Preview & Chat: Orlando Magic

kwame a —  January 16, 2009

Spurs-Magic

Records:

Lakers 31-7 (1st in West), Orlando 31-8 (2nd in East)
Offensive Rating: Lakers: 110.7 (1st), Orlando: 108.1 (5th)
Defensive Rating: Lakers: 101.8 (5th), Orlando: 97.7 (3rd) (Orlando is the only team in the top 5 of both stats besides the Cavs and the Lakers)
Projected Lineups: Lakers- D. Fish, Kobe (Big Cajones) Bryant, Vlad, Pau, Drew Bynum; Orlando- Jameer Nelson, Courtney Lee, Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, Dwight Howard.

Lakers Coming In: Laker fans love to argue about 1) whether Vlad should start, 2) do we need Lamar, and 3) when will Andrew be the player he was evolving into pre-injury. Well, I think Vlad should start because when he is on we don’t lose. In games in which he has 10 points or more, we are cool 10-0. I definitely think we need Lamarski because he does things that help this team win. This is evidenced by his team high +311 for the season (Kobe is second with +281), and since he as come back from injury he has 7 assists and 1 turnover in nearly 60 minutes of action. Last, I see signs of Drew becoming an elite offensive player. In his last 5 games he is averaging 18.2 points on only about 12 shots a game. However, for Drew to be the player he wants to be (a 20-10 guy) and the kind of player the Lakers need to win a title (a defensive anchor), he is going to have to improve his rebounding (only 5.2 per game in those same last 5 games). There have always been whispers about Drew’s motor, so I want everyone tonight to look at Drew’s effort on the boards, not the total number of boards he grabs, but just the effort he puts up against Dwight, it should be telling.

Why Isn’t Orlando On Our Minds:
Good friend of the site (and the best thing about the Clippers) Kevin Arnovitz kindly sent along some stats and tidbits about Orlando and our upcoming matchup with them. Looking at those stats and thinking about how well Orlando is playing got me to thinking, we may be worried about the wrong team(s). For the first part of the year we saw many comments about Boston, and lately the comments have been about Cleveland. But how can we leave Orlando out of our waayyyyyy to premature list of fantasy finals opponents. The Magic are making an astounding 10.44 three-pointers per game. Orlando is on pace to set a new NBA record for most made three-pointers in a season. And its not just like the Magic have a good offense, they are in the top 4 in opponent points per game (93.6), opponent field goal % (42.8) and opponent 3pt field goal % (33.7) (the only other teams in the top 4 of these 3 categories is Cleveland).

Three Guys You May Not Hear Much About: 1. Marcin Gortat, leads the NBA in offensive rebound rate at 17.1, he is a guy to keep an eye in the future, as the Magic have the option to put him and Howard into the game at the same time. 2. Courtney Lee (a rookie from Western Kentucky) and 3. JJ Reddick (finally finding his groove), over the last 5 games these two have hit a combined 21-33 from the 3pt line (damn near 64%).

How Did Dwight Howard Get To Take Shaq’s Nickname, While Shaq Is STILL Active:
A testament to the great young center’s likeable personality, Shaq has not made any public complaints about Howard getting the moniker of Superman before he retires. Just as the Magic have been overlooked by the mainstream media, Dwight Howard’s individual exploits seem to be slightly ignored. There seems to be a consensus (since freaking early December) that Lebron James is the MVP of the 08-09 season. Besides Kobe and D-Wade, Howard has a claim to be in the argument. He satisfies the Hollinger crowd (3rd in overall rebound rate with a 21.4, 4th in PER with a 26.29), the Nightly Highlights crowd (leading the league in dunks) and makes it easy for the box score lookers to appreciate him with an aesthetically pleasing 20 and 14 a game.

Last Time We Played: The Magic beat the Lakers 106-103 earlier this season on Dec. 20 in Orlando. Kobe Bryant had his season high of 41 points in that game. Sasha got tapped on a late 3pt shot that would have put us up by 2, and we got tagged with our only back-to-back losses of the season. Our backcourt was really all we had going for us last time, as Kobe and Fish combined to drop 68 pts (23-47). However, the rest of the team contributed only 35 pts (13-40). For the Magic, Jameer Nelson had a strong game with 27 points, and Howard anchored them with 18 and 12.

Keys To The Game:
Stop Dwight Howard. How does a team do this? Get him away from the hoop. From 5 feet and closer the dude shoots about 65%, but from 6-10 feet he drops all the way down to 42%. This is a big task for Drew and Pau, and they have had to deal with some good/tall/physical bigs this week (Yao and Duncan). Drew will have to fight and use his base to keep Howard from establishing deep post position, especially in transition. Even when Howard gets the ball, the Lakers should not double, at least not in a predicable fashion. Double teaming, combined with the Magic’s great spacing is what creates opportunities for their ridiculously accurate 3pt attempts. Also, the Magic will run a lot of pick and roll/pop, down-screens and baseline screens, all to create open 3’s. We may want to try to go over the top of some of these screens in an effort to chase their shooters off the 3pt line and contest shots. This will require disciplined close-outs, something we have had trouble with in the past. Moreover, Nelson is a deadly 51+% on 2pt jumpers. When Nelson is involved in the pick and roll, we cannot go underneath, but we can’t help off other people, because he will find them. I guess that means we try to give him the CP3 treatment and force him into the teeth of our defense, but we must always be leery of the lob to Howard. When we are on offense we should obviously try to get Howard into foul trouble. Drew has been playing really well of late, and this could be a big game for him on both ends of the court. Also, Pau should have an advantage against Lewis on the offensive end (although Lewis is a matchup problem on the other end, so we may see a lot of LO tonight), we should really make the effort to use our bigs on offense this game. One other thing the Lakers may want to keep in mind is that Howard is a bad free-throw shooter. He takes the most in the league (10.9 per game) but only makes 58.1% of them. Will Phil go to a Hack-a-Howard if we are involved in a close game in the 4th quarter? What do you guys think about such a tactic?

When/Where To Watch: 7:30 pst, 10:30 est, 3:30 a.m. (Sat.) for long-time FBG’er Renato in Spain; ESPN (national), FSN West (local), Palms Sports Book with a margarita (Kurt).

Update: Luke and Sasha are probable for tonight’s game, hopefully giving the Lakers the type of depth they enjoyed earlier in the season.
- Kwame A.

kwame a

Posts

195 responses to Preview & Chat: Orlando Magic

  1. Seid from Ethiopia January 16, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Keys to the game
    1 Andrew needs to be awake the whole game.( Defense on Howard, Rebound especially try not to give up an offensive board which maight end up being a three pointer.)
    2 Closing on threes( Which is something we did terribly the whole season. I would like to see how we gonna do tonight against the best three team in te NBA. not to mention The did set a record on most threes made . They made 23 threes on their last game. So that means they are hot!!)
    We do that, I think we’re gonna be okay.( Also a couple of threes from vlade whold help.)

