Game Preview & Chat: The New York Knickerbockers

Kurt —  January 29, 2008

Records: Lakers 27-15 (6 seed); Knicks 14-29 (a lot of lottery ping-pong balls)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 111.9 (6th); Knicks 104.3 (23rd)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 106.0 (8th); Knicks 112.4 (28th)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Lamar Odom, Kwame Brown
Knicks: Jamal Crawford, Quentin Richardson, Mardy Collins, Zach Randolph, Eddy Curry

Lakers Notes: First let’s talk offense. Phil Jackson yesterday called out Luke Walton and Lamar Odom for being “timid” in recent games. Good. The thing is (and Phil mentions this) the problem is not every trip down — I watched Odom last game closely and he made a couple aggressive drives to the hole, one when isolated on Dirk and a couple others in transition from the top of the key. But, he is not fighting for position on the block and is not doing well under the pressure to step up without Bynum. He should get over that mental block, then again we’ve been saying that for years now and it’s just not going to happen. Lamar is what he is.

Also, another insightful comment from Bill Bridges:

The other defensive point (related to the “Bynum Effect” as you point out) I would add is that the weak side back court defender is cheating off his man more than he should. This has happened regularly when the offensive player penetrates from strong to weak. The net result is that both Vujacic and Farmar left Barry open on the weak side leading to 3’s. And Vujacic left Terry open for a crucial 3 at the end of the game. The weakside guard’s defensive positioning achieves nothing – neither helping out on the penetrator nor hindering the 3 point shot from his man. They really need to work on this in practice.

Why I think it is related to the Bynum Effect is that Kwame’s teammates have lost all faith that he can anchor the defense.

Suggested Reading: Great column on Kwame today from Kevin Ding in the OC Register — a must read.

Don’t we all have some friends who hate their jobs? Don’t we all know someone who simply can’t deal with confrontation? And if we look around this Sunday, couldn’t we all find a guy who, given the choice between playing in the Super Bowl and hanging out at a rockin’ Super Bowl party, would be a lot happier wearing a lampshade than a helmet?

These kinds of guys – even with all the size, strength, athleticism and opportunity – would not be 6-foot-11, 270-pound Michael Jordans either. They’d be sitting there with beer in hand, moaning about what time they have to get up Monday morning, rooting for the underdog Giants to beat the so-professional Patriots and asking if you’ve got any more guacamole dip.

Hat tip to Jones on the NBA for the link.

The Knicks Coming In: The Knicks have won five of their last eight, which is a sign that either: 1)They are starting to figure it out; 2) Every team wins a few in a row no matter how bad they are (or lose a few in a row no matter how good they are).

To find out what is going on, we asked a couple questions of Mike, the man behind what is one of the OG NBA blogs and still my favorite, Knickerblogger.

Jamal Crawford seems to be playing well of late. What is he doing right? His game isn’t as “pretty” as some other guards on the roster but he seems to be getting things done.

Jamal Crawford has reigned in his game. I’m not sure why, but those fake out my defender so I can take the longest 2 pointer on the court has been largely eliminated from his game. He’s doing a lot more curls & reasonable 18 footers.


Any other keys to why you’ve won 5 of 8?

The reasons the Knicks have won recently is that they’ve:
a. played crappy competition.
b. played their young guys a little more (Robinson, Balkman, Lee, and Collins – in that order).
c. the season is already lost, so they have nothing to lose by giving it their all.
d. have better on the court chemistry with their lineup (mixing defensive guys like Jeffries, Jones, Balkman, Collins, etc.) instead of doling out playing time based on contract/points per game.

The Lakers Should Win The First Quarter: Knickerblogger dug through the stats and found out what is killing the Knicks this year is the first quarter:

1st Quarter: -155
2nd Quarter: -28
3rd Quarter: -70
4th Quarter: -2
In Overtime : -5
Total Pt. Differential -260

Games are said to be won and lost in “crunch time,” but 85% of the Knicks point differential this season can be attributed to their play in the first (-3.8 pts per game) and third (-1.7 pts per game) periods. They have been respectable in the 2nd, and have almost broken even in the 4th, perhaps due partly to the large amount of garbage time they have played this season. The simple conclusion I think is that in order to have a better second half to the season, the Knicks should focus on making a better start to each half of every game. Readers I am sure will have plenty of ideas about how they might do that.

