Preview & Chat: The Indiana Pacers

Kurt —  January 9, 2009


Records: Lakers 28-6 (1st in the West Pacers 13-22 (13th in the East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 112.8 (2nd in league) Pacers 105.9 (18th in League)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.0 (4th in league) Pacers 108.3 (18th in League)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Vladimir Radmanovic, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Pacers Jarrett Jack, Stephen Graham, Danny Granger, Troy Murphy, Roy Hibbert

Lakers notes: How much fun was it to watch Von Wafer beat the Celtics? The guy could always put the rock in the hole, I hope his game rounds out to the point he can stick in the league.

No Odom tonight, which is to be expected. We’ll see about Sunday night, where with Marion and Beasley coming to town (along with some guy named Wade) his length would sure be handy. Still, it’s January, nobody gets rushed back.

Non-hoop thoughts for a Friday: Thanks to Anthony for today’s photo, which is a picture of his father before the Hornets game. I’ll let you guess which one is his dad (hint: Anthony is not locked up in a padded cell).

I’m not going to be the 8 millionth blogger to call for a college football playoff, that point is beyond obvious now. What I’m saying is it can’t be a four-team, plus-one system. Do that this year and USC and Utah (the teams that looked best in their bowl games) would still have been on the sidelines as the fifth and sixth ranked teams in the nation in the final BCS poll. Got to be an eight-team playoff, even if that means cutting the regular season back to 11 games.

I’ve taken to rooting for Jamie on Top Chef this season.

The Pacers Coming In: TJ Ford appears to be out with a back strain tonight, although officially it is a game-time decision.

The good news for this team, also battling injuries, is that it gets Mike Dunleavy back. His first game was against the Suns, he should get a little more burn tonight.

The Pacers are one of those teams that plays a lot of close games, they just have been a bit unlucky. They’ve beaten the Lakers and Celtics (and Suns in dramatic fashion two nights ago) but lost some close ones they should have won. (Mike Dunleavy might have changed some of that.) Look at their Pythagorean winning percentage and they should be 15-20, which would have them one-game out of the eighth seed. All of which is to say, this team actually could make the playoffs in the East.

For more info on the Pacers, be sure to check out Indy Cornrows.

Last time they met: On Dec. 2 the Lakers blew a 15-point lead to start the fourth quarter — Farmar was forcing the play and causing turnovers, Bynum disappeared from the boards — and the Lakers lost 119-118 on a Troy Murphy tip at the buzzer.

It was a fast-paced game with 101 possessions. The Lakers struggled to contain TJ Ford, who had 21 points and was a game high +21. But what really killed the Lakers was a bad night on the glass — Indiana grabbed 36.5% of their missed shots, and that’s a lot of second chance points.

Keys To The Game: Just like last meeting, this game is going to be a track meet — these teams play at the third (Pacers) and fourth fastest tempos in the league. As always in these cases, transition defense will be the key to whatever team wins. In the Lakers case, this also means controlling the boards on both ends.

Also, the Lakers need to slow the pace a little when the starters are in. As it is virtually every night, the Lakers have an advantage in the paint with their bigs, they need to feed them the ball early. That will open up the perimeter.

This is an interesting game for Andrew Bynum match-up wise. Hibbert is a good offensive player — he has a variety of post moves, can finish with either hand and has a jumper out to 16 feet or so you have to respect. However, he is not a good defender. Bynum should be able to get some points in the post (providing the Lakers get it there) but he has to be focused on the defensive end. And he’s got to control the boards.

If Granger is going to take a three with the game on the line, you better get right in his face. Ask the Suns. And much like Gasol, it would be disgrace if he is left off the All Star team.

Final thing — with a team that wants to run you have to take care of the ball. Turnovers fuel them.

Where you can watch: 7:30 start, just about the time the Cavs are done beating the Celtics. Fox Sports in LA and League Pass nationally.

Kurt

Posts

210 responses to Preview & Chat: The Indiana Pacers

  1. got a good double header tonight, eh?
    shouldn’t be too hard to find the motivation tonight for the Lakers, revenge!
    I’m hoping to see Josh Powell continue to get some burn, find a comfort zone and show us that he’s a keeper. personally, i like what I see of him, he brings an element we really need, crashing the boards, hustling and a nice mid range game. he should be the back up 4 while LO is out.

  2. Can’t emphasize enough here how much Granger deserves to be in the All-Star game. If only their record weren’t what it is…

    Well enough Pacer love I guess… Let’s get our payback tonight!

  3. You’ve got another thing coming if you honestly believe that the Celts will lose to the Cavs tonight. Yes, we’ve struggled recently, but those struggles end starting tonight!

  4. 3) Celts nation
    You sound like a Seinfeld rerun – “Starting … now!”

  5. Celtsnation – why are you commenting about the celtics in this blog? If you haven’t noticed, this is a Laker blog, and more specifically, comments are meant for tonight’s Laker game at the moment – go back to your celts blod dude!

  6. Lakers should be coming out tonight wanting to destroy this team for that rediculous defeat in Indiana, Iv waited for this game for quite some time now.

  7. Why does this site run so slow on Firefox, but fine on the other browsers?

  8. 3. While I respect your own sentiments for you own team, I’m left wondering though why you would make such a comment like that here.

    I can’t see anywhere here on the post or on the comments that states or even vaguely implied the Cavs are going to beat the Celtics.

  9. Right, sorry about that, I missed Kurt’s last statement in the post. Carry on then.

  10. Harry,

    I don’t mind if a Celtic fan wants to post here. I mind when said poster is a troll with nothing but adolescent trash talk.

  11. A revenge game. I hope the Lakers come out with some energy tonight. They need to clean up the glass, control the tempo, and not take so many things.

    Off topic. But whats up with Darius Miles. Portland threatened legal action against any team that signed him. Now the players union is mad and filed a grievance against Portland or something. My guess is that someone signs him just to stick to Portland.

  12. @3 – I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Celts rebound back tonight. But I have to admit I haven’t seen a lot of Cavs games this year, so maybe I’m not giving them enough credit.