  2. Well, Howard hit all those free throws against us last game, particulary at the end which killed us. I also saw him hit some big free throws down the stretch in a previous game they played recently. I think it comes down to how well the defense is playing. If the game is close and we can get stops without fouling Howard, then lets go for the stops, but if they are scoring at will and killing us with the 3 ball, fouling Howard would prolly be our best chance. I am picking the Lakers to win tonight, they should come out hungry for a win after the heartbreaker the other night. I also think the Lakers will do a much better job finding their bigs this game.

  3. I would have expected “the dude abides” to have come up with “the big lamarski”

    sometimes ya eat the bear…some times … the bear eats you.

    the rug really tied the room together

  4. definitely agree with Joe. if our defense is doing its job, there shouldn’t be any reason we need to hack-a-howard. but if the magic start getting hot, then i like our chances putting howard at the line

    anyone know if sasha is playing today? would be nice to have that depth advantage again =D

  5. with regards to Howard taking the Superman moniker…
    I don’t have a problem because Shaq changes his nickname like some guys change their underwear (james caan in “thief”)…
    the big diesel
    the big aristotle
    the big …. lebowski
    couldn’t resist

  6. Don’t forget his current nickname, Shaqovich.

  7. Don’t be fatuous, Chris H

  8. I selfishly want some of our players out a lil while longer. I’m enjoyin the line ups that have been on the court. Against the spurs we had ariza Kobe odom powell and bynum . I’m in the camp that believes odom is priceless. There’s no way with our cap situation that we are going to replace his many talents. Resign odom asap

  9. Watched the second half of the Cavs-Bulls game last night and was really made aware of how Big Z’s absence brings the Cav’s offense down a tier. In almost every Cav’s game for the past three years Lebron generally dishes to A. Big Z or B. Daniel Gibson… with Gibson playing like garbage and Z out, it was a one man show last night. I think we can easily beat the King’s team if that’s the way they come into to Staples. *Mo Williams included*.

    As for the Magic. Drew looked like a lost kid at Disneyland when we visited them in Florida. But I was surprised with the defensive stance that Drew was in against Duncan late in the fourth. Could have been because of those hook shots he was able to drop on Duncan…but ultimately he has to go strong against Superman b/c the Sup won’t let him waft those hooks from deep in the key…hence no confidence at the defensive end of the floor.

    JJ is lighting teams up… the guy has shown up to play and I definitely don’t want Fish fouling him late in the game from long-range.

  10. Dwight Howard can be defended, kind of. The key is (as Kwame A said) to exploit Howard’s relatively weaker lower body and base. He’s stronger his year than last, but last year in the playoffs Maxiel (a 6′ 9-ish guy) exposed Dwight’s weak base. By playing aggressively and staying low, Maxiel was able to push Howard out of his comfort zone. Howard’s built up top, but he doesn’t have the powerful lower body that Shaq used on his post moves to overpower opponents.

    My brain is currently numb from being constantly frozen and thawed (it’s -35 with windchill here), so if I say something completely off, I apologize, it’s hard to think today.

  11. Jealous of Kurt’s location for this one. Be sure to hit up 9 steakhouse. One of the best spots in all of Vegas in my opinion.

    I didn’t think we played particularly well against this team last time. Definitely think we can get back on track tonight and we should come out w/ extra focus after that tough pill to swallow that was the San Antonio game.

    I’ll be there tonight, hoping for a strong showing from Andrew as it’s always fun to watch to bigs go at it.

  12. i think odom’s got a price. and i think it’s definitely less than $14M per.

  13. #8 Agreed. Odom is the Hedo of the Magic… Just has intangibles that fit the system and the teams chemistry in a way that you can’t really replace.

  14. Odom’s cap number is $14M, but that is not his salary. We have discussed this extensively in earlier blogs. His salary is about $11M.

  15. He’s worth the 11 million. As long as he doesn’t ask for a raise. I believe the lakers will resign him for abt 9 million a season. Let’s jus hope he’s willing to accept a million or 2 less then he would get elsewhere

  16. the Lakers are going to be hard to beat tonight…
    1) they want revenge for the loss to the Magic earlier this year.
    2) they are pissed after losing to the Spurs.
    3) for the loss record, if we loose, we are tied with the magic, so…
    all that together, on our home floor, we are going to WIN this one baby!

    …right Dude?
    shut up Donnie
    …what’s a Nihialist?
    shut up Donnie

  17. Let’s hope Pau has some insight into whatever it was Spain did vs. Team USA in the Gold Medal game last summer.

    Howard looked very mortal in that contest, only taking three shots (all of which he made) and grabbing just five boards).

    Maybe Drew can sport a mullett wig and phony beer gut tonight so Howard thinks he’s facing the Gasol brothers again?

  18. We really havent discussed it but, how about Powell for the Lakers? The guy has a nice little jump shot :) He just adds more depth to our bench now.

  19. 4. Hack-a-Howard would bring an (expected) efficiency of 116.2, which would easily lead the league. That would be a desperate move and not playing the odds.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/teamstats?&action=upsell&appRedirect=http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/teamstats

  20. Kwame,
    First off great preview. The NBA’s big 3 really is a big 4. The Magic are a team that has done exactly what our team has over the last few seasons. They’ve gotten to the playoffs, made roster improvements from the outside and from within, and are now showing that they are a legit contender. Some may want to see more, but any team that can shoot the ball the way that they can while also having that guy Howard manning the pivot is a threat.

    As for Howard and attempting to stop him, we must fight him for every inch. He will try to bully his way to the front of the rim before catching the ball and then just finish at the rim when he does. So, we must body him as soon as possible and make him use his jump hook or make him a shooter in his face up game. That’s a tough task but it’s the recipe we need to execute and we’ve got the ingredients to try.

    Also, the Magic run a ton of P&R with their forwards. That means that Rad, Ariza, and Odom are going to be put in situations that they really only see against Cleveland and Boston where it’s the SF initiating the P&R rather than always being the PG. It’s a different deal when you’re not the guy who’s used to getting screened. Just something to look for.

  21. 4 – I lean with 19 in that Hack-A-Howard is not playing the odds. During the Lakers three-peat years I don’t recall seeing it ever work, although their opponents tried it over and over again. This is mainly because it puts the fouling team into the penalty faster and the elite free throw shooters who handle the ball a lot (like Kobe) get to the line more. Also, it gets palyers in fould trouble. And, it’s bad karma!

