Game Preview and Chat: Indiana Pacers

Kurt —  January 6, 2008

Records: Lakers 20-11; Pacers 16-18
Offensive ratings: Lakers 111.8 (6th); Pacers 106.1 (16th)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 106.0 (9th); Pacers 106.8 (13th)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum
Pacers: Andre Owens, Mike Dunleavy, Danny Granger, Jermaine O’Neal, Troy Murphy

Lakers Notes: Kobe Bryant is playing 36.5 minutes per game this season, down from 40.8 last year. Fisher and his veteran legs are playing 26.5 per game. Lamar Odom is playing three fewer minutes a game. All that is to say that the Lakers bench and blowout wins are combining to keep the minutes down for guys who will have to play big minutes in the playoffs. You can wear a team out right now by overplaying them, but Phil Jackson hasn’t had to do that.

I often look at the other team’s last 10 games stats (via Doug’s stats) to see how a team is doing coming into the Lakers match up. What about the Lakers in the last 10? They have been getting great contributions from Kobe (despite his poor shooting of late), Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher. With Bynum and Odom averaging 10 rebounds each per game, the Lakers have been beasts on the boards. And, as a team the Lakers are shooting 51.9% (eFG%) and 34.1% from three in that stretch while holding opponents to 46.9% and 32.5%.

And the Lakers are 7-3 in their last 10, which is still just tied with Phoenix for fourth best in the west in that stretch.

The Pacers Coming In: The Pacers had lost five in a row before Friday’s thumping of Atlanta. The win led to an interesting comment at the Indy Cornrows blog:

The Pacers often feast off brief individual player surges in wins. Sure, 48 minutes of consistent play would be ideal, but this team doesn’t have that in them. As long as 3 or 4 guys can offer strong contributions at some point in the game, the result is usually a W.

The individual who has been hot lately (and, really, all season) is Mike Dunleavy, who is shooting 60.7% (eFG%) in his last 10 games, scoring a team high 19.1 points per game in that stretch. The Lakers need to stick with him at the three-point line, where he is shooting 46.3% in his last 10.

The Pacers also have been getting good play from Jermaine O’Neal, who is averaging 16 and 8 (but shooting just 42.9%) in the last 10. Danny Granger and Troy Murphy have been solid contributors. However, former fan favorite Ike Diagu has struggled since coming back from injury, he is just 9 of 34 from the floor since his return.

Jamal Tinsley is day to day and has missed the team’s last four.

Last Time These Two Met: It was the day of the Ariza trade, so the Lakers team the Pacers will see will be a little different.

The Lakers put up 134 points on 67.4% (eFG%) shooting, including hitting 52% from three (13 of 25). Kobe started the trend — in the first quarter he was 4 of 7 from the floor (2 of 3 from beyond the arc), plus he got to the line four times, giving him 14 points in just under 11 minutes. After a rest he came back in and was 4 of 6 (3 of 4 from three) with another assist, giving him 26 points on 80% (eFG%) shooting for the half.

The other thing of note — that was one of the Lakers better defensive showings this season. They held the Pacers as a team to 43.7% (eFG%) shooting. And Andrew Bynum got the better of Jermaine O’Neal in that game, by far.

Looking Too Far Ahead: If you haven’t seen it, apparently the Suns are not going to make any big moves this season and try to win with what they’ve got. I still think the Suns are a team constructed for the regular season, and in a seven-game series the Spurs and Lakers can beat them (and probably the Mavs, and if the Jazz or Rockets are healthy they would be a tough match up for the Suns as well).

Keys To The Game: Indiana gets good production (and more than half its points) from it’s bench — Marquis Daniels, Shawne Williams, former Laker Kareem Rush, Jeff Foster and Travis Diener to name a few. The Lakers bench has to be up to the challenge (without Radmanovic, who is injured) and win the battle of the benches.

This is going to be a fast-paced game, the Pacers run at the third-fastest pace in the league and want to push the tempo. The Lakers, with better athletes, took advantage of this last game, picked their spots and had a big night on offense. They also limited the easy transition baskets for the Pacers and forced them to shoot from deep (the Pacers took 27 threes). The Lakers need to do that again, running when it is smart but avoiding turnovers. This is a game the Lakers should continue with the hot shooting, get open looks and lay-ups, and hopefully continue to rest starters late.