Last time these two met: The Lakers picked up an ugly road win just a few days before Christmas. Most of the news surrounding the game concerned Kobe scoring his 20,000th point. It was the last game of a road trip and the Lakers played like it but pulled out the win thanks to good shooting nights from Kobe (62.7% true shooting percentage, which takes into account trips to the free throw line), Sasha “The Machine” Vujacic (60%), Andrew Bynum (66%) and Trevor Ariza (71.7%). Note that those last two guys will not be playing tonight.

Also, there were some fun thoughts afterward from commenter No Musckles, who was at the game in the Garden:

Saying Nate Robinson is “fast” doesn’t do him justice. He is beyond fast.

Jamal Crawford’s game resembles the game of the 42-year-old guy at the park who gets by on an ugly set shot and funky bank shots. Doesn’t matter how it happens, he puts the rock through the ring.

Keys To The Game: Last game it was the Knicks Bench that kept them in it — they bring guys like David Lee, Balkman and Nate Robinson off the bench who are pure energy guys. If the Knicks are going to threaten the Lakers it will be because their bench wins that battle, the Lakers reserves need to step up.

The Lakers should be able to get points in the paint tonight — Curry and Randolph are horrible post defenders. That is, the Lakers can get them if Kwame and Odom are smart and aggressive, and if Kobe and Fisher can get into the lane. On the other side, both of the Knicks bigs can score so playing good defense on them will be key.

One thing to look for — the Knicks have played a lot of zone defense lately. Kobe, Fisher, Farmar and Sasha should be able to shoot over the top of that, but Odom and Kwame need to get into the soft middle of the zone for the Laker offense to really click against it.

Bottom line, this is a game the Lakers should win and can use to snap out of their funk — if they play hard and not timid.

Where you can watch: Game time is 7:30 p.m. (Pacific) and is being shown on Fox Sports in Southern California, nationally Kwame a. and the rest of you with League Pass are happy.

Kurt

Posts

117 responses to Game Preview & Chat: The New York Knickerbockers

  1. “The Knicks have won five of their last eight, which is a sign that either:”

    It’s also mentioned in the Book of Revelations.

  2. this is actually a pretty big game for the team from a physcology aspect. New York cannot be taken lightly, they are playing with reckless abandon, and probably feel they can take the Lakers tonight. So, they are gonna “bring it!”, and the lakers better be able to match their intensity. This is a game that for NY will be a highlite of the season if the pull off a W on the road against what was one of the league elite teams.
    I am concerned, the Lakers can’t be looking past this team.
    They need to focus, (Kwame) play hard and beat this team for the mental plus they will get before going out on this long road trip.
    The converse is true, a loss would also have a mental impact before this trip, so tonight is a must win.
    my main concerns are going to be how we match up against Curry and Zach, with Kwame and LO, and Luke being our front line, they better come ready to play some D tonight.

  3. I don’t like all the “just relax” talk the Lakers are talkin. I understand what they’re going for, not stressing about scoring, but I sure hope they bring their killer instinct.

  4. I was listening to 570 on the way home from work yesterday and they had Kurt Rambis on the air. He called out LO, Luke and Kwame. He was pointing out how timid they are playing and how much their teammates are suffering because of it. I wish I remember more from it but he had some great points and pretty much didn’t hold anything back. I do remember he said that when players are going through bad phases they just have to hustle more and to me it feels like these guys are hustling less when they are playing bad, the opposite of what they should be doing. We need some kind of momentum going into the 2 week roadtrip.

    Random thought I liked how Kobe and Bynum were talking during the ‘rain’ delay.

  5. carter blanchard January 29, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Ive been curious why you seem to prefer eFG to TS%. force of habit?

  6. Kurt,

    I saw this via truehoop.

    http://www.brewhoop.com/story/2008/1/28/2300/65809

    Why don’t you do something like this and settle all this “who’s good, who’s bad” BS that we keep bandying about. Set us straight Kurt; your insight is needed (and appreciated).

  7. Does anyone know why we can’t sign Ronny to an extension now? I presume that he will be cheaper now rather than in the off-season.

