Preview and Chat: The New York Knicks

Kurt —  December 16, 2008

Golden State Warriors vs New York Knicks in New York
Records: Lakers 20-3 (1st in the West) Knicks 11-13 (9th in the East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 112.7 (3rd in league) Knicks 106.0 (19th in the league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 101.7 (3rd in league) Knicks 108.0 (20th in the league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Knicks Chris Duhon, Quentin Richardson, Wilson Chandler, David Lee, Al Harrington,

Lakers notes: Here are just a couple things from my venture to Staples the other night.

First is something that I mentioned in the comments of the last post: Kevin McHale said after the game that they tried to up the pace because the Timberwolves felt they had to. With the Lakers trap, it takes longer to run your half-court sets, so if you just walk the ball up and try to run it you end up against the clock, McHale said. He said you have to get into your offense with at least 15 seconds on the clock, or you struggle against the Lakers.

The bigger thing is this: The Lakers hear your criticism, they are aware that they are not playing at their peak and they are being criticized for it. And to a man, everyone asked brought up the word “execution,” saying they have good offensive and defensive systems when they execute it. But also, they are not panicked about it. I leave you with the post-game thoughts of Derek Fisher, who I think summed up the locker room mood:

“Things have really changed a lot. We’ve put ourselves to the point where if we win 120-108 we gave up to many points and if we win 98-86 it’s not pretty enough.”

Then he was asked if there is room for improvement with this team.

“There should be. If there wasn’t room for improvement in December [laughs]. It would be a very high goal for us to stay at that level through June and keep up our intensity.”

The Knicks Coming In: This is the second game of a back-to-back for the Knicks, who lost last night to the Suns. Brett Pollakoff of Fanhouse was there and sent me a couple thoughts:

Mike D’Antoni wasted no time at all implementing his up-tempo offense in New York. Last night in Phoenix, the team launched a preposterous 37 three-point attempts, many of them in transition with definitely less than seven seconds gone off the shot clock. Not to over-simplify things, but had they made more than five of them, they definitely would have had a pretty great shot to beat the Suns.

The downside for New York is, with this lineup and the tempo that they choose to play at, they have no inside presence defensively — at all. So if the Lakers begin the game by establishing Bynum in the post, limit their turnovers and don’t get sucked into the tempo by taking quick shots early in their possessions, then they should have little trouble beating this Knicks team.

The Knicks started the season 6-4, but have gone 5-9 since then. Yes, they miss the scoring of Randolph and Curry, but that’s not the biggest problem according to Mike from Knickerblogger:

Prior to the start of the season, I called the guard spot the Knicks “deepest“. D’Antoni had a rotation of Duhon, Crawford, Robinson, and Collins with Roberson and Marbury on the bench. However since then, New York traded Crawford and Collins, Robinson hurt himself, and Marbury has Marburied himself off the team. This has left the Knicks without any depth at guard. Over the last few games Duhon has played more than 40+ minutes in just about every game, Richardson has slid over to shooting guard, and D’Antoni has so little confidence in Roberson that he’s used 5 forwards on the floor instead of playing the team’s summer league signee.

D’Antoni’s system needs good guard play to thrive, and not only are they not getting it, they don’t look to be getting it from anywhere short of a trade.

Keys To The Game: Remember way back when Loyola Marymount made a run to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, with Bo Kimball shooting free throws left handed and Paul Westhead as the coach? They did it, beating established teams, because their extreme run-and-gun style threw more traditional teams off their game. Those teams didn’t know how to react. That was until LMU ran into UNLV, a team with athletes like Stacy Augman and Larry “Grandmamma” Johnson that wanted to get out and run too, and they had far, far more talent. The result was UNLV was comfortable and blew out the Lions.

I bring that up because this game is sort of like that – these are the teams playing at the first (Knicks) and third (Lakers) fastest pace in the league. But, the Lakers have far more talent, they are better suited to this style and should be able to run away from New York.

