Preview and Chat: The Minnesota Timberwolves

Kurt —  February 13, 2008

Records: Lakers 34-17 (5 seed); T-Wolves 10-40 (Hello Michael Beasley)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 113 (3rd); T-Wolves 101.9 (29th)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 106.7 (8th); T-Wolves 111.5 (27th)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Vladimir Radminovic, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
T-Wolves: Sebastian Telfair, Marco Jaric, Corry Brewer, Ryan Gomes. Al Jefferson

UPDATE: Kidd Going To Mavericks. ESPN is now saying this is basically a done deal: Kidd to Dallas for Devin Harris, Jerry Stackhouse, DeSagana Diop, Devean George and Maurice Ager. Malik Allen also goes to Dallas. Jersey is expected to buy out Stackhouse, who may then return to Dallas (which is big for their depth).

My first reaction is not unlike the Suns getting Shaq — I’m not sure this makes them a lot better. It slows the Mavs down a lot and I’m not sure their defense really gets better. But, like the Shaq trade, if Kidd has another gear that he has not shown so far this season it could be a bigger help for the Mavericks than I see right now.

Commenter Reed lives in Dallas and had these thoughts:

Talent aside, the trade still is a huge needed boost for the Mavs as they were looking a little broken. I’m in Dallas and it has become apparent the 2 tragic playoff losses, injuries, and recent losses had gotten to the team. They needed a jolt and Kidd provides that.

One thing it does for the Mavs on the court is get Terry on the floor more. Avery did not like to play Harris and Terry together because one would be exposed defending 2’s. But Kidd is much better defending 2’s than 1’s these days because of his strength and diminished speed, allowing Terry to stay with the point guard. Terry also fits extremely well next to Kidd because he is a spot up shooter who doesn’t need a lot of time to get his shot off. Harris, Howard, and Dirk are not playmakers who were great at setting up shooters, but Kidd will be able to create more easy looks for him. I still don’t like Kidd with Dirk and Howard though — those guys don’t like to run, don’t cut to the rim, don’t run off screens without the ball, etc. Kidd also isn’t very good in the pick and roll anymore because the guard can just go under the screen and force him to shoot — meaning Dirk isn’t going to get the pick and pop or switch mismatch. Though, maybe they’ll just keep running the Terry/Dirk pick and roll for that reason.

Lakers Notes: Last game before the All Star break seems like a good time for a little reflection.

Remember a couple weeks ago, the Lakers were heading out on a road trip having just played some of their worst basketball of the season? I actually predicted a 4-5 road trip, looking at the way the Lakers were playing and some of the good teams coming up.

Those days now seem like five years ago.

The Lakers rose to the occasion against Detroit — only losing on a last-second shot — and then came the Pau Gasol trade. Since the moment he stepped on the court the Lakers offense has been a force, Pau is a natural fit in the triangle, with his ability to play at the basket or 18 feet out. With him and Kobe on the floor drawing doubles, the looks that shooters like Vladimir Radmanovic and Derek Fisher get are more open. Lamar Odom looks more comfortable in a lower-pressure role, grabbing rebounds and getting some points. The team is clicking on offense (covering up some defensive issues of late).

And the Lakers are now 6-2 on this long road trip, with a winnable game tonight.

With two of the Lakers best defenders due back next month (Bynum and Ariza), it’s hard not to be walking around with a big smile on your face.

And for the long run, remember this — the Lakers schedule gets easier from here on out. (Hat tip True Hoop)

The T-Wolves Coming In: While Minnesota has won just 10 games on the season, four of those have come in their last 10 games as the team shows signs of growth.

But that growth did not include last night, when Minnesota fell to New Jersey. According to senor Dwyer over at Yahoo!, Minnesota had no answer for stepped up defensive pressure that New Jersey applied late.

Over the summer Kevin McHale took a lot of heat for the Kevin Garnett deal, with people saying he should have done it earlier and that way gotten more back. Maybe so. But he did get Al Jefferson back, giving the T-Wolves a very strong, All-Star caliber center to build around. And when you look at some recent rebuilding-move trades, suddenly that trade doesn’t look so bad.

Of late Jefferson has been a beast — in the last 10 games he is averaging 25 points on 50.5% shooting, plus he’s pulling down 13 boards.

He’s been getting more help — if not consistent help — from some of the other young players there. Last night it was Telfair, who put up 24 and (again according to Dwyer) did some nice things on the pick and roll. Also, Gomes has had big nights against the Lakers — he can shoot the ball if you leave him open.

Randy Foye and Rashard McCants are injured and may not play (or would see limited minutes).

Keys To The Game: The second night of a back-to-back for the Timberwolves, and while they have young legs and like to run a little the Lakers should be able to pick up the pace and wear the Wolves down.

The key to slowing the Wolves is to stop the offense running through Jefferson. The Lakers need to keep Jefferson from getting great position deep on the block — he likes to do that early in the clock, trailing any break and before the defense gets set. Once down there, the Lakers do not have a body that can move him (who does?). The other key to slowing him is to pressure the less-than-amazing passers that handle the ball a lot of Minny — don’t let them get him the ball on the block.

According to the scouting report at Lakers.com, don’t be shocked to see the Lakers double Jefferson and try to make him pass out — that leads to turnovers.

The Lakers should be able to get their points — Minny plays a pretty basic defense with Jefferson trying to sag off and guard the paint. If he covers Gasol, the Lakers could score a lot with a high screen-and-roll — if Jefferson sags off, Pau drills the midrange pick-and-pop, if he comes out Fisher/Kobe/whoever has no big body defending the rim on the drive.

Also, you have to keep a body on Jefferson when a shot goes up, the Lakers did an iffy job on Dwight Howard in that regard and need to improve tonight.

Often the last game of a road trip and the last game before the All Star break are games that teams mail in. If the Lakers do that tonight they will be in a tough fight with a team who has some talent. If the Lakers show up focused like they have the last few games, Kobe may be able to leave early for New Orleans.