  22. Hey guys, thought I’d bring some kind vibes to the site going into the game tonight…

    http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g8/biglez20/KobeDunking.jpg

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORe0_CS-s1A

  23. FYI …

    Kryptonite for the NBA’s Man of Steel

    Enjoy what should prove to be a relatively easy W for the Lakers tonight. :-)

  24. Khandor, I like the overall plan you’ve got, but perhaps it’s a little optimistic (as you suggeset Bargnani to have an ideal set to guard Howard).

  25. 22-Wow, that is a sick dunk. I would not mind seeing a replay of that tonight.

  26. Both Walton and Sasha are listed as probable to play tonight, so only Farmar should be inactive which is good news.

  27. Orlando started strong last year, too. Paper lion. Definitely not in the same category as LA, Boston, Cleveland.

  28. We start finding out tonight, Kneejerk.

  29. 26-Thanks Jonathan, I put that bit of injury news in the preview up top as well.

  30. From Yahoo’s Ludden:

    “As for Superman’s real secret power: Among the Magic, Howard’s flatulence is epic. No NBA player clears out a locker room faster.”

    So if we suddenly see Drew and Pau vacate the post area, we know why.

  31. Spurs losing to Sixers. They are currently down by 23 with a little more than 2 mins left.

  32. Lee has been looking very good for Magic,expect to see him on Kobe alot.

    Gasol should be able to overpower Rashard Lewis,but Lewis will set up 3pt line which will be a prob for Lakers. Lamar will get a bunch of minutes against Rashard.

    Turkoglu/Ariza will be fun to watch.

    Refs rule. Whoever the refs decide to put in foul trouble first-Dwight or Bynum-will be huge.

    For those so inclined…take a shot every time there’s a view of Stan Van going nuts on the bench. Calm and stoic he’s not.

  33. Sixers hit buzzer-beating 3s at the end of the first 3 quarters of that game. Has that ever happened before?

  34. http://lakers.freedomblogging.com/2009/01/16/vujacic-back-walton-likely-a-game-away/9462/

    According to Kevin Ding, Walton is probable and Vujacic is back.

  35. Kwame A., great insite into what to expect tonight. D. Howard is a beast, hopefully khandor’s kryptonite will work for the Lakers tonight. Never liked the hack-a-whoever for the reasons commented above.

  36. Drew- don’t flop against your own teammate.

  37. That “perfectly executed block” was on its way down.

  38. Did Kobe just do what I think he did?

  39. This Lee kid is quite impressive. His defensive discipline isn’t something you see in a rookie, normally.

    Love that Bynum came to play.

    I want to make Pau’s “I-was-fouled” yell my ringtone.

  40. crisp ball movement early, like waht im seeing so far

  41. Pau Gasol yells a lot…

  42. I don’t think Howard should complain to refs.

  43. That’s 9 points for Radmanovic. hehe 1 more point and we get the 1st part of Lakers Coming in (“when he is on we don’t lose” part of the preview).

    Now if only Bynum can get rebounds hehe

  44. kobe setting the table perfectly so far, its up to the guys to knock down open jump shots if their gonna double kobe all night

  45. Wow, OKC with a win over the Pistons.

  46. ARRRIIIIZZAAAAA

  47. Ben @ 42

    Yeah but pistons just can’t seem to string it together these past few game days.

    Just saw the starting line up preview:
    Kobe (Big Cajones) Bryant cracked me up haha

  48. Ariza is a good shooter when he has confidence and he squares his shoulders. But sometimes he rushes his shots and kind leans to the side a little bit. If he keeps working on his shot, he should continue to get better.

  49. Our offense is stagnating, but I like the activity on defense.

  50. Not to be contrarian but I think the Kobe-Reddick matchup benefits the lakers.

  51. is there a link for the FSN broadcast? i like hubie but am in withdrawls over stu’s ‘histrionics’

  52. 47. The good thing about the cavs, boston and orlando is that none of them have a kobe stopper

  53. 48

    Despite JJ’s rep as a defensive stopper I think you’re just about right…

  54. 49- who’s our Lebron stopper?

  55. Thats a rare occurrence, Fisher made a lay up in traffic.

  56. can anybody send me a link to the game?? i dont have espn360 and my tvs broke

  57. There is no such thing as a LeBron stopper, or a Kobe stopper for that matter.

  58. 51. Who in the league is a Lebron stopper?

    I think he is the single most physically gifted player in the NBA, maybe of all time.

  59. 50 – What?? Boston completely shut Kobe down last June. Pierce, when motivated, can play some all-nba level defense.

  60. 56 – Agreed. Although I think if Lebron had to go up against Scottie Pippen in his prime, Scottie would have been able to slow him down considerably.

  61. 56. it was team defence that shut down kobe, and a bit of posey

  62. Kobe should really have about 12 assists by now. Lots of open shots being missed by the Lakers.

    Speaking of open shots, it might be a good idea to get a hand in the face of the league’s most prolific 3-point shooter.

  63. I don’t think that was just Pierce, though, Snoopy. I think that was the entirety of the Celtics team deciding, “Kobe is not going to stop us.” The Lakers didn’t get enough production from their other players.

    I don’t know if that wouldn’t be the case again, but I do believe that the team this season is better-designed against that sort of gameplan.

  64. 57

    LeBron shot 35% against Boston and averaged over 5 TOs. Over the course of the series he was ‘stopped’ more than Kobe. And they didn’t do it with one guy in either case.

    To repeat: There is no such thing as a LeBron stopper, or a Kobe stopper for that matter.

  65. Minnesota beat Phoenix. wow.

  66. Gota love the defensive intensity from the Lakers so far. The Magic are gonna hit 3′s, but the key is limiting their dribble penetration so they cant kick it out to the open jump shooter. If the Lakers can do that then they will win this game. I loved the energy level, along with the Boston game, this is the hardest the Lakers have played all year. Still a long way to go though, Lakers cannot let up.

  67. 60, 61 – Agreed. When you said “Kobe” or “Lebron” stopper, I was thinking of general defenses that have given them trouble. But if you meant a single player, then of course with the hand-check rules today, there’s no one player who can stop the top perimeter guys in the NBA.

    With that said, does it really matter? Team defense is what wins ball games, and what brought us down in June. A team without great individual defenders can play great team defense, and slow down Kobe or Lebron.

  68. Hmm…just a question to throw out there. Could Gasol convince Navarro to take a buyout and sign with the Lakers? I think we all remember Navarro torching the U.S. team in the Olympics with floater after floater.

