but it was against the best team in the league and the refs are already pulling in their direction cuz of that. The horrible calls frustrated the young Laker players, you could tell. Lamar lashing out at Ray at the end was due to happen. I think the league wants to renew this rivalry. You can tell by the way they officiated. They let the teams get physical and allowed the better team to get away with so many things. This is going to be a great rivalry starting next year. Both teams will fight it out. It’s a flashback to the 80′s, people! The refs are gonna let them get physical.

    The Lakers could’ve had this one. It was a second game of a back to back for Boston,, after a game in which they had to play hard until the end against the Jazz, and although they have done very well on second games of back to backs the Lakers were right in there until the the refs took it away from them. But yeah, I hate Boston after this game, but this is exactly what the league wants. It’s gonna be good.

  47. i have to give credit to kg and ray allen, they played their game very well.

    pierce single-handedly destroyed the lakers at the end of the third, but his taunting and swagger were uncalled for. until he got ray and kg by his side, his team and he were nobodies. he was good but not good enough to win the games all by himself.

    maybe it’s my new hatred to anything green talking. but i just can’t seem to give that guy credit he’s due.

  48. I agree with a lot of the comments already said, however, I disagree with Kurt that the refs didn’t have an impact on the game. The Lakers didn’t play well in the first half, but they weren’t horrible. And it was frustrating because everyone in the stands was really into the game at the start. 95% of people were in their seats at tip-off, which obviously doesn’t happen that often. Staples Center was buzzing and roaring until so many bad calls went towards Boston. Everytime we’d cheer because of a great play, the refs would make a terrible call and kill the energy. So we had to spend time booing the refs. While I wouldn’t say the refs determined the game, they were most definitely a factor. Consider how many whistles were blown early on for a number of violations (Technicals, fouls, delay of games, etc.) and how many technicals were called overall (Seven). Something is wrong if 7 technicals are given during the course of a game.

    One thing I did notice tonight, is that Boston hit a lot of shots. There was this sense of inevitability. A Pierce three would go up and you could tell it was going in. Garnett got it in the post and you felt he was going to abuse Bynum or Odom. And they just plain hit a lot of their jumpers. They had a field goal percentage of 46.3% which might not seem like a lot but when you compare that to the lakers at 35%, it’s a big difference.

    Ronny still needs to get his confidence back. He had a couple open shots and passed them up. Same with Luke.

    Ariza needs to keep doing that pump fake, dribble to a spot, and pull-up move that Kurt likes so much. He didn’t do it at all last night.

    Kobe was awful last night. I don’t blame him, but after so many bad calls, he shut down last night. I don’t blame him because everyone in the building felt the same as he did–The refs took the game away from the Lakers before they had a chance to earn it themselves.

  49. The shorts may have been a ploy to distract players from hype over game that backfired.
    Normaly I cannot agree when home team fans claim they got hosed by the refs,but last night there were some really bad calls that went against Lakers. On the other hand the more aggressive team does get the calls,still…
    Yes,JONESONTHENBA,the jerseys were a total mismatch and looked bad.
    Hate to beat a dead horse,but this is why I believe Lamar is not in next yrs plans. He can’t guard the good 4s and quick 3s get past him too easily.

  50. I can understand celtic’s success in offense, but the best defensive team ? With allen and pierce ? It’s the classic big D, 5 fouls per play, 1 call every 10. stern needs more glamour and the refs are going to help. the main problem is mediocrity between announcers. The refs change the way the game flows without any coment about.

  51. Stephen (48) to be fair to Odom, no one can guard KG. Really I have always thought he was one of the top 5 players in the league and one of the best players ever. Pierce and Allen are great players but I think Boston would still be really good if one of those two got injured, but if KG got hurt that would be a whole different story.

  52. My buddy and I were laughing just like everyone else watching the game about those short shorts. The reason it was so funny for me is not the fact how short they were but the fact that some of the players were sagging them. I would like to see them bring it back again for another game, but that’s my old school mentally coming out.

    As for the game itself I agree with Derek, Bynum just did not get the touches he should have. I feel he just got out of the game mentally he didn’t have the same aggression we are used to from Andrew. I would chalk this game to an off night to a really good team. I won’t question Phil but I would like to know what his reasoning is behind things: like putting in Javaris or not letting Ronny play much when he was such a spark….he knows a few things about coaching so I am sure there is a good reason.

    Final note, everyone have a great new years and I hate the Celtics…..

  53. 49. I didn’t say the refs were good in this game (I don’t think I even mentioned the refs). That said, calls like that go to the most aggressor most of the time, and the Celtics played harder. Which, considering it was the fourth game in five days, says something about them.

