Preview and Chat: The Dallas Mavericks

Kurt —  March 2, 2008

Records: Lakers 41-18 (2 seed); Mavs 39-20 (5 seed)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 113.6 (2nd) ; Mavs 112.7 (8th)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 106.0 (6th); Mavs 107.2 (10th)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Mavs: Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Josh Howard, Dirk Nowitzki, Eric Dampier

Lakers Notes: It was one loss after a 10-game winning streak, on the second night of a back-to-back on the road against a good team. There are bad losses that tell you a lot about a team. That was not one of them.

One guy who continues to struggle is Luke Walton, who was abused on defense by Travis Outlaw and is not contributing a lot on the other end right now. Phil Jackson was slow with the hook, but his options with Ariza and Radmanovic sitting are limited, really the best option is Sasha at the two and Kobe at the three. I’d go to that early today if Luke has another bad game.

Aside that, there’s not much to seriously complain about right now. Well, except the price of a beer at Staples.

Get Well John Wooden. Nothing more to say there.

How ‘Bout Them Matadors Tough loss against UC Irvine last night, but I’m still on the bandwagon and not the only guy pumping them up on blogs, SportshubLA had a great piece too.

Good guards, pressure defense, fast pace. This is a fun team to watch, people. And we’re already dreaming NCAA tourney.

The Mavs Coming In: Kelly Dwyer over at Yahoo! said just about everything I would want to about the Kidd trade.

The misperceptions regarding Jason Kidd continue. TNT’s sublime studio crew spent the halftime break discussing how much Kidd adds to the team’s transition game, how the Mavs are going to have to keep their heads up because Jason is going to be spraying passes all over the fast break. Then TNT cuts to the first half stats to show that the Mavs have … six first half fast break points.

Just stop it. Kidd led two Nets teams to the Finals by being selective with the transition plays, and New Jersey consistently ranked among the slowest overall teams in the NBA. The Mavs, since Avery Johnson took over, have been a low-possession half court team. If Kidd is going to fit with the Mavs, it’s because he fits the team’s ideal of plenty of half-court offense mixed with the occasional (and, we mean, very occasional) transition foray.

And after Kidd called his own number and missed an open jumper with two minutes to go in the fourth, Doug Collins felt it necessary to point out how the Mavs acquired Kidd to “close out games.” Close out games? The guy shoots 37 percent; you’re telling me he’s shooting 33 percent over the first three quarters, and busting out with a 50 percent shooting mark in the fourth? Kidd’s too good to need this needless buildup.

If you want some more detail, JE Skeets breaks down all of Kidd’s passes to Dirk in that game. Did Kidd get Dirk easier shots? You decide.

To be fair, Kidd did find his shot on Friday night, scoring 21 on 9 of 18 shooting in a Mavs win over Sacramento. Kidd is shooting a solid 55% True Shooting Percentage since joining the Mavs (53% eFG%) but I’d still rather have him shooting than other guys on the floor. I don’t want to disparage Kidd, no doubt he’s a Hall of Fame point guard. But not for what he is doing right now. Purely from a Lakers perspective, LA has trouble with quick, slashing PGs that can breakdown a defense. Devin Harris could do that, Kidd not so much.

The Kidd trade is not like the Shaq trade — the Suns took a huge risk, with a player that may or may not be able to blend into their system and help. It was a big gamble. (He will sell a lot of tickets.) Kidd is not going to make the Mavs worse right now, the question is will he make them better? So much better that it was worth the extra salary and selling out a chance to get younger for a two-year window?

Keys To The Game: There are two matchups that really favor the Lakers today.

While Pau has had a couple of games below the standard he set since he came to the team (10 of 23 the last two games, 17 of 35 the last three), this is where he should bounce back. He should be able to pull Eric Dampier away from the basket, shoot over him, take him off the dribble and generally have a big game.

The Mavs have long had an issue stopping Kobe, and the Mavs coaches said yesterday that Kidd is going to get some shots at stopping him. Good. The 2001 Kidd would have worried me, but the current version is a pretty average defender at best. I think Dallas is going to have to throw a lot of looks (and players) at Kobe, which should open things up for other players.

Also, the Mavs are no longer a run-and-gun team, they are 26th in the league in pace. The Lakers should be able to get some easy baskets if they up the tempo — in particular Gasol should be able to outrun Dampier, get some early position and some early buckets.

Luke Walton has got to have a better game, likely drawing Josh Howard on defense. Phil has to be quicker with the hook if Luke is off. (Man, we miss Radmanovic and Ariza.)

Finally, I’m sure the Mavs watched the tape from Friday, so expect a lot of pick-and-roll early with Kidd and Dirk (at least that’s what I’d do). The Lakers defense on those needs to improve dramatically today.

Where you can watch: Game time is 12:30 and we get the consistently bad team from ABC today. Well, they can’t be as bad as those Blazers home announcers….

Kurt

Posts

112 responses to Preview and Chat: The Dallas Mavericks

  1. pau has to come out strong and take advantage of the space that the mavs will have to allow him.
    i dont expect kobe to score that much, especially in the first half. i guess he will try to set up his teammates to create even more space for him and the others. thats where the triangle comes into action. with kobe at the three, i guess the lakers will execute well against the mavs. dallas will slow down the pace, no problem for us, set play looks good this season.
    in addiotion to this, fast breaks at every (long rebound) opportunity. that will wrap it up.

    i really like your blog, keep up the good work.

    peace MdT

  2. the worst announcers in the league are those Milwaukee Bucks announcers. I thank God I only have to listen to them prattle on about Dan Gadzuric’s utter domination once a year.

  3. Those Blazers home announcers were some of the worst I’ve heard in the past 3 years of NBA league pass

  4. one of those mixed bag games for me, since i am rooting for Kidd…

    Still, i’m hoping the Lakers bounce back and come out with a W.

  5. We can’t lose this game to the Mavs, it won’t look good for us and this is a big game and we really need it.

  6. might see some Devean george on kobe today too, he can be pretty scrappy, in short bursts, not for the full 48, but still, he has something to prove to the Mavs, so watch out for him today.
    how’s the Mav’s bench? I’d like to see Farmar, Ronnie and Sasha tear it up when the 2nd units play, that might be our best option for a W today.
    playing Fish on Kidd seems right to me, both are vets, not super quick PG’s.
    LO on dirk is going to also be a huge matchup. LO has to make him play some D, burn up energy on both ends of the floor.

