Preview and Chat: The Dallas Mavericks

Kurt —  March 18, 2008

Records: Lakers 45-21 (2 seed); Mavericks 44-23 (7 seed)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 113.7 (5th); Mavericks 113.2 (6th)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 106.4 (6th); Mavericks 107.0 (8th)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Vladimir Radmanovic, Lamar Odom, Ronny Turiaf
Mavericks: Jason Kidd, Josh Howard, Jerry Stackhouse, Dirk Nowitzki, Eric Dampier

Lakers Notes: Some good news from Kevin Ding over at the OC Register – Gasol is off crutches, Bynum has no swelling and Ariza is out of his boot.

And in case you are curious, here is what an anti-gravity treadmill looks like (the kind Bynum has been working out on). (Hat tip to Jeremy at Pickaxe and Roll.)

All reports are that the Lakers are keeping their heads about them during this recent run of play, which is good. Every report out of practice yesterday was about the light atmosphere. Let’s hope that the majority of the practice was spent working on defensive rotations. But I don’t think panic is a good thing.

The Mavericks Coming In: I guess I can write whatever I want about the Mavericks, Cuban isn’t going to think I know too much anyway. (By the way, Henry from True Hoop, Andrew K from the LA Times Lakers blog and the Dallas Morning News blogger that started this whole thing are all going to the game in Dallas tonight. Should be interesting.)

The Mavs come in on a five-game win streak. But before you say “they must have figured it out with Kidd” look at the opponents — New Jersey, New York, Charlotte, Indiana and Miami. If you need time to work on some things, playing the worst of the Eastern Conference is a good time to do it. Tonight, then the upcoming games against Boston and San Antonio, will tell us a lot more about just how good they are now.

One thing we do know, regardless of the opposition, Dirk is playing like an MVP again. In his last 10 he’s been scoring 26 a game shooting 55.2% (eFG%) and 51% from three, and he’s getting to the line 7.4 times per game. Plus he’s grabbing 8 boards a game.

Kidd certainly has upped the assist quotient for the Mavericks, but you can question whether Kidd’s pass first mentality has spread to the rest of the team. Kidd is averaging 10 points and 9.2 assists per game in the last 10, and the less attention he is getting from defenders has dramatically improved his shooting, especially from three — he is hitting 60% from three in the last 10, picking his spots taking 2.3 per game.

Also, Jason Terry is now coming off the bench, providing a little more scoring for the second unit of the Mavs.

Last time these two met: We can only hope this game is as entertaining as that one. The Lakers won it in overtime 108-104 behind 52 from Kobe.

Keys To The Game: Historically the Mavs have had trouble stopping Kobe, and without Pau Kobe wants to take on more of the offense anyway. Last game in the key moments the Mavs tried to stop Kobe with either Stackhouse or Kidd, and neither is really up for that task. Bottom line, should be a good night if Kobe is on your fantasy team. However, for the Lakers to win there likely will need to be some balance from someone else. Hopefully the Lakers can get Odom going early.

With Kidd at the helm the Mavericks are running more than they used to, so the Lakers need to get back in transition. One key to that is being more active on the boards — remember Dampier had 17 boards and looked like a stud last meeting, Ronny needs to outwork him and not let him control the glass.

While he is shooting better since relocating to Texas, you’d still rather force Kidd to shoot than pass. Go under the pick. Odom has traditionally done a fairly good job on Dirk and he needs to be up to that task tonight.

The bench needs to play better, particularly on defense, not letting Terry or Bass get hot.

Defensive rotations. Help the helper. Contest the shot but don’t foul. Important things the Lakers have not really done well lately, but need to tonight from the opening tip.

Oh, if the Lakers are up three late and the Mavs are going to take a last shot, foul.

Where you can watch: The game is at 5:30 pm. (Pacific) on KCAL (9) or League Pass everywhere else.

Kurt

Posts

94 responses to Preview and Chat: The Dallas Mavericks

  1. Even with the addition of Kidd, Dallas still runs a lot of isolation sets, so hopefully our defense won’t be *as* tested with movement (like with Sacto) or the type of screen and roll play that has hurt us recently (like against…every team we’ve played). And I’m with Kurt here, Kidd has been shooting it better, but going under the screen is still the formula against him. Make him make his first 3 or 4 before you honor him. And I also agree with Kurt, on Dampier. We need to body him up and out hustle him to the glass. We can’t allow him to dominate the boards again. I think Ronny will put up a better fight than Pau did last game (when Pau only grabbed rebounds in arms reach and did not want to bang bodies with Damp at all).

    On offense, I hope to get some better ball movement. Without Pau (and Bynum…man I miss those dunks), our screen/roll sets are not nearly as effective, so I hope to see less of that and more cutting/motion/actual triange offense being utilized. We need to get back to that crispness that we saw earlier in ’08 when everyone was making the right reads, setting good screens off the ball, and making hard cuts. I would not mind seeing Odom on the block some either. Even if he doesn’t get deep position, he can play a little turn and face game with Dirk and try to attack the middle and get a good look for himself or for Fish or Rad on the backside.

    And on a side note, does anyone know why Dallas never really uses Howard on Kobe? He’s a pretty good defender, has some length, and is easily their best athlete. There were times last game where Stack/Kidd/George were just getting blown by, and Howard is on the weakside guarding Walton. Don’t get me wrong, I’m perfectly okay with Kobe blowing by those guys, but I was just wondering if anyone has any thoughts.

  2. I think Sasha needs some run tonight. And Mbenga needs to log about 10-15 minutes, with a lot of them coming against Dampier. This would allow Turiaf time against their smaller people and perhaps result in fewer fouls early.

  3. That’s a great question about Josh Howard on Kobe. Right after Bynum went down (January something?) Dallas beat us and there was a good stretch with Howard shutting Kobe down. I think he still dropped 35 or more on them, but it sure wasn’t 52 like he had in the last OT win. As a side, I sure hope those bloggers sit near Cuban…interesting if they have enough space in the arena.

