Preview and Chat: Sacramento Kings

Kurt —  April 6, 2008

Records: Lakers 52-24 (2 seed); Kings 36-40 (11 seed)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 114.4 (3rd); Kings 108.9 (14th)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 107.4 (8th); Kings 111.5 (25th)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Vladamir Radmanovic, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Kings: Anthony Johnson, Kevin Martin, John Salmons, Mikki Moore, Spencer Hawes

Lakers Notes: I’ve focused on my frustrations on what passes for the Lakers defense, but not watching the Lakers for a week then watching the way the offense clicked against Dallas reminded me just how much fun this team can be to watch.

I was going to break down some numbers, but Tom Ziller did that already and did it well at Fanhouse:

The Los Angeles offensive onslaught, as you would imagine, has been vicious — 104 points in 89 possessions against the Blazers, 112 points in 86 possessions against the Mavs last night.

On-off data from 82games.com would corroborate Pau’s positive impact on the offense — the team has an offensive rating of 119.1 when Gasol is on the floor (versus a figure of 109.8 overall); for perspective, Utah and Phoenix have the best offenses in the league at offensive ratings of 111.2. The Lakers with Gasol are about 7 points better on offense than the freaking Suns.

Gasol totally opened up the offense (which was going well even before he got here). His inside/outside game is a perfect fit for the triangle. You now have to double him and Kobe, and both of them are good passers who are hitting the open man when the double comes (or, Kobe will just drive through it and score anyway). The Lakers are moving without the ball, particularly Odom, and they are crashing the boards. The Lakers are making that extra pass. No team is going to totally be able to stop the Lakers on offense.

The Knicks Are Looking Better: I think Mike at Knickerblogger hit this on the head — Donnie Walsh was not perfect in Indiana, but he was a far sight better than what has been going on in New York. Walsh oversaw some good drafts and made some great trades (JO being the best move). This was a good hire for New York, so long as Dolan gives him latitude.

I think the Lakers should offer Isaiah Thomas a front office job overseeing trades. (Just kidding, I wasn’t here on April Fools Day to make a whole post out of that.)

The Kings Coming In: The Kings are banged up – last night no Ron Artest, no Beno Udrih, no Brad Miller. The result – they still beat Denver 118-115. None of those three are expected to suit up tonight, a break for the Lakers on the road.

I’ve talked before about how much I like Kevin Martin — a few commenters on this site tried o compare him to Reggie Miller and say it was a bad thing. Reggie Miller was one of the best pure shooters and scorers in the league. Surround him with the right players and he could be a key cog on a title team.

Also last night, Mikki Moore added 23 and Francisco Garcia had 29 off the bench.

One other thing – the Kings are playing hard for Reggie Theus. It may have taken a while for him to warm up to Martin, he may rely a little to much on veterans over the best players, but there is no doubt that the players respond to him. That’s something.

Last Time These Two Played: Did I mention the Kings play hard and you can’t sleep on them? They played hard, the Lakers looked shaky on defense, the Lakers couldn’t stop the penetration of Udrih or Martin, and the Kings got a win, 114-113.

Keys To The Game: The Lakers, and Kobe in particular, have had their best success against Kevin Martin playing ball denial with him. He needs to be the first guy stopped — Kobe can’t just gamble on the steal but needs to play smart, denying the ball and staying between Martin and the basket to slow his penetration.

The Kings run a lot of screens and in the last meeting Fisher got caught up in them, allowing Beno to have a huge game. Combine that with Kobe not chasing Martin on the many back cuts he and the other Kings guards make and we got to watch a lay-up drill. The Lakers need to be prepared, stick with their man (not ball watch) and cut off those passing lanes. Also, Gasol (and Ronny) need to defend the paint.