  7. oh, and Phx lost to the 76er’s at home last night, 2 and 4 in the Shaq era, next up for them is Portland in the Rose Garden, so we should really look to try to stretch our lead, time to focus, pull out a W, the west is too tight for a double L.

  8. Nice article on the Blazers. I was super impressed by Aldridge’s ability to drain the outside shots in the 4th quarter. There are times when Kobe is so determined to put the ball in the hole that regardless of what the defense is doing, he’s going to hit the shots. Not putting Aldridge on that level by any stretch, but he hit a lot of shots like that, where you just have to tip your hat to him.
    But seriously, what was up with those Blazers announcers? I know I’m spoiled growing up with Chick Hearn. But when they shouted “Phil, get off your throne” I turned the sound off for the rest of the game. And referring to Anthony Kiedis as a bandwagon Laker fan – come on.
    It’s a good thing this game’s on TNT because the Dallas announcers run a close second in horribleosity.

  9. There is fun read by Plaske on the LA Times right now:

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-plaschke2mar02,1,1581275.column?page=1

    Buss is so LA and I love everything about him (his desire to win, dating girls 50 years younger than him, the fact that he’s a fan, his desire to keep players throughout their career, his quirkiness). You can’t complain with the 13 Final appearances, and 9 rings; but let’s not forget about the Laker Girls, Light Out lighting at Staples, the supercool produced intro at the beginning of games. Everything is a step ahead of the curve at Staples and we can look straight to the top to see who’s responsible.

  10. way too tight for a double l. but as long as the suns loose more then we do, we are in a position to relax. ;)

  11. FOR PEOPLE WATCHING ONLINE

    I don’t live in LA, and I don’t have NBALP, so recently I’ve been discovering options for watching games online. I hope the following might be helpful for others in the same boat.

    If raptorsnation.net isn’t working, try these alternatives:

    http://www.janeironation.5gigs.com/cc.html

    http://www.channelsurfing.net/

    http://www.andromedanet.com/tvtuner_abc7kabc.html

    http://atdhe.fr/2.html

    http://magicalinks.info/

    http://www.myp2p.eu/competition.php?competitionid=&part=sports&discipline=basketball

    http://www.stoogetv.com/index.html

    IMPORTANT NOTE
    Each site has different requirements for what type of media player you need. Some use Windows Media, some are P2P sites and you have to have sopcast or some other media player that can stream P2P files. Janeironation is the best, and if you have the right plug-in, andromedanet is really good too. Some of these sites are more reliable than others, and reliability on a particular site can change from day to day. Adjust your expectations accordingly.

    Also, sometimes sites like these switch servers without notice. For example, the URL for janeironation recently changed from “5gigs.com/bb.html” to “5gigs.com/cc.html”. No warning, no explanation. So if you click one of those links and the site’s gone, just google the name of the site and you might find it again.

  12. Also, if there are any Mac users out there having trouble, let me know and I can try to help. (Emphasis on -try-).

    Enjoy the game today everyone.

  13. I can’t even put into words how bad those Blazers announcers are. They’re even worse than the Magic’s announcers. “You can bet Kobe will be taking the next 3 or 4 shots here”….and the basket by Luke Walton. I’ve never wanted to punch an announcer in the face before.

  14. 4 / 5 – I think you both hit on the point separately in your posts. This is a bounce back game, which makes it a big game. The Lakers are so good on paper right now and playing with such intensity that I don’t feel any team is necessarily a big game just because of the team (look at what the young, athletic teams have done to the Lakers, handing them their last two losses). I think what makes this game bigger than most is that we lost last game. We cannot lose two games in a row. Championship bound teams shouldn’t lose two in a row (especially this late in the season).

    Kurt – your post on the Blazer blog was very well-written and I really enjoyed it (plus you represented the Laker fandom in a positive light and seemed well received by the commentators). That Blazer team will pose a huge threat for the next decade. Nice work as always.

    I think this will be a big test for the Lakers, but I expect them to meet it with ferocity and victory. I expect a high scoring game today with both teams of one hundred. Normally I don’t make a prediction on score, but maybe my saying it will cosmically influence the team to win, so here it is:

    110 Lakers – 102 Mavericks

    Go Lakers! (Oh and I hope Van Gundy is on the broadcast team today. He’s hilarious. McLovin for an academy award….hilarious)

  15. I didn’t get a chance to read Friday’s thread until last nite, and I wanted to comment on a couple things from there.

    RE-SIGNING OUR FREE AGENTS

    There seems to be some confusion regarding the free-agent status of Mihm and Ariza. Both of those players are signed for next season, Mihm for $2.5 million and Ariza for $2.9 (http://hoopshype.com/salaries/la_lakers.htm). But both of them have an ETO (Early Termination Option, aka an opt-out clause) this summer.

    With Mihm, if he opts out I don’t think he’ll get a penny over the veteran’s minimum due to his injury problems. He basically hasn’t played in two seasons, so it’s a good bet he’ll choose to stay. Ariza is still somewhat of an uproven commodity and hasn’t really had a chance to show everything he’s capable of this year, with adjusting to the triangle and now his injury. I think he’ll choose to come back next season and try to score a mid-level type contract in the summer of ’09.

    Personally I think Vujacic and Turiaf are both absolutely essential to re-sign. Sasha has transformed into a dynamite shooter, he’s young and fearless, and a perfect backup to Kobe. Guys like that are hard to find. Turiaf provides defense and shotblocking off the bench, his scoring has improved, and the joy he brings to the game is contagious.

    If Ariza opts out we should definitely re-sign him too. His perimeter defense and athleticism are important, and I think in time he’ll improve as a shooter.

    POTENTIAL PLAYOFF SEEDINGS

    It looks like the Lakers & Spurs are headed for the top 2 seeds, while Utah is locked in at 4.