One key will be the Lakers recently shaky transition defense. As Brett Edwards said, this Knicks run back and are happy to do the PUJIT, you have to have you man in transition. Bynum and Gasol run the floor well for seven footers, but Al Harrington has thrived and scored in this system. If Bynum and Gasol don’t get back the Lakers may need to go smaller. Another reason to get back — the Knicks shoot 54.6% (eFG%) in the first 10 seconds of the shot clock but that falls to 47% if you can get them into the next five seconds. The Lakers need to get back, and if not slow the Knicks down they need to prevent layups and force those PUJITs.

Offensively, the Lakers bigs should dominate. The front line of the Knicks is 6-8. 6-9. 6-9. Bynum and Pau should feast.

But that means getting the ball inside — the Lakers have been bad about this. Or when they do the ball kicks back out but doesn’t rotate to the other side. The Laker bigs should be able to score even against doubles tonight, but if they kick out we need ball movement with passes.

Where you can watch: This game is on Fox Sports here in LA and NBATV nationwide. For some odd reason, when NBA TV shows the game, you can’t get it on NBA Broadband, something that is rather silly.

Kurt

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123 responses to Preview and Chat: The New York Knicks

  1. hey kurt, you answered my question, it’s nice to be a part of this family…I’m away from LA these days, so broadband is my only way (legally) to get the games, so I guess I’ll go check out the justin tv links, they aren’t all that bad, better than nothing. but I agree, it’s silly to black out the game to net users.
    re: tonights game, I will watch to see if D’antoni still holds that grudge against PJ. that’s maybe the only drama tonight.

  2. Kurt,

    The LMU/UNLV comparison is a good one.

  3. Kurt – you mentioned in a prior post you were at staples center covering the game for someone else and, therefore, you could not post all of your thoughts just yet. Just curious, who was it for and where can we read your comments?

  4. chris h,

    I think PJ is reveling in the fact that it was the Lakers improvement as a team that forced the death of he SSOL Suns. Especially since they ran as well or better than the Suns. Scoreboard.

  5. 3. I am freelancing Lakers and more for:

    http://www.nbclosangeles.com

    That is KNBC’s site here. The style they are going for, hence the writing, is more Fanhouse than this site by a mile. I’m letting my inner snark out over there, and posting rumors and such.

    Also, since some have asked, there is one more announcement about this site coming next month.

  6. Since you will have more access, will you be giving us some insight into things we can’t catch unless we were close to the floor. Like interactions between teammates and coaches, etc? Not just Lakers, but all teams?

  7. We should be familiar enough with D’Antoni’s style to control the game against the Knicks.

    Getting the ball inside and running our offense will be a key tonight. We can push on these guys from their missed shots, but in the halfcourt control the pace and punish them. However, if we play too fast and out of control in looking for early offense, we can fuel their break and they will get the type of looks that they want to get (or at least feel comfortable shooting).

  8. 6. I am not going to be able to attend every Laker home game, I still have other priorities in terms of the day job and family. That said, I want to be able to do that a lot more, and when I do I will try to get some of that stuff you just can’t get watching on television. I think, as the last game was my first with a pass, I missed things because I was still trying to figure out where the bathrooms in the press room are, that kind of stuff.

  9. Kurt,

    The Staples Center press room bathroom is the worst. Who puts such a small bathroom in a room that can hold so many working journalists? I can’t imagine what the line would be like during a big event there such as The Finals. You’re better off going upstairs to the concourse. Moves faster.

  10. I’m bringing this over from the last thread…

    KG and Marbury reunited? I don’t see that working too well. And even if everyone could be one happy family, there are still issues with the disruption of current roles for House, Tony Allen, et al.

    As for our defense…I’m with Bill Bridges in that it’d be nice if we could mix it up some, but I doubt that we’ll actually try it. Reason being is that I think the coaches see us as a non-instinctive defensive team. And since that’s the case, I think the staff has instituted an *aggressive/dictating to the offense* style defense that is also very simple for the players to execute on a possesion to possesion basis. I liken it to the defensive version of “paint by numbers”. When you paint by numbers, you may not get a masterpiece, but you will get something that could concievably hang on your wall and call art. So in that regard, our defense may never be the phalynx of the Celtics, but it’s not designed to be *that*. It’s designed to put our players in position to be successful and give them defined assignments that they can rely on for every possesion.

