Waiting, and Looking at the Stats

Kurt —  May 18, 2008

First things first – The Jazz are a very good basketball team. To be honest, before the playoffs they scared me as much as either of the two teams remaining on the other side of the bracket. Maybe more, because our best antidote to what they do is named Andrew Bynum and he wasn’t playing.

That win was the latest chapter in a now-growing rivalry with the Jazz. And it’s one that’s going to continue for years – the Jazz, Lakers and Hornets are young teams that will be fighting each other for the right to play in the finals for the next four years or so.

But that’s the future and what we are focused on now is a few days from now, when the Lakers start the Western Conference finals. I don’t have a big preference between the two remaining teams, both present a lot of problems (like two very fast point guards, a long-running Lakers problem), and both teams play good defense. But both have things you can attack, starting with the Lakers are deeper than both of them and should win the battles of the bench. One other plus — just like last round the Lakers are resting up while their opponent will play Monday night then have to turn around 24 hours later off an emotional high and carry that two-thirds of the way across the country. That gives the Lakers a big boost for game one.

And here are some notes on the Lakers playoff stats:

Compared to the regular season, the Lakers are scoring 3 more points 100 possessions, their offense is really clicking. One key reason is they are doing better – they are getting more shots right at the rim. In the regular season, 64% of the Lakers shots were jumpers, 36% were in close, but in the playoffs that has increased to 40%. Obviously, you shoot a higher percentage in close, so getting more shots there means more points (even if we are talking just four shots a game, that likely means two more makes and four more points a game, and that matters).

That is making up for the fact the Lakers are giving up four more points per 100 possessions on defense. The reason there is the same problem in reverse – during the season the Lakers forced opponents to shoot jumpers on 65% of their attempts, in the playoffs that is down to 58%. Part of that is skewed by the Jazz, who can pound the ball inside so well. But protecting the rim is something the Lakers have to do in the next round. (The Lakers are also giving up more shots in the first 10 seconds of the shot clock, but playing the running Nuggets and a Jazz team that isn’t afraid to run, that number is skewed.)

We’re not going to Hollywood like the Lakers to watch the game as a team. But we will be watching tomorrow night, and looking at the matchups and more.

Kurt

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60 responses to Waiting, and Looking at the Stats

  1. I think we’d rather play NO.

    1) We’ve had success in the past against them making Paul a scorer. Fisher will need to play another spectacular series, but I feel his D and Phil’s defensive schemes can neutralize CP3.
    (BTW-Fisher in Game 6 had 16 pts on 4/5 (!) shooting-more than 3 pts per shot. Talk about efficient). IMO, Parker is a better outside shooter and this could work less against him.

    2) With the length on our front line, I fear what SA has more than West and Chandler. Chandler really doesn’t score much other than alley-oops, and Odom has the speed, length, and size to disrupt a smaller and ailing 6’9 West. Again, we need to rebound and box Chandler out, he loves to slap the ball off an offensive rebound back to Paul at the top of the key, but if we were able to pull it out against Okur, Boozer, and Milsap, I have faith we can do it against NO too. Oh yeah-they have Duncan. Nuff said.

    3) Peja can be difficult ( I just double-checked on both ESPN and NBA.com – he’s 6’10!! I thought he was 6’7ish). But as we’ve seen in their series with SA, with a defender sticking with him at all times, he can be stopped. As long as we stick someone on him and keep him from getting open looks off of screens, he can be contained. Ginobili is a harder cover.

    4) We have Kobe Bryant. If any doubt remained that his back wasn’t ok, his elevation dunk off of a Fisher pass in transition in Game 6 removed any inkling of worry in my mind. Peja? Can’t stop Kobe. Mo Pete? Please. And they don’t have the length and brute force of AK47 or Harpring, respectively. That being said, NO would be forced to build their whole defensive scheme for the series around rotations and help D for Kobe, leaving the MVP with open passing lanes that have been the jewel of our offense. Their focus on Kobe will open up the game for our shooters on the arc and dump passes for Pau and Odom on Kobe penetration. With Bowen, SA has a dirty defender to throw at Kobe.

    5) SA-4 championships in past 9 years. NO-First time ever in WCF (if they make it).

    For these reasons, I think NO is the easier series. Feel free to chip in if you feel I’m wrong in one area or another.

