44 Shots

Rob L. —  January 15, 2008

44. That’s how many shots Kobe took to score 48 points in the circus ring known as Key Arena Monday night.

Was it too many? Is the sky falling? Has my agent called me back?

Here are the Lakers individual offensive stats from the contest:

EFG% factors in 3-pointers, TS% factors in free throws, ORTG is points per 100 possessions, POS% is the percentage of team possessions a player uses

PLAYER	        EFG%	TS%	ORTG	POS%
D. Fisher	60.00%	60.00%	117.57	7.15%
K. Bryant	50.00%	50.98%	100.74	35.98%
L. Odom	        20.00%	20.00%	67.5	15.66%
L. Walton	16.67%	29.07%	108.8	7.44%
K. Brown	75.00%	75.30%	118.19	7.49%
R. Turiaf	60.00%	78.13%	132.73	9.46%
T. Ariza	58.33%	65.41%	121.67	6.65%
J. Farmar	100.00%	100.00%	199.27	4.84%
J. Crittenton	50.00%	58.14%	122.37	5.33%

Here is Kobe’s season average going into Seattle:

PLAYER	        EFG%	TS%	ORTG	POS%
K. Bryant  	48.57%	56.08%	110.48	24.48%

Just for a fun comparison, here is the season average for another run-of-the-mill NBA player:

PLAYER	        EFG%	TS%	ORTG	POS%
L. James  	50.94%	55.98%	113.18	23.94%

First, notice that Kobe wasn’t taking all those shots because his teammates were letting him down. Far from it. Only Lamar Odom had an off night offensively. (The whole team had an off night defensively.) Even Luke, who had a terrible shooting night, had a respectable ORtg due to his 7 assists.

Kobe also stayed pretty efficient. His ORtg was down roughly 10 points, but that was accompanied by a roughly 10% increase in possession usage. Your average player does not come close to trading a point of efficiency for a percentage point of usage at that end of the scale. Most players slide into oblivion if they try to go above their optimal norm. Lamar would be a great example. His season average is an ORtg of 104.77 with a POS% of 11.60%. Check his line above against that.

Kobe only had 7 FTA and made 4. That is plain ridiculous. Usually when Kobe puts up 48 or so, a good chunk of that will come at the line. Tonight, only a paltry 4 points.

So when I look at these numbers, I can conclude that Kobe rocks the casbah. He may have taken a lot of shots, but they were for the most part good ones/he was having one of those nights. He just couldn’t have kept up his efficiency levels if he was taking a lot of ill-advised shots. (Though to be fair, for most players every other shot Kobe takes would be ill-advised.) His teammates stayed involved and ran the offense well. Furthermore, while watching the game I never felt that Kobe was trying to do too much. It all seemed to flow fairly naturally, though I wouldn’t argue too hard over the final two minutes and OT. But that’s why the man gets paid.

Oh, that and having the Lakers on top of the Western Conference.

-Rob L.

Rob L.

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64 responses to 44 Shots

  1. Great piece Rob. You have a great sense of humor to go with your statistical skills.

  2. Love these numbers!

    If Kobe went to the line 10~15 times, the entire seattle team would have been in foul trouble, as opposed to just Wally. That would have made this a totally different ball game too.

    Anyway, games like this is where real money is earned. Your team loses a significant contributor, you face serious adversity from a team that shouldn’t have given you trouble, but you defeat them nearly by yourself. That’s superstar territory, and Kobe is proving why he’s considered one of the best in the league… as opposed to Lamar who conveniently disappeared (although he did have 10+ boards).

  3. You’ll hear the typical Kobe Bashers saying as soon as Bynum went down Kobe reverted back to not trusting his teammates…..but those same people don’t remember or don’t care to remember that they called Jordan a hero when he did this and Pipper went down.

    Kobe is a true superstar and the bashers are just jeleous they don’t have him in thier colors.

  4. Walton’s efficiency may be up, but he doesn’t shoot he passes. With Walton playing with Lamar and Kwame we have only Kobe and Fisher who WILL – notice I didn’t say can – effectively shoot the rock. That is a real handicap for the 1st team.

    We should replace one of those three on the 1st team to develop more consistency early.
    1) Kwame – well we can’t do that or Turiaf will foul out in the 1st half
    2) Walton – Ariza might be better defensively, but Walton isn’t that bad defensively and he would be more of a handicap on the quick moving 2nd team.
    3) Lamar – this is where I come down

    If Lamar isn’t going to get it going offensively – and he is marginally average on defense – he needs to sit to start the game. Turiaf cannot start in his place, so how about Ariza for at least the Phoenix game? We will need his defense and his rebounding ability and Kobe and Fisher will continue to supply scoring.

