Preview and Chat: The Atlanta Hawks

Kurt —  February 19, 2008

Records: Lakers 35-17 (3 seed); Hawks 21-29 (9th seed, although just percentage points back of the Nets and 76ers, the 7 and 8 seeds)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 113.1 (2nd); Hawks 105 (21st)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 106.4 (8th); Hawks 107 (10th)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Vladimir Radminovic, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Hawks: Mike Bibby, Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, Al Horford

Lakers Notes: Enough with the two days of navel gazing posts around here, let’s talk hoops.

One bit of bad news in today noted in the Los Angeles Times — Trevor Ariza is healing slowly and likely will not be available until the playoffs at the earliest. The good news (unless your Ric Bucher) is that Andrew Bynum seems to be on track and should be back in about three weeks.

One interesting topic the last couple days — if you played for another team, should you try to hurt Kobe’s finger? Doc Rivers says the old school teams he played on would have. Kobe said if this were the 1980s he’d be worried but not so much today. He may well be right about the regular season, but come game one of the seven-game playoff series….. if I were a coach I can’t say I wouldn’t suggest to my team to take a swipe. Kobe has to know this. It’s part of the game for him right now.

USC/UCLA: I flipped in and out of the All-Star game Sunday, but I watched the cross-town basketball game much more closely, because I found it far more compelling. Not better played — that was one ugly, sloppy game — but there was a lot on the line.

A few quick player thoughts. OJ Mayo — every time I watch him play I like him less as an NBA prospect. He’s got all the skills, but his game needs to mature a lot, and I’m not sure how much it can. Kevin Love — he’ll make a very good role-playing four in the NBA, but he’s got to be on a team with the right system. He’d be great off the bench for a team like the Lakers or Utah, with their structured offenses. He’d be wasted in a place like Golden State, even with his outlet passing skills. Russell Westbrook — I like him a lot. Athletic, smart, good on defense, long for a PG, gets the rim like mad. He’s not someone a lot of people talk about, but he is going to be a solid to very good NBA guy.

Kidd in Dallas: Keith Van Horn has done is Aaron McKie imitation and the trade to send Jason Kidd to the Mavericks is finally done.

Good. I mean, as a Lakers fan I think this is good. First and foremost, I’m dubious about Kidd having enough left in the tank to be a huge boost in Dallas (compared to the now-gone Harris), although as Reed pointed out last time this allows the Mavs to play a Kidd/Jason Terry backcourt that will be quite good. But how will Kidd fit into the isolation-heavy offense of the Mavs, and can he be exposed on defense? We shall see.

But with this move the Mavs have said what the Suns did a few weeks back — we need to win right now. This year, maybe next year, then the window is closed. The Mavs traded a young PG and picks for Kidd, who after this playoff run and a summer with Team USA may not have enough left to be a force next year. Even with Kobe and Gasol playing key roles this summer, the Lakers are still younger and with a much bigger window. Even if the Suns and Mavs are healthy (and the Spurs for that matter too), the Lakers are contenders for the next four years. Man the playoffs look like fun (as long as we don’t get the Jazz in the first round).

The Hawks Coming In: Mike Bibby will play for the Hawks tonight, and if you’re curious what kind of difference that will make check out this story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution from Hawks practice yesterday:

The Hawks’ pick-and-roll sets got sharper instantly. The little inside passes in transition that rarely found the mark before were on the money now. Bibby waited all of 15 seconds to start leading, playfully chiding Josh Smith and Al Horford to “run with me, run with me” on a fast break during part of the full court scrimmage portion of practice.

I love the Bibby trade for the Hawks. That was a team with a fill-it-up shooter like Joe Johnson and likely the best under-25 front court in the NBA with Josh Smith and Al Horford. By far, the position that was killing them on offense was PG (where they were shooting just 45.9% and had a team PER of 12.1, which would be a weak PER for the guy coming off the bench; by comparison the Lakers have a PER of 17.1 at PG, thanks to Fisher and Farmar).

Say what you will about Bibby getting slower, you could chop off one of his legs and he’s still better than Tyron Lue. I asked Tom Ziller of Sactown Royalty about Bibby and how he’d fit in, and he noted that Bibby is pretty much a jump-shooting guard who doesn’t go to the rim, but Atlanta has guys that can get to the rim. He said Bibby’s sort of hit a wall, he is what he is and his game will not improve much, although his stats likely will get better playing in the East with a lot of skill around him. He thinks a pick-and-roll with Bibby and Horford would be hard to stop consistently.

