Sonics Preview

Gatinho —  January 14, 2008

Pretty scary, it felt like my knee twisted all the way around…I didn’t hear any pops…I’m fine, I can put weight on it…not as bad as I thought…they put ice on it, and it felt better right away.”

Seattle: PG Earl Watson, Sg Kevin Durant, SF Jeff Green, PF Nick Collison (game time decision), C Kurt Thomas
Offense: 96.2
Defense: 103.6

Ridnour and Wilcox have been out and both return tonight.

Lakers: G Derek Fisher, G Kobe Bryant, SF Luke Walton, PF Lamar Odom, C Kwame Brown
Offense: 107.4
Defense: 100.8

Last time they met: …Rookie Kevin Durant had 25 points for Seattle, 12 of them in the final 6:05. But it wasn’t enough to overcome a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit… After this ragged game, Phil Jackson commented on the “unbridled and still undisciplined” aspects of this still developing team.

The Popcorn Machine: if you are not familiar with this site, give it a look. Game flows offer a unique comprehensive view of the ebb and flow of games, along with +/- and Help Value hv=Reb+Ast+Blk+Stl-TO. See the last time the Sonics and Lakers played here.

About last night…

With everyone’s mind on the health of Andrew Bynum, the Lakers lost their defensive focus and allowed a 13-0 4th quarter run. Gutting out an ugly win (with the help of a favorable no call) shows that this team is fighting to be included in discussions about upper echelon clubs. This was a game that they would (and did) lose last year. After letting the Grizzlies score 29 1st quarter points, look for the defense to be sharper tonight.

Missing Bynum: Assuming Bynum doesn’t play. With Kwame starting and Turiaf coming off the bench (or vice versa depending on the whims of one Phil Jackson). Jackson will get his wish of having Brown start, get more minutes, and hopefully get him in a groove.

“Right now, we’re trying to get Kwame going, get him back in basketball shape,” Jackson said. “If he can’t do it, Ronny (Turiaf) is going to have to take his spot. If coming off the bench is that difficult for him, we’ll have to move on without him.”

In a perfect world, Jackson would rather start Brown and keep Bynum as a productive backup. Bynum’s standout play while Brown was injured earlier this season had made Jackson’s plan impossible to carry out, however.

Bynum had won the starter’s spot until he was injured Sunday.

“Andrew seems to be sustaining his conditioning and his energy pretty well right now,” Jackson said. “He’s able to play 35 minutes now. His productivity, you just can’t turn away from it as a coach. He’s just too productive to not have him on the floor.”

Update per ESPN: Bynum out 8 weeks. Hat tip to 33.

-Gatinho

Gatinho

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84 responses to Sonics Preview

  1. Not sure that Bynum’s injury could’ve come at a worse time for the Lakers. Four upcoming games against Western conference powers (Phx, Den, San Antonio, Dal), two home games and then 12 of the following 15 on the road. At least he’ll be back towards the end of March and it wasn’t a year-ending injury like an ACL or something requiring microfracture surgery. C’mon Kwame, you’re gonna need to start making some layups and dunks and free throws now.

  2. Dealing Kwame would not be advisable anytime this season now, which I don’t mind at all. I really think PJ Brown or Webber is needed to maintain any semblance of depth right now.

  3. 1. Yeah, he’ll definitely miss the toughest stretch of schedule of the season, and it will hurt our seeding come playoffs, but I’d much rather him be out now rather than march or later. andrew should be there for the playoffs, and i think we all would have been ok with 2 months after watching the game last night. if we make the playoffs (and i don’t think they’ll fall that far) i still think we can win at least one series regardless of which seed we are… as long as we avoid the spurs in the first round.

  4. Boy….this is bad, especially with the other teams in the West still playing so well. Instead of being able to compete for a top seed, we’re going to have to hope we can hold the fort and still have a chance 8 weeks from now. The worst part is, guys you’d look at to step up in the scoring department have become comfortable in their nonscoring roles (Odom, Radman, Walton)….I just can’t see any of them stepping it up and filling the scoring void. Also, defensively…how badly will we be hurt? This is tough…

  5. When I saw how Bynum went down I thought he will be out 6-8 weeks. The timing isn’t great but that is why phil gets paid a pretty penny. I just hope he can come back in just as great shape physically, mentally and aggressively. Some athletes can easily forget about injuries once they are healhty while others never forget it. I tell people why I love basketball so much. An individual can win games for you just by pure desire and determination, but only a team can win you championships. We still have Kobe. Even though we won’t do as well as we all would like we won’t do as bad as we ended last nights game. i am not worried offensively its defensively shot blocking, rebounding and just clogging up the lane.
    Anyone remember how long Mihm is out for?

  6. Last year’s injury ridden team was one year younger in experience, with Bynum nowhere near where he is now, and the Lakers still grabbed the 7th seed.

    Although Bynum played a huge role in the team’s improvements this year, there are other improvements (Fisher/Ariza additions, Farmar’s development) that will continue to pay dividends. It will take some adjustments to playing without Andrew, but I don’t see I wouldn’t be suprised to see the Lakers play .500 ball while he’s out. A drop off from the current pace, but nothing to get too worried about, either.

