Preseason Game Three Chat: Vegas Baby!

Kurt —  October 12, 2008

After all the time Kobe has spent playing basketball in Vegas the last couple of summers with Team USA, will that give him a home court advantage tonight?

Whatever Kobe does, what I think we’re all looking for is growth, improvement, signs of thing gelling together. As this is the third game for the Lakers, I think we have an idea of the three things we’re hoping to see:

1) Improved defense, particularly transition defense. Also, just better recognition and rotation in half court defensive sets.

2) Lamar Odom, does he start to find his way in some role in the offense, particularly when Gasol and Bynum are on the floor. And, in this same vein, does Trevor Ariza continue to make a case to be a starter with his hustle. (That said, at some point he needs to hit those outside shots he’s been getting.)

3) How do Bynum and Gasol look together? There were signs of potential last game, but they became frustrated ones. I think a play broken down by bchamp in the comments summed up what happened well.

In the 1st quarter the Lakers got into the corner series of the triangle where Kobe had the ball in the right corner and Bynum stepped over from the block to set a high side screen. As Bynum rolled along the baseline his defender switched over to double Kobe, who then found Gasol flashing to the high post. With the rotated defender trying to pick which poison he wanted to defend Gasol passed to a wide open Bynum underneath the rim. Unfortunately, it was a bad pass and ended up in a turnover but the right idea nonetheless.

As for the Kings, Tom Ziller from Sactown Royalty (and everywhere else) said that the mantra this preseason for the Kings is ball movement (which is why coach Reggie Theus hinted about the triangle, although he has backed off that statement). The Kings offense had little movement the last couple years, and having Artest breaking out of called plays all the time wasn’t helping. Ziller said the ball movement has been spotty so far, we’ll see how it goes tonight.

And while preseason wins are meaningless, I’d still like to see one.

Kurt

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21 responses to Preseason Game Three Chat: Vegas Baby!

  1. Something that hasn’t been discussed is how passive Kobe has been. Does anybody think that Kobe will only take a couple shots a Quarter/Half in the Regular Season? Yes I understand he’s trying to set up others,etc,but it might be a good idea to sit Kobe for a few games and let Lamar be the “guy” and gain some confidence.

  2. the other Stephen October 12, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    zounds!

  3. Stephen – Kobe doesn’t play like Kobe in the preseason. Very few turn around jumpers, very few drives to the basket, he prefers to stand around and direct traffic. Let the other guys learn to move without the ball and find the open man. I think his philosophy might be that if the other four guys are able to create their own offense, than he can be more dominant as well.

    Kurt – I wanted to throw out there that I agree with you. Although preseason is meaningless, it would be great to see a win. It feels like all the guys in the starting lineup, besides Ariza, are playing in slow motion and not making any extra effort to make plays. I feel like the entire Lakers offense runs slower than normal and thus a lack of open shots. I truly want to see some hustle from Gasol and Bynum when they play together and I definitely want to see Lamar step up. Odom should be playing in the range of 35-40 minutes a night during the preseason with a bunch of different lineups and showing the coaching staff where he belongs. Lamar’s lack of mental strength on the court is a real concern for us fans. How well Lamar plays and how hard he hustles when he’s on the court will be key to the Lakers success this season. He could be one of the raggedy make things happen Manu Ginobli type of guys or he can “just be there.” Hopefully the pace picks up a bit as we face the Kings, which have no interior presence, at least not comparable to ours. This is the big guys’ chance to gain some momentum.

  4. Where can i watch the game?

  5. yeah good question how can I catch the game online?

  6. http://ziucchiradio.altervista.org/watch.php?id=351

    for your online viewing pleasures

    also – not sure if it’s for all providers but nbatv is on free preview until 10/24 on directv and they are playing tonight’s game.

  7. thank you!

  8. Thanks guys

  9. I like Vlad starting at the 3. He plays well with the unit, and being a streaky guy, nice to see early on if he has it rolling or not. Odom, Ariza, and Vujacic off of the bench seem like it would be a bundle of great energy..

