Just a couple of quick thoughts from other people that I liked today.
First up, the incomparable Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don’t Lie about last night’s ugly loss:
I’m going to chalk this one up to Los Angeles’ lack of effort, and a bit of hubris. The first part seemed pretty obvious. The latter has to do with my observation that this team thought it could jump-shoot its way back into things, starting at about the 11-minute mark of the first quarter.
The Lakers refused to run its usual offense, from the inside-out, and the Bobcats pounced and moved the ball and attacked and shot and ran and won.
I think the Bobcats game was one where the absence of Gasol and Bynum was a big problem, and combine that with the feeling they should walk through these guys and you have a loss. Without two of the team’s three best players, the other guys cannot take any nights off.
Next, I liked this observation from Sports Guy Bill Simmons:
During regulation of Monday’s Warriors game, (Odom) went to the line in the final few seconds with a one-point lead, endured a few taunts and standing-in-front-of-him maneuvers from Davis and Jackson … (Follow-up to that story: In that same game, the Lakers were up two with four seconds left in overtime when Kobe got fouled. Three interesting things here. First, none of the Warriors came within 10 feet of him as he was preparing to shoot the first free throw. Second, he stared down all the Warriors around him, drained the first free throw and muttered “Game over, game over” to everyone who would listen. Third, he made the second one and that was that. The lesson, as always: It’s good to have Kobe Bryant on your team.)
To me that is less about Odom than the fire of Kobe and the fear and respect he instills in most of those who play against him.
Finally, I think we should talk a little about Kobe’s technicals. No doubt he has been talking â€” and talking back â€” to the refs more this season. I think it’s a function of his passion â€” he’s back on a team that can win and he is fired up. Every little thing matters to him. And while I understand that fire, he needs to understand you need to pick your battles. Not every one is worth fighting to the point of ejection. Or now, suspension for a game. Being a leader is not just getting in the ref’s face, it’s knowing when to back off. I’m sure he and Phil have and will again will discuss that.