  54. “L.A. story
    After dubbing Vladimir Radmanovic “My Favorite Martian” earlier this season, Phil Jackson is now calling Andrew Bynum “Mr. Slinky” for Bynum’s propensity for “falling and tumbling.” But without Bynum the Lakers would be falling and tumbling—the big kid’s emergence is making them a legitimate championship contender after big wins over the Suns and Jazz last week.”

    - Sam Smith

  55. http://cbs2.com/video/?id=56240@kcbs.dayport.com&cid=193

    James Worthy thinks the shorts were a distraction. They should’ve worn them against a team they would easily beat.

  56. My first post. Hello.
    Lakers showed lots of problems in this game, but problems that shouldn’t cause anyone to panic, as long as the Lakers themselves don’t. They all seemed a little overamped, but the kids are still inexperienced in these games, Kobe had an off night (but he wasn’t not to the point of being a negative, this time-somebody had to do something), and Lamar was, well, Lamar. They tried hard on offense, especially in the 1st half, but their overeagerness got them out of their offense. Boston’s defense sags real deep, so good passing and spacing is essential. Their spacing last night was terrible. As usual Andrew suffers the most from this. Part his fault- he still doesn’t understand how important position is in the post. He’ll get passed to more often if he’s closer to the basket. Part not his fault- Andrew likes being on the high post and looking for cutters.
    The C’s present some unique problems for the Lakers. To beat them someone has to be able to knock down 3′s on the wing to prevent them from clogging the lane so much, but Ariza and Lamar can’t do that. Luke and Vlad are shooters (sometimes at least) but would get killed by Pierce and KG. Ronny at least could hit the 16 footer, but didn’t play much.
    The ref’s were a problem, but the C’s defense takes advantage of how ref’s call games now. Any contact where defender is moving (e.g. When Allen lowered his shoulder squarely into Ariza) is a block, any contact when defender is still is a charge. So the C’s crowd the lane, stand still (only KG even attempts to block shots) and forcing the attacker to weave an impossible line to the hoop, resulting in missed lay-ups. I don’t like it, for me that’s not basketball. Contact happens, and defense shouldn’t be standing still waiting for the ref to force turnovers.
    I know I’m already rambling but 1 last thought…
    The second unit did look terrible and discombobulated (Kwame should never play with that unit) but I wish Crittendon got some more minutes. Sure we was overmatched in that game, but he’s a 20 year old rookie who never plays. With some experience, he has exactly the kind of tools to slice up a big, but mostly stationary D like the C’s.

  57. man, that was a Celtic spooge-fest. KG, PP and Ray Ray were like kings [edited]. why did Phillip give up so early in what he called a statement game?

  58. That was the worst game the “show” played all season. I was hoping that we would stick it out against the, “C’s” but… no such luck!

    I have to agree that the shorts where a bad idea… in fact I could not believe they would do that aginst this of all teams? Why have any type of distratcion? It was just sad. Looked lame and I think contributed to such a lack luster perfomance.

    The celtics are super-legit…and there defense is impeccable. So… we ran into a buzz saw and got chopped to hell… well, at least our next few games are against some cellar dwellers and hopefully we can regain some of the execution, excitement and teamwork that got us this far and got the league buzzing.

    We still have a way to go… but I still believe we are on course to be the next great Laker Squad…it may take this whole season… but we are on our way!

  59. The most important negative point about the short shorts was that the Laker players expected before the game that the Celtics would wear them too. Then when they came out, they saw they’d been had (and everyone was laughing, including Doc). That had to take some of the competitive edge off the game, as it’s obvious this is still a very young team that lets distractions get to them.

  60. Ryan,I agree KG is a tough cover,but so are Duncan,Boozer,etc. Unless the Lakers commit to a Suns style all-out committment to run I don’t see how Lamar can keep the better 4s contained in a series.
    Putting in Crit at start of 4Q may have been out of frustration that nobody was hitting their shots and maybe the rookie could catch fire. More likely,Phil has stated elsewhere that he really likes Crit’s potential,so this may have also been another on-the-job training session on how to come into a game and create instant offense. Next yr I believe Crit gets the then departed Sasha’s minutes.
    I for one was shocked that Rivers even put KG and Pierce back in the game in 4Q. The Lakers were not making a run when he did so and I would have kept them on bench unless Lakers cut lead to 10 pts or so.

  61. Hey (58),

    Outstanding first post. Our major difference is over Javarus. You see Javarus as a backup to Kobe next year–and that may happen. But I think that they want to keep “The Machine.”