Jermaine O’Neal is not going to forget that Bynum got the better of him last game, look for that to be an interesting match up tonight.

Tonight’s Game: Where A Spectacular Ariza Dunk Happens: This is the kind of game that is well suited to the athletic youth of the Lakers — Farmar, Ariza and even Bynum run the floor well and should get some great opportunities tonight. As long as the Lakers take care of the ball and don’t provide easy baskets the other way, they should help Indiana start a five-game road trip with a loss.

Where you can watch: Game time is 6:30 p.m. (Pacific). In Los Angeles tune into Fox Sports, nationally you’ll need League Pass (NBA TV is giving us the thriller that will be the Mavs and the T-Wolves).

Kurt

Posts

41 responses to Game Preview and Chat: Indiana Pacers

  1. I’m excited about seeing Andrew up against O’Neal again.

  2. No let downs, let ariza guard mike and let kobe guard granger. Kobe will wander off mike dunleavy, leaving him for open threes. It should be an easy win but you never know.

  3. Kurt,you must think either the Lakers have dramatically improved,or the Suns have fallen off considering the results of last 2 Suns/Lakers PlayOffs.
    On tactic I might recommend in such a series is putting Ariza on Nash. JVG put McGrady on Nash and it really bothered Nash as he was very ineffective w/turnovers galore while T-Mac guarded him. I’ve since noticed a couple of other teams put larger,quick 2/3s on Nash and it definitely lessens his effectiveness.

    On a lighter note,I’ve been watching alot of games on League Pass this yr and a trend has emerged. The broadcast teams of the decent-to-good teams always mention how they’ve talked to the othe team’s coaches in the League and they all agree that so-and-so belongs on the All Star Team. Over an 8 day span,announcers for the Spurs,Hornets,Jazz,Blazers and Warriors all stated that head coaches they talked to all agreed their PG should be an All Star. Which means that the West All Star Team would be 5 fan starters,6 reserve PGs and a token big…..Unless you’re going to tell me coaches tell the other team’s broadcaters what they want to hear. Next you’ll tell me there’s no tooth fairy. :)

  4. @Stephen (3): I was saying two years ago that Phil should have run the big line-up against the Suns with Kobe guarding Nash. As Houston showed with Tracy guarding Nash, it can be effective. I thought it would help on offense too, because really, who would Nash guard if the shortest guy was Kobe at 6’6”? Woulda been fun at least for short spurts.

  5. wouldnt they have given nash a break inserted Thomas and made barabosa the pg?

    ….

    yeah.

  6. This game really turned around. Im sorry but the Ariza 3 coupeled with an Ariza pass into an open Kwame….

    thats 5 points in 2 minutes which all belong to Ariza.

    Im happy

  7. Kobe have not been shooting the ball well lately. Is he still bothered by his injury or something?

    He’s currently 2 for 9 from the field. Might be another sub 40% fgp again. That sucks!!!

    I hope he recovers his form before the three big games late this month.

    Good game by Andrew so far.

  8. I agree. Kobe is not shooting the way he has in the past, but given how much pressure he is taking off others it still ok.

  9. Suddenly, its raining threes. We’re being punked by the guys.

    Lamar for three…good!!! We’ve been PUNKED!!!

    The 3rd is a complete turn around from the very ugly 2nd that the team had. I hope this carries through the 4th.

    Ariza for another three…yes!!! Now were really PUNKED!!!

  10. Kobe’s shooting has been off a little recently but Kobe is Kobe and we have all realized his role on the current Lakers roster is to improve the other guys on the team. If he is dying to score points, he will get points, but he has done a great job focusing on winning the game since he can finally rely on his teammates rather than worry about not getting a win because no-one can hit an open jumper. Kobe’s past teams with the Lakers are even more similar than we all thought to Lebron’s Cavs because Lebron can make the great moves and score at will, but the team will not continue to win with one player. So when Lebron opted to pass to open teammates, none of them would bury the shot.

    Andrew Bynum will continue to grow and be a large part of the Laker’s success as long as the smaller guys can continue to find him at the right times. LOOK FOR BYNUM, HE WILL CONNECT!!!

  11. The Dude Abides January 6, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    Nice ho-hum win. A little bit ragged, but the Bench Mob has been depleted by injury so there weren’t any flat-out pure shooters to spread the floor. Last year, we often lost these games, especially when we started off the game with a 9-0 deficit like tonight. Phil didn’t have to call time out, and the team is so confident that the deficit was made up quickly.