    @5 – I think it’s good that fans of other teams read/post here, even if it is a fan of our rivals. I read and post at other teams blogs because I’m interested in discussing what going on around the league, not just with the Laker’s. The cross-pollinating is good, so long as things remain civil (which is the hard part sometimes).

    On Indiana, the first game was painful to watch. Maybe having Odom out will be a blessing in disguise, though. Like the first post said, Powell might get some burn and help us improve our rebounding. Odom is a good rebounder, but Powell seems to be even more active on the boards.

  13. Those Cleveland Crabaliers are going to continue the win streak at home tonight. I certainly hope that we approach our regular season games with the appropriate urgency to maintain our standings in the race for homecourt advantage in the playoffs.

  14. I’m actually hoping the Celts win.

  15. I have to admit… that is my old man with VTB up in that photo. They are more alike than I care to admit.

    On another note, that picture was taken during the loss to the Hornets. During that game, it became very clear that the Lakers have almost totally gone away from the strong side zone they employed earlier in the year. I only counted two or three occasions where they brought the help-side defender across the court. Wasn’t the zone employed to stop penetration? Wasn’t it designed to guard against guys like Chris Paul? Have the Lakers completely abandoned the zone? I would like to see it used again, maybe a little more judicially than in the first few games, but I think they need to get the ball out of the hands of quick, penetrating guards.

  16. I agree completely re: Pau and Granger being left off the all star team. They’ve both been outstanding this year and really deserve it.

    Has anyone taken a look at the fan voting results? They’re pretty horrendous. Part of it is just the critical mass of Chinese voters voting for any Chinese player and/or Houston Rocket on the ballot, but that doesn’t entirely account for how absurd the results are.

    Some particularly egregious ones:

    -Yi is 3rd among East forwards with 762K votes, well ahead of 4th place Chris Bosh with 500K.

    -Dalembert is 2nd among east centers by a healthy margin. Really?? That one I can’t think of any conceivable explanation for.

    -TMac is 2nd in West guard voting behind Kobe and ahead of Chris Paul, meaning that he’s going to start ahead of Chris Paul even though he’s played approximately 6 games this season. Ugh.

    -Gilbert Arenas has WAY more votes than Calderon or Joe Johnson among East guards. The only thing more shocking than this: so does Luke Ridnour.

    -Rafer Alston is ahead of Chauncey Billups and Brandon Roy among West guards. China strikes again! Oh, and Deron Williams didn’t even make the list, which means he’s not even in the top 11 vote getters among West guards.

    I know the all star game is “for the fans,” but the fan voting is leading to completely ridiculous results. You can check out the entire travesty here:

    http://www.lebasketbawl.com/2009-nba-all-star-game-voting-results-second-round/

  17. …because then we’d have the best record.

  18. Crabaliers. That has a ring to it.

  19. Payback tonight!! After letting them get a lucky tip in win over us last time, tonight’s our chance to blow them out by 40 points (ok, maybe not 40, but a 25 points win would be great)!!

  20. lol @ Cavs fans ooohing in outrage when the refs don’t bite on a Varejao flop!

  21. 19 – doubtful that we’re going to beat them by 25, let alone 40. It’s certainly within our talent level, but if we’re leading by that much in the fourth, then Kobe is going to sit, Gasol is going to sit, and Phil is going to play reserves for the rest of the time. The Pacers’ record may not indicate it, but they’ve been playing pretty good ball the whole season. They’ve caught some bad breaks throughout the year.

  22. If the Lakers ever play the Pacers at home on a Sunday, it will be the most confusing game ever to watch.

  23. @17 – Good points. Luckily, the nba all-star game, like all other all-star games, is a joke and a waste of time and energy. I don’t think it’s much fun to watch and usually skip it.

  24. T-Mac should concede his starting spot just out of shame.

  25. That T-Mac is going to make the All-Star game is a total crock. Kobe, Paul, Roy, Billups, Parker, Nash, and hell, even Terry should be above him in the pecking order. IMO, Kobe, Paul, Roy, and Billups should take the slots.

  26. Talking about uni’s. I’m just curious, what’s up with the Cav’s unis? How many do they have and what color are they suppose to be officially? I mean they have their usual dark blue with red, a red one, a light blue one, and a yellow one? huh? Should there be some sort of consistency?

  27. Alright! someone else with the same incredibly tacky Lakers Poncho thing! I got mine in Tijuana for $6 about 5 years ago after drinking all day. I now use it as punishment for my friends by making them wear it if they rooted against the Lakers during a win if they were at my house watching the game. so perfect!

  28. the nba has gone away from “home team wears white” a lot. A lot of times they switch it on back to backs.

    On christmas…the wizards played the cavs and it was hilarious. Wizards were to wear blue, and cavs white.

    well, lebron was debuting a new shoe which was blue so the cavs all wore blue and the wizards had to wear white, but they only brought their team sneakers in blue. which didnt match the jerseys at all. another thing for wizards to get peeved about when playing the cavs

  29. 26- I agree completely. I can see varying your uniforms occasionally, but to go from one extreme of colors to the other side of the color wheel is just… promiscuous. The Cavs are wearing yellow and Blue while their court is red. That’s every primary color. Where’s the institutional pride? Do the Celtics ever occasionally don anything other than green and white? The Lakers have the super rare light blue classic unis from minnesota but otherwise wear the Forum Blue and Gold with institutional pride.

    The Cavs look like the Warriors tonight. Except the Warriors don’t even know what their color scheme is supposed to be.

  30. JVG is obviously drunk. Joe Johnson second in the MVP race? Really? Not even if you restricted it to players in his own division.

  31. I think the announcers said something about retro night when commenting about the blue jerseys. If so, I doubt we’ll see the blues more than a couple times this season.

  32. LeBron… Wow.

  33. But if the blue and yellow are retro (and blue has been their historical color, right?) Then why did they switch to red?

    Lebron is starting to scare me. The Celtics just look outmatched.