    That said, it’s a big loss in terms of chemistry, and just for Andrew’s own development. Would have loved to ride this momentum all the way into April..

  7. Its rumored that Gilbert Arenas is holding out for a longer contract and would take less money to play for a championship team, who thinks that tradeing Lamar for Arenas would be a good trade? I think it is for both teams, we get another good all around player and they get a guard that can match up with KG being there both in the Eastern confrance

  8. Mihm is out about another 2 weeks. And we thought just beating some bad teams in a row was a good test for the Lakers. For the team to really make the case that they are a legit force, they need to maintain this pace as best they can.

  9. 6. I think .500 over the next couple months would be good and realistic especially with their killer sched coming up. that’s about 30-35 games which would put them at around 40-26, with a fairly easy closing sched to get andrew ready for the playoffs. that’s hardly a horrible position to be in, and one i’d certainly be ok with. look for kobe to try to carry the team for a while, and lord knows he’s capable.

  10. Could’ve been better, but could’ve been much, much worse. I was at the game last night and the whole air went out of Staples when AB went down. Hopefully this will give #17 a month or so of tune-up time before the playoffs and we can win enough games to get a decent seeding.

    If there’s a silver lining it will be that Kwame has the chance to develop some confidence and rhythm, which will help our depth when Andrew returns. Kwame did step up at the end of the game last night, after a fashion.

    I just wish he would calm down on his post moves and finishes. Watching him flail around with the rock on the block is like watching a golden retriever trying to catch a butterfly.

  11. I do have this to say, and this is me being the optimist-

    If for some reason the Lakers continue on the pace they are on now, and still remain in the top four come around when Bynum comes back- I will guarentee right here and now that Kobe wins the MVP. Not KG, not Le Bron, but Kobe. Cause with Bynum down, if they keep on winning it’s cause Kobe’s MAKING them win. You can’t argue with those results.

  12. Will someone please remind Kwame that this is his contract year and this is his chance to step up and show the nba execs that he deserves another contract…

  13. Many of the passes to Kwame last night would have been perfect for Bynum to catch and dunk. Kwame on the other hand doesn’t really play above the rim. The players are going to have to adjust, and quickly looking at our schedule till the All-Star break.

    Hopefully Kwame gets in rhythm and starts finishing during the many situations where he gets decent position, a good pass, or blows by the defender (he’s been doing this more often…).

    @Kurt (if you see this) expect Kobe to retake the scoring lead now. What are Vegas’ odds on Kobe scoring over 60 the next two months?

  14. http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-lakerep15jan15,1,4316118.story?coll=la-headlines-sports
    from the Times, same as espn, 8 weeks.
    i agree that for these next 8 weeks, if we can play 500 ball, we won’t drop too far, and there could be some bonus’s from this as well. kwame might develop into a better player with the additional minutes, ronnie for sure will.
    (the thing about kwame, and I’ve said this before, he panics when he gets the ball because he’s afraid of the free throw line, if he would work on his ft’s, he could calm down when he gets the ball down low).
    also, the 8 weeks of therapy, rehab, strenghtening, watching films, etc, will help AB have something extra at the end, so it could be a surprise bonus…only time will tell.

  15. Here’s my ridiculously optimistic take on Bynum’s injury: for obligatory Laker-drama purposes, Bynum had to go down for at least a month. That way, Kobe gets the opportunity to put the team on his shoulders and average 45 ppg for an 8-week stretch while carrying the team to the playoffs. He’ll be a lock for the MVP, and then Bynum will come back just in time to round into shape for the playoffs.

    At least, that’s what I keep telling myself…

  16. the other Stephen January 14, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    why does this have to happen to us..unless something really clicks in Kwame’s mind, we’re going to get the same thing we’ve seen. unless he sees this as a real opportunity to step up..yeah.

  17. **fixed** @Kurt (if you see this) I expect Kobe to retake the scoring lead now. What are Vegas’ odds on Kobe scoring over 60 in a game (or even multiple games) the next two months?

  18. 14 – I’d put the house on it happening at least once.

  19. My thoughts are that Phil will do his best to keep the scoring balanced in Drew’s stead and not turn this into a Kobe chuck-fest. Kobe mat feel the need on certain nights, but it speaks to the development of this team that he hasn’t had any huge scoring binges this year.

    Kobe’s minutes and shots are down and that bodes well for the playoffs. He won’t want to exhaust Kobe in the regular season…

  20. The Dude Abides January 14, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Bringing this post over here from the previous thread…first posted when the early reports were four to eight weeks. Now that I’m hearing eight weeks, I figure it will be more like four to six:

    I’m relieved. I played tennis for ASU in the 1980s and then played the pro satellite circuits for a few years. One of my recurring injuries toward the end of my playing career (in my mid to late 20s) was a subluxation of my right patella. My typical recovery time was three to four weeks, and I’m not an especially quick healer. Once the swelling goes down after a couple days, Andrew will need to do some straight-leg strengthening exercises, then gradually progress in his leg-bending strengthening. This is an injury that can recur fairly easily if the leg isn’t constantly strengthened. Once I became a teaching pro around age 30, my injury never recurred, despite my continuing to play tournaments, because I kept my leg strong.

