Preview & Chat: The Washington Wizards

Kurt —  January 22, 2009

NBA: JAN 04 Cavaliers at Wizards

Records: Lakers 33-8 (1st in West) Wizards 9-32 (15th in the East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 113.8 (1st in league) Wizards 105.0 (24th in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 104.9 (6th in league) Wizards 112.1 (28th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Wizards Mike James, Caron Butler, Dominic McGuire, Antawn Jamison, Andray Blatche

Live Blog Tonight That’s right.. It’s a chance to talk Lakers, mock Kenny Smith, and keep asking all night “why did we trade Caron Butler again?” And do it in real time with a live blog. All the fun will start a little before 7:30, as we catch the end of the Celts/Magic, and follow into the Lakers/Wizards.

It was three years ago today: Jan. 22, 2005. The Lakers are playing the Raptors and fall behind early. The only Laker who shows up to play is Kobe Bryant, and he takes the scoring load on — and finishes with 81. The second most points in NBA history in one game, and Kobe shot a crazy-good 75% (true shooting percentage) that night (his season average this year is 56.8%, which is still very good). Catch the highlights on the ESPN video player to the right, or you can relive every shot right here.

The Lakers coming in Welcome to the halfway point of the season — we’re 41 games in. And, 33-8, no stars having to miss a lot of games with major injuries, and a team that seems to be finding itself at times, that’s about all you can ask.

As for last night’s game, it’s a win and I’ll say again that there are no style points in the NBA. When you are 33-8, not all the wins are going to be pretty. It would have been nice to see the starters get more rest, but this game had the feeling the Lakers could take over whenever they wanted. But only Bynum really wanted too. (And that was good to see, he used to have a tendency to get up for games against the Yao Ming’s of the world but slough-off games like last night, but he showed up big.)

Luke Walton was back, which was good to see as well. I change my mind daily on whether he or VladRad should start at the three, I’m not sold either way. But as long as Ariza closes games out, I’m not going to fret over who starts much.

Finally, for those of us who still have concerns about the Hornets in a seven-game series, what the Clips did with a lot of success last night is what the Hornets like to do. Darius explains:

The Clips are getting into the lane using the CP3 P&R where the screener is really setting a back screen on the PG and the ball handler is getting a head of steam going to the basket. This has opened up DeAndre Jordan inside to get putbacks and receive interior passes and Mardy Collins to get into the lane and hit some floaters. Also the Clips are hitting jumpers, some of which are contested but a few that are not.

My Favorite Comment From Last Night Someone needs to tell Kevin Love that Color Me Badd called, and they want their facial hair back.
— chibi

The Wizards Coming In: Like the Clippers, this is another team where injuries changed everything and the first half of this season has been utterly forgettable. Tonight, no Hibachi, no DeShawn Stevenson (sorry Fresno), no Haywood.

Right now this is a franchise scoreboard watching the Clippers and OKC in the fight for the most ping-pong balls (leading up to what is considered a weak draft). And the Wizards are in for a tough little stretch — five straight games against playoff teams starting tonight.

Like the Lakers, the Wizards are coming in on the second game of a back-to-back, having won a close one in Sacramento last night 110-107. Really, the Wizards outplayed the Kings pretty handily and were up by 20 in the second half— they shot better, they hit the boards better, they took care of the ball better. What kept Sacramento in it was three point shooting — the Kings took 25 and hit 48% of them.

I will say this — the Kings are playing their kids to get experience for the future, and living with the results now. The Wizards are still about the veterans, which may be better short term, but when you have this record you should be thinking long term.

Last night’s win improved the Wizards to 2-8 in their last 10. Jamison has been playing well, scoring 20 a game and hitting nearly 40% of his three pointers in that stretch. Nick Young has been lighting it up off the bench, scoring 13 a game while shooting 61.8% (eFG%) and hitting 48% of his threes. Mike James has not impressed as the starting PG, save that he also can drain the three. All that said, the Wizards shot 14% last night from three against the Kings.

Keys To The Game: The Lakers beat the Wizards on the road in December, but it was one of those frustrating wins. LA had an 18-point lead in the second half but let that slip away, winning by just two and only because Butler missed a three as time ran out. The Lakers need to close this team out tonight.

What the Wizards run is a pretty common NBA offense — a lot of isolation for Jamison and Butler, with some high screens thrown in. Then they space the floor with some shooters. The Lakers need to run guys off the three-point line tonight. But the bigs should be able to provide help inside the paint. Basically, force this team into the midrange and you beat them, let them get layups and open threes and you’re in for a fight.