  4. The two main things that we need to do tonight and going forward. 1)Run the offense with confidence and precision. 2)Rotate and help on defense as a team

  5. Darius, I wondered the same thing, because I remember Howard having success. Maybe they are saving him for a special occasion.

  6. I remember Howard having an awful game against us last time. Maybe he was coming off injury?

    Cuz like you guys pointed out, he would be the most logical player to put on Kobe. If we win this game tonight, we’re going to have to EARN it. Dallas has only lost 4 games at home. Next team we play (Utah) has only lost 3 home games all season. So to be honest/realistic, I would be happy with a split – even if it means we went 1-3 on this road trip. I’m confident that we’ll get one of these road games. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. Repeatedly.

  7. It would be nice to have more than one guy (outside of Kobe, that is) get hot tonight. Seem’s like it’s been a while since we had one of those games where Fish, Sasha, and Radman are all hitting jumpers on the same night.

  8. 6- It would make sense for Howard to be a good defender, but the 2006 season really ended that argument, if you take into account Kobes 62 in 3 qtrs and D-Wade almost single-handedly (with the refs) beating them.

  9. This LIttle Pinky March 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    The current blogging controversy strikes me as very similar to the modeling industry. There are tons of beautiful people (and some not so beautiful) who claim to be models. And some of them are “models”, by virtue of having been hired. But that’s why they (the public/media) came up with the “supermodel” tag, to differentiate the “real” models from the second tier ones, and ones in name only.

    Therefore, I now pronunce “True Hoop”, “Forum Blue and Gold” and “The L.A. Times Lakers Blog” as SUPERBLOGS. The rest are just ordinary blogs.

    SUPERBLOGS are allowed into any arena, just as supermodels get into any nightclub they wish!

  10. If we can keep Kidd from penetrating and dishing (which he’s great at and we’re terrible at defending) I like our matchups. Turiaf is going to scrap against Dampier, which Pau wouldn’t do last time and made Damp look like an all star. Odom on Dirk is a nice battle. Radman and Stackhouse I’m not worried about. Kobe and Howard, we’re all wondering about that one I think. And then there’s Kidd. Fish can’t hack it, at least not with his latest efforts if they’re to be repeated. Jordan isn’t physical enough to contain Kidd, so I think we’d be best telling Sasha to lay off the many, many three point attempts and D-up. He’s 6’7″ and very active. Could give Kidd trouble if he was coached to it. Otherwise we might be in for another long night…

  11. 9. I believe that is the first time anyone has compared me to Cindy Crawford or Gisele in any way, shape or form.

  12. I think the biggest difference right now is the Mavs have depth and balance, while the Lakers are sorely lacking in that department. Anyways, I hope Kobe can play a great game tonight. Not just attack and attack, but you know, make some good passes and play solid D. I would like to see Lamar demand the ball (like that’ll ever happen in my lifetime) and also just more energy overall from our players.

    Just my personal feelings on Howard: I do not think he is that a good a defender as his reputation is. I saw Ginobili toying with him when the Spurs last faced the Mavs and I read an article by Stan McNeal from The Sporting News saying that Howard is overrated as a defender. He doesn’t have good balance and is prone to gambling instead of staying in front of his man.

  13. The Lakers are looking somewhat crisp defensively (except a few open backdoors)

    Thoughts?

  14. Good quarter, we look focused.

  15. Did anyone just catch a bit of the Mario theme at the end of the first quarter, or was it just me?

    Anyway, Lakers are looking good so far. Not too many forced shots, but Odom really needs to use his right hand sometimes.

  16. Agreed, I love their ability to maintain their defensive movement – the LO missed lay-up was sad though.

  17. Nice first quarter they put together. I finally see a team that understands that injury excuses can only get you so far (and not into the playoffs). Good defense for the most part, good urgency and hustle, knocking down shots and rebounding. Turiaf is a beast, my God. This is the drive and determination we need to see. Hey, injuries happen in the playoffs too and great teams step up and get it done. These guys needed a few games to find that groove, but maybe they have here tonight. And the beat goes on…

  18. Great to see Turiaf and Mbenga try to protect our rim. Movement off the ball has been good on offense.

  19. get VladRad out of there.

  20. Lakers Bringing Fear To The NBA March 18, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    Guys, theres an update that bynum wont be back until the playoffs.
    Bummer….
    Well the lakers are having a good game so far.
    Let see if they can keep it up for the whole game and not just 2 qaurters.

  21. excellent basketball.

    excellent…. im so happy.

  22. 20. Where’d you read that?

  23. 22. From the AP: Phil Jackson said Bynum won’t be back until the playoffs.

  24. Lakers Bringing Fear To The NBA March 18, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    Well i was watching college hoops on ESPN, then on the bottom of the screen said that Bynum is most likely out until the playoffs.
    Dont know exactly where the sources came from, but thats where i got it.
    Hate to kill a good game by the lakers with an upsetting news.

  25. Lakers Bringing Fear To The NBA March 18, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    Watching the Boston/Houston game rite now.
    Interested to see if the Rockets can extend their winning streak, but to be honest, Laker fans should cheer for Boston and get us back to a tie for 1st place if we win against Dallas.

    Lets see if LA can hold their 21 point halftime lead.

  26. 26 I hate rooting for Boston but a Celtics win is indeed better for the Lakers.

    Sad news about Bynum. But I wasn’t expecting a quick recovery from an injury like that.

  27. Kobe needs to keep the ball moving, no need to deviate from what was working.

  28. love the interior defense tonight from Turiaf and DJ.
    Take a good look, Pau Gasol. That’s how you help the team defense by being fearless.

    the bynum update is a little depressing.