Where you can watch: Thank Buddha the Lakers back west of the Mississippi — game time is 5 p.m. and there is no tape delay out in LA. Nationally you need league pass (although I might flip over to that Suns/Warriors game on ESPN, which could be very entertaining).

Kurt

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134 responses to Preview and Chat: The Minnesota Timberwolves

  1. By the way, didn’t put this in the post, but with the Kidd-to-Dallas talks heating up, am I the only one who thinks that may not make the Mavs any better?

  2. That’s my gut impression too, but I need to see them play. Losing Diop and Stackhouse will hurt against the big, deep western teams and Kidd seems like a marginal improvement over Harris — even this year. I also don’t think bringing in a great passer like Kidd necessarily helps Dirk and Howard as much it would some scorers, as those guys are primarily isolation, one on one scorers — they don’t move without the ball or cut to the rim. Maybe they will more now, but we’ll have to see. One Laker wrinkle is that Kidd defends Kobe better than anyone in the league.

  3. I dont think Kidd going to the Mavs will help them that much either. With what the Suns and Mavs are giving up to try and keep pace, just makes the lakers trade look like even that much more of a steal.

    The Lakers combination of size and speed will definately be a force to reckon with as the season winds down. The Lakers create more match up problems than any team in the league now.

  4. The WWL now says the Kidd-to-Mavs deal has happened!

    Personally, while I could perhaps be persuaded otherwise, count me among those who thinks this is not an improvement for the Mavs.

  5. Great breakdown, Kurt, as usual, and though talking is different from actually playing, I do like this quote in regard to the end-of-a-long-roadtrip/pre-all-star-game finale, from the widely linked “Christmas Every Day” story:

    “We put ourselves in a good position [on the trip], but we’re still upset we let those two get away,” Bryant said. “We honestly believe that we should be sitting here at 8-0. We honestly feel that way. It’s time to go into Minnesota and see if we can’t close the trip out the right way.”

    full article http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-lakerep13feb13,1,1337465.story

  6. Talent aside, the trade still is a huge needed boost for the Mavs as they were looking a little broken. I’m in Dallas and it has become apparent the 2 tragic playoff losses, injuries, and recent losses had gotten to the team. They needed a jolt and Kidd provides that.

    One thing it does for the Mavs on the court is get Terry on the floor more. Avery did not like to play Harris and Terry together because one would be exposed defending 2’s. But Kidd is much better defending 2’s than 1’s these days because of his strength and diminished speed, allowing Terry to stay with the point guard. Terry also fits extremely well next to Kidd because he is a spot up shooter who doesn’t need a lot of time to get his shot off. Harris, Howard, and Dirk are not playmakers who were great at setting up shooters, but Kidd will be able to create more easy looks for him. I still don’t like Kidd with Dirk and Howard though — those guys don’t like to run, don’t cut to the rim, don’t run off screens without the ball, etc. Kidd also isn’t very good in the pick and roll anymore because the guard can just go under the screen and force him to shoot — meaning Dirk isn’t going to get the pick and pop or switch mismatch. Though, maybe they’ll just keep running the Terry/Dirk pick and roll for that reason.

  7. Harris is good and plays good D and looks like a fine offensive weapon statistically, but there are alot of stats showing that Dallas creates no shots for each other and pretty much score 1 on 1 and Kidd is probably the best in the game at making shots for others.
    But he kills their defense, and the Mavs gave up more for Kidd than we gave up for Gasol. Ridiculous, and you know someone is going to gamble on Artest in about 10 minutes after hearing about this..

  8. Just to put up other details from the trade, Stackhouse is being bought out and most likely returning to the Mavs, Dallas is sending two 1st rounders and they’re also getting back Malik Allen and Antoine Wright

  9. I agree with your analysis. I also think the Lakers need to run some back door plays tonight on offense: Kobe feeds Pau in the post, Pau feeds Kobe as he runs around his screen/post. Radman or Fisher comes off the weak side 3-line/wing and head back door to open space for the easy pass from Kobe.

  10. not sure kidd is worth this much:

    idd and Malik Allen will go to Dallas for 24 year old point guard Devin Harris, Jerry Stackhouse, Desagna Diop, Maurice Ager, $3 million and two future No. 1 draft picks. In a side deal, the Nets sent guard Antoine Wright to Dallas for a future second round pick.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=aw-kiddtraded021308&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

  11. The only thing Kidd improves on the Mavs is their psychological toughness. Does that alone put them over the top? If Cuban pulls the trigger on this it’ll be similar to Phoenix basically admitting their own lack of confidence in themselves. That then gives a psychological edge, so it’s iffy to me.

    For tonight, I could easily see a loss. Last game before their own beds, and the all-star game (as Kurt noted) AND they’re already talking about hitting the historical 7-2 record. Sometimes having the opportunity to play for a record means that what you’ve already accomplished is good enough. This is a triple trap game. It’ll be a test of the team’s character to see how hungry they are not to settle.

    Also, as I noted yesterday, the Lakers have given up 75% shooting to opposing centers the last three games (27-36) for 63 points. Jefferson may give us fits. However, I’ve seen Jefferson criticized for his own lack of defense, and Pau has gone 25-36 for 68 points the last 3 games. So don’t think I’m longing for the days of Kwame but we may have to live defense via better offense at the center spot until Bynum comes back.

  12. I have no input having not seen minnesota play in a long time. But i obviously hope james hastings is wrong.

    I do think kidd makes dallas better. Bring a great player to a team and there’s a very small chance it hurts them. The guy understands the game and his run on Team USA this past summer proves it. Everyone sang his praises during the summer. He has not been catastrophically injured since that time, so I’m gonna err on the side of, Kidd makes an impact in dallas. look at what kind of impact DFish has on the Lakers, and he’s got half the talent jkidd possesses.