But, Bibby is not very good on defense, and that could be a problem for advancing very far.

By the way, a few people thought the Bibby move might be the first of a couple trades for the Hawks, maybe moving Bibby to Cleveland. Why? This was a young talented team in Atlanta that needs a point guard to lead them — Bibby can be that guy for a few more years, with Law or someone else taking over for him down the line. The Hawks don’t need more picks, they need a vet or two.

Last Time these two met: Back on Feb. 6 was a real game of streaks, but the Lakers had an 8-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, when they completely fell apart. A 14-4 run later and the Hawks had the win. It was the second game of a back-to-back for the Lakers, fifth game in seven days, and it looked like it.

The taller Lakers were outworked inside and out rebounded by the Hawks — Atlanta grabbed 25% of its missed shots, which was one problem. In addition, the Lakers key offensive weapons were not efficient — Kobe was 4 of 16, Gasol 5 of 14. Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 28.

That was the last game the Hawks have won, dropping their next four.

Keys To The Game: Remember how amazing the Lakers looked those first couple games with Pau in the lineup? Expect that same energy from the Hawks tonight, which means the Lakers need to be ready to go from the opening tip.

But this is also the first game with a new PG running the show (Johnson used to do a lot of it, he has to adjust to a new role), so defensive pressure by the Lakers — and jumping some passing lanes — should lead to some turnovers and easy baskets. I’d expect a lot of wing screen-and-rolls from Atlanta as they try to use their athleticism — and Bibby is hitting 39% from three this season so the Lakers can’t just go under the screen. Also, look for back door or running down the middle lobs from Atlanta, they love that play.

Bibby does not solve another key problem for the Hawks — they are not a strong team on the boards. The long Lakers should be able to get offensive rebounds and putbacks. Then again, they should have last time too and the Lakers got outworked on the boards and in the paint. Rebounds are still “want to” things, you’ve got to want to get them.

Where you can watch: The game is at 7:30 (Pacific) on Fox Sports out here. According to the Lakers site it’s not even on league pass, although readers are now saying it is on League Pass. If you know a good place to steam the game post the link.

Kurt

Posts

84 responses to Preview and Chat: The Atlanta Hawks

  1. This LIttle Pinky February 19, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    I don’t know any good places to steam the game, maybe a dim sum joint?

    I believe Josh Smith is out of this game – can anyone confirm/disconfirm?

  2. Josh Smith is expected to play Josh Ckildress is day to day and may miss the game.

  3. This LIttle Pinky February 19, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Thanks, Kurt.

    Missing Childress will make ATL weaker on the boards, as he is currently averaging 5 rebounds a game, with about half of those coming from offensive rebounds.

  4. I hope Fisher and Farmar take it right to Bibby tonight. First game with his new team, the Lakers need to make him work on both ends of the floor.

    We will get our first look at how Kobe will handle the “pinky”. if he comes out aggressive from the tip, that will be a great sign!!

    Prediction:
    Lakers 113
    Hawks 95

  5. Couple things: First off, I loved the posts the past couple of days, great job Kurt and the commenters, addressed some interesting things while there was little-to-no hoops talk worthy of analyzing aside from the endless thank-god-it’s-over Kidd theorizing.

    Second, I know this has been talked about, but just looking at tonight’s starters for the Hawks — Mike Bibby, Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, Al Horford — I had to stop and minute and think, “Sheesh, that’s a pretty good young lineup.” Here’s to hoping we win tonight, followed by a nice rest of the year for that team, which should be actually pretty fun to watch relative to the Eastern conference.

    Third: It’s been talked about ad nauseam, but I have to admit Kobe’s finger is really scaring me. Maybe too much, I don’t know, but the fact that he’s wrapped up like a mummy when not playing just seems like a bad sign.

    Fourth: Ariza, get well soon! Get back for the first round!

    Fifth: For all the out-of-towners, my channel guide is showing that the Laker game will be on NBA4 on League Pass (10:30pm Eastern), and here’s to hoping that this is true.