  12. A good, clean game from our favorite forward. 13pts, 13rebs 5-6fg and 2-2ft. This is more like what we need from him… 1 stl 1 blk and 3 assists too.

    Jordan Farmar has struggled a little, perhaps because Phil is giving some of his PT to JCritt. I wouldn’t mind giving the rookie some burn too since the sked is realtively easy for the next 7 games.

    2-0 in January so far and @MEM is coming up. This should be a nice game for Drew once more… I like what he has shown so far. He is making the most out of his matchups. Dalembert and JO will be seeing him on their sleep… so will Amare Stoudemire.

  13. FBG peeps, you’ve just been PUNKED!!! Ashton must be in Staples.

    10 point lead goes down to 2. 18 point lead goes down to 7. 32% FGP goes up to 76% then back.

    From shooting blanks to shooting bombs. What the hell is this?

    Good win in the end but someone could have easily had a heart attack watching that game.

    Lucky us the vets plus Drew came through at the clutch. Otherwise, it would have been another of those giveaways.

  14. FSW has a good nickname for Andrew — By-Nomite!

    That has a certain flavor that could catch on.

  15. Kobe not shooting much probably has to do with Kobe having to space the floor. Instead of having him find his shot inside by having teammates that can spread opposing defenses, (luxury LeBron/Wade had) he’s the one that actually has to spread the defense so that LO and AB can be effective.

    So shots for Kobe are either going to be contested (since the middle is already packed with the attention AB is getting lately) or beyond the arc, explaining his low percentage.

    We really need Vlad and Sasha to shoot well again to really contend.

  16. Arrgh. Can someone pull a harding and kneecap kwame so we can get him back on the injured list? His blankity-blank decisions in the philly game gave up a bunch of easy baskets, and his insanity of “oh, look at me, I have a turnaround fallaway jumper” in this game caused some of these dry spells. It’s nice that you *think* you have a post game, kwame, but dammit, man, you do not have a green light to shoot!

    In all seriousness, I think kwame is really struggling with the backup role, and his usual boneheaded decisions are being magnified on the second squad, when his teammates aren’t talented enough to make up for it. I had hoped we’d be doing well with kwame just playing solid defense and rebounding, but when he’s playing crappy defense and thinks the low post offense revolves around him, we’re in trouble. I predict a serious dropoff in the +/- of our bench over the next month if this continues…

  17. dave, I couldn’t agree with you more, the unit that started the 4th with Kwame really stunk up the joint, and it seemed to be revolving around kwame for the most part.
    what a bust this guy is turning out to be, sorry Dr ray, I know you like this guy, and I’ve tried to like him too, even my wife notices when he’s on the floor, he seems to be looking for chicks in the crowd or something, but his head is not in the game.
    what do we do with him? doesn’t seem right to move him to starter because he’s so bad the second unit can’t cover for him. I’d much rather see Ronnie get his PT.

  18. didnt get to watch the game, but from reading the recap, the starters carried the team today. with all of them being +20 or more. Thats the big difference this season, the bench has an identity and a decent game that the starters dont have to carry the load in every game, thus having more gas in games like these that they have to exert extra effort to carry the team. In the medium to long term, this will be great also since kobe, lamar, bynum and fish will be fresher come playoff time. I believe they have a legit shot to make the second round whoever they face

  19. I still think Kwame is better suited for the starting unit. not because he is better than bynum (duh..), but his skill set (defense… and being a big body) is much needed by the starting 5 rather than the bench mob. With him starting, Bynum will be saving his 1st or even 2nd foul, be on the floor and facing lesser opposition (other teams 2nd unit), and getting the chance of being the focal point/1st option on offense when kobe steps out. I believe they will even be deadlier with bynum on the floor during the time kobe, fish and lamar are out (2mins 1st/3rd qtr-9mins 2nd/4th qtr). what do you guys think?

  20. the other stephen January 7, 2008 at 12:48 am

    14. Bynumite’s been around, and it wasn’t a designation of FSW’s coining.

    turns out the lakers bench didn’t help get the win at all. but there was a certain amount of consistent team defense and bunches of heady defense that allowed the lakers to stymie the young indiana offense and bench.

    they should have ridden granger and dunleavy, who both looked very good, tonight when they realized that their bench wasn’t going to produce at an efficient enough level. the problem is that both of them rarely combine for any more than 25 attempts. JO is still takes the most shots when indiana is best running its uptempo princeton offense and spreading the looks amongst its large crop of perimeter players. if tinsley had played, he probably would have done a better job of getting the ball into the right people’s hands.