I think the Bynum/Blatche match up could be a fun one to watch.

Turnovers are the thing that are bothering me a lot lately with the Lakers — just too many of them. It keeps lesser teams in games; tonight would be a good time to start taking care of the ball.

Where you can watch: Officially a 7:30 start, but as this is a national TNT game 7:45 is more likely, and we could well miss the first half of the first quarter. At that point we will all be complaining on the live blog.

78 responses to Preview & Chat: The Washington Wizards

  1. Steven V. just posted this in an old thread, but I thought it was too good not to move over:

    Out of the 8 losses I feel that 2 of them were actual losses and not fluke situations from last second shots/put backs/fouls etc.
    Six of the Lakers losses came from the Lakers not hitting the shots they needed to hit.
    The loss to NO and the 2nd loss to ORL are legitimate losses. I feel that the other 6 games were more the fault of the Lakers and not their opponent.

    Here is my breakdown:
    Loss 1 DET.. Detroit shot the ball better and scored more 3s. All starters scored in double figures. Only 2 Lakers starters and 2 bench players had double points.
    I went over the entire play by play and, not counting fouls shots, Detroit had 11 combined dunks and layups. The Lakers scored more points in the paint 52/30.
    I’ll call this a great outside shooting night for Detroit.

    Loss 2 Indiana: Fairly even game which is reflected in the score. Indian won on a lucky put back by Murphy. Indiana had 16 combined layups and dunks compared to the Lakers 15 (not counting FT on both teams). Essentially, this was fair game all the way through. I think the penetration by IND resulting in fouls and hitting 955 of those shots helped. Lakers had one quarters 1,2,3 and lost it in the 4th.

    Loss 3 Kings: really bad shooting night for the Lakers. 3 players scoring double figures and 1 of them was off the bench compared to the Kings 6 players who scored double figures. SAC shot the ball a lot better then the Lakers. The game was even on 3pt% and rebound totals. The major eliminating factor was poor shooting from the Lakers. The Lakers did not win any of the 4 quarters. It was a great shooting night from the Kings, bad shooting night from the Lakers.

    Loss 4 Heat: Sort of like the Indiana game. Fairly close most of the way. The Lakers lost by 2; why? First 2 quarters were even so after the half we basically had a new 24 minutes game. The Lakers lost the 3rd quarter by to many points. Both teams had 4 players in double figures scoring. We lost the game at the free throw line and Wade had a great game.

    Loss 5 Magic: Lakers lost by 3 with 3 Lakers players scoring in double figure compared to the Magic’s 4. Lakers won the first 2 quarters and lost it in the 3rd. Orlando proves that they are a very good 3 point shooting team. Not enough contributing points coming from other Lakers players.

    Loss 6 Hornets: Overall this is one of the games where I would say that the Lakers were actually beat. NO had a better shooting%, a better 3pt%, a better Ft%, and more points in the paint. Huge games by West and Paul were the overall difference. I think the points they scored were the deciding factor.

    Loss 7 Spurs: 1 point loss off of a bad foul from Fisher. FG% and 3PT%, the Lakers had a better FT%, and dominated points in the paint. Scoring between teams was fairly even; 6 Spurs players were in double figures, 5 for the Lakers. Not a huge discrepancy between that 5 and 6 because 1 spur player scored 10 while the other Lakers player scored 9. There is that 1 point that resulted in the loss.

    Loss 8 Magic: The Lakers Lost by 6. Lakers won the FG% and FT% game, but once again the magic have shown that they are a 3pt shooting team by hitting 43% of their attempts. Player scoring is even with both teams having 5 players in double digits. Lakers won quarters 1 and 2, and the Magic won quarters 3 and 4. More 3 point shots and 2nd chance points were the difference in this game.

  2. I like the highlight video on side of Kobe’s 81 pt game. I didn’t get to see it live, but I have watched it a couple of times on NBA tv when they show it. Simply put amazing. 28-46, 20 FTA. And he did it in only 42 minutes. This game and the game against Dallas (I believe) where he put up 62 pts in 3 qtrs single handedly outscoring the entire Dallas team were the two most amazing performances I have ever seen. I also remember a game where Shaq had been suspended and Kobe was pretty upset about it, so he took it our on Shane Battier and the Grizzlies scoring 56 pts in 34 minutes. Its a pleasure to get to see Kobe in his prime.

    You do a live blog for a game I don’t get to watch. Oh well, maybe I can catch a little bit of it.