    My ideal seedings would be:
    - Spurs (1) vs. Warriors (8)
    - Lakers (2) vs. Suns (7)
    - Hornets (3) vs. Rockets (6)
    - Jazz (4) vs. Mavs (5)

    On the one hand, it would be awesome to finish with the best record in the West, but I actually want the Lakers to finish second for a couple of reasons. First I really want to beat Phoenix, and I really want to do it in the first round. I think the Suns (2-4 since acquiring the Big Cactus) might slide down to seventh, but not all the way to eighth.

    I am absolutely DYING for the rematch with the Suns. We were one rebound in game 6 away from the upset two years ago, and we got crushed (or Smushed) last year. This year I think we’ve got their number. The Return of Shaq provides a juicy storyline, but really this is just two teams that hate eachother, and this time we’re going to kill them. If we don’t get to play them this year, I will feel cheated.

    Second, who wants to play the Jazz in the second round? Not me. I don’t think they’d beat us, but they’re very physical and they won’t be any fun to play. Rather let them pound it out with San Antonio while we get a less physically taxing series against the Hornets.

    The only team in the West that scares me is San Antonio. If we lose before the Finals, it will be to the Spurs. No one else in the West can beat us if Bynum’s 100 percent. I think we can beat the Spurs, but they still scare. With that said, I still want to play them. They’re the defending champs, and if we want the title we should earn it by going through them.

  16. Great preview as always Kurt. Who will the Mavs stick on Kobe to start? Probably Kidd, which means Kobe should really try to work the mid-post today. Defensivley, I don’t like Walton on Howard, I agree with you about putting Sasha in quick. I’d also even run Fish and Farmar together, to avoid Walton (negativley) impacting the game. Hopefully Lamar can stay outta foul trouble, and we use the Kobe-Pau two-man game to carve them up

  17. Actually, Walton has been playing fairly well the past few games. He did get burned on defense (one of many Lakers) but had a very good game offensively.

  18. To Erichirsch: The game is on ABC not TNT.

    To Chris H: I can only pray that George guards Kobe, I heard that Kobe use to abuse George in practice. George does not have nearly the speed needed to keep up with Kobe. More likely we will see the much more talented and faster Josh Howard guarding Kobe for the majority of the game.

    I am looking forward to a very exciting and close game throughout. I expect the Lakers to come out very aggressive and with a sense of urgency on the defensive end as I am sure the Mavs are going to try and emulate the effectiveness of the Blazer pick and rolls.

    I agree with posts that the reason this is a big game is to avoid back to back losses, but I also think that we need to send a message to the opponent. We have to continue to beat the West’s elite teams if the Lakers want to be a contender in April. 3 of the Final 23 games are against the Mavs and there is only a slim two game advantage against them right now. This is definitely a season series that the Lakers would like to win. No one knows how the Kidd trade will pan out, but Kidd has taken much worse teams to the finals (albeit in the weak east) so you can’t count them out as they are a true title contender.

    Well the game is about to start enjoy the show!

  19. So much for the aggressiveness on the defensive end, as the Lakers are trailing 7-2 to start. Oh well, I guess this is going to be a long hard fought game.

    But to all of you Walton haters, he is looking pretty good so far with the jump ball a couple steals and a block already.

  20. Odom playing great D and Dirk to start

  21. Thank you for giving Northridge some love! All bandwagoners welcome. Do whatcha gotta do… even Kevin Love gets boring to watch sometimes and you gotta look for the next hot thang.

    Next game is another conference match-up against UCSB on Thursday. Head out to the Matadome and don’t forget to wear red!

  22. Sometimes I wish basketball had ‘advantage’ like futbol.

  23. Mike Breen knows where it’s at — he credited Joel Myers (but not Stu?) with “The Machine”.

    Does anyone know how the continuing swelling affects Drew’s return? Here’s what the LA Times had to say on Feb. 29:


    “I think it’s going well,” Lakers spokesman John Black said. “There’s the normal amount of pain and swelling that goes with it, but there have been no negative reactions.”

    Bynum has had three sessions in the pool and will have three or four more over the next week or so. If he feels no pain at that point, he will begin jogging slowly on the treadmill, gradually increasing his speed and distance.”

    That makes it sound to me like the remaining swelling is normal and that the most important thing is the lack of pain, which Andrew also mentioned. Obviously, the swelling has to go away at some point, but he’s still a month away from some of the estimates of his return.

  24. Kobe’s about one Dampier foul away from throwing a punch.

  25. drrayeye – Thanks for your response in the other thread. While I also would prefer not to win games by playing that way, I think any championship caliber team has to respond to and overcome any kind of hard physical play, whether they like it or not. Let’s hope the Lakers can do that, especially if we see them and/or the Pistons in the postseason.

  26. yea, he looks pissed.

  27. Forget Kidd’s effect on Dirk, he’s making Dampier look like Amare out there!

  28. Gasol is making Dampier look a great player out there. Hopefully he comes back in and gets it going. We’ve locked down Howard and Dirk, we should win this game.

  29. #11 – you rule.

  30. jeff van gundy with the oracular call! whew.

  31. lamar’s killing us in the final seconds of this game…

  32. So in that situation when we’re up by 3, why doesn’t Phil tell them to foul as soon as the inbounds pass is made?

  33. I always believe when you are up three with a few seconds to go, you foul everytime. Same way we got burnt against PHX in game six of the 2006 first round. I gotta have a talk with Phil about this.

  34. we have been trying to give this game away since the 2nd quarter. we got one more chance to make things right. dampier is out, dallas is gassed. I’d bring fish back in and hope kobe stays hot.

  35. Geeeez. Can I get a Kobe game winner this season? Even an attempt? Just one?

    Good deny by Kidd on that one.

  36. I’m surprised that the Mavs haven’t gone to the Terry-Nowitzki pick-and-roll more often, given that Farmar has been on the floor guarding the bigger Terry, and it’s given Dirk some good looks at shots. It’s been fun watching Kobe and Dirk go shot-for-shot, though.

  37. laughing hard March 2, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    KB24 for MVP. I think he answered all the doubters tonight.

  38. matt – Can you help me? I have a Mac and I can never get any of those sites to work, so I can’t watch any games until after the fact :(

    OK. The fact that as of right now Luke Walton has a better shooting percentage than Gasol, Fisher, Farmar, Sasha, Odom …. is kind of wtf. Dallas isn’t THAT good of a defensive team, is it?!