  69. 67 – It’s worth considering. Why did he not stick in the NBA? I remember he started off fairly well his rookie year. I doubt it’ll happen, but I’d definitely welcome a player of his caliber.

  70. 65 – Snoopy, I agree that team defense is paramount. However, great individuals can break down a defensive scheme and create for their teammates when that scheme is predicated on stopping them.

    Last season’s finals displayed a Laker squad that just wasn’t able to take advantage of the immense amount of attention that Kobe got. I don’t mean to say that Boston deserves no credit – they did an incredible job rotating to keep pressure on Bryant without giving up a ton of easy looks.

    But the Lakers certainly had their share of open shots at the hoop, and many of them failed to go down.

    The question is, if the Lakers face a similar challenge this upcoming postseason – from Boston, Cleveland, Miami, or one of the West contenders – will they be able to respond successfully? San Antonio tried to do the same thing during the playoffs last year, but Kobe was on FIRE from the mid-range for that whole series. If he had been a little less accurate with his 2-point jumpers, I’m not sure the Lakers have anywhere near as easy a time with that series.

  71. I don’t think it was a question of him not sticking. My guess that the combination of Gasol being traded and a better salary (just speculation on my part) convinced him to return to Europe.

    Anyway, he’s a very good shooter and a clever scorer, but his defense is not good enough. I don’t think he fills a need for the Lakers.

  72. Orlando has come out with more energy than the Lakers in the 2nd half. They need to pick up the intensity.

  73. I think kobe’s gonna need the ball in his hands alot this half

  74. what the hell was gasol doing in that last sequence? I don’t understand why he didn’t get that rebound and then just stood there allowing a free drive to the basket. come on. play some defense.

  75. Damn. Hope the wrist/thumb thing won’t linger.

    lol wait this is Kobe, the guy playing through torn tendons. Never mind.

  76. That’s not a foul?

  77. We’re losing our composure now on both ends, pressing too much.

  78. rubbish, rubbish, rubbish, rubbish

  79. 67 and 68,

    Concur that it was Gasol being traded and more money that caused him to return to Spain. Also, just realized that it’s unfeasible because Memphis still owns his rights (he was a restricted free agent this summer), so they can match any deal we give him. Very similar to the situation with Krstic, but Memphis is under the cap and probably would match any deal we give him (and he’s not worth the MLE).

    In any case, love Kobe taking over the game. Waiting for the rebound for that triple-double though.

  80. Odom’s been our spark. If he can do this every night, a la Ginobili….the possibilities….

  81. triple double!

  82. This is a fun game to watch right now. Not quite the quality of Wednesday night but it really feels like a playoff game.

  83. Dwight Howard had 8 rebounds in the third quarter. Drew and Pau have 7 combined for the game.

  84. This Lee kid is quite a find. I don’t know where he was drafted, but he looks like the perfect ‘defensive specialist’ type on a championship team. Wish we could steal one of those late in the draft (not complaining, Kupchak’s drafting has been superb)

  85. well i think weve seen the difference between lakers with intensity and lakers without intensity

  86. Oops- Pau’s 2 ORebs there give he and drew 9 combined

  87. The combination of shooters and Howard is so devastatingly powerful for Orlando. It opens up the entire middle for them, because of LA’s zone, which requires lots of switching. Even when Howard isn’t able to get the pass he wants, he’s still often going against a smaller player for a rebound.

  88. triple double but 6 TO’s tonight for kobe

  89. Up until that last tip in, Pau didn’t seem to be doing much but involving himself in turnovers and not playing aggressive at all or much defense for that matter. He was looking kinda lost at times. Hope he does better in the 4th quarter.

  90. wait… jd hastings…

    bynums got 3 and pau has 7

    thats 10 combined

  91. They are killing us on the rebounds. 43-31

  92. 88

    Gasol got 3 of those on the last possession of the 3rd.

    Odom is really attacking the basket (and finishing strong) in the second half.

  93. 86 – cinz, he had only 1 in the first half.

    I think he might have seen the stat-sheet and decided to go for the triple-double in the 2nd half, forcing some passes that weren’t there (the attempted pick-and-roll to Gasol that got picked off by Lee towards the end of the 4th comes to mind as an example).

  94. 14 offensive rebounds for Orlando, and 7 for Howard. That’s unacceptable. Bynum needs to seriously step it up at that end.

  95. if we are gonna be playing the cavs in the finals… I really hope we end up with a better record for HCA. They are 20-0 at home

  96. lo stepping up when we need him most.

  97. That “magic” on the shorts back butt area is silly.

  98. kobe vs. Redick. advantage: kobe

  99. Laker Bigs need to learn how to set picks..these are shoulder nudges at best

  100. I’m starting to miss those blowouts. Can we get one of those in one of these next few games?

  101. Bynum is getting obliterated by Howard. It would help if he would box out or at least jump for some of these rebounds.

  102. It’s not good for my health if the Lakers keeps playing close games like this.

  103. Bynum should not have come out. His help defense has been outstanding, and Pau cannot play C against Howard as well as Bynum.

  104. Nelson is scoring at will on us. Yikes. Agree with gnahtoad that all these close games aren’t good for my heart.

  105. So how exactly was that not a foul on Fisher’s 3?

  106. both teams have eight 3′s made

  107. So how did Kobe not get a foul on that possession?

  108. it was a make-up call for orlando…Derek fisher did hit the ball out of jameers hand so it wasnt a double drible… i think the other ref knew that

  109. I love these close games. It will sharpen our execution down the stretch. And fun to watch.

  110. I don’t get it. Why doesn’t Bynum try harder to get rebounds? Having 3 rebounds is unacceptable. So in the last 3 games, it’s been 1 rb against rockets, 3 against spurs, and now 3 tonight. that’s ridiculous.

  111. This officiating has been an abomination

  112. This game would be even better if the refs would stop sabotaging it…

  113. Ugh…these close games are definitely not good for my health.

  114. Kobe’s jumper has deserted him in the last few minutes. Too many tough shots as well.

  115. oh, I just realize that this is a nationally televised game. That does not usually go well for us.

  116. I just love games like this.

  117. I hate games like this.

  118. Ugh, Kobe can’t hit a jumper this quarter. We’re going to blow another close one.

  119. ANOTHER last-minute shot rims out at the buzzer… :(

  120. very un kobe this quarter

  121. does this perpetuate losing? or does this spark energy for the cavs?

  122. Ugh. Another back to back loss.

    Um, maybe Kobe should go off on Bynum again to get Bynum motivated to play like he did last year.