  13. Couldn’t agree more that this trade is more about boosting the mavs’ collective psyche than real x’s and o’s benefit. Still, having to rely on Dampier as your only center? They better pray for matchups with small ball teams in the playoffs. The Spurs may be breathing a sigh of relief as this probably weakens the matchup advantage the mavs had, which made them the one team who had the spurs number in recent years.
    11. Interesting stat there about the centers’ FG%. I think that definitely plays to the Lakers advantage though. The difference being that scouting report Kurt mentioned about double teaming Jefferson. Neither Pau nor Jefferson guard big men well in the post, but Pau will be getting lots of help. The T’Wolves, on the other hand, can’t afford to double team Gasol as he’ll rack up assists to the open shooters. It is a huge trap game, but still seems to me we such an advantage in matchups that we win this game even if we are sleepwalking a little. Phil always said great teams win even when they don’t really have it. Should be a nice methodical victory, with our offense making up for the defense-which likely will continue until Drew and Ariza get back.

  14. Kidd will improve the Mavs in short term. C’mon, he’ll rebound, push the ball, and make the right passes. Only thing he lacks is outside shooting and defense. But with Dirk, Howard, and Terry, they should be OK. Defensively, he’ll make up his slowfootedness iwth his quick hands. Still, I think we match up well against Dallas with Gasol and Bynum. My only concern is how can we handle Josh Howard, whose versatile offensive game can give Lamar or Luke trouble. If Ariza can contain Howard, we can take them.

  15. I agree that Kidd’s combination of will, confidence, and knowledge of the game could spark the Mavs to new heights. I’m struggling to see how it translates to improved on the court play, but I am open to the idea.

    I’m curious to see if Dallas plays a different game on offense now. They ran a unique, boring, lifeless offense the last few years that has been strangely effective. They largely pass the ball round the perimeter between Dirk, Howard, and Terry and wait for one of them to be in the right position to attack one on one for a high % jump shot. The shooters set screens for each other (often at the top of the key) to create separation or slight mismatches (hoping to get a guard on Dirk or a big on Howard/Terry). Sometimes Harris takes his man off the dribble and gets a layup or kicks out to a shooter, but they really never throw it into a post player or do anything other than look for a jump shot (think Chicago but with good players). Somehow, it works. Last year they were in the top 3 in offensive efficiency and this year they are #2. I think the combination of low turnovers and superb one on one jump shooters made it work. (As a side note, it also made them the perfect team to combat San Antonio, as their strong interior and help defense is wasted on a team of freakishly effective one on one jump shooters.) Kidd doesn’t seem to fit in to that kind of offense — one that swings the ball from side to side and exploits mismatches one on one. He likes to dribble and set up the scorers directly. Will his considerable gifts there translate to more points per game when the team was already scoring at such a high rate? Hard to see it given the lack of interior scorers of slashers.

    On defense, does he give them a better shot against Paul, Deron, Nash, Parker? Probably not. I think he helps against teams with strong scoring 2’s, but that really isn’t the strength of the West (outside Kobe). They were already the 5th best rebounding team in the league — but I guess he’ll help when Dampier is out and they don’t have a quality big to replace him with anymore.

    It sounds like the team decided the mental problems were significant enough to overlook any misfit on the court, depth issue, age issue, etc.

  16. Welcome to the Western Conference arms race…

  17. Any idea why it’s assumed that Stackhouse will be returning to the Mavs? I assume that the Mavs are over the salary cap threshold and so would need to sign him to the veterans’ minimum, or the mid-level cap exception at the most. Couldn’t any team offer him that as well? What about going to Boston or Cleveland? What about Phoenix?

    What about the Lakers? Couldn’t Stackhouse be saying to himself that the Lakers today are better than the new Mavs + Kidd – Stackhouse?

    And if Stackhouse doesn’t return to the Mavs, then have they really gotten any better? I don’t think so.

  18. The Shaq and Kidd deals underscore how good a trade Mitch was able to make.

    – He didn’t have to give up any key components of his roster.
    – He traded for a 27-year-old All Star, as opposed to one in his mid-30’s.
    – The trade perfectly complemented the philosophy of play that was already in place, both in the immediate present and in the future, rather than signalling a seismic shift in the organization’s outlook.

  19. Kobe Bryant for MVP!!

    it’s about time, right? i mean, what else do they want from kobe? he was undeniably the MVP the past couple of years, except for the “must win 50+ games” rule… which is fine…

    but now he’s doing everything anyone ever asked of him — sharing the ball, trusting his teammates, and leading the lake-show to 55 wins (current pace). All this in the most stacked conference ever!!!

    here’s a great article on why lebron james doesn’t deserve MVP consideration this year:
    http://www.respectkobe.com/?p=13

    and here’s an awesome article that discusses why team & individual accomplishments in the western conference should be worth more than those in the leastern conference (again, provides more reasons why lebron shouldn’t be an MVP candidate):
    http://www.respectkobe.com/?p=16

  20. Quote from Hollinger on the Kidd trade:

    “The Lakers must be falling over with laughter by now.”

  21. I’m just curious, but how does this Kidd trade impact the all-star game? Kidd is voted as the starter on the East….does that mean he gets a starter’s nod on the West? If so, what happens to the starter who got voted on the West? This is confusing………

    Btw, I love the Lakers’ future chances…….now, it seems like both PHX and Dallas (I’d include SA as well) have committed themselves to a max 2 year window………whereas, I believe the LAL has a 4-5 year window. Nice!!

    This has to be the deepest West Conference ever. Can we start a discussion about how the NBA should consider adopting a universal seeded playoff format……instead of split by conference (i.e. that of course would make the playoffs West heavy for this year)? I mean I’d rather see Houston, POR, SAC than WASH, NJ, ATL……..any thoughts?

  22. I think Clements is done. Who did he not throw under the bus? If i am to believe him, His mother, his agents, his wife, his lawyers, his friends, MLB, Bud Selig, George Mitchell, and the players union all conspired to do this to him?