  29. Warren Wee Lim March 18, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    I don’t know with you but Kobe’s acrobatic shot deserves to be #1 in the countdown. ESPN sportscenter material!

  30. Glad to see Kobe go to the bench. He wasn’t playing great d and he became a black hole.

  31. This has to be the worst refereed game ever. I’ve never seen it this one-sided.

  32. This quarter will tell us something about the Lakers.

  33. Warren Wee Lim March 18, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    The Lakers are playing a dangerous game in the last 3 mins of the 3rd. Dallas cuts the lead from 25 to 12 in that stretch and we are extremely lucky we are still up by 12. Seriously. Any firemen out there?

  34. Kobe goes to the bench and Dallas makes a run. Coincidence? The offense has gone down the tank…and Jet makes a buzzer beater. C’mon Lakers.

  35. Fish needs to come back in this game. Jordan has no control over the tempo of this game.

  36. Warren Wee Lim March 18, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    That’s what 30m is for Vlade!

  37. When will the Lakers ever figure out that they have to guard the three ball? It’s infuriating.

  38. Unbelievable.

  39. same as the last time. hopefully they can hang on this last 1 point lead:(

  40. Warren Wee Lim March 18, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    Clutch Clutch Lamar.

  41. Lamar hits clutch FT’s!

  42. The Lakers gave up a lot of rebounds this game. Will be interesting to see if PJ wants the Lakers to foul this time around.

  43. Lakers Bringing Fear To The NBA March 18, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    Funny how we dissed lamar on his free throws last game…

    Crunch time free throws made there…

  44. yep! let kidd to shoot those 3s

  45. Lakers Bringing Fear To The NBA March 18, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    Wow, big free throws and FIsh just had to miss one…

    Could have been an easy win if fish made both..then foul to keep Dallas from tying it with a 3…

  46. Fish and Sasha miss a FT each while Lamar makes two.

    3 Point game. Let’s see if they will finally foul.

  47. or if sasha made both of his etc…

  48. Lakers Bringing Fear To The NBA March 18, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    Ridiculous how we let Dallas come all the way back and gave Dirk a decent look.
    Wow.
    But a win is a win and we needed this one badly.

  49. what a game!

  50. this win told me the Lakers aren’t foldin tent, injuries or not. gut-check time, and we answered it.

  51. Phew!

  52. good win, though got lucky at the end, why did avery make josh howard do the entry pass when he has one of the best passers in the league on his team?? Mavs got breaks with the missed free throws but avery had some questionable decisions at the end of the game imo

  53. Phew. Good win by the Lakers!

  54. Warren Wee Lim March 18, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Now its up for Portland and Boston to help us out…

    WHEWWW !!!!

    That game would have been satisfying if not for the 25-pt lead. Imagine if that lead was merely 22, we would have lost!

  55. I hate the Mavs…. with that said, GO LAKERS!!!
    Pau, Andrew and Trevor pleeeeease come back healthy so we could avoid these nailbiters.

    A win is a win but I’d rather blowouts — these games are not good for my (our) health

  56. Boy, the end of this game took about a year off my life. A win is a win though, and we really needed it.

  57. Why do the Lakers like giving their fans heart attacks?

  58. They keep moving the timetable on us with Andrew-Anyone think he’ll actually be out there in the third round? Can we win without him? How about a lineup of Ronny, Gasol, Lamar, Kobe, and Fish-would definitely help our defense and inside presence.

  59. Sorry, meant the first round.

  60. I think we need to approach things like Houston. We should not be afraid to go small (like we did tonite with LO at C and Vlad at PF), but when Pau is back, we can go big with Pau and DJ and LO, or Pau and Ronny and LO.

  61. Word, Muffino y Scum.

    Bizarre how the end of the game
    seemed like a Groundhog Day
    revisiting of previous match–
    without the need for OT, thank
    heaven. Radman, stay fired up
    and use that phys in the paint.

    Bless you Ronny,
    but we need you alive, man.

    Surely DJ can spot for
    him for a couple of five-min spells
    to keep him out of foul trouble
    and out of the photog bank.

    Mental lapse contributed to that
    scoring drought and missing
    those frees, but the panic did not
    rise high enough to cause the errs
    that used to occur in a game like
    this.

    I sure would like to see Forum Blue
    put a beatdown on Utah– not
    likely with that crew, but I’d
    prefer no more “test of where
    this team is” games this week.
    I only got so much fist-pumping
    room in the cubicle.

    – 5 -

  62. I hate to say this, but Boston is awfully good. Second night of a back to back and after beating the Spurs last night they’re up 21 on Houston in the 4th. Picking up Cassell was a great move for them.

  63. what a game…wow…glad we prevailed, but it was tough and we knew dallas had a run in them, but to go from 25 pt lead…wow… at least we got the W…
    wow…i’m exhausted from this game, and i think it might have been one of my favorites to watch this year.
    loved that shot of Cuban with his head in his hands at the end…hahahah

  64. There was a game kind of like this a couple of years ago in Houston. It was right after the Lakers had come back from a big deficit to win against Houston at Staples, and the Lakers had, I believe, a 25-point lead at Houston, in the fourth quarter–and managed to cough up all but one of those points. Eventually ended up winning by four or something like that. Took a couple of years off my life.

    Hopefully, whatever happens in Texas, stays in Texas. Let’s play our first half tonight against Utah, too.

  65. Looks like Boston will finally end Houston’s streak. In related news, the 1973 champion Dolphins sent the 1973 champion Lakers a memo of congratulations and relief.

    Too early to tell on Phoenix at Porty, but my guess is that the Suns will prevail there. Keeping my fingers crossed, though.

  66. I’ll take the win. Gotta win these games when Vlad Rad is on, that’s a wild card that really needed to come into play tonight. Also, I am mightily encouraged by the sight of Lamar canning two pressure free throws.

    Kobe’s 360 layup was pretty sensational. The only other time I’ve seen something like that was when Big Game James did it at Golden State in his rookie year.