  5. in the Times today they mention the Lakers are searching for a big man, ie; Webber, brown or Mbenga.

    they also hint that Andrew might be back sooner than 8 weeks, which is something I hope to see, (but not rushed back, fully recovered).

    who do you guys think would be the best temp big?

  6. Lamar gets 10 rebs just by showing up. Going 3-15 when you know you have to step up really bothers me. (And I love Lamar Odom–as a bbal player and person).

    I wouldn’t read too much into Kobe’s 44 shots (for now). He correctly felt he’d have to look for his shot and that he’d be able to hit it against Seattle. He was right and the Lakers won.

    The problem will be the next couple of weeks against the big teams. Who is going to step up as the second scorer? Or will the bench pick up the scoring load (Farmar, Critt, Ariza, Turiaf, etc.)?

    Here’s how I look at it: 2 months, 28 games. Can we go 16-12? A 42-23 record with 17 games to go. Still looking possibly at a 50 win team, but in this conference this year that may still only be good enough for a 6 seed. Ideally the Lakers end up at a seed where they’ll face the likes of Dallas or Phoenix or Denver. It would be nice if our seeding put us in the opposite side of the draw from the Spurs.

    Kwame and Lamar — the next 28 games or so will depend on you two.

    Here’s the Kobe quote of the day:
    “We’re a championship-caliber team with him [Bynum] in the lineup.”

    I hope Drew is smiling reading that…

  7. Yeah, that game was all about the defense for the Lakers. The Sonics were killing them with screen-and-rolls, and also had their way in the paint, for the most part. Obviously, Andrew had been a real presence in the paint, blocking and altering shots, and also intimidating opponents into taking more jump shots. His length and activity could also be disruptive on screen-and-rolls.

  8. I think Phil is gonna have to adjust his rotations with Drew out. One thing I’d like to see is the team to run more. This could be accomplished with a 3 guard lineup, with Fish, Farmar and Kobe all playing together, or taking Walton out of the starting lineup to let Ariza play more with Kobe.

  9. Totally aside from any pressure – which seems to make things worse – neither Lamar nor Kwame seem to have a big picture feel for how the game is going. They both make tactical decisions based on their individual situation and do not seem to grasp strategic game flow. They both also try to pass first – one because of foul shooting and one because of personality – so neither reacts to an open situation by immediately shooting the ball.

    This is also true of Lamar’s defense – he is a helper and doesn’t deal with changing pick-n-roll defenses.

    It is for these reasons that I feel we cannot have both these players on the floor at the same time. I would prefer Lamar be allocated more minutes, because he brings more to the table, but since Kwame has to start…

  10. I want to see a Crit, Kobe, Farmar, Odom, Turiaf lineup out there at some point. Just press, trap, and run. Even if they were only out there together for one 5-7 minute run. I think that could be a pretty fun lineup to watch.

  11. @7 And hopefully a very tiring 5-7 minutes for the other team. Perhaps use that against the teams second unit or something. Just run them off the floor and cause the other teams starters to get very little rest.

  12. I think bench play is going to be key, but most importantly bench DEFENSE is going to be important.

    I’m really looking forward to the game against Phoenix coming up. We just got pushed to the brink by a team that we probably didn’t expect to give us so much trouble, and a win against the suns without Drew would give us a pretty huge boost confidence-wise. I hope the guys come out with a lot of fire.

    Anyone else notice how much more Kobe is looking to offer support to his guys this year? All year we’ve seen him be more encouraging on the bench and on the court, then we saw him let Sasha shoot that FT, now he says Drew makes them a championship caliber team. This upcoming stretch without Drew is the team’s chance to respond and show they are truly worthy of his praise.

  13. Mike in the Mountain West January 15, 2008 at 11:26 am

    Without Bynum’s presence down low opposing defenses will be able to put more pressure on the perimeter which I fear will adversely affect Fisher the most. He is way, way above his career shooting averages this season. I even think it’s safe to say Fisher is having his best season, ever.

    But a lot of that has been because he’s been able to get open pretty easily. 80% of his shots have been jumpers with a eFG% .556 and 59% of those shots have been assisted. With teams able to pay less attention to the middle I think we expect Fisher to see a marked decrease in his FG%.

    I think Farmar is going to have to get more playing time because he can drive to basket more effectively than Fisher can and we’re going to need that penetration to open things up.