Sacramento is a long and fairly athletic team, which has given the Lakers problems in the past. Last meeting the Lakers let the Kings control the tempo and tonight they cannot do that. The Lakers have had a tendency to come out flat against non-playoff teams – Sacramento is playing too hard to do that and get away with it. That’s why the Lakers lost to them last meeting (and almost lost to them the game before that).

Where you can watch: Game time is 6:30 pm on Fox Sports in LA and League Pass everywhere else.

Kurt

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43 responses to Preview and Chat: Sacramento Kings

  1. Odom is going to be key today. We don’t need another great offensive effort..we need his defense.

    As for the Knicks, I think it’ll be interesting to see how Walsh manages the situation. He’s going to have to find a way to get rid of Randolph, Marbury, and Curry. Also, looking at his draft history, he’s not the best talent evaluator… will Isiah be kept to help?

  2. Lakers have to be aware of Francisco Garcia, who
    played pretty in Sacramento’s last game (29 points off the bench).

  3. Isiah Thomas should probably never be the GM or President of a team again.

    As a coach (when he works with what he is given, no trades), he’s not bad. The guy’s a genius when it comes to the draft. His record speaks for itself. He still has a place in the league, but it can’t have too much responsibility.

  4. ^ anon post is me.

  5. The “Isaiah rocks the draft” angle is just a tad over-played at this point.

    Yeah, he picked McGrady & Camby in Toronto, and David Lee was a coup. But he also passed on Jason Maxiell and Francisco Garcia to take Nate Robinson. He picked Channing Frye over Bynum and Danny Granger.

    Balkman is a nice player, but he could’ve had Rajon Rondo, Sergio Rodriguez or Jordan Farmar with that pick. And I haven’t even mentioned Mardy Collins yet. Or Wilson Chandler. (Both first-round picks, with better prospects on the board.)

    Plus I just read an article (via TrueHoop, I think) telling a story of his first draft as the just-hired coach of the Pacers. They were all set to take Tayshaun Prince, then at the last minute Donnie Walsh let Isaiah make the pick instead of listening to the scouts. Isaiah picked Fred Jones. Ouch.

    Does he have an eye for talent? Absolutely. But the Legend of Isaiah the Draft Guru is way, way overblown.

  6. Also, in response to the comment in an earlier thread mentioning the idea of signing Craig Smith this summer, he’s a restricted free agent.
    http://proxy.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?page=2008FreeAgents

  7. The thing that scares me about this game is how much the Kings would love to beat us when it matters. They might have some injuries, but are playing good ball and still consider themselves a rival to us even though we have bigger fish to fry. A team with nothing to lose, who’s playing well, and generally show up to play against us, is a team we can’t sleep on. Solid defense should solve the issue, but that hasn’t been all too consistent as of late. That being said, I think we take this game fairly easily.

  8. musil.the.muse April 6, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    In response to the list posted by matt:

    Realizing that we won’t be doing any major deals this summer, some possible small signings that would be interesting.

    -Pietrus, from Golden State. He plays better defense than Ariza, for sure, helping to shut down Nowitzki in that memorable series. He might be asking for more than we’d be willing to provide, however.

    -Kurt Thomas would be nice. Better defender/shooter than Turiaf. Much older, however. Najera?

    -Eddie House. Great shooter. Playing cheap for Boston right now. He just wants to win.

  9. isn’t this an away game, thus on KCALHD?

  10. Sorry to always play Name Police, but Vlad Rad’s first name is back to being misspelled again … a template update lost during the recent technical troubles, perhaps?

  11. 7: chris h, I believe it’s a typo — the game’s at 6:00 (not 6:30) on KCAL.

  12. and the Mavs beat the Suns today, so we’ve got a chance to put some distance between us and the Suns to claim top spot in the Pacific…
    so Lakers, don’t get lackadaisical…play your ass’s off!
    get this W!

  13. hi, do you know where i can watch the game on the internet?

