Preview & Chat: The Dallas Mavericks

Kurt —  November 11, 2008


Records: Lakers 5-0 Mavericks 2-4
Offensive ratings: Lakers 112 Mavericks 104.8
Defensive ratings: Lakers 88.5 Mavericks 107.7
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Vladimir Radmanovic, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Mavericks Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Gerald Green, Dirk Nowitzski, Erick Dampier

Veterans Day: I know that there are some current and former members of the military who read this blog, and I just want to take a quick moment to thank you for your service. It is what you do that make it possible for us to enjoy little diversions like the Lakers and this humble blog, and we are indebted to you for that.

Lakers notes: Lakers, first in defensive efficiency, first or second in offensive efficiency (Basketball-Reference.com says first, and those are the numbers I usually use, but Hollinger’s numbers say second). Either way, that is a very impressive start to the season.

But this week the tests keep coming. When I first saw the schedule with a Dallas/New Orleans road back-to-back I thought a split would be a good outcome. And it’s a lot easier to get that win on the front end.

Cuban, Please Save Newcastle. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is listed as one of four Americans rumored to be in the running to purchase my beloved Newcastle United. Frankly, any new owner would be better than Mike Ashley (I would rather have Donald Sterling, it is that bad), but having seen Cuban’s commitment to winning (remember what a laughing stock the Mavs were before he bought them?) and his business sense, this would be a great fit. I want this.

The Mavericks Coming In: The Mavs are 2-4, and just loss to the Clippers? There were plenty of people predicting the Mavs would take a step back this year, but not fall apart. However, before you pile on, remember that two years ago the Mavs were 0-4 to start the season, but went on to finish with 67 wins. Six games do not a season make.

In comments yesterday, Dirk Nowitzski said right now the team is not playing hard enough for 48 minutes, and new coach Rick Carlisle has said that the team needs a sense of urgency. Not really great things to hear six games into the season. Adding to their woes, Josh Howard is questionable for tonight due to a wrist injury.

I have seen little of the Mavs so far this season, but Dirk’s assessment fit what I saw of the team against the Clippers. Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don’t Lie used the word “careless” to describe the Mavs play, and that pretty much hit it on the head. They are getting good overall numbers from Dirk and Kidd, as well as some role players, but as a team they are sloppy.

The Mavs are shooting just 47.1% (eFG%) and they are shooting just 30% from three. They are a jumpshooting team that doesn’t attack the paint, and they don’t get to the line much. On the other side of the court, to balance the scales, the Mavs foul almost as much as anyone in the league. They also are not creating many turnovers.

Don’t be quick to blame Kidd for this — he is shooting 59.7% True Shooting Percentage and has a PER so far of 21.8 (which would be his highest for the season since 2003, —those numbers are slightly higher than Devon Harris, who was traded for Kidd, of course Harris is just 25 years old). One other guy playing well, is Gerald Green, who has a TS% o 62.4%. and he is not the defensive liability everyone thought he would be.

Keys To The Game: New coach, some new players, but one thing remains the same in Dallas — they have nobody who matches up well with Kobe. He has torched them many times in the past, and with Josh Howard considered doubtful for tonight, another option is gone. I think the Mavs may start with Green on Kobe, but that is a raw young defender who may be learning some valuable lessons tonight. The hard way.

The Mavs have been a jumpshooting team, and that is a good thing — there may be a night they will be hot but you can’t win consistently from the perimeter. The Lakers need to keep them out of the paint tonight. But with that, they have to defend the three point line, the Mavs have not shot the three well this season as a team but Kidd and Dirk are above 40% and you can’t let them get good looks. (Green can shoot it, too, so stay with him.)

As for the Lakers, as was said in the last post on this site, they need to continue to get the ball in the paint. Dirk and Dampier make a big front line for the Mavs, but the Lakers have to attack that and not settle for shots on the perimeter. The Mavs foul a lot, attack the rim and you will get some freebies.