  6. I think the game is on League Pass — I set my DVR this morning. Let’s hope Lakers.com is wrong.

  7. the other Stephen February 19, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    seriously, who wouldn’t want to get rebounds? anyone who doesn’t have the drive to outrebound others deserves an atomic wedgie. what you need as an nba player nowadays is a little charles barkley or dennis rodman to sit on top of your shoulders in place of where the little angel and devil usually sit.

    other than that, i’m an los angeles native who goes to college in atlanta, so the hawks have just gotten that much more attractive. i think joe johnson has been pretty tired of playing distributor for a long time (you’re a scrub, acie law iv), and this will be great for him. tickets average in the 30’s, lakers fans! woooo.

  8. Three things that were fairly obvious about Atlanta after watching the two teams meet a couple of weeks ago:

    – They crash the offensive boards hard – esp. Horford (a beast)

    – They push the ball hard (Phoenix style) after a Laker miss or turnover – which was somewhat effective w/o a legit PG. Now they have Bibby, who wont be confused for an elite PG anytime soon, but he IS an upgrade for them.

    – They have several players who play “sticky-ball.” Don’t know what that means? See: Kevin Durant – 2008 Rookie-Sophmore Game.

  9. Craving Chano’s February 19, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    If Mayo has the skills, I don’t see why his game may not be able to mature. I wholeheartedly agree that his game needs to mature, but he’s a great shooter and plays great defense, two qualities with relatively low supply and high demand in the NBA. Personality-wise, admittedly going on very limited info, he seems to be the kind of player that will continue to work hard at his game and do all he can to improve. I think he’s at minimum a solid NBA starter, though unless he becomes a superstar I think he’ll always be viewed negatively.

    BTW, any truth to the Caron-Lamar trade or is that just typical radio rumor fodder?

  10. Ariza’s delay to the court doesn’t surprise me at all. I recently broke a bone in my ankle, and wasn’t really walking comfrotably until 2 months later. Then, just from using crutches, and favoring my healthy left leg, I lost a lot of strength, very, very quickly in my entire right foot/leg/side.

    Finally, four months later now, I am feeling back to my normal self when playing hoops, but still notice slight weakness when cutting or jumping off my right foot. As for Ariza, I am sure he has a better rehab schedule, but I still won’t be shocked if he isn’t playing like he was before the injury until next season– or possibly the Finals…

  11. nba.com says that the game will be broadcast on league pass broadband…

    http://www.nba.com/broadband/league_pass.jsp

    One more thing for this game that I think could have a big impact–it’s going to be Pau’s first game at the Staples Center as a Laker, not to mention the first game for the team back from that gargantuan road trip–look for the fans to go crazy tonight.

  12. This LIttle Pinky February 19, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    Can’t let Horford get 20 plus rebounds like last game.

    Also, I think the effect of Kobe’s injury will be seen less on offense and more on defense and rebounding – any part of the game where he has to reach out and could potentially jam his finger. He may be a little more tentaive in these situations, which could hinder his performance, moreso than on any offensive situation.

    As far as opponents aiming for the injured finger, I would hope that they weren’t completely obvious about it, like when Scottie Pippen would overtly elbow Kobe in the ribs when that part of his body was healing. If it’s really obvious, I hope the refs are quick to issue technical fouls for unsportsmanlike conduct.

  13. Sticky Ball #1:
    http://tinyurl.com/2sanry

    Sticky Ball #2:
    http://tinyurl.com/2mj23b

    So, Kevin Durant was either playing Katamari or was not yet ready for using gloves to play catch? All during the rookie-sophomore game?

  14. Question: Even if an opposing player targets Kobe’s finger, how much worse could it get? I had heard that it was completely torn, so how could it be worse? I’m obviously very ignorant when it comes to injuries like this so I’m just asking, but besides temporary pain, what else could happen?

  15. 14:
    I’m also wondering that. Also, i’m curious to know when the actual tear occured? Did the tear occur when it first happened against the Nets, or did it happen when he re-aggravated it against the T-Wolves? I have never been able to verify that. Back when the injury originally happened, i never heard them say he had an MRI done…..they only said that they took x-rays and they were negative.

    hmmmmmm……

  16. One other thing on Bibby…he usually has strong games against the Lakers. All those playoff games, plus his mini-rivalry with Kobe make him a dangerous guy to face in his Hawks debut with some rejuvination involved.

  17. The game is definitely on League Pass, the feed will be available on channels 759 or 652 on your DirecTV dial, and somewhere on other carriers.