  14. so artest is going to play, trying to smoke screen us.
    anyone else notice that he seems to be trying to start a shorter shorts trend? (maybe it’s just the Kings design, but they do look kind of retro)

  15. @anon http://www.justin.tv/jayrntv quality isn’t the best but the WMP stream doesn’t seem to be working.

  16. The Kobe-Pau high screen-and-roll is virtually … unstoppable.

  17. Warren Wee Lim April 6, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    Isiah Thomas has been known to draft well and that’s about it. It does not make him a draft guru or anything, it just seems like he has an “eye” for talent. Of course, no one could have predicted Andrew Bynum. Even we, with 2 years on our hands would have automatically traded him for JO straight up. He drafts well, but he is not perfect. I think his track on that aspect is his strength.

  18. is it just me, or whenever we jump on somebody for having a subpar game, they really bounce back?

    vlad is sizzling.

  19. like seeing Newble against Artest, good move PJ, let Newble get the burn, and he’s doing a good job hustling. I really like the way newble is going after the boards, too. he could work his way into some PT if he keeps this up.

  20. Guys, theres an update that Luke Walton is out with an injury. Man, can this team stay healthy at all??

  21. 4th Quarter 11:20 – Stu says “A lot of players are like that, they need to feel your body to do things.” Wow.

  22. what happened to luke?

  23. 4th Quarter 1:08 – Vlad subs out of the game. PJ and Vlad share some laughs. Vlad sits down, and Lamar and Vlad share a very, ahem, unmanly handshake. Vlad has one arm around Lamar’s shoulders and my best description of the handshake is ” a wiggling of the fingers and then a coordinated snap of using both Lamar and Vlad’s fingers”.

  24. I guess when you drop 21 and 14 you can afford an unmanly handshake…that’s a MAN’S statline!

  25. Do we put much worth into this game? It looked as though the “cruise control” was on for most of it. LO’s after game interview was as entertaining as usual… who is he looking for in the crowd? On The MVP … what date do they tell us Kobe wins? altough if he losses …I’d like to see the added fuel!!!

  26. Good point 24. Kobe will be on a mission unlike any other if he doesn’t win MVP.

  27. Matt M., yes it is a nice stat line. Vlad bounced back very well from that horrendous Dallas game.

    As a side note, I wish that Luke Walton’s stat line would also include “minus 22″ next to his name, to emphasize the addition by subtraction that was Luke’s DNP tonight.

  28. If Vlad Rad plays the way he did tonight, it’s like having two Lamar Odoms on the floor — one on the inside (ideally) and one on the perimeter … high-percentage on offense, pulling down boards, hittin’ teammates with passes, and playing solid (if unspectacular) defense.

    Now, LO has finally had a nice stretch of consistency since Feb. 1 (even placing among the league leaders in certain categories), but Vlad has still been hot and cold. It’s primarily an issue of mental focus for both, and I’m sure it’s easier for Radmanovic to have that if his shots are falling.

    That said, if Vlad can have games like this sprinkled throughout the playoffs, it will make our starting five that much more formidable. Defense will still be the determining factor, of course, but we’ve seen the team’s effort in that area increase when the offense is flowing. Defensive intensity should be independent of offensive success, but until the team steps it up in that regard, I’ll take the end result whichever way it comes!

  29. Luckily, this game was never very close. Terrible, terrible officiating that could have swung a close game the opposite way. The Lakers were just too efficient, and the Kings expended too much energy last night. Great games for Vlad Rad, Pau, Kobe, and LO. DFish was solid and steady. LO attacked the basket just about every time.

  30. I’ve been a little concerned lately by the closing margin of our games, so I was glad this game wasn’t compelling enough to aprevent me from watching the end of the Denver-Seattle shootout. At it’s best this team has been able to casually dominate a lot of lesser teams, and I’m glad to see us find that withion us again tonight. Hopefully we bring the same effort and defense to Portland on Tuesday.

  31. Warren Wee Lim April 6, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    Its official. Denver and Seattle are the 2 worst defensive teams in the league. Could you imagine a game that totalled 2 pts less than 300?!

