Archives For January 2009

Preview & Chat: The Indiana Pacers

Kurt —  January 9, 2009


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lessons In Losing

Kurt —  January 8, 2009

Celebrities Attend Lakers vs Clippers Game
The NBA season is a long one, and every team has its ups and downs. In early December, the Lakers had one of their downs and much of the fanbase was freaking out., calling for trades and suggesting that there was just no way this team could win a title. Right now, the Celtics are in a down phase, and their fan base is freaking out, calling for personnel moves and suggesting that there was just no way this team could win a title.

To me, what has been different is how the coaches handled those streaks.

When the Lakers played like crap in December, Phil Jackson was coaching for April and May. He let them struggle, and while his placid style can drives fans nuts during a game against Sacramento, Phil knows it’s not about the Kings. A loss now can be a lesson learned as the team finds its own path. We all know from our lives, despite warnings from those in the know, sometimes we have to learn hard lessons for ourselves. And those are the lessons that stick. Phil puts out interesting lineups in the clutch in December seeing what worked and what didn’t. He tests players to help them and the team grow, and doing that means allowing them to fail. Coaches are competitive people, allowing a player and a team to fail is not in their nature, but Phil knows the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term gains.

There is no other coach in the league that has his eye on the big picture all season long like Phil, Greg Popovich could be the other. But those two guys have a lot of rings because they keep their eyes on the prize.

I’m not sure Doc Rivers can do that. Darius said it very well in the comments.

I think Doc (and this worked masterfully last season with a hungry group that had never reached the highest level) coaches to win every game and to maximize effort and production for every game. This goes hand in hand with KG, so for last year’s Celtics, I think this was exactly what was needed for them to win the title. It worked, so good on them. But now, this season, the Celtics are not as good, not as deep, and are coming off a 100+ game season where they played intense ball (or strived for it) every single night….and ultimately that same strategy is not going to work this season. Doc has to make adjustments, but with the makeup of his team (led by KG) I’m not sure if that’s even possible. They’re going to go hard every night, and that’s a tough thing to do when they’re in year two after a Finals win. Not because they don’t *want* to, but because it’s just a hard thing to do coming off the grind of a championship season.

Think back to the Lakers threepeat years earlier this decade. In those second and third title years, how truly impressive of a regular season team were we? How hard did we push for regular season dominance? The fact is we weren’t impressive or dominant in the regular season. In fact it was quite the opposite, we *flipped the switch* (as the pundits say) and dominated the playoffs (at least the majority of the series we played) and won multiple titles. Boston (and really Doc’s) goal should be to win the title. But he’s going to have to realize (and never being in this position before is going to hamper his ability to do so) that you can’t have a team play with maximized effort and energy for two straight seasons and 200+ games. Either he’ll learn or they’ll lose.

This is why I love our coach. People can complain about his style and the fact that he just sits there, but he wants his team to peak at the right time and he wants them to find their own path. How often does the General of the Army really go and give orders on the front line anyway? The soldiers, when in the heat of battle, need to know what to do on their own. He knows what he’s doing.

I like our army’s chances in June, in large part because of December.

Stanford v UCLA

Records: Lakers 27-6 (1st in the West) Warriors 10-26 (11th in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 112.9 (2nd in league) Warriors 107.0 (14th in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.1 (4th in league) Warriors 113.0 (30th of 30)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Vladimir Radmanovic (?), Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Warriors Jamal Crawford, Marco Belinelli, Corey Maggette, Brandan Jacobs, Andris Biedrins

Lakers notes: Interesting stat (double checked from the) comments: The Lakers are 4-4 on the front end of back-to-backs but 6-1 in the second game (heading into tonight).

In the middle of the third quarter last night, it was hard to fault what the Lakers were doing against the Hornets — a Kobecentric offense with a lot of threes was working. The fourth quarter, not as pretty, but it’s always that way when the shots that fell in one quarter dry up in the next.

To me, the bottom line is fairly clear — the Lakers offense just works best when Gasol and Bynum are getting more touches. To it’s credit, New Orleans made that hard last night with some of the better interior defense the Lakers have seen in a little while. Gasol had a rough first half. But the Lakers got hot on the perimeter in the third and when the game mattered the post was an afterthought. It can’t be that way night in and night out.

That said, I’m in the group not that worried about the loss last night. Pau Gasol did a decent job on West — the book on him is to push him out past 18 feet and if he does drive don’t let him go right and pull up. But last night West was hitting out beyond 20 feet and not turning the ball over when he put it on the floor. He’s good. Nights where guys like West and Chris Paul beat you because they are good happen.

Tonight is the kind of game, however, the Lakers can win.

Did you see what the Clippers did today: They traded a second round pick for Hassan Adams and cash. Then an hour or so later they waived Adams. They essentially traded a pick for cash (but have to pay Adams, which is what their sources said the cash is for).

What a franchise.

The Warriors Coming In: Speaking of franchises doing interesting things, check out this article on the Warriors and their franchise player (hat tip TrueHoop):

(Monta) Ellis is working to get back healthy, but he is not happy with the Warriors, it’s getting worse, and he definitely is not pleased about rejoining a Warriors universe that is ruled by Don Nelson and Robert Rowell….

I’ve said that I don’t think Ellis will ever play for the Warriors again. Now I’ve got to allow that it’s possible that he plays for them merely to boost his value and increase his leverage, all after informing the Warriors that he wants to be traded. Possible….

Ellis knows that Nelson wanted to trade him before the 2007 draft, straight up, for the rights to Acie Law.

Ellis sees a backcourt already stuffed with Jamal Crawford, Marco Belinelli, C.J. Watson, Kelenna Azubuike, Corey Maggette and Stephen Jackson.

I believe that Ellis, like Al Harrington before him, is realizing that he doesn’t want to play for Nelson any more–he doesn’t want Belinelli and Crawford used as pawns against him, he doesn’t want to get caught up in this spiraling season as Nelson plays his mind games.

That is not a recipe for a wonderful comeback story, at least not for the Warriors.

Wow.

Anyway, since the Lakers last saw the Warriors Corey Maggette is back, but now Stephan Jackson is out for a couple weeks. Maggette was hot in his game back, shooting 55% from the floor, getting to the line like 16 times and scoring 23 a game.

Biedrins also continues to play well.

Keys To The Game: I could just copy and paste this from the last game, because it remains the key —Discipline. The Warriors are not a disciplined team, but they can suck you into their game, and they will be gritty and fight you. If you are disciplined, you can force them into mistakes at both ends. The Lakers need to live by the old John Wooden mantra tonight: Be quick but don’t hurry.

That is especially true on the second night of a back-to-back, where bodies can get tired and minds get lazy.

Last meeting the Lakers dominated the glass, especially not giving up a lot of offensive boards. They need to do that again. The Warriors are very aggressive on the offensive glass and are eighth in the Association in the percentage of offensive rebounds grabbed.

The other key to beating the Warriors is not turning the ball over — give them easy buckets and they are tought to beat. They can score a lot if you are sloppy, and then you are in the track meet they want.

Where you can watch: 7:30 start here is Fox Sports in LA or the League Pass options nationally.

Odom Diagnosed With