  2. Kurt, you mentioned that the jumpers to inside shots numbers might have been skewed because of what Utah does (i.e. pound the ball inside), but I was wondering if you think it could also be the case that because of all the second chance opportunities they had so close to the rim because of their rebounding–namely all the putbacks they had–wouldn’t also skew the numbers a bit?

    Aaron, I think Peja is a big problem with the Lakers. If memory serves (and I think the ending of Game 6 is a prime example of this), the Lakers have left perimeter shooters all season long. It’s been sort of chronic. I thought before the Utah series that their perimeter defense had maybe improved marginally, but now I’m not so sure. Peja has been almost automatic when he’s able to catch and shoot, and I’m not sure who would be assigned to defend him (RadMan?), but I think he presents big problems, because he can also put it on the floor and I’ve noticed that his defense seems to be more than competent. Maybe I’m way off on this, but his abilities, along with the run and gun game that the Hornets are so good at (and in much more control of as opposed to Denver) scare me. But then, so do the Spurs, for completely different reasons.

  3. Warren Wee Lim May 18, 2008 at 10:08 am

    There’s no question the more popular vote goes to NOOCH. For purposes of discussion, these are why:

    1. Experience – Only Peja and Mo Pete have been deep into the playoffs on that team. That’s still 2/5 of their starters. Bonzi Wells is the only other player with deep playoff experience and that was some 6 years ago.

    2. Offense – NOOCH offense lives and dies with CP3. If we could have Fish and JFarm play good D (sheesh who does?) on him, we could limit this team’s offense to pass and shoot as supposed to penetrate, screen, roll, kickout, lob, dunk.

    3. Stability – There is no inside game. Chandler is a human pogo stick with those uncanny offensive boards but he is as volatile as Rasheed Wallace Jr. When he gets particularly frustrated with our length and gets into foul trouble, their backup center is MELVIN ELY?!

    4. Determination/Motivation – For NOOCH, reaching the WCF is an achievement that could be placated as “enough to cap up their incredible Cinderella season”. Getting here could very well be more than what they could wish for – realistically.

    5. Depth/Bench – they made a trade mid-season just to bolster their bench. They are basically 8-man deep with Pargo, Wells and Ely as the reliables off the bench.

    For these reasons, the Lakers may have the tendency to overlook their foe and take them lightly.

    I figured I’d do a Kobe and say: “I want the Spurs. I figured all of you might say NOH so I want the defending champs.”

  4. Warren Wee Lim May 18, 2008 at 10:21 am

    As a follow-up, here’s why I like the Spurs:

    1. Defense – the defending champs will force us to play D. I want this for our growth and development as a unit and as a team. Win or Lose, preferrably WIN, I want us to win it the right way. Next year we will be even deadlier.

    2. Offense – I’ll be a master of the obvious and say that the Spurs tend to struggle offensively. But they will make us do the same by playing lock-up D. If we could get over this hump, then it means the TRI must have been clicking on all cylinders.

    3. Pride – what better way to reach the top than by beating the one sitting atop. The San Antonio Spurs are the defending champions. If we want to be the next champs, we beat them, not escape them.

    4. Justice – Robert Horry, much as I love him, needs to understand that hip-checking Nash and shoving DWest does not win championships. Bruce Bowen, needs to understand sticking his leg out on jumpshots does not earn him 1st team all-defense. Its nice to be heroes when we beat the bad boys eh?

    5. Honor – for Kobe, SA has always stood in the way. Whether its the 99 Lakers or the 00, 01, 02 3-peat Lakers, or the 03 Lakers with Horry’s missed three (how ironic) Lakers and even the 04 Lakers with Fish’s 0.4 miracle, the Spurs were always in the way. Also, if they win one more, they’d own the decade with 4 LOB trophs. Leaving the Lakers one short this decade. There is simply so much motivation to beat this team written all over the Laker faces.

    In the end, I want the tougher (not better) opponent. This would be the fitting finish to our season of struggle, hard-work, execution, growth, execution and hope. And for Kobe’s sake, give him the Spurs. It is the true test of character if he could pass up the last shot of the last second of the last game. I would personally want Fish to do it… 0.4 will be relived.

  5. one thing I don’t want to see if it’s NO, is a parade of alley oops from CP3 to Chandler, and they make a living doing just that.
    so, my question…knowing that they go to this all the time, what kind os defensive scheme can PJ and staff come up with to take it away?
    does LO rotate over to try to block the pass in?
    just curious, cause if we do face them, that is the one thing I think can really hurt us.