  3. Steve V forgot in Loss 7 that the Lakers dominated the paint points and the Spurs hit from outside. I would argue that getting beaten via long distance counts as a loss. The Lakers play a deep 3 zone. Outside shooting over a zone defense is a major weakness. Using strategy to exploit a major weakness = a win. Call it what you will, but I just defined a loss using a formula.

    Just read that Farmar may come back as early as the Charlotte game, but should be ready by the 6 game road trip.

    Look forward to watching tonight’s game. Go Lakers!!!

  4. Let’s put the Caron Butler trade to bed for once and for all. This was the most brilliant trade that the Lakers made, since they knew it would yield them Pau Gasol in the process. They just had to live with the short term abuse they would get from having to suit up Kwame Brown for a few years. Not really sure why they didn’t just trade Butler for Gasol to begin with.

  5. Sorry for the double-post, but somebody who lives in Suckramento was very fortunate to attend a Lakers game three years ago to watch a so-so Lakers team take on a lowly Toronto squad.

    Incredible to see it live, less the disappointing first half when the Lakers got booed off the court. I have one of my rooms in the house decorated with a few memorabilia items framed on a Forum Blue wall.

  6. Since I’m going to miss the game, let me throw in the obligatory smart @$$ blog comment here. Carnak says Caron traded for Pau to make Mitch look like genius.

    Anyone want a bridge I’ve got to sell?

    Regarding Steve’s breakdown. Solid research but I disagree a bit. I sort of agree with the lucky part of the losses and just hope those things even out.

    Same with the Det and NO losses. As long as good D is being played, I can live with someone getting super hot off tough shots. In a 7 game series, if the D is solid fundamentally, then the hot shooting won’t be there enough to win 4 games.

    But both Magic losses speak more to a lack of good D and I’d consider “honest” losses. Bad rotation on a team know for their outside shooting. Not good help and funneling on a penetrating PG.

    Drew played Dwight decently and almost even in the first half resulting in a decent lead. But he tailed off in the second half. His consistency is one of the things Phil has harped on.

    Also, playing at home against an elite team and having the lead, Lakers needed to close that out. Can’t let the other team come back. Lakers have to keep building on the killer close out mentality.

    Those are fundamental problems the team has been fighting to correct. Hopefully the losses are another building block to the team coming together and being able to play lockdown D when needed.

  7. It is interesting to have a breakdown of Lakers losses, however, I believe that kind of stuff balances out (ie, where is the breakdown of lucky Laker’s wins?)

    I think it goes to prove the validity of something like Scoring Differential. Those last second losses could have easily been wins without a little “luck” thrown in (I am using luck because this is how baseball views it. Even though I think having a closer like Kobe helps, most stats seem to agree that the best players coming into the game will be the best at the end too).

    I remember the night after the 81 game. I was in college and I kept talking about it to my girlfriend. That night, I went online and bought tickets to see Kobe play at MSG 2 weeks later.

    And I still wonder if that 62 in 3 quarters wasn’t better!

  8. Post 1: This isn’t figure skating.

    What separates the winners from the losers?

    Let’s quote the great Shane Falco, “The score.”

    I promise you, if at the end of the Finals last year, you had been told that at the half way point the Lakers would share the league best record, and that only Farmar had missed significant play-time, and was scheduled to get back just after the All-Star Game, you would have shouted, “Yes!”

    Been great to watch the Lakers this year. I am really looking forward to the end run, and the playoffs.

  9. Today is a pretty good time to discuss what if the lakers hadn’t traded Caron Butler. It just so happens that I have a super power that gives me insight into alternate realities. I don’t bring it up much because its usually more depressing than useful, but I’ll make an exception here.

    Without trading Butler, the Lakers never received Kwame. Instead they started Chris Mihm and were forced to rely more heavily on the raw talents of Andrew Bynum, Ronnie Turiaf and, uh Brian Cook. Team scoring went up, though front court defense was so bad, that didn’t translate into many extra wins. However, Kobe’s 2006 scoring average was only 32 ppg, and he only scored 61 against the Raptors, as Butler poured in 25 of his own.

    At the end of the season, the playoffs ended much quicker, as the Lakers weren’t able to miraculously coax 17 ppg out of Kwame to slow the pace of the game.

    In 2007, the beginning of the year was similar. The Lakers won a lot of games during an easy schedule behind the surprising development of Andrew Bynum. However, he faded starting in December and the same weakness of front court defense hurt the lakers deep into the season. They did win a few extra games however, due to the extra scoring punch Butler provided. They lost in 5 games to San Antonio instead of Phoenix.