After the slow start, the Mavericks are back home and need a statement game. Expect a big effort out of them tonight. The Lakers should win if they stick to what they have done in previous games, with crisp backside rotations on defense and an improving offense.

Where you can watch: This game is on KCAL 9 here in Los Angeles and on NBATV nationally. And by the way, in case you hadn’t heard, KCAL is not going to tape delay any games this season, which is great news.

Kurt

Posts

112 responses to Preview & Chat: The Dallas Mavericks

  1. Lamar has usually played Dirk tough in the past on Defense. Since he is not a starter anymore does this mean that Pau has to check Dirk on D? Not so sure Pau can handle him, any thoughts?

  2. You’re a Newcastle fan? My condolences…

    Watching the Mavs play the thing that stands out is the lack of an identity. They look like a group of good players rather than a team. Supposedly they want to run more, but the majority of their players (and their coach) have been most successful is a slower style. More importantly for this game, they are starting either Jason Terry or Antoine Wright at the 2. For a team that routinely got burned by Kobe even when they were a contender, that could be a fatal flaw tonight.

  3. Jonathon, Odom is still getting a lot of minutes and will get a lot of them on Dirk tonight, no doubt. But Gasol is a better defender than he gets credit for, I think if he is out on him and forces 20-foot jumpers, Dirk is going to hit some because he is Dirk, but that is a shot I can live with.

  4. Links for the game ?

  5. Super excited for this one. JKidd has been playin ridiculous of late, nailing 6 3’s the other night. It’ll be interesting to see if Kobe guards him towards the end of the game. Mavs are contenders or pretenders? Not sure yet, but leaning towards pretenders. If J-Ho goes back to All-Star form, we can count’em in again. Thanks for the preview!

    http://www.breakindownthegame.com

  6. I’m interested to see how we perform on this trip, some things I’m looking for tonight:

    1. The Lakers to punish the Mavs for being small on the wings: If their wing combo is Terry/Green that is really small, and should be heavily exploited. We should send Kobe to the block on whoever is guarding him, and our SF spot will have a size advantage as well.

    2. Pau used to be a PF. Pau guarded Dirk some while in Memphis, and Pau has better lateral speed than credited. Still, in this game (and against D. West) it will be interesting to see how many minutes LO gets, he tends to play well against such PF’s.

    3. Pressure the ball: This team doesn’t attack the basket much, instead running lots of isos and two-man game with Dirk and take-your-pick of Mav. This means that we will have opportunities to extend our defense out further, and make it harder for them to initate any offense.

    4. Watch out for Terry and Green. Terry is due for a good shooting night, and Green has a sweet stroke.

  7. Not to pour dirt on the Dirkeneers but that team that started 0-4, and went on to finish that season with 67 wins also went on to finish the season under the foot of Baron Davis and his Basketball Robots. Talk about bookends. I think we can all agree that while many of the parts are the same, the Mav’s resemble that 67 win team, or the team that made the Finals, about as much as Ronny Turiaf resembles Matt Barnes, or a scooter accident resembles a basketball injury.

  8. Oooh. Please, please, please put Green on Kobe. I remember a few seasons ago where Kobe scored 63 pts in 3 quarters against the Mavs, single handedly outscoring the whole Mavs team. I love the team play, and the balanced scoring, and thats ultimately much better for team success. But its still fun to watch the best offensive weapon on the planet explode for a huge game. Doubt we see that tonight though. This team has too many weapons for Kobe to drop 50-60 pts.

  9. 7- Good point. Especially because they got Diop back. But I really think the two missing pieces (D. Harris and his biggest supporter, the Little General) have created this identiy crisis. That and Howard hasn’t been what he was in ’05-’06, and Stack is on the de-cline.

    One other guy we have to be wary of is B.Bass. Dude likes to score in bunches, he must be contained early, as his effectivness will decrease big-time if he doesn’t get off early.