  123. its clear that things need to change significantly for un to win the championship, bynum especially needs to play hard defence all the time

  124. we had a lead coming in the 2nd half and we lost it, what is with out inability to get comfortable and not clamp down when we are up by so many points.

    we are not as invincible as we thought..

  125. This Laker team has proved they are no championship team yet. 65 second half points allowed, and they dont know how to win close games. Magic were clearly the better team.

  126. Meh, aside from our crappy defense of the three (I note Vlad was in instead of Ariza in a late-game situation again), we got killed on the boards. We should be dominating the boards. 15 offensive rebounds for Orlando is why we lost the game.

  127. 120

    That may be what it takes. 17 rebounds in 5 games (including 7 in the last 3) is an alarming statistic.

  128. This Magic team is tough, could totally see them getting through to the Finals

  129. That was another frustrating game for me. Kobe was getting to the hole and getting thrown to the ground and couldn’t get a call. The refs forced him to take jumpers cause he knew he wasn’t going to get a call

  130. Another thing to add is this….the Lakers usually lose on ESPN. Especially when Mike Tirico announces. I noticed this ever since last year, and the ESPN frustration continues…

  131. 124 yeah and if they get to the finals and we end up facing them we would lose if Bynum continues with his lack luster effort on the boards and D.

    I’m glad he’s working on his offensive moves, but I think that the team would benefit more if he focused more on defense and getting boards. He can get points off offensive boards and pass out on the defensive boards for our fast breaks.

  132. Wow Jameer is stone cold. I don’t know if that’s a regular occurrence (doubt it), but between him and Hedo they have some clutch players. I was impressed by the Magic tonight.

    I’m worried Kobe lost some trust in his teammates after the SA game. Did you see what happened when he passed on the PnR? Pau is brilliant at rolling to the rim, but when the help game, he took his time, surveyed the floor, and found Fish for a wide open 3. That’s our most effective play.
    Late, Kobe went away from that to force shots, when he could have easily given it to Pau. He has to live and die with his teammates (rmr XMas day). More often than not, they’ll deliver.

    If I’m not mistaken, is this one of the first times this season Phil’s quickly substituted Ariza/Vlade for offense/defense? I think the last game showed Phil that while Ariza is our best closer, his lack of spacing and offense can still hurt us.

  133. will the lakers win against the cavs on sunday?
    tonight a disappointing game to say the least. this one was in the bag until lakers decided to dance with the devil and allow magic’s threes to get hot and also dwight howard.

    got killed on the boards tonight as well.

    we have 2 bigs and they combine for 12 rebounds.

  134. Horrible loss. Give orl all the credit, they played out of their minds. But the lakers really played a bad game. So many to’s, no hustle on the boards, and really bad defense. The magic just wanted this one more

  135. 128 – To be fair, Tirico’s suit was awful. It might have blinded a few of our guys.

  136. i mean monday

  137. Ben and others,
    The NBA has stated that if a player goes straight up w/his arms up-and doesn’t lower them-and the offensive player crashes in to him,it’s an offensive foul.
    What the refs actually do is about a third no-call(like tonight),a third offensive foul and a third defensive foul. According to the NBA’s official policy,it should have been an offensive foul on Kobe. But stars never get called for the charge.

    For the past couple of months I’ve been saying watch out for the Magic. And when they get Pietrus back they will be even tougher.
    But can they shoot 3s for 3-4 series? I tend to doubt it.

  138. oh i forgot to mention since acquiring gasol we haven’t lost 3 in a row before..

    so the cavs game it should be interesting to see what will happen? pau wasn’t aggressive or so much a threat tonight besides in the last few minutes of the game. we really need him to get back to the pau we saw on christmas and nights before then as well.

    odom stepping up was nice to see, drawing fouls and driving to the rim he and kobe were the only ones to come out with the mindset to win tonight. everyone else just seemed lackadaisica. also kobe’s jumper being off tonight in crunch time was hard, no one else decided to step up besides odom.

  139. To be perfectly honest, Monday is all the more important now. It’s like the Christmas game. We need to prove our mojo again.

  140. Man how small did our bigs come up tonight… This is the type of game that has fans mad for days

  141. I agree with Magic. Bynum’s activity on the boards seems lackluster. Maybe it’s just midseason doldrums, but 3.6 rebounds for our starting center over the last 5 games is almost comical.

    Ind = 5
    Mia = 6
    Hou = 1!
    Sas = 3
    Orl = 3
    Tot = 18 / 5 = 3.6

    Maybe the coaching staff is just telling Bynum to focus on other things other than rebounding.

  142. And for the people on this site and Phil Jackson that say Lakers defense isnt a problem, in the last 7 games, the Lakers are given up an average of a 110 points. Sorry, but I fail to see how anyone can say the Lakers defense isnt a problem….

  143. One key for tonight was that Kobe was in a “doesn’t play well with others” in the last four minutes and kept jacking up stuff that wasn’t close. Of course when Lamar is on one baseline with Vlade wandering around the circle in the area where he misses most often it doesn’t help.

    Our defense against a 3pt shooting team in the 2nd half really stunk, but I thought it was Kobe hogging it in the end that put the period on this loss.

  144. Rebounding has lots to do w hustling, n the lakers just didn’t do that. Bynum inparticular is just not doing his job. And no one boxed out today. I will say this again:Kobe is the alpha dog, but this team will go as far as pau and drew take us-they need to start playing like the twin towers we expected them to be.

  145. Wrong 136. Kobe missed shots at the end that he normally will make. At the end he missed a wide open 3 pointer for the tie. And before that, he missed an open 2 point shot. The shots just didnt fall down for him. We lost because of bad defense. 65 second half points given up and 35 of them in the fourth quarter. Lakers could not get a big stop what so ever, and when they did force a miss, Howard usually got the offensive board.

  146. then again, if nelson didn’t go nuts from 3, combined w Kobe going ice cold, we win. How often does that happen??

  147. Ok, to craig that is lol

  148. Some thouights:

    Vladimir played a great game. His three point shooting in the first half was critical.

    Odom played a great game. His spark brought them back in the third quarter.

    Ariza didn’t seem to make much difference.

    Bynum only wants to score points: he’s completely given up on rebounds–he’s lost–but his offense has clearly improved.

    The Lakers lost their first half lead through turnovers and transition basketball, not bad defense per se.

    It’s not individual breakdowns that leave a player open for a three–it’s slow teamwide rotations.

    Orlando seemed to have a swagger; the Lakers wouldn’t give up.

    Despite the assists, Kobe’s no point guard. He’s a turnover machine.

    Kobe needs to study architectural minimalists who believe that more is less–and less is more.