  8. Tonight’s game is going to be quite important and it will truly show that the Lakers still have what it takes to beat the teams that they are “suppose” to beat. I can give the Cavs, Mavs, Spurs, and Suns credit however the Knicks are an entirely different story. I refuse to give up any games to them and will not settle for anything less than a fifteen point win.

  9. NO TRIP-LE DOUB-LESSS!

    KD is a genius.

  10. the other Stephen January 29, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    from the ocregister article via truehoop: http://www.ocregister.com/sports/kwame-brown-lakers-1968589-los-angeles

    a little something something about that booing debate we had a week or so ago that i found interesting:

    “When Lakers fans were dropping that avalanche of boos on him two weeks ago, every Lakers player on the floor with him made sure to swing by Brown and encourage him – with many more teammates echoing Bryant’s sharp condemnation to fans afterward: “If they want to do that, they can stay home.” The way those guys kept trying to give Brown the ball so he could make amends said a lot to Jackson about the team’s unity, actually.”

  11. 6) I can’t speak for Kurt, but I prefer eFG% because it’s more concrete than TS%.

  12. Do you guys remember last year when during the first half of the year Phil used to go to a 2-3 (were was it 3-2) zone on occasion? You might remember the first road game against the Spurs when the Lakers zone D completely took the Spurs out of their game in the second half, forcing 19 turnovers.

    Do you remember thnking in the second half of the year “why doesn’t Phil use zone defenses any more?”
    Without Bynum our man-to-man D has been killing us, giving up easy looks, dribble penetration, and too much points in the paint. The pace of the game has also slowed as the opponent’s FG’s has risen and our steals and deflections reduced, leading to less transition baskets. We need a higher tempo to win consistently.

    Well, I think it is time to bring back the zone and try to disrupt the passing lanes. The Knicks game would be an ideal one to practice it.

  13. Let’s win tonight and go out on this trip with some confidence!

  14. 6. I think force of habit is part of it, it’s also easy to compute in my head if I need to. TS% technically isn’t a percentage, which bugs me. All that said, I really should use it, it’s a more accurate representation of contributions when shooting from the guys like Kobe who do get to the line a lot.

    7. Maybe, if I can find the time. My blogging time has been limited somewhat lately, and to do that right would take a little time.

    8. I’m not sure the price of Ronny now and the price of Ronny this summer is all that different. I would wait to see what, if any, trades you make at the deadline before locking him up, just to have a better idea of salary structure for next year.

  15. I think the approaching trade deadline is the worst time to open up trade speculations.

  16. Note to MS (and 16): We may do a post soon talking about trades, what I don’t want (and what would fast happen) is for every comment thread to be dominated by discussions of trades. It’s not that some of the ideas aren’t good, That’s the main motive behind the “no trade speculation” rule. it’s a matter of keeping focus on, in this case, the Knicks game.

  17. Kurt- I usually like when league pass uses the Laker announcers, because if I’m gonna listen to homers (which I don’t think Joel is enough of), I’d rather listen to ours. However, against the Knicks I wouldn’t mind to listen to Breen and Frazier, they are subtly and subliminally critical of Isiah and the Bricks, it’s amusing.

  18. An energetic showing tonight will accomplish two things. First, probably will get us a win and that’s always a plus. Second, we need to get some (if only a small amount) of momentum heading out on the road.

    I’ve been increasingly disappointed with LO and his level of play as of late. I want to/do defend the guy as much as I can, but I’m at the point where if I take an objective view of this team I can see a different type of player(s) being a better fit.

    I think LO has the talent to make the changes, but I doubt he has the mentality to do so. I’m looking directly at him when I say we need to bring it tonight (for multiple reasons).

  19. Good point Kurt. The trade talk is a bunch of fun but no matter how much we talk about who we want, our team is not going to improve. If we are going to pretend we are all coaches and GM’s on this blog, we need to do it from the perspective of how to improve our team from within the team. What are the better lineups? What are the better offensive sets? What are the better defensive strategies? Its simple, lets keep the trade talk to a minimum and let Chris Broussard do the work for us.

  20. Thanks Kurt for answering my question (#8) about Ronny and signing him. I agree with you………it is probably smarter to wait till at least after the trade deadline to make a decision. I would just hate for him to go to a desperate team willing to overpay him in the off season. Hopefully, that won’t happen and it seems like he loves playing in LA.