  23. I dont think Dallas gave that much up. Stack will be back, Diop was losing minutes all year to Bass (who they didn’t have to give up), the draft picks are of no huge concern and Harris, in my opinion has speed with no purpose. If you have seen Dallas this year, they don’t play that fast, no nearly as they did when their O had Nash. I think it will jumpstart easy hoops, and improve their D. The bottom line, Kidd will be a new man in Dallas, and it is a good, not great deal.

  24. Lakers Bringing Fear To The NBA February 13, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Agree that the Mavs didnt really give up much, but that depends if Stackhouse comes back. If not, then this trade to me is a push. Harris has a bright future and Stackhouse was there 6th man. The draft picks and money helps the Nets, plus a speedy Devin Harris. This creates a better future for the Nets, especially with some big free agents coming after this season. Who knows, maybe Gilbert Arenas goes to New Jersey. This trade would sorta mean that the Nets traded for Gilbert and got rid of an aging(Hall of Fame) Point Guard.

    As for this Laker game…should win again. Stop Al Jefferson, then this game would not even be close. Looking forward to Pau making his home debut at Staples Center. Should be an exciting one.

  25. The best part of this for the Lakers is that San Antonio, Phoenix and Dallas are all old/older teams now, while we are built for the present and the future

  26. The articles on the trade I’ve read so far have highlighted the intangibles Dallas gains in acquiring Kidd: toughness, leadership. But this doesn’t help us evaluate this trade. Here are some questions I have:

    How big a factor was Devin Harris’ play in the Mavs success this year? Does the Mavs’ style of play change significantly with the addition of Kidd? Kidd is an upgrade, that’s for sure, but are are they a better team as a result?

    I think the Mavs are really going to miss Devin Harris’ speed.

  27. Al Jefferson’s numbers look great until you look at his team numbers with him on and off the court:
    http://www.82games.com/0708/0708MIN.HTM

    Amazingly, Jefferson has by far the worst on court/off court numbers of anyone on him team at -13.6 (meaning Minnesota’s scoring margin is 13.6 points lower with him on the court than off of the court), nearly doubling the next closest teammate. To put this in perspective, this is even lower than Kwame Brown and in fact is worse than anyone in the league who has played at least 15% of his team’s minutes this year.

  28. Hollinger is right about this Laker fan.

    I wonder whether or not the Suns and Mavs consulted their chemists before making these trades. Maybe they got approval from Isaiah Thomas? He knows about these things.

    I’m sure that Nellie is hoping for a rematch with the revamped Mavs–unless Utah gets to them first.

  29. 28. Jefferson is on the floor a lot, and all the key moments, for a bad team. I think that’s the +/- issue for him. Although, to be fair, he has admitted his defense has been down at times this year.

  30. 27- I don’t think Harris helped Dallas play that fast. He is a fast player, but he does not use that speed to create tempo, he uses that speed on an indivuidual level. Kidd, who will no doubt look faster and more alive on a contender, will bring a more uptempo style that I think will benefit Harris and Howard the most.

  31. If you look at the Phoenix-Miami and Dallas-New Jersey trade you can make a strong comparison to dumping your old girl friend and finding a new one.

    In Phoenix, Shaq has the chance to be a revitalized born again man. While he was with the hopeless Heat he was beginning to whither away thinking about his old memories and retirement (police officer).

    When you first get with your new girl friend you are on cloud nine and can’t see past her current flaws. Shaq (aging and not a great defender) Kidd (slumping shooter and slow defender). But at the beginning of the relationship you only look at the good things. Rejuvinated team spirit, marginal improvements in scoring, and maybe a revamped fast break.

    At the end of the day you want a girl that is going to improve your flaws and make you a better person. Are Shaq and Kidd going to do that? Let’s see if a team can grow old together.

    Then again the same can be said about the Lakers but a dramatic identity change did not occur for the Lakers… oh wait there is a change now… we expect to WIN.

  32. 32) Travis Y,
    “you want a girl that is going to improve your flaws and make you a better person”

    No, I want a girl who can cook, who will shut up while the basketball or football game is on, and will

    What’s that, dear? Oh, nothing, I was just reading an article on relationships. Sure, I can do the dishes!!

  33. Found this quote on the front page of ESPN.com by a reader:

    “It’s their [Dallas Mavericks] last chance to get a ring before the fourth Laker dynasty begins.”

    Hope you enjoyed this quote as much as I did. Zeke must be thanking Mark Cuban and Steve Kerr for making him look genius. Next step: Seek a trade, which includes Renaldo Balkman or David Lee or Washington with any other terrible contract (basically any other Knick).

  34. Kurt, I’m getting an odd feeling about this Kidd to Dallas thing. Part of me agrees that it was the right thing to do given the circumstances (collapsing in 2 years) but 24y/o promising PG for a 35y/o superstar? I guess they’ve given up on the long-term arms race for the conference. They have significantly made themselves older by joining San Antonio and Phoenix who have the 2 max 3 years to show for. Whereas, the Lakers have done that and is in the running for 5 more than them, joined by Utah and New Orleans.

    Kidd makes them better by sending sick passes to Josh Howard and those early clock threes to Terry but I agree that this is an old horse that likes to run. Somehow changing your gameplan in the middle of the race does not hold well.

  35. 31 — I share that view. Individually, Harris’ speed allowed him to get to the hoop and shoot at 48% clip while getting to the line 4 times a night.

    What I wonder if Dallas will miss that kind of efficiency.

    Kidd is shooting less than 40% and getting to the line maybe twice a night, but Kidd’s rebounding and passing should mean more possessions and more baskets for the Mavs.

    I guess what I’m trying to figure out is whether those gains are worth the cost(of Kidd’s individual liabilities).

  36. We’ll have to see if Avery reigns in Kidd at all. Hollinger has a good take at ESPN:

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/columns/story?columnist=hollinger_john&page=KiddDeal-080213

    It’s insider, but free right now.

