Our Lakers are about to face off against the Detroit Smurfs. I mean, the Detroit Pistons. The Lakers are back home on the Staples Center court and one of the side stories tonight is that Mamba will be moving past Larry Legend and possibly The Glove on the all-time scoring list. In my humble opinion, that accomplishment doesn’t really mean a whole lot because evidence suggests that hanging a lot of points on your opponent individually doesn’t necessarily lead to championships. Kobe has proven he can score, but Lakers fans should be looking for him to fill up the rest of the stats and improve on Hollinger’s beloved PER. As the late Marvin Gaye might say, Let’s Get It On.
As expected, Stone Hands Kwame will be in the starting lineup for the Smurfs. Newly acquired Allen Iverson will also be making his first appearance in LA as a Piston. Does it ever bother anyone else that the jargon used to describe player movement is similar to the word choice used to describe the buying and selling of consumer goods?
11:15 – Stone Hands gets booed as he gets the ball in the post and he ends up coughing it up. I feel really bad about calling him stone hands since he totally proved me right.
11:04 – Bynum shows that he has anti-stone hands as he catches turns and lays it in. It wasn’t the most graceful move but it involved a lot of concentration and control.
9:30 – The Smurfs are a lot faster to shoot with AI in the lineup. They have caught the Lakers flat footed and the score is 10-2. AI hasn’t missed.
8:43 – Tayshaun drills a pull up jumper in Radman’s eye from above the free throw line. That was an intense bucket.
8:29 – Kobe gets stuck in the high post doing his up and down routine and RIP won’t go for the fakes. Kobe decides to jump into Hamilton and create contact and somehow draws the whistle and the bucket. If the refs are going to call it that way all night, RIP is in for a long night.
8:10 – Tayshaun Prince is the Smurfs point forward—he’s handling most of the point guard duties (heh, I just said, duties). He decides to dribble out the shot clock (in part due to the Space Cadet’s excellent defense. no really. I’ll wait while you roll on the floor with uncontrollable laughter) and then takes a low elevation fadeaway from about 18 feet. It’s the Smurfs’ first miss of the night.
7:48 – great two-man game between Bynum and Pau at the mid post and high post. Pau got Bynum an assist when Stone Hands went for the Bynum up-fake. Rasheed had to come over to guard bynum and Pau spaced to the left wing for the open jumper. Splash.
7:07 – great hustle play by stone Hands to get his team a second chance opportunity. Smurfs don’t convert.
6:48 – Bynum misses two in a row. One of them a gimme from 5 feet over Kwame’s stellar I’m-Not-going-to-jump defense.
6:13 – Bynum gets his team a second chance. And then a third chance. And then Kobe finds Bynum dashing toward the basket. Bynum keeps the ball high and lays it in off the window. With a couple stops and some buckets, the Lakers only trail by three. Stone Hands is no match for the mobility and activity of the young kid. 12-9 Smurfs lead.
5:33 – Out of a timeout, the Pistons had no idea what to do and the Lakers caused a 24-second violation. That’s not good coaching.
5:18 – Kobe spins around Rip and there is no one within 10 feet. Kobe gets a two handed slam. 12-11 Smurfs up.
4:58 – Kwame gets deep position against Bynum (Bynum probably should’ve worked harder before the catch) but blows the turnaround.
4:35 – Bynum goes after another offensive board. Stone Hands has got to be feeling a little silly. Pau will convert that possession into two free throw attempts. He gets one of them.
4:13 – On a semi-fast break, The Spaniard throws up a terrible alley-oop to the Mamba from the three point line and somehow Kobe is able to get the elevator to go one level higher. He throws it in with one hand without breaking his arm on the backboard. Unbelievable. Mamba had to throw it throw it back against the momentum of the ball to prevent it from bouncing off the glass. Kobe should do the Sam Cassell big balls dance right now. Lakers take the lead and the Smurfs take a timeout.
3:57 – Pau gets whistled for a foul on the post entry into Rasheed. Kobe was about to come from the weakside to get the blindside steal. That’s what we’ve been talking about with the willingness of the Lakers to leave one man open on the opposite side of the floor in order to force more pressure on the ball handlers.
3:18 – Smurfs figure out the defense on this possession. Rasheed runner in the lane off a nice feed.
2:44 – Wallace this time from outside drains the three. Don’t let that guy go off. 17-14 Smurfs take the lead.
1:45 – Lamar hits the long two. Nice stroke on that one. Remember last year when he couldn’t hit the broad side of the barn?
0:55 – Lakers bungle that possession and violate the 24-second limit.
0:50 – Ariza is guarding Stuckey (who really does look like 50 cent). Iverson drills the fadeaway from the right baseline over Farmar.
