Preview & Chat: The Sacramento Kings

Kurt —  December 12, 2008

Los Angeles Lakers vs Phoenix Suns in Los Angeles
Records: Lakers 18-3 (1st in West) Kings 6-16 (12th in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 112.7 (3rd in league) Kings 104.4 (21st in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 101.6 (4th in league) Kings 112.5 (29th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Kings Beno Udrih, John Salmons, Francisco Garcia, Spencer Hawes, Brad Miller

Lakers Christmas Shopping: What do you get the Lakers fan who has everything? Well, Collin at the Examiner has some ideas via eBay:

Lakers Small Dog Jersey Shirt – at least this best friend will agree with you that the Lakers shouldn’t have signed Andrew Bynum to that extension.

Lakers Christmas Santa Hat – if Santa was a Laker, he’d definitely wear this hat…and he would let the elves get to the basket at will despite a considerable height advantage.

Lakers Reusable Grocery Bag – because everybody who’s buying Hot Pockets at 3 for $5.00 wants to be reminded that Chris Mihm is making $2.5 million this season.

Lakers Mr. Potato Head — I hate to say it, but this bears a striking resemblance to Lamar Odom.

Brandon Jennings in Europe: You remember Jennings, he was Sonny Vacarro’s wet dream, a gifted player who blew off the one-and-done college year to play in Europe. Slam Magazine’s Lang Whitaker was there and made a great point:

While I initially thought Brandon going to Europe might be a bad idea, he’s found a team that’s giving him playing time and letting him learn on the fly. If he’d gotten into a US college or gone to a junior college, he’d probably be allowed to shoot as much as he wants, go up against zone defenses, have a coach catering to him and not be expected to defend the opposing team’s best guards. But now he’s getting a one year crash course in defending pick-and-rolls, handling the travel and the attention, keeping his teammates and coaches happy — basically, what it’s going to be like for him next year in the NBA.

Lakers Notes: Two comments today on the Lakers and their recent play. The first is from arguably the smartest hoops writer out there, Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus, who talks about the team and Mark Jackson in his most recent piece:

…while we probably got too excited about the Lakers’ strong start (consider me guilty as charged), nor is the team as bad off as it appears right now. One of Jackson’s hallmarks as a coach is his willingness to let his team flounder at times as a teaching tool, and to some extent we may be seeing just that. The Lakers don’t need to be an elite defensive team right now; they need to reach that level in May and June, and one way or another this stretch will help Jackson determine whether the strong-side trap can be a part of that.

What really irked me about the commentary from Pasch and Jackson (and even Lakers legend Magic Johnson, during his in-game interview with sideline reporter Nancy Lieberman) is the notion that this rough patch defensively is indicative of some inherent shortcoming of this Lakers squad, that it doesn’t have a quote-unquote “defensive mentality.” At one point, they called the Lakers out for rarely practicing defense, which–without putting too fine a point on it–is pretty much exactly opposite what was reported by the people who actually covered the team during training camp. It’s an example of the worst of sports coverage in terms of drawing a conclusion and picking facts to support it instead of coming to a conclusion based on the facts.

Along those same lines, thoughts from Darius lifted from the comments.

Every team must bring their best in order to win the title. They must also hope that their best is better than what their opponents bring in that Final moment or Championship series. Boston will need that same great performance to make the Finals and win that they gave and had last year. The Lakers will also need their best. So, I don’t care about very good in December, I care about the best in June. And that’s the reason that I’m not too upset with where we are as a team right now. Could we be playing better? Of course. And if the playoffs started next week, I’d have legitimate concerns. But this isn’t football season with 3 games left to play. This is the NBA and we aren’t even at the All-Star break yet. We haven’t even passed the trade deadline. There is so much season left to play that we literally have 2 college length regular seasons left in our season. So far we’ve won 86% of our games…I’m cool with where we are.

The Kings Coming In: What’s new with them since Tuesday> Well, Sheldon Williams married Candice Parker? (Hopefully their kids get her skills, she’s more polished than he is.)

Aside that, not much, they are still basking in the glow of the Lakers win the other night. They also will still be without Kevin Martin tonight.