    Last year the start was also almost identical. The real development of Drew helped secure their frontcourt defense, while they were much stronger defensively at the 3. They never feel the need to trade for Ariza and they were considered legit darkhorses for contention in January until Bynum went down to the same injury.

    After that the season resembled the one before. While Turiaf and Odom were noble in their attempts to secure the 5 spot, it wasn’t enough and the Lakers had no sassetts to trade for Pau. The Lakers narrowly beat out the imploding Warriors for the 8th seed (despite 50+ wins) and take the Hornets to 6 games before bowing out.

    The Lakers are again sexy darkhorse candidates this year, but their bench is not nearly as strong, and the frontcourt is more solid than frightful. They are fighting to distinguish themselves from the mass of other teams fighting for position in the west.

    Finally, in a series of events that can only be understood using Chaos Theory, China invades Jerusalem, uniting Muslims and Jews to a common cause before resulting in nuclear armegeddon for all by July 2009.

  10. 81 point game came in 2006.

  11. kurt, maybe until the tech guys get the glitch worked out, you might want to put in a line that says something to the effect that the page is not empty, please scroll down, a lot, haha. i don’t mind, I know how to find your content, but the first time it happened to me, I just figured tech issues and went away for a while.

    look for Caron to have a big game tonight, he’s wanting to make up for that last second missed 3 in the last game. (plus we traded him, and he’ll want to prove to us ‘again’, that we made a mistake…)

    speaking of mistakes, anybody hear how Kwame’s doing in Detriot?
    also, I recently read that Smush is playing in some very small market, (Moline) D league. right.

    man, am I glad those days are behind us!

  12. while i agree that what matters is which SF finishes games, i think the choice of starter matters in that I have never seen Vlad have a good game off the bench. Does anyone know how Luke does as a reserve?

    I just think that an engaged vlad will be critical to our long-term success, so maybe starting him over luke is best for the team as a whole.

  13. smush is a little further east than moline

    apparently, wrote his own ticket across the pacific after acting up at the D-league showcase:

    let’s all hope he negotiated shrewdly so he was able to bring the smushcalade overseas at a reasonable rate.

  14. JD, I thought the world ended on 12/12/12?
    at least that what that movie is about.
    I read today that they are pushing the date back to Nov, from a summer release…this is one movie that they can’t keep pushing the release date though.

  15. Also another reason the starter matters to me is that solid defense (and ball denial like Kobe on Lebron) from the beginning can prevent a great scorer from ever getting into a rhythm. However even if Ariza plays great D, if the SF starts the game off by smoking Vlade or Luke, it’s extremely difficult for Ariza to stem that tide. That, I think, is overlooked when discussing the sole importance of who closes games out.

    Also, I’m not complaining at all about Ariza closing (it’s clearly the right move), but smart teams will learn to exploit it, like SA did. That closing line-up has only 1 shooter in Fish to space the floor. Manu blitzed Kobe, surprising him, and Ariza didn’t have the confidence in his 3-point shot to take it. Yes, we have very few losses, but a smart team could exploit that in the playoffs.

    I think Phil understands that, which is why he’s trying to condition Vlade (Vlade played a bit more at the end of games lately) to get rid of the boneheaded defensive plays. Phil truly values spacing.

    I think there’s a simple solution, and we used it last year without Ariza to great success. Move Kobe to the 3 and have Sasha and Fish close games out (if Sasha’s on). Sasha is a killer when he’s on fire, and his defense is usually solid. I think that’d be our best closing lineup.

  16. what does everybody think about the BS changes over at AM570? As annoying as they were I cant believe they got rid of the loose cannons, a local institutions as far as I’m concerned, and I’m sad we lost a local (lakers) radio station to the national market. The new show, Myers and Hartman is god awful. Hopefully PMS doesn’t change, if they do I got nothing and its 710 ESPN here I come.

  17. Feelin’ you, K, feelin’ you….

  18. I am so tired about the Caron Butler conversation, but…Caron was not going to sign with the Lakers at the end of the year. He wanted to play more and be paid more than the Lakers were willing to go. He was playing behind Lamar and Kobe – remember. That was one component in the trade and these scenarios describing him playing with Kobe the last couple of years is pure bs.

    The only thing I regret about cashing in the Loose Cannons on 570 is that I would start listening if they also cashiered Steve Hartman. That is a station I only turn on during Dan Patrick these days. Their other programing has turned into pure FOX.