    As for the debate about Farmar and Fisher, and the defense of our wing players…we must do better. In the early part of our season we saw Radman execute the role of what our wings are supposed to do superbly. The problem is that now, our guys are not doing what they’re supposed to be doing. When executed properly, we must shade the ball handler to contain them and force them to postions on the court where the help is established and where we can eventually trap the ball handler. Right now all of our wing defenders (Kobe included) are gambling a little too much when defending the ball, and rather than shade the ball handler are trying (unsuccessfuly) to stay in front of him. It’s not working. Farmar and Fisher (and Kobe and even Ariza at times) are getting beat off the dribble completely and leaving our rotating big to play a small player one on one. Guess what?…that doesn’t work. First of all our bigs are not going to effectively defend ball handling wings 10 ft. away from the basket, nor are they going to deter shots at the rim effectively when they are foul conscious and the ball handler can attack full speed.

    So, while I think we could switch it up, I also think that we’re still in the top 5 of defensive efficiency. Now you could say that we’re only in the top 5 because of our strong execution in the first couple weeks of the season. To that, I say: Then start executing the plan like you did in the first part of the season. Is it that simple….no, but we can do better, so lets get to it.

  11. To win tonight, we need to 1) close-out on 3pt shooters, 2) dominate the glass on both ends, 3) limit turnovers/transition opportunities, and 4) be patient on offense, if we are we can get layups.

    This would close out our home-stand 4-0, and get us off on this trip on the right note.

  12. Excellent analysis.

    I believe that this is a nice test to see if we’ve improved defensively when our bigs are being pulled out onto the perimeter, which the Knicks will inevitably try to do. I’d like to see us go under some screens and let Duhon & Robinson try to beat us from the perimeter instead of allowing penetration and kickouts to Harrington, Richardson, etc.

  13. GoldenThroat,

    I would have to disagree with you. I don’t think defending teams with this fast paced style can be used as barometer of improved defense. It’s too unconventional and fast paced. It thrives on mismatches created by transition, plus the Lakers do what they do even better and have bigger mismatches.

    I think a better look at improvement would be against more methodical and conventional, patient offenses when defensive discipline for all 24 seconds is key.

  14. This game looks like a good one to get some good minutes for Josh Powell.

  15. One other point about the defense that I don’t think anyone mentioned in the last thread: When the Lakers’ offense is stagnant or just off ….they end up “off balance” on the defensive end. This leads to breakdowns (ie transition buckets, mismatches, and scrambling.)

    The offensive and defensive flow for the Lakers tend to feed off of one another.

  16. wondabap,

    As a whole, I agree with you. D’Antoni’s offense is so unorthodox that it’s not a gauge of where our overall defense is. What I’m referring to is one particular element of our defense, which is our ability to defend the pick & roll…or more specifically the pick & pop.

    Our three losses have come against teams that have big men who are able to knock down a 15+ footer on a regular basis, thusly drawing Gasol/Bynum away from the hoop, and opening the lane for PG penetration. High screens have been the most common method of accomplishing this. Wallace for Detroit, Murphy/Nesterovic for Indiana, and Miller/Hawes all posed matchup issues that we weren’t able to solve.

    So while the Knicks won’t be a barometer of our overall defense, they will certainly try to draw our bigs away from the basket, and will likely use the PnR as a means of doing that. As a result, I think that we’ll be able to at least gather some level of translatable evidence from tonight’s game regarding what adjustments we’ve made in that respect.

  17. Ironically, I think the pace may work in Bynum’s favor. He will be slower to come down the floor, but will probably not get to half court before a shot goes up. Therefore he should be able to get back to the rim faster to receive full court passes.

  18. Maybe I’m the only one that doesn’t want to see more ‘effort’ from defense. I just want them to be smarter. For some odd reason, effort on our team gets translated into going for steals and blocks leaving you quite vulnerable.

    Anyway, this should be fun. Sun Yue please.

  19. I would like to see J. Powell play a little more too, I just don’t know how to fit him into the second unit.

  20. Oh Kurt, just something I found by accident:

    If you click on the category link, it gives you the raw HTML it seems, and the images you put in the beginning of each post is shown in its link form not the image.