You should be reading and asking Tom Ziller any questions about Sacramento, not me.

The last meeting: Despite some Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind efforts, I think we all recall that game vividly. I’m not going to rehash it here.

Keys To The Game: For all my talk about not reading too much into early regular season games, I think this is one game where we do learn something about the Lakers. It’s not if they blow Sacramento out of the water — the Kings are a team that simply matches up well with the Lakers — but it’s about the effort. The intensity. Do they come out wanting to avenge their bruised pride, or do they stay in coasting mode on defense?

Bynum has gotten some ribbing from Phil about his defense, but tonight poses a real problem for Bynum. He’s supposed to protect the paint, but you have to come out on Brad Miller, probably the best shooting center at 15-18 feet in the league (still). Hawes poses some of the same issues for Gasol. The Lakers have been slow to make counter-adjustments to what teams are doing to the new trapping defense, I’m curious if we will see any tonight, the Lakers need to find an answer. As yesterday was just a film day, no practice for the team, I would guess we see no big strategy changes.

One other thing, the first two meetings the Lakers turned the ball over a lot, they need to limit that tonight.

Where you can watch: This is a Fox Sports night, with the rest of the nation scrambling.

Kurt

Posts

76 responses to Preview & Chat: The Sacramento Kings

  1. In some of his recent comments, when asked about the defense, Phil has responded with talking about the offense. Knowing Phil, he still believes that execution on offense (and the spacing that the Triangle provides) is key to us transitioning well from offense to defense. Also, when running more deliberate sets from the Triangle on offense, we are also less likely to turn the ball over. So, considering that Sacramento has really been able to hurt us by getting out in the open court off turnovers and runouts from long jumpers, I really do hope that we play a more deliberate style of offense tonight (and more consistently this season).

    I understand effort and intensity, but I also understand fundamenal principles. John Wooden (and Bill Walton) have always said “never mistake activity for achievement”. So, in that regard, it would be really nice if we tried harder, but it would also be very nice if the team put themselves in a position where that effort could be rewarded with results because they are actually well positioned for success.

  2. I don’t like that Vlad Rad is getting the Ho Grant whipping boy treatment, but I do think Phil has point in inserting Walton. Because Kobe and Fish are gonna shoot regardless, and the other players actually need the ball to do something, Vlad is the odd man out and Walton is in to hopefully get the offense moving with the first unit. If only they still used the syntheitc ball…

  3. I know this Is a thread about the game tonight but after all the criticism I’ve heard about the team since the lost to the Kings and the Celtics being the barometer that the Lakers compare themselves to I want to state my case After seeing the C’s dispatch the Wizards last night I’ve come to the conclusion that the Celtics are guilty of feasting on a terrible eastern conference. The teams In the eastern conference are so terrible that it’s almost comical ,but the Lakers get criticized every night for having a lackadaisical effort but even the bottom feeders In the West can beat you on any given night. Can the same be said about the Eastern conference? Now what I do admire about the Celtics is there mentality that they are gonna destroy teams that they should beat and the Lakers should adopt the mentality, and stop playing around with lesser teams. But as far as competition the C’s don’t have any in the East with the exception of the Cavs, and maybe the Pistons so all this praise about them being such a Juggernaut is comical to me.The competition for them, a team loaded with 3 all stars Is just not there.

  4. “Never mistake activity for achievement.” Great quote. Exemplified by the play in the Finals when Sasha flapped his hands in Ray Allen’s face, supposedly being active on defense, and hobbled-ankle Ray went right around him. The best lockdown defenders don’t waste motion or gamble for steals or overplay their men. I love watching Battier play the angles on the floor, he plays the game so intellectually.

    Lewis – Sorry, I have to disagree. The “Leastern conference” isn’t a myth, but it’s outdated. This year the Eastern Conference has been much stronger, and the Western conference has been much weaker. The Thunder and T’Wolves can’t beat you on any given night any more than the Bobcats or Wizards (who nearly beat us) can. The bottom feeders always suck, but the suckitude of the Eastern feeders isn’t less than the West’s this time. And overall, the Hornets, Jazz and Spurs and Rockets (injuries) haven’t been nearly as strong as predicted. The Cavs are better competition than anyone in the West has been so far. I don’t have stats, but I highly doubt the C’s are feeding off a weak conference as in the past.