  39. im surprised that Farmar played the whole overtime plus the majority of the 4th qtr minutes.

    P.S. Thank you Kobe for scoring and rebounding….without him taking over we lose that game.

  40. Anyone else perturbed by Dampier’s harassment of Sasha on about 5 different pick’n’roll’s?

  41. Devean George 0-5. Sooooo glad we didn’t re-sign him, but also kind of feel for him.

  42. I’m Odom’s biggest fan and biggest hater at the same time.

  43. sasha was just chuckin em up there today…fish continued some bad shot selection. hes great at catch and shoot but other than that…

    kobe mvp

  44. MVP MVP MVP. Im preaching to the choir here but Kobe is amazing. He completely took over the game at both ends of the floor. The scoring ofcourse, but he also had a couple of big defensive plays, and some huge rebounds. Amazing. I don’t see how you could vote against him for MVP. Nothing against CP3 he is having an amazing season but Kobe is the best player in the league hands down.

    Odom did pretty good defensively on DIrk, made him work for his shots (Except that last player sending it into overtime where he didn’t stay with him). But Dirk is mayeb the best 7 ft player ever at the little 10 ft fade away.

    One more thing. Sasha “the machine” Vujacic has the best nickname for a role player in the league.

  45. Okay, so maybe I meant 108-104.

    Can someone please give Kobe Bryant the MVP trophy already. 52 points on 50%+ shooting and all his clutch free throws!

  46. Emma – What system & browser do you have?

  47. Gasol 14 rebounds

    Not bad for an ‘awful rebounder’

    Don’t you think reed?

  48. It seems like some teams are figuring out how we are using Gasol on offense and at the same time how to attack him on defense.

    Getting Bynum back is imperative. Unfortunately he seems to bedestined to be back sometime in April. That darn swelling won’t go away.

  49. Anybody have any arguments about giving #24 the MVP award? He does all this with a broken pinky too.

  50. On Gasol’s rebounding he isn’t very good overall. He has some good games where the ball bounces his way. He seems to have more desire to rebound on the offensive end so he goes after more rbs and pads his stats that way.

    He has NEVER average over 10 boards a game in his career. For a 7-footer that should be automatic.

    As reed has mentioned several times, we don’t need him for that. Bynum and Odom and even Kobe will cover for that. His offensive game is what makes us a dangerous team and I am personally enjoying this.

  51. 48. No question about who’s the MVP! KB24! I don’t see the debate. It would be a travesty for him not to get it.

  52. i watched lebron earlier against bulls…he’s truly phenomenal.
    BUT…

    KOBE just raised the standard…scoring 52 against Dallas (much better team compare to bulls) with +50% FGs…not to mention, FT come back from a cold first half (he did say that he’s shooting FT like crap when he was interviewed by michelle T) and he got 11 rebounds, two blocks, two steals, it’s just WOW

    2 of the rebounds also HUGE ones…one offensive after odom missed 2 FTs (btw, at the end of the game, why odom hold onto the ball knowing he’s poor in FT)

    anyway, it’s a good win…and this win proves that lakers is for real

    GO LAKERS!! KOBE MVP!!!

  53. Im feeling comment happy right now.

    I want to echo some of the commenters here about how scared I am of the Spurs. All the media has now jumped on the Laker bandwagon and nobody is talking about the Spurs. They quietly have gotten a better record (less losses) than the Lakers. They have also gone through some serious injury problems this year.

    The addition of Kurt Thomas for nothing helps them tremendously against us.

    What gives me some joy is that they can only scare me for one more year tops.

  54. Yeah I think there’s a growing consensus around the league that this is his year. As arguably one of the top-10 players of all time everyone knows that sooner or later he has to get at least one MVP. This year he’s finally doing everything his detractor’s have always said he didn’t do — consistently getting everyone involved, staying in the flow of the game and not forcing his shots, and scoring more efficiently with fewer field goal attempts. And when you throw in the Pinkie Factor, well, I think this is the year he simply cannot be denied.

  55. matt – I’m on 10.4.11 and I use Firefox or Safari, depending on the website …

  56. 47- The Lakers just won a hard fought game, let it go, we all like Gasol but he’s not Dennis Rodman. However, when Gasol came back in at the 7 minute mark he made some great impactful plays. 2 key block shots, some nice post moves and good shooting from the line.

  57. Gasol is a solid rebounder…that’s just not his priority. He can get the board when he needs to.

  58. does anybody know any updates about andrew’s status?

  59. Everytime Gasol gets more than 10 rebounds in a game, we will hear someone talk about how he’s an awful rebounder. If it means listening to that, I’m all for Gasol getting 10+ rebounds every game.

  60. Emma –

    The problem you’re most likely having, which I also had, is that most websites provide video and other media in the Windows Media (WM) format, but Microsoft has abandoned the Windows Media Player for the Mac (thanks Bill!).

    I downloaded and installed a free program call Flip4Mac, which basically acts as sort of like a bridge that allows Safari and QuickTime to play WM format audio and video. With Flip4Mac, WM format video plays automatically in Safari, or you can copy/paste the link into QuickTime (under the Open URL command).

    Here’s the link:
    http://www.flip4mac.com/products.htm

    The one you want is the green one, WMV. Download, run the installer, open the folder and drag the icon into your Applications folder, restart your computer, then go back to janeironation and try watching an in-progress game.

    Good luck, let me know how it goes.

  61. Tremble — Re: Bynum’s return date, this report in the LA Times was posted Friday:
    http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-lakerrep29feb29,1,3668048.story

    It sounds like it’s gonna be late March or early April, which would put it at a 10-12 week absence.

  62. matt – I do have flip4mac installed … but for some reason those websites have never worked. But you got it to work for you, yeah? Which website do your normally use?

    Was this only the second or third OT game this year or does my memory deceive me?!

  63. That was not Odom’s finest hour. Missed FT’s, getting lost on the 3 that put us in OT (as soon as the ball was inbounded he jumped towards kidd so that he couldn’t stay on Nowizki. Had he just stayed on Dirk he’d have room to get around the screens.), bad inbounds to Kobe in the final possession of regulation. Even Coby Karl giving him a hard time as they walked off the floor.