    Again, I think GSW deserves to be in the playoffs while Denver does not. If you could give up 151 pts to a pathetic Seattle team, what does that say about your team?

    Just Wow.

  32. (26) I know that it is popular to bash Luke every game these days. You have raised the bar by bashing him even when he doesn’t play.

    I guess your memory is pretty short.

    Luke Walton is one of only three current Lakers who’ve been in an NBA championship game as a Laker. He won an NCAA championship as a college player at Arizona. He has signed a long term contract with the Lakers. Unless he is injured, you can be sure that Luke will play an important part of the post season Lakers plans. I’ve always appreciated his unique contributions. Apparently you don’t.

    Just a few games ago, he was the key player in the victory. He’s very difficult to intimidate.

    He has been dinged by small injuries for the entire season and his game has clearly been affected. He apparently was too injured to play tonight.

    If you can’t see his value, it might be better to recognize that many of us agree with Mitch (who signed him and extended his contract) and Phil (who plays him) and expect him to play the role he was originally drafted to play–a selfless role player on a championship team.

  33. Sorry (26), my “Luke” post (32) was intended for (27).

  34. About the game:

    The real Lakers finally showed up in the 2nd half. Excellent defensive effort by the entire Laker team. Awesome game from Vlad, reminds me why we paid this guy the mid-level. No Luke, strained hamstring.

    You have to be careful what you say when you sit courtside. I yelled at Mbenga to get one and that’s when he threw up an airball (1:30 in the 4th). Unfortunately, I am not pictured in the telecast as I was sitting on the same side as the cameras :(.

    Newble played subpar, but I know PJ wants him to get some game in. We all know he is capable of more.

  35. In Lukes defense… check out Steve Kerr’s answer to the question. Quite the company.

    Question: I know you haven’t played for a few years, but if you were in the NBA right now, which five current players would you most like to play with, and why?

    Shabab
    Lubbock, Texas

    Kerr:

    Shabab, love the question: short, succinct and intriguing. Steve Nash is No. 1. Everyone he plays with seems to put up career numbers, thanks to all the open looks Nash provides. Tim Duncan is on the list. He’s an incredible teammate – unselfish, hardworking, modest and a winner. Shaquille O’Neal, because he changes games with the double teams he commands. (And he’s also a fun guy to be around.) Luke Walton, who has as good a feel for the game as anyone in the league. He plays a beautiful game. And No. 5 would be Kobe Bryant. I played with Michael Jordan, and it was amazing to watch the show he put on night after night. Kobe is similar in that he provides amazing entertainment – for fans and players alike.

    Hell of an endorsement ..you think?

  36. (32) Luke Walton can be an effective player – that is, if he is not injured in a manner that makes him slower than he is when healthy.

    When healthy, he is already at a disadvantage on defense because of his speed – but it’s tolerable, and he more than makes up for it with his offensive skills.

    When playing injured, as he has been, he is nothing but a liability on defense. He is not capable of staying in front of the opponent, and it seems he finally accepted that tonight by not suiting up.

    He should not be playing injured, when such injury makes him a defensive liability.

    I don’t know whose “fault” this is, be it the coaches, management, or Luke himself, but the facts remain the same.

  37. 32/33/34: Luke can be a contributor to this team, and considering the 5 yrs, 25 million left on his contract, Luke won’t be going anywhere. Phil has to use him in spots he can succeed. He should never play PF, he should also never be asked to guard exceptionally fast SF’s. He can intiate offense, and score on the block over smaller players. I hope he finds his way when he’s healthy again.