    I think that Kidd still has the ability to push the ball, but will the Mavs run with him? I think they will. I think Terry and Howard can flourish in an open court game, and Dirk can get earlier looks on seconday breaks/early offense rather than running all those isos. If they can get back some of that tough defense from last year and open up the offense a little more like they did under Nellie, the Mavs are gonna be tough. He may not be the same guy now, but remember Kidd got Van Horn playing like an all star, what will he do with Dirk and Howard? This kills their depth though. Get ready for Dirk and Brandon Bass at Center….good luck guarding our frontcourt with those guys.

  37. From Hollinger, on Harris and Dallas:

    “According to 82games.com, Dallas was a whopping +14.2 points per 48 minutes with Harris on the court. Moreover, the Harris-Nowitzki combo was the single most effective player combination in the league.

    This year, the Harris-Terry-Howard-Nowitzki-Dampier unit has played 164 minutes together and outscored opponents by 43 points (that’s a whopping 12.6 points per 48 minutes). The four most common Harris-Terry arrangements all have massively positive point differentials, adding up to an advantage of +20.7 points per 48 minutes(!). So much for the idea that you can’t play two small guards together.”

  38. i don’t think this was that bad a move. Dallas gets a strong PG who won’t be outmuscled by Deron or Baron, makes correct decisions, has led a team to the championship round twice, has been a leader of TEAM USA (probably meaning that he knows the opposing stars much better), and will definately be rejuvenated after playing for a team that just won’t have a chance as opposed to ‘automatically winning when he pulls down a triple double.’

    I honestly like the Shaq deal too, since you don’t need all 5 to run, and sometimes having Shaq trail may be better for the Suns’ defense/balance.

    But then again, i really liked the Karl Malone/GP Lakers, so i am nowhere near an ‘expert’ in these matters…

  39. This makes Dallas a much stronger team – against Golden State. Cuban must have had recurring nightmares about Baron Davis destroying Devin Harris in the playoffs and got the best defensive point guard in the league (which Kidd still is) to check Baron. Fortunately for the Lakers, whose achilles heel is dribble penetration by the PG, this deal makes Dallas more predictable and not nearly as dangerous as Devin Harris who could wreck havoc in the lane.

    In another twist, you can think of this deal as the bizarro world opposite of the Suns/Heat deal. Suns got a slow-footed half court specialist for their fast-paced run and gun offense and Dallas got a fast break specialist for their slow-down, deliberate offense.

  40. 39- Malone/Payton worked until Malone got hurt. That team was 18-3 and positioned in my opinion to make a run at 70.

  41. 26. I think you hit the nail on the head — Dallas and Phoenix have gambled a lot on this year and maybe, if they are lucky with health, next year. The Lakers are good for the next four years with this core, minimum, and are arguably still better right now.

    39. Malone/Payton was a great move, Malone’s injury did that in. And, they reached the finals and lost to a very good team (we didn’t get how good at that time).

  42. A bit off the topic from these comments, but after reading an interview with Gasol in Spanish, he noted how Kobe does speak Spanish with him on the court. Yet, he said he is better at Italian, but hey, you only get better with languages by using them. But I was wondering if Kurt, or anyone else, knew if Kobe speaks Italian with Vujacic who played in Italy. I imagine Ronny probably speaks some French with Mbenga now too. Kurt, or anybody, have more insight of the languages the Lakers speak out on the court with one another.

    And to chime in on this Kidd stuff, I think it does make the Mavericks a bit better. If you were starting a team from scratch, you’d probably go the youth route with Harris versus Kidd. But, the Mavericks are far from scratch, and were as “win now” of a team as they come after some disappointing playoffs exits. Had they not done the deal, and not won a championship, the roster would definitely be dismantled. Now, whether they do win or not, age will still force this team to be dismantled. Essentially, as has been said above, this deal just like the Shaq one, moves up the expiration date for what are becoming the former Western Conference powers.

  43. I’ve heard the arguments that Kidd will be a great locker room addition and such, but I’m still not a fan of this trade. Kidd is a marginal upgrade at best over Harris, but the real thing that bothers me is did Dallas even look at their own offense before this deal? They run iso after iso after iso trying to exploit mismatches – where does having Kidd really help them?

    Not to mention, who is going to do the heavy lifting in the paint? They lose Diop, leaving them with Dampier to defend the likes of Drew, Pau, Shaq, and Duncan. I don’t think this trade gets them any closer to a title.

  44. 41, 42, i think that’s the crux of the gamble these teams are taking. Health. Kidd has had knee surgery, and although his play doesn’t depend too much on his explosiveness, it does put a time bomb much like Shaq’s gargantuan body.

    But if that health thing is taken out of the equation, I think of both moves as a no-brainer. Both teams had the talent before, but not quite the mental toughness to deal with the rigors of the POs, and both Shaq and Kidd can help right away in that regard, while, although something different, still bring a lot to the table.

    It may also help with their versatility, a trait required to go through the Western Conference powers that range from half-court grinders to run-and-gun ballers, as well as teams that can mix those styles up with relative ease. In essence, it takes away from their strengths but addresses weaknesses as well.

    How much strength they lost and how much weakness they have covered… time will tell.

  45. Sorry for the continued posts, but with Suns longballing and fast breaking… won’t there be enough rebounds for Kidd to collect and initiate a fast break? Not to mention the Warriors who are very very happy to launch 3s.

  46. Dallas can now run by virtue of Kidd’s excellent defensive rebounding though on an already good rebounding team, I’m not sure how that’ll work out. Especially since they lost their fastest player which should make them play at a slower pace. I wonder what they’re going to do about all those isos they run. :/

  47. not too happy… i don’t reside in l.a. any longer and nba.com’s league pass isn’t showing this game live ONLINE… oh well.

    as for th ekidd trade, it makes them better in short term, only if stackhouse is bought out and resigns. kidd will give them much needed confidence and direction offensively, as they won’t have to play in iso sets too frequently. as is the case now, when playing some of the beasts in the west. that being said, i have no faith that they will come out of the west. time for the transition to the much younger western conference powers of utah, LA Lakers, and new orleans.