  19. 18 – Wait, I’m not sure I understand. What do you mean playing behind? Didn’t Caron start the SF and Lamar the PF or is my memory just awful?

  20. K. I can tell you first hand that key people at 570 thought the Loose Cannons were stuck in a rut and had sort of run their course. (They also love PMS, right now anyway.) I have no idea how the ratings were going. But they were looking for ways to shake up the Cannons show. This, I guess is one way.

    For obvious reasons, I’m pretty happy about the 710 ESPN thing with the Lakers.

  21. Kurt- With only 7 contestants left, who do you see as the favorite and darkhorse in Top Chef. I think Stefan has to be the favorite right now, but Jeff or your girl Jaime could be the darkhorse.

  22. That’s a pretty good breakdown from Steve V, but I’m surprised he never actually once mentioned defense, only implied it. #1 factor for most of those was the atrocious defense. I won’t forget the D played in Indy, Magic 1, NO 3, or SA for the rest of the season.

    Are people still upset about Butler? He finally broke at after he got to the Wiz. He had never shown he was a 20 per player before then, only flashes. Plus, how many small forwards did we have at the time? 4 or 5? The only ones with trade value were him or Odom. Who would you rather have?

  23. About the starting SF:
    Wasn’t Luke put in to facilitate offense? I’m not really one of those Luke-bashers, I think having a guy in there that knows the system well and plays hard is great. But now that Kobe’s injured, he’ll probably look more to being that “facilitator” again (can we please think of a new word for that, I’m so over facilitator and it’s hard to type) because his shooting touch won’t be back to normal for a while. It should be like very early in the season when Kobe looked for his teammates more often – more recently he had been looking to score and it was becoming obvious that we needed him to score (or at least draw double teams and pick and roll or swing around to find the open man).

    Also, there is the point that Vlad often has great first quarters…why not start Vlad, put in Luke if our offense looks stagnant, and close with Ariza?


  24. Everyone that reads the site knows that I’ve lobbied for Luke to start. And I’m not going to change streams now. However, I will agree with the point the Luke plays the same whether he starts or not and that Vlad does seem to play better when he starts. I will add though, that Vlad doesn’t play the same every night when he starts. He’s too inconsistent with his shot and in bringing other facets to the game when his shot is not falling. I will admit that he’s played underated defense in our SSZ scheme and that despite his late game mistakes he is more active on that end of the floor. I still lean towards starting Luke because he will get players involved regardless of whatever adjustments Kobe makes to his game with his injury. Luke will look for Gasol, he’ll look for Bynum, he’ll set good screens, and he’ll be where he’s supposed to be at the right time. I also think that he is the one SF that we have that will take advantage of all the post actions that are built into the offense when the SF does his cutting and interior screening. And last night (as he’s accustomed to doing after coming back from injury) showed better touch on his jumper.

    In the end, I agree with Kurt in that I think Ariza should be closing games while also agreeing with Snoopy that Sasha should get some consideration as a closer (when his shots are falling).

  25. Snoopy2006,
    Caron was playing, but he didn’t have heavy enough minutes with the Lakers and was near the end of his contract, with expectations of a major payday (which he got because he got more minutes with the Wiz). The Lakers were committed to Kobe and Lamar and weren’t going to pay equal $ for the same type of player as those two. They needed a big body to bang down in the post.

    We may be wistful about Caron, because of what he did with the Wiz, but at the time it was clear he wouldn’t have the clear playing field in LA and he wouldn’t get the really big bucks. These are things most fans have forgotten, because it happened several years ago and Caron found a successful situation in Washington.

  26. KOBE RULZ!!!!

    J/K Kurt, but great write-up on TrueHoop today!

  27. So it sounds like we want both Walton or Vlad to start the 1st & 3rd depending on how they’ve been playing in recent games. Walton or Vlad to get more min in-game depending on how they’re playing or the matchups. Ariza to close games. Sometimes Sasha should close games, if he’s rolling. If so, Kobe closes at the 3.

    Devil’s advocate question for the group: That’s a lot of ifs/when. At what point is either Luke or Walton traded, waived, whatever. I see Ariza rising up within the next 1-2 years. Will Buss want to keep paying for 3 rotation SF? Does he need to?

  28. Hey Kurt, I’ve been noticing you like to make a Fresno reference every time you mention Deshawn Stevenson. Just curious, what’s the deal? There are other players past and present from Fresno you can pick on as well… Or do you just like to give those of us stuck up here in the arm-pit of California a hard time?