  38. I’m picking it up a little late here. I just had some great grilled fresh wild salmon. It was so delicious.

    1st Quarter
    8:05 – Kobe just makes a phenomenal highlight play. Runs through two defenders, avoids the double team with a spin move and throws it with major English off the backboard. The ball finds its way in.
    7:01 – The Space Cadet tries his own version of the move and misses it. Kobe lets him know he’s got H-O-R.
    6:16 – Just some thoughts right now, The Kings will probably give us trouble tonight but hopefully we’ll find the way to win. Pau has been having a tough time so far. Hawes is actually playing him pretty well. Showing some great hustle. Mikki Moore is playing too well. And The Lakers are turning the ball over too much.
    5:34 – Timeout called and Lakers are down 12-16. That Metro PCS commercial with the defibrillator actually made me laugh. KCAL telecast shows an old west style town. I don’t think that’s Sac-town proper. Oh. Barry Bonds is in attendance. He’s got a ridiculous hat on it. It’s got some glitter on it. A man should not be wearing a hat with glitter. Period. You think that cross earring he wears is to remind him of his commitment to God or to compare himself to a crucified Jesus?
    5:16 – DFish makes a great steal and makes a tough layup over two Kings defenders. Good job by the kings of hustling back to defend that. They want to win this game. We’ll see about the Lakers.
    4:34 – The Space Cadet has some room on Kobe’s drive and kick. That was a beautiful lookin shot.
    4:15 – ugh. Artest fumbles the ball driving the bucket and Lamar gets the foul called. That’s his second. On the replay, yeah, that was a bad call. Kevin Martin makes them pay. Really, he takes out his credit card machine and asks for some identification.
    2:56 – A little sloppy. Lamar turns it over and then Kevin Martin throws it to a courtside patron in their half court offense. This will take us to a timeout. Thank goodness, We’re going to get enough bad basketball this weekend with the NCAA tournament going on.
    Coming back from the timeout, someone named Doobie checks in for the Kings. I wonder if he’s got a brother
    2:44 – Doobie steals a terrible pass by Farmar. Francisco gets the fast break layup. 17-22 Kings up.
    2:03 – Speaking of salmon, John Salmons checks in.
    1:56 – Ronny comes over on the secondary defense and kills the Ron Artest shot. If the ball were filled with hopes and dreams, Obama would have nothing to campaign on.
    1:07 – I think the Lakers are just spotting the Kings some points. Kobe threw the ball away right to a kings player
    0:51 – Ronny defends Artest and roofs his driving layup. Straight out of bounds. That’s two blocks by Ronny on Artest. Note to Ronny: Don’t throw a beer at Artest.
    0:36 – Ira Newble sighting with Pau at the line. 18-25 Kings up after the free throws.
    0:05 – finally something good. You know the end of quarter play the lakers usually run? Let kobe dribble for 17 seconds and then have him drive to the lane? Kobe dribbles for the 17 seconds but he gets a half step on his man and then throws it high into the middle of the paint for Gasol who somehow comes down with it and lays it in with 1 second on the 24 second clock. Gasol was like a video game version of Randy Moss. There’s no way he should have caught it but he did. Are the Lakers going to give up a good look?
    0:02 – Oh. Sacramento showed its youth. Threw the ball away in the back court against an unspectacular full-court press by the Lakers. 2 seconds is plenty of time to get a shot off. If I’m Phil, I draw the play up for Newble here. Okay maybe not. It’s Kobe, Newble, Farmar, the Machine, and the Spaniard out there. I’d say, anyone but newble. Sasha will in bounds. Oh wait. Newble sits down. Radman in. The Space cadet gets it, turns and faces, MONEY! That was a great close to the quarter for the Lakers. They are only trailing by four now. 27-23.