  5. the other Stephen December 12, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    why do we have to play these guys so much…well, i hope they improve tonight.

  6. Well I respectfully disagree with you Snoop but I would also like to see the stats also to see if the Leastern conference Is myth or reality? But from what I’ve seen the East has horrible teams especially In the C’s own division with the exception of Orlando

  7. Tonight will be a big win, by at least 15. We will see that our team can learn from losses and put the Queens out of their misery. We are just now entering the “grind” of playing every other night and so it will take a while for us to get back to playing up to our potential on a regular basis. Recall that we had several 3 and 4 day breaks between games during our first few weeks when many other teams were playing 3 games in 4 nights, etc. I almost wonder if our Lakers aren’t simply wading through these “lesser opponents” until the tougher foes pop up on the schedule…

  8. Revenge game. I like our chances. If you hate the Celtics, here’s some good reading material: http://lakerlogic.blogspot.com/

  9. Kwame A,

    After watching Vlad Rad giving up the first 9 points against Sacramento on a poor defensive effort (did not close out, fight through screens or challenge shots) and committing at least 2 dumb turnovers in the 1st quarter, I am not convinced about PJs comments.

    Kwame, how would you summarize Vlad’s play, which made a hobbled Garcia look like an all-star?

    Theory: Given the Lakers have an overflow at the SF position, the Lakers may be showcasing Vlad or Luke as potential trade bait. For PJ to say Vlad is in the doghouse makes him less marketable. Personally, I think he got punished for his lackadaisical effort and unintelligent play.

  10. “Well, Sheldon Williams married Candice Parker? (Hopefully their kids get her skills, she’s more polished than he is.)”

    Not to hate on Sheldon too much, but I hope they get her looks too.

  11. Ryan-I believe Pierce has a different focus this season. Here’s a great read by Thorpe, http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=thorpe_david&page=Pierce-081212

  12. Sorry for the double post, but am I the only one when I say that I’d love to get into PJ’s mind during the season?

  13. I can’t wait for this game. I think the coaching staff and the players got a little burned by the media (and fans) after the last game so I expect them to want to make this a mini-statement game. For the record, I don’t meant to imply this is going to be a blowout. I fully expect Sacramento to come out with their A-game because (1) their coach is in hot water (although the players support him) and (2) Sacramento is not the Clippers and they are not intimiated by the Lakers.

    Also, I think Sacto was able to exploit our deficiencies very well last game and I want to see how Phil and Co will adjust.

  14. Ryan – It’s funny, I HATE THE CELTICS with a passion, but I don’t hate all of the Celtic players. I have a lot of respect for Rondo and Ray Allen and I’m indifferent about Perkings. However, I loathe Garnett and Pierce.

    I don’t like Garnett’s bully attitude this year and I think he was a total jerk to Kobe and Fish last year after Boston had won the final game and K and F approached him to shake his hand. Even Shaq took a few seconds to shake the hand of beaten opponents at the end of games – and the man is a toatl jerk. As far a Pierce, I just don’t like millionaires who have facial hair similar to that of a homeless person. For goodness sake, can’t he afford a 50 cent razor?

    I dislike Pierce because

  15. Let’s blow them out so we can get some Josh Powell time!

  16. There are some key things I would like so see them do tonight, after watching Boston shut down the Wiz:

    1. Ease off on the ball pressure a little. Boston guards usually don’t get in the face of their opponents. They stay a step off of their men, and as a result guards don’t penetrate as much. This is even more important for Fish and Farmar because neither can stay in front of guards as well as Rondo. Boston seems to have the attitude of “if you want to do that pull up 3, go for it.” It’s certainly a better option than to have penetration break down your defense! Staying farther away also gives them more room to react to picks.