    Not that it’s bothersome or anything since it only takes up a couple lines and you can read the main body below, but just thought I’d point it out ;)

  21. Golden Throat- Good point about the pick and pops, I’ll be looking at our strategy tonight.

  22. I’ve been in attendance at the last three Knicks/Lakers games at Staples. That streak ends this year thanks to law school finals. Kwame A. is lucky he’s done!

  23. 14. I was thinking the same about Powell. I think Powell would be very useful in guarding Tim Thomas and Al harrington types. Him and Lamar are definitely fast. But is impossible to imagine Pau and Dre play less than 30 min each unless it is a big blowout from early on. And that only leaves around 30+ minutes which will primarily go to Lamar.

    I think we will see a farmar/fisher, Vujacic, Kobe, Ariza, Pau/Bynum lineup in this game with Trevor at the 4 and Kobe at the 3.

  24. GoldenThroat,

    Point taken. I can agree with that.

  25. Quote of the week from K Dwyer:

    “Memo to Boston fans: One can show their appreciation for a fallen player without having to resort to “M-V-P!” chants. Pierce is a Boston legend at this point, but his shooting just recently eased past 40 percent on the year.”

    10 – “We must shade the ball handler to contain them and force them to postions on the court where the help is established and where we can eventually trap the ball handler. Right now all of our wing defenders (Kobe included) are gambling a little too much when defending the ball, and rather than shade the ball handler are trying (unsuccessfuly) to stay in front of him. It’s not working.”

    Beautifully said. I have to say I’m a bit surprised, though. I expected better from Kobe. Kobe has seen Michael and Scottie’s lock down defense, he’s seen the league’s top perimeter defenders day in and day out. He should know gambling, while crowd-appealing, is not the best form of defense. I’m disappointed in him, I’ve always considered his knowledge of the game to be consummate. It’s a case of a player letting talent cloud his judgment.

  26. Pau is out tonight with a case of strep throat.

  27. Bummer, No Pau.

  28. Did Stu and Joel say that Pau is out tonight? Anyone have word on that?

  29. According to the Lakers website, he has strep throat.

  30. 5 minutes to go and so far the broadband hasn’t said it’s blacked out…
    fingers crossed

  31. Anyone know what happened to Gasol? Odom seems to be starting for him.

  32. Gasol has strepp throat.

  33. Still stuck at work, what is with Walton going 1-5 to start. Why is he getting all the shots?

  34. Fish just did a 3 pointer PUJIT with 22 seconds left on the shot clock. Why?

  35. Lakers are allowing too many wide open 3′s again…not a good sign..

  36. Kurt-Most of his shots were inside, or open, so I (a Walton detractor) can’t really knock them. What I can knock is something I mentioned previously, our inability to close out on 3pt shooters. Too many open 3pt looks right now.

  37. Kurt,
    Walton is getting the ball rotated to him off penetration and ball reversals. These are the same shots that Vlad and or Fisher would get and he’s missing. His one make was on a classic Luke play of a weakside post up where he bullied a smaller defender and banked in turnaround. I haven’t seen every one of Luke’s shots, but he has missed two baseline shots from either corner (one 3 and one 20 footer). He can make these shots, he just hasn’t yet. One positive thing I can say is that he’s taking the open shot and the shots that he should take in the flow of the offense.

  38. Lakers think they could outshoot the knicks from the outside? good luck with that one…

  39. Guys get sucked into that NY pace. Fish, as a vet, should know better.

  40. To follow up what Kwame just said, we are not closing down the baseline and are allowing easy passes from one corner to the other and are allowing those open jumpers that come from 1 pass ball reversals. Bad. Bad. Bad.

  41. Why is farmar not running the triangle?

  42. Knicks shooting 62% eFG% for first quarter and grabbing 36% of their misses. I’m glad I’m not watching this right now.

  43. What a strange line-up. Phil tryng to spread the floor?

  44. The Knicks shot 37 three pointers last night and are on pace to shoot even more in todays game. Not only that but they’ve made over 50% of them so far.