  10. Should be a good couple of games, I’m looking for the Lakers to come out and continue making a statement for the rest of the week. 3-0 the rest of the week with the closest game coming from NO.

  11. the other stephen November 11, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    “six games do not a season make?”
    hahah your inner nerd is flaunting itself.

  12. Dallas Mavericks

    key traits.

    – PG who does not penetrate
    – Iso based offense
    – No post offense whatsover

    – Slow rotations on D
    – Weak interior D outside of the center position
    – Brandon Bass the only offensive threat on the second team.

    the Mav’s weaknesses are exactly the ones you do not want to have against the Lakers.

    If both Nowitsky and Terry get and stay hot, and Howard plays well all 4 quarters (which he has yet to do this year), they can beat any team. Without this “black swan” phenomenon the Lakers should keep their streak going.

    When the Mav’s most reliable go-to-play is the kick out to Kidd for the 3, you are begging for trouble. The over/under for Ariza steals is 2.5 this game.

  13. Kurt, will you be putting the rankings next to the offensive and defensive ratings like in the past, or is it just too early for that?

  14. One of the Mav’s best lineup’s this season (at least from the limited minutes that I’ve seen of them) has been Kidd, Terry, J. Howard, Bass, and Dirk. If we see that line up tonight (or with Green/Stack replacing Howard), expect us to pound the Mavs inside with our bigs and a posting Kobe. Also expect us to eat them alive on the glass. Even with their conventional starting lineup with Dampier @ C and Dirk @ PF we should control the glass on both ends with Bynum and Gasol (and Rad and Kobe) getting inside to rebound the ball on both our misses and theirs.

    As for Bass, I think he’s going to find himself matched up with Odom a lot, and I like *our* guy in that scenario. Bass (like Milsap, Powe, and many others) is an undersized PF that likes to shoot the mid-range jumper and bull his way inside. Odom is one player that can frustrate these types of players because of his ability to play any PF out on the perimeter (and limit that 15 ft. jumper) while also having enough strength and more than enough length to challenge the plays in the paint and still hold his own on the glass. This is where having Odom play the role that he does is going to come in handy so often.

    On defense, this is one matchup where I think our zone will be tested. Say what you want about Kidd being on the decline, but he is still one of the best PG’s as far as having superior court vision. He will not get flustered by the trap easily and has the ability to get out of trouble situations with his strength and ballhandling and exploit overagressive defense with his savvy and court sense. We will need to be discipined tonight and rotate well on the perimeter because Kidd will force us to move by skipping the ball or directing traffic to try and exploit the gaps in our zone (his size comes in handy here) and he has the ability to thread the needle when the defense shows its hand early (which ours does by moving to strong side early in many possesions). Can the Mavs make enough shots? It’s doubtful, but Kidd’s ability to get them those shots is something to be mindful of.

  15. 13. I will, but I wanted to wait until we were 12-15 games into the season just because the sample size is too small now. Same with record and rankings in the conference.

  16. FINALLY, no tape delays on KCAL! Gone are the days where I had to avoid every radio/internet/people talking/channel flipping before I would sit down and watch the game in its entirety… although most of the time the result would somehow finds its way to my ears before I finished watching the game… =(

    Kurt:
    I agree, what Pau may lack in speed against Dirk, I think he makes up with length and savvy and I think it would do enough to bother, if not alter completely, Dirk’s shots.

    If Pau really gets up on Dirk, and funnels him toward Bynum in the paint, it’ll be up to Dirk to make a tough pass to the open man (likely Dampier) where hopefully Vlad or Ariza would already be making their rotations to. They’re playing real good help D right now, so I hope they keep it going tonight.

    I’m a bit curious as to whether Kobe would start on Kidd with Fish on Terry, to try and shut down the starting point of the Mav’s offense.

    Bynum-Dampier rebounding battle could be fun to watch, too. Damp is often underrated, but he’s real strong and can hit the boards w/ a vengeance when he’s feeling up to it.