  21. The bench wasn’t great tonight. But, Sasha and Vlad were injured. Sasha has really come along. He’s a key player right now. He seems to be the glue on that bench squad. Hope he comes back soon.

  22. I don’t think there’s any way Bynum goes back to the bench. Whether he’s better served for the second unit or not..he’s a young player who’s finally starting to break out and his ego has grown with his skills. No way he would go back to the bench quietly without voicing his displeasure.

  23. I agree that Bynum doesn’t work coming off the bench anymore. He seems like a mature enough guy that perhaps he’d be okay with that down the road, but not yet. I think starting is too much of a boost to his confidence. Maybe we could bring Kobe off the bench…

  24. The Dude Abides January 7, 2008 at 7:25 am

    Because of how poorly Kwame meshes with the second unit, it’s possible that they will bring him in earlier in the first and third quarters in the future. One possible scenario would be to start Andrew, and bring Kwame in at the six-minute mark of the first and third quarters. Then, start Andrew in the second and fourth quarters. The staff would then have the option of bringing Kwame back in with about two or three minutes left in the first half, to prevent Andrew from picking up an extra foul before halftime. Andrew could also play the entire fourth quarter, if necessary. This would mean that in a reasonably close game, Andrew would play about 32-34 minutes and kwame 14-16 minutes. This breakdown would maximize the amount of minutes Kwame plays with the starters, while Andrew’s presence would also help the second unit’s spacing.

  25. What about starting Bynum and having him be the first player rotated out. Then he can be put back in with the 2nd unit.

  26. Good win by the Lakers. Seems like the 1st team had to bail out the 2nd team…for once.
    On a different note, we need to come up with a GOOD nickname for Andrew. One that he would approve of.
    Lets put our heads together and come up with one.
    With all the bright minds in here it shouldn’t be too hard.
    I’m partial to AB (kinda like KG)

  27. It is possible that without the play of Bigfoot Bynum, the Lakers might have lost this one.

    I guess Kobe must have heard that Ray Allen went 0 for 9 for the Celts and said, “I can do worse than Ray.” But he couldn’t. Kobe had the good sense to get the ball to Bigfoot–and Bigfoot was the only offense the Lakers had in the first half.

    Twinkletoes Brown has been clearly out of sorts the last two games, trying to force his game both on offense and defense. He’s obviously moving well, but there is rust in his game. He’s fouling so much, sometimes he almost seems like the reincarnation of Chris Mihm. Against Philly, Phil couldn’t keep Twinkletoes in the game for more than a few minutes before he got 3 fouls. In this game, he kept his composure, but he was clearly in a foul mood. At least he didn’t pull an O (can I say) Dumb and tackle Jermaine O’Neal out of frustration!

    In the second half, Kobe was Kobe again, and he just about blew the Pacers away in the third quarter. Then in came Critt and played like (well, you know). To his credit, Javaris made several nifty pass interceptions, only to throw the ball away when he went back the other direction. The mustard came off the hotdog. Suddenly, there were ghosts of the Smusher dancing around in my head.

    Ahead by 7 in the fourth, Phil was not amused and brought back the starters. Kobe didn’t over react and try to do it all himself, and Derek Fisher put some nails in that coffin wityh 3 threes, but the real story was the Defense and overall play of Lamar. He must have noticed how well Ronny did while he sat out his suspension–and Lamar had his team oriented buddy Luke to help spread the wealth. In the play I liked best, Lamar drew the defenders toward him, then made a great pass to Luke–who immediately passed it back for an uncontested Odom layup. Walton continued playing great despite a bit of gimpiness.

    I don’t want to get caught looking ahead too much to the Hornets (and get slaughtered again by Memphis), but I certainly wouldn’t put Javaris one-on-one against Paul–and we know for sure what Peja can do if Paul penetrates and dishes. Bigfoot may not be so dominating against Chandler, so his offense and rebounding may fall closer to Celtic levels.

    Maybe Twinkletoes and Lamar, in their respective ways, will be the difference makers.