    2nd Quarter
    Kings have been unable to capitalize on turnovers. 7 points off the lakers 6 turnovers whereas the lakers have 5 points off 3 kings’ turnovers. The camera shows some lakers fans looking goofy holding up signs. I think I know one of them.
    11:32 – Great start to the quarter! Sasha blocks a Garcia jumper, lakers push it up. Sasha takes a 16 footer and misses but The Space Cadet is feeling pretty good. He taps out the rebound to Farmar who penetrates and gets the rack. Makes the layup and gets fouled. The Old-Fashioned three point play for a young man.
    10:48 – Radman hits a shot with no time left on the shot clock. 28-28.
    9:35 – HAHAHAHA. The refs are silly. They call a foul on a Kings missed shot. The ref signals that it’s Lamar’s foul, even though he didn’t really try to get to the rebound. Lamar just about has steam coming out of his ears. The other two refs save the one ref by telling him he should make the call on Ronny (who hit Hawes’s arm). The call ended up being right, but on replay the ref actually made the call that it was Lamar pushing in the back. I’m not sure I buy this whole sequence. The ref called a push in the back on one player but ends up calling a loose ball foul on another player? Can you just blow the whistle all willy nilly like this? It doesn’t really matter since it was a foul on Ronny and the call was right, it’s just a little shady is all I’m sayin. That’s Ronny’s third foul. He’ll probably get a breather.
    8:55 – sasha gives the lakers their biggest lead 32 – 28. The sound goes silent, someone must have said a magic word.
    8:32 – Luke decided to sit due to a strained hamstring. At least that’s the official reason. He’s wearing a dorky corduroy jacket. John Ireland says Ariza and bynum are also on the trip but not expected to play tonight or on Tuesday.
    8:14 – Farmar vomits a shot that barely hits the backboard. Yikes. Kevin Martin takes the fast break and lays it in over Farmar. 32-32.
    6:42 – If I weren’t a Lakers fan I would turn this game off despite the close score. It’s extremely sloppy. A lot of bricked shots and turnovers.
    6:15 – Oh. Salmons seems to get a clean strip but the refs are not paying very close attention tonight and call a foul. Radman hits two free throws. 37-22. And radman gets the steal on the other end!
    6:00 – This leads to an Ira Newble jumper. That was shorter than Ashley Simpson’s time in the spotlight. (Some might say that was still too long).
    Dude. dude. Dude. That commercial isn’t funny dude.
    5:53 – Starting Five back in there except it’s Newble instead of lamar.
    5:25 – Newble keeps the possession alive grabbing an offensive rebound. The Space Cadet grabs a Derek fisher miss and gets the lakers another chance. Great point by Stu saying how Radman has figured out how to do other things besides just shooting. I agree. The past few weeks, with a couple of exceptions, Radman has really been trying to do more than just shoot.
    5:03 – Artest looks for a foul driving to the line and throws it as hard as he can off the basket. It banks in. He looks like he’s about to punch someone near him since he didn’t get that call. I was actually a little bit scared there.
    4:24 – Kobe travels in the lane with a step through move. Well I think he traveled. He misses the shot. Kobe somehow got to the rim and tipped it in though. He’s amazing. I would definitely have his babies.
    4:03 – Artest is pretty frustrated. He missed an inside shot and fouled Pau on the rebound. That’s his third. He’ll stay in the game. Pau makes them. 43-37.
    3:29 – It’s the Derek Fisher show. He gets a steal and then dominates the basketball for about 15 seconds probing and hits a step back barely jumper over Anthony Johnson. Sinks it.
    3:05 – Lamar gets called for a foul on Kevin Martin. Martin pulled up for a 20 footer and Lamar sort of made him smell his armpit. After the shot, Kevin martin took a little a nap on the floor and the refs called a foul. That’s not a call the refs usually make. So much for that “handsome game.”
    Wow. The Space cadet has 8 rebounds to lead all rebounders in the game. Nicely done sir.
    2:16 – Radman makes a bad pass to newble who manages to catch it. Newble gets it back to radman. Realizing that that’s not his forte, the space cadet takes one dribble to find space and nails a jumper. 49-39.
    1:27 – Kobe auditions for one of those As Seen on TV videos after he gets tripped up. He does a few dribbling drills while lying on his backside. I suppose we’re impressed Kobe.
    0:52 – Apparently dribbling while sitting on your butt doesn’t translate into actual ball security. Kobe turns the ball over and it goes the other way. I’m not sure how you would describe The Space Cadet’s defense against Kevin Martin’s fast break layup. The best way I can describe it is to think of a Robin puffing its chest to show off it’s plumage. Vlad put his arms straight down and puffed out his chest as Martin blew around him for the layup. 51-43 Lakers.
    0:30 – Spencer Hawes could use some grooming lessons. His beard looks more like a lesion on his face than something aesthetically pleasing.
    So far this game is unsatisfying. Bad reffing, a lot of turnovers, and poor shooting.