    Thank God Kobe was there to make up for it. The huge FT rebounds, the defense, being the floor general, the running hook shots in OT, It was beautiful to watch, if the rest of the team’s execution was worrisome…

  64. I love Lamar’s rebounds and he has been better defensively this year, but I have never liked his handling the ball at the end of qtrs or the game. He just does not do well under pressure. The play where he held onto the ball, instead of handing off to Sasha at the end of the game was an example. He had missed 2 freethrows earlier and was not on his game. He knew they would foul him, but still just froze up.

  65. I had seen that, but thanks Matt. I heard one of the announcers make a statement about him not returning until the playoffs so I thought there was an update on his injury.

  66. Damn, I had to work during the game! Does anyone know anywhere you can download the game?

  67. the lakers stunk it up most of the game, especially the second and third quarters. lots of dumb turnovers and horrible rebounding. kobe really put the team on his back to win this one. hopefully the next game against sacto (where i’ll be in attendance) will get them out of the funk.

    and lamar must have thought the game was over when he got that last rebound. gotta make the pass to sasha there!

  68. I usually download games I miss from this here:
    http://bt.davka.info/

  69. 63. I thought that Lamar played solid defense on Dirk forcing some tough shots. On the last play in regulation it seemed to me that Pau should have helped cover Dirk. On the offense though Lamar was Lamar.

  70. Em — janeironation always works for me, sorry it work for you.

    Are you able to get archive games to work?

    Another option is if you use Parallels or Crossover to run Windows, you can download Sopcast and use it with Explorer. With Sopcast you can use sites like MyP2P and andromedanet. I don’t do this, it seems like too much of a hassle, but I know people who do. If you’re already running Windows you might consider it.

  71. You might also try uninstalling Flip4Mac, then re-installing it.

  72. Who cares how good of a rebounder Pau is? When Bynum comes back we will be one of the best rebounding teams in the leauge period.

  73. when Kobe plays the 3 he is one of the Top rebounding players in the league at that position. I remember the year he broke into the starting lineup when rick fox got hurt at the 3. Kobe average 20-10 those 10 or so starts he got then.

    He has been in the starting lineup since. Now that the lakers are playing farmar/sasha/kobe at the same time Kobe’a rebounding numbers have gone up.

    Kobe has always like attacking at that position as well.

  74. Kobe vs. Lebron or Lakers vs. Celtics in the finals????

    I know there’s history behind lakers-celtics, but there’s no history with the present make-up of these teams, which means there’s not much history. But Lebron vs. Kobe, this could give us everything we’ve ever asked for. The debate can be settled. Kobe is at his prime, and so is Lebron. Let’s see who’s better! What do the rest of you think?

  75. I’d take Lakers vs. Cavs because it’s a much easier matchup than Lakers vs. Celtics. I’d rather see the Lakers win a title than see Kobe destroy Lebron, though Kobe would probably elevate his game to unseen levels if the Lakers make the finals this year.

  76. Thanks for all your help, matt!

  77. 74. The history is between the franchises, epic battles in the 60s and again in the 80s. Personally, I would love to see historic franchises as opposed to just an overhyped battle of individuals. And, I don’t think LeBron is in his prime yet, believe it or not.

  78. I think Cavs are a long shot to make the finals this year, It would be a toss up between Boston/Detroit. I just hope that the lakers don’t encounter multiple 7 games per round before the finals.(If they make the finals) Dallas, New Orleans, Houston, Utah, and the defending champs all have good chances. Phoenix lost its chances with Shaq, he’s a couple of years too old and too slow to make another run. The team we have to worry about the most is San Antonio, especially the way Manu is hitting multiple clutch shots lately. They added a solid Kurt Thomas and a so so Damon Studamire with Tony Parker back from injury they quietly took the #1 spot in the west. If Bynum can adjust quickly in time for the playoffs we have a good chance. If not we are in trouble.

  79. No problem, sorry I couldn’t do more.

  80. Great win, and in my opinion one of the most fun to watch games all season (right up there with the game against Phoenix on Christmas). Personally, I thought Sasha, despite having a terrible shooting night, did a good job harassing Kidd on defense in crunchtime. It was nice to see Phil leave Sasha and Jordan in that late in the game, despite their offensive struggles, and give them a chance to play good defense and gain some confidence in a close game against a very good team in a playoff like atmosphere. It’s that kinda confidence in his young players that will have them ready for these big games in the playoffs. And of course, hats off to Kobe for leading the team through it.

  81. Wow, that was an incredibly stressful game to watch. I could not believe Kobe missed all those FTs in the first half, it was amazing in itself.

    I could not figure out why Gasol was trying to fight Dampier down low instead of coming out and hitting the 15 footer.

    Overall incredible defense by Lamar, unfortunately he made the wrong choices in a few key plays including not shadowing Dirk, not handing the ball to the Machine, and missing 3 late FTs in overtime.

    Jeff van Gundy was incredibly entertaining and his knowledge of basketball is phenomenal. Obviously the best illustration was when he called that Kobe would beat Bass for that FT rebound.

    Sasha cannot run a fast break, he makes the wrong decisions and his passes were off target.

    Gasol disappeared for huge stretches of the game but he came up big in the end with key rebounds, blocks, and even had some steals.

    I wish Ronny could figure out how to block without fouling. He was always come up with spectacular plays but they are always whistled.

    Luke Walton cannot guard anyone not named Luke Walton.

    In a Seven game series right about now I am not sure the Lakers could beat the Mavs. We need Drew back to start thinking about a title.

  82. This was a really important win for the Lakers. Definitely a statement game (for MVP voters as well as fans). It was their first test against a Western Conference contender in the Gasol era (I don’t count Phoenix as a legit threat anymore). This was also a game where the shooters were off, Dallas put up a decent defensive effort, Lamar was timid, Gasol got pounded in the post and the ref’s blew an unusual number of calls (I’m not sure why, the NBA fielded a very good crew). But, despite their best efforts to lose, Kobe absolutely willed his teammates to victory. The best moment was when the camera caught him walking back to the bench after nailing two key free throws in O.T. and he kept chanting “no, we ain’t gonna lose today”. That’s Kobe Bryant at his best: fearless, unflappable, cocky and impenetrably focused. I have arguments (in my own head and with other people) about Kobe sometimes. He demands respect, but rarely wins true love from the public. There are some good reasons for this and he’s brought much of it on himself. But, like many great artists whose life stories read like perverse soap operas, in the end, his body of work will speak for itself. And this afternoon, he left us with a real masterpiece.