    The only way a game is not on League Pass is if neither team’s local networks are covering it. Since FSW and KCAL cover all of the non-national Lakers games they will always be available on NBALP one way or the other.

  18. If I could wave my wand and complete any trade for the Lakers within the next few days–I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t even know who to ask for. Right now, Lamar is exactly where he belongs. Management did their job. The Lakers have the pieces to win it all. They just need to put them all together.

    In an interview, Jordan Farmar revealed that the Lakers reverted to “triangle basic” to integrate new players. They now will have enough time to add the refinements before the playoffs. On defense, they will learn how to rotate better as a team and “help the helper.”

    It almost seems preplanned. Gasol will have three weeks to master the 5 before switching to the 4, and just enough time with Bynum for the whole team to make adjustments to Twintowers 2.

    If the Lakers get San Antonio in the playoffs, they will see flashes of Robinson/Duncan in the “wrong” uniforms: de ja vu all over again.

  19. Ced arrested below. Maybe if he pleads no defense, the court will let him off the hook cause he never played any for the Lakers:

    Former Los Angeles Lakers forward Cedric Ceballos was arrested in Blythe on a warrant for allegedly driving on a suspended license, authorities said today.

    Ceballos was arrested yesterday on a Los Angeles County warrant, after a employee at a Chevron station at 321 S. Lovekin Blvd. told police he presented an invalid credit card for gasoline, authorities said.

    Ceballos, 38, was arrested by Blythe police, said Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez. Ceballos was booked into a Riverside County jail facility and released in lieu of about $26,000 bail, Gutierrez said.

    A computer check found there was a warrant for Ceballos’ arrest, a Blythe police spokeswoman said.

    I think the Lakers need to run these guys right out of the building. Atlanta only has 7 power forwards on their roster. I wonder why they didn’t dump 2-3 of them on the Kings in return for Bibby.

  20. Finally, the tape delay madness has ended. Well I guess it ended last game but still, happy to see the Lake Show back in Staples.

    Side note: So earlier this year at a UCLA game (don’t remember which one, but it was before Pac-10 play but not Texas) we saw Dunleavy sitting under one of the baskets so during a TV timeout we went up to him to talk. One of my friends asked who he was there to watch, and obviously we all expected him to say Kevin Love. His answer? Russ Westbrook.

  21. Can you recall a professional team (and its fans) every going through a wilder first-half as the Lakers have this year? Seriously, the roller coaster of emotions felt throughout Laker Land this year may be unmatched in history:

    After a summer of discontent, the Lakers start out the year with uncertainty: Kobe wants to be traded, Mitch Kupchak is a bum and we are all just hoping for a trade which brings Jermaine O’neal or Jason Kidd to LA.

    The Lakers start out about .500, 9-8 after 17 games, and Laker fans are resigned to the fact they are a .500 team and can hope to sneak into the playoffs (little did we know at that time that a .500 team in the West would net you a Lottery pick).

    Then, Andrew starts playing… well. It is apparent that Fisher and Farmer at the point are a major upgrade over Smush Parker, the defense gets tougher and the Bench Mob comes alive. All the sudden, Laker fans are energized and the tem is a contender in the West!

    Then, a few days after the Lakers take first place in the West, Drew goes down with an injury. At first, Laker fans are worried he might miss the entire season, or worse, it could effect his career. Kwame is getting booed at home… all seems lost. We then learn Drew will be out only 8 weeks. A sign of relief… maybe Odom and the gang will step up in his absence. Then Ariza goes down…. hope is fading….. fast.

    Out of the clear blue, Mitch then pulls off a coup and gets Gasol for Kwame. Laker fans are overjoyed. Pundits are calling the Lakers the team to beat out West. Talk of a championship ensues, not in the future, but right now! The Lakers go 7-2 on one of the longest road trips in the history of the NBA and the chatter turns into a roar.

    Then as the All-Star game looms, we learn that Kobe Bryant has torn a ligament on his hand and may need surgery. Once again, Laker fans’ hearts sink a bit lower.

    Here is to a bigger and brighter second half!

  22. The Bibby trade may pay a slight dividend on the defensive glass as Woodson won’t be able to play Lorenzen Wright rather than Pachulia. With the first unit, though, I think we’ll continue to see four guys watching, impressed with how hard Al Horford is fighting the opposing frontcourt for a rebound.