    That suggests they are showing Javaris and playing Odom so extensively as “trade bait” just in case “that” opportunity arises.

    So far, Javaris is not making the best of his opportunities.

  62. Boston is damn good. The reason: KG’s superior interior defense allows Aleen, Pierce, and Rindo to take risks defensively on the perimeter. When was the last time the Celtics allowed more than 100 points. I can’t even remember. Imagine Kobe’s defense if he was teamed up with a top teared interior defender like KG.

  63. Dr Ray… *wink* Memphis *wink*

    Kurt, how about a post covering the Lakers next 13 games – basically the whole January Sked before they embark on that 9-game road trip.

    vs PHI
    vs IND
    @ MEM
    @ NOH
    vs MIL
    vs MEM
    @ SEA
    vs PHX
    vs DEN
    @ SAS
    @ DAL
    vs CLE
    vs NYK

    Take the short shorts for what it is, don’t blame it for the loss.

  64. one thing to remember, Boston is NOT that deep, and they are playing their starters way too many minutes, whereas we are being coached by the coach who knows that it’s not the best record in the season, but the team who enters the playoffs with the best momentum, and in the best possibly physical shape.

    that will give us an advantage at season’s end!

  65. Chris,
    Based on the recent play of the Lakers bench, the number of injuries the Lakers currently have, and the number of players on the Lakers who are injury-prone, you can’t say the Lakers are deep, either.

  66. Odom seems like a great guy and while of course you have to have compassion about his disproportionate share of family tragedy, his “tackle” of Allen is just another of many boneheaded plays that really make you question his basketball IQ and poise. It’s become a tired refrain, but Odom has so much raw talent and likeability, but he continually disappoints. Hopefully the Lakers still get the win over Philly, but not a good way to start 2008.

  67. Rivers comment about Odom seemed about right, considering Lamar’s ‘lapses’ during games.

    I think we listen to commentators way, way too much around here. We have discussed Lamar’s lapses for years and have generally concluded he is a #3 guy on the team, not a #2. That said, the commentators continually talk about Lamar’s talent and value to the team as a double/double guy. Even Stu falls into this pattern. Lamar IS a guy who will get you double/doubles quite a few nights, but they are not consistent and you cannot count on him in the big games. I think all this has to do with the pressure of being the #2 scorer on this team. If we relieve him of this burden and let him just play his game, I think he will have fewer lapses (he won’t be asked to handle or shoot the ball during key times in the game – just rebound) and we won’t see all this inconsistent junk.

  68. Everyone keeps saying Odom does not step up in the big games, but he has been maybe the best Laker the last two years in the playoffs.

  69. I can’t stand having Lamar Odom as the #2 option on this team. I truly believe that in order of importance and significance to the current Lakers team, he is at best #5. We all know Kobe is #1 on the team. Andrew Bynum has now made it clear that he is #2 and that he demands respect from his opponents. Derek Fisher is #3 to me because his veteran presence and knowledge of the game has proven to be a huge asset to this team. Unfortunately, at #4, I already am forced to put Trevor Ariza ahead of Lamar. We know that night in and night out Ariza will hustle on every play, he will have a few easy dunks, he will have some great cuts and open lay-ups, and he will even get a few offensive rebounds and steals, not to mention that he will play tough defense. Kwame and Farmar may even be more important to this current team than Lamar based on the fact that they are always reliable to come out and hold the fort down while Bynum and Fisher take their break. I don’t remember the last time I heard that Lamar was a key role player. It’s time for a trade.

    Check out the latest post on http://www.laballtalk.com about the upcoming year and the seemingly unavoidable Lamar Odom trade coming up soon… hopefully!

  70. the biggest problem with lamar is that he isn’t one hundred percent healthy. surgeries take time to fully recover from. he also has an injury on his non shooting hand.

  71. Lamar is, still our second best player IMHO. It’s just that our standards for him are pretty darn hard to meet. Bynum is still limited in both offense and defense, and saying he’s our #2 option is absurd at this point. Sure he had a few good games when the opponents aren’t focusing on him, but it’s not always ‘the team not looking for him’ that causes his lack of touches. That’s something Shaq is allowed to say, not Bynum.

    Bynum’s production mostly comes after he gets into position, which basically means that he can’t create on his own. Against a good defensive team that can quickly double him, he’ll just accumulate fouls and TOs.

  72. Are the fates of Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol intertwined? One player whose salary is almost identical to Lamar’s is Pau Gasol, whose brother was drafted by the Lakers.

    Last year, the Memphis Grizzlies had a very bad start, fired their coach, and almost traded Pau Gasol to Chicago. I’ve been following them ever since. They have a new coach, new style, and some new players this year. They were hoping to make the playoffs. Where do they stand?