0:31 – Odom appears to get away with a feet shuffle on the wing and takes it strong the basket. He draws a foul on Stone Hands. Misses the first badly. Fabio err… Walter Hermann enters the game. Odom misses the second off the back iron.
0:00 – Kobe has the ball as the clock winds down. Stuckey’s defense causes him to rethink his shot attempt. He passes it but Iverson intercepts it and he sprints the other direction. AI somehow gets this funky running lob slash floater shotput to go as the buzzer sounds. Sick. 23-16 Smurfs withstand the Lakers run. Will they open up the lead or will the Lakers make the necessary adjustments?
11:35 – The Lakers use all of the 24 second shot clock to get a terrible shot out of Ariza from 25 feet.
10:57 – Iverson auditions in front of the Hollywood producers as he flops his way to a foul in defensive transition. Farmar is the victim of his acting skills.
10:32 – Farmar gets two points back from the Rasheed three that just dropped.
10:10 – Farmar throws a nice lob to Ariza in transition.
9:31 – Perhaps gasol should consider guarding Rasheed on the three point line. I think that’s Rasheed’s third from deep. 33-20.
8:53 – Odom takes it away from Fabio.
8:41 – Out of a timeout, the play is… for an Ariza pull up jumper? He drains it.
8:18 – tayshaun drains his straightaway three. Lakers have to be losing that stat category. 36-24 Smurfs.
7:39 – Machine make baskets. 36-27.
7:23 – Ariza gets hit in the man bits. Warren Sapp makes Stu look silly. Stu asks him about his baseball career in high school and Sapp tells him to stop reading Wikipedia because he never played baseball. He played basketball
7:07 – Gasol converts!
6:45 – Gasol trails the play and looks like he wants to dunk it but at the very last second, he drops it off to Odom for the finish. Beautiful. Odom gets the next one inside as well. 43-34 Smurfs.
5:57 – Jason Maxiell Boston Celtics Lamar and Pau. That is to say, he exploits their stand and wait rebounding technique. He dunks the miss with some attitude. Timeout golden warriors. 45-34.
5:29 – Ariza picks Maxiell’s pocket with some ninja surprise. Kobe converts a turnaround jumper from the elbow at the other end.
4:41 – Stuckey Cent takes Ninja Surprise off the dribble. To create space he lowers his shoulder and sends Ariza into the first row of photographers. The refs decide this is a move disallowed by the rules of the NBA. Stuckey goes to the bench.
4:18 – Ninja Surprise uses all of his activity to generate a second possession for the Lakers which Pau misses. Ninja Surprise says, “I got this.” And dunks the ball off the Gasol miss. 47-38 Detroit showing LA who’s boss.
3:45 – Phil allows Bynum to come back into the game. I think good things are going to happen.
2:22 – Some sloppy possessions by both sides. Pau gets marshmallowy and loses control of the ball. Kobe demonstrates the proper way to draw a foul. He’ll shoot two after the tv timeout. I got distracted and missed what happened with the free throws.
1:45 – Lakers (i.e. Super Kobe) miss the jumper. Lakers trail 51-40.
0:50 – Hamilton barrels into Fisher on the drive and kick. Fisher accepts the out-of-control call and it will go the other way.
0:30 – Kobe dribbles it away. Tayshaun gets three layup attempts and converts the last one.
0:01 – Kobe gets to his spot on the right side about 10 feet out and banks it off the glass as time expires. 53-44 Lakers trail the Smurfs.
Billy Mac and Norm Nixon look a lot more comfortable outside than they did last week when they were fighting off the blustery wind. Did anyone see Quantum of Solace yet? Should I go see it? Bond films aren’t usually my thing, but the trailers look good, if unrevealing.
My prescription for a comeback: More Ariza and Bynum. Ariza is having his normal positive effect on both sides of the floor and Bynum makes the Smurfs pay for their small lineup. Hamblin says the Lakers adjustments will be to try and contain the guard penetration. Really? That’s it? Your plan is to try and stay in front of AI? Isn’t everyone’s? Isn’t the whole point of his career that you can’t stay in front of him? This is my definition of a flawed plan executed to perfection.
11:16 – Bynum erases Rasheed’s layup.
10:46 – Stone Hands watch: Kwame makes the dunk off the feed from Hamilton.
10:24 – RIP makes the short jumper.
10:06 – Dfish makes his first jumper of the night. He and Radman are 1-12 tonight combined according to Stu.
9:34 – Kobe hits the PUJIT over Wallace. 57-50 Smurfs up.
9:07 – Lakers are running a lopsided polygon offense. Poor shot results.
8:45 – AI’s jumper falls from inside the three point line off the dribble. On the plus side, he didn’t penetrate. ::rolls eyes::
8:00 – Kobe takes it left off the dribble and dunks it left-handed. Beautiful.