  34. i was hoping that celtics would win tonight in order for the lakers to once again have the best record in the league, unfortunately it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen. but still lots of time left hopefully paul pierce will get hot and the C’s will pull through

  35. no doubt lebron is good as is the cavs and if were gonna beat them in the finals we might need home court advantage, have to say though as much as i hate boston the refs have been in clevelands pocket the whole game

  36. I’ll probably get slammed for this, but you know who Lebron reminds me of this year? I think his game is most comparable to Scottie Pippen’s.

    -Both played point-forward roles, handling the ball (Lebron more so, but he doesn’t play in the triangle)
    -Both have good ball handling skills for forwards, but neither had the mastery of ball handling that point guards or MJ/Kobe do – both may cough it up (or pick up their dribble, in Lebron’s case) under pressure
    -Lebron’s combination of help defense and individual defense, like Van Gundy said, is similar to what Pippen did over his entire career

    The biggest difference, is that Lebron is a #1, and with Scottie the question is debatable. But Lebron has the rare physical tools to be as good defensively as Scottie. And tonight, he’s showing that he wants to get there. This guy is plain scary.

  37. @33 good call… just like all last year the refs were in Bostons pocket. Seems like this year they’re in the Crabs pocket.

  38. Anybody have a link to the game?

  39. As weird as it might sound, I think having LO out might actually be a good thing for the Lakers because now WE HAVE TO pound the ball inside. I hope we keep it up even after he comes back

    Btw, Boston is turning the ball over and giving up offensive rebounds as we speak. Perhaps they need to see a shrink

  40. all things considered…lebron is scary

  41. Our friendly announcers have it that this game by Lebron might be… tEH GREATEEST OF ALL TIMe!!!11 (greatest game ever by the greatest small forward ever!) Or maybe they just have superlative issues.

  42. Boston made four TOs in a row on one set of possessions. They’re not going to pull it out tonight unless Pierce pulls them back. LeBron has been on fire tonight (36 pts on 13-25 shooting, 5 rbs, 5 assists, 4 steals, 3 blocks as of this writing). That said, remember that all teams regress to the mean at some point. We did in December, Celts have done so in six of the last eight. Cavs will have their regression period too.

  43. They’ve now shown 2 clips of Doc Rivers coaching, one i the locker room and one now on the sidelines.

    First speech (paraphrasing from memory- my DVR wont go back that far): “I know that we can play with effort. We can play with effort. I know we can play with effort. But we need to play smart now. Smart. For the rest of the game, what we need to do is play smart.”

    Second speech (direct transcription): “Guys, we got plenty of time- we gotta play with some force though. Force force force. That’s uh Force. We gotta play with force. The rest of this game with force. Alright?”

    The essence of coaching is repeating adjective over and over again.

  44. I gave up on that Boston game like half an hour ago.

  45. Advice for the Lakers: Please don’t start Vlad. If he couldn’t guard Maggette, doubt he could contest with Granger.

  46. … and Mark Jackson awkwardly clambers aboard the Lebron bandwagon. Must have been perusing LBJ, Inc’s 2008 financial reports.

  47. LeBron James invented water.

  48. Celts Nation wrote on January 9, 2009 at 3:11 pm
    “You’ve got another thing coming if you honestly believe that the Celts will lose to the Cavs tonight. Yes, we’ve struggled recently, but those struggles end starting tonight!”

    Oh?

  49. I know all of you will disagree with me but after watching the game…and I know Boston is struggling, but, I dont think we can beat the Cavs unless we become a better defensive team. That team is really good.

  50. I love that C’s fans come and talk trash and then do not even have the taste in their mouth to come back here after their team loses.

    I know took seriously all the claims that most of C’s fans are bandwagoners that became “supporters” after they became good last year. But after chatting with some of them while watching games on live streams, I am getting convinced. Many of their fans are as fake as they come

    Anyways, LET’S GO LAKERS!

  51. I never took it seriously that is

  52. Link no good mam

  53. 53 – Joe, the beautiful thing is, we will know more in just ten days. Will their starting center be back by then?

  54. Dunleavy with the crab dribble.

  55. What’s with Kobe getting the ball knocked away from him so frequently recently? I’m wondering if its the pinkie…

  56. Earth to Space Cadet!

  57. How many back-cuts are the Lakers going to allow in this game?

  58. LeBron may be the best player in the league right now.

    Notice that Bynum made a smart first foul on Hibbert, and then did an equally smart job of not fouling on a couple of easy shots the Cavs had. Good job on staying out of foul trouble – one of the areas he has had problems with.

  59. Gotta like powell. Diamond in the rough. Good find Mitch. Executive of the year???

  60. mamula i keep getting some lame video of a cheerleader getting hit in the head with a ball

  61. I watched the entire Cleveland game. They scare me much more than Boston. They are an elite defensive team, inside and out. Their bigs will make Pau and Bynum much less efficient than usual. And we have no answer for Lebron. Just nothing. No one does, but we especially do not. He’s dominating the game on both ends like I haven’t seen since Shaq in his prime.

  62. Powell was very solid for the Clippers last season, he is a good guy to have coming off the bench. OF course, for the Clips he started for a while, but it’s the Clips.

  63. Powell isn’t as good a shotblocker as Turiaf, but a better scorer and rebounder. Good pickup.

    This defense is absolutely diabolical.

  64. Speaking of LeBron, I sent this to my FanHouse crew earlier:

    I will feel very disappointed if I am deprived of a LeBron v. Kobe Final this year. Eff the Celtics v. Lakers rivalry. I want star power, baby. And when was the last time the (arguably) two best players were on the two best teams and ended up playing each other in the Finals? 1991 with Magic and Jordan? 1987 with Magic and Bird? You could say Jordan v. Drexler in ’92, but Drexler was a very distant second. 93, 97, and 98 don’t really count so much because Malone and Barkley weren’t really matched up with MJ. I don’t know. I just feel like this could be great for the league. Even better than the Boston v. L.A. Final was for the league this past year.

    You think MJ has come to grips with the idea that LeBron will likely surpass him as the greatest player off all-time? That guy is just freaking scary good. And he has so much room for growth. It’s almost not fair. No wonder every team is going all in for 2010.