    I’m hoping and thinking that Andrew will only be out for three weeks. This injury isn’t that big of a deal, and will also force him to strengthen his legs…leading to further improvement as a player. I was squatting 225 lbs for three sets of 8 repetitions at age 35 despite having this condition, and at the time I weighed 165 lbs (I’m 5 ft 10). Being an extremely tall guy, Andrew shouldn’t really do squats, but if he does a leg press properly, it will really strengthen his entire lower body.

  21. I think Kobe’s scoring average will go up…but not by much. sopmeon does have to replace the 10-20 Bynum was putting up, but I think Kobe’s only going to need to account for half of it- the rest will come from other people.

  22. 19- Sorry for the double post, but I think it’s telling that 37 on consecutive nights doesn’t qualify as a “scoring binge” in our book. That’s just Kobe pushing a TAD extra then normal- We’ve seen what happens when he actually tries.

  23. 2 Huge areas of concern here are the drop in seed, maybe we get the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs and we aren’t ready for them, yet….and Bynum was growing tremendously each and every game he played…Even the games when he didn’t play so well. His experience was his developement, so his learning curve is stretched further, meaning next year until we compete for the western championship.

  24. You guys are far more optimistic than me about a post-Bynum Lakers team. Last year, the Lakers proved to be a mentally fragile group that played well-under .500 after that 26-13 start and was destroyed in the playoffs. Given the high level of performance by the other 9 strong Western Conference teams, the Lakers will be lucky to hold onto a playoff spot. Talks of a top-4 seed seem more like fantasy than reality. Even if we hang on and Bynum returns on schedule, I question whether he will be at his peak and whether the team can reclaim the level of chemistry and performance they have showed in the last 20 games. I hope my “glass half empty” view proves to be misguided, but I’m feeling pretty down about the team’s prospects today. What a shame – they really seemed destined for a good outcome.

  25. Does anyone think this “panic” that I am hearing here sounds sort of like this blog around July 07?

    Let’s slow down and try to continue to enjoy the ride. The team is coming together and, if we are going to be champions any time soon, we have to learn how to deal with injuries to our key people.

    I suspect everyone will step up and Kwame will calm down – he’s getting regular minutes now – and we should weather this just fine. The key will be to see how we do when the game is tight in the 4th qtr. and Andrew was just learning about that.

  26. Going to the game tonight. Got nice tickets and was excited to see Bynum in person for the first time. Boy am I heartbroken. But there’s that other kid, Durant something, so I’ve heard. Too bad he’s with the bad guys. Hopefully we can still pullout the win. Losing Bynum and then to the Sonics would make my cloudly, rainy winter even more gloomy and depressing.

  27. The biggest area in which the rest of the team needs to step up is defense.

    As Kurt’s recent blog post pointed out, the Lakers are about as good offensively this year as they were last year, and I have no doubt that Kobe, Lamar, and company will replace Andrew’s points and rebounds on that end of the floor. They won’t be as efficient, however, since Andrew shot such a high percentage and also drew (har har) attention from the defense to open things up for everyone else.

    He had become a real presence on the defensive end, though. Someone posted the stats in the comments the other day, but points in the paint are down, and you can just tell that teams are taking more jump shots and thinking twice about going up in the paint when they know that Andrew is around. Andrew’s also been winning a lot of the individual battles against other young post players like Dwight Howard, Amare, and Kaman.

    I do agree that it could be a blessing in disguise, though, if the rest of the team can step it up in Bynum’s absence so that they can take it to the next level when he returns.

  28. In keeping with the silver lining theme….

    We all saw Drew build his confidence over the past couple of months. He’s been incredible. I think he’s ready to take a big step. But…

    This will give the rest of the team their chance to step up as well – just as Drew had his. I hope to see more time for Ronny than Kwame. I think we all know what Kwame can bring – and what he does bring isn’t going to change with 8 weeks of confidence building. He’s had plenty of time for that. Ronny, on the other hand, could really step up and begin to be an even more valuable piece here if given the opportunity. I know he’s undersized…. but dude’s got heart (and a nice 17 footer).

    I’m looking forward to seeing kobe be more aggressive WITHIN the offense.

  29. Lakers News
    =======
    Sasha Vujacic, who usually is Bryant’s backup, said his sore back is improved, but he won’t play tonight in Seattle.

    “I think I’m fine because I can put weight on it,” Bynum said.
    “It was pretty scary, because it felt like my knee twisted all the way around, but luckily I’m all right,” said Bynum, who added that he didn’t hear any ligament pop and immediately felt better upon receiving ice treatment.
    “I can move it left to right. It’s just the step forward that’s the only thing that hurts.”

    After Bynum was injured, with third center Chris Mihm still at least a couple of weeks from trying to play on his sore right ankle, Jackson joked about now needing Brown: “Unless Wilt (Chamberlain) comes back from the dead, I don’t know what else we’re going to do.”