    To be honest, I’m pretty worried. I think we will be lucky to go .500 while Bynum is out especially since we have that monster 9 game road trip coming up.

  14. (Never thinking I’d say this)…I really want Sasha and Radman back soon. Several people (and I was thinking it myself) have mentioned LO’s lack of scoring punch in the game and it also being a trend for the season. But we are already asking the guy to step up on the boards and be a presence in the paint with Bynum out. I really want Sasha and Radman back because they are two of our better scoring threats on the team. They shoot with range and don’t lack confidence. That is exactly what we need right now.

    I know that defense was a real issue last night, and we will need to sharpen that up because Bynum will not be there to be a force at the rim against drivers. But in the future, with Kobe’s willingness to share, we will need guys to hit shots. So, get well soon guys. We need ya’ll back.

  15. 11 and JONES – What do you think happened last night?
    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/boxscore;_ylt=Av9UEpVn1rMAP1rnnAZWAICQvLYF?gid=2008011425

    Pay attention to the +/- column. These kids are fast, defensive minded and create problems for teams handling transition or have size on defense.

    More impressive last night, nobody pointed out that the Lakes only had 8 turnovers in 53 minutes!

  16. Odom needs to step up.The midrange jumper behind a screen on the wing is always available for him and he makes this shot. No threes, more of these shots. Kwame is ridiculous. In the pregame show, Jim Hill had to contain his laughter when talking about Kwame. Get in post position. Stay there until you need to move. If you get the ball, try to make a quick move to the basket. If its not there pass it out and repost. Whole team, get back on D after a made shot.

  17. I am not too worried about the offensive end, we know we have scoreres now, it’s not like it was a few years back(Ronny and Crit chipping in). What I am worried about it and it showed last night is the middle. Rebounding is great but a threat of a shot blocker or someone to take up space is vital. Kwame is at best a back up center, Ronny is a 4 and that leaves us with two hurt big men. I also believe our shooting precentages will go down since Bynum had a ridiculously high amount, >60%. We need to sure up defense that starts with the guards, we gotta make it harder for teams to penetrate and shoot. When their guards to penetrate we will have to have a quicker/smarter rotation(not flying at people). Easier said than done. Running the trap the way they did last night was a great, correct me if I am wrong but they even did it while Kobe was out there which was a nice change of pace. All I can say it will be an intersting time.

  18. Lakers Looking To Add A Free-Agent
    ======================
    Source: LA Times

    The Lakers were intrigued by Webber a year ago and have been in contact with his representatives. They think he fits the mold of a triangle-offense player — good passer, good jump shot — but are concerned about his physical condition.

    Webber, who will be 35 in March, has not played since last season. He averaged 11.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 29.9 minutes in 61 games with Philadelphia and Detroit, but did not re-sign with the Pistons after their playoff run.

    He has been contacted by other unspecified teams and will make up his mind this week, his agent said.

    “We’ve talked to the Lakers organization several times prior to Andrew’s unfortunate injury,” said Webber’s agent, Aaron Goodwin. “Obviously, they’re a much better team with Andrew playing than they are without him. I think [Webber] will make a decision where he’s going to play this week.”

    Unlike last season, a starting spot is not a prerequisite for Webber, Goodwin said.

  19. Man, Odom looks more lost than ever on offense. Where can he score on the floor?

  20. The Real Lamar Odom January 15, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    I hope the other players in the team can develop even further with Bynum out. I hope the rest of the team learns to play better defense. If that’s the case we’ll be fine come playoff time when AB gets back.

  21. ||
    ||
    Without Bynum, what will be the realistic predictions for the next 5 games?

    Phoenix @ LA –
    Denver @ LA –
    LA @ San Antonio –
    LA @ Dallas –
    Cavs @ LA –

    I would be real happy with 2 or 3 win.

  22. 44 shots will not work with a more sound defender on Kobe. Teams like the Spurs and the Suns (Raja Bell) will force the other Lakers to be shooters.

    LO jacking up threes shows how lost he really is…

  23. Lamar has probably the worst shot selection on the team. Perhaps its time that Fisher have a talk with Lamar and explains to him how he manages to take good shots all the time…

  24. We seem to be in full panic mode, so let’s back things up for a moment to last night.

    Mihm, VladRad, and Sasha were already out–then we added Andrew. Kwame was back from a long injury layover and still not back to form. The Lakers were playing a back to back away game after almost losing the night before.

    And they won!

    At about the same time, the Celtics were losing their second straight, Detroit was humiliated by the Knicks, and, Dallas lost to Sacto LAST NIGHT–and none of them had as many injured players.