  17. Does anyone know why tonight’s game is not being shown everywhere on NBATV? Dish Network is blaming the NBA.

  18. 14-Darius, I agree that Kidd isn’t all of a sudden a slouch, but in the two games I caught of the Mavs, he was trapped and turned the ball over in instances I’ve never seen him to that. That may just be a product of an offense that is out of sync, but he got caugt on the sideline/baseline against Denver a couple times.

  19. When Gerald was in Boston, he was trying to go at Kobe, jawing competitively back and forth, and Kobe gave him the business. It’ll be fun to watch if they get matched up, because no doubt, they’ll both remember and continue it.

  20. Darius,

    Good point about LO on Bass.

  21. 19-I remember that game. Man, can you believe that during that game there were clearly audible chants of MVP…for Kobe….in Boston….only the year before they became “hardcore” fans again”.

  22. The Maverick’s ratings numbers seem off to me. How can a team that’s 2-4 have a +13 differential between offensive and defensive efficiency? Knickerblogger has Dallas’ defensive EFF at 107.6

  23. Kwame,
    That’s interesting. Usually Kidd has the ability to avoid the trap and read it when it comes, so that would suprise me as well. If I get the game (I don’t get NBA TV and my League Pass preview will probably black it out), it’s definitely something that I’m going to be looking for.

  24. 21,

    You are 100% right. I live in Providence. They’re all brand new here. Trust me. I remember going to shoot some pool and have some drinks last spring. It was playoff time. Our defending World Series Red Sox game was on, and I heard someone say, “Forget the Sox, the Celtics are on….”

    I was all for the basketball game, but I wanted to puke, because I knew these guys. They NEVER liked basketball. It’s the same everywhere. All of a sudden, there’s a sea of green. New England fans are such front runners. Even my fellow Sox fans.

  25. 22. Simon you are correct, I copied in the wrong numbers. The right ones are now up — offense 104.8, defense 107.7. For this error, I will blame the fact I was distracted by the ads for Chinese Democracy.

  26. I went to the April 4th game vs. the Mavs last season and was shocked to see that Pau couldn’t guard Dirk at all. Pau’s length did nothing to make up for the quickness disadvantage. Not until they put Odom on him were the Lakers able to come back (matchups against quicker PF were the reason I didn’t and still don’t want the Lakers to trade Odom).

    I’m curious to see how Pau does against him tonight. I realize Pau was still working his way back from injury then and maybe wasn’t in the kind of condition he’s currently in now that he prepared himself to play a lot of PF. Also, I’m hoping the new defensive scheme won’t leave guys at exposed to one-on-one vulnerabilities like last year.

    Even though the Lakers were able to pull out games against the Mavs last year, I felt like the Mavs matched up pretty well overall, even without anyone who could guard Kobe.

  27. I was on a memphis site and it was brought up that Pau was torched consistently by Dirk in the past. For some reason he doesn’t do well against him on an island. Hopefully it’ll be different with the new scheme.

  28. Dirk, in my opinion, is a better offensive player than Pau with range and mobility that Pau can’t match. And as much as we want to talk about not giving Pau credit for defense, he’s not really good enough to guard the former MVP straight up.

    That’s not to say that Pau can’t match Dirk’s production if they’re put against each other, since Dirk’s defense is… well, not as good as Pau. Ha.

    At any rate, although I think Dallas is good enough to make us work, I doubt that they’ll beat us, especially if Josh The Pot Howard is out.

  29. 28- From your statement that Dirk is a better offensive player than Pau is, in my opinion, a narrow perception of basketball offense. I think it’d be more correct to posture Dirk as a better one-on-one scorer, but in regards to the levels of offensive efficiency the Lakers have reached ever since Gasol came to town makes me think that Pau is in fact the better offensive player.