  6. A couple of thoughts regarding the PER stats.

    A) If the stats on Lakers offense were from the whole season then there is something to be said about the fact that Gasol was only in about half those games. So, I’m thinking the improved offense is actually more of the same since Gasol. That is impressive in itself in figuring the quality of competition.

    B)The Lakers’ defense is, again, dealing with two playoff quality teams with coaches capable of making adjustments (even if Karl’s team wasn’t quite Decepticon in its transformative quality) in two of the top offenses in the league. That said, the PER increase from the season is not particularly bothersome seeing that the Lakers are now the best offensive team in the Lig.

    There are posters all over Portland saying, “The Future is here. And next year, Oden”. I’m thinking we could just as easily have posters around LA saying, “The Lakers are Champs (fingers crossed), and next year Bynum”. People talked about the quality of the Detroit team in ’03 and how they were about to get the second pick in a great draft. Consider the deservedly fawning attention being paid to Dumars over that offseason, and if Mitch doesn’t receive similar attention then there is something wrong with people’s perception of just how good these Lakers can be for the next 4-6 years.

  7. I think you are on with the analysis. On top of this as a true fand of the game I like the exitement of the pace that would come with NO. Plus I am just sick of the Spurs.

  8. Every time I hear that the Lakers and some other team are starting a long-term rivalry, I remember that Shaq and Bibby said exactly the same thing about the Lakers and Kings after Game 7 in 2002. That we fans said the same thing about the Lakers and Blazers after Game 7 in 2000. Who knows what the future brings?

    That said, I’m looking forward to seeing what Portland brings in 2008-2009.

  9. I’m glad now we can discuss the opponent in WCF. Although most of the utah fans displayed class in giving us respect for defeating their team, I can’t help but remember “utahfan” who predicted that Utah would win in 7 and we would have to watch them in WCF. Not to gloat, but I wish they would come back after their prediction blows up in their face and offer us any kind of explanation for the rash post. Ok, enough of that.

    As most of us feel, I too feel that both teams are tough matchup but agree that NO would not be as tough as SA. However, I almost wish that we would play SA and beat them to further validate our claim to NBA title. Of course, beating NO and then DET would not be as bad, but if we can win, it would be sweeter to do so against SA and BOS. On the other hand, it would be tougher to swallow losing to SA and BOS, too. But let’s stay positive. I do feel that it’s our title to lose this year. If we can play smart and hard (esp on D), we should be able to defeat any of the remaining 5 foes (although DET looks scarier and scarier). Going back to WCF, it would be easier to deal with Paul, West and Peja than Parker, Ginobili and Duncan. My biggest reason is that SA will be able to assign defensive specialist who can make Kobe work harder in Bowen and even Ginobili. NO doesn’t have anyone really to make Kobe sweat. When Kobe can be more of a threat that requires double team, then LO, Pau, and our 3point shooters become that much more effective. Not to look ahead, but that’s the reason why DET could be our toughest matchup because of Prince, who has proven in 2003 that he could make it difficult for Kobe.

    BTW, throw Portland in as the other possible contenders in West. With Oden, Rudy Fernandez, and another lottery pick, that team will contend for years to come. I think Brandon Roy should be mentioned with Chris Paul and Deron Williams as one of the best young players in this league.

  10. Amazing_Happens May 18, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Game 6 against the Jazz was reminiscent (but not eerily so) of the Lakers’ last regular season meeting against the Hornets: a critical game, a big lead at halftime, the Lakers go into “prevent” offense and defense, the Lakers hang on for the win.

    The coaching staff should really review the second half video of those games to see how the Lakers start playing differently when they have a 15-20 point lead. I’m not sure if it’s Lakers losing focus, the other team playing with more energy, or the Lakers being less aggressive, although as with most things in life, it’s probably a combination of all of those factors.

  11. Araron — i do not agree that NO is far and away the better match up for the lakers. they are the better matchup but only by a slight margin. I feel you overlooked some things in your points.

    first, your statement that NO has no one that can slow kobe down, obviously in reference to the fact that the spurs have bowen, is most likely incorrect. Obviously Mo pete let kobe drop 81 points but do not overlook julian wright. Everyone thought the hornets didn’t have anyone to stay in front of manu ginobli in this series and wright has done a tremendous job. Hes not gonna stop kobe, obviously, but he might be someone to come in and slow him down.

    second, your statement that the spurs and NO are a wash at the point guard position is a joke. Tony parker is not a better outside shooter then paul… they are BOTH deficient outside shooters… but do not sleep on paul, im getting tired of people sleeping on him… he is one of the three or four superstars in this league that have a killer cut-throat instinct. kobe, dwade, some others, and PUAL. chris paul is a champion at heart and you should be afriad of him. tony parker is but a blip on chris paul galaxy.