  65. defence is embarrising at the moment

  66. God, not Lakers Live.

  67. Reed,
    A combination of Odom and Ariza on LeBron should contain him to some degree. But he has become a much better passer, and has better teammates, so doubling him will potentially be costly.

  68. Yeah – Kevin James!! Kurt, when are you going to do a write-up on him?

  69. 66

    Cleveland is definitely scary. They took a better Boston team to 7 games last season with LeBron shooting like 19% for the first 4 games. Since then, they have gotten a lot better (especially LeBron), and they could use Szczerbiak’s contract to add another piece before the deadline.

  70. Better rebounding from the Lakers this meeting.

    What player in the NBA has a Mall cop body? Curry?

  71. 81 witness,

    go to http://channels.kamenosfm.com and click on live streams Lakers game. I have been watching that thread and it has no problems. maybe you need to refresh it couple of times. I am not sure why you are getting some other picture

  72. lets not forget, against the cavs whos gonna guard kobe? I doubt lebron will until the 4th, kobe should kill delonte west and pavlovic

  73. Did you see what Lebron did to Pierce tonight? It’s like watching a Karl Malone sized Pippen on defense. Kobe vs. Lebron would be a battle of the gods.

  74. pj needs to talk about heart durng this timeout. the lakers have no heart. playing out there without any soul

    LOL at Ex. Kevin James is going to be the equivalent of the Toyota Saved by Zero commercial.

  75. Kurt,
    What about Oliver Miller?

  76. Cool mamula, got it now.

  77. I am glad Danny Granger got into foul trouble

  78. What I fear most about Lebron is his passing ability. I actually think we could take the ball out of his hands some with our SSZ. Lebron loves to isolate at the top of the key but closer to the sideline than the circle. So, theoretically we could shade him to the sideline and show him the second defender and either tempt him into jumpers or make him a passer. However, his passing is so strong, he may pick us apart when players flash to open spaces or with the skip pass to Williams/Gibson/Zoolander/West. I still think that in pressure situations and/or when he’s not in rhythm, his jumper will break down and he’ll be more reliant on the drive. If we can pack it in on him while still recovering to the other shooters on the perimeter, we may be able to do a good job. May. Believe me though, this guy is rediculously scary. Beastly.

  79. Oliver Miller was in the day. Nobody in the NBA with that body today. (Correct me if I’m wrong.)

  80. By the way, this game is like a Football 7 on 7 drill…offense rules for both teams.

  81. What about Big Baby Davis? :)

  82. LeBron presents the same problem that MJ did for so long: Better to let him score 50 and not dish, or better to get the ball out of his hands? With Nash or CP3, there is an answer, not a great one but an answer. Those two present that problem on a different level, really were there is no good answer.

  83. Yet another Pacer goes back-door for a layup…

  84. Looks like this game is going to go down the wire also as well…

  85. Kurt said it Wednesday so I will say it today. I like that the Lakers are making the Pacers hit from the outside. Lakers will outlast in the 4th.

  86. 81 witness..

    i get that cheerleader too… click “skip ad” in the corner and it will go to the game…

    thanks for the link mamula

  87. Just wondering also… is Kobe playing the point tonight? From what I saw in the box score he only took 6 shots so far and he already has 12 assists.. hmm.

  88. First team that plays defense might win this game.

  89. i love Kobe Bryant and the whole Laker teams….. So they are going to win…. They dont have a lot of down games.

  90. That lefty scoop by Kobe was beyond ridiculous.

  91. Where is the mvp chant? He’s killing!!!

  92. kobe’s been so good lately

  93. Lol..now Kobe’s alive! Should’ve known this would happen :D

  94. Stop! Kobe time!

  95. The Lakers just got like 20 consecutive stops and Stu still hasn’t noticed that the defense has picked up.

  96. Sun Yue in for defensive purposes. HAHAHA. Gotta love our commentators, they were cracking up themselves

  97. Sun Yue the Monkey King!!

  98. Bynum’s jumper is money tonight.

  99. Yeah, Bynum’s jumper is downright Duncan-esque.

  100. they are going to a THIRD courtside interview

  101. Sam Perkins chat I’m good with.

  102. u got to love sasha sometimes even if it gets anoying, catch-shoot, catch-shoot, catch-shoot..I AM MACHINE!

  103. Dude pathetic, but understandable. Perkins trying to sell the community relations side of Indiana until they can rid themselves of the riff-raff.

  104. Perkins was part of one of the best college teams ever.

  105. The Lakers haven’t had many really good power forwards in the last 20 yrs, but Perkins was one of them. Good ol’ Sam.

  106. A defensive rebound would help.

  107. Is this the earliest tacos were out ever?

  108. 88 possessions with 6 minutes left, that’s more than the Blazers average per game.

  109. Yeah, it was definitely better to listen to Perkins than to learn about which colleges Michelle Kwan has attended in the past 10 years. Some of the in- game interviews are just downright ridiculous

  110. Ahh.. no more 4th quarter letdowns please..

  111. Kurt, you may have to go back to the 1980s when scoring was plentiful. Funny, somebody forwarded me an e-mail at work today with a free, Lakers game Carl’s Jr. Famous star. I think the coupon was from the 1980s.

  112. Well the Lakers D is not as bad as the Mavs tonight. Phx had 104 pts at the end of the 3rd quarter.

  113. We are getting into the habit of hoisting jump shots at the end of the game even when we keep missing. We need to take it to the rim

  114. 111

    A defensive anything would help.

  115. These are the kind of times when we really need Lamar

  116. There’s my MVP chant

  117. I love the adjustment the league has made to the charge-block call. Remember 2 years ago when you could jump underneath a guy to draw a charge?

  118. Radman for the steal!

  119. Once again, this game has been waaaaaaaayyyy too exciting.

  120. 121. we saw the MVP win a big game tonight, and it wassn’t Kobe.

  121. Is PJ running with this lineup as a concession that the Lakers aren’t going to play D so he may as well have all shooters on the floor???

  122. a PACERS SUCK chant ???? yeesh

  123. Yeah, the MVP is James’s to lose. They have been waiting since his second year for his team to be good enough to give him the MVP.