7:38 – Stone Hands bricks his free throw after getting the bucket against the Bynum foul. 61-54 Smurfs.
6:45 – Bynum now believes that Tayshaun is a magician. Prince beat Radman left and squeezed past Bynum on the baseline for the two hand jam. I’m not sure why the space cadet was shading Prince to his strong hand but maybe he believed that was the smart strategy. Hindsight is 20/20. 65-56 Pistons.
5:00 – Bynum swats Hamilton’s layup about 35 feet into the second row on the sideline. Rasheed hits the buzzer beater three ball over the outstretched arm of Gasol. The bank is late tonight! 70-58. Lakers are in trouble.
3:22 – Trevor slashes to the bucket and finishes in traffic. Nice, but you can’t rely on that all the time. 70-60.
2:40 – The band is playing the defense chant, about four fans are cheering along.
2:00 – Stone Hands Brown blocks Gasol’s turnaround set shot in the paint. The Spaniard might need to trim that caveman beard to help him get more lift on that shot.
1:33 – Lakers get a fast break layup off a turnover. Lamar converts the tough finish.
0:49 – The Machine breaks defense. He let’s Rip run back door for the easy flex cut feed.
0:15 – Pistons open up their biggest lead of 15.
0:01 – The Machine misses from deep. And the quarter ends 77-62. Pistons are just frustrating everything the Lakers are trying to do.
11:43 – Stone Hands receives the love from the crowd. They boo him vociferously and he rattles both of his free throws home. One of them was an accidental bank.
11:15 – Stuckey Cent draws a foul on the Machine.
10:38 – Farmar’s stepback goes from the top of the key. 79-64.
9:48 – Smurfs run their end of quarter offense. Four down and the lakers get a steal. Farmar with the fast break layup at the other end.
9:25 – The Machine needs a firmware revision. He fouls again. Rip will get two free throws. He makes both.
8:55 – The nomuskles sister has called this one for the Pistons. Thought you should know.
8:07 – Lamar takes Prince on the block and converts the lefty jump hook and the ensuing free throw.
8:03 – Machine gets a jump ball surprising StuckeyCent in the backcourt. They’ll toss it up in the Lakers offensive end but Rasheed gets the tip.
7:28 – “At least they’re getting it inside now.” –Joel. I smell the declaration of a moral victory. Bynum converts his two freebies. 83-71.
6:45 – The Lakers got a great look for Bynum from Kobe under the bucket but Bynum missed the contested shot and in the disorganized transition, Prince hibachi’s the three ball. Timeout Zen Master. I still say, less Machine, more Ninja Surprise and Bynum. Also, where is Mamba? Are his legs tired from Beijing? Actually, it’s just the constant double teams that are giving him fits. The secondary defenders are cheating off their men early and cramming the lane. The Smurfs watched the game tape from last season’s Finals and learned a trick or two.
5:01 – Finally Mamba hits something. He hit’s a three from the left wing. 91-74.
4:30 – Odom gets the intentional foul to stop the clock and send the Pistons to the line. Unfortunately, that’s not what he was trying to do. He was just trying to get around Wallace in the backcourt after the rebound. Mental fatigue. Lamar sits down. I’d expect to see Chris Mihm and Josh Powell soon.
4:18 – Kobe hits a three ball from the Nokia theater.
4:03 – Kobe is going to just shoot three’s the rest of the way here. He misses another.
3:44 – Moral victory: Kobe stuffs Rip’s jumper back into Hamilton’s face. Anti Victory: Lakers still losing by a the square of four.
3:34 – Mamba fixes a broken play, splitting the double time and gets fouled on his layup. He misses the free throw short. 93-79.
3:08 – DFish hits his second three point attempt on the possession. Rasheed gets an easy dunk as the pistons break the trap. And this one is done folks. We’re going to go ahead and invoke the mercy rule for the live blog.
On a more positive note, I would highly recommend the Flight Path Museum for anyone in Southern California. The museum is on the LAX campus (you enter off of Imperial Highway past the end of the 105 West and pays tribute to aviation history of the Los Angeles area and the airport itself. I visited the small museum today and had a great experience with a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic tour guide. While not overwhelming, the museum is informative and contains many notable artifacts from commercial aviation history. Make sure you take a peek at the Spirit of Seventy-Six, a non-working DC-3. Admission is free but you can donate, if you wish. My visit happened to coincide with the departure of the USC football team and was fortunate enough to be invited onto their charter plane to check out the cockpit of a modern 757. More interesting to viewers of this site is that the tour guide said that the Lakers often leave from the same area of the airport. Check it out if you have a free hour or want to rent out the space for an organizational event.