    Win or lose, Kobe needs to play team ball–especialy when he misses so many shots in the fourth quarter. If Odom and Gasol hadn’t rescued Kobe with offensive rebounds and a putback, Kobe would have totally shot the Lakers out of the game.

    The Lakers need to think about this loss for a long time.

  149. Not sure what Phil is doing with Andrew, but the young man needs to get on track.

    Be the big man big man. Get your rebounds, and your blocks, and put your body on someone and trade bruises.

    Elite centers do not give up 25/20 nights to the other guy.

    It is often said, and always true: In basketball, offense is easy. Defending is hard.

  150. to still be in that game considering how poorly everyone played is a testament to how good this team is. seriously look at the box score everyone minus odom was off.

  151. I have read all the above comments and they are all correct… Lets be honest about this team right now!

    BYNUM: overall just not that good!!

    FISCHER: making stupid fouls like at the end of the spurs game and again tonight! His play is inconsistent

    BRYANT: Looking tired and throwing up brick after brick in the 4th quarter…

    The only reason the Lakers were close in this game is because Odom and Gasol made a few big plays down the stretch…

    JACKSON: Doesnt seem to be able to get the right chemistry going, team has way too many mental lapses…

    This team is in disarray

  152. Jameer Nelson seems to do well against us. He did the last time too.

    I think we could pick up on the defense a little more. I understand the whole bit about playing at a faster pace and allowing for more shots, but those shots don’t have to translate into points. Not if we play better defense and get back on transition defense.

    On Bynum, he seems to play with little intensity. He even admitted this himself a little while back when he was struggling offensively. Though I think that it’s his overall mentality affecting his overall game and not just his offensive game. Where is that Bynum we saw last year? The one with something to prove to Kobe, the team, and the nba that he deserved to be with the Lakers and get paid big money too? I miss him.

  153. I’m picking up whoever Fisher is guarding in my Fantasy NBA league from now on. I know that he is well past his prime in terms of physical prowess, but he should have gotten smarter. But no…he’s constantly going for steals and end up fouling jump shooters. Furthermore, is there any guard in NBA that he can stay in front of any more? How does Anthony Johnson blow by him for a two handed dunk. I realize that the fault goes to lack of help from his teammates, too. However, Fish needs to play smarter against these quick point guards.

  154. Oh and one last thing, I don’t buy into that bit about how good this team is because we are only losing by 1 or 2 points and everyone is having an off night. Kobe had a great night, he had a triple double and 28 points. Gasol didn’t do so bad either. Vlad made some of the 3′s we needed. Odom had a great night considering his 2nd day back since injury. Trevor had his usual decent game. Fish, well is Fish, inconsistent. Bynum did well offensively, but had only 3 boards. It came down to bad defense and lack of rebounding.

    Everyone was talking about how Bynum will add toughness to the team that lack “toughness” in the finals. He’s suppose to be our enforcer come playoffs and finals. At this rate, I doubt he’ll do much enforcing. If we don’t get that out of him I’m afraid we may end up with the same results since we know that the Cavs and Celts (and possibly even Magic) will take their game and intensity up a notch or 2. Will Bynum and Gasol be able to deal? Phil needs to talk some sense into him. I’ll settle for a Kobe grilling him if that helps.

  155. I hate to say this but people we’re calling LO & Gasol soft last year….Actually BYNUM is by far the SOFTEST!!!

    Its really unnerving to realize this team has definite problems with Rebounding and Defense and it all boils down to BYNUM!

    He somewhat reminds me of all the “BIG” men the Clippers used to draft with the so-called “star potential”….Remember guys like Benoit Benjamin?? I fear he is one of those lops that will never get it done.

  156. ugh – let’s not compare Bynum to Benoit Benjamin … just yet.

    I do wonder what’s wrong with the kid, though …

  157. If we don’t feel our angry feelings today, we will need to face them tomorrow.

  158. I liked how Bynum started this game. Aggressive, going right at Howard.

    His rebounding was off, but I actually thought his defense in places was great. He showed hard and recovered on a couple PnR’s (although I wasn’t watching the game closely, he could have missed some too) and helped well whenever I watched. He’ll get there.

    Odom was amazing off the bench. If he can fill an energy role like that, stay intense and aggressive, watch out.

  159. I’m okay with the loss. Sure Bynum and others had an off game. It happens. Obviously we all hope there won’t be any “disappearing acts” come playoff time, but until then I can live with this loss to a team of the very highest caliber.

    The Magic is by far the toughest team LA has played this season, and the Lakers have now lost both contests, by a combined margin of less than ten points. This is the team to watch for in June– this is the team we would HATE to play in the Finals.

    But I still think the Lakers can find a way to stop Superman. We have the talent, the depth, and the experience. No single game can nullify any of that.

  160. At least you give the Magic respect. Avery Johnson ranks them 4th best in the NBA after sweeping the series against both LA and San Antonio. I agree LA has both the depth and experience to beat the Magic but in a seven game series Superman will not be stopped. Good luck and be grateful LA is in the East. See you in the Finals! (that is if LA actually makes it back)

  161. *West.. my bad

  162. Ironically enough though, when considering the Celts, Cavs, and the Magic, we match up the worst against the Magic. They completely negate our length advantage, have one of the best rebounders and low-post players in the game in Howard, and have the best PG of the bunch. The Cavs, on the other hand, have poor matchups against us outside of Williams and obviously LeBron. Their backcourt especially has a clear size disadvantage.

    Now, I’m not saying that the Cavs are going to be a cakewalk on Monday or that we’re at a clear disadvantage against the Magic, but the Magic are clearly a team that would give us fits in a seven game series in ways the Celts and Cavs cannot.

  163. Let’s start with the obvious: Pau has to watch where he puts his face. You can’t go around picking up up technicals because your face is where another person is throwing an elbow because that’s where your face is. Pau should know better.

  164. Bynum couldn’t be any softer these days. He was outrebounded by J.J. Redick tonight (in 23 more minutes). Phil might want to consider benching Bynum for a bit (and putting in Odom, to go with last year’s smaller lineup), to try to light a fire under him. Pathetic.

  165. Good game to watch when the refs weren’t getting in the way (esp. that 2nd quarter). Please let the players play refs, fans dont come to watch Stevie Javie blow his whistle every other possession.

    This wasn’t a loss to panic about though, we lost a 2nd straight game to a more than solid opponent.

    Kobe was in fine form again. Shots didn’t fall in crunch time but he played nearly flawlessly offensively the rest of the game. I’d been taking him for granted, but recently he has been on a tear, especially at the end of games. He has been making play after play throughout ball games.