  124. 125- I think you’re giving Ben Gordon a little too much credit there…

  125. Why was Murphy sitting?

  126. Who was Granger going to fight? The ref?

  127. KOBE = CLUTCH

  128. K O B E . . .

  129. Nice shot, but how do you give a player an uncontested shot, to tie the game at the end.

  130. f u very much vlad. So lucky kobe just temporarily saved you. How can you leave your man on the 3 line when you are up by 3 with less than a minute left. Absolutely, unexcusable!!!

  131. This is astounding. How on earth did Dunleavy get open for 3 with the Pacers down 3????? Amazing.

    Kobe comes through as always, but can these guys get a freaking stop for once?

  132. I hope the pacers don’t hit a three at the buzzer.

  133. Kobe is the definition of CLUTCH.

    I am so glad he is on my team

  134. I sure hope they learned from that last defensive breakdown on the 3 and defend it this time around or else we lose.

  135. What the hell was that. One of the worst in bounds plays I have ever seen.

  136. If you’re only going to play one possession of d…

  137. So is Vlad getting it right now during the timeout?

  138. Man, the Pacers are masters at losing close games. That was brutal.

  139. Wow, that was a horrible last play by foster.

  140. Wow Foster, he and Radman can start thier little space cadet academy

  141. Your game-winning play is to have Foster chuck an airball at the buzzer? Okay…

  142. Technically, airball at the buzzer after time expires.

  143. They got Foster an open shot!!

  144. Kobe in the clutch!! After Ariza fouled out, how many screwups did Vlad have the last few possessions (minus the steal)?

  145. Pheeeeeeeeeew

  146. If there is one guy I want taking the game winning shot, its without a doubt Kobe…

  147. Can anyone tell my Phil does not trust Bynum at the end of games.

    Josh Powell was towards the final couple of minutes

    I do not understand it

  148. On that play where Vlad left Dunleavy, it looked like he was trying to switch with Sasha. Not sure if that is in the playbook, but I guess that’s why he is Space Cadet.

  149. Funny thing is that VladRad has the best +/- for the Lakers with +11!!! Kobe was +7 and Fish was – 10 !!!

  150. If they hadn’t decided to go away from Pau (and have Drew sitting on the bench) towards the end, this game wouldn’t have been close down the stretch. I mean Pau was 0 for 1 in the second half after going 9 for 12 in the first – how insane is it to let one of the league’s most effective players only take one shot during the second half?

    Oh well, still a W at least=)

  151. if bynum is out there with gasol in the 4th, two bigs clog the lane for kobe.

  152. I think someone said this after the last game, but +/- just can’t be right.

    Laker team high:
    Rad + 11

  153. *This was a game where I think Phil out-thought himself by trying to match up with the Pacers at the end of the game. Either that or he really would just rather not play Bynum in crunch time.

    *I agree that it’s inexplicable that Pau wasn’t getting more looks in the post. Some of that is him not demanding the ball enough, but most of it is us just running the offense in a manner where we got jump shots (more P&R and drive and kicks). I do think that Pau could just plant his butt on the block though, and call for the ball.

    *That was an egregious defensive lapse by RadMan. He had switched with Sasha and then for no good reason just went down to the block in order to switch back. Sasha was even doing a good job at boxing out, so I’m not even sure why RadMan would think that Sasha needed his help on the big down low.

    *I can’t believe that the Pacers would put Granger with 5 fouls on Kobe. I can’t believe that Granger would reach in. I can’t believe that Granger would argue the call. I can’t believe that the Pacers would then leave Jack on Kobe when Kobe was shooting jumpers over the top of him every chance he got when they were matched up. And then I can’t believe that if you’re going to put Jack on Kobe at the end that you don’t send help. I also can’t believe that you’d run such a simple play at the end, but if you do run that play that you inbound to Foster and not Murphy.

    *I’m not sure if either team really deserved to win this game.

  154. I am a little worried by the Lakers inability to dictate tempo recently. We seem to play whatever our competition likes to play. Granted we win most of the time because we are so good, but it would be nice to see us lock up a little bit better and not play at our opponents speed all the time. This seems to be our biggest problem in holding a lead when we get up by 10 or more. We jack up a bunch of quick shots from way outside.

    We do need to go inside more in the second half, Bynum and Gasol were killing them and we went away from that.

    All minor complaints in the grand scheme of things as we won the game and continue to win

  155. All in all, I thought we were largely on cruise control for most of the game. Facing Miami will be interesting if we don’t have Odom though. Bynum and Gasol ideally should shred the Miami frontcourt though.

  156. Nut, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think part of the beauty of this laker team is that we can play so many tempos. We beat Portland and Boston allowing 83 points each and beat phoenix allowing 110. I don’t think it’s so much that they’re uncomfortable playing at fast/slow tempos, just that they played some pretty bad defense (allowing several back cuts and bad rotations) tonight.
    Someone might have mentioned this before (I can’t see all the comments on the iPhone version) but did it seem to anyone that pau was pretty aggressive in the first half? He was creating shots for others (I remember one play where he drove under the basket and kicked it out to the open fisher for the three) and handling the ball better (the pump fake, drive, and drawing the shooting foul).
    God I wish it was the same way in the second half.

  157. Sorry to double comment but I forgot to mention that I think pau’s aggressiveness might have something to do with Kobe telling him to shoot if nobodys hands are up the game or two before.

  158. Hmm…never seen a “shoot out” game end on a play when a guy doesn’t even get a shot off.

    Lakers Live has jumped the shark. Three interviews in one game is brutal, and NO interviews should ever be allowed in the fourth quarter of a close game.

  159. 161 – Yeah, but that’s what we said last time, before we watched Joel Anthony put on a boxing-out clinic on Drew. But I do think Bynum’s been playing with more energy lately.

    Lebron is quite frightening. Especially since the Celtics, with Pierce, match up better with him. I doubt Kobe would stick him for 48 minutes. Can you imagine starting Radman on Lebron? Lebron would simply feast on him, strong side trap or no SST. It would be awful.