  21. I know loyalty isn’t a big thing in today’s world, but…

    1) The Lakers did stand by Rony when they discovered his heart problem.
    2) The Lakers do pay competitive salaries, but, hopefully, not exorbitant ones.
    3) LA is a fabulous market for making additional money on the side.
    4) The Lakers look to be a successful franchise going forward.
    5) The Lakers are a really ‘bling’ franchise.

    Five reasons for Rony to stay with the Lakers next season.

  22. I think he wants to stay with the Lakers and the Lakers want to keep him. The only way Turiaf leaves is if some team makes him an outrageous offer he can’t turn down. But really, who would make that kind of silly, over the top offer to a bench player? Can you think of one GM//coach who may or may not be in Staples Center tonight who would do such a thing?

  23. From ESPN.com

    “The Lakers failed to get a final shot off as time expired.

    “The game wasn’t lost on that sequence,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.”

    It goes back to what Kurt said a while ago. Something along the lines of no game is lost on the final shot. I really like that mentality.

  24. I think when the 4th year of a player ends and he does not get an extension (to make him BYC and lock him up for 5 more years), his 5th year becomes restricted free agency and he has 2 choices: accept the new contract offered by his old team or take the qualifying offer and be an unrestricted free agent the year after. These are the dilemma of Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, Josh Smith, Andre Iguodala and Emeka Okafor whom all 5 refused 50M++ offers from their teams. Is that even wise?

    Kevin Martin and Al Jefferson were the 2 names that opted to give the old team the “hometown discount” to stay in the 55-65m 5-yr salary term. That frankly is the best offer they should accept and not hope they do a Dwight Howard max of 75m.

    Ronny Turiaf’s situation is quite different. Unlike those guys, he was drafted in the 2nd round and he deserves a more-than-a-million contract. He is still earning the league minimum at the moment and I do not know if the governing rules of rookie scale contracts are applicable to his situation. IMO, he will see a 3-yr 8-10m contract from Mitch Kupchak and he will take it.

    Side Note: Philly is said to be interested in him and they do have cap room. IF Philly decided to pay him 5m per, and he was a restricted FA, would we be willing to pay him 5m per to stay in LA?

  25. 17. Yeah Kurt, that rule is something that really helps this little corner of the Internet out. Rampant trade speculation has really ruined a lot of the comment areas on blogs (and forums) I’ve followed in the last few years.

    The comments here are generally very well written and insightful. And there aren’t too MANY of them which is good. Additionally, they are very focused. Not that I’m helping that out with this particular gem of mine.

    But I thought it deserves being noticed. Forum Blue and Gold is a great site, administrated by an excellent writer, and followed by thoughtful fans and commenters.

    What more could you ask for? Perhaps a Lakers win tonight…

  26. There’s no way Turiaf would sign anything right now anyway, I would assume. Not with this stretch of games coming up where he has to step in and might put up some big numbers and really up his value.

    Unless it was a real sweetheart of a deal, of course.

    I might pay him $5 million. That’d hurt, but the guy is more than a hustling cheerleader.

  27. Chuck Hayes signed for about $1.75mil. this yr. That will prob be Turaif’s neighberhood,tho he’ll get multiple yrs.

  28. cmon warren, you can put lipstick on a pig…but its still a trade proposal.

  29. Andrew Bynum will be a guest on Lakers Live In Fox Sports Net…for those who are interested……..

  30. I can understand it not going through but the idea is the contract situation not the player and some randomly picked superstar being Kobe’s sidekick idea. We should at least talk about the salary situation here no?

  31. Warren, we can talk about the upcoming Lakers salary situation. However, what you did was a very long trade proposal. You suggested a specific trade.

    For the next month we may have posts discussing trade ideas generally or in the specific is something comes up with the Lakers, but those are not going to bleed over into every post. Already I’ve deleted a couple tonight and will keep a tight handle on things until Feb. 21.

  32. 30. That was a short interview with Bynum. He seems like a really genuine dude though. And he really seems a lot more comfortable on air.

    I wonder if Billy Mac joked with him before the interview about his little “incident” a few weeks ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JopWNlrdFls

  33. Game on channelsurfing.net at bottom of the page.

    What a dunk by Ronny!

    Oh crap! Walton done for the night with a hip pointer. Leaves Radman and Odom.