    Let’s look beyond Kobe for a moment.

    After a rough start and two early fouls, Kwame had a remarkable clutch game, playing 39 minutes. He had a double-double (10-10), 3 for 4 shooting, with 4 free throws on 4-6–Kobe was 4-7. He made both of his free throws at a critical point in the fourth quarter when the game was on the line.

    Considering his foul situation and the Lakers situation, Kwame was noticeably soft on internal D. Turiaff provided some needed muscle and fouled out in 18 minutes. Twinkletoes was setting high screens and coming way out on high pick and rolls–once trying to chase down Ridnour!

    Kwame will do better as his playing time stabilizes, but he deserves some appreciation for his effort and heart. We’re not at the point that anyone has to say, “Kwaa-me! Kwaa-me! Kwaa-me!” when he steps on the court. Recognition and appreciation when he does well might be more appropriate than ad hominem attacks no matter what he does or doesn’t do.

    As Lyndon Johnson once said as his many weaknesses were being pointed out, “I’m the only president you’ve got!”

    And for those who are berating Lamar and Luke for shooting percentages, consider their assists and rebounds. That may have had something to do with Kobe’s number of shooting opportunities and shooting percentage.

    It’s still a team game.

  25. People keep trying to ‘change’ or to ‘fix’ Lamar Odom. Lamar is what he is and he is very, very unlikely to change. His talent, his personality, and his motivation is what make him an enigma. We have to stop looking at him as some kind of savior and just accept that he is a valuable cog in the wheel of this Laker team.

    If he fits what we need, then great; otherwise we need to ship his a** out of here for someone who might fit better. I, personally, would like to see him hoist a trophy as a Laker, but it is most important that we view him in the same light as we view Trevor Ariza – only with a little less upside potential.

  26. I’d be happy to keep Odom if he was making the MLE.

  27. I went to espn and saved a the standings page as a memoir of what the lakers were like with bynum. Im so very frightened and scared right now i had to cry myself to
    sleep, while having nightmares of Kwame and the those lobster hands trying to pinch and grab at all those perfect lobs from kobe that would have been slammed down with authority by Bynum.
    If Kwame ever wanted to prove his worth at all here is his chance…….. and honestly last chance. I kind of feel bad for him right now because there is going to be a lot of pressure and haters out there these next very long long long long two months….Yikes!

  28. Speaking of Lamar Odom, once again, I stumbled upon this blog and thought it was absolutely hilarious. Check it out: http://russianamazing.blogspot.com/2008/01/too-good-to-be-true.html

  29. I think this is the last attempt that should be made to change LO. They’d be minor changes.

    [1] Make sure he just gets a few more good shots a game. I saw Kobe and him run the pick n’ roll together. Good stuff. Make sure he gets post opportunities on small guys, is in driving position against bigs. Call plays for awhile until he begins to develop more scorer-like habits.

    [2] Get him to stop FORCING his offensive game at times.

    It’s obvious LO is trying to change too much too fast when it comes to scoring the ball. He’s just not comfortable at all.

    An extra four points a game should be a goal for Bynumlessness month 1. Then see where things are at and go from there, with him and the rest of the roster.

  30. I agree with this article 110%!!

    Kobe never got too carried away….it all seemed to flow with how the the game unfolding.

    The Lakers will have their troubles over the next 8 weeks, but this is how MVP’s are won. If Kobe can keep the team playing good team ball and the Lakers have a winning record over the next 8 weeks, we are looking at the 1st MVP for Ochox3.

    Wish a speedy recovery for Andrew….hopefully we are only without him for 6 weeks instead of 8.

  31. 1st place for the first time in years… what a feeling.

  32. I think a lot of people figure we’ll start losing to good teams now that Bynum’s out. He’s gotten a lot of credit for our rise, but I think he just takes us to the next level. We’re still much better than last year. I appreciate what Kobe did last night, but we need to maintain our team philosophy. This is the box score from the first time we played PHX:

    http://www.nba.com/games/20071102/LALPHX/boxscore.html

    Drew was still on the bench then and while he had a good game, Kwame’s +/- was better and he got more time. AND Odom wasn’t even in the lineup. So obviously we need Kwame to step up a little, but we don’t need Kobe to start launching every time down, or Odom to get into his own head about being more aggressive.

    Yes, Drew is a great story, but we need to keep playing the way we’ve been playing all season. Spread the ball around, go inside when appropriate (Drew only averaged 8.5 FGA) and rely on the bench (check out the +/- numbers from last night). I hope PJ is spending these 2 days between games reminding the team of it’s identity and keeping it from freaking out.