  12. I was reading through some Hornets blogs and it seems like many of them are upset about the 2 offensive fouls called on Chris Paul in Game 6. Chris Paul very often uses his elbow and forearm to create separation and does not seem to get called for it very often. It is clearly an offensive foul, don’t you think?

    Isn’t it fundamentally similar to Kobe using his elbow last year and getting suspended for 2 games during the season?

  13. The Dude Abides May 18, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    #4-That comeback, IMO, was more of the Jazz waking up than the Lakers playing prevent defense. Harpring and Millsap fueled the comeback in the first part of the 4th Quarter with their aggressiveness on the offensive boards. Then, Kobe put the dagger in. The lead was 11 with about 2:30 left, when Utah started to shoot threes early in the clock. The Lakers didn’t adjust and guard the three-point line. One of those threes by AK47 came after a long rebound when Lamar didn’t match up, leaving Sasha to guard both Korver in the right corner and AK47 from the right wing. Sasha correctly guarded Korver, as Andrei hadn’t made a shot from downtown in the past few games. Well, he made that one, but fortunately the Lakers shot 9-10 from the line in those final two minutes, and after Fisher’s one miss, Sasha harassed Korver into passing to Okur, then got his hand in Okur’s face on that long three.

  14. Paul is a kung fu master. I think the variant of kung fu is the “Praying Mantis”‘; the left arm strikes his opponent , leaving him dazed and vulnerable to the killing blow to come.

    Not just to create space but the immobilise the taller shot blocker when he drives the lane. Does this every time but rarely gets called for it. And when he does, whines like a baby.

  15. The Hornets/Spurs is wild because each team is crushing the other at home. Whereas Lakers/Jazz had close games where the visitors were in the games at the end. Suggests the inexperience of Hornets in putting away a team and that the Spurs are showing signs of getting old.(After 3Q starts in NO and Paul comes out ready to take over a game,it’s rather shocking how completely helpless the Spurs continue to be.)
    I wonder if playing the Jazz isn’t a much better path to take to finally facing the Spurs. Past Laker teams didn’t really face in-your-face defensive teams before facing the Spurs,so the Spurs D came as a rude suprise. I wouldn’t be too suprised to see Laker players commenting after a Game 1 against Spurs how much harder it was to play against Jazz D.
    The advantages the Spurs have in their D,playoff acumen and Ginobli off the bench just might be missing against the Lakers this go-round. The Lakers speed,bench contributions and experience this yr should prove decisive against the Spurs.
    The Hornets offer a much more difficult match-up at point.(Paul constantly looks to feed Chandler,how many times does Parker feed Oberto?) The Hornets bigs are more mobile and better offensive rebounders than Spurs. The Hornets don’t have anybody like Ginobli,nor a defender like Bowen. On the other hand Peja is just the kind of 3pt marksman who thrives when the Lakers concentrate on closing the lane. Add in SA’s superior flopping and the Duncan Face of Disbelieve and I would normally say Lakers would have a tougher time w/ Spurs. But I don’t think SA has “it” this yr,and I have this sneaking suspicion Scott has an “I hate Phil” room where he goes at night and draws up strategies :)

  16. Celtics v. Lebron: Here’s the world’s most disappointing drinking game: Take a sip of your beer for every made basket. At the end of the game, finish your first beer and call it a day.

    There’s been talk about the firework displays teams use before games, but nobody mentions at the haze it creates on the tv broadcast.

    Whenever I think about who I’d rather have the Lakers face next series, I can’t commit because of the whole “Be careful what you wish for.” Chris Paul scares me more than any other player between both teams but that’s only because my memories of Ginobli dissecting us in 2003 aren’t that fresh. We understand the spurs better, but they would probably be more focused in exploiting our specific weaknesses and try to beat us up all series. As a war of attrition I think we’d emerge healthier after 7 games against the Hornets than the Spurs. But our youth and athleticism may be more effective against San Antonio…

  17. Amazing_Happens (4): I didn’t really notice any substantial problem with the Lakers until the last few minutes of the fourth. The lead is going to go up and down just from random variation. If the Jazz don’t hit five treys in a row, no one even thinks about it.