  10. Looking at the box score has me thinking Kobe’s been shooting left-handed.

    Anyway, any interesting developments thus far, other than going for 20+ TOs again?

  11. The 3rd quarter of tonight was easily the best of the Lakers so far this preseason, and that goes doubly for Lamar.

    22 minutes, 4 pts 9 rbs 3 ast and a steal. He even managed to drill a 3 ball in the first half. I think the primary area of improvement we saw from the first two games was his activity level. Odom was consistently helping out on D with traps and rotations, tipping boards to himself and running the court in general.

    Bynum was more a mixed bag. He looked a bit clunky there in the first half, missing some shots (one really badly) and getting stripped on offense and burned by not getting back on defense a couple times.

    In the second half though he really shined. We saw some of his signatures from last season. Jump hook in the lane, a lay in finish on a semi-lob pass and a couple of nice blocks. One play in particular I liked was a sequence where Fisher missed a scoop layup, Beno got the ball and pushed it up court, but Drew never gave up on the play. He lumbered down court and got back quick enough to swat Jason Thompson on a weak layin attempt. Interesting to me though that Bynum’s best play so far this preseason has been without Gasol in there. Could Bynum ultimately be the one that comes off the bench? We’ll see moving forward.

    Overall, this was a nice reassuring performance by the guys that matter. Preseason obviously means virtually nothing but still, it’s good to see flashes of what we liked so much last year.

    Oh, and how about Ariza… again.

  12. LA Ball Talk,
    I realize Kobe doesn’t assert himself in the Exhibition Season,but that he doesn’t distorts the offense. In tonite’s game he looked to me to have some tired legs and I think it would be wise to sit him for a couple of games so he could be relatively fresh for the regular season. Second sitting Kobe would give Lamar the chance to be the main man and gain some confidence.
    I wonder if Sasha was healthy would Kobe have not played in the first or second game?

    Harold,
    Salmons was very active defending Kobe. Kobe also missed several shots-including an open dunk and layup-that he misses once a yr. He looked like he had a bad case of dead training camp legs.
    The turnovers were mainly over-passing,forcing passes into a crowded lane and pushing the ball too hard on fast breaks. The Lakers will get better at their spacing,timing of their cuts and just getting to know one another and the turnovers should start to drop.

    George,
    I believe the Lakers would be better off starting Ariza because of his defense. Phil had Rad guard Martin and Martin repeatedly lost him.A more disciplined team would abuse Rad for the defense he displayed.
    You can certainly make the argument Ariza provides a spark off the bench and I would agree. But I think the Lakers need that spark even more starting because otherwise your energy guy is Kobe. Besides Sasha and Farmar can provide a jolt of energy off the bench.
    Since we’re pretty much assuming Lamar is coming off the bench,and he is more playmaker than scorer,teaming him w/a shooter like Rad is better than teaming him w/another slasher.

  13. Not sure what I saw, but everything looked a little smoother and Lamar had some life this game. I think Crawford, Heath and Mbenga are gone, but CJ Giles would seem to still have an outside chance. Cobe Karl seems set at the end of the bench. I do like Chris Mihm’s athleticism.

  14. 12.

    tell me if i m wrong but i thought radman played more than decent tonight. If you are worry about his overall consistency then i would agree with you as well. but for tonight, i thought hes active on both offence and defence, having a good stroke, getting into the mix a bit; and overall the first team look more smooth with him in the lineup then both odom and ariza.

  15. I think VladRad is going to get a fair amount of playing time this year, especially paired with Gasol and Bymum, because he can spread the floor. There are matchups where the other team will not be able to exploit him on defense, and there are times he can really have big games in that lineup.

  16. Watching KCAL, they took a poll of the audience asking who should start at the three. Overwhelmingly, the crowd supported Vladdy before both Ariza and Odom. I think the hustle Vlad showed tonight drew credence to the argument of starting him at the three. As Kurt just mentioned, VladRad would space the floor, threatening with the long ball; although his passing strays dicey time to time.