  67. Nate Jones-Phoenix is looking good, Shaq has been rebounding the last few games better than he has this whole decade. They will not be an easy out if Shaq can sustain this defense and rebounding act.

  68. First quarter
    Tipoff: John Ireland needs a better light. He looks like he’s telling a campfire story. He relays how Kobe came to the dallas arena the night of the loss. That’s all good and well, but extra shooting isn’t going to help them guard the pick and roll.
    11:41 – Josh Howard kicks things off by poppin one off in Lamar’s eye. Lamar asks for the eyewash to alleviate that sting.
    11:40 – Radmanovich does an excellent job taking the ball out. This will probably be the highlight of the night for him.
    11:23 – Vlad Rad steps on the baseline on a backdoor cut. Good job VladRad, this court is clearly shorter than every other court in the NBA.
    10:50 – Fisher gets rejected. I’m going to copy that phrase to the clipboard right now.
    10:42 – VladRad drains a corner three.
    10:29 – Dampier decides he’s going to use ronny’s body as a sidewise trampoline. Dunk by Dampier.
    10: 10 – VladRad is determined to prove me wrong. Driving layup with help coming late. VladRad 5, Dallas 4
    9:39 – Fisher decides to dust the top of the backboard with the basketball. Unfortunately, this is not worth any points.
    9:15 – dampier stuffs lamar’s drinvg right hand layup. Foul sends Lamar to the line. I’ve always wondered why lamar doesn’t use his right more. Maybe that’s the answer. Crowd boos the replay. Very clean up top but got him down low. Lamar actually makes both free throws. Haven’t seen hi m do that in a while.
    8:45 – Last possession Lamar attacked the basket and gets rejected by dampier. Dallas quickly the other way and Josh howard draws the foul. I think this is a good time to point out that Kobe has used that extra shooting session to take a grand total of no shots in the first three and a half minutes. I’m glad he showed his dedication to the game in such a meaningful way.
    8:16 – Josh Howard back at the free throw line. His headband is inside out. I think you should know this.
    7:57 – Apparently Lamar is our number one option. He’s decided to take on the entire Dallas team by himself. Spinning fadeaway jumper is no good. No word yet on whether Kobe and Lamar switched jerseys before the game.
    7:23 – Brandon bass enters the game. He looks familiar.
    7:14 – Kobe decides he’ll shoot and he makes a 14 foot jumper.
    6:59 – Lakers force a turnover and VladRad takes it the length of the court. He’s apparently trying out for the local lacrosse team as he basically scoops it out of bounds under the basket. The NBA also does not award points for this skillful maneuver. Dallas ball. Josh howard takes it hard to the rack and Turiaf decides he’s had enough of that. Ronny roofs him.
    6:43 – Lamar takes it hard to the hole and the imposing defensive presence that is Dirk Nowtizki blocks Lamar. Kobe gets the ball off the inbounds play and strokes a 20 footer. I’ll try to keep my usage of the word “strokes” to a minimum.
    6:15 – Ronny comes from the weak side to deny Stackhouse the slam dunk. Is it too late for Stackhouse to take those 30 days off?
    6:00 – LA 11, DAL 14
    5:52 – Ronny lays the ball in the basket with the gracefulness of a sledgehammer. In other words. Dunkalicious.
    5:14 – Kobe tough pull-up jumper over Howard. Nails it.
    4:36 – Lamar draws two defenders and kicks it out to Ronny at the top of the circle. Ronny drills that.
    4:14 – Kobe has a wide open shot but holds it a second so that the rushing defender will think he has a better chance of blocking it. Turns out, he did not. Kobe nails the triple. Lakers up 20-16.
    3:32 – vladRad gets a tip in off a kobe miss. I think I could’ve tipped that one in. Good hustle. This crowd is pretty sad. No life whatsoever. Not even when Dallas makes their free throws.
    2:59 – A ballerina impression by Lamar. Left-handed awkward layup. Given the results of the right-handed attempt earlier, I think it’s safe to say we’ll be seeing a lot more awkward left-handers before we see another right-hander.
    2:49 – Stu doesn’t want to credit the good shooting by Kobe so far to the extra shooting John Ireland told us about earlier. He didn’t offer an alternative hypothesis though, strangely enough. You think maybe he DID want to credit the extra shooting session? Hmm. Imagine that.
    2:23 – If I’m anyone on the Lakers, I refuse to pass Luke the ball while he’s open. He just took a wide-open 14 footer and airballed it. It was too long by about a foot and a half. I’m pretty sure you could make the basket 36” across and luke would still manage to shoot a poor percentage. Everything about Luke’s shot looks great until you see how far off it is. He’s the best looking shooter out there who can’t hit the rim. I wonder if they have that award in the NBA. The Luke Walton Award they could call it.
    1:12 – Luke receives the ball in the post. He’s guarded but decided he’s going to shoot anyway. Shot is stuffed. He gets it back. Shoots again. Stuffed again. Foul called on Dallas. Bad call but they felt sorry for him. After the free throws, lakers up 26-21.
    00:49 – Ronny has JET under the basket and JET decides that holding onto Ronny like a Koala is the defense of choice here.
    00: 46 – They show Avery Johnson shouting something to his team while they dribble up the court to set up on offense. I’m pretty sure he insulted Phil Jackson’s mother. Phil could carry Avery as a clutch purse. I’m betting on Phil throwing his zen necklace at the Little General at some point in this game and Avery jumping rope with it.
    00:23 – Lamar goes coast to coast and misses the awkward left-handed layup, wide open. He knows better than to try with his right. Stu says he should’ve used his right. I think Stu wasn’t watching earlier when Lamar tried that. It didn’t go as well as you’d hope if you are a Lakers fan.
    Start of 2nd Quarter: Tony Romo is sitting with Jessica Simpson and gets interviewed by John Ireland. They both decide they are rooting for the Mavs. My sister’s observation, “Whoa. She looks bad.” Jessica was probably hoping there was radio only at this game because she forgot the makeup.
    11:15 – Sasha makes a steal and dribbles upcourt on a one man break. Two Mavs defenders beat him back. Sasha makes it look like he’s running through wet concrete. After the “break” fails, he drills a 3.
    9:56 – DJ Mbenga comes into the game. He puts his hands on his knees during the free throws as if he’s winded. Maybe it was hard work sitting on the bench for 14 minutes.
    9:43 – while josh Howard is shooting free throws (again) Sasha puts his arm up over his head in a very awkward maneuver. Ladies, you’ll be happy to know he doesn’t shave the pits. This is the kind of observation you were hoping I’d make.
    8:55 – Jordan takes an elbow to the face from Stackhouse. Of all the elbows I’d want to receive to the face, Stackhouse’s wouldn’t be on that list. I’m pretty sure I could lose a nose in that collision.
    8:01 – Lakers up 10. 39-29.
    7:42 – Josh Howard drives the lane and WOW. He just gives a nice forearm shiver to Sasha’s neck/chest. Sasha acts a bit but gets the whistle.