    3rd Quarter
    11:12 – Gasol with the fast break slam! I was hoping for a windmill or a 360 or something there. Maybe next time.
    10:48 – The Space cadet hits the shorter corner three from the right side of the floor. The Kings are sloppier than two 13 year olds kissing for the first time. 58-45. Timeout Kings.
    9:48 – Kobe gets a steal and Kobe lets Spencer Hawes catch up to his fast break. I would have preferred Kobe just put on the afterburners and dunk it. Hawes obliges with the foul and Kobe goes to the line. Misses the first. Makes the second.
    9:12 – That was just mean. Along the sideline kobe nutmegged hawes. If I’m hawes, I’m planning to punch kobe in the kidney the next time he comes anywhere near me. Kobe doesn’t care, he shoots the three and makes it.
    8:15 – Wow. Lamar blasts past three Kings and lays it in. that was a big time move.
    7:47 – Lakers offense workin now. Kobe drives and lays it off to Pau. Easy slam. 69-52.
    7:08 – Kobe nails the three ball over artest. 72-54. Nothing but bottom. Lakers full court press and fisher picks up another foul. I wonder if anyone has ever fouled out with fouls in the back court. That’s his second foul more than 45 feet away from the basket.
    6:31 – Lamar coast to coast and he also lays it off to pau inside. Pau with contested layup. 74-54. Timeout bad guys. This game is in the refrigerator
    5:07 – Lakers aren’t playing a whole lot of defense right now. Hawes makes it inside. 76-60.
    4:31 – Fisher runs the fast break, he has pau filling the lane and oh yikes. He throws the ball to where Tyson chandler could grab it. Pau has a lame ankle and won’t be able to get that one. He runs out of bounds with it.
    4:18 – 76-62. After kings free throws the lead is down to 14.
    3:53 – 79-62. radman hits the semi fast break side corner three. Lakers needed that one to stem the tide.
    Kobe’s got 14 points so far in the 3rd quarter alone. 22 for the game.
    2:54 – Facial lesions man gets goal tending called on him on a Lamar layup attempt.
    2:34 – Garcia just socks the hell out of farmar’s pretty face. That was either really clumsy or out of frustration. John Ireland tells us Garcia twisted his ankle on the last play and wanted to give a foul so he could come out of the game. He just made a bad one. I’m not sure that excuses that but it turns to be no big deal.
    0:07 – The Space cadet enters the game. Decoy?
    0:02 – That could have been terrible. Kobe was at full speed and vaulted himself at the basket. Artest tried to draw a charge and the ball goes out of bounds. Kobe smiles cuz he thinks he was fouled. He doesn’t get the call.
    0:01 – The Space Cadet gets the inbounds pass behind the left short corner three. Plenty of room to elevate and yes, he ray allen’s it home. Vlad Rad’s name was just added to the BALCO grand jury investigation tonight.
    0:00 – In order to not deplete his terrible field goal percentage further, ron artests pump fakes before throwing his length of the court shot. He threw it up after time expired. That was weak sauce.
    We want tacos!
    4th Quarter
    Lakers start up 87-69. Apparently they finished the quarter 15-15 on field goals. On fifteen assists. That’s pretty efficient basketball.
    11:16 – Farmar shows his speed on the fast break off his steal. Doobie reaches from behind to earn a foul but farmar makes the layup. Barely even noticed the foul. And one. Too bad he missed the freebie
    10:03 – Lamar glides in for the reverse layup. Nicely done. 93-73. He did well to get that offensive rebound away from Hawes. His facial hair is disgusting. I can’t get over it.
    9:27 – Farmar and the Machine get a good bit of teamwork going. Farmar drives into the lane and finds vujacic sitting behind the three point arc. Wet. 96-73.