  45. Knicks are hot!

  46. Knicks are hot, no doubt, but we aint doing nothin to cool them down.

    To get back into this game we have to find a way to 1) slow the pace down and 2) contest jump shots.

    This is awfully embarassing, and we don’t have Pau around to help mask the festering warts.

  47. It’d be really nice if we made the easy ones. How many missed 3 footers can we have?

  48. I don’t understand why we’re settling for jumpers and we could easily dump it down low to lamar and bynum….unbelievable

  49. Kobe took a charge!

  50. Bynum looks horrible down low…he thinks he’s playing against 7 footers! it’s david lee for God’s sake!

  51. I think the Knicks can live with the lakers making 2 point baskets all night cuz the way they’re shooting 3 pointers, they’ll build a 20 pt lead by halftime

  52. I know we talk about the Triangle and spacing, but I must give D’Antoni credit because the spacing the his offense implements is stellar. He opens the middle of the floor, creates driving lanes, and positions shooters well for quick and open looks. Our rotations are slow, but it’s even tougher to get there when they’re well spaced out.

  53. I was wrong…15 pt lead…

  54. Another team that plays with perimeter oriented bigs, pulls the Lakers bigs out of the paint and shoots a ton of threes killing the Lakers. If you want a blue print for beating this team, that’s it. We’ve seen it with Detroit, Indiana, and Sacramento so far. I don’t think we’ll see NYK continue to shoot this well in the second half though.

  55. It looks like the coaching staff did a horrible job scouting this knicks team. Don’t they know that they will launch any type of shot in the first 10 seconds of possession. They are just allowing them to walk to the 3 pt line and shoot at their discretion. Horrible!!!

  56. Kobe and Q-Rich have a mini-rivalry going on. Last season Bryant destroyed Richardson who fouled out with 2 points, while Kobe erupted for a big game. Kobe was talking trash for the whole game and really backing it up. He got into Q-Rich’s head and completely took him out his game.

  57. I go to college in NY and I went up to my room at halftime to watch the rest, albeit online as opposed to the TV in the lounge. It’s ridiculous watching with NY who are already planning their team with Lebron in the roster. I would love to see him go elsewhere, as opposed to fall in their lap where NY gets to benefit from the failings of their horrendous GM.

  58. I refuse to believe any longer that there isn’t something wrong with this team. Granted, the Knicks are hot and *absolutely nothing* is falling for the Lakers, but how is this team not busting its collective ass every single possession? What needs to happen to motivate them?

    Baffling.

  59. those rat bastards at nba broadband waited until 10 mins into the game to finally post that it was blacked out…but found a decent link on justintv. still, it sucks esp when you paid for the service.
    anyway, where’s Drew tonight? I mean, he’s on the floor, but he’s not there. looks winded, tired, I’d like to see Josh Powell get some burn in the 2nd half. he and trevor bring the hustle, LO too, gotta crash the boards.
    and Farmar, looks like his mind was elsewhere when he came out. gotta redeem himself in the 2nd!

  60. It’d be nice if the lakers bench showed up…Nate outscored them all by himself!

  61. I dont care if Pau is out or not….65 points at half time is inexcusable….the Lakers need to really step up their defense if they are gonna pull this one out, dont look like it gonna happen. And how are the lakers shooting under 40 percent? This knicks offense is not that good….what the hell is going on with this team…

  62. Wow, our team fails to disappoint.

    15 pts difference by halftime!

    Oh wait, NYK is leading?

  63. I meant to say knicks defense wasnt very good in my last post….of course they can shoot the hell out of the ball!

  64. WOW! Now that is some championship basketball we are playing right now. I just wish we played like that more often

  65. Score more respectable now all of a sudden, thanks to Fisher’s jumping jack defense and PUJIT.

    Still no movement when Kobe has the ball. It’s almost as if both teams are taking a break when Kobe has the ball.

  66. That’s the lakers problem…they fail to take advantage of the mismatches…knicks have bad defense…take advantage of it lakers!