    2. Positioning: in the Celtics D, which also overloads the strong side, positioning of defenders on the weak side is critical – because this player has to cover two guys. I’ve noticed that when the ball is swung to the weakside shooters, this defender does not immediately rush to the ball. If he did, the shooter would just make a simple pass to the other guy on the weakside, who would be wide open. Instead, this defender situates himself between the two weak side shooters. The first guy to receive the ball could shoot, for sure, but he would not feel completely open. And neither would his weak side teammate be entirely open. What this does is to really challenge the spacing of the other team.

    3. NO. DOUBLE. TEAMS. Nobody on this Kings team deserves double teaming. Not even Salmons. Make them score on our players straight up, one on one. I highly doubt they can win this way.

  17. As a general question:

    Why do we need to do what the Celtics do? There is more than one good defensive [or offensive] system. We just need to do what we do well and not worry about what other teams do.

  18. Kurt,
    We don’t need to do what the Celtics do. I think DTC was just describing a good weak side technique while waiting for an additional defender. A key element to most pressure situations is not to act too quickly, but to act firmly. This would probably result in fewer steals, but also fewer points allowed.

  19. From watching the Celts-Hornets game, I think one of the keys to their excellent play is that they’re simply allowed to get away with more than the typical team. I’m the last person to blame the refs or come up with wild league conspiracy theories. However, it’s undeniable they’re allowed to be physical without being punished as much as a typical team is.

    Powe got called for an offensive foul tonight by running over Posey. However I’ve seen similar plays many times from all their bigs (Powe, Davis, Perkins in particular) and as long as they don’t blatantly steamroll the guy, they get away with physicality that most other teams wouldn’t. I don’t think it’s favoritism, just that the aggressor (on both sides of the ball) usually gets the benefit of the whistle. But in the Celts case it’s a little overboard, IMHO.

  20. Question to a question (understood that was for DTC): What do we currently do well defensively, besides steals? No antagonism intended.

    Despite reported strategy, execution for 48 has been haphazard.

  21. 19

    No question about it, they get a lot of leeway and have done since last season.

  22. The true test of this team will come the first time they play OKC. If they win by less than 15, I will go into official panic mode.

  23. Trying to be like the Celtics reminds me of the Jamaicans trying to be like the Swiss in Cool Runnings.

    Feel the rhythm, feel the ride, come on Lakers, it’s Showtime.

    Okay that was lame, sorry.

  24. All the Lakers need to do is play the Lakers way. I feel that their best is better than the Celtics best, and it was mental toughness and focus that they needed in the Finals, not a change in style. The problems they had in the Finals came from a lack of will power and mental fortitude, not from not playing like the Celtics. It focus, and when they apply it consistently, they will be fine.

    Mannyp13,

    C’mon. Save the the personal appearance dissing for theYBF.com or USmagazine. Who cares about facial hair.

  25. Regarding the whole Brad Miller issue: Watch for Luke to come out and guard Miller. At last year’s game in Sac, Luke came out and shut down Miller. Why?

    1) Miller is a terrible rebounder. Luke has better technique and is quicker.
    2) Luke will listen to Coach Jackson and will shadow Miller on offense. Discipline on defense wins game. Just look at the Celtics.
    3) Luke will quickly tire Miller out when Luke is on offense.

    The Kings play p’n’r against the Lakers and by dictating the pace of the game, the Lakers should win handily.

    We may see another minor tweak to the line-up where Odom or Ariza starts to guard Garcia. This relegates Bynum to the bench to focus on dominating the second team and poises him for leadership down the road.

  26. Boston is very physical. They get away with a lot of contact because of it. If the refs call a foul for some phsicality by boston, they still continue to do the same thing and the refs won’t keep calling it unless its very blatant. The thing that bugs me is that Garnett and Perkins always set moving screens and never get called for it. Every time either one set a screen last year in the finals it was a moving one.

  27. Anyone think that Kobe may be under the weather or having some health issue?

    Phil Jackson discussed this as have others on Lakersblog

  28. anyone got a link to the game?