    We have a built in excuse against PHX next game, but I still say take it to them. What does it do to their psyches if we win?

  33. Kwame and Lamar are actually not that bad against PHX historically, so I’m not as worried. Also, they’re used to playing PHX. In a way, it’s the best matchup if we were to choose among powerhouses in the West in Drew’s absence.

    Besides, we’re still a better team than last year’s, with Fisher over Smush as well as the development of the rest of the bench and the addition of Ariza. Missing Vlad, Sasha and Mihm took a toll, but Bryant can be counted on to be a bit more motivated against the Suns.

    But hrm, Bryant is really feeling that this can be ‘his’ team that ‘he’ can ‘lead’ to a championship. A good thing, especially if he’s right.

  34. where have you gone elden campbell?
    a lakers team turns its lonely eyes to you

  35. LA Times staff writer Mark Heisler wrote a ridiculous piece saying in no uncertain terms that with Bynum out 8 weeks, the Lakers season is not only over but the franchise as we know it is coming to an end because Kobe Bryant will definitely want out after this season, and there goes the neighborhood.

    However, I have faith in this deep, deep team that they will get a good rhythm going with Kwame and Ronny at the center position, Mihm back in a couple weeks and hopefully when Sasha and Vlad get back, the points lost to ABomb’s injury will be made up.

    Kobe said himself that its gonna take a couple games to get their rhythm and “flow” back with Kwame Starting, like they had going with Drew. But let me tell you, if these depleted Lakers can get 10 and 10, and 4 of 6 from the charity stripe from Kwame every night like they did Monday in Seattle (it could happen!), We’ll be alright.

  36. Heisler’s wrong. This is from Adande’s column on espn today:

    “in an on-court interview with KCAL TV, in which he talked about injured center Andrew Bynum. Bryant called Bynum a “terrific, terrific player,” then dropped this quote: ‘We’re a championship-caliber team when he’s in the lineup.”‘”

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=adande_ja&page=Lakers-080115

    If Kobe truly believes that last bit, he’s not going to bail on exactly what he’s always said he wants.

    I think we’re all a little depressed because we were getting too high off the recent success. Shake it off. I don’t hear San Antonio whining, or Washington. It’s not the end of the world.

  37. 35. I guess that comes with a Ric Bucher guarantee.

  38. I would laugh at the media frenzy and general panic over Kobe’s 44 shots if it weren’t so sad and predictable.

    The team was dragging on a back-to-back, fighting through injuries and foul trouble. The starting forwards shot 4-21 on the night. After the Lakers fell behind by 4 with under 2 minutes to go in OT, Kobe took 3 shots, and made them all. His team won the game.

    The whole notion that Kobe has to “learn how to trust his teammates” to be a champion is ridiculous. Sure, he has games when he shoots more than you’d like. He’s also won 3 championships, and anyone who thinks Shaq did it all by himself just doesn’t remember those games.

    Having a superstar on your team who is capable of taking over a game, and delivering a win (while fighting through an upper respiratory infection, no less), is an unbelievably valuable commodity. It’s not going to be around forever. Better enjoy it while it’s here.

  39. 35. I doubt Heisler even believes that. It’s an attention-getter.

  40. With Drew out, we essentially have the same team we had last year (aside from Fish vs Smush). This is still a good team that is on the groove. However, what worries me is their tendency to stand back and watch Kobe hit another milestone. Drew on the other hand, has his contract and his detractors to prove wrong. That’s why he is playing exceptionally well. That’s what Kwame’s mindset should be.

    In the light of our 2 good friends here DrRay and Craig, both advocates of something well-thought, here’s my 2 cents.

    I was gonna suggest starting Drew AND Kwame to bolster our game. Since Drew is out, here’s my plan B.

    The reason why the Lakers are winning a lot this year is because they are wearing a new theme: Young Showtime. This is the very reason why the Knick will never find success unless they part with Q, Curry and Marbury. That team is buried in a memory of lost success. With that, I wonder if Phil would consider swapping his 1st unit from his 2nd. This is my radical advocacy which I expect to see to surprise the upcoming Phoenix and Denver games.

    vs Phoenix – Fish, Farmar, Kobe, Odom, Ronny.

    It would be a radical change but its something necessary anyway. Fish will guard Bell as Farmar will be put on Nash. Ronny or Kwame will hold Amare down as they swap roles the entire evening. Radmanovic will probably still be out for this game, so our big rotation will revolve around Lamar, Ronny and Kwame with Walton seeing some PF time for a good 6-8minute stretch.