  34. Luke Walton is injured…will not play anymore tonight….just what we needed before the road trip. ARRRHHH!!!!!

  35. Looks like we are playing small ball. Should be a fast paced game. Let’s hope Radman has been working on conditioning.

  36. Kwame working his style of offense… Left alone under the basket.

  37. Whats with this horrible Del Taco commercial… jesus.

  38. KB is still our leading scorer… except that he isn’t wearing 24…

  39. Snapshot of the night: Derek Fisher covering his face with a towel after Kwame misses the open lay-up on Curry’s 4th foul.

  40. Lamar goes out and this team is in the lottery

  41. At least he got the deuce. Lakers need some injury repellant. Call Cal Ripken.

    A little disappointed in my man Farmar. He needs to be more aggressive and take the ball to the hoop for the and 1. Actually, quite a few Lakers fall under this list.

  42. that ronny dunk was, i’m proud to say, bynum-esque. (too soon?)

  43. Terrible half. Lamar is playing worse by the minute. Our interior “defense” is a joke. We gotta erase that half and come out different in the 2nd half.

  44. How can a team that averages 94 pts a game have 61 pts at halftime. Sorry boys, but the lakers are losing tonight and are well on their way to a 4 game losing streak heading to their road trip. Can anyone say lottery bound lakers?

  45. Why is Phil going big–Odom, Turiaf, and Brown all in at the same time? This seems like a time that the Farmar-Vujacic thing would be good.

  46. Somebody pull LO before he misses the rest of the season.

  47. Ok Kurt, I get it. Next time, I shall put in X and Y’s instead.

    Its hard to not think the sky has fallen. We are playing catchup to the Knicks. Can’t see the game though. Has it been that bad?

  48. channelsurfing.net WWL

  49. Trust me Warren, you don’t wanna be watching them right now. They’re playing horrible….
    bad defense + off night for kobe = guaranteed loss

  50. Seattle just beat San Antonio, wow…

  51. ok, i’ll say it. kobe’s free-throw shooting of late has been….disheartening. what’s going on? the man should be automatic. and he’ll need to be come thursday and for the next month.

  52. 81 witness, I don’t know if the broadband here permits me to witness it but its taking too long.

  53. can the lakers please get a stop…

  54. http://www.raptorsnation.net is probably your best bet to watch the game online (links are on the right side)
    you even get stu and joel announcing

  55. that raptorsnation link rocks. thanks goo :)

  56. Kwame with the block without jumping. Helps that Nate Robinson was trying to shoot it inside though. Its not as bad as some of the previous comments have made it seem. Farmar isnt having his best game, but Odom isnt MIA in the 4th for once and Sasha and Ronny are playing pretty well. Lets see how this ends though before any more apocalyptic posts.

  57. Oh man, this is classic Ronny bench cheering….and now Kwame has stood up too.

  58. I’ve never noticed before, but Sasha’s got some speed!

  59. kwame with the double double

  60. Sasha!!!!!!

  61. On the next game, Sasha starts! Ok Phil?

  62. What? Kwame a +27?!?!? No way…

  63. Great win!!! GO MACHINE!!!

  64. Finally, LO shoots no 3’s!!!!

  65. That 4th quarter run sure does light up momentum on our butts. I hope it carries on to Detroit.

    Thanks Sasha, you were one of the few that made this happen. I think Mitch will offer you a decent contract next year for almost single-handedly taking us off an embarassing loss to the Knicks. That’s a +18 swing there from being 7 down to winning by 11.

  66. Great effort-Sasha, Jordan, Ronny, Lamar, Kobe, Kwame. Very nice. And some world class bench jockeying also from Ronny. There needs to be a stat for that (not really).

  67. Sasha was even credited with a blocked shot. Good to see Sasha not shying away from shots. His 5-11 from the 3 and his D on Jamal Crawford probably won the game.

  68. Odom with 20 points? Kwame with a double-double? Kwame with a +27?

    Cool.

    Sasha was a +17 with his 20 points, but Farmar was also a +17 with his 9 assists.

  69. Machine was great on offense, but for those of you that watched, did you notice his tenacious, as Clyde said on MSG, defense on Crawford? He went above and beyond playing man on man defense; he actively denied Crawford the ball for the whole fourth quarter. Jamal is the 4th in the league in double digit points in the 4th quarter, but had 0, count em, ZERO points in the last quarter this game. So, definitely great play by Vujacic on the offensive AND defensive end.