    Lebron’s not the story, though, to me. The Cavs are scary because his teammates have learned how to play off Lebron offensively, they’re underrated in how they flash to the right spaces on the floor when Lebron is doubled. Defensively, their length and activity (led tonight by Lebron) is incredible. Boston last year was more physical and dirtied the game up, but Cleveland is right there with the best of them defensively. At this point, I’d much rather face Boston in the Finals than Cleveland (admittedly, partly for revenge).

  160. Somehow, I can’t picture Chick Hearn shilling for someone’s upcoming movie while there was a game going on.

  161. Didn’t get to watch the game tonight, but I’m pretty sure I have a pic with VTB in that exact same pose.

  162. I can live with a second quarter interview to sell a movie if its paid for and helps fund a quality roster, but just picking random sports figures, even basketball related, is ridiculous. Do they really not believe the game is why people are watching. What copetitive advantage are they gaining? Its not like I have 2 choices to watch this game…

  163. 165 – well, hence the “ideally” part of it. I also concur that the Cavs look scary right now, but to be fair this wasn’t the same Celts we’re used to seeing. Rondo had an awful night also, and he should come back to his All-Star level play by the playoffs. That said, in the playoffs, the Cavs can play LeBron all 48 minutes, so they should be much better too. Hard to make a prediction for how a series would go though. We should be substantially better by the playoffs (*looking at Bynum and Farmar*) and our offense should be ridiculously good (lots of “should”s here; heh, it’s fun to be speculative though).

    But seriously, our depth should make a major impact. LeBron can play all 48 minutes, but we nail practically ever other matchup besides PG, and our bench is far superior. IMO, the Cavs will trade Wally for a key player though. He’s not an essential piece for them, and a defensive liability at the 2.

    In any case, our matchup against them on 1/19 should be interesting. Hope Odom is back by then though.

  164. Hey i have a questino about rotations….
    PJ used to have a 3-man rotation for the 4 and 5 (Gasol, Bynum, Odom), but why doesn’t he do the same for 1 and 2 now? (Bryant, Fisher, Vujacic). The minutes work out pretty well too – Bryant 36, Fish 34, Sasha 26. (give or take a few minutes). Sasha has also proven to be good at passing (his assists went pretty high the last few games). Going to Sun is just a terrible move…He cannot score, cannot pass, is slow, and is foul-prone. I’m sure Sasha can handle a few more minutes with Farmar out (a few more minutes compared to last year’s avg, when Kobe often switched to the 3, not compared to this year’s avg).

  165. Let’s start by saying that I really enjoyed the game.

    The Lakers, down three players, showed some interesting new characteristics, with VladRad playing the role of Lamar beautifully: a mixture of brilliant and bonehead with the best +/- on the team.

    Sasha was not quite the machine on offense, but his defense against Dunleavy ultimately sealed the victory–leading to Foster’s 4th quarter non shot. Bynum asserted himself offensively with both dunks and 20 footers. Powell played as if he if he had been playing regularly all season–making key offensive and defensive plays. Kobe was erratic–yielding turnovers that lead to breakaway basket–but he made many great assists–and key baskets and free throws at the end. Gasol held everything together in the first half offense, then swtiched to defense in the second half. It is intersting that both Ariza (Lakers) and Granger (Pacers) fouled out at about the same time in the fourth–leaving an untried combination of players for both teams to end the game.

    The Lakers continued an unblemished record against the Pacers that goes back decades–Sort of like what San Antonio does to Phoenix.

    It’s good to have Cleveland to fear, but we shouldn’t forget Orlando–they’ve already beaten us.

    And, by the way, can we afford to forget the Hornets in our own conference? They also beat us.

    Still, I would not forget those Leprechuans. They will get their mojo back–sooner or later.

  166. hey have you guys heard???
    THE SKY IS FALLING!!!

    in boston…hehehe

  167. Mamula,

    I think we didn’t see Drew because Indy goes back door and cuts a lot, and Drew has a tendency to go space cadet and go unawares as a opposing scorer walks to the basket. He doesn’t really do a good job of anticipating movement of players he’s not defending.

  168. jwl,

    Yeah. Portland is stupid. They pretty much guaranteed another team would sign him with that moronic memo.

    Thank you Memphis.

  169. 168. It seems like the producers/powers that be are trying to draw in more casual fans with these movie interviews. Plus, cash is exchanged, I’m sure. But it’s just one of those things that drives a lot of us there for the basketball crazy. It’s not the worst thing ever — that remains the glowing puck for hockey — but it’s just annoying.

  170. I’m guaranteed to NOT see “Paul Blart.” Not my kind of movie anyway, but if it were, the spots on NBA games would’ve killed it for me.

    I wouldn’t imagine that the average NBA fan is a “Paul Blart” kind of person. I would guess an NFL game over an NBA game to advertise on.

  171. If the Lakers’ announcers don’t be careful and FSN doesn’t start to cut out the ‘plugs’ during the game, we may all learn to use our ‘mute’ buttons more and eliminate sound altogether. That, and switch to ESPN/TNT broadcasts – did I really just say that? Yes, that’s how much I HATE interrupting game flow for added advertisement. Barf and garbage.

  172. Love the quotes by Coach Jackson today. I question myself when I see Sasha play. He really just plays with a lot of energy and hacks away at opposing players. It is about time Phil gave it to him, because if he plays like this in the playoffs he’ll be on the bench and not be the offensive threat we need him to be.

    Our favorite martian did not stop getting backdoored. And even though he was 3-3 he was benched. Supposedly during the offseason he said he worked on his defense. That sounds good and well, but he needs to follow the basic fundamentals of defense, like seeing the ball and your man. If you look at Pau you can see that he’s constantly shifting his head to make sure he doesn’t get beat consistently. (psst he does get beat on occasion) Then Vlade needs to be funneling his man to the help. Where Bynum and Gasol can help him out. If he doesn’t he’ll be on the bench, and not be the guy that spreads the floor come playoff time.

    Man we need to get better defensively, but I know the Lakers don’t care to fine tune that until the playoffs come closer, it’s a Tour de France remember. Last I remember the shaky defense last year was the reason we collapsed, I hope that’s not the case this year.