  29. Thanks for mention the anniversary of Kobe’s 81.

    The more time passes and no player gets close to the 70 or 80 point mark, the more impressive it gets, as it diminishes the detractors who say that today’s game makes it easier to score.

  30. About the Loose Cannons, I always thought that as energetic as he was, Vic the Brick made me embarrassed to be a Lakers fan.

  31. I read your interview at TrueHoop. And that’s what you look like Kurt? I was hoping for Leonardo Dicaprio-esque. Or at least Tobey Maguire. I am highly disappointed.

  32. When we played the Magic, less than one week ago, I remarked that Shaq had been silent in regards to Dwight Howard’s meteoric rise in popularity, and him taking the Superman moniker…well, guess Shaq finally got tired of everyone annointed Howard the next big thing:

    “He’s a good player, but everything he’s done I’ve invented, so I’m not impressed,” O’Neal said. “For me to get my eyes wide open about another big man, he’ll have to do something that I haven’t seen before or something that I haven’t invented. Everything that he’s done, I’ve invented it.”

    Ha, typical Shaq quote.

  33. Wow Kurt, I never knew you were a Civil War buff. So if you’re Lee on the 3rd Day at Gettysburg, do you continue to flank Culp’s Hill and Round Top, or do you retreat and fight another day? Me personally, I’d take out the fence along the Emmitsburg Road using some 12-pounders and send in Pickett for the win.

    I’m interested to see how we do against Jamison. He’s a highly skilled big, one of the few guys who can approach 20-10, with good post moves and excellent range. It’ll be a nice challenge to see how well our bigs defend one-on-one.

    Here’s to hoping we can get some quality Sun time tonight.

  34. It is going to be very interesting to see how Bynum comes out for this game. I am one of the people in the Bynum-has-no-cardio-conditioning camp, so I am worried that he used all his extra gas last night and become a non-factor after the first quarter.

    On the other hand, perhaps he will once again play with some fire and have a monster night one more time. That would be a great boost of confidence for him before Saturday’s match up against SA.

  35. 21. Top Chef really is Stephan’s to lose at this point, it seems. I still think Jamie maybe could pull it off with a little luck, and I’m still pulling for her. Maybe Fabio, if he could get into the finals and could go with his strengths of just Italian. Hosea has good days. I am not Jeff’s biggest fan, he grates on me for some reason.

    28. My cousins went to Fresno, so I hear about any success they have. And he just sticks in my head, for no reason.

    30. You and me both.

    33. I’d like to think that if I realized I didn’t have Little round top, I would have pulled back to fight another day. But I’m not the gambler Lee was, he had won big on so many gambles at that point (and as Shelby Foote said, he had to bluff and gamble because of the hand dealt him in men and resources) you can see why he felt he would succeed. It was the one time he could be accused of hubris in the war. But he was never going to win it, especially once Grant was given the big command.

  36. Craig – Gotcha, makes sense.

    Also, another thing to consider is this – Caron is a fantastic player, no doubt, but the Wizards system is conducive to great offensive output. Think about how great Larry Hughes was when he was with the Wizards. His career has gone up in smoke since then. I’m not bashing Caron at all, I love his game and him as a person – it’s just that even if he had stayed and gotten minutes, the triangle might not have been right for him. At the very least, his offense wouldn’t have looked the same here in LA.

  37. Looks like the NBA survived a scare, KG beat out Yi. Thank goodness CP3 made it over T-Mac.

    With his injuries, Deron Williams probably won’t make it. Has he ever played in an All-Star game? Could he be the first Olympian to never play in an A-S game? Weird.

  38. I had the worst luck with the 81 point game. I am from Toronto, I won courtside tickets to watch Toronto vs LA that season IN TORONTO. Kobe scored a season low of abt 7 points and sat out most of the second half… well you kno the rest of the story..

  39. Sorry for the triple post, but Kurt’s on Truehoop! Nice interview!

  40. #30 – Vic the Brick is *too much* of a Laker fan and was waaaayyyyy too biased. That’s why he never provides any type of constructive criticism or insightful commentary. Plus, he only works in extremes: Kobe can do no wrong, when the Lakers lose is because the refs don’t like the Lakers, and every Laker player under 30 is going to be one of the greatest in the game. In short, the guy is a few marbles short of a bag. That’s why I think that cancelling the Lose Cannons is a great thing for KLAC.