  48. 30. Yeah, Jeff’s been on the floor for 75% of his team’s minutes. So he’s played a lot in general and probably even more in the minutes that matter against their opponents’ best players.

    Nonetheless, the 25% of minutes that he has not been on the floor constitute a reasonable sample size at this point in the season and the bottom line is that the team’s +/- in this 25% is +2.8 (the next closest off court +/- on the team is Bassy at -4.4). Compare that to the Jeff’s -10.8 on court +/- (the lowest on the team), and it’s hard to argue against the fact that Minnesota has played much more successful ball with Jeff on the bench.

  49. What is the name of the site that carries the game? Raptornation???

  50. And sasha and Turiaf just ran a back door cut. All day like I posted earlier.

  51. Good to see Turiaf and Farmar playin well.

  52. SPOILER –

    Kobe should just play by himself. Too easy.

  53. I’m not gay, but I have a total man-crush on Kobe. The guy has the most amazing footwork of anyone playing.

  54. Devean George used his no-trade clause (for resigning for one year) to block the Kidd deal, LOL

  55. SPOILER –

    Text book block by Ronny. Blocked it and tapped to Luke. Kobe is having too much fun out there. Not even sweating after playing +20 minutes in the first half.

  56. 81 Witness, check out tinyurl.com

  57. I think right now, we’re basically guessing as to how Kidd (and Shaq a week prior) will fit in with their new squads.

    The one unequivocally positive for the Lakers out of the two trades is that they will no longer be trying to quickly integrate a new player into their system, while Phoenix/Dallas simply try to build their chemistry and gear up for *ANOTHER* playoff run.

    I’ve been worried that despite the influx in talent (and general improvement across the board), this Lakers team is still not playoff tested. Granted, the Suns and Mavs got 2 players who have shown they can thrive in the playoffs, but at the very least, we won’t be going up against two teams who have a defined identity and have gone to battle in the playoffs before as a unit. That, to me, sounds like the key to a longer playoff run. Because teams usually don’t go from losing in the 1st round to champions in a year.

  58. Oh wow… he just became the most hated man in Dallas. I can just see the Maverick fans saying that it’s another Laker conspiracy and somehow Mitch planned for George to end up there specifically to sabotage them.

  59. By the way Goo, that is hilarious and absurd. All coming down to Devean George and his no-trade clause.

  60. What a kick to the groin, imagine what would have happened if Kwame having a no-trade clause and blocked the Gasol trade

  61. oh wow, that’s right, bird clause. Actually, Mihm has one too. We can’t pawn him off this year unless he approves.

  62. Didn’t George just say he wanted more minutes than anything else? He’d be the first three off the bench in Jersey, you’d thinkl.

  63. That’s unbelievable about George.

    Oh, and 81, I don’t think you need to keep putting the ‘spoiler’ tags, as the game is being broadcast in real time on KCAL.

  64. 43. Watching one of the Lakers telecasts on ESPN or TNT when they do that “wired” crap where they mic players and coaches and usually pick up a lot of “way to go!’s” and crap like that I heard Kobe yelling at Sasha (during play) “attenzione!” (head’s up!) I met my wife while I was living in Italy, and she went nuts when I pointed out to her that Kobe spoke fluent Italian. She likes basketball enough, but she has never been as excited before or since that moment. Can’t remember where I saw it, but I heard that the day the Lakers were in Jersey Kobe gave a full 5 minute interview in Italian to a reporter from an Italian paper. Apparently the reporter was ecstatic, as it was the basketball coup of the decade for European journalists.

  65. Oh my. I believe this Mr. Bryant character is somewhat talented.

    So I have heard.

  66. Doliac on Pau, can’t think of a better potential matchup for us.

  67. A couple of people have mentioned VladRad has looked a lot more assertive driving the ball into the paint.

    I have to agree – he’s not just looking to bomb from the 3-pt line, which makes him harder to defend. He seems to be playing off Gasol really well.

  68. Paging Mr. PJ. Mr. PJ. Replace your starters.

  69. Hah! Anybody else see Pau knock down a 3 during the break after the foul? Obviously doesn’t count, but good to know he could theoretically make it.

  70. 55. When I saw your comment I literally thought you were joking. Can you imagine if something similar had happened with Pau after a day of “Gasol traded to Lakers” stories and all of us floating around our respective cities?

  71. @71. I was actually coming on here to comment on that. You beat me to it!

  72. High point total on the season is 134 against Indiana way back on Nov 20th. Currently the team is on track for 132.

    Just saying…

  73. For once I didn’t mind Lamar jacking up a 3. LO needs 1 assist for the 3X2X.

    The refs have helped the Lakes out this game, but I don’t think it would have mattered anyhow.

  74. L.O. is one dime short of a triple-double…

  75. Devean has a no-trade clause?!?! As Stu would say, “Noice!” And how about Kobe? Just making a mockery of them in the 3rd. The excellent ball movement is like a porno to me (no pun intended).

  76. 73 – Heh, I actually hopped out of my seat a little bit when I realized that it was Gasol who canned it.

  77. You know, going into the 4th quarter up by 30 seems like good news, but that just makes this a Quintuple Trap Quarter. Watch out!

  78. Anybody notice LO trying way too hard for that last asst?

  79. What a month of interesting basketball, both on the court and in the gm’s offices. how is this dallas/kidd/george thing gonna play out? Can they use someone else? Is the deal dead? Will Cuban call his boy Floyd Mayweather to knock some sense into D. George? Stay tuned

  80. Off-topic… How embarrassing must it be to be a stadium announcer when the home team is getting blown out by 20+? You have to pretend to be excited when the last guy off the bench flips in an uncontested layup that has zero meaning.