  173. In all respect, Indiana does play to the Lakers weaknesses in their defense, but their was absolutely no defensive intensity on a part of the team tonight. Really the last 3 games have been bad defensive games for the Lakers. Now Indiana and Golden State are teams you can just outscore, they cant even think about doing that in their next 4 games, especially against the Cavs. And I think the Cavs may be a bad matchup for the Lakers. They got perimiter bigs which of course spells trouble for the Laker defense.

  174. Travis Y,
    The Lakers problem in the Finals was their offense/the Celtics defense, not the Lakers defense.

  175. OK, Kurt, how about Sean May instead of Oliver Miller?

  176. The game last night was extremely exciting but thanks to the refs for making terrible calls throughout the game to keep it close. Call a technical on Radman but not Foster? Don’t review the blatant foot on the line with Granger when he was fouled shooting a 3? What if we had lost and that extra point was the difference maker. Of course they review Kobe when he is clearly behind the line. Terrible officiating last night.

    And Sasha, for being one of the supposed ‘better’ shooters in the league back rims a ridiculous amount of shots. Dude just hucks it at the rim and is surprised that he’s shooting 35% for the year.

    Way to pull out the win Lakers but man was it ugly!

  177. exhelodrvr (180),

    Thanks for making that point.

    Joe,

    Perimeter bigs? Like 6’1 Mo Williams? Or 6’2″ Gibson, or 6’3″ West? the only “perimeter bigs” they have (that play) are 6’7″ Wally Szczerbiak, who not good on defense (nevermind on Kobe), and 6’7″ Pavlovic, who plays 8.8 minutes a game. That leaves LeBron.

    I don’t think Cleveland matches up well with us. Ben Wallace nor Varejao or Ilgauskas can stop Pau. I think Varejeao and Ilguaskas may give Drew problems defensively because they are physical and big, respectively, but not Pau. We have no answer for LBJ, but who does?

    The real question is, if it’s a close game, how will Kobe respond with LBJ covering him, or vice versa?

  178. Not even Radman’s actions were worthy of a tech. It happens. Jeff Foster definitely didn’t deserve a T, so I have no complaints with that.

  179. On Kobe’s clutchness. I was kind of surprised at myself last night. After the terrible Dunleavy 3 that was given up, I was upset at the defense, but never felt like the game was actually going to go to OT. I knew it consciously, but just figured this team would score. And the shot kobe took when everyone knew he was going to take the shot, was a TERRIBLE shot. He wasn’t open, or at his favorite spot right at the FT line. Yet as he shot it I had to remind myself that there was a theoretical chance it might not go in. Then it went in and it was like, “Of course, what else would happen?”

    However, I think Kobe is a lot better in those situations where its kind of open play- as opposed to a halfcourt set out of a time out. Those very rarely have the same result. But in the open flow of action like last night or in game 4 of the 2006 phoenix series, the end result is much better (with the ball in kobe’s hand).

    I still think the Laker’s main problem in the finals was their rebounding. But maybe I need to revisit that.

  180. So the Grizz re-signed Miles. I realize intent is hard to prove, but I think the worst possible team to re-sign Miles was Memphis. The Blazers, if they decide to sue (unlikely) can make a better case against them than any other team. I mean, the Grizzlies just waived Miles, and then after the email re-signed Miles for 10 days. I don’t know if you can attack that in court, but it’s certainly a stronger case than if any of the other teams had signed Miles.

  181. Snoopy,

    Not really. I don’t think the Blazers would have any case, but if they did, Memphis could always say, that they felt they made a mistake letting a player of his talent go. That they know he can still play, but weren’t sure that they could give him minutes, so they released him, but upon further thought, they felt it best to give him another shot. After all, they had a familiarity with him.

    What really happened was Jerry West made the call to the Grizz owner and told them they owed us for stealing Kwame.

  182. Mr. Clutch coming through for us again!

    Last night JVG stated that Lebron is already a better player than Larry Bird. For those of you guys who actually got to see Bird play, what do you make of that statement? (Looking at their games alone, not their hardware)

  183. I’ve read that Miles was cut because his contract was going to be guaranteed for the year if he was not cut by Thursday. So, after he was cut and cleared waivers, any team could sign him, but would likely do so to a 10 day contract, because after this point in the season, you don’t sign players for anything other than a 10 day’er because their deal is then guaranteed for the rest of the season (like Mbenga’s was for us last season).

  184. 183, Ilguaskas is who i was talking about mainly, he can draw one of the Lakers bigs ut of the lane, which isnt good because the Lakers dont seem to stop penetration well….and Lebron can get into the lane as well as anyone in the league of course. Though I think Ilguaskas may still be out by that game. The main thing I am saying is, the Lakers just cant try and out score the Cavs. The kind of effort they showed against the Celts on christmas is what they are gonna have to give when they play the Cavs, I dont know if this Laker team is motivated enough to give that same kind of effort.

  185. (190) Joe,

    Oh, I think they’ll be motivated. This game is a HUGE statement game for the team, home court, and especially Kobe. The LBJ as the best talk has ratcheted up an extra notch.

    The effort will be there.

  186. 183) wondahbap,
    “The real question is, if it’s a close game, how will Kobe respond with LBJ covering him, or vice versa?”

    And will it be “mature” Kobe, or “one-on-one” Kobe? Hopefully he will not see this as a personal battle, because when he does, the chance of a loss is significantly greater.

  187. Exhelodrvr,

    I agree.

  188. Exhelodrvr,

    I think we need the best of both. He needs to stay aggressive, but yet, not willing to do too much for the sake of personal gain.

  189. You’re rooting for Jamie? Brrr … Imagine those slightly undercooked scallops.

  190. Exhelodrvr,

    That’s the attitude that the Lakers had last year. Oh it’s our offense that needs improvement. It’s ok that we allow 100 points to the opponents, we can just outscore them. That’s not going to work with Boston or Cleveland. They are grind it out teams that are defensively tuned to stop what we do on offense. Take a look at the video of the way the Celtics defended Kobe. They are great defensively, we are not and a great defense will beat a great offense if the finals loss to Detroit and Boston have shown you anything.

    IT ALL COMES DOWN TO DEFENSE.