    I don’t so much mean to attack your statement, since I think your intent agrees with what I said, but I am merely thinking aloud that many (experts, pundits, what have you) would say Dirk is the best European ever to play in the NBA. But, after both him and Pau hang ‘em up, could this judgment change toward’s Gasol’s side? Might only take a ring…

  30. curious to see how phil handles the minutes tonight with a tough game waiting on the second half of the back-to-back. hopefully the guys jump on dallas early and the bench can get some heavy minutes.

    i’m excited to see tonight and tomorrow’s games because if our bench really can go 12 deep on back to backs its going to be a huge luxury.

  31. does anyone know if a stream is up?

  32. Try this bergmann, wise, et al: http://www.justin.tv/lasn1

    Not top quality, but it works.

  33. http://channelsurfing.net/watch-online-tv-2.php?w=lasn1

    Great stream but does get somewhat laggy at times.

  34. We might want to start guarding the 3pt line and stop daring the mavs to shoot.

  35. The vaunted Laker defense not so vaunted in the first quarter. Dallas shoots 61.9% and grabs 60% of the shots it does miss for offensive boards.

  36. But on the good side, Ariza is looking better each game.

  37. Terrible defense and too many fancy passes being picked off. Ariza has been pretty much the only positive so far.

  38. 30

    Dirk has led his team to the Finals (although he did disappear once he got there).

    Gasol led his team to an 0-12 playoff record, and only got to the Finals (where he also disappeared) as second option to Kobe.

    There is no comparison. If Gasol does get a ring (or 2 or 3) it won’t be because he was better than Nowitzki or even on the same level.

  39. Sorry, that last comment was directed at #29 not #30

  40. i’ve never been a fan of dirk but some of those shots are just uncanny.
    i’m not quite sure how we’re only down by 6.
    ariza’s activity is amazing.

  41. Is Dallas going to be the first team that scores more than 100 on us?

    Let’s clamp things down!

  42. Just been refreshing the boxscore while working on this neuroscience paper. To the people who’ve been watching the game – what’s up with the lack of D? Are we not as focused and intent as usual, or are the Mavs swinging the ball to the weak side and exploiting our new system?

  43. i hope they’ll be able to box dampier out of the paint.. he’s been tipping misses in all night..

  44. On a side note, is it against the rules to have a man-crush on Ariza?

  45. We can’t let the penetrator get to the middle of the court. Luke lets Wright beat him to the middle, Andrew helps, and Damp gets an easy putback. I’ve been in and out of this game, but if this has been happening a lot it would explain the score.

  46. Why does Eric Dampier always go off on us? Even last year he would push everyone around under the hoop.

  47. Dampier is the new Shaq.

  48. Why on earth is Luke Walton on the court? Is it to provide his usual lockdown defense?

  49. oh my God.. Dampier’ has been killing us! C’mon guys, man up!

  50. there’s something that tells me we’re having a bad game and this won’t end the way it did a couple of days ago. sheesh lakers, double time!

  51. Farmar with the PUJIT!

    Get Ariza in there!

  52. 4th chance points are killing us.

  53. Is Ariza hurt or has Phil Lost his mind?

  54. How many lay ups is going to miss LO???

  55. This is why I worry (and because I’m a natural pessimist lol). Bynum is big and tall, but he’s still not that fierce, banger defensive presence “they” said we needed after last year’s Finals. His help D is fine, altering shots and getting bloks, but he has to just bull Dampier out of the way. He has half the boards Erica does. Wow. I have an awful vision of Kendrick Perkins/Powe/Davis doing the same to us again….

  56. And as soon as I say that, Bynum picks up 4 four boards. I think I have superpowers.

    Although Erica is on the bench….

  57. Wow, great close to the quarter. Somehow the Lakers are still in position to steal a win in the 4th. It helps that the Mavs have been so careless with the ball (that last Kidd TO being a case in point).