    7:12 – Devean George takes it to the rack and lays it up over the imposing presence of Farmar. Farmer tried to draw a charge but George barely grazed him. Farmar didn’t even have enough contact to fall over and fake the foul. He stood there like a Solider at the Gate.
    5:57 – dampier spikes an offensive rebound. He’s playing the wrong sport. He should play Middle blocker for a rec-league volleyball team. His team would be unstoppable.
    5:40 – Dampier gets his layup/dunk Mblocked by Mbenga. Dampier moves with the quickness of an 80 year old grandmother. DJ had fallen all the way out of bounds while Dampier caught the ball under the basket and had time to gather his balance, run back onto the court jump, and block the shot. It was a good play by DJ, but you have to credit Dampier’s opposite-of-athleticism on that one.
    5:24 – Kobe fights to keep a rebound alive. He shovels it to Fisher who is near halfcourt. Unfortunately, fisher didn’t have his gravity boots activated as he’s falling into the backcourt. In order to avoid the backcourt violation he does what any of us would do. He throws it to Kobe. Unfortunately, those pesky laws of physics are still laws and prevent his pass from making it all the way to Kobe. It was however, a perfect pass to one of the Mavs. Josh Howard causes one of the refs to make a call that is not used often enough. The ref reverse juggles a pair. Double dribble. Timeout Dallas. Lakers 45 – 33.
    4:58 – John Ireland tells us how DJ Mbenga’s first name is Didier and DJ doesn’t stand for anything. Apparently it was Mark Cuban’s awesome whiteness that gave him the moniker when he could not pronounce Didier. It should be noted that John Ireland had trouble spelling Didier on the air just now. I’m pretty sure it’s not that hard, but what do I know. Stu can’t believe Mark can’t pronounce Didier either. And Joel laughs about on one being able to say “blogger” either. I’m surprised on two counts, one that Joel knows what a blog is and two that Mark Cuban is such a dufus.
    4:12 – Nowitzki backs Lamar down onto the block. Fisher tries to prevent a pass to the perimeter by jumping in the air like a crazy person. I’m not sure what game Fisher is watching, but there wasn’t even a fake and he was faked. Nowtizki has the most effective non-fake ever.
    1:15 – Kobe throws it to Lamar diving to the basket. Made basket. Lakers 54-38. Awesome. Ronny with the block. Kobe gets the outlet makes the layup.
    00:31 – Kobe’s not satisfied with the comfortable lead. He takes a 3 and drills it.
    00:20 – Lakers take it away from Stackhouse. Maybe he is taking his 30 day break while still playing.
    Halftime – Lakers winning by 21. 59-38. I’m not sure Dallas brought their A-game. Is it too late to blame Jessica Simpson for the downfall of another Dallas franchise?
    John Ireland again. Coaches say the biggest mistake the Lakers could make is to assume the Mavs won’t make a run. And the lakers should run their offense. That’s pretty insightful.
    Stu talks about winning the first five minutes of the second half. I’m not sure you can win the first five minutes of a 24 minute half but we’ll go with it.
    3rd Quarter
    11:42 – VladRad hits a jumper with his long black socks or black sleeves on his calves. Stu says he’ll say it again that this is VladRad’s best game as a Laker. Far be it from me to point out that he hasn’t said it once that I heard. Although there was a period of time here where I wasn’t paying attention due to DVR issues. You try living in a household of women who tape 17 shows per week. There’s bound to be a conflict somewhere. [this is going to come up again later]
    11:31 – Kobe decapitates Dirk on Dirk’s drive to the bucket. Jason Kidd has to hand him his head back before Dirk shoots the free throws. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kobe gets suspended for that move. Not a vicious thing, but he got all German and no ball.
    10:31 – Dampier does his best athletic imitation. He tips in a missed free throw. 63-43 Lakers on top.
    9:38 – Kobe gets fouled. I’m not sure but I think these are his first FTs of the game. On the last play at the Dallas end, Josh Howard showed everyone how high he could jump for a rebound. He did not however, show them how to jump high and get a rebound as the ball sailed over his head. Dear josh, I was very impressed with your jump. Good job.
    9:11 – Kobe tries an impossible shot. Lamar somehow ends up with it. Stackhouse hangs on the rim and rests his testicles on Lamar’s back. Foul called and Joel and Stu can’t believe goal tending wasn’t called with Stackhouse hanging on the rim.
    8:51 – Fisher nails another jumper from the left wing. 68-45. Lakers. He was also at that extra shooting session. Maybe they should do that all the time.
    KCAL 9 decides that we don’t need to know the score. No score graphic for about a minute.
    7:26 – VladRad accompanies Josh Howard to the basket. He was running security detail to make sure no one hurt Howard. 2 points for Howard on the reverse layup.
    6:30 – cookies! Kobe gets beat baseline by Stack but takes it from him on a reach around. Not that kind of reach around. Get your minds out of the gutter.
    6:14 – fish and ronny run a nice pick and roll right side. Ronny gets the ball under the basket and instead of taking the easy layup, he throws it to Luke for an open 14 footer. I’d be lying if I didn’t expect him to throw it halfway to Austin. Without the pressure of needing to make it though, Luke swishes it home. Well done, sir. Well done.
    8:36 – Dirk takes it to the hole and Lamar jumps straight up not trying to block it. Dirk misses badly. Kobe gets the ball filling the lane on the ensuing fast break, runs into Josh Howard, tries to draw the contact by spinning around and facing the other basket. He flips the ball up over his head and it goes in. If I’m Kobe, I save some of these for Utah. 76 – 51 Lakers.
    5:16 – The Mavs take 24.3 seconds to shoot. Mark Cuban immediately files a petition to lengthen the shotclock to 24.3 seconds and says the league has it in for the Mavs for not changing that unfair rule.
    4:19 – Dirk has the same problem as Lamar except with his left hand.
    4:01 – Kobe tries to intercept the ball by diving like Ken Griffey Jr. He was parallel to the floor. He was however, a little bit optimistic about how far he could reach with his superman impression. The ball was at least two feet out of his reach. I’m pretty sure Kobe was complaining to the refs about the floor fouling him. He complains about everything else.
    2:56 – The camera stays on Mark Cuban for a really long time. I’m pretty uncomfortable. Mark is very red in the face but barely moving. John Ireland informs us that Cuban has been sending eye daggers at Avery Johnson for about fifteen minutes. Maybe he wasn’t looking at Avery Johnson. Jessica Simpson might be sitting behind Avery Johnson. You never know about these things. I’m just saying, let’s not jump to conclusions here.
    1:54 – Jordan intercepts the ball and the kicks the ball out of bounds. Olé!