  83. Warren Wee Lim March 2, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Is Houston for real? I’m really thinking they will be the one to drop out of this race but it seems they are winning even more the more we doubt them. Now Denver just got pined by the hot hot hot Rockets for their 15th straight and Denver is dropping lower and lower.

    The Rockets have 23 game left and they still have to meet the Lakers once, Dallas once, New Orleans twice, Boston once, Phoenix twice, San Antonio once, Denver once and Utah once. That’s 10 games out of the 23 against really good teams. I still think they’re dropping off UNLESS Denver puts their act together.

    The Nuggets have 23 games to go as well. But this stretch of games they have lined up makes me doubt their abilities. Imagine: vs PHX, vs SAS, @ UTA, @ SAS over the next 4 games… and all in all, they still have to face: Phoenix thrice, San Antonio twice, Utah twice, Detroit, Houston and Dallas once. That’s 10 games as well out of their 23 remaining.

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

    Meanwhile, in Lakerland…

    the Lakers just pulled off an impressive victory over the Mavs – their hardest matchup over the next 5 games. I expect us to go 5-0 to begin March before we go into a mini road-trip by facing @NOH, @UTA, @DAL, @HOU.

    Out of the 22 games we have left, the L*kers will be facing: NOH twice, DALLAS twice, UTAH once, HOU once and SAN ANTONE once.

  84. part of the reason is Phil doesnt have any other options to put on the floor.
    Luke fouled out, then youre left with Sash Jordy and Ronny.

    man we are beating quality teams like the Mavs without Radman, Bynum, Ariza, Mihm.

    LAKE SHOW

  85. The refs were just not in the game. A lot of fouls not called, but whatever a win’s a win..hard fought though. If KOBE doesn’t get MVP this year, I don’t know what’ll do.

  86. The Dude Abides March 2, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    I don’t know if we should be complaining when we shot 50 FTs to 25 for Dallas. I’ve been out of the country for the past few weeks so I haven’t had the chance to see any games. Here in the Philippines, college ball is on every night, and the games are repeated throughout the day. Argggh! There is the occasional NBA game, but mostly recent NBA classics like 2006 Game 5 Heat-Mavs, which also get repeated (the Mavs didn’t get screwed quite as badly by the refs on the second, third, and fourth looks). Anyway, I like Matt’s breakdown of the predicted WC playoff matchups. It’s either going to be us or the Spurs as the #1 seed, and I would love a first-round sweep of Phoenix.

  87. I reallt thought the refs stunk it up today.
    I was also bothered by the Dampier pick on Sasha, he steamrolled him, and the hard fouls on Kobe were almost flagrant, could have been called, especially one time he wasn’t going for the ball at all.
    I thought Violet was the worst offender tonight.
    glad we won anyway, or I was going to blame this one on the refs.
    seems like LO can’t get a break on either end of the floor in the charge/block foul, dirk was dropping his head and shoulder and running LO off the floor, if it had been the other way, LO would have been called for charging…I think the refs have it in for him.
    where’s John R? I want to claim a conspiracy theory!

  88. lot of good points about this game have been harped on already:

    - questionable officatiing, at best

    - I was astounded when Van Gundy called (Doug Collins style) the Kobe rebound over Brandon Bass off a missed free throw towards the end of regulation. This was BEFORE it happened. Now Brandon Bass is not what I’d call a slouch on the boards, but Kobe just wanted it more. That is the essence of rebounding – desire (ok, and some timing). Something all the good rebounders have had. To beat on a beaten-down issue even more – Pau does not have the highest level of desire to board all the time.

    I will say this about our rebounding right now: We are outsized w/ Paul playing out of position at the 5. But we did a good job today of tapping balls that we could not initially grasp for a defensive board. We’ve been geting by on this so far. It’s no way to beat the San Antonio’s and the Utah’s of the Western Conference, though.

  89. We really need to stop complaining about the refs! Our team may be picking up our vibes and that is a terrible thing to have happen to them.

    On this day we won and we won tough. If we can’t take something from this win we aren’t championship caliber. Keep our nose in the grindstone and work these games one at a time.

    Also, keep in mind just exactly who votes for the MVP and don’t think Kobe can convince anyone just by his sheer will and talent. If people want to vote against him they will find a way and there is also nothing any of us can do about that either.

    Like Kobe, we have to keep our eye on the prize — don’t waver.

  90. This was a great win. Let’s see the roles of all Lakers players in their complexities.

    Kobe: In the first half, Kobe shot free throws like Shaq. If he had shot free throws as usual, we would have been ahead at half by 8 instead of 3–big difference in momentum. In the fourth quarter he was our “savior.” His intensity and focus are from another planet!

    Luke: He was our model for toughness and character. His stats were pretty good (4-8 for 11 pts, 6 rbs, 2 ast. 2 stl. 1 blk.). He was our Rick Fox–the Laker who never backed down. His defensive intensity was contageous. He will be needed desperately in the playoffs.

    Lamar: he will always be an enigma. His defense was terrific, his rebounding was solid, his offense was pathetic, and he fell apart in the clutch–even on defense. To add to the list: He even took one of his patented Oh! No! Dumb three point attempts at an absolutely crucial part of the fourth quarter. He sometimes seems to play like he wants to lose.

    Pau: The chameleon changes colors–playing out of position and showing it, but making key contributions in the clutch, including rebounds (14), blocks (2), tipped balls (?), steals (3), and assists (5) in a backup role. Led team in all support categories.

    The machine: Needs a lube job. Too much up chucking on three’s (1-10), terrific defense on Kidd, some key layups.

    Fish: solid, unspectacular game that he’s famous for.

    Farmar: as above, but he’s more inconsistent

    Ronny: stabilized team with his toughness–especially against Dampier. Lots of heat, but not too much light.

    None of them are perfect, but they are our Lakers–and we love them to death!