  58. lol, did anyone else see farmar try to block Kidd’s half court shot? Might need to bring that defensive intensity down just a little bit :P

  59. Wow… Lamar shutting up my mouth!!!

  60. I love Ariza!!!!!!!!

  61. So what’s the over/under on games before Ariza takes over from Radmanovic as the starter? 10? 15?

  62. DId anyone else see Sasha trying to ‘chest’ bump with LO and Ariza and he got knocked to the ground? Hilarious.

    Gotta say, tho, they really came back in this game after a sluggish start and other really bad sequences in the 3rd quarter.

  63. @61: He has to be the starter. Right now, for the most part, Radman is just a decoy. He gets maybe 5 shots a game and isn’t really producing. He is an afterthought in the 2nd half most games. I don’t see why they don’t try LO at the 3 in the starting line-up. I am baffled why they didn’t do it more in preseason. ANd if they don’t want to use LO, Ariza should definitely be starting over Radman.

  64. 61 – Don’t know if it will happen. I think Phil’s argument makes sense, Ariza’s game really is a much better fit with the 2nd unit than with the starters. Although on games V-Rad takes off, I’d like to see Phil with a quicker hook.

    What’s going on with Fish this year? He’s supposed to be a savvy veteran, shot selection shouldn’t be a question for him.

  65. Stop! Kobe time!

  66. kobe’s killing dallas!

  67. Kobe Bean! He has that look in his eye right now. That jab step, hesitation, then explosive first step is a thing of beauty.

  68. That kobe guy is pretty good.

  69. Man we must be ripping people’s guts out.

    We gave Denver hope… and then BLAM!

    We gave Houston hope… and then SQUISH.

    We gave Dallas hope… and then… ouch…

  70. 64

    Ariza often ends up playing with the starters anyway, so I’m not sure how correct that statement is in practice (although I sort of agree with it in theory).

  71. Am I crazy or is this line-up of Kobe, LO, Ariza, Gasol, and either Fisher/Farmar our best line-up? Just seems like it to me.

  72. 70 – No, I agree, what I meant is that when he comes off the bench with the 2nd unit, he gives his own brand of energy and changes the game. If Ariza started, and instead we had V-Rad and Farmar coming into the game, I don’t see the same game-changing ability.

    But yeah, as long Ariza can keep the D honest, I think he should be closing games out, when it really matters.

  73. 71 – I agree completely. I’ve been more impressed with this team when Bynum is out of the game and we more resemble the team from last year to be honest. I think if Sasha’s on his game, he could be inserted into that ideal lineup too.

  74. I’m not sure if I saw that correctly, but on that Jason Terry shooting foul when Ariza went up after to block the shot, did Ariza jump over Jason Terry?

  75. Sidenote: I like the Dallas announcers. Very fair and calm. Not a couple homers.

  76. I watching the game on NBATV.

  77. urgh. we’re letting them back in.

  78. At some point it might be a good idea to BOX DAMPIER OUT!

  79. game not yet over.ugh.slim lead.

  80. Why all the threes??? Take it to the rim! Posterize Erica, please!

  81. Ugly is the new beautiful as far as I am concerned.

  82. Fish…you break my heart

  83. What a block by Ariza on that 3…

  84. So, who did we trade for this Ariza kid?

    If it wasn’t for the Gasol trade, that trade would have been one of the most lopsided in recent history ;)

  85. Phew looks like we made it through. It’s about time we had a close game, these build character.

    I was just watching the box score, so I could be off – did it seem like we didn’t have a fixed closing rotation? Phil seemed to be waffling on Bynum/Odom substitutions. Or was that just offense/defense?

  86. Thhhhhhaaaaatttttts right!

  87. Interesting game to say the least. Looks like we have muscle down low, but it doesn’t seem to want to exert itself.

    Not sure what was up with the D tonight either. Box score shows all the Mav’s starters having good games. Was it because of Dirk’s recent comments or maybe some lax play on the Lakers’ part?