    9:07 – lamar tries to make the unselfish play for the new guy. He tried to feed newble on the break but it was a tough pass to make and the ball ends up out of bounds. Turnover. I’ll live with that. He was trying to get newble some reward for his playing time today.
    8:50 – Newble is faked out of his shoes by Salmons.
    8:18 – lamar and Artest are standing arm in arm. Aww, that’s cute.
    8:15 – Newble gets the hook. Kobe comes back into the game cuz the bench was letting the kings back into it. 8-0 run. Make that 10-0. 96-83.
    7:24 – Ronny stems the tide with a tough layup.
    6:03 – Pau does the check for blood on the side of his head move. Foul called on the kings as he went for the rebound. Lakers want a time out here. Phil creepily holds his finger on LO’s sternum as Lamar explains why the lakers are a little confused.
    5:44 – That’s not fair. Kobe gets trapped near half court. Somehow splits it and finds pau for an alley-layup oop.
    4:50 – Nice. After a missed bucket by The Space Cadet. Kobe makes salmons change directions and Lamar is able to knock it away from behind. Kobe strokes the three ball. 102-88.
    3:59 – Kobe dribbles through his legs with his right hand and catches it with his right hand. He gained half a step on Johnson and took it to the hole. Johnson reaches and grabs kobe for the foul. Kobe makes the two free throws. 104-88.
    3:20 – fisher adds the last nail in the coffin and hits a three from the left side.
    3:05 – Radman gets his double double with his 10th rebound.
    2:45 – Kobe walks into the front court and he’s had enough of that whole “go to the basket” thing. Drains the three. He waves to the fans with his fingers.. “goodbye/goodnight.” If you wonder why people hate him. It’s stuff like that. 110-88.
    1:52 – The clumsiest fast break ever. Vujacic granny layups it in over two Kings. Farmar created that steal. Good job defensively by Farmar tonight. Lakers just went on a 12-0 run to slam the door. The bench mob owes the starters for saving their butts tonight.
    0:35 – Reggie Theus doesn’t have these guys playing professionally. Sheldon Williams made the traveling hand motion while he was supposed to be guarding DJ who had the ball 8 feet from the basket. He actually stopped playing defense to turn himself into a fourth referee.
    Game over. 114-92. Apologies this one wasn’t that great. This game was just one of those slogs the lakers did well to win. We also really benefitted from the absence of beno Udrih.

  39. Luke will be fine when we play big teams. He can play with larger players. His problem is with quick players who move well laterally. Within his limitations he is a very positive addition to our team. My issues with Phil usually revolve around his ‘fixed’ rotations. Luke should be used when his skills are most needed and left on the bench when having to play Golden State types of teams. This is not much different than other role players on all NBA teams. That is why they are called role players.

  40. nomuskles (38): I don’t know if you saw it, with about 5 minutes left in the first quarter, but Johnson came down with the ball in the backcourt, and he tapped the top of his head quickly several times to call a play, and–I don’t know why–Fisher reached up and tapped his head quickly a few times in response. Was he just taunting Johnson? Does he have itchy scalp? Holy cow, I think I just tapped the top of my head sympathetically.

  41. drrayeye…when did Luke Walton win NCAA championship? Arizona’s only title came in ’97 with Miles Simon, and I don’t remember Luke being on that team…

  42. pb (42): Pretty sure he didn’t. I think Luke may have played in the title game in 2001, but they lost to Duke.