First things first. We’ve checked, and what Radmanovic was wearing during last night’s game were not snowboarding goggles. So, we can all relax about that. And while the orange protective eyewear may not have been pretty, it could have been worse. (Thanks to Henry at TrueHoop for that link.)
As for last night… Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, and the Lakers apparently took that literally on the defensive end. Third game in four nights and all, they lacked focus. But I think there were three factors that played into the off defensive night.
One, Sacramento played three bigs — Brad Miller, Spencer Hawes and Jason Thompson — who can shoot from the outside. Because of that, Lakers bigs had to go out to the perimeter with them, and that took them out of good help positions. Stu Lantz talked about this during the broadcast, and he’s right. If the Suns want to send Shaq outside or the Celtics want to send Perkins to the three-point line, Bynum can let them go and stay in to help protect the paint. But with Hawes and Miller, you have to go with him. Now, this does not excuse the wretched pick-and-roll defense the Lakers played, but it is part of the reason nobody was in the paint to stop the penetration.
Second, as Darius pointed out in the comments, the Lakers played poor transition defense, and with all the turnovers there were a lot of transition opportunities for the Kings.
Third, people underrate the Kings. They have some nice young talent, and we sometimes forget that.
None of these things strike me as unfixable long-term problems. I’m going to let the one bad game go (in part because it was a win) and just watch to see if any of this becomes a long-term issue.
• Do you have memories of watching Jerry West play? Have a personal story or anecdote involving the Logo? Well, highly-respected Lakers author Roland Lazenby wants to talk to you, he’s working on a book about West. If you want to reach him, follow this link and email him.
• Two great posts to check out at Basketball Prospectus:
First, does the new and improved Cleveland Cavalier team (best offensive rating in the league so far) have what it takes to win a title? Coach Anthony Macri (of IMG) thinks they just might. I think there are three teams that could come out of the East right now, but Boston is still the team to beat. Cleveland, however, took them to seven last season before Mo Williams came on board.
Second, the first coaching change of the year took place in Oklahoma City. Kevin Pelton has a great look at the new coach there.
• Not far behind Carlisimo was Eddie Jordan in Washington, who is out after a woeful start for the Wizards.
My question in both cases — was it really the coach that was the problem, or the fact they had pretty questionable rosters to work with? (Yes, the Wiz have some talent, but it’s injured.)
• Is there an NBA Live curse?
• Happy 70th birthday Oscar Robertson!