  70. The Machine!

    When Phil put Kwame back in the team played strong D for a short stretch, but it was long enough to get some separation. Sasha allowed Kobe to guard Richardson, which helped a lot. Farmar is really gonna push Fish for 4th quarter minutes, he is the best on our team at initiating early offense/easy buckets for others. Lastly, why in the world did Zeke take out David Lee when he was killing us. Well, thanks Isiah.

  71. [edited]
    anyway, 70%+ shooting in the 4th by the Lakers. It really looked like 100% from the 6 minute mark on.

  72. I had everyone in section 119 refering to Sasha as the machine by the end of the night…

  73. Stu and Joel are talking about Lamar came through tonite – 1 turnover. I can’t say Lamar came through — he just didn’t lose the game for us tonite. Still mediocre defense.

    I liked the Farmar, Sasha, Kobe, Turiaf, Kwame combination

  74. Also David Lee is the type of player that could put a team like the Lakers or the Warriors over the top. He’s the perfect 4 for teams that already have enough scorers. Just has great hands and a knack for going after the ball. Too bad he’s relegated to playing for NYC.

  75. Playing is such a relative term. He plays hard, even with his skillset, and hustles and has a high motor. I have always defende dIsiah but I cannot see how he is playing behind the black hole known as Zack Randolph and Eddy Curry. And why he took David Lee out when he was having an excellent game is just another unanswerable question. I’ll take the win though…

  76. Great win…. when the Lakers win, I can tolerate Stu. =)

  77. The one thing that has kept me from total disdain of Sasha is the fact that he plays defense, full court if necessary or asked.

    I have to give Sasha his props, for stepping up, if he can consistently hit his shots he deserves a new contract.

    Go Lakers, scrap and claw to win some games.

  78. Wow. Great 4th quarter by Sasha. He should take more flagrant fouls (as long as he doesn’t get injured). Carmelo did that to him, and ended up dropping 22 points on that blowout against the Nuggets. And Balkman did that tonight (although no flagrant was called much to my curiosity), and dropped 20 on the Knicks.

    Nice dunk by Ronny on the 2nd quarter!

  79. Any word on the extent of LO’s leg injury? Despite it, he had a great offensive 4th quarter.

  80. Sasha really got people from other forums mad. I mean MMMMAAAADDDDDDD!!!

    Excellent game by Sasha. Good win for the team. MVP performance by Kobe. 6 people in double digits.

    Hmnnnnnn!?! Wouldn’t it be nice if the team brings those in the trip?

  81. carter blanchard January 30, 2008 at 4:30 am

    Voojakasha! Good to see the practice shooter show up game time, and ya, his smothering of Crawford was a sight. The elbow actually came after the Machine had been hounding him for a little while, but he definitely stepped up afterwards.

    And agree with 64, the team-best +/- for Kwame is worth pointing out for all the times we rake him over the coals for his usual team-worst.

    I think it’s going to be a rough month, but I’m actually looking forward to watching the guys scrap for it a bit. I think how guys like Sasha, Ronny, Critt, and VladRad react and step up or do not over the next 9 games will be very interesting to watch, and quite honestly, without being able to know that we can rely on a couple of those guys to come through come playoff time, our chances of success then will be limited. But if we can find another consistent threat or two now that can make the leap to reliable rotation player, then we’ll be that much more dangerous when the full complement returns. Always look at that silver lining.

    Also, I love DJ, but someone tell the guy that his ability to shoot is not what’s going to get him another contract when his 10 days is up. Play defense and rebound. If anything else comes your way, great, but there should be no pressure to show off your offensive repertoire because that’s not what’s going to get you more minutes and more looks from other GMs.

  82. Sasha has a had, easily, his best season to date. His release is quick, he cuts well on offense, he can guard 1’s or 2’s. He’s not a joke or a guy to laugh at, he can play, even if he does wear a Euro soccer head-band while playing bball

  83. Telling stat- Since Bynum has gone out we are giving up 106 to the opposition, and scoring 106.

  84. Can Ariza be re-signed without taking the salary cap into consideration, or is there a “length of time with the team” factor? Just wondering if part of the MLE will need to be used for him.