    “Right now, we’re trying to get Kwame going, get him back in basketball shape,” Jackson said. “If he can’t do it, Ronny (Turiaf) is going to have to take his spot. If coming off the bench is that difficult for him, we’ll have to move on without him.”

    .

  30. If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.

    If the Lakers prevail, then this will indeed be the turning point of our young team. There are MANY players who will be put to the fire during AB’s absence, and depending on how they harden, we’ll have a REALLY deep team with a LOT of PT.

    LO and KBrown (I do wish he shared the other KB’s fire) are obvious candidates who can turn this into a good thing, as are Mihm, Vlad, and Ronny who will see more playing time.

    Sure, none of them really inspire me like AB did with his growth, but who knows…

  31. Look at the bright side — it’s January.

  32. Kurt, should u be blamed for the Lakers losing Andrew for 8 wks? I mean…we were doing fine in terms of health until u took ur mini vacation =)

  33. Fans need to stop complaining about the AB injury. It is only january, plus injuries are just part of the game. great teams need to deal with it. sure it hurts, but its not the end of the world

  34. This is a part of basketball and any sport. Just look at what happened to the Chargers this past weekend, two stars get injured and two other players step up. These guys are professionals and should be ready to step up to the plate to earn their paychecks.

    Then I realize that we now have Kwame filling Bynum’s role but before we criticize Kwame about the dropped passes, missed layups, and torrid brain lapses let’s just ease up a bit. He’s a backup and shouldn’t be expected to perform at the level Bynum was. As long as Kwame rebounds and defends the basket I would give him an A for his work b/c he’s still working himself into a rhythem. Any scoring is an extra, and I mean ANY scoring. If this is really a team that is going to do well in the playoffs this experience will only solidify that.

    Finally, I kind of wanted Bynum to take a rest and as long as he can build up the rhythm both defensively and offensively I think this experience can toughen the Lakers.

    It’s sink or swim time.

  35. Hey it’s the NBA and injuries happen. This is what potentially happens to every team. The Lakers are young and growing, and having Phil in the drivers seat helps a lot. Kobe’s gonna have to pick it up a lot, but unlike July o7 he now knows there is a future in LA. This a bump in the road is all.

  36. Agree with 20. Depending on whether Drew is a fast healer or not, that eight weeks will more than likely be three to five weeks. When the swelling subsides, everyone will know.

    Depending on how the team adjusts, there is no need to rush things either. If we get wins despite Drews absence, we would be better of resting him until he gets very well. Otherwise, we should just hope and pray that he gets well ahead of schedule.

  37. Why not pull the trigger on a Odem for J Oneal trade….Both players would fit in better in the other team’s system….I think its a win win trade for both teams….any thoughts???

  38. it could be worse. at least you guys don’t have him on ALL your fantasy teams. (what a great value pick.)

    i know this is mostly wishful thinking, but hopefully kwame mans up and answers the call of duty. it is his contract year, after all.

  39. I see mostly opportunity in this injury. By the time Andrew comes back, he will be healthy and ready to play his role on our championship team. Meanwhile, the Lakers need to focus on defense.

    Rather than have Kobe replacing the scoring of Andrew, the Lakers, as a team, need to reduce the scoring of the opponents 5-10 points every game. That would be necessary to win an NBA championship anyway. Seattle will give the Lakers an excellent chance to get started.

    It’s time to get serious about that final piece: a trade involving Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol. I have reason to feel that the Lakers are one of only two teams capable of providing realistic quality players in exchange for Gasol that fit in the Grizz future. The other team is Atlanta, NOT Chicago–and it is not easy to trade with Atlanta.

    If you look at the career stats, Lamar has very similar numbers to Pau, they earn the same, and are about the same age. However, Lamar fits in much better with the future plans of the Grizz–and Gasol fits in better with the Lakers–especially now. He would give us both rebounds and true #2 scoring. Memphis is going nowhere and has to change direction. We need that final piece to beat Boston (hopefully) or Detroit (if necessary) for the NBA championship. There would have to be another piece from LA necessary to make the trade work–but it is realistically possible. That may be where the wheeling and dealing come in.

    I’d sure give it a try.

    I don’t want to wait until next year.

  40. 30. Yes yes.

    Hopefully the time off for Mihm will get him back to his old serviceable self. Even if not, I believe Kwame and Turiaf can string together some decent numbers.

    I’d love to see LO become an 18/12 guy. Wouldn’t be shocked if this is where he steps up.

  41. Honestly, excuse my accusatory tone here, but, Kurt goes on vacation and everyone starts right up with the random trade theories for LO? There never was a J O’Neal/LO deal, it was J O’Neal/LO+Bynum. Which shows Indy didn’t think too much of LO’s trade value. And why would Memphis trade Gasol for LO. I don’t see how he would fit in better for them, espeically considering Gasol is there de facto center. At least Gasol has trade value unlike LO. I think LO is fine enough for this team, but he has ZERO trade value right now. Nobody ever picks up a player with a contract as big as his unless he has legit star value-which Lamar does not.

  42. But that was LO being compared to JO before the season. JO has been struggling and doesn’t seem to be a big part of the plan right now in Indy. Thats why LO and some change might be able to Land JO. I have a feeling JO might become rejuvinated ala Vince Carter if he gets traded to LA.