    Since Kobe barely rests in a Phoenix duel, Fish can sit at the 4-min mark of the 1st as Farmar becomes the de facto PG, Kobe the SG and Ariza comes in.

    The Denver game will be another story. I’d like to put in an energetic scoring bunch on the 1st quarter since Denver likes to run and gun until their reserves take over. Even then they still do but the effectivity of it lessens. I’d want an athletic team to go out there and run with them (as we have done very well this year).

    One thing to note about the upcoming Phoenix and Denver games is the fact that we are 2-0 against them and going 3-0 would be sickkk. This time, we can say t’was without Drew and we still did it. If we are able to win both games, it will send out a message to the whole league that Sir Charles is wrong, baby. We’re contenders not pretenders.

  41. DJ Mbenga, Chris Webber, or PJ Brown….my choices would be #1 Brown, #2 Mbenga, and #3 Webber. Defense should be the biggest priority for the third-string big man, and PJ has the additional ability to sometimes hit the open 15-ft jumper. Mbenga can defend the rim better than Kwame or Webber, so he’s #2. Webber doesn’t have anything left on the defensive end, but he does have decent hands and can probably still catch and shoot, and maybe catch and make a layup.

  42. Heehee….GO CLIPPERS! Total glass domination. We can do the same on Thursday.

  43. The Next 6 weeks
    ===========
    Warren W. Lim

    First, an excerpt from the LA times article…

    Sunday night, something happened. Welcome to Mudville, as in Ernest Thayer’s “Casey at the Bat”:

    “Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;

    “The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,

    “And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout.”

    But there is no joy in Lakerdom, not with Andrew Bynum out.

    ===============================

    The “dreaded” 9-game road trip is not as bad as everyone thinks. I think the next 5 games will be tougher than that 9-game stretch and here is why.

    Phoenix, Denver, San Antonio and Dallas are almost sure-bets to enter the West playoffs this year. That said, I think this is where the Lakers need to prove themselves, even without Drew, that they are for real. I worry not on the Boston losses though I must agree that seeing them lose puts a smile to my face. Neither do I worry even if LeBron is considered a better player than Kobe.

    Winning 4 out of the next 5 games would be my goal. The road trip is merely 2 weeks away but the schedule is overrated. In that 9-game span, if the Lakers come out well from this 5-game stretch right before February, we will be in good shape.

    Phoenix, Denver, @Sas, @Dal, Cleveland and New York. The goal is to win 4 out of 6 with New York being considered as almost a sure-win.

    Det, Tor, Was, NJ, Atl, Orl, Mia, Cha, Min.

    8 East teams + the worst team in the West. It would be hard for me to imagine losing to Minnesota, Atlanta, Charlotte and Miami. That’s 4 wins in the bag IMO with Detroit, Toronto, Washington, NJ and Orl considered as toss-ups. Among the 5, only Detroit has the motivation to get some payback and I can see us struggle in that game. Toronto seems like a good matchup with lesser bigs on the floor and with their top PG out indefinitely. New Jersey is one team that beat us this year but I don’t think we’d lose to them 2 in a row, Washington seems to be doing ok with Arenas out but they are not consistent enough, and Orlando is the only other real threat among the teams. Atlanta and Charlotte are played back-to-back but we will be able to take care of business as usual.

    If we go 4-2 in the next 6 games and 6-3 in the road trip, we’ll be fine.

  44. (32) James, I think you’ve nailed it. You reminded me that VladRad played and got 19!!!

    Hopefully, VladRad practiced today and will be playing on Thursday. I think that would make a huge difference. I agree with Craig about the poisonous defnese that come with Lamar and Kwame together, so I’d start VladRad with Kwame, and bring on Lamar with Ronny for the second unit. Once the rotations are there, I’d definitely play Lamar more selectively

    Right now, Phil doesn’t have his usual options.

  45. jellosjigglin’ January 16, 2008 at 12:28 am

    dont look now, but our roommates the clips just been the suns and we are in sole possession of the best record in the west.

    such a bummer about drew. im fairly optimistic about how we’ll do without him, but i think we would have really turned some heads with him in the lineup against the other western elite in the coming week or so.