    Having said that, however, there are some negative things with the incorporation of KLAC into the Fox family. Considering the fact that the Laker broadcasts are going to ESPN radio next year, that means that we will no longer enjoy Lakers pre and post-game commentary from Money. Unlike the one-sidedness of Vick, Money was a pretty insighful and impartial guy. I really think that he brings a tremendous amount of knowledge and insight to the broadcast team and its going to be sad not to hear his commentary.

    I am also sad that with all of these moves, the Lakers have not deciced to pair up Stu with Spiro for both the TV and Radio broadcasts and part ways with Joel and Mikael. I would love to hear Spiro do a laker tv broadcase with Stu and I can’t understand why the Laker organization has not done so up to now. Spiro is the closest thing to Chick that I have heard and Stu is a great color guy. Joel is simply too dry and Mikael, well, Mikael is about as eloquent and insighful as Magic Johnson and George W.

    I get that the Laker organization is trying to create two balanced broadcast teams, but in my opinion we are better off with a single team doing both TV and Radio.

  41. nice pic, Kurt. And if I didn’t love this site already, the simpsons quote would have confirmed it.–Kurt-Helin-of-Forum-Blue-and-Gold.html

  42. MannyP13
    I doubt there will ever be another simulcast team – Chick was the first/last. He had the power to demand both.

    However, I do agree that Spiro should be moved to the TV side. I just don’t think anyone will do it until Joel’s contract is up. He could always go back to radio, but I doubt it as he was backstabbing Paul Sutherland when he had radio last.

  43. Doesn’t have anything to do with the game but, I just saw it go by on the ticker on TNT that Bruce Bowen is third in all star forwards voting in the west. That’s crazy.

    Does Phil get to pick the bench for the west or how is it determined?

  44. Lee retreating would not have gained him anything, other than fewer casualties (which wasn’t nearly the consideration in those days, and anyway, it would have also resulted in fewer Northern casualties). And it would have lost him a good chance at a huge victory.

  45. Who do we want to win tonight, Boston or Orlando? I can’t get myself to cheer for Boston so I think I’ll have to go with Orlando even though they have a better record.

    Nice interview on Truehoop..

  46. Oskar –
    I’m with you – I always love seeing Boston lose so Orlando it is…But Boston is doing a great job closing out on the three pointer so Orlando is struggling. Either way, it’s a win-win as Orlando currently is ahead in the standings.

    43. All of the coaches in the league submit their votes for the reserves, and I believe that is the sum of how it is determined. Correct me if I’m wrong?

  47. 40

    Spero should definitely be doing the TV broadcasts. Mychal is a cornball and Joel drives me bananas with his constant little buzzwords and catchphrases (length, spacing, points off turnovers, etc). I really enjoyed listening to Spero before I got League Pass and could watch more games.

  48. Anybody see Rick Barry’s latest comments about LeBron?

    Not hard to see why he hasn’t been able to get a coaching job in the league to this point…

  49. oskar, of course if Boston wins, it means we have the best record in the league, right?
    aren’t we tied with orlando for the best record, (before tonights game)

  50. 48 – what did he say?

  51. “He’s got major flaws in his game,” the Warriors great said in an interview airing Wednesday night. “He’s six years into the NBA. How can a man six years into the NBA with his talent have a major flaw in his shot? How can he not use screens effectively?

    I watch the game very carefully, he doesn’t use screens effectively and this is not LeBron’s fault. It’s the fault of the people who are teaching him. … There is no doubt in my mind that LeBron, if shown these things, would do them, because he wants to be a great player. He wants to win a championship. As great as he is, he should be better.”

  52. wow celts are looking back up to the way they looked on that 19 game winning streak up by 10 on the magic with about 30 seconds left in the game.

    can’t count them out, they still are dangerous!!! we have to watch out, i hope we are ready when we play them in february at their home court. should be tough but we can pull out the W.

  53. any one have a link?

  54. We can’t count any of the contenders out in the near future (especially SA and the Celts), or be too sure the Magic will be part of the upper crust of NBA teams at the end of the regular season. Any of the contenders could look great or terrible between now and the playoffs, but how they are playing near and in playoff time is what will determine how far they ultimately go. The thing I like about us (Lakers) is our best performances so far have been irresistably championship calibre and probably better than the best form of any other team I’ve seen. Even more important is at our worst point we’ve not been hopeless and the cause of our poor (by our standards) form is relatively easily fixed.

  55. any links that work guys?