  43. Dr Ray knows how I feel about Pau… not gonna talk bout that :)

    I agree that instead of replacing the scoring production, the TEAM collectively has to secure that the opposing team scores 10 pts lesser now that AB is still down… Its not just the scoring that we miss, its more like the rebounding and blocks.

  44. I’m gone two days, I certainly hope you guys aren’t talking trades :)

    Watching the end of the game in a casino with a cigar and martini.

    Don’t panic into a move, the injury is temporary and the team can grow from it.

  45. Awesome…Lakers have the ball with 20 seconds left in OT and the score tied. The BallSACs just beat Dallas, so if we win, we take over #1 in the Western Conference.

    Edit-Now we’re up two with 4.3 seconds left.

  46. We own the west. Maybe Kobe gets MVP consideration now.

  47. Stu Lantz is amazingly annoying. Unreal.

  48. Kobe! Kobe! Kobe!

  49. Well, a win is a win. Geez, that was some dreadful play in the paint by the Lakers, though. And some poor finishing around the rim, too. Good thing two point victories count the same as blowouts.

  50. Well, let’s enjoy the fact we are the number one team in the western conference for a night.

    Who would have thought that?

    That Kobe guy is just unbelievable. Snapper Jones on Seattle’s TV team kept talking about how Durant needs to watch Kobe to see how it’s done and where to take his game. He marvelled at Kobe’s ability to find his spot anytime he wanted to.

    The professor took the student to school in this one.

    Seattle played like a home team with a few people back from injuries and nothing to lose.

    We played with a chip on our shoulder.

    But, Lamar was terrible and Kwame is just not in game shape. Nick Collison looked like Dwight Howard tonight. Can’t wait to see what Amare and Duncan does to those two if they don’t play smarter.

    Having a hard time understanding how Lamar is regressing at this stage of his career. Very concerning. Love the guy, let’s hope he rights the ship for all of our sakes.

  51. Did you guys hear what Kobe said about Bynum? He said the Lakers are a championship-caliber team with him. Looks like he really feels good about this team.

    Are these poor defensive performances that explicable? Bynum does really make a HUGE difference. The Lakers were more confident in leaving the paint with Bynum (Collison killed us), and Bynum on the floor makes a big difference in our picknroll defense…

    With Bynum out, our poor point guard defense is really highlighted. Point guards think twice before driving into the lane with the beast in the middle.

  52. Good God, Kobe is my hero.

    and, not to put ANY weight on it….

    But who’s atop the Western Conference?

    Oh yeah, that’s right-

    US.

    Go Lakers!

  53. Give Kwame some credit: he played a respectable game (10 points and 10 rebounds). If you were listening to his post-game radio interview, you might have also heard him make some intelligent comments about what the Lakers need to do to keep their heads above water without Bynum.

    Conventional wisdom says that we should panic because the Lakers (minus Bynum) had to work really hard just to beat two aweful teams. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that they lost Bynum in the middle of one game and played the very next night (right after they found out he’d be gone 8 weeks). They didn’t have much time to come up with a new game plan. Also, tonight was a back-to-back on the road after a home game and they were still without Mihm, Vlad and Sasha. Rotations were short and lineups were often disjointed.

    The Lakers now have 3 days to prepare for Phoenix and should get their subs back in the near future. If Brown can turn in more workman-like performances (and Bryant doesn’t seize the opportunity to take over 40 shots again), Bynum will come back to a better Laker team than the one he left.

    We all know they can’t maintain their current pace without Andrew, but they will still have the opportunity to end the season playing their basketball. And that matters a lot more than playoff positioning.

  54. pgblooded–Basically, it’s how fast Drew’s swelling goes down, and how quickly he can strengthen his quadriceps. The quads act as a splint for the kneecap once it has been subluxated. The stronger your quads are, the better they will hold the kneecap in place. The pain from this injury comes from the irritation of the cartilage as the kneecap wobbles around. It’s a scary and painful feeling the first time it happens, but once the kneecap goes back in the slot and the swelling goes down, you can just about run normally after a few days. I’m sure Andrew will also wear a brace for awhile. The ones I wore were not cumbersome at all. They had lightweight, vertical ceramic strips on either side of the kneecap to stabilize it, and I could run, cut, and jump-stop normally after a couple weeks.

  55. I know, I’m really enjoying being on top of the Western Conference!!! *Enjoys for … oh, the next day or so.*

    (I’m not pessimistic, just realistic :)

  56. Clutch wins by the Lakers and the Ballsacs leaves us on top of the West. I don’t think this win over a weak team should be minimized. This was a road game against a motivated team, it was our third game in four nights, and our fifth game in seven nights. The Lake Show was short-handed tonight, and our boys still pulled it out. Awesome.

  57. We can’t give up 120+ to a team that has been averaging 85 over the past 6. The was atrocious defense and rebounding (on the defensive end). That, combined with Lamar’s terrible shot selection, and even more terrible percentage, and that was beyond ugly. And the offense went way too much “Kobecentric” in the 4th quarter. I guess a win is a win, but damn.