  23. Craving Chano’s-Chano’s by USC, some great drunk food. Also, Drrayeye, the mozzerlla sticks at Charlie’s Trio are great too.

    On to hoops, Mayo’s offensive game is limited. He has a nice shot (form-wise), but doesn’t attack the hoop enough. What I like about his game is his defense. He totally reminds me of Felipe Lopez, on the cover of SI as a junior in high school, eventually (just) a role-player in the NBA. If Love improves his athleticsm I see no reason why he can’t start.

    Can’t wait to see Pau in Laker Gold tonight!

  24. Tony,
    Nice summary of what it is like to be a Lakers fan.

    However, this constant up and down goes back about 12 years. This soap opera has been going on for quite some time. It’s just that we fans don’t seem to have much in the way of long-term memory.

  25. I’m not worried about Bibby… we have The Machine!

  26. 14 – If he doesn’t get surgery, depending on how bad the tendon tear is, he apparently is risking deformity. Obviously if the ligament completely tears the situation becomes worse. Kobe says that he’s in trouble if the pinky dislocates again.

    If you’re a Laker and you see this, how do you NOT play your ass off?

  27. all hail the Machine!! LOL

  28. (21) That reminds me of The Bronx Is Burning. If this season ends the way we want it too, you’ve got to think books and tv shows will be made of this season as well.

    Too bad Phil already called 2004 “The Last Season”

  29. carter blanchard February 19, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    (Excited for an excuse for a NCAA tangent): Mayo really does settle far too often with contested jumpers. And his defense isn’t exactly worldbeating (when they came to Stanford, Goods, not really known for his ability to penetrate, took him off the dribble time and time again; and on the other end shut him down almost completely). Westbrook, on the other hand, pretty clearly has the most upside as a pro of any Bruin. I absolutely love the way he plays (maybe my second favorite player in the conference after Bayless). And his D on OJ was pretty gnarly on Sunday.

    Oh ya, this is a Lakers site: stoked to watch the Hawks, always one of my favorite teams. I’ve been of the opinion that if you added any of their key players to a playoff team (Childress, josh smith, and Horford especially) they could exactly what a team was missing to make it over the top. Would be great to see them get success as their own unit.

  30. Carter (and others): What do you think of Ryan Anderson out of Cal? I haven’t seen enough to form an opinion, but I read good things and his stats are fantastic — takes 31% of the team’s shots and has an offensive rating of 123, plus shoots like 45% from three? Is he for real?

  31. 30 – i should be following Cal, being an alum and all, but it’s hard enough for me to get NBA coverage; NCAA coverage just can’t be had here in Korea.

    Anyway, i don’t see how Bruce Bowen or Raja Bell will not take some swipes at the pinky. Bowen will be delighted, he’ll probably even grab onto the pinky every now and then just to irk Kobe.

    Wonder what the league rules are on the casts and stuff. Hamilton wears a mask, so a cast shouldn’t be out of the question, but how big and strong a cast could you wear, without affecting your dribble/shooting?

  32. 23. Wow, nice call with the Felipe Lopez comparison. I also see a lot of Larry Hughes in Mayo’s game, fwiw.

  33. 23,32. I like the Lopez comment as well, but I think the game and the players have changed too much for that to happen. Lopez proved to be a bust while still at St. John’s in reality. Now, players are designated phenom status at ridiculous ages, and as long as they keep up jacking shots, they stay in the phenom category. Ok, I’ll admit it. I’m talking about Kevin Durant. Anyone else really bothered people are still giving him the ROY? He’s getting 19 a game by force of jacking up shots at an absurd rate. What is to reward about these numbers: .402 FG%, .282 3p%, 4/3/2-Rebounds/TOs/Assists? I know, he’s maturing. And I definitely like Durant more than Mayo, and Durant might become a great player. But so many of these 1-and-done freshman realize the more they shoot the higher they go in the draft, which in turn allows them to jack up more shots in the NBA, so they can “develop and mature” and a faster rate. It’s bad basketball. As long as Mayo keeps shooting, nobody dares call him a bust.
    My best guess, and he’ll go pro next season, get drafted in the lottery by one of the many terrible East GMs (he would just be a perfect Knick wouldn’t he? Or maybe Ferry agrees with Sean P. and has already picked out Mayo to replace Hughes with). He would then proceed to have a career on the good side of mediocre, probably very much like Hughes has had.