  67. Uhm… the last two possessions…

    One was Kobe running around the entire time dribbling…

    The other with Kobe ‘launching’ a cross court pass to Fish for the three…

    Wide open three from Bynum Kickout misses…

    Something is just odd

  68. Kobe goes for steal, Lakers give up and-1.

  69. Still at work (I don’t want to talk about it), but what has changed that the Lakers are making a run?

  70. And, I think it’s telling, that there are tons of comments here when things are going poorly but I have to ask what is going right.

  71. I love Fish, but he two chances on guarding Nate…slim and none!

  72. 70 – my limited, lagging webcast tells me it’s better rotations, rebounds, and luck.

    69 – think i just saw that happen.. again…

  73. well Stephon Marbury is a +4 tonight…

  74. Stephon Marbury is really full of sh@t

  75. Knicks aren’t hitting 50% on their threes, Lakers playing better D, and Fisher hit a few outside.

  76. Aaron – Re: the Knicks, I think they have suffered more than enough for their awful GMing. Lets not wish anymore on them. Its hardly “benefiting” from it when you’ve spent years at the bottom of the league and get Lebron at the very end of your misery!

  77. Playing better lineups has helped. So has getting the Knicks to rush bad shots

  78. Farmar has entered the game….Lakers defense is in trouble now….

  79. This is the worse I’ve seen Ariza play as a laker….

  80. Re: JR – I still hate that they seem to glow when the only reason they may get Lebron is a market and terrible management-helped by throwing all their assets in the garbage that would still be on payroll. And it’s 2008, not the summer of 2010 – they should keep quiet until then.

  81. The Lakers needs to get back to the basics they started this season with. Commit 100% on defense and use the triangle to its fullest. Sure, Kobe’s numbers will look average but he would be able to save his legs for crucial moments in crunch time. I feel that the first 15 games got to their heads and they’ve become individuals on the floor more often than not.

    I’m not pushing the panic button. If this were the 60th game of the season, sure I would worry. I say let them learn a lesson the hard way when it’s still early in the season and when they have a comfortable cushion in the standings.

  82. Phil is really experimenting right now… He is like the good old scientist in a very fancy laboratory and has different elements to mix… Too bad the most consistent element of Gasol is missing

  83. I think the Knicks started to press some as the Lakers made their standard push that NBA teams make when they’re behind. For example, the Lakers made a couple of baskets and then the Knicks would come down and miss a PUJIT. The Knicks got away from what was working for them: penetration and kicking to open shooters. They forced some passes, shot too quickly when there was not an obvious advantage. And we got better looks, forced a couple of turnovers and started to convert a couple of the easy looks that we missed in the first half.

  84. Beautiful spin move by Josh Powell!!

  85. What a bonehead foul by sasha…

  86. oh sasha….

  87. Kobe should have done a Luke “hard lay up”

  88. Whatever the outcome is for this game, we definitely need help in the pg position…Farmar is just not cutting it. If Nate is having his way with him and Fish. Imagine what the taller Rondo will do to them….ugh.

  89. I think it’s very polite of the Knicks to attempt to give this game away right when Kobe shows that he wants to take it over. It’s like a gift exchange at your work Christmas party.

    “Here you go.”

    “Thank you.”

  90. Honest question: Do I want to watch this game when I get home? Or is it just going to piss me off and then I won’t be able to sleep?

  91. i sure hope they lock down on defense, get some stops and increase this lead.

  92. I’d skip the 1st half, Kurt.

  93. watch it such a close game

  94. Have to close out in control If the guy hits a J over you so be it, better than letting go right around you.

  95. Kurt, just watch the fourth quarter

  96. 91. just watch the game in spurts. I think the beginning of the 3rd was decent fun.

    Lamar is slowly coming around, but we really benefitted from some franticness that went our way…

  97. This would be a nice time to slow it down and run the triangle. Turnovers at this point is unacceptable

  98. Kobe’s shot has a little more arc on his shot tonight and a little more hop on it too. Thats good to see.

  99. Ohooh flash back of the indy game…

  100. We’re so gonna lose at the buzzer…It totally feels like it…

  101. One more stop and the Lakers should win…I have a feeling they are gonna come through :)

  102. time to play some defense! Definitely not the way expected the game to finish. I thought we could definitely beat Knicks by double figures.