    Despite his mindless mistakes at times, I have really been enjoying Crittenton lately. I like the spark he brings. Sasha may have a tough time getting PT when he gets back. I like the Critt/Farmar tandem as well.

  58. The Seattle crowd hasn’t been too energetic in any of the games I’ve been two in the short time I’ve lived here, but they at least stood up a few times at the end of the game. This was my first live Laker game and I was surprised by how distraught Odom looked. I could see it a little on TV, but not like it looked tonight. Those of you that see him live more often, is he always like that?

    Also, it really seemed the team was leaning on Kobe way too much, but really, who else was going to win the game for us? Luke was cold all game, Odom was pathetic, Fish played his game well enough. Farmar looked like he could breakout for a bunch, but didn’t put it up (or get the chance to put it up) enough. But what little respect I had for Brown is quickly dissipating.

    Side note: my friends and I were joking how Durant reminded us of Odom, but with a little smoother of a shoot. How disappointing would that be, if he ended up as a 20 ppg Odom? But he’s not much older than Bynum was when he came in, so we’ll see where he sits in three or so years.

  59. 53 – As much as I like Crit, if Sasha’s healthy, Crit cannot match his 3pt shooting or D.

  60. Uf.. that was some vintage 06-07 Lakers. Sort of painfully nostalgic.

  61. whew! wasnt the prettiest of wins, but a win is a win and we’ll take it anytime. the team gutted it out even though the sonics shot well (7 players in double figures or was it the defense?), and Kobe carried the team when it seemed they were about to let go (MVP votes there…) Kwame and Turiaf made up for bynum’s absence statwise (combined 24 pts and 12 reb), but the intimidation and presence that bynum brings cannot be replaced. I hope he gets back sooner than the 8 week prognosis.

    was disappointed with the point production of LO (but is anybody surprised he ddnt step up point-wise?!). The bench mob, (ariza, farmar, turiaf and critt) played really well. They should have been given a little more time on court (I’m happy my boy critt is getting consistent minutes)

    Lets hope they play better defense in the tough tough stretch coming up. C’mon laker team… lets stretch the winning run some more!!!

  62. i’m guessing if kwame sheds some weight and re-learns how to jump higher than just getting his feet slightly off the ground, lakers rebounding and inside scoring would improve rather drastically…

    he still doesn’t seem to be 100% to me. kwame frustrates me like no other, but to his credit if he’s not playing at 100%, then he is being pretty serviceable to the lakers.

    dude abides, thank you for the insightful information to the recovery process of subluxation, though i’d still rather have him take the full 8 weeks… in the mean time, he could spend some time in the gym working on his upper body strength as well.

  63. One big difference tonite and Phil must know this – he has watched this combination many times over the last three years. We cannot have Kwame and Lamar on the floor at the same time. That is 2 under-average bball IQ players playing at the same time. Our offense and our defense goes all to sh** when we have them both on the floor at the same time.

    We have to avoid them like the plague on offense because they will decide to do something stupid much of the time.

    On defense they don’t know how to switch properly and either their man or the 2nd person’s man is inevitably wide open (Fish/Kwame or Fish/Lamar seemed the worst switches possible).

    At least Lamar can rebound and pass, but together they spell trouble.

  64. How was that 06-07 Lakers??? We actually won the second game of a back-to-back on the road. That didn’t happen in our tailspin last year!!! Keep your head up.

  65. One question. When was the last time did the lakers occupy top spot in the West? Ahhhmm… 19forgotten!!??!!

    Thats right, it has been quite a while. It may be another ugly win and the road ahead looks rougher and rougher but I’ll sit back and relax meantime that we are atop the competitive Western Conference.

    Care to join, anyone?

  66. KC-you’re welcome, and don’t worry about his recovery time. I could easily see Drew coming back in three or four weeks. All he would have to do after coming back and playing games would be to continue hitting the weight room. Leg presses, partial squats, partial leg extensions, etc. This injury isn’t like a ligament injury. Once you feel healthy, you can play. At least that was my experience.

  67. I could not agree with (60) more – that was vintage Lakers, mostly in a bad sense. Seattle ran the same high pick-and-roll virtually every possession and we couldn’t stop it. The ineptitude was breathtaking. Lamar (3-15) and Luke (1-6) are going to have to step up and earn their multi-million dollar contracts. It’s hard to fault Kobe for shooting 44 times when Lamar and Luke are bricking their shots, but if it’s going to take Kobe 44 shots to beat one of the worst teams in the League, I don’t think this post-Bynum team’s future is a good one. I really hope the Lakers use the next week at home to work on team D and figure out a more balanced offense. Not to be a total downer here, I have to give it up for Kobe’s clutch performance and the inspired play by the Bench Mob, particularly Jordan and Javaris. But our stay in 1st is going to be short if the team doesn’t get its act together. Despite my respected fellow posters’ optimism, there simply is no basis to conclude that Andrew will be back early, let alone in the “minimum” 8-week window or in his pre-injury form. We simply do not know.

  68. We are going to find out one thing. Is AB a quick healer or not. If he is a quick healer then his future stardom is assured. If not, he could become just another talented player with a fatal flaw.