    Gasol had an off night at best. He struggles most against physical front lines and players. He has no chance against a specimen like D-Ho. But physicality seems to take him out of his offense too. Anyone notice that he does a lot better when he makes a good hard move (whether shooting or passing) as soon as gets the ball in the post as opposed to doing all the jabstepping and pumpfaking?

    Speaking of – it seems Kobe has been playing as such a high level lately that we’ve been drifting out of the triangle and going with a lot of Kobe creating out of the pick and roll and isos. That was the case for this game. Our starting front line didn’t do anything noteworthy except for Bynum’s play at the start so we went to an efficient Kobe. He and Lebron were just setting the table all night for their respective teams. With ease.

    Odom came in though and played top-notch. Midway through the third (after we had gone from up 10 to down 8 in the span of 15 seconds) he came in and provided a much needed jolt of energy. He came in aggresively and attacked the basket and got us back in the game. We defintely needed it at the time, and it reinforces how much we miss Jordan’s energy off the bench.

    Fisher’s offense has been off. He needs to stop throwing up 3s early in the offense and let the open looks come to him. Every time he drives to the basket, I cringe. Everytime he takes a patented PUJIT, I cringe. Layoff the heaving Fish till your shot comes back please. Its tough on the team when Fish and Sasha are struggling with Farmar out. This is probably a reason why we aren’t blowing out teams anymore (along with the fact that we’re playing some legitimate contenders).

    Bynum – besides the nice start, he had an all right game. All right D on D-Ho, below average rebounding and boxing out.

    Radman – solid play, as hard as that is for me to say.

    Our D – give it maybe a C-/D+. Gave up a bunch of open looks and even more offensive boards. Still, we’ve been playing just enough D to stay in ball games against elite teams, which says a lot about the potential ceiling of our ball club (a good thing or bad thing?).

    As far as the Magic –

    Courtney Lee looks like an excellent pick at 22 (23?). That guy should at least be a candidate for one of those dunk-contest spots.

    Dwight Howard is a beast. Reminds me of Shaq the way he just sucks in the the whole defense when he runs the floor toward the hoop in transition. Bynum did an all right job on him, but D-Ho still got offensive boards galore and post position wherever he pleased (probably related). Gasol has no chance guarding this guy.

    Jameer Nelson played nice all night. I’ve heard that he’s been playing solid all season but haven’t watched him till this game. He hit some dagger 3′s and made plays all night.

    Orlando just needs a legitimate back up PG and a legitmate big man to put along side D-Ho (which’ll slide Rashard and Hedo to more favorable positions) to take that next step. They’re playing excellent defense though, a tribute to the coach Ron Jeremy. Even after seeing them beat us tonight, I’m not sold on them being able to beat Boston or Cleveland come May, but that’s why they play the games…

    All in all, lost to a top-5 team at home. Nothing to get too worried about. Cannot, repeat, CANNOT wait till the Cleveland game. We should be coming out more than motivated cuz we know Phil and Kobe do not like to lose 3 in a row (especially with the way we lost to San An). The Kobe-Lebron matchup is beyond intriguing right now. Must-see TV. Alpha-dog status of the Lig is on the line. Hopefully they’ll be matched up against each other for at least the bookend quarters. If the refs let em play, oh man… Crunch time will be crazy for sure. You just know that Kobe remembers the way Lebron iced the game with that pullup jumper in their last meeting. We gotta start getting serious about protecting our homecourt no matter the opponent (just as Cleveland is); the Cleveland game is where we need to start. I’ll also be interested to see who Phil puts on Lebron when Kobe isn’t on him, cuz that player is going to get bullied to death. Def. need to see better play from our starting front-line.

  166. I nominate the possessions where kobe dove for the ball and hurt his thumb followed by the Magic getting an offensive rebound and scoring their first lead of the night as the WORST MINUTE OF THE SEASON so far.

    Kobe went from 5-7 in the first half to finishing 10-26, including missing his last 6 shots. I don’t even want to finish this thought.

  167. Bynum needs to spend some pine time, 3 rebounds at center is not NBA quality. Like previously stated his confidence and fire is not there. Sometimes seems like a conditioning issue as the energy is not there. What no one seems to have mentioned is what not having Farmar does. With him out, and Sacha in an (injury/slump) we don’t have that intense running second team that was extending leads with transition baskets and steels. Lastly a big part of the defensive meltdown is Fischer being blown buy consistently and torched on the pick and roll. This left the lakers in constant scramble mode on defense.

    On as side note Marbury has been at a lot of laker games lately, thoughts?

  168. I start Fischer, Kobe, Pau, Lamar, and Ariza.

  169. 169. DO NOT… GO IN THERE!!

  170. my suggestion…
    start subbing JOSH POWELL for Andrew, when Drew is dragging, slow to block out, grab boards, lackadazical, then we bring in an energy boost in Powell. … Drew needs to wake up call, let he and Powell battle it our for minutes.

    LO played well last night, I like how he’s coming off the bench and providing the spark, he just needs to work on his FT’s.

    Sasha has been inconsistent in my opinion, all year, and I think he needs to be moved back in minutes, move Trevor over to back up at the PG, force Sasha to earn his minutes back in.

    Vlad played pretty well last night, PJ uses him wisely to open up the floor, and he’s a great 1st quarter weapon.

    Monday’s gonna be a killer of a game!

  171. 158) “Oh and one last thing, I don’t buy into that bit about how good this team is because we are only losing by 1 or 2 points and everyone is having an off night.”

    This team definitely has flaws, and with Farmar and Walton being unavailable, and Sasha rusty, the coaching staff couldn’t do the shuffling that normally covers those flaws.

  172. LakerLord: “This team is in disarray.”

    Wow. The sky is falling in Lakerland again.

    It is hard for me to get worked up about a two-game skid in mid-January when we are not even at the halway point.

    To doom the Lakers in the Finals or even the playoffs based on this game or even the last two games or even the last ten is ludicrous. NO team remains static from January till the playoffs.

    To bash Phil and his rotations or Fisher’s “inconsistency” or Kobe’s “not trusting his teammates” or Bynum’s “softness” is ignoring what they have done in the past and what they have the potential to do in the future. Hopefully, they will live up to that potential. If not, we can all knock our heads against the wall come May and June.

    Until then, take a deep breath.

  173. 174, you are right but I think all of us diehard Lakers fans have a right to be really upset with this team right now. You know…..these guys get paid millins of dollars to play basketball. Us fans are a big reason why they get paid so much. The least they can do is boxout when trying to rebound the ball. Getting out rebounded by a smaller Magic team is inexcusible. Its because of a lackof effort. Ok yes….no one in the NBA boxes out, well when a team is killing you on the boards and you have oneof the best rebounders in the game under the basket, I think you got to box him out! Most of us are getting on Drew because of his lack of aggressiveness, which I think is understandable. Yes, he is young and I dont expect him to be an unstoppable force. I understand he is gonna make mistakes. But the lack of rebounds is rediculous.