  103. I hope they shoot in 7 seconds or less…

  104. *sigh of relief* Had flashbacks of Indy there for a second

  105. Lakers played better defense in the second half. Though I guess any defense is better than the no defense that happened in the first half. It also helped that, other than Robinson, the knicks cooled off a little from the outside.

  106. LOL, Bynum comes in for Walton to rebound the free throw, then Kobe walks over to Ariza and is like “uh, yea, get out,” and takes Ariza’s rebounding position. Love it

  107. Nate’s flying about.

  108. How about Walton and not Ariza with the inbounding from now on…?

  109. Wow, what a game…

  110. yesssssss lakers deserved this game

  111. Happy to get a W, we can talk about the defense tomorrow :)

  112. Dating back to last season, including last year playoffs, the lakers are 30-2 in their last 32 home games….only loses coming to bosten in game 4…a game the lakers were up by 20 in…before blowing it, and the loss to detroit earlier this year. Pretty amazing home streak here.

  113. Good game in that we finally saw Lamar and Luke have aggressive games.

    Everything else tho… a lot of ‘only-Kobe’ esque shots were forced and made to save our butt.

  114. 21-3 baby!!

    jeez our fans are spoiled. i used to read these threads every game. but with all these naysayers and negative comments, i don’t know how much longer that will last.

  115. Just caught Phil in the postgame confirming LO was also sick which is interesting.

    Biggest thing that could have helped us tonight would have been an hour’s worth of layup drills at shootaround, because the number of gimmes that the guys missed was amazing.

    Glad we have that Kobe guy to finish out games for us.

  116. Man, was I ever into this one!

    This game had me jumping up off the couch, pumping my fist, shielding my eyes, holding my breath every time another Knicks three-pointer was lofted, and saying aloud, “I hate Nate Robinson’s tiny little rat face.”

    I’m so happy we came away with the win. I really enjoyed our effort in the second half (let’s just make a pact never mention the first half ever again).

    You can say we should have dominated NY inside with our decided height advantage, but losing a key piece of the rotation like Gasol can really throw everything out of whack. Most everyone on the team has to adjust to a new role, and that’s not easy to do on such short notice.

    Nice to see Lamar rise to the occasion, the much-maligned Luke Walton make the most of his minutes and some extra lift on Kobe’s jump shot.

  117. The only bummer I can think of is that we have had an extremely home heavy schedule with mostly sub-500 teams. Our record should be pretty good.

    Of course our record is a little better than that, so I guess I can smile a bit now.

  118. I just love games ending like this one did, if it is a Laker win of course.

    Slow and steady wins the race.

  119. The Lakers without Gasol are like a fine sports car missing that passing gear. Suddenly, we’re like we were–before he arrived. Luke was at the 3, a great playmaker still rusty with his shots. VladRad just got a cameo appearance. Andrew, Trevor, Jordan, and Sasha were great at moments in their own respective ways–but a little green. Lamar was his usual self, mixing greatness with bonehead plays–back in fantasyland with two “Oh no, Dumb” three point attempts at the worst possible moments. Kobe came to the rescue this time–but he, in turn, was saved at the very end through clutch underappreciated veteran plays by Derek Fisher.

    It was an interesting flashback to a time when all the top Western Division teams had virtually identical w/l records.

  120. Last Nights Highlights

    1) Kobe’s jumpshot- Since the Friday game against Sac, his shot has tremendous arch, and with that adjustment, his FG% will go back up

    2) LO’s impact- It really is nice to have this guy be able to step in and provide great interior finishing and passing, along with much needed rebounding

    3) Josh Powell- Its gonna be tough to find him minutes, but he clearly can play at the NBA level, I love his smooth shot and rugged attention to crashing the O boards every play.

    We got work to do on the perimeter D, but we still found a way to win!

  121. When a team’s back up point guard scores 33 points against what is suppossed to be the best team in the West, I can’t help but think that maybe there is a problem either with the way we defend PGs or maybe our PGs just arent cutting it.

  122. New post up.

    And Robinson was hot, he was going to put up a lot of points on anyone last night.