  88. man, lakers better bring more effort than that against cp3 and the hornets…

  89. Maybe Kobe should look for his shot more in the first quarter, to help with the slow starts.

  90. Dirk was 5-17 from the field.The lakers continue to lockdown on the opponents superstars. Now if we are able to do this with cp3.

  91. I don’t really think 5/17 shooting for 14 pts is a great game from dirk… and that’s what the lakers have done all season thus far. Taking the other teams best guy out of the equation.

    If you look at the numbers, they only allowed dallas to score 39 points in the second half to their 52. On the road I think that shows pretty good defense actually.

  92. I didn’t see most of the game, but caught snippets so don’t listen to anything I say. But my basic impression is that we are a better home team than road team.

  93. Snoopy-

    I think the rotation at the end of the game was because Lamar picked up a fifth foul…

  94. So much for the Gasol can’t guard Dirk thing…We came out great at the end, but I didn’t like that we went just to kobe iso at the end, cause it seems that when it goes to Kobe time, the rest of the players get narrowminded, and are unable to think beyond that. (that awfull shot from derek without even touching the rim, made nonsense)

  95. lakers better start to learn not to give big early leads to opponents. that keeps on happening pretty soon there’ll be game where we’ll dig ourselves into a hole too big for us to get out of….

  96. ariza is such a beast. not that i’m biased or anything.

  97. Wow! I know i said this the last game… but WOW! it just gets better with every game for the lakers. Much props for Ariza tonight, like big game james worthy said at the half, ariza is the x-factor of this team. He’s much much valuable than any of us gives him credit for. provides the energy, plays tough d, helps out, takes the charges, keeps possessions alive… i mean those dont show up in the back court. the better get ready to pay him next season because i see other teams offering their MLE to him

  98. I think the closing game rotation in close games will include two players (Gasol and Ariza) who we acquired in trades last year. Mitch doesn’t have to do much else and his legacy is now assured.

  99. Oh – and the Lakers held the Mavs to 42% shooting for the game. I think that is good defense – in the 2nd half at least.

  100. Well, if anything, we know now that we can play defense. Too bad that somewhere during our 6-0 run, our players seem to have picked up this notion of being able to ‘turn it on’ when they need it.

    They’re human too, so I understand not wanting to play all-out when 50% will give them a chance, but from a fan’s perspective I’d like to maintain that 20+ pt average margin of victory.

  101. The lakers played superbly tonight. Ariza really was a huge factor in this W, that block at the end was incredible. Not to discount Kobe or Gasol who both played amazing in the 4th but Ariza just KEPT coming through tonight. That play where he picked up the loose ball, stumbling and I thought “well set the offense up again” nope Ariza just powers through and hammers it home.
    What I loved even more was the fact we held them under 100 points, even once Gasol had made that layup at the end I figured we’d still give up a 100 points but nope :-).

    Big game, big test tomorrow night. It’d be a hard game even fully rested at home but tonight must’ve taken something out of the squad cause they played damn hard. Here’s hoping we see the best out of them tomorrow. Can’t wait.

  102. I don’t really see that the lakers aren’t trying hard to begin games, it just seems like the last few games they have come out of the gate slowly.

    The other thing is I have noticed their defense improves as the game goes on. I wonder if this is because we have a team of very smart and versatile players that start figuring out patterns and are able to adjust mid game. Or maybe it is coaches.

  103. Ariza is unbelievable. I can’t really ever remember a Laker that long and athletic who could impact a game like that on defense and hustle. Coop is the (Forum blue and) gold standard for that kind of play, and Eddie Jones when he was younger had a similar aggressiveness on D, but Ariza is bigger and longer than either of them, and just blindingly fast to the ball.

    That last block was off the chain.

    When I think about how Brian Cook used to drive me crazy on a daily basis, I just can’t believe we gave him up for this guy.

  104. The Lakers forgot how to box out for much of that game. They also forgot how to play defense for much of it. Good thing they remembered how to do those things in the 4th quarter. Good game over all. The Lakers D in the 4th was stifling. Hope they can keep it up for tomorrows game.