    I was at the Hornets game. Without hearing Joel and Stu wringing their hands over the loss of momentum, I have to say it was startling how sneaky the run seemed. It didn’t seem the Lakers were playing all that bad, and suddenly they were only up eight.

  18. 2. That’s a good point about the boards.

    Man is the Cleveland offense hard to watch. To much iso, not a lot of movement or passing. And all those misses are fueling the Boston transition game.

  19. laughing hard May 18, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    … I am so glad we get to watch Western Conference games.

    Final score: Boston 73, Cleveland 69?

  20. Was Mike Brown on the court fighting for a loose ball right there? It’s refreshing to see a coach put his body at risk to get the possession. Not since Jeff Van Gundy have we seen such activity from a coach…

  21. 20- I believe “Lawler’s Law” could be restated for this series as “First to 70 wins.”

  22. Let’s be careful what we wish for, indeed. We might get Chucky.

  23. 23- omfg. Isn’t “taking a few rough spots” off the bottom of the knee cap the definition of mincro-fracture surgery???

  24. here’s wishing a quick recovery to young bynum.

  25. microfracture surgery consists of drilling holes into the bones to induce the formation of cartilage….

    On another note, John Turturro comes out strong in the 2nd half. Treating the Celtics like they’re eight-olds. Eight-year olds.

  26. Adding to my points earlier (Bill Bridges, I might need your help):

    6) Peja stopper? TREVOR ARIZA. He coming off a week since he has been cleared from practice and I feel that PJ will let him give it a shot on Peja. Tell him to pull a Bowen-stick with him all over the court. I feel this tactic may help to quell his shooting streak against us.

    7) The CP3-Chandler alley-oop usually comes on a P/R or a slip screen where Chandler picks Paul’s defender and then when Chandler’s man shows on the screen, Paul throws it up for the slam as Chandler cuts towards the basket. The key here is to a) cut off Chandler from getting to the hoop or b) allowing Chandler to cut but cutting off the passing lane. If Gasol is on Chandler, I would tell him not to show on the screen but rather stay with Chandler, as Chandler is not a threat to hit from 10 feet out. Also, I’d tell him when staying with Chandler as he cuts to the basket to keep his hands straight up, disrupting the passing lane for the alley-oop. I feel Kobe will also roam just like he did in the Utah series, helping off of Paul. Let Mo Pete kill us, not Paul.

    8) We can also place Sasha on Paul for short periods. D-Will gives Paul problems because of his size (D-Will is 6’3 210), and Sasha has an even bigger size advantage and may be a little leaner (6’7 195). I feel he can disrupt Paul’s venturing around the court as much as anyone. (And he’ll get him a little P’ed off too!).

  27. (The smiley face is supposed to be an eight, I don’t know what happened).

  28. Nique v. Bird II right here.

  29. I know we actually have to play the Spurs or the Hornets, but honestly they are both so good, I don’t think there is a preferable match up. Both teams will give us problems and both teams have weaknesses that we can exploit if we execute. I know that’s a little simplistic, but it’s the truth.

    The Hornets worry me because they are so superb in the screen roll game (our biggest defensive weakness) and Paul is so patient that he’ll continue to just probe the defense until he finds an opening. I’m sure we can scheme in order to skew his decision making, but he *will* make the correct decision, almost every time. The Hornets secondary players are also very good players and really take on the personality of Paul. And since Paul is a killer, that scares me a little. I don’t know if we can really stop West. Even though he’s a similar player to Boozer, he’s longer and has more touch on his jumper. He may not rebound as well, but his offensive game is more diverse and I’m not sure if he’ll be bothered by our length the same way that Boozer/Okur were. Add in the fact that they have good 3 pt. shooting, have a true shot blocker to protect the rim, and overall, are more athletic than San Antonio and I don’t really want to face them.

    And we all know how good the Spurs are. I mean, I worry that Duncan can really do damage against us in the paint. I think that Pau can bother him with his length, but I also see games where Pau gets in foul trouble and we are forced to go to Mbenga and Turiaf against Timmy (not an exciting prospect, to me). I worry that we’ll have to put Kobe on Ginobili (if he starts) and Luke or a rusty Ariza on him if he comes off the bench and that he can wear down Kobe, demolish Luke, and who knows with Ariza (but I’ll have to see Ariza have success first, not just assume it). I also worry that Parker is a much less conventional driver than Paul or Williams and that Fisher (who has always had problems against him) will not play nearly as well on defense as he did in the first two rounds. Throw in their all world defense, and I’m not thrilled they may be the opponent either.