  91. Kurt – I think a big point that should be made is that Gasol is much less effective as a traditional post-up center. He has decent skills down there in the post, but when it’s dump-it-in-and-go-at-your-defender, it’s not pretty. I never liked it when Shaq grinded it out, but at least Shaq had the size to bully his defender.

    Gasol is gets much better looks on the pick-and-roll and the pick-and-pop situations. That maximizes the shooting range and dribble drive advantage that he has over other centers. Plus, it’s not the all-or-nothing affair that the standard post-up possession usually becomes.

  92. Kobe!!!

  93. Until the half-way point of the fourth, LO did a good job on Dirk, who was only 4-17 up to that point.

    After that, though, Dirk went into a less-flashy version of Kobe mode — hitting tough jumpers and drawing fouls. Kobe was asked about it post-game, and gave Dirk credit for knocking down shots with Lamar right in his face, saying that LO shouldn’t get down on himself in that situation: “you just gotta laugh at [it] … and go out and play.”

    Here are Dirk’s scores, from a non-expert’s eye (sorry in advance for the length):

    In the 4th:
    * 5:50: hits a fade away J over Lamar’s outstretched arm, after getting the ball in an iso on the right wing, and without putting it on the floor
    * 3:26: another iso on the right wing, Dirk lowers his shoulder and drives at the hoop and into Lamar, who’s forced to backpedal, and Dirk somehow spins it in
    * 2:38: a Farmar TO leads to a Kidd fast-break; Kidd hands off to Terry, who penetrates and dishes to Dirk under the basket, where Kobe fouls him going for the block; he hits 1-2
    * 2:08: more Dirk FTs after he backs down Lamar in the key, then spins into him (and flops, if you believe Mark Jackson); the play is set up by a pick-and-pop up at the arc with Terry, who drew Lamar and Jordan, but hit Dirk with a low pass that gave Lamar time to recover
    * 1:35: Dirk gets a backscreen from Dampier and comes across to the left wing to get the ball, backs Lamar down in iso, and hits one of his patented high-arc, turnaround, wrong-footed, fadeaway jumpers — can’t do much about that
    * 0:06: We all know what happened here. I do have something to add, though. I saw Pau’s post-game comments, where he regretted not contesting this three, since he saw the play developing. Sure enough, he was on Bass down by the basket, and started running out just as the screen was being set. However, he didn’t fully commit, so he was a few feet away when Dirk got the shot off, and didn’t bother getting a hand up (worried about a foul, maybe).

    In OT:
    * 3:41: out-of-bounds play after LO pokes the ball away from Terry after another screen with Dirk; Dirk’s at the FT line, gets a screen from Bass that leaves Lamar stumbling (leading Kobe to throw his arm in frustration after the play), and runs out to the arc to hit a three over LO, who still managed to contest (or at least fly by)
    * 2:39: not a score, but notable: Pau switches to guard Nowitzki, and Dallas continues to pick-and-pop with Dirk and Terry, which gets Dirk an open three after Pau stays with JT, but thankfully he misses
    * 1:49: Kidd gets the ball from the sideline, Terry screens of Pau at the FT line, and Dirk gets the ball and drives to the basket, drawing the bump from Pau; he hits both
    * 1:20: yet another Dirk/Terry pick-and-pop; this time Jordan and Pau switch, so Terry decides to take Pau off the dribble, then kicks it out to Howard, who makes the extra pass to Kidd in the corner, who misses the three; Dirk crashes the boards while Jordan is ball-watching, so he doesn’t meet any resistance, and Dirk gets the put-back over Sasha (with Pau on the other side of the rim)
    * 0:29: a couple of free throws after Kobe fouls him in the backcourt, going for the steal (after missing the behind-the-head layup)
    * 0:10: honorable mention: Dirk sets the screen for Kidd on his layup (but not and-one)
    * 0:04: another out-of-bounds play, Dirk basically runs in a circle from the top of the arc, and gets a screen from Kidd (who pops out to get the inbounds) then from Terry (which frees him up for Kidd’s pass). Pau trails him the whole way, though, and gets his arm up there to force Dirk to over-arc it and leave it short

    In short, a lot of pick-and-pop with Terry, a few tough contested jumpers, and some drawn fouls. Thankfully, we had our own MVP-caliber guy going shot-for-shot with him on the other end, and leading us to victory!

  94. Lots of good to take away from this game. The team really buckled down on defense in the end, but when Eric Dampier is effective, it raises questions about our interior defense. Pau is a decent defender, this has been covered many times here, but he just doesn’t have the size/muscle to bang with big bodies down low like Dampier.

  95. Pau is just holding down the fort until our true center returns, then we can enjoy watching him perform from the 4, and hope that with ‘drew back, they compliment each other all the way to the finals.

  96. (25) Emma,

    In the playoffs it will be different–and you may have seen a preview in this Maverick game. Even without Bynum or Ariza, the Lakers have Turiaff, Walton, Jordan, Fish, and Lamar to absorb a physical challenge–and don’t discount the other Lakers!

  97. One thing that bothered me about Lamar’s defense at the end.

    On the 3 that Dirk scored, and another play where I believe Dirk got a good look at a 3, Lamar chased and then “mini-flopped” coming around the pick.

    Instead of fighting through it, or anticipating, he used the screener to flail a little bit. It wasn’t a “flop to get a call” but more one of those “flop so the coach can see I really tried to get there” plays.

    Watch that clutch 3 that Dirk hit at the end of regulation. There’s no reason for that half-screen to derail Lamar’s motion so greatly — of course, there’s no reason for Lamar to lose concentration as soon as the ball’s thrown in anyway. You can see after Dirk inbounds it, Lamar watches Kidd and spaces out on Dirk for a half-second, and then it’s too late.

    I think that’s why on both that play and another in overtime, Kobe, was demonstrably disappointed in the defense.

  98. The Mavs are very good. The Jazz, Lakers, Mavs and Spurs are the only serious contenders in the West. The Suns are cooked. 2-4 with Shaq. It actually wouldn’t surprise me if they miss the playoffs. The Warriors and Blazers are plucky, but ultimately too anemic. Denver stinks. I mean, they STINK. New Orleans and Houston probably don’t have enough this year.