  29. Kurt, it’s not about always copying the Celtics, it’s about copying what works – and we can all agree that the Celtics D works. Very well in fact. But it’s not just the Celtics, I also plan on watching the Cavs to see what they do defensively, and also the Spurs possibly

  30. Honestly, how can it be that while playing with the second unit, it’s harder to see Gasol getting touches…

  31. just checked into the game and noticed that bynum has 4 fouls and it’s the 2nd quarter. can anyone explain why phil kept him in there to get 4? i don’t see how that’s going to motivate him to play better defense when phil puts him back in again later in the game?

  32. udrih is a huge defensive liability but the lakers don’t have the personnel to exploit that.

  33. Josh Powell is making the most of his time so far…

  34. Wow IMO Gasol is our MVP this season. Forget that the guy is so consistent (so far) and is rebounding out of his mind, the main thing is how smoothly our entire team runs when the ball goes through him. His vision and versatility is just incredible.

    Also watched the Bulls-Grizz game tonight. I’m finally on winter break so I got to relax and check out some young talents. Derrick Rose – un-friggin-believable. He blows by people when they’re giving him 4 feet of space. Chris Paul couldn’t shoot when he came into the league either, and now he’s shooting 38% from 3, I believe. Rose is a great passer, not quite inhumanly great like CP3, but on Deron Williams’ level. Phenomenal.

    Also, I was watching OJ Mayo closely. David Thorpe has knocked him for not being able to get to the line. But I was pleasantly surprised. He got into the paint more than I expected, and although his first step isn’t D-Wade explosive, he’s still very fast. I expect as long as he doesn’t fall in love with his J, he’ll be able to balance up his offensive attack. And he has the tools to become a solid to great defensive player. He locks in at certain times but isn’t completely consistent yet, but that’s only to be expected.

    Two phenomenal talents. I thought we were privileged of living in an era with 2 elite (potential legends, IMO) PGs in D-Will and CP3. Now we’re adding Rose to the mix, and Mayo may slide over to the point. That’s incredible. The future of the game is in good hands.

    Now I’ll be curious to see where the next great 2-guard will come from…

  35. Kings match up well against the Lakers.

    They’re much better then their record indicates.

    So where is this supposedly great Lakers bench? Seriously, they need to step it up.

  36. i am still waiting for that”statement” game….i don’t think this is it and i put the blame totally on the coaching staff

  37. 9- I would say that Vlad has played more consistent defense than Kobe has, but Vlad is Vlad, and he got benched.

  38. How about stopping the ball before the player gets to the front of the rim for a easy layup

  39. I just want to say thanks to Mitch Kupchak again for bringing us Pau Gasol.

  40. Ariza coming out of his little slump. At least for this game it seems.

  41. Paul and Kobe are willing this team to a win ><

  42. i say beat the crap out of them when they go for a layup

  43. I have no problem with copying the Celtics D in terms of mentality. They are physical, determined, and tough. I have yet to see a big on the Lakers lay out a driving guard, exactly what Rick Fox pointed out during halftime. I’d also like to see the Lakers swat some balls away (aka what KG does and Turiaf did) when the ref blows a whistle, never give the other team an ‘and 1.’ I’d like to see Josh Powell get some more time too, he can bang.

  44. Why is Farmar up pressuring Jackson in that situation? This guy makes a lot of silly mistakes for a third-year PG.

  45. Lakers have to be one of the whiniest teams in the league

    Every play >< Just play the damn game! The Celtics are way more physical, they better not whine like this against them.

  46. The Celtics are even whinier…

  47. need to close out under control and communicate. No reason for two players to close out both out of control

  48. Kings just won’t go away

  49. farmar needs to play better d

  50. A little D would be nice

  51. Taking farmar out and playing 4 on 5 would be better. At least Udrih would shoot open jumpers instead of driving down the lane at will. Farmar looks like he’s on LSD

  52. Nice, looks like I got what I asked for…a hard foul. Terrible timing, Drew!

  53. I guess the one positive we can take is that the Kings won’t be making the playoffs…

  54. another game where the lakers are going to let a team score over 30 pts in the 4th quarter.

  55. Spencer Hawes is a future all star Center

  56. What a terrible time to lose focus on our defense. This is part of the problem with the Lakers lack of mental toughness to stay focus and play consistent defense. What is their problem?