    This year is almost a repeat of last year: the Grizz are 8-22. Management has projected a 50 game observational period, but events may be forcing their hand. Here’s a short excerpt from a Grizz blog, 3 shades of Blue, on the topic, Business vs. Basketball:

    “Is Pau the problem? This is his 7th season in Memphis and he has been the best player every single season. However, as has been noted before, he is better suited to being the #2 option on a consistent playoff contender. Grizzlies fans long ago soured on him being the man who would lead them to the Promised Land — have they now given up on him being suited up in Beale Street Blue altogether? If that is truly the case and the emergence of Rudy Gay, as well as the potential of Michael Conley are no longer enough to persuade fans to come out to games or that Pau can be a vital part of future success, then he must be moved….and soon. From a business perspective, if something is obviously negatively affecting attendance, then that issue should be dealt with ASAP. Last year, it resulted in the firing of Mike Fratello — this year it could be the trade of Pau. As Geoff Calkins noted and Gary Parrish recently told me, trading Pau could be the “shake-up move” that puts the team on the right path to title contention.”

    Isn’t this the way that some of us are talking about Lamar and an NBA championship?

  73. Also, if I’m Memphis and going to blow up my team and start to rebuild around youth, do I want Odom? No, I want to talk to Chicago again and get some of their young athletes. Odom is a lateral move for them.

  74. Anyone catch the play where KG goes 1 on 1 with Bynum and:

    1. makes a move to the basket from the left block
    2. Andrew gets a hand on the ball, partially blocking it
    3. While midair, KG manages to recover and hold onto the blocked shot and somehow put it in the hoop.

    WTF was that! I was with about 20 other people and everyone’s jaws hit the floor in disbelief. That man is a beast!

    I, however, have a newfound hatred for the celtics. I’ve found myself liking em in recent years because they were young and scrappy, PP is a local dude, and they have some really good looking uniforms. But now, it’s ON! Ray Allen is a punk and Paul Pierce gets no more love from Los Angeles !

  75. Lamar is a good fit for this team. He’s never going to be a 20ppg scorer, but you’re going to be hard pressed to find a guy that brings more than he brings on a nightly basis by trading him. Everyone played very poorly against the Celts, yet everyone is just jumping on Lamar. Why? Relax folks…

  76. (76) Kurt,

    According to blogs in Memphis, there are standing offers from the Bobcats and Atlanta for Gasol. There was an unacceptable offer from Chicago last year which hasn’t appreciably changed. Chicago does not have the pieces to fit Gasol’s price tag. Even if Chicago gave up Deng, it would overlap with Gay–the Memphis start over centerpiece. Memphis would do the deal in a heartbeat if Chicago had Chandler to trade.

    Right now, it’s the proverbial rock and hard place.

    In Memphis, the first step would be to make a statement of what type of team they intend to build, then a plan, and then steps to execute that plan. It would clearly be multiyear.

    It appears that they would like a Phoenix style 8 player rotation team–with a few wrinkles added. They’d like a “star” to draw attendance.

    The old plan was to build around Gasol and Miller. The current plan is around Conley, Guy, and Gasol. Fans at Memphis have more and more channeled their unhappiness at Gasol. Both Gasol and Miller have relatively costly long term contracts from the old plan.

    As the Lakers have found with Kwame and Lamar, it is hard to trade players with expensive contracts–and the Laker contracts are relatively short term.

    Be careful about limiting assumptions about what Memphis might do given the complexity of their problems.

    Both Gasol and Odom are misfits in their current situations who might do better somewhere else.

    That we know.

  77. Dr Ray, this is why I always say Lamar Odom has positive trade value around the league. The irony of the matter is, both targets at PF that the Lakers have could use Lamar the Goods being their man leading the break – Memphis and Indiana.

    The new school of thought in coaching is: If your team does not have a legit star, you run. This is the part where old misfit Nellie becomes a renowned coach and dare I say the father of small ball. He has made something out of Matt Barnes and Monta Ellis, heck he has even made Al Harrington center.

    In this thought, Memphis, lacking superstar complex from perennial lack of wins, resorts to the run and gun to put fans on the seats. This is an effective way to make the games more exciting and fun to watch regardless of outcome. They have also made a star out of this scheme and his name is Rudy Gay.

    With Gay’s emergence, Memphis may feel that trading Pau Gasol for better fits may be justified already by the salary commitment and the search for better fits. The only thing that concerns me with a possible deal would be taking one or two of their bad contracts along with the classic PF we covet.