  34. I really don’t like Bibby (meanly because he was on the Kings).

    We lost last time, but we will win this time!

  35. Mike Bibby adds another dimension to the Hawks who are trying to be an Eastern contender right now. We were all surprised as to how athletic this team was and that beat us. Al Horford with 20 rebounds? Somebody box that man out even if it meant he had nothing else to do…

    Still I am confident we will pull through. Could you imagine I am betting on a -11?

  36. I keep saying the Lakers need to be aggressive and they seem to do better when they take the ball to the hole.

    This Atlanta Hawks team has trouble with quickness cause the majority of their players are PFs (6’7″ to 6’9″ and 200).

    Maybe Kobe should have broken his pinky prior to the playoffs the last couple of years. He’s playing a great game so far. So is Radman and Gasol. I want to bet PJ got into Gasol about his defensive effort against Horford in Atlanta.

  37. How’s Kobe playing? I can only see the gamecast, and from there it looks like it’s not bothering him too much, both on offense and on defense…

  38. hmm, Kobe looks ok. But I would still rather have him get surgery now and get healthy so he could be amazing in the playoffs. I think that the team that we got w/o him is good enough to make the playoffs. I mean all of our offense could go through Gasol–he looks really good right. And when Drew comes back, we would be even better.

  39. harold, btw, if you want to see the game, check out
    http://www.raptorsnation.net/ for a link

  40. was that not a really sexy 5 minutes of play?

  41. harold harold. raptorsnation.net

    I had the opportunity to watch Anderson live in Cal. He didn’t look great against Love. Constantly gave up position to Love who isn’t much taller, but gives up body. Anderson will need to learn how to scrap for position at the next level. He could use another year of refinement and learn to play some true PF D.

    Lakers making this look way to easy.

  42. 57-27. Utter dominance.

  43. Interesting, it seems Bibby, in only a few short days, has already taught the Hawks to how to complain like the Kings of yesteryear

  44. we are blowing them apart. Tomorrow will be the test for kobe….

  45. Bibby looks like a great addition….

    to poop on.

  46. With Ariza out, it will be important for Vlad and Luke to bring something to the team every game. I have been hard on Luke since the summer, but he has been playing better of late, and Vlad really seems to have great chemistry with Lamar and Pau.

  47. Don’t blame him, he learned it from Analman. Do you think Lute Olson taught him that? Makes me crack up. Even against the playoffs against the Lakers and the Bulls you could see Analman pouting and crying about the foul disparity.

    Too bad Dick doesn’t teach “good” defense. I think he’s one of those coaches who just hires his friends on board.

    Word kwame and chrismo. Utter domination.

    Just asking, how many of you started posting here from Abbott’s (Truehoop of ESPN) reference of blog stories at FB&G? Welcome all, and congratulatons Kurt. Truly, you are a professional.

    It’s good to be a Lakers fan.

  48. hard to log raptornation (i know of it thanks to, was it goo, i forget) at work with my boss peering at my monitor every now and then. this site already is a bit too forum blue to escape scrutiny, but that’s a risk i take ;)

    anyway, score looks lopsided enough for Kobe to sit out…

  49. So I just got back from dinner…

    I think my TV is broken. It says the Lakers are up by 36 at the half.

    The scorebord is just messed up, right guys.

    Guys?

  50. Yes, they are up by 36 at the half! AND THAT IS EVEN WITH ATLANTA MAKING 3 THREE POINTERS IN THE LAST 40 SECONDS OF THE QUARTER.

  51. what a rout!
    the key now is to see the team come out at the start of the 3rd with the KILLER INSTINCT!!!
    we saw some of that at the end of the road trip, gotta bring it tonight.
    we all know how hard it can be to sustain a huge lead, they are going to play with reckless abandon, we need discipline, continue tough D, keep those steals a comin’
    have you ever seen so many steals in one game?
    put ‘em away early fellas!!!

  52. Gasol is one skilled player. Really fun to watch, usually makes the right decision and is willing to pass, but capable of scoring from lots of places. Odom has great chemistry with him, instaneous.