  57. another wide open shot. Its starting to get ridiculous. Maybe they need to go back to a more traditional defense, and then throw the strong side zone in every once in a while to mix things up.

  58. Kobe needs to look at his teammates and smack them around a bit, well maybe not Gasol.

  59. this is going to be one of the first games in a while where trevor hasn’t gotten a steal. kinda surprise. awesome dunk by kobe.

  60. our coaches are in denial..oh yeah…thanks kobe

  61. Got to give the Kings some respect, they came in and played hard. They didn’t just lay down like some thought they would.

    Coaching staff and Lakers bench need to thank Kobe.

  62. I don’t get why everyone is so down. I didn’t watch most of the game (only saw the last three minutes because I was celebrating a friends birthday), but the Lakers were only up by 5 and then turned on D and pushed it up to 10 in a little over a minute. Can’t ask for much more than that. If anything it’s good to know that the closing unit can close out games.

    Checking out the box score, a few things stand out

    -Luke Walton: 8 assists, no turnovers.
    -Josh Powell, 4 minutes, 3 rebounds, 3 points, 1 foul, 4 missed free throws.
    -Derek Fisher- 6 total shot attempts
    -Andrew Bynum – 8 points, 10 rebounds, 6 fouls $$.

  63. Well, all was OK at 1:36 with a 10 point lead, I settled down finally. Powell was fine in the few minutes he played, and Luke seems to be what we need at that position for now. If your open with a shot or drive to the basket and he has the ball, you will get it.

    Let us be content to solve
    our problems one by one.

  64. Luke with 8 assists, and 0 TO’s , something tells me this guy knows ball. I just wish he could finish.

  65. Maybe all this fan discontent is starting to rub off on me, but I genuinely found very little joy in what essentially turned out to be a double-digit win. Relief, but not joy. I’ll admit that it’s frustrating to see these big 4th quarter leads slowly (and sometimes, not so slowly) bleed away. In the latter stages of this game, it seemed like the Lakers were totally incapable of guarding the corner three … you give any team enough good looks from there, it’s going to cost you.

    That said, it was nice to see this team regain its collective composure and fight through what at times was a very unevenly called game. So, kudos for that.

    Also, I know the Lakers were responsible for their own free throw shooting woes and should be held accountable, but if our guys had only shot poorly from the line (as opposed to abysmally) I don’t think the Kings would have been in position to make any kind of run at all. At one point we were 14 for 28 at the stripe, before ending at 21-35 (60%).

  66. I forgot to mention that despite my (mild) venting, all I think is going on with this team as of late is your average, run-of-the-mill slump. The kind you can count on happening to every team at certain points over the course of such a long season. So far, I have yet to detect any fatal flaw with our squad, and the fact that the Lakers can continue to win even while in the midst of a lull is enough to spoil us all! I continue to believe that the team we saw over the first two weeks of the season was no illusion, and fully expect that level of inspired play to return.

  67. The Kings missed a lot of free throws too though

    It all evens out

  68. 63/65 : The Luke thing is really helping the team run the offense. That’s 14 with 1 turnover and 2 steals in the last two games. If this is the trend, I like it. Clean offensive games and energetic, foul-free, consistent defense will lead to the championship.

  69. Luke is indeed helping the team run the triangle more smoothly in spurts. I agree with that idea and I like that he isn’t being counted on for 32 minutes/game.

    The four smalls, one big lineup in the first part of the fourth quarter did not work out at all. Not that it can’t work, but the Lakers haven’t trotted that particular fivesome out this year at all and the communication and understanding about when to switch and when to stick aren’t worked out at all. I think Phil was just experimenting with a 13 point lead to see what happened. I’d say it’s a thing that could be looked at again if there was some more practice with it. The one weakness that really seemed to show was the rebounding disadvantage.

  70. the other Stephen December 13, 2008 at 8:56 am

    haha did any of you see that elie seckbach post covering kobe announcing his new low-top shoes? it was so funny when the reporters suggested that luke should wear them, so he could dunk better. kobe said luke had a pair of “very strong layups” in the last game. hahahah. i’m so glad to see luke playing again though.