    And congrats to Lamar for the triple-double. Now he needs to take one bad shot so we can have something to complain about. :)

  81. LO with the triple double!!!!

    Ole off come the hats!!!

    It’s good to be a Laker fan.

  82. 49. Sean, you know I love my stats, and I think they are very useful. But among the things I trust the least is the +/- numbers of players on bad teams. The logic is something like this: Nobody is making the argument that the T-wolves are a better team with Jefferson not playing. So the question really becomes, why is that +/- better when he sits? Is it skewed because he sits the fourth quarter of games like this, when scrubs play other scrubs closer to even? Is there another answer? I don’t suffer through enough Wolves games to have that answer.

  83. I do believe we have a COBY KARL SIGHTING
    :puffs on victory cigar:

  84. Hi I’m Coby Karl, I am the son of George.

  85. any way to hear the game on RADIO through the internet? I’m stuck in NY and the video feeds don’t work.
    THX!!!!

  86. DJ with the jumper! Talk about firing on all cylinders…

  87. 86-My girlfriend played me that video. It was hilarious. Lamar, funny guy, and deadly weapon when paired with Gasol. Been averaging 14 and 12 before tonights triple double

  88. 86. You just beat me to that comment.

    By the way, Golden State/Phoenix shaping up to be a fun second half.

  89. LOL. Will have to watch in the other room Kurt. Milwaukee and NO is looking good too.

  90. Kobe! (I mean, COBY!)

  91. Anybody switch to the Bucks game? Predrag just hit a clutch shot for the Hornets.

  92. 87 — Aaron, you can listen live on nba.com if you register with them.

    In other news–go Coby!

  93. 93-Can’t believe they let Peja get an open 3, then Redd takes a forced 3. Wish NO woulda lost, hope Phoenix does.

  94. Kobe getting a X-Ray. I was hoping he’d actually participate in the 3-point hootout too :\

  95. Irony: D. George playin a good chunk of minutes tonite for Dallas

  96. Forgot to add, George is 0-10 tonite. ha

  97. George does not want to participate in the trade because he would have to give up some of his free-agent rights. – from a yahoo article

    What rights would devean george be giving up?

    I also think that part of the reason devean george wants to stay is to play for a strong team.

  98. Why is Kobe getting an x-ray?

  99. 100-On his finger. They said he was in the back on the Minny broadcast after the game.

  100. John Ireland reported he was getting it for his pinky which he reinjured at the end of the 3rd.

  101. If worse comes to worse, hopefully he will miss the All-Star break to let the bone resettle.

  102. Jeff Van Gundy is my hero.

  103. 104 – What did JVG say this time?

  104. Devean George is my hero. He actually demanded a trade a week or two ago.

  105. Mike D’Antoni scares me

  106. oh man. this season is fun in sooo many different levels it is just unbelievable.

    we saw KG, Allen, Gasol, Shaq traded, we saw another big one shot down (even if it proves to be temporary), we actually had not one but TWO trades that worked out, and we saw the emergence of Drew.

    stern must be having fun too. who was this donaghy guy again?

  107. Thats what Im talking about! GS bbal at its best!

  108. If Phoenix loses to Dallas tommorow night, the Lakers can overtake 1st place when they play next week…at Shaq’s debut.

  109. 84.

    While I respect you argument, I can’t agree with it in this case. Jeff’s numbers are way too poor to ignore, imo.

    Take for example KG’s +/- numbers for the same team the year before. Like Jeff, KG played 75% of his team’s minutes surrounded by an equally poor line-up. The difference, however, is that that crappy team put up an outstanding +15.0 while Garnett was on the floor ( see http://www.82games.com/0607/0607MIN.HTM).

    When Minnesota finishes this season with half as many wins as the year before with KG, it won’t be because they dumped Ricky Davis and Mark Blount. It’s because KG makes his team much better while he is on the floor and Jefferson is just another Zach Randolph (albeit with a better disposition).

  110. I think the interviews with Baron Davis and Monta Ellis were some of the most honest one’s I’ve seen from postgame interviews. It’s tough not to enjoy watching the Warriors.

    KCAK 9′ postgame interview with Lamar was also Fun to watch.

    @73 are you still at UCR?

  111. @110. Yeah, I’m currently a senior

  112. #99 George would be giving up his “Bird” rights, or so his agent has advised; consequently his agent advised him to nix the trade. Check out this article at ESPN.com: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3244818

  113. Let’s see if I’ve got this right:

    The Phoenix Suns have not yet unleashed Armadillo and the 4 Roadrunners–wait until Tuesday (beep beep)

    and

    the Mavs were only Kidding

    while

    our Lakers just pulverized the team that wouldn’t trade . . . . . . (psst–what did you say his name was?)

    Isn’t it great to be a Laker fan?

  114. All hail Golden State!!!

  115. 113, I think you got something there. Kurt, can you forward 113 to Mitch?

  116. 111. I don’t think I or anyone is going to make the argument Jefferson is KG. Not even close. But I think if you surrounded him with talent he’s better than Zach. Of course, playing in Minny we may never know what he can do with talent around him.

  117. For George it’s about leverage. By keeping his Birds rights he makes it so he could get paid more via a sign and trade if he wants to go to a team that is over the cap, but unable to use their mid-level. As well, he doesn’t want to nix the opportunity to be included in a sign and trade this summer with a 1 year sweet deal if Dallas tries to package him in a deal to get another player. Basically it’s just all about the options for him.

  118. Really will suck for him if Dallas decides to bench him over this and his 0-11 tonight. Although, its not like they have many options until Josh Howard is back

    @UCRMike, I’m a 1st year lol.

  119. carter blanchard February 14, 2008 at 4:26 am

    This George business cracks me up in all sorts of ways. First off, how can you demand a trade, not realizing that would ruin your bird rights. The other thing I don’t get, all the power is in Dallas’ hands in terms of, can’t they just guarantee that he’ll a) rot on the bench for the rest of the season, and b) they won’t resign him, even in a sign-and-trade, guaranteeing he’s going to go on the open market to squirm. Like he has much hope of picking up more than the vet’s minimum in either scenario.