    Basically, I see a lot of strengths from both those teams that are going to give us fits. But, if I was going to decide on what team I’d like for us to face based off their weaknesses, I’d rather face (gulp) the Spurs. They are the older, less athletic team, who I think we can exploit in more situations than the Hornets. I actually think that Kobe is over the whole *Bowen* factor. I see that match up in the same way the Kobe/Christie match up evolved over those years. Basically, Bowen *was* that guy, but after Kobe has faced him so many times and Bowen has lost a half step, I think Kobe can just break him down in any given possession to make something positive happen, be it a drive, jumper, or a helper for a teammate. And ultimately, if you’re talking their team defense, when you add our ball movement to aging legs, I think we start to build an advantage. We can get into x’s and o’s when an opponent is determined, but I like our chances against the Spurs. Especially when you throw in the fact that we have history against this team (much like our match up with Sloan) and I think we can gameplan them a little bit better.

  30. The Dude Abides May 18, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Bill Bridges, if Cleveland comes back to win this game, the city of Boston will be in a world of pain. A WORLD OF PAIN.

  31. PJ Brown hits the big shot, West misses his. And I don’t mean that as a knock Delonte, the Cavs offense was at its best and most creative when he had the ball, but the Celts had better players around their stars.

    But can either of these teams beat Detroit? It doesn’t look like it to me.

  32. Surgery, huh? That sucks. Hopefully his recovery is more like Amare and less like Kenyon Martin.

  33. And I agree Darius, both of these teams scare me, but I feel more confident in this Laker team after the Utah series than I did before it.

  34. 25, 34. It’s not microfracture surgery, unless I read that LA Times report wrong. Scoping some debris is very different from drilling holes in bone.

  35. I think the Bynum’s surgery is what Kobe did in the off season last season.

  36. Dude, as you said, Lebron just learned that, well, sometimes you eat the bar and sometimes the bar, he eats you.

  37. Does anyone have a history of how Pau has played against Duncan in both their careers? My impression was that Pau has played Duncan very well 1-on-1, but that could be completely off. I’m not even sure if he guarded Duncan when he was with Memphis.

  38. Hmmm, you’d think that this game would have better numbers (as in more assists), but the second highest scorer for the Celtics was KG, with only 13 points.

  39. I feel the way to beat the Hornets is to take away CP3’s dribble drive as much as possible with help. Make him into a scorer from 18+ feet. The Hornets don’t win many games when Paul has less than 9 assists.

  40. Its not micrfofracture surgery. It is just and laperoscopy. It will be out patient surgery. They will go in check to see why the Knee didn’t heal as fast as they thought it was going too, then remove any debris and scar tissue that they find. From what I understand it is and exploratory surgery. Just hope they don’t find anything major that wasn’t picked up on an MRI.

  41. I’m preparing my assessment of the Spurs and Hornets, but I can’t really go any further without some information about the Lakers. Before I have to start tallying boxscores, anyone know where I can find stats on the Lakers-with-Gasol-in-the-lineup?

  42. I also have to agree with Darius. Both the Spurs and Hornets worry me, but I think my biggest concern is the 1. Fisher did a great job staying in front of D. Will in the Utah series (in fact, I can’t remember the last time he was so good defensively on a consistent basis), but Paul and Parker are very different guards than D. Will. If Farmar had some confidence and worked hard on his D, then maybe he can hang with those two, but I feel like the PG position is where we might have the biggest match up problems.

  43. The Dude Abides May 18, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    That jump shot by PJ Brown really tied Boston’s fourth quarter together.

  44. I definitely prefer NO over SA if only for one reason – MVP showdown. Kobe vs. CP, to be followed by Kobe vs. KG. Yeah. That’s too hollywood, but really, that would be lovely.

    Going further, we had trouble with both TP and CP, so it really doesn’t matter either way, but in every other position, the Spurs are either better or match NO. Bowen can be just as destructive as Peja from downtown, while being more a pain defensively. Also, I don’t like Bowen going against Kobe’s back/pinky, either.

    And the Spurs are not intimidated, which makes a series a series. I think it’ll be much easier to intimidate the Hornets earning us one or even two easy games; and that really should be enough.