    1:46 – Wow. Dallas turns it over. Lamar picks up a loose ball. Passes it up ahead to Ronny who is ahead of Dirk. Dirk hacks Ronny’s right arm causing him to lose the ball on the way up. The refs decide they are more scared of Mark Cuban’s eye daggers than anything the Lakers might throw at them and misplace their whistles. They award the ball out of bounds to the Mavs. I’m not sure how they think Ronny lost that ball exactly, but they’ve somehow determined he bent his arm at an awkward angle and had the ball slip out of his hands without assistance from a tall German man who swung his arm down toward Ronny Turiaf’s body at the exact same moment. It was just coincidental timing apparently.
    1:33 – Ronny fouls Dirk on the way to the bucket. You can bet your ass Dirk ducked his head so as not to have it beat again. 76 – 60 Lakers still up.
    1:18 – The big german man can’t stop himself and humps Ronny’s leg with the full force of a train while ronny was trying to lay it in. Ronny found himself inspecting the intricate detailing of the out of bounds artwork. Misses one. 77-60 Lakers.
    1:06 – Devean George continues to make his teammates glad he cock blocked the JKidd deal. He “shot” the ball so hard it hit the floor before anyone reacted to it as a missed shot. He promptly self-nominates for the Luke Walton award.
    00:00 – Luke bricks and JET takes the ball all the way to their 3 point line. Shoots over Sasha and banks it in. JET didn’t call bank so the refs waive it off. I wish. Dallas only down by 12 now. I wish I could say I was surprised Luke missed that one but I wasn’t. Also, when a team tries to take the last shot, you usually don’t do it with enough time for someone to grab the rebound and dribble 70 feet, pull up and get a good look at a jumper. Luke decided he was going to be a rebel and shoot with plenty of time for Jason Terry to do just that. Dallas finished on a 13-1 run. Good job guys. Luke takes the lead in the race for his own award.
    4th Quarter
    11:21 – after dallas gets a dunk, Kobe runs around with the ball for a while and takes a shot. If you had to draw the path from where Kobe started with the ball to where he shot the ball, you wouldn’t have drawn the path Kobe took. If this were English Lit class, he’d get points for thinking outside the box.
    10:08 – Kobe is out there with farmar, Sasha, Luke, and ronny. He decides that a standstill, fall away from 22 feet over Devean George is a higher percentage attempt than giving it to one of those guys. I’m not disagreeing with the man but he misses it.
    9:36 – Sasha spins JET around after he started a one-man fast break. Two free-throws for the guy who thinks the big german is a pansy.
    9:17 – VladRad decides that his 27 footer over a defender is a higher percentage shot than giving it to Kobe, Lamar, Farmar, or Sasha. He drains it. If there was a thought bubble over VladRad’s head I’m pretty sure it would say “F U Kobe.”
    8:17 – VladRad tries the same thing from 25 feet. Same result.
    7:36 – VladRad gets a little impressed with himself and tries to the Kobe-patented four head fake move. Unfortunately for him Devean George saw that all the time in practice against Kobe and slaps the ball out of bounds. You see, while VladRad was faking with his head, George realized that the ball wasn’t going anywhere. Lakers only up by 9 now. On the inbounds, guess who? VladRad for 3 again. Splash.
    7:08 – the german vs the lumberjack (VladRad) = a fallaway in the paint. 2 points. 90-80 Lakers.
    6:09 – wow. If I’m Jet I’m embarrassed. I just gave the ball up to Sasha’s defense.
    5:52 – Lamar gets away with an illegal screen. Kobe gives him the ball and lamar draws the foul. That will take us to a commercial break where I find out I can test drive a ford today. Lamar will shoot to extend the 90-82 lead. Jason Kidd enters the game with his 1 point and 3 assists. He hasn’t played in over a quarter. I think lamar’s gonna miss the first one. Oh. My eye hurts. He drills it. Rolls the second one home as well. Lakers 92-82.
    5:36 – JET takes four steps along the baseline but was not called for travel.
    5:07 – Dirk blows the easy left-handed running layup. If I’m Dirk, I would be a little pissed at my left hand for betraying me. You know, if we put Dirks right hand with Lamar’s left hand, we’d have an awesome pair of hands, albeit a pair of hands of very different melatonin levels.
    4:25 – Howard makes an awkward left handed layup. What is this? Awkard layup night?
    4:08 – Kobe makes a pretty runner along the left side of the lane. The crowd thought he traveled before he made his move. Since everyone think he’s a basketball genius. I’m going to go with, “he meant to trip and put the ball on the floor to keep everyone off balance.”
    3:33 – JET almost airballs a three ball. Yikes. This game is all kinds of sloppy. Lakers keep doing their best to give the ball back to Dallas with their sloppy passes.
    2:50 – Sasha dropped the ball out of bounds. Dallas comes back and slams home an uncontested slam.
    2:19 – Kobe is working on his crotchal region after tweaking something. He misses the free throw. Vanessa and a girl in Colorado breathe a sigh of relief.
    2:06 – Jet brings the mavs within 6
    1:45 – Fisher hits the hole like LaDanian Tomlinson. He fumbles like Tiki Barber. Ahh, the whistle signaled that his forward progress had been stopped. Therefore, jump ball. Fisher and Terry will tip it off. Kidd gets it and runs it back. Sasha grabs Howard to prevent the layup. He makes it 96-91. He missed the second one.
    1:36 – Avery Johnson can be heard yelling out a play called Jacket. Mavs in a zone. Kobe does a luke impression by airballing a 17 footer. Lamar saves it. Joel says, “and he won’t get it off.” Sasha not only gets it off in time, he makes a 13 footer. He is going to have to find another tall Spaniard to embrace after that shot. He does the Mutumbo finger wag to no one in particular. Maybe it’s lost in translation
    1:04 – Oh but the Tall German drains a three right away. 98-94.
    00:41 – The Tall German nails another three. 1 point game. I don’t know any german words but I’m pretty sure I would have heard something about Lamar’s improper relationship with his mother after that one.
    The DVR issues I was talking about earlier? They are going to affect the game in about 1 minute here.
    00:28 – Lamar will be at the free throw line after drawing a loose ball foul. Dampier comes in “for rebounding purposes.” Thanks for clearing that up. I initially thought he was coming in to bring Dirk some water. Come to think of it. That might not be a bad way for him to earn his ridiculous contract. At least the Big German would be protected from spraining his ankle on his way to the cooler.
    And, due to technical difficulties, that’s where the recording ends. I’ll never know if the Lakers pulled out the win. That’s okay though. I’m going to just assume VladRad drained more threes to win the game.
    MVP of the game is clearly VladRad. If I was him I’d ask for a contract extension right now and demand that Bynum get traded for a washed up point guard. When the deal falls through, he can take credit for “lighting a fire” under his teammates.