  56. I only caught a couple minutes of the first quarter (I’m recording it for later and just watched from the end of the Bruin game to the end of the first) and wow Luke’s offensive/defensive knowledge is truly noticeable and yes, valuable. Although the fact that we pretty much lose a solid option in Vlad when Luke starts (given his average of what? 5 minutes per game when he doesn’t start), I’m beginning to believe it’s worth it.

    Why was everyone so against Luke anyway?


  57. You know, the Wizards arent playing that bad…its just that, they are that bad…

  58. 69% field goal percentage at the half. Wow.

  59. 75% without kobe’s 3-7

  60. Put in Sun!!

  61. The crowd is going nuts whenever Sun gets the ball. Was there a similar response for Karl last year? I remember that he was a fan favorite, but I don’t remember the crowd getting this hyped whenever he touched the ball.

  62. No offense to anyone who is a Obama supporter but, TNT has gone over the top on their “Obama” coverage. Its a liberal station and understandable, but this is about basketball, people can hear about Obama on news stations.

  63. It’s very difficult to listen to GP. Just insane. Kenny is killing tonight though. Too Funny!

  64. Joe. it’s not so much about being liberal or conservative, it was commented on due to the historical significance of him being our 1st black president. First African American President! That’s significant and with the history of sports and race in this country and all… That’s why they felt the need to comment.

  65. Waaambulance?? hmmm

  66. Ugh, I don’t get the middle-of-the-season coach firings. You have a young team, you don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of making the playoffs, and need to develop a team identity. Hard to do that when you have a coaching chance in the middle of the season, which is especially jarring to younger players. Memphis has a pretty bright future though. Mayo and Gay should be stars, and they have lots and lots of cap room going into 2009 and 2010.

  67. 67, I understand that, and they can say and discuss what they want, its their show, not mine. But they already had the big talk about him on a previous show, and they continue to go on about it, and when your not an Obama supporter, its annoying. Yes, I turned it off.

  68. do i have to be worried about the fact that andrew´s opponents seem to score much more when he has a good offensive night?
    even though i am happy for him and clearly think that he needed such a confidence boost, his focus will have to remain on the defensive end. i think bynum´s best for the team is when he challenges shots, keeps his guys out of the paint and grabs rebounds. this will be decisive come march, june. if he can be active on both ends of the floor and find a balance, then this will take this team to even another level. scary.

  69. The Dude Abides January 23, 2009 at 2:44 am

    MdT, Andrew seemed to shut down Blatche pretty well. He basically forced him to shoot 18-20 foot jumpers (with a little bit of contest). Any time Blatche tried to drive, Andrew made him take a difficult shot by moving his feet well. Remember that it was Pau who guarded Jamison and later McGee.

  70. i am from the other side of the ocean and will have to review the game after i come home from work, basically every laker game is in the middle of the night for me. so this was just my first impression and thought after i´ve read the boxscore and took a little glance at the espn highlights. i simply was not aware that pau guarded mcgee, because he is a center to me and i thought it was obvious.
    it is a good thing to hear that bynum kept blatche away from the basket and forced him into a jump shooter. that said it must have been a 2007-2008 season throwback game for drew. i love the idea of having bynum and gasol together at full strength for the second half of the season, in fact it makes me smile. i hope they prove it when we face the spurs again, cant wait to hand them their loss back.

    thank you for your response, dude. i hope it is not destractive, if i do the math on some things that i will have to review. you cant imagine how much good nights sleepts i skipped to watch the lakers play, but i can not do that for a wizards game on a thursday night.
    i am aware that you guys are cautious right now about new members in the comment section, i will do my best to be a good member of your wonderful community and use my brain before i use the keyboard.

    best regards.

  71. Didn’t McGee score most of his points in garbage time?

  72. Washington is in a bad state because their coach is over his head and refuses to give up on the season and develop the future players, and the GM lets him get away with it. Add in an octogenarian owner who is in no state to step in and say anything and you have a poorly run hot mess. Living “in market” for Washington, it’s painful to see how poorly run that franchise is, I guess the only plus is as it stands now it is a few easy wins a year for the Lakers.

  73. Anyone notice they didn’t mention the 3 year anniversary of the 81 point game? I thought TNT would be all over that.

    Nice to put a face to the general in command of this blog.

  74. joe, are you a plumber?

  75. 81 Witness, that may be the worst photo of me ever. I look ancient. They asked for it while I was taking a few days off, so I had to use the camera phone. That’s what you get. (And it came a day after Kevin from Clipperblog, who has this brilliant shot of him with art in the background.)

  76. No Chris I aint a plumber….not all 48 percent of the country that did not vote for Obama is a plumber actually.