Where A Podcast Fast Break Thoughts Happen

Kurt —  March 19, 2008

I appeared on the Brothers Kamenetzky podcast today, which you can listen to over at their LA Times blog or at Now Live. We talk Dallas with Andy, who was at the game and called in from the Denver airport to tell us Marc Cuban did not stare daggers at him (and that Henry Abbot may or may not have tried to hide behind Andrew near the Dallas locker room). We also discuss what we can reasonably expect from Bynum come playoff time. This is well worth a listen, just for the joy of hearing Brian try to juggle eight kinds of technology at once.

And now a few more thoughts….

• Speaking of Bynum, I think part of what Phil was doing was playing down expectations for Bynum. Now if he does come back a few games before the playoffs he is ahead of schedule, not a month behind it. Plus, it’s a reminder that when he comes back he will not be the player he was when he went down.

As for the topic we discussed on the podcast, I think it’s impossible to say how much we need Bynum for the first round because we don’t know the matchup. Whoever we play he does not need to be a savior, just 15 minutes or so off the bench of solid defense and rebounding would be a huge boost. Andrew K reminded us how well Bynum and Farmar meshed to start the season and to rekindle that in the playoffs would be huge. Plus, the first round of the playoffs takes weeks, giving him more time to get into shape for more minutes as things go along.

• As for last night, I’ll stick with my theory that the Gasol-less Lakers are last year’s team — they played two-and-a-half quarters of good basketball and then stopped doing what had got them the win. Kobe was passing early and picking his spots in the offense, which was allowing other guys to get good shots. The Lakers played the best half of defense they have in a long time (I forgot to save it, but the Mavs offensive efficiency rating after the first half was right around 90). Then Kobe started taking more offense on and the Lakers got out of synch on that end. The misses and less tenacity on the boards allowed Dallas to get out and run a little, and the result was some good looks and easy buckets. Then, suddenly, we had a ball game.

Yup, that pretty much reminds me of the inconsistent team from last year.

• If you want to relive last night’s contest, nomuscles put up a fun and funny recap in the comments.

• I think Dallas’ heavy isolation offense really plays to the Lakers defense better than making them help on things like the pick-and-roll. Plus, Ronny had his best defensive game in a while, protecting the rim better than we have seen any Laker do since Drew went down. To have any chance against the motion and screens of the Utah offense, the Lakers will have to play 48 minutes like that Thursday.

• A number of commenters (and myself) said we needed someone other than Kobe to step up and take on some offense — Hello Vladimir! One of his best games as a Laker, both shooting well from three and putting the ball on the floor. His putting the ball on the floor early opened up some of those three chances later. He also is a better defender than his reputation. His mind seems to be elsewhere some nights, but it was in Dallas last night.

• If you are a fan of the advanced basketball stats here and want to use them (and other stuff like RPI) when filling out your NCAA pool, check out the amazing Kenpom site.

• The Final Four in my work pool, as it stands now: Kansas, UCLA, Louisville and Memphis. Personally, I’m not sold on Memphis going that far and may change that, but they are a good offensive team and their style throws some people off. But can Pitt beat them? Also, I have Clemson and Butler going farther than most. But I could probably be talked out of any of that (save Kansas, who I really like).

Actually, we can all use the help so throw your NCAA tourney thoughts in the comments.