  191. Travis Y,
    The Lakers defense played pretty well against the Celtics offense. Room for improvement? Obviously. But that wasn’t the biggest reason for their loss in the Finals. The biggest reason was that they let the Celtics defense get them out of their offensive flow.

  192. What do people think about Kobe taking on the doberman role against cleveland with ariza? I haven’t seen the cavs play much this year but it seems like more so than any other team in the league if you can deny lebron the cavs will falter. Even if Kobe doesn’t score, we don’t need him to because we have other options…

  193. 197 – I kind of agree. In the finals I remember being amazed at how much difficulty we had running our offensive sets when compared to the previous rounds. I mean, players couldn’t even cut at times because of all the grabbing and bumping — but that’s the finals, the refs don’t want to blow the whistle so you have to learn to grind out games.

    But simply learning to play gritty offense is no small task for this Lakers team — it’s just not in our makeup. We’re much more of a finesse team. Our offense relies on cuts and well-timed passes. Really, none of our players can bang down low.

    And that’s why I think the better strategy in this situation is to learn to play gritty defense, not gritty offense — a slight bump on a jumper or even layup makes a big deal afterall. You might as well learn to do the (subtle) bumping and grabbing.

  194. #189 – It’s funny you should say that, because … quite to the contrary … I’ve thought all along that the Grizzlies were the one team who could sign Darius Miles while appearing to be beyond reproach. In fact, I think they actually ARE beyond reproach. Miles was already with Memphis and had made some positive contributions in his limited minutes; he was cut from the team strictly for financial reasons, because (as pointed out by Darius) his contract was about to become guaranteed for the remainder of the season. In all likelihood he team’s plan all along was to re-sign Miles to a couple of 10-day contracts in order to continue evaluating him at almost no cost. Another reason that Portland looks foolish for sending out that memo.

  195. 197, I think it was a little bit of both. I think the Lakers averged 94 points against the Celts n that series, which isnt good, but it aint horrible either. The celts however averaged over 100 points which is too many points giving up against a great defensive team. I think the Lakers just werent ready for a team like the Celts. The Celtics were way tougher and more physical then any team they faced in the West and had a intensity and a desire to win that the Lakers didnt have. no doubt a lot of the Lakers players, mostly the younger bench players were happy to be in the finals. The Celtics were a team of many veterens, both starters and bench players, that werent happy to be in the finals, only happy until they won it. That to me made a huge difference. The Lakers have to play hard and be mentally prepared when they play the Cavs coming up.

  196. 195. I prefer to think of the perfect scallops she made last week.

  197. Joe,

    The Celtics’ Finals PPG are skewed by Game 6.

  198. i think the lakers have enough offensive firepower to let kobe concentrate on only guarding lebron. the question is, can kobe shut him down or at least keep him under 20ppg and limit his playmaking? i think ariza is better suited for guarding lebron than any cavs defender for guardin mamba. if our team defense is decent, it might be better to let kobe score and let ariza handle the crab.

    what about the rumors of vc going to cleveland for wallys expiring deal? espn mentioned it a couple of times… i guess that would be bad news for the entire league…?

  199. I really think we need to look at the Cavs as a threat, even a rival. Since LeBron came to Cleveland, we never won against them. And now the Cavs, AT THIS POINT being a lot better than the C’s, we really need to shore it up defensively. We have to PREPARE for them, in case the C’s eventually fold.

    I guess I’m just a bit panicky, but hey, prevention is better than cure, right?

    PS: I really love this site, and here in the Philippines, the posts and comments here are the thoughts that I feed to my friends.
    Thanks a lot!

  200. You know, I’m not getting a real positive vibe from the Pacers game. Stu and Joel whined about defense all game, so did some fans the brothers K at LA times blog said the whole game felt unusual and uneven but I thought it was a really fun game to watch. Both teams just shooting the lights out and it comes down to a Kobe game winner, which never gets old.

    Yea, letting a “bad” team push the Lakers to the limit and hang 119 is not terribly encouraging (it supports my view that Odom is probably our most valuable defensive player though) but how come we can’t just enjoy a game where the teams were competitive and our best player played some of his best basketball?

    Also, watching another team implode in the final possession is kind of refreshing. If the Lakers had been on the other end of that, fans would be calling for Phil’s head and Luke traded (if anybody gets caught in that situation for the Lakers consistently, it’s Luke)

  201. Simon (206),

    As I mentioned earlier, I enjoyed the Pacer game, too–pretty much as you described.

    I connect defensive weaknesses with the different combinations of Laker players employed with no Luke, Lamar, or Jordan. Players need experience playing together as a unit before they gel.

    I’ll expect more in a week or so.

  202. Remember, about the defense, that the Pacers are the kind of team that gives the Lakers fits. Bigs who can step out and shoot from deep, an athletic three who can break guys down off the dribble, a team that can hit its jumpers.

    Not that this was a great defensive effort, but the Pacers are a tough matchup.

  203. What I’d also add about the Pacers offense is they ran a ton of motion and back cuts that we obviously weren’t as prepared for. We had the same type of problems against Sacramento. Realize that in our defense, we do try to jump passing lanes and we do try to get out on wings early to dictate where we want them to drive. The Pacers did a good job of exploiting this for the first 3 quarters. However, we did a much better job of defending this in the 4th quarter and got two or three steals by reading the back door cut and deflecting the pass. I also think that in any playoff series, these are the types of looks that you start to recognize and get accustomed to and can really take away.

    All of this falls into the category of regular season basketball. You try to win every game playing your style and maximizing your advantages over the team that you’re playing that day. It’s tougher to drill down and read the smaller tendencies that each team employs because the next night (or night after that) you’ve got another team with new tendencies. When the playoffs come, we’ll be ready to sniff out the strengths of each team, attempt to take those away, and then make teams go to things that they aren’t as good at. Under Phil, we’ve done this every playoff series we’ve been in to pretty good success. In other words, I’m not as concerned about how we played on defense against the Pacers. They were hot from the outside, have an offense and personnel that is going to give us more problems than other teams, and we still won. Next game is up, let’s focus on that.