  69. 68) Yesssir. I think PHX will move up before the end of the season. People forget that they can still play small if they need to. They just replace Shaq with Diaw and they can go back to running and gunning. But Shaq at least gives them a chance to compete against the Spurs and Lakers, where they otherwise would have no chance at all. Shaq is motivated, so he’s only going to get better as we march closer to the playoffs. And the Suns are only going to get more comfortable playing with him.

    Honestly, Houston might still miss the playoffs. It’s a long shot, but it could happen. They play the Hornets, the Suns, and the Warriors next and then San Antonio next week. This team has been playing over their head since Yao got hurt. Kind of like the Blazers earlier in the season. I think you’ll see them fall back to earth soon. The question is if they will fall hard enough to fall out of the playoffs. They definitely will not be a top four seed though.

    Has this been the best NBA season in years or what?

  70. For some reason NBA tv’s Rick Kamala said the Lakers announced that Bynum would be out until the playoffs during the hilights tonight. That’s wrong, right? That was the word on Ariza with Bynum still indeterminate last I heard.

    I’ll take the win tonight but our late game execution is definitely worrying. It looked like kobe hurt his groin in the 4th, but still. If every team is going to throw 2 guys at kobe before he even gets the ball, it should be easier for somebody else to get a good shot, shouldn’t it??

  71. I doubt Houston will miss the playoffs. It’s either Denver or Golden State that will miss it.

    As for tonight’s game, great moments (highlighted by Kobe’s what-the-hell-was-that layup) but also some very scary ones as well (off the top of my head):

    1. Jordan Farmar. His funk continues. He’s done a complete role reversal and is into Smush Parker-territory. I don’t know what’s bothering him but when he’s in the game, he’s not producing like he used to.

    2. Inconsistent D. Lakers played a great half, an average quarter, and a sub-par quarter of defense. You think by now they know to stay home on 3 point shooters?

    3. The Injury bug. Ronny got hit in the knee early, Kobe jammed his hip. Luckily they’re both fine but what is up with our recent encounters and near encounters with the bug?

    All in all, it was a good game and a good response from the team. They battled and survived. Next up is Utah, and I think they will be even more dangerous as they have some guy named Deron who can light it up and plays hard. Add that with the gazillion screens their system runs every play, and you can see a problem especially when our pick&roll defense is so suspect.

  72. By the way, did it look to anyone else as though Dirk could well have drawn a foul on Odom on that last shot? Or did Odom fly by so far that it would have been an “unnatural basketball motion” (irony intended) to draw that foul on the shot?

  73. 69 – nomuskles,

    wow that was a blast to read. thanks for the funny jokes and analysis. It was ugly in the end, but it was a great victory tonight.

  74. Kurt is not just a blogger, he is a SUPERBLOGGER. It’s like insulting Cindy Crawford or Tyra Banks by saying they are just models.