    As far as if the trade actually does go through, place me firmly in “this the reeks of desperation” camp. To throw in 2 first round picks and the max amount of cash allowable is ridiculous. I guess Bass is coming along nicely, but from the recent incarnations of the Mavs that I’m used to seeing, Diop’s D will be missed more than most think.

  120. carter blanchard February 14, 2008 at 4:39 am

    Sorry for the double, but I just wanted to clarify, I definitely don’t hold it against a player for doing what’s best for them financially, I just don’t see this working out for him in the end. It seems like it could backfire in a lot ways. I just don’t see his 3 pts in 13 mpg ever translating to any sort of payday. That said, I got nothing but love for George, and if we got him with a vet’s minimum (even with our logjam at the 3) I’d be thrilled to welcome him back.

  121. I think this trade is huge for Dallas. For everybody who posts on here think about the last time you had a job that you really hated. You hate the location, your boss and your co-workers. When you leave that job and get a new one that you really enjoy your productivity level increases. The same goes for Kidd. The guy hated playing for the Nets and was sick and tired of Carter. Kidd will be reinvigorated and will breathe life into that offense. I mean, seriously, if we were to play Dallas during the playoffs this season would we really be worried about Devin Harris killing us? But Jason Kidd would definitely be worrisome. This move definitely makes them better especially becuase Bass’ emergence made Diop tradable bc Bass deserves more minutes.

  122. 71 – POW! actually knocked down a lot of ingame 3’s in his career :)

  123. That four point play by Kobe was sick…

    Whoever said that this Minny team is the same as last year with KG is exaggerating a bit…

    But regardless, this team should definitely play better than it does, it has talented players. It seems their biggest problems are a lack of talented big men (6’7” Craig Smith plays Forward-Center) other than AJ, but mainly poor coaching…

    And damn Kobe’s injury!! I was sooo looking forward to him in the 3pt contest…almost more than him in the all-star game because Kobe would be more subdued after winning MVP last year anyways.

  124. I have to say that I may have been wrong about putting Lamar on the 2nd string. Man he has flowered with Gasol AND Kobe. I still have reservations about him handling the ball in endgame situations, but he sure has done better with less pressure.

    I guess that is the entire issue with Lamar. Keep the pressure off him and he will perform. That says it all – good and bad.

  125. 124-Maybe the Lakers (and us fans) were asking/expecting too much from LO. I think Mitch was right when he said he thought LO would average 10, 8 and 8. Hell, thats like having the production of a 6’10 Jason Kidd

  126. the other Stephen February 14, 2008 at 10:31 am

    anyone know what hollinger said about the kidd trade? it’s the article that starts with: “the lakers must be falling over with laughter by now.” that piques my interest, cause i scoff at the trade as well. i scoff, baby, i scoff.

    about the whole not playing terry and harris together thing, as far as i can tell, dallas’ backcourt defense still hasn’t improved any from previous seasons. they’re still middle of that pack as far as that goes.

  127. 124 :: I think once Drew comes back, it will get even better for Lamar. Right now he’s still asked to put up 12-15 ppg with Kobe and Pau, but with the return of the big fella he can drop to the 3rd or 4th option each game at 9-11 ppg. Lamar has always been a beast on the boards and can be great at defending whoever we ask when he focuses. The only thing he was lacking in order to meet expectations was more reliable passing options which leads him to distribute more effectively and take easy shots. I think he work into 10ppg, 10reb (2oreb), 8ast when we have our complete lineup.

    On the subject of our rebounding, I’d expect Pau to drop off a bit once Drew is back. If I had to guess (and I will), I’d say it breaks down to this:

    oreb :: 2.5-Gasol, 2.5-Bynum, 2-Odom
    dreb :: 8-Odom, 8-Bynum, 4-Gasol

    This gives the Lakers 27 boards from their top three rebounders. Lakers are already the top 5 in rebounds, but this is due to some inflated numbers from Bynum’s injury (which left his numbers untouched and raised those of Odom) and the Gasol acquisition (he picked up more boards in Memphis than he will here). See how this compares to the top three rebounders from top 12 teams:

    1. Nuggets (Camby, Anthony, Martin) – 28.1 rpg
    2. Lakers (Odom, Bynum, Gasol) – 27 rpg
    3. Cavaliers (Ilgauskas, Varejao, Gooden) – 26.4 rpg
    4. Magic (Howard, Turkoglu, Lewis) – 25.9 rpg
    5. Hornets (Chandler, West, Stojakovic) – 25.7 rpg
    6. Mavericks (Nowitzki, Howard, Dampier) – 22.9 rpg
    7. Jazz (Boozer, Okur, Millsap) – 22.7 rpg
    8. Spurs (Duncan, Oberto, Ginobili) – 22.1 rpg
    9T. Rockets (Ming, Hayes, Scola) – 21.8 rpg
    9T. Suns (O’Neal, Stoudemire, Hill) – 21.8 rpg
    11. Celtics (Garnett, Perkins, Pierce) – 21.1 rpg
    12. Pistons (McDyess, Wallace, Maxiell) – 21 rpg
    13. Warriors (Biedrins, Harrington, Barnes) – 20.1 rpg

    Even with the reduced expectations, we’re going to have a lot of extra attempts when Bynum gets back!!

  128. Mike in the Mountain West February 14, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Lamar has definitely been playing well since Pau came but what happens when Bynum comes back and Lamar moves to the three?

    Will he still be as effective?

  129. Right now, the Lakers have good chemistry and Lamar has a perfect role to play. Lamar has been part of a sort of Laker redemption fantasy ever since the Shaq trade. We’d like Lamar to be part of our championship this year.

    Let’s not look too far into the future.

  130. I think Lamar will do great in any case.