  53. Can you believe that???? Even 24 cannot believe it!!!

  54. Can we finally start giving Lamar Odom some credit for his effort? He knew that Horford killed us on the boards last time we played so he came out and has grabbed 15 rebounds in 3 quarters (to go along with 14 pts). He has been playing GREAT ball since the Pau trade.

  55. Does Vlad Rad have his shot back or what? That is a sweet rainbow, plus he went strong to the hole at least a couple of times.

  56. Gonna be hard to pull Vlad out of the starting lineup. He spaces the floor, as both a legitmate threat and a reputational shooter. He also moves the ball quick and knows the tri better than your average space cadet

  57. Yea, Vlad is playing well, even on the second unit.

  58. Wow, if these guys look good against other teams too, then we’ll have a true dilemma at hands when everyone’s healthy. Who starts? Who gets minutes?

  59. Kurt, I’ll let you do the honors this time. Coby has entered the game…

  60. Hi I’m george’s son!

  61. I’m surprised PJ didn’t bring in the bench-mob half-way through the 3rd. The first team was looking flat footed with the big lead.

  62. Hi, I’m George’s son — and I HAVE HOPS!

  63. Coby is fierce!

  64. LOL. Word…

    Today is a good day to be a Lakers fan. Mike Bibby didn’t look that hot against the Lakers. Fans will get tacos. And the son of George finishes with a thunderous slam…

  65. Coby wants to score in double digits :)

    Actually, it seems that everyone on the Lakers wants Coby to score in double digits ;)

  66. coby karl says, “Bring on the suns.”

  67. Don’t take Kobe for granted. If he gets surgery then Gasol becomes #1 (wasn’t able to pull it off in Memphis) and Lamar becomes #2 (wasn’t able to pull it off ever). Perhaps we should just support Kobe, cross our fingers, and hope.

  68. 67 – Bynum in the mix may hopefully change that situation.

    btw, whenever i see the word ‘finger’ on a basketball site, i cringe. that pinky on kobe’s pau… err paw just looks like a ticking bomb…

  69. Well, there is no guarantee Bynum will be himself insatantly when he gets back and thus the pressure will be on both Pau and LO, a pressure they have thus been unable to handle, as 67 pointed out. Besides, even with the depth we have, who knows how many games we will lose before Bynum even gets back had Kobe gotten surgery? Especially with the west as competetive and close as it is this year.

    Best to do is pray that the pinky stays healthy.

  70. 69 – as long as Kobe is not risking permanent damage, I’m fine with him playing through injury. if it’s just pain and no risk at deformity, etc., i support his decision to play through it 100%.

    However, if there is a chance of him aggravating the injury to the point where he has to shut down and have surgery, or worse, sustain irrepairable damage…

    I’m trusting Kobe’s selfishness here, and hope that he is not gambling, merely accepting reality and deciding to soldier through it.

    btw, rumors of Denver looking for Artest is not news, but now San Antonio is said to have interest in Artest as well. (Duncan-Artest-Bowen… that’s some defense)

  71. carter blanchard February 20, 2008 at 3:05 am

    What a fun rout. 5 minutes of Son of George always is a good time. Has anyone else sort of forgotten about that Bynum fellow? Really never saw that coming. Also, anyone else growingly skeptical of this pinkie business? For one thing, this stretch of free throws has been ridiculous for someone who apparently is short a finger. Why get the surgery when it doesn’t seem to be impacting his game whatsoever? I guess the reinjury possibility is out there,but even if you believe it’s as bad as they’re making it out to be I’m less worried about the intentional swipe not because players are anymore decent nowadays but because this is the youtube age where everything is overexposed and analyzed. Bowen already has his karate kick vid and his multiple undercutting clips. No one wants to be looped repeatedly as the goon who intentionally took the best player in the game out with a cheap shot. Also, Mbenga can afford a suspension or two.

    And to your question Kurt: Anderson’s a darn good college player for sure. He reminds me of an early Dirk in good and bad ways. Extremely talented, but doesn’t seem to relish the contact. He’ll find a spot in the pros but I’m not sure what position he can guard or if he’ll be able to get his shot off as easily against longer/quicker/stronger NBA defenders. Cal’s actually got a very talented group that I like a lot. I have to think Braun’s got to get some pressure soon cuz they’re way underacieving. They should be a tournament team. I’ll let you know more on Ryan after Sunday when I’ll have my first chance to watch him live this year.

    Bring on the supernovas!