  69. Oy vey. Not the kind of game I was hoping from Kobe, but we got the win. 4 other guys got into double figures also. Odom shot the ball 15 times (three 3-pointers is three too many). He just happened to only make 3 shots all night.

    I’m a little okay with Kobe jacking up 30 a game (but 44!?), given Andrew being injured. But our defense cannot give up 115 points in 4 quarters.

    Maybe it just takes a game or two to adjust without Drew. I imagine it takes a little time to figure out how to play without your 2nd best player. Our defense can play better, even without Bynum. We should still be better than last year, even if Bynum is injured. We still have Fish, Farmar, Ariza, Critt, and no B-Cook.

  70. (41) Pacio, where do your strong convictions against a Gasol trade to the Lakers come from? You’ve been doing your homework, reading the Memphis Grizzlie blogs, and/or talking with Wallace?

    I could be wrong, but you seem to be substituting vehemence for knowledge.

    Here’s what “they” (not me-not you) seem to be saying:

    Gasol and Miller, in some ways, still represent the “Jerry West” Grizzlies–and he doesn’t live there any more. Iavaronni wants a new “modified Phoenix” identity. They want Conley and Gay (and some of the other kids) to be the stars. They want to bring in their own free agents–like Milicic. The mere presence of Gasol and Miller may suggest to some that jerry West was right. Not good for the new guys. If Miller and Gasol do too good, it makes them look bad. The fans blame Gasol for the misery they are in, so his play doesn’t fill the seats and pay the rent.

    Then again, they’d like to won–and Gasol and Miller are their best player. Best paid too. With long term Jerry West style “star” contracts in place.

    I don’t think any trade that the Grizz make for Gasol will be automatic, but if you think about it, we’ve got much better “pieces” than Chicago. Even if the Bulls were willing to trade Deng, it wouldn’t be that good a deal for Memphis–because they’ve got Rudy Gay.

    If you haven’t already, click on “Three Shades of Blue” and/or read the “Commonwealth” newspaper stories to see how the Grizz fans and management feel about Gasol–and Miller. Then get back to us. I’ve already exchanged some emails and comments. You do the same.

    Then we’ll seee what you think of a possible Gasol trade.

    BTW, I’m not saying that Lamar can’t make contributions. The fan poll said that Lamar was the one who needed to “step up” now that Andrew was injured.

    Tonite, Lamar went 3 for 15–6 points–and missed all his 3 point attempts–one in overtime!

    But, he got 14 rebounds and 7 assists.

    No fouls. No free throws.

    Truly strange, no?

    My word to describe Lamar is “inegmatic.”

  71. “The Lakers have 14 players under contract and can add one more if they wish. They have reached out to free agent Chris Webber and might contact P.J. Brown, each of whom are forward-center types who have not played this season.

    “We’re going to look at replacement players and if there is a way to get another big player that can help us win games,” Kupchak said. “Can you replace Andrew? Of course not. The list is short on the kind of players that if you picked them up, they would play and help you win, but we’ll look at it.”"

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-lakers15jan15,1,6599902.story?coll=la-headlines-sports-nba-lakers&ctrack=1&cset=true

  72. Can Kevin Love come out of school early? He’s probably older than Andrew :P Darn NCAA regulations.

  73. we will be fine, this will be Kobe’s best chance to prove that he is MVP if he can carry us just a lil bit and sustain a half dacent record…

  74. Kobe didn’t “jack up” 44 shots, he picked his spots very well (according to the Seattle coach) and shot close to 50%. No way the Lakers could have won the game today with Kobe shooting less and deferring more to his team mates. There isn’t any one player in the league who could have won the OT (the way the supporting cast were playing) for the Lakers instead of Kobe — that is why he is the best player in the league. Vince/T-Mac would have taken 20 shots as opposed to 44 and tamely lost the game.

  75. The Dude that Abides – I would like to thank you as well for the insights on Drew’s injuries. It greatly benefit my views regarding Drew’s immediate return. I have to be honest, I’d rather have him return the soonest possible time so he will not lose his rythym.

    Should they decide to let Drew heal via the full route, I hope he can at least practice other offensive moves that will benefit his game once he returns.

  76. someone tell drew to start lifting since he finally got some sparetime now, in 8 weeks he could return a-al-DHoward and do some damage to rims around the league.

  77. Chris Webber would be a great contributor to the team at this team. With all that veteran experience he can only make the team stronger. He would also be the only post scoring player that the Lakers would have that is truly capable of posting up back to the basket.

  78. Thought Id post this from Kevin Dings Blog. Good read.

    “Lamar just had an awful night”
    January 15th, 2008 · Post a Comment · posted by kding
    Lamar Odom was getting dressed in the KeyArena visiting locker room afterward, smiled and hollered over to Luke Walton a few doors down: “Feels great to win a ballgame like that, doesn’t it?” Odom had shot 3 for 15 from the field; Walton had shot 1 for 6.