    Odom is a starting four in this league. But we have a choice between Gasol and Odom at the four. Easy enough–Gasol starts. I love Odom, but he is not our starting three. It’s not best for our team. He should backup four for Gasol. I’m sure it’s been said here before, because everyone at FB&G is on the pulse, but there should be three main combinations of C/PF: Bynum and Gasol, Gasol and Odom, Bynum and Odom. Watch out for Powell, too, he played a beast of a game tonight. That 14 foot jumper he’s got is on point.

    Bynum and Gasol: 15 minutes
    Gasol and Odom: 15 Minutes
    Bynum and Odom: 15 Minutes

    You run with the team that gives you the best match ups down the stretch. Just think, we have a starting lineup of Bynum, Gasol, VladRad, Kobe, Fisher; then, when the time is right, we flash to starting lineup number two, Gasol, Odom, Ariza, Sasha, and Farmar. Hell, our second lineup makes the playoffs in the East.

    A big problem we have–if good fortune is unfortunate–is our monster roster. How do we find minutes for everyone? How do we please the (fair) sentiments of players like Odom and Bynum who are playing for their contracts and need minutes to showcase their talents? How do players like Powell and Mihm, Walton and Ariza find more than ten, fifteen minutes of burn a game to find their game? How can we mesh this hodgepodge into a cohesive and happy unit. Sure, players love championships; but real players love to play. Even a man as seemingly passive as Odom, dreams and expects a starting role.

    That said, Odom deserves 30 minutes a game, and the team will be better for it. No one other than Kobe runs the transition better than Odom. Odom and Gasol have great chemistry, and there is no reason to abandon that game. He needs to play on an up-tempo squad, because his offense is so geared towards the transition, penetration, instinct. I guess, to vocalize what I really want from Odom is that drive, spin, lay-in or lay-off. He should do nothing but go to the hoop. That’s also all I want Kobe to do. Penetrate. Just drive and dunk, drive and pass. Maybe, with reduced minutes, less wear and stress, we will see a more physical offense. We saw this just for moments today. I’m very excited for this year.

  17. Finally finished watching the game, and the lineup of Fish, Kobe, Ariza, Odom and Gasol (then eventually Bynum for Gasol) was a real force — pressured the ball, used their length, contested shots and just hustled on rotations and traps.

    It’s starting to come together, albeit slowly at times.

  18. Stephen,

    You are worrying way too much. Kobe’s fine. I think we all know that a 12 year vet, perennial all-star, 1st team NBA’er, all defender, MVP champion knows to pace himself in the preseason.

  19. Didn’t see the game but looking at who started I think on paper starting Vlad and bringing Odom and Ariza off the bench with Farmar could be a really good rotation. Start with a power line up (Bynum and Gasol) with good shooters in Vlad, Kobe and Fisher. Then bring in a more finesse hustle line up that will push the pace by bringing in Ariza for Vlad, Farmar for Fish, and Odom for Bynum/Gasol. Alternatively you could Move Kobe to the 3 and bring in Sasha instead of Ariza then have ariza replace Kobe at the beginning of the 2nd quarter then run the half court offense from the post through Gasol/Bynum.

  20. New post up. Continue game thoughts and our starting SF in this post.

  21. A lot of glimpses of this team starting to gel last night. Nice to see. As far as the SF dilemma (if you can really call it that), I like the starting 5 of Fisher/Kobe/Ariza/Gasol/Bynum on paper, although I really like the motivated/end of last year Odom. I wouldn’t mind seeing a Fisher/Kobe/Ariza/Odom/Gasol lineup to start the season and then maybe try out the big Odom/Gasol/Bynum unit. It’s really a tough call. Andrew looks like he deserves the starting minutes, but all that size may not be ideal. Odom hasn’t been playing particularly well but much of that could be credited to early pre-season/getting back in the flow. We’ll see soon enough. Very excited for this season.