  72. The Staples crowd, often fashionably late during championship years, came early–for a game with the Atlanta Hawks!

    They weren’t there to see Mike Bibby.

    This was both the homecoming and debut of Pau Gasol. The crowd was ecstatic from the start.

    They weren’t disappointed.

    At half time, it was 73-37

    Nobody went home.

    Maybe they had a premonition of that Coby Carl dunk at the end, and, of course, those free tacos!

    This is a team of redemption from Mitch on down: Phil had been fired, Kobe’s many personal disasters, Lamar’s whole life, Derek Fisher’s daughter, Ronny’s heart, VladRad’s mountain adventure, Sasha’s emergence as the machine, Mihm’s ankle,Coby Carl’s cancer, Jordan Farmar’s many doubters, Andrew’s doubters, and now Ariza’s escape from an Orlando bench, Pau’s escape from Memphis fans and cellar seasons, and Mbenga’s escape from the Congo.

    Can any of us really grasp how truly happy this Laker team has become?

    Well, maybe. We’ve suffered too. We Laker fans need a little redemption ourselves!

  73. It seems pretty crazy to think about this… but the Lakers just have to do better than 6-23 the rest of the way to better last year’s win total. I remember about this time last year, the Lakers were just about to move into complete free-fall. I don’t see that happening this time around.

  74. Free-fall into the sky that is… Bring on the Suns!

    I love the way this team is playing. Though the last game I saw was the Washington game, it reflects on the live scoreboard how they dominate their opponents and Kobe’s smile just flashes in my screen.

    Any recommendations for next year’s additions?

    Side Note:
    One good thing about the trade deadline is that we won’t be hearing any more names to trade. I guess Vince Carter won’t see the West even if he is traded. Cellar Dwellers of the East are talking of a 3-way with him. This is just a very bad ending to a once-very-electrifying player. If he can’t be that with Jason Kidd, he can’t be that anywhere anymore.

  75. 54. I totally agree. Who is this current Lamar Odom and what have you done with the old one? In February he’s averaging:
    13.4 ppg, 12 reb (3 oreb), 5.2 ast, .632 fg%, .600 3p%

    Those numbers are gaudy…especially for a third option. I seem to remember Lamar mentioning that he wants to remain a Laker for the duration of his career; hopefully we can re-sign him to a smaller long term contract at the end of this one. He is exactly the team player we need that can handle any role (except consistent high-scoring) we give him.

  76. 70. Looking at the schedule I think the Lakers could potentially win 20 more games this year. There schedule is pretty favorable except for the 4 game road trip agains Dallas, Houston, NO, Utah.

  77. Last night’s game put Lamar’s rpg up to 10.0

    To put this in some perspective:

    Yao: 10.8
    Boozer: 10.9

    Not bad, eh?

  78. A good team is supposed to do that. It is nice to see this happening. I remember before the season started Steven A. Smith ranting how the Lakers couldn’t win 50 games. Now they are tearing teams apart as they should. Radman is playing well since he returned, but when he went up against Josh Smith, spacecadet. I actually wanted to see him replace Kobe in the 3 point contest. He has the kind of shot to do damage. Bring on Shaq and the Suns.

    Anybody watch the interview with Jerry West? I didn’t get to watch it and forgot to DVR it. I wonder what he said about the current Lakers team.

  79. Is it just me or does it seem like Fisher doesn’t like to pass to Kobe when he’s open. I saw at least 3 occasions where Kobe was wide open for 3, and Fish either went for a tough shot or passed it to another teammate who wasn’t as open.

  80. Craig W,
    “cross our fingers”

    Poor choice of words!!

  81. HaHa Lakers are #1 in Hollinger’s rankings! Lets hope its not a jinx.

  82. 41. Hey, I was at that game as well. How random is that?

    In fairness to Anderson, DeVon Hardin was guarding (and getting punked by) Love most of the time.

    Although, I agree that Anderson is too lightweight atm to defend post position at the next level, I don’t know how much of an impediment this will be for him as I see him as a European-style 4 (Nowitzki, Bargnani, Yi, Radman, et al) who’ll be played to create match-up problems on offense while being hid in sort of gimmick defense.

  83. Kind of preaching to the choir, but for us, a feel-good espn roundtable spawned by tonight’s Lakers-Suns game. Gotta love the Laker love.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?page=Roundtable-SunsLakers