  85. Ariza is a Laker and falls under the rules for a team resigning their own players.

  86. I think last nights defense was atrocious if we approach the pistons in the same manner – we will loose by 20.

  87. Lamar Odom is back! January 30, 2008 at 11:12 am

    I can’t believe we signed Walton to so much money. What a bust.

  88. I thought it was very interesting when the Lakers were outboarding the Knicks in the beginning and then they went to a zone. What did Phil do, he relied on his shooters to break the zone. I can’t remember but I think it was Turiaf, Radman, Farmar, Sasha and Derek. Pretty much it was 4 shooters and Turiaf(anyone remember/verify this). That was right before Joel said Lakers have shot 14 3 pointers. Talk about willing yourself to shoot well enough to get the opponent to get out of their zone. I agree with you Kwame a Sasha is having his best season and is shooting really well, you can rely on him and not have the Brian Cook shot cause I have the ball effect.

    Kobe is picking up his game in Bynums absense. He has had a double double during the last several games, last night assists as opposed to his typical rebounds in the last few.

  89. 91-All summer I was trying to send Mitch telepathic messages that signing Puke was a bad move, shoulda went for a defensive minded three like Posey, but Mitch did go out and essentially acknowledge that by getting Ariza. I think Walton could be the best 30 million dollar 9th man off the bench if the team is healthy.

  90. Walton is addition by subtraction. Look for Kobe to play a lot at the 3 against Detroit, and It would be nice if Sasha can string a few of his good games in a row on this road trip.

    I also think they should experiment with the big lineup Kwame, Turiaf, Odom, Kobe and Sasha against the Pistons. Sasha could chase Hamilton and Kobe could play Billups down the stretch. It’s also about time for PJ to earn the bick bucks his making as the coach on this extended road trip.

  91. I actually like starting our small lineup against the Pistons instead of the big lineup.

    Fish on Billups
    Sasha on Hamilton
    Kobe on Prince
    Lamar on McDyess
    Kwame on Sheed

    I think our bigs could get in foul trouble too quickly if we started Ronny, leaving us short-handed down the stretch. In either case, we definitely can’t have Kobe chasing Rip the whole game. We also play Toronto the next day.

  92. McDyess plays more of the center role with Sheed on the 3-point line quite often. Kwame can’t keep up with Sheed. That will take either Ronny, Lamar, or even Radmanovic.

  93. I think it’s in extremely bad taste to refer to any of our players as “Puke”. That’s the kind of low mentality crap you see at Club Lakers, not Kurt’s site. Shameful…

  94. 96.. Hear hear. We love our team. We crticise our team. We dissect our team. But we do not insult our team.

  95. #89. I agree. Pls see my post #13 above… The Pistons play a lot of zone. The Celtics are in a match up zone all game long. The Blazers are having a lot of success with the zone. The zone is no longer a gimmick, but a real weapon. The Lakers proved last year they could play it. I think Phil just doesn’t like it (aesthetically)

  96. I *really* hate to say it, but I think Kobe is starting to look a little tired. I don’t know whether it was playing serious Summer ball, feeling the pressure of having to do everything or some injury slowing him down. A lot of his shots hit the front of the rim last night, and I think it showed when he couldn’t hang with LeBron Sunday. Maybe playing up a little lighter this year wasn’t a good idea.

    While I love the idea of Jordan and Sasha getting more playing time, there’s a downside if Kobe gets banged up even more playing the 3.

    Also, by my count, the Lakers are now 1-1 in games that violate Lawler’s Law.

  97. Kurt I know we don’t discuss trades here, but I want to hear the forum opinion on how an individual like J Kidd would interact with a facilitating kobe?

    Has Kobe moved past the need to have a kidd like guy drop dimes or would he move well with him?

    http://www.nysun.com/article/70459?page_no=1

  98. 94, remember last game vs the pistons? Kobe’s shot was off most of the game, but he more than made up for it with stifling D on Rip, especially in the last quarter. Kobe will probably ask to guard Rip, considering they have a Philly history and all…leaving Billups for the PG on the floor. If the Lakers do play a small lineup, it will be tough to guard Billups and Rip – one of the best backcourts in the league.