  75. 72 – Yes, Bynum is not expected back until the playoffs.

    Vlad 3’s to give a little breathing room really helped out if you think about it. The Kobe play was just Kobe.

    Also, one of the most [random? weird? ludicrous?] rumors out there.

    http://www.probasketballnews.com/pbn_arenas031708.html

  76. 74, Charles Barkley was saying the same thing in inside the NBA, but if he goes to draw the foul and doesn’t go for the shot (seemed like one or the other) then he gets crucified on ESPN for not believing in his shot and failing at drawing the foul

    And yea I think the Arenas thing is garbage, doesn’t make sense in any aspect, financially or team-wise…. I think the Lakers are just becoming that Yankees level in the media where they have to be linked to every possible trade/signing, four max-deal players and two shooting guards?

  77. 69. nomuscles, that was a fun read — well done. Glad to see I’m not the only person who watches the game holding his laptop.

    77. I think the Brothers K. did a good job with that rumor yesterday. It makes no sense on the court for the Lakers, no sense financially. But I think Agent 0 makes a lot of sense for the Clips, if Sterling wants to spend.

  78. Bynum not back until the first round is NOT, i repeat, NOT a good sign. It’s gonna take him at least 10-15 games before he gets his legs under him. He is not in basketball shape at all…..he’s been out for 2 months. he will not be a factor in the first or second round in my opinion. Laker fans are just asking way too much of this young guy.

    And Luke Walton……wow, he is just not cutting it this year. No confidence, soft, too slow and not knocking down open shots. If Ariza was healthy, would Luke even be playing right now?!! Seriously!! i very very disappointed in Luke Walton.

    I’m nervous guys….this Laker team is far from being ready to fire on all cylinders.

  79. 80 – They’re still fun to watch and exceeding expectations. No complaints here, nor am I losing sleep over how Bynum will fit in.

  80. Down 3 centers, we are going to be traveling an uneven road to the end of the season. I guess I will just have to let my nerves go nuts and keep my mouth/pen shut.

  81. 80- Other than the early air vball, I didnt think it was a terrible game for Luke.

  82. the other Stephen March 19, 2008 at 9:52 am

    in the meantime, maybe we can open up a discussion on when chris mihm is going to open up his repertoire of dunks to include something other than that signature one-handed hammer he always throws down.

  83. 80:
    I agree, super fun to watch. This has been really exciting for all of us.

    I would just hate to see Bynum think he needs to be a savior of sorts and then overdo it on that knee in the playoffs when the games get more physical. It’s just allot to ask of him to miss 3 months and then step right into the playoffs for your first game back. he has no real playoff experience since he didnt really play in last years series or the year before.

    It’s just allot of expectations on a very very young player who is still finding his way.

    I will say though that our Lakers still have a very good shot even if Bynum cant make it back. It will all depend on the D and if they can avoid anymore injuries…..

  84. http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,5143,695262735,00.html

    Man, I feel thats a pretty tasteless column. Saying Carlos Boozer’s breaking a deal made with a benevolent blind owner as being more honorable than What fish did? That’s cheap. I hope Fish has a great game tommorow.

  85. #86 – Wow.

    I’d like Fish to rain about eight 3’s in from downtown tomorrow night.

  86. I was pretty suprised when I first read it. I pretty much agree with what Brett Edwards said at Fanhouse. I see no logic is the article. Basketball wise, it made absolutely NO sense for Fish to return to the Lakers. He took a paycut. The Jazz were solid contenters, and were in the WCF. The Lakers were destroyed in the first round. No one could have expected Bynum becoming a factor, and with the possibilty of Kobe being unhappy around, I’m sure he considered the possibility that the Lakers may be a dysfunctional team. Yet, the author goes on to remark that what Boozer did was MORE honarable than what Fish did. Wow.

  87. 86- That article is extremely dissapointing. I am glad Horry is in Texas(even though I despise the spurs). He needed to be closer to his family and I guarantee any laker fan sees Big Shot Bob they don’t boo.

    The one thing that really bothered me from the game last night was when with 10 min left in the 4th we went to the 1-4 offense. one person with the ball at the top and pretty much let it be up to that one player to score. If you defense falters at least you can still do the same thing on offense. Odom played hard you could tell he was going at it from the get go. A right hand would be nice but I will take things in steps with him, aggressive is a good start. I was waiting for a game like this where Radman goes off again. It has been a while. Is D Fish getting tired, the long season getting to him? I know things will work out before the playoffs. That’s when we are all talking about, playoffs.

  88. new post up.

    And that article does suck, but I got emails from people in Utah today and they think Fish screwed them. Really odd.

  89. When Fish first signed with the Lakers for less money, I didn’t hear any real volumn of comments from Utah that he screwed them. It is only after the Lakers (along with the Hornets) are the surprise team in the Western Conference that the complaints really started.

    People have selective memories. Remember when Boozer was falling off the edge of the earth in Utah (injury) and people were bemoaning his signing. Some Laker fans were promoting a trade to get him here and Salt Lake fans weren’t too unhappy about the speculation. Cleveland fans were at least somewhat happy they hadn’t signed this injured malcontent. Well, last year and this year have sure changed things, haven’t they?

  90. The Dude Abides March 19, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Regarding the Fisher article, remember that the Jazz fans showered the Warriors with a continuous stream of racial epithets in the 2007 playoffs. We are not talking about classy people here, folks.

  91. That fisher article, and the replies, are mind boggling. How do you get to the conclusion that he ‘makes more money’ when he took a paycut? I mean, if D-Fish is half the star Kobe is, maybe, through local endorsements or something… but seriously, Fish?

    Not saying that Fish isn’t valuable or anything, but they really have to get real. Or study math.

  92. The NO/Hou game was tied going into the 4th quarter and NO won by 21 pts. If we win tommorow, we end the road trip…in first place in the conference, not bad, not bad at all.