  174. Look, I know the last post was harsh, but I really question this teams toughness. Kobe is tough and has killer instinct. I loved seeing his anger after the loss to the Spurs. A lot of people talk about the Lakers not being physical enough and I think that is some of it, though I think mental toughness is what this team is gonna have to develop to develop into a championship team. The losses are good right now though. I think the more the team loses, the tougher they will become because of it.

  175. Where is Mbenga? Where is Mihm?

    Why have these guys on the roster, if not to use them.

    Post up Howard with your subs, force the ball in and bang bodies. If you Howard picks up a couple of cheap fouls, great! If he only picks up some bruises and Mihm/Mbenga pick up some fouls, also great!

    The only way to understand Phil is to compare him to his players… He is a very lazy coach during the regular season, content to drift and let the team do what they want. Then he gets into the playoffs and hopes to turn it on.

    No surprise he got no results from his guys in the Finals last year, and was out-coached by Doc Rivers…. Doc Rivers…

    Come on Phil, you are better than that! Make some effort!

  176. Wow. All I can say is wow. I think I would have rather watched the game and missed these comments than missed the game and then read the reactions to a loss.

    I may have missed something, but is our season over? Did we just get knocked out of a single elimination tournament? Are we being relegated to the NBDL?

    Believe me, I get just as frustrated as the next guy by poor play and bad losses. But just last week everyone was asking who we were going to face in the Finals. And now the sky is falling again. I’ve been to Magic Mountain, but the roller coaster of feelings towards our team by us fans is the craziest ride I’ve seen in a while.

  177. 177) You should only make changes if there is a reasonable expectation that it will make the situation better. Mihm and Mbenga are not as good as Bynum and Gasol; therefore playing them would very likely make the situation worse.

    I suppose that you could consider benching Bynum as a way of lighting a fire under him, but his play has not been poor, overall it’s been mediocre-to-good, he’s just been inconsistent. And IMO, I think benching him would be counter-productive from an attitude perspective.

  178. i hope we got the whole letting up on D and allowing the teams back into the game out of our systems.

  179. Sorry, that should have been “180″ in my post.

  180. Darius, you’re right. There’s no need to panic. But perhaps, one thing we fans share with Kobe is that we want our team to not only win, but rip their hearts out in process. That’s why it’s so frustrating to lose a game that they should have won. Sure the refs had something to do with it, but good teams should overcome that. Furthermore, they could have blown out the Magic had they pushed their 10 point lead in the third quarter, which they used to do, instead of letting them go on something like 18 – 2 run to be down by 8.

    The frustrating part is not that we are out talented by other teams, but that we are out-hustled (Bynum), don’t play smart (Radman, Fisher), or even try to do too much (Kobe). But as you said, this is still a regular season, and we will improve. I believe in Phil and Kobe.

    That said, the Lakers NEED to win vs. Cavs. I know that there’s no such thing as a MUST win regular season game short of not making the playoff. But the team must show that they can win against these tough Eastern conference foes as they did on X-Mas. I can’t wait to see Kobe making game winning shot and Lebron bricking his.

  181. snoopy2006,

    What you wrote for comment #106 was the key to the final 5 minutes of the game.

    Bynum came out at the 05:23 mark of the 4th quarter, and the complexion of game changed at that point.

    Hopefully, when Phil & Co. review the tape they learn from their mistake last night.

    Cost me a W. :-)

  182. sorry … score at the time was Orl 87, LAL 89

  183. Its not that we panic about the losing. Its that we have a 7 footer who cant get more than 3 rebounds a game now. Its about a team that got outrebounded by 14 on their home floor. That my friends, equals a team that out hustled the other team, a team that wanted to win more than the other. That is what I hate. A bad shooting night is one thing, and poor execution is another, but getting out hustled and out rebounded by 14 shouldnt happen. Even Phil Jackson in the post game comments had complaints about Andrews “3″ rebounds. Its not so much that we lost the game, its how we lost the game.

  184. Man, so it’s takes 2 losses in a row for the real talk to start. I see a lot of shock here about low or no defensive intensity, dumb decisions, and shot selection. Where was this after the Spurs game? That was the game we should have won.

    Anyway, there were a lot of positives last night. Bynum’s post defense & Gasol and Odom digging deep in the 4th come to mind. People talking about Bynum being soft because he’s not rebounding right now? That’s silly. He’s the 2nd or 3rd toughest player we have. These last couple weeks have been his best stretch this season by far.

    This team is not playing well in tight games right now. That’s OK. Work out the kinks now so there’s not an early exit later.

  185. they are showing game 4 of last year’s finals on espn classic

  186. One thing I’d like to see, maybe only in the 4th quarter is for Kobe or Trev.or to get a shot at guarding the oppssing PG. Fish just couldn’t deal with Nelson last night (not referring the the pick and rolls as much as the one on one drives). Teams give our hot players (kobe or pau) multiple looks, and the same guy that starts on them may not finish on them. We should think about exploring that option as well.

  187. 190 – I agree. It would be a bit like our first championship team, with a big guard in Ron Harper guarding opposing PGs. I actually would like to see Sasha get a shot, a lineup of Sasha, Kobe, and Ariza IMO would be stronger than with Fish out there. All 3 of those players can interchange defensive assignments, they’re each versatile enough to guard 1s and 3s.

    Look, I can understand some frustration about Bynum’s rebounding. But I like what I’ve been seeing out of Bynum lately. He’s playing more aggressive, especially offensively, and showing much more confidence. I think he’s slowly returning to pre-injury form.

  188. New post on Bynum up.

  189. Bynum is a Green-Pea, and we will not be able to see into the future and predict what he can become. After the big contract he has taken it easy. No Hustle Plays, he is not Moses Malone on the boards. He has a nice offensive game, and can be seen on the court talking and smiling with the opposing players. He is a nice kid. He does not have a killer instinct, and may never develop one. Dennis Rodman proved that to be a great Rebounder it begins with Passion, every Rebound is yours. Drew does not have this Passion. This type of Passion is not taught it comes from within. Even late in the contest with Orlando he was on the end of the bench smiling and laughing. I think he thinks he has arrived. The most telling case of his mindset is that he ordered a Fried Chicken Dinner a hour before Tip-Off. Until he gets his head out of his %$#! He will continue to be who we thought he was. A nice kid with good offensive moves, and occasionally blocks shots.