  46. I think it was radio broadcaster Spiro Didas who said last night it’s Lamar’s personality to pass first. He idolized Magic growing up, he’s always been an unselfish player, but as Didas said, he is unselfish to a fault. I’m sure the coaches must have told him multiple time, Lamar, take it to the hoop. There is no 4 who can post up, handle the ball…..and is left-handed which makes things even more complicated…..but really…he needs to post up…..or stand out on the perimeter…whatever…..but it’s like Kobe and Michael and LeBron realize, when you can do things that people can’t stop, you have to finish. There were a few times I was ready to throw things at the TV last night. Lamar wound his way to the hoop several times on these wending runs……was under the basket…..and kicked it out to a corner 3 to Fish one time. I mean, dunk it and bring the crowd to their feet. Ayyyyy..I love Lamar but he’s selfish to a fault, or perhaps to the team’s detriment, sometimes.

  47. jellosjigglin’ January 16, 2008 at 12:38 am

    whoops… i meant “beat”. no, they have never been the suns before.

  48. When Raja Bell got it in the eye from Sammy Cassell… I smiled and offered a lamb.

  49. The guy over at http://www.laballtalk.com just had a good post about the potential that the Lakers have while Andrew Bynum is down. I thought it was a good article, it covered a bunch of the bases. I’m interested to see what happens with Chris Webber.

  50. The Lakers are not the only team with key players down. It comes and goes with nearly every game. Maybe we should think more broadly about the comparative health of opponents.

    The show of strength and energy against us by the Seahawks was no fluke. Seatlle was revitalized by the return of injured players: Ridnour and Collison returned fresh and almost did us in.

    Fortunately for us, it is the other way with the Suns, who are thought to be very shaky coming in. Grant Hill is out (or should we say his appendix is out), Diaw and Marion are banged up, and Nash has had stomach flu.
    Still, this game has Western Conference championship written all over it. They won’t give up easy.

    In the irony of the moment, it’s Stoudemaire who’s healthy-but Twinkletoes and Ronny ought to slow him down a bit. When we beat the Suns, we want everyone to feel that the win was extraordinary, getting us out of the “Bynum blues.”

    The Lakers have been both lucky and strategic in rotating their injured players back to health and resting them. Lamar got the preseason and early season off, Luke and Ronny had about a month, Kwame had about two, Mihm has struggled all year, but came in and played a full workmanlike game early that the Lakers won. We’re clearly saving him for the big push. Arisa got his time off on the bench at Orlando, and is fresh as a daisy. Like last year, our frontcourt is fine, rotated, and not overworked–except Sasha

    Right now, our goal should be to get VladRad back this week, and Sasha back next week. Maybe we can find games here and there for Kobe to get “sick.”

    There is a very telling stat that a clear advantage in the scoring/rebounding/assists of players as the number of days off increase. Minutes played, games played, games won, swagger, and momentum are all important strategic parts of basketball.

    Like San Antonio, Phil seems to know how to strategically prepare a team for a championship run with rest–babying or preventing injuries.

    Viewed in that way, Bynum’s injury may have actually saved him from overexposure and kept him fresh for the championship run.

    If we keep getting lucky, teams like the Suns may be really less of a threat on game day than the Seahawks or the Grizz–but let’s keep it a secret, OK?

  51. My fear about Thursday is that Phil will continue with his “start Lamar at all costs” philosophy. I think he must feel LO’s and Luke’s psyches are too fragile to have them temporarily moved to the 2nd team while Kwame is starting and we are playing a run-n-gun team.

    The problem is, against elite and running teams, we need to start fast. In this case it is our defense that is needed and with Ariza available our offense shouldn’t suffer much/at all.

  52. They don’t have to try and prove anything with Drew out; they just have to survive. At this point, winning half the games while he is out would be a significant accomplishment, especially considering the other injuries. Then try and get a little momentum at the end of the season while readjusting to playing with Bynum again, and while he gets back into the flow.

  53. +52 I agree, they don’t have to prove anything… they just have to play the same game. The Lakers have been running the triangle really well lately, and that will cover up for a lot of limitations. I’d like to see more p/r with Lamar and Kobe… and more time for Ariza.

  54. If you’re a Lakers fan, you might enjoy might blog:

    http://lalakerslove.blogspot.com/

  55. Check out this awesome comment published by Abbott in Truehoop :
    Brian Kamenetzky from the Los Angeles Times’ Lakers blog: “Not to be a total downer, but the lofty dreams Lakers fans have conjured over the highly successful first 37 games of the season — I’m talking about winning the Pacific, maybe even the Western Conference — are officially out the window with the injury to Andrew Bynum.”

    Why do I like this comment? How many other conference contenders have been dismissed as an essential non-threat? This puts little pressure for opposing teams to bring their A game against he Lakers. Without Bynum, teams may be preparing for their next opponent such as Phoenix, San Antonio, or Dallas who they perceive as a bigger threat and those must-win games.