    The West is starting to shape up.

  99. Guys, the only blockroad in our path to the championship is the Spurs. Forget about all the other teams. We better hope to get Andrew back before playoffs and 100% healthy.

  100. 98, you gotta add the Jazz to the list. AK, Boozer, Okur as your front line matches up extremely well to Odom/Pau/Bynum (especially without Bynum) plus Deron Williams who would probably be arrested for manslaughter if he was let loose on our PGs

  101. Renato Afonso March 3, 2008 at 3:59 am

    I honestly believe that our path to the Finals won’t be through the Jazz. The Jazz are going to win the division, and I see them being knocked out by Phoenix in the first round…

  102. JodeteIgnorante March 3, 2008 at 6:27 am

    hmmm… where is the guy who said that Pau is an awful rebounder? looks like his hiding now.. hmm… what a shame :D

  103. I don’t think people need to be complaining about the refs. They were not that bad. They let them play rough, but that made it feel like a playoff game. The only problem I had was that Dampier was setting illegal screens all game long (especially in the first quarter, but he did it a few time in the 3rd and 4th as well) and they never called the foul. Also they should have called at least one technical on Dampier for the hard fouls on Kobe where he was not going for the ball; at the very least when he hip checked Kobe on the fast break, thats how people get hurt.

  104. For all the people calling out Reed (kidding or not) about Pau’s rebounding, did you watch the game? If you actually did, you will notice that Pau had 4-5 rebounds off of free throws alone. Even Van Gundy was talking about it. He said that free throw rebounds are too easy and that players on the same team will fight over them all the time because they are so easy and pad your stats. He also had 3-4 rebounds where everyone was getting back on defense and didn’t attempt to rebound. I paid more attention due to Reed’s analysis and you will notice that his statement is true more often than not. Pau has still played great for us and I’m glad Phil tried to go to him late in the game to see how he would react. Can he score when the game is on the line against a tough opponent? I thought he did well, especially the two clutch free throws at the end.

  105. Hiding? The numbers speak for themselves. By any decent sample size (time with LA, season, career), he’s a below average rebounder for someone of his size/skill. One game doesn’t alter that. I’m not worried about it as he does well enough and Bynum and Odom will have his back. He provides the creative triangle scoring that they can’t, so it’s a great fit.

    What I’m really worried about with Pau is the pick and roll defense. Dampier abused him on it yesterday. Aldridge did in the two Portland games. Pau looks pretty solid man to man, but get him out on the perimeter defending screen plays and things get ugly fast. He neither shows well enough to take out the guard or rotates well enough to take away the big’s roll. Just a disaster waiting to happen against the Spurs, Jazz, or Suns — teams with really great pick and roll combos. Hopefully he figures this out before the playoffs.

  106. Agree with Troy. Also, has anybody else had the same perception that Kobe has been quite lazy fighting over screens the last few games? Obviously he’s already shouldering a huge load and expending a lot of energy on offense and often times guarding the opponents’ best wing.

    But especially against the Blazers and to a lesser degree against the Mavs, Kobe neither quickly fought over a screen to get back to his man nor tried to switch but kind of trailed the play and made the rest of the Lakers’ defense rotate all over the place. I didn’t pay much attention to this early in the season but since they don’t have an imposing shot blocker right now to funnel penetrating guards to, this has seemed a noteworthy weakness to me.

  107. Calling out Reed? Pretty funny stuff…

    We’ve seen enough of Pau to know what his strenghts/weaknesses are. Steve Nash could have a 7 steal game….does that make him a great defender? Numbers don’t tell the entire story.

    And I agree with Reed on Pau’s screen/roll D. He needs to show and recover to his man….sometimes he does one or the other, but rarely both effectively on the same play. Bynum and Ronnie have been strong at this all year, but Pau is leaving a lot to be desired in this area. I also think Pau has hit a wall in the past few games. He has still been pretty effective, but banging agains Pryzbilla (twice) and Dampier seemed to bother him some. They have the size to lay off him to deny his penetration and the length to still challenge his jumper, while also having the strength to body him when he drives the lane. Pau’s numbers were still good, but he looked a little off his game against these guys. But hey, you can’t shoot 60% forever (unless you dunk everything like Bynum).

  108. I think these last two Laker games have really shown how much the team relies on 3-pt shooting to be effective. Without any of their key guys being able to hit from the outside, it allows opposing defenses to key too much on Pau and Odom inside. 5-27 on Friday and 5-23 yesterday is no threat at all for opposing teams and isn’t going to keep them honest. Odd that Fisher, Farmar and Sasha all are slumping at the same time, but at least they all appear to be trying to shoot their way out of it. When they hit their shots it forces teams to honor them, thus opening up the inside game and the screen-roll plays with Kobe and Pau.

  109. 106. & 107.-

    I don’t think the problem was with Pau showing poorly (even is he shows poorly, his length is still going to bother most pgs), it was by having Pau show against Jason Kidd in the first place. The guy is not going to score a high % coming off of a pick (whether he takes the jumper, puts up a runner, or drives for a contested layup- he’s only dangerous while shooting after receiving a pass flat footed and going straight up for a jumper, thus the .365 3fg% this year), but he will beat you every time with a pass if you show against him.

    If you noticed later in the game when we stopped showing and in fact stopped sending bodies at him every time he got past his man (e.g., those strange plays we he and Sasha were doing circles around each other), he was no longer effective.

  110. Oops, I meant 105. & 107.

  111. The thing about the Lakers is that they are a young team. When the going gets rough inside they tend to just go to the 3pt line and hang out. Lamar isn’t young, but he also tends to do this on offense when it is really rough inside. I think this is one of the main reasons Phil likes to play Luke more minutes than we fans would prefer – he does get inside and mix it up, even when it is rough.

    We look at Bynum and Ariza as people who will add our own toughness. I suspect Phil is trying to get the other players to toughen up down low so that Kobe isn’t the only one driving the lane. Kobe will be injured if he is the only one doing this. I also feel Phil should let Turiaf have more minutes for this very reason.

    All that being said, we are a pretty good team right now – without Bynum and Ariza – and I think we have to think now, rather than when Andrew comes back.

  112. Note: new post up on last night’s contest.