  99. Sorry for double post, but forgot: Lamar was instrumental on offense in our last win…25 pts on 9-15 shooting. We will need him to replicate, since Kobe plays poor offense vs Pistons normally.

  100. btw I have tickets to the NJ – Lakers game on feb 5 so picks to come then.

  101. I was just wondering, does anyone know if Kobe’s wrist ever did fully heal? He never did take off that neoprene warmer on his arm.

  102. 104, I think he said he just likes to wear it now.

  103. Kobe will get his second wind after the allstar break. Thats always been the case for him. I think February is going to be one grueling month for this team. Not only are we on a 9 game roadie But we also have 6 back to back games starting with detroit and toronto. Luckily we have the allstar break (although not for Kobe) to get some needed rest between them. I just hope we can play 500 ball at the least to stay afloat in the west.
    On a side note Ive been wondering if maybe Luke is the reason Lamar has so many problems with being aggressive. I can imagine them playing a two on two game and them both just standing around passing the the ball to each other and neither ever shooting it. Just a thought. Lamar played a much better game once Luke went down. Which does prove Lamar can play with Kobe at least.

  104. I agree that when Bynum is on the court for the Lakers they are better with Lamar Odom at the PF position. But last night, I think one of the best line ups the Lakers used was with Fish, Kobe, LO, Turiaf and Brown. Putting Odom at the 3 is probobly the best defensive team they can put out there because the team is so big in the frontcourt they have 3 shot blockers to back up the guards. Starting this unit also really allows Phil to change the offensive focus by bringing shooters off the bench; Farmar, Sasha and Vlad. Love to hear the thoughts of others on playing LO at the SF position.

  105. 96/97- After dissecting Walton’s game it makes a person…Puke, ha. But really, relax, I don’t think it matters what I call him, if it’s not obvious he’s damaged goods with none of the so-called “intelligence” players like him are said to have, then there’s not much to talk about

  106. I think the best case scenario on this road trip would include Sasha and rad finding some consistency with their shots and filling in for the injuries with points.

    And let’s not forget the great job Sasha did against Jamal Crawford last night, denying him the ball threw the Knicks out of their offense.

    It would be nice to have one of those two guys step into that void. This would be another step towards being a bonified contender, because on good teams, when injuries arise, role players step up.

    I also liked Sasha’s 9-0 prediction for the road trip…

  107. the Luke injury will give Vlad some PT, and a chance for him to prove he’s worth the bucks the Lakes put out for him. So, that’s the silver lining I see in it, plus I think Luke should take some time off to heal properly, so when he does come back, it would be like a ‘do-over’ to a start of a season for him. it just looks like he’s trying to force his way out of the slump, and that’s not going to work.
    maybe about 3 to 4 weeks off will be the best thing for him.

  108. Lamar Odom is back! January 30, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    I think the Hollinger’s article on Kidd calls for a trade post. Kurt, I know you mentioned recently you would devote a post to trade proposals. Any chance you might post it soon?

  109. 83 – He gets the other team mad too. He’s become the league’s punching bag, and has WAY more tolerance than I do for that. Putting up with getting choked (by Melo) and intentionally elbowed (by Balkman) is not something I’d put up with.

    In the end, it’s probably great for the Lakers to have the opponents frustrated, and Sasha doesn’t want to get a T or thrown out of the game as he’s lobbying for as many mins he can get. I do wish, though, that the refs had come down a little harder on Balkman, considering they were so sensitive on drives to the basket.

  110. Lamar Odom is back! January 30, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    If Balkman does not get fined and suspended I will be very surprised. He should have gotten a flagrant 2. I believe the ref was right in front of that play. That was obviously not accidental.

  111. 93) Kwame A,
    “shoulda went for a defensive minded three like Posey,”

    That wasn’t an option, unless they were able to get him in a trade. They had no room under the salary cap to sign anybody (other than the MLE, which they used on Fisher). That was the biggest factor in signing Walton. If they don’t re-sign him, they were stuck with the veteran’s minimum.

  112. Those asking for a Kidd trade column, read today’s LA Times. Lakers sources tell the beat writer that “the Lakers are not expected to be players in a deal for Kidd.” John Hollinger speculating on the other side of the country doesn’t count as evidence the Lakers are seriously involved in this.

  113. Balkman got suspended, flagrant foul type 2