  56. P.J. Brown not intersted to come back to NBA
    ==========================
    With Andrew Bynum out, the Lakers are in the market for another big man. Veteran P.J. Brown, a 6-foot-11 veteran who played for the Bulls last season, fits the bill, but his representative said that for the time being, Brown is content being out of basketball and not trying to return.

    “I don’t think it’s something that he is looking to do,” Mark Bartelstein said by phone. “There are a bunch of people inquiring about him, but there is nothing (in terms of his interest) right now.” — Riverside Press-Enterprise

  57. HERESY!!!

    “LeBron is fantastic,” Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said. “I think he’s got more passing ability than Magic [Johnson] because he can put it on a dime and with zip. It’s a function of his ability to score. He allows people to get free. He’s 6-foot-9, and he can see.”

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=280115029

    If people want to compare Lebron and Kobe, fine. But to say that Lebron is a better PASSER than Magic? Iavaroni should be banned from the nba for life.

  58. (55) And this is a Lakers blog? He’s been watching Laker games the entire season? I wonder what Kamenetzky would say if he wanted to be a total downer?

    When will this Bynum hysteria end? Shouldn’t we expect a more realistic assessment from those who have had a chance to watch the games?

    The Lakers are a team. When Kwame was sent down against Chicago, the Lakers did not have a good road trip WITH Bynum It took the team time to adjust to Bynum as a starter.

    It may not take them as much time to readjust to Kwame as a starter, and Ronny as a backup.

    I think that Laker goals and dreams might even be raised, not lowered, as they prove once again that they are a very good team–and a deep team once they get healthy again.

    Let’s keep focus. Our next game is against a Phoenix team that we’ve already beaten twice. They won’t have Grant Hill–and they’re beat up.

    We could win our series with them tomorrow.

  59. “I think that Laker goals and dreams might even be raised, not lowered, as they prove once again that they are a very good team–and a deep team once they get healthy again.”

    The Lakers are not a deep team yet, as shown by the performance of the bench since Bynum became a starter. That is partly due to the change in when Bynum and Kwame play, partly due to the injuries to Mihm, Cook, Vlad, Walton, and Turiaf, and partly due to the Cook-Ariza-Evans trade. (That trade weakened the bench, although I think that it made the team stronger overall.)

    They could turn into one, with additional development by some players and the return to health by others, but at the present they don’t have any consistency from that group, with the arguable exception of Farmar. (Ariza is consistent defensively, but not yet on offense.)

  60. Samy (48): Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

    How about those Clippers, huh? Couldn’t give that one away, I guess.

    Back on topic, I gotta say, I was not pleased with how Kobe took over the offense in the last 7-8 minutes of the game (including OT). It’s not just that he’s taking a lot of shots–I understand that he’s the man, and he’s expected to take the lion’s share down the stretch. It’s more that he developed those shots strictly in a perimeter, one-on-one manner, without any inside-out, not even any swinging. This time it worked, but it just isn’t going to a lot of the time, and there are better ways for even Kobe to get a good shot in crunch time.

  61. I asked this earlier in this post (5), and today I read this on Hoopsworld, I think EP gives some good insight-
    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?STORY_ID=6937

    so, guys what do YOU think of CWEBB coming to the Lakers? seems like PJ(brown)’s not an option, and no further talk of Mbenga.
    I think the addition of a player like this is worthy of it’s own thread, the timing of the move is also critical, why wait? right? we need to extra big body NOW. well, we could get by, but why not? we stay pat, we run the minutes up of our other (injury prone) bigs, so why not spead the minutes?
    I think C Webb can be an addition, he can pass, hit the mid range, and one thing he can do-
    HE CAN CATCH THE BALL.

  62. First, I like EP but he is all about trade rumors. But I guess the LA Times mentioned it too.

    What are the two key things the lakers do better this year? Play defense and push the tempo. Webber is a terrible defender at this point and is slow. And injury prone.

    Let’s see what this roster can do, this is not last year’s team – fisher for smush, for one.

  63. the guy formerly known as lamar odom January 17, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    is there any way we can get Webber into an 8 week contract???

  64. 62 Kurt

    1) Being injury prone isn’t too much of a problem if he only costs the Lakers the minimum.

    2) Our second unit is faster than our first unit, assuming Webber would start. I do think our first unit needs someone who can feed Bynum…how Lamar should. I really think Webber would mesh well with Drew…

    What have we got to lose? He can’t be any worse than Mihm.