  45. Dude, have you noticed how much Ilgauskas resembles a 7’3″ Karl Hungus (without the hair)?

    Now that Z’s season is over, look for him at one of those Jackie Treehorn Malibu parties.

  46. I really do not like the Spurs. Parker, Ginobili, Bowen, Duncan & Oberto / Stoudamire, Vaughn, Finley, Barry, Bonner, Udoka, Horry & Thomas.
    The big three + 10 average role players + pride + coach horrible tricks (hack a Shaq, Horry’s and Bowen’s doubtful fouls)…
    I saw a lot of their games (I live in Argentina) and I prefer them far far away from us.

  47. The Dude Abides May 18, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    Obviously, Big Z is not a golfer. Darkness has washed over him, the Cavs, and the Jazz – darker than a black steer’s tookus on a moonless prairie night.

    As for the Lake Show, certain things have come to light. They will make their opponents feel like nihilists before this postseason is over.

  48. The Bynum surgery is very disconcerting. His injury, treatment and prognosis have been shrowded in mystery since day one. Hopefully he will make a full recovery, but knees are tricky – especially on a big man. Will this be a blip on anotherwise spectacular career or the beginning of the end? I would have said the former, but the constant secrecy makes me wonder.

  49. The Dude Abides May 18, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Yes, knees are tricky, but small abnormalities can be compensated for by building muscle mass. I think for a big man like Bynum, weight training and stretching can go a long way to getting him back to normal and even better than before. I’m always going to worry more about a center’s feet than his knees. Look at Walton, Yao, Big Z, McHale, and even Pau.

  50. Scot (50): I think what you’re seeing is not secrecy per se–just people not knowing exactly what’s going on because the MRI obviously didn’t show all of what’s going on.

    If the dreaded microfracture surgery becomes a possibility, it will happen after the arthroscopic, if that happens to reveal the need to develop new cartilage. Frankly, I’d be surprised; it seems to me it would have to be basically unrelated to the subluxation, and was just found by coincidence.

  51. A point that has been hinted at so far, but I feel needs some emphasis, is the risks ran by playing a team like the Spurs. Several of their players seem capable and willing of cheap tricks and sabotage; and with Kobe in a questionable condition, I would hesitate playing a team that welcomes “accidents” happening to their opponent’s star players. Lets hope for Ariza’s return and Bynum’s recovery. Peace.

  52. 39-
    I was listening to a Bill Simmons podcast a few months ago (I think it was Ric Bucher). Bucher had a conversation with a Memphis executive who was talking about the strange ability for Pau Gasol to match up well against Duncan on defense b/c h gives him fits w/ his length. Yet Pau doesn’t play particularly well against Dirk. But I don’t have the numbers so that will be up to you guys to look up.

    I hope tomorrow’s game goes to triple OT and Duncan hits another 3 at the end to win the game.

  53. Right now, the only thing for sure is that the Lakers will play four more games–and the first game will be at Staples. So far, the Lakers are undefeated at home, and have a winning record away. Neither Hornets nor Spurs have a winning record away. Sticking with percentages, the Lakers should win the first two at home, and split the next two away.

    Bloggers at San Antonio are already openly speculating that the Spurs will not be ready for game one against LA. I’d guess that the Hornets would even be in worse shape. Given their recent playoff histories, the teams could be facing elimination before they are even into the series with LA.

    I sure hope so.

  54. The fact they will have a home-court advantage if New Orleans wins tonight should give the Lakers a decisive edge as the Hornets have only been competitive in one road game thus far in the playoffs.

  55. Warren Wee Lim May 19, 2008 at 7:53 am

    I put good money on the Spurs guys. I hope you do not hate me for “jinxing” your dream date with NOH.

    Analogy: I put money on the Spurs so that, if they win, I get money. If they lose, while I lose too, we get NOOCH.

    Seems like its a small price to pay for a Laker win ey? Should I simply take one for the team like Sasha?

  56. I’d like the Lakers to play whatever team loses the game tonight ….

  57. For the record, I have deleted three comments over the last few days trying to open a discussion of what moves the Lakers should make this offseason. Aside my general distaste for speculation, these were thoughtful comments. But I am not going to open the door at all for this until the season is over. In part because, much like trade discussions, this would just dominate the comments on every post for days on end. And because we should enjoy the playoffs. Live in the moment.

  58. Game 7 watching post up, as we head into an interesting night.