  71. Luke’s insertion into the starting lineup looked like a stroke of genius last night, but I still don’t get why that has to cut Space Cadet’s minutes to ZERO overnight. Something smells about all of this, Radman was off to a good to great start in his role. is it unreasonable to think that he has been TRADED and Mitch doesn’t want him hurt till the deal is finalized?

  72. I want the entire Lakers team to embody the personality of two Lakers players:

    Derrick Fisher and Josh Powell.

    Workmanlike, feisty, and respectful. Without the looks at the refs, the throwing up of the hands, and other garbage.

    If after 82 games the Lakers can fully embody that spirit, I will be happy.

  73. Oh yeah, and they could also be more like Trevor ‘Gumby’ Ariza.

  74. http://www.ocregister.com/sections/lakers-664493/

    players meeting at 19-3? i’m really happy to hear about that

  75. I went back and looked at a particularly interesting lineup the Lakers had in the fourth quarter. Here’s what I saw.

    4th Quarter
    Out of a timeout, the Lakers have been making a small push and lead by 13. Phil trots out a lineup of Farmar, The Machine, Kobe, Ariza, and Bynum (who has 5 fouls). Basically it’s a lineup you’d expect out of Don Nelson’s corpus collosum. Kings have Udrih, Bobby Jackson, Francisco Garcia, Jason Thompson, and Mikki Moore. Not a huge lineup, but bigger than the Lakers.

    8:46 remaining- LAL 92, SAC 79

    Lakers: Lakers run a pick and roll that breaks down and Ariza is called on to take a long jumper that misses.
    Kings: Bynum is guarding Mikki Moore and Ariza is guarding Jason Thompson in the paint. Ariza’s drawn the toughest of the individual matchups by far. Bobby Jackson takes a mildly contested three that misses. Mikki Moore rebounds. Second possession ends up coming back to Moore after Udrih penetration. Bynum came over to help and left Mikki Moore open cutting to the basket. He takes it strong to the hole but misses the finish. Jason Thompson takes his elevator up to the penthouse to snag a rebound and earns himself a shooting foul on the putback attempt. Lakers had actually reestablished their defensive assignments, but Ariza wasn’t able to keep Thompson off the glass. The small lineup yielded three shots on one possession in their end before giving up a two free throws. LAL 92, SAC 80

    Kings: Thompson misses the second free throw but the Kings rebound it. Salmons shoots a three that misses.

    Lakers: Semi-transition. Farmar’s three is blocked by Garcia and this starts the Kings on the break.

    Kings: Garcia’s spiffy touch pass leads to an easy layup by Salmons who came in for Bobby Jackson; slick execution of a three on one break. LAL 92, SAC 82.

    Lakers: alley-oop from Kobe to Bynum from one side of the paint to the other as MIkki Moore left Bynum under the basket to double Kobe. It should be noted the Lakers were standing around the entire possession, unsure of how to run the triangle with such a non-post oriented lineup. LAL 94, SAS 82.

    Kings: Udrih penetration and kick leads to a Salmon’s short corner three from the left side that hits the mark. Misunderstanding by the Lakers on how they are guarding against penetration and keeping an eye on other scorers at the same time. LAL 94, SAC 85.

    Lakers: Lakers do a better job running the triangle and relatively early in the clock Sasha ends up with a jumper from the weakside that he sinks in rhythm. LAL 96, SAC 85.

    Kings: Mikki Moore earns himself free throws off great pick and roll action by him and Udrih at the top of the key. Sasha was the help defender and just fouled him. Not much the Lakers could do against that because of their smallish size. Gasol checks in for Ariza, and there ends the four smalls, one big lineup experiment. LAL 96, SAC 86.

    That first possession is emblematic of this particular experiment. A lack of comfort with this particular lineup and the height disadvantage of the Lakers leads to spotty execution. Afterwards, the Kings went on a small run even with Gasol back out there. The Kings managed to close to within three inside of three minutes. As the game concludes, however, the Lakers starting lineup plays strong enough to hold off the charging Kings. The win was in no way due to any success by the unconventional defense.