  28. Bynum and Odom’s rebounding is really gonna make us tough in the playoffs. If Kwame can play like he did against Indy, that will help our frontline too.

  29. The first half of the fourth quarter was hard to watch. It started with 4 bench players and Odom, and Odom played passively. After they replaced Odom with another bench player things got worse. Six minutes into the quarter the Pacers had out scored the Lakers 13-2 and were only leading by seven.

    At that point somebody, it might have been Tex, shook PJ out of a deep Zen trance. After he awoke and saw what was happening he called timeout, reinserted the starters, and led by Kobe they put the game away.

  30. Bynum will be the starter from here on out. Kwame will have to make his bones with the bench mob. Having them both on the floor at times against teams with a big physical front line is also an option. I wonder if the coaches are tinkering with that concept.

  31. 30-
    They’ve been tinkering with that concept for sometime- the problem is Kwame’s inability and reluctence to play the 4. If he ever got a post up game and could develop some semblance of a midrange game, then the coaches would be THRILLED- and he’d be playing the four a lot.

  32. 30/31. If you see footage of Kwame before he came to the Lakers he strikes you as a guy who could play the four — he tried to face up and hit enough midrange shots to keep you honest, plus had moves to get to the hoop. But this is a case of a guy’s game de-evolving over time, he can’t do any of that now. He is a backup center at this point. The attempts to play Kwame and another big have always been disasters.

  33. Mike in the Mountain West January 7, 2008 at 11:26 am

    My guess is come mid-february we won’t have to worry about Kwame anymore ’cause his large expiring contract will be traded. The only possible problem with trading Kwame is with Mihm out, can we afford to lose a big? The best scenario I think is Kwame is traded for a cheaper big that can play well with the bench mob.

  34. Kwame needs to start against teams like San Antonio or Memphis when there are bigs on the floor with post games. He is strong, and good at clogging the lane. His horrendous play against Philly cannot continue.

    I agree with Kurt, don’t let him play the 4. Lakers are a much better team with him at a 5. Maybe the Lakers can experiment tomorrow with a starting line-up of:

    Kwame/Rony/Walton/Kobe/Fisher

    These guys would fare better against Darko/Gasol. I’d even have Kwame guard Gasol and Rony against/Darko. Kinda like when we play San Antonio (Kwame v Duncan).

    This leaves Bynum/LO/Ariza/Sasha or Crit/Farmar on the bench. I really like this second unit. Hopefully, Farmar doesn’t have another bad game like last night.

  35. Chise(re 3 and your 4).
    Phoenix doesn’t really post-up it’s SG/SFs so you can use the regular line-up and have Fisher/Farmar stay on the SG-esp when Barbarosa is in.

    Was catching up w/an old friend over weekend and in course of talking about NBA we wandered into Hall of Fame.If not been discussed before,could I get the opinion of posters here on
    What # should the Lakers retire for Kobe-24 or 8?
    What # should he go into HoF w/?
    If he does or does not win a title w/#24,does that change your opinion?
    Thanks,
    Stephen

  36. The guy formerly known as Lamar Odom January 7, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    we should’ve made a trade for Korver. Damn!

  37. how quickly everyone turned on kwame!

    He did unleash a quick spin move/under the arm flip shot with the left hand last night. Color me impressed with that aberration. anyway, i’ve been on the abandon kwame bandwagon since he got to LA, so let’s get this sucker moving with some momentum.

  38. The guy formerly known as Lamar Odom January 7, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    yeah it seems people forgot Odom this time around and decided to pick on Kwame. but i agree with these peeps, ship kwame out!

  39. Trading Kwame would be silly. He’s overpaid and has terrible hands, but he’s an absolute monster who is an underrated defender. I hope he stays and gets a contract for about half of what he makes now to stay on as a back up.

  40. You said it Jason, but I would say less than half. His value has plummeted as a Laker, so hopefully that will work to our advantage as far as signing him on the cheap.

    Around my house we call him Young Andrew Bynum, but that’s not much of a nickname.

  41. The guy formerly known as Lamar Odom January 7, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    I disagree. I think we can get something good for Kwame. He is too injury prone and the ball manages to slip out of his hands at least twice a game. He’s a good defender, but I think his negatives outweigh his positive. If we traded for another decent to good defender I’m sure we’ll be happier in the long run because anyone else would get to play more games than Kwame. He frustrates more than anything.