    Kobe Bryant bailed everyone and the shaky defense and rebounding out, though, to get the Lakers the victory. Bryant stepped up his game in a need situation for his team after news of Andrew Bynum’s extended absence, playing through illness. Odom couldn’t do the same (he was so tired and ineffective in overtime that Phil Jackson benched Odom for Ronny Turiaf and brought Odom back only after Turiaf fouled out), and that’s why he remains where he remains in the NBA pecking order as a non-star.

    Odom was acquired to Bryant’s No. 2, but the team has run smoother with Bynum showing more tenacity in that role. Bynum’s injury opens the door of opportunity yet again for Odom to give the Lakers more. And Jackson said he will need Odom to do more, especially by dominating in rebounding, but Odom will have more scoring chances, for sure.

    Is he fully aware of the situation?

    On Monday night, the first quarter ended with Bryant driving into a collapsing Seattle defense, getting stopped and kicking the ball out to Odom, who was caught watching and maybe even admiring as Bryant operated. This has happened all too frequently in their three-plus seasons together. Odom caught the pass in a non-threat position, faked a pass and then passed too late for Jordan Farmar to get off a shot before time expired.

    Odom had a far worse moment late in overtime when he forced a 3-point shot that left Farmar wincing and turning away on the bench before the ball even caromed off the rim. (It was yet the latest example of Farmar’s wonderful feel for right and wrong on the court, and I think you’ll see Farmar have some really huge efforts for the Lakers while Bynum is out, but that’s another story.) Odom had passed up a 3-pointer on the previous possession to set up Derek Fisher’s 3-point attempt, and Fisher had missed, so this time Odom just fired away despite clearly not being sure he should.

    Odom finished with six points in 45:33 of play when his team scored 123 points. Rather hard to do. Afterward, Jackson said: “Lamar just had an awful night.

    (Mac)We need Lamar and Luke to step up thier play or its going to be a looonnnggg 8 weeks. These guys need some of Kobes fire (desire to win). Thats all I got to say

  79. 76, that kind of reminds me of the year Derek Fisher was hurt after breaking his foot (2003?) when he came back in time for the stretch run looking more chiseled than Michelangelo’s David and shooting something like 50% from 3 in the playoffs…perhaps Bynum can add a 20 footer to his arsenal? :-O

  80. I love it when people talk positively about this situation.

    I am sure PJ deserves 12mio a year.
    He will find an answer to this problem.

    I also agree that we might not be ready for a new game plan today, since we just lose bynum yesterday and on a back2back game.

    so finger crossed.

  81. I didn’t see the game last night but I want to know what was wrong with the Lakers defense? Did they just take a night off because it was the Sonics? I hope they pick up their defense against PHX.

  82. 81. Didn’t see too much of the first half, but in the second they played very much like the lakers of old, getting destroyed by that future hall of fame pick n’ roll combination of ridnour and collison. they’d finally been figuring out how defend the high pick in roll with andrew, but lamar/kwame and fish were getting killed by it every time down last night for a long stretch of the game.
    70. drrayeye- i know i’m a new guy here and i’ve been reading your posts for some time, and frankly i did feel kind of stupid to be trying to lay down the law. and i do believe you that memphis wants to ship out gasol and start over. but really, who wants lamar right now? judging by the comments here his own fan base doesn’t think too much of him. i like lamar as a number 3-4 option. of course, much of it has to do with the system he plays in. put the ball regularly in his hands in a looser system and maybe he becomes that semi-all-star again. but nba gms are a spineless bunch that never make trades on maybes and projections. besides what makes sense for individual trade partners, gasol and deng have much much more trade value than lamar.

  83. With only one game in the next 6 days the Lakers will have some time to adjust to playing without Bynum. Another issue is Kwame’s conditioning. He iappears to be playing in slow motion and needs to lay of the cheeseburgers and get in shape.

    I think the team can still score plenty of points, but it needs to shore up the interior defense and rebound better.

  84. (82)Pacio,

    I’ve long felt that Lamar was a misfit in the Laker’s system. That doesn’t make him a misfit in every system. Steve Nash was traded twice before he found his niche in Phoenix. Besides, he just has two years left on his contract, so he could just be an interim player for them while they transition.

    Sometimes players are traded for business reasons. In the case of Pau, it may have something to do with expectations, team identity, and fan attitude–and his long term ciontract. See what you think of this Memphis fan:

    “The team is doing a little better. I still think , let me take that back, I KNOW we need to trade PAU immediately. I admire his effort the last couple of games, but as it was stated by Jaybyrd, he could have been doing that [all along]!!

    All of his efforts now should be used as resume’ for other teams. I just don’t think we will ever get over the hump as long as Pau and Mike are still Griz!!

    Mike is a bust and he and Pau play a two man game to help each other stay in the league. I think that these guys have one foot in the basketball grave. We need to look at getting rid of them immediately before its a done deal. Nobody wants Pau but a couple of writers on this blog ( you guys can have him, let him be a 7ft waiter or something) He is just not cut out for real NBA basketball. It was a joke to make him an All Star. Think I’m joking? Go back and look at the weakest representation of Memphis I have ever seen.

    I would take a third round draft pick for him TODAY!!!! That’s how bad he needs to go. I dare anyone to give reasons for him to stay!!