  105. This Little Pinky November 11, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    Why have the Lakers started off slowly the last two games?

    Maybe the Lakers are doing static stretching before the games?

    I read an article that showed that “static stretching” (like touching your toes) actually made the muscles weaker for 30 minutes. This is as opposed to “dynamic stretching” (like walking on all fours up and down the court) which actually achieves the purpose of warming up the muscles to be ready to explode and perform game maneuvers.

    This is my amateur theory to explaing the Lakers’ slow starts. Please forward to Gary Vitti, Lakers trainer.

  106. 105-Funny how you mention static stretching, I just read that article too, and I don’t think that plays that big a role because everyone that lifts weights know that stretching decreases muscle strength for a while.

    But the problem is that active dynamic stretching can’t get the same extension, and if you do, you run the risk of injury. Don’t know if you remember, but before static stretching, everyone sort of ‘bounced’ during stretches trying to over-extend.

    At any rate, we’re not talking about powerlifting, we’re talking basketball. Less than 100% strength muscles will really not affect your shot /defense/ running significantly… just how much you can bench ;)

  107. This was the first game where I was really sweating it for any length of time (although falling behind by 16 to Houston wasn’t a great feeling, it was far too early in that game to panic) but, man … what a finish! When the second unit finally took back the lead early in the 4th quarter I had “chillbumps,” as Allen Iverson might say. From that point on, even while the score remained close, I honestly felt like we simply couldn’t lose.

    I also want to say a quick word about Trevor Ariza: I’ve always wanted nothing but the best for that guy, and I certainly had high hopes that he might eventually develop into a key piece for the Lakers. However, until this season I always thought his reputation as a defensive ace was more a product of fan’s wishful thinking than anything I’d actually witnessed happening on the court. This was especially true when he was out with his foot injury, when he became this almost mythical “stopper” that would have shut down Pierce in the Finals all by himself if only he’d been fully healthy.

    But now … now I have at last seen the light. I’m a true believer. Trevor was absolutely breathtaking in this game, and almost certainly the difference between winning and losing. He was everywhere, making every kind of play imaginable. His stellar play basically forced Phil to leave him out on the floor to finish out the game, something we may be seeing a lot more of going forward. Trevor, I apologize for ever doubting you.

  108. The first “Live” blog of the year has been posted. Check it out on the homepage.

  109. Trevor Ariza the Lakers 08-09 version of Michael Cooper. We had an easy moniker for Mr. Cooper, “COOP!” We need to come up with a handle for Mr. Trevor Electricity Ariza. We might have to try something like ” REEE-ZZZA!”

    We as fans have got to let him know that we see and appreciate what he does on the floor. Because a lot of what he does does not translate into statistics.

    I was quite enamored with him coming to the Lakers last year. He sort of went under the radar for everyone but LA aficionados, who knew that he was the piece that had long been absent from a Lakers uniform.

    Now, if he improves his shooting each year, like Cooper and actually does become the Lakers defensive stopper, we Laker fans will grow weary of going to parades!

  110. Whether he starts or not, Trevor has already won the Laker’s small forward slot. It will be interesting what contract he signs for the future.

    Meanwhile, we get to watch a team that almost won an NBA championship last year show how much it has improved this year.

    It’s a very good time to be a Laker fan.

  111. I was just wondering what happened to the live game blogs.

    This game was an example of why it’s going to be hard to beat us this year. We are good enough to overcome lackluster performances. I just knew that as lethargic as the Lakers were playing, they were still in he game and would step up in the 4th. Wins like these show character.

    I see an energized statement game tonight. They’ve blown out 2 opponents in what I would call early statement games in Portland and Houston. I expect them to be very focused tonight. Especially Kobe. Point to prove to NOH fans.

  112. 67,

    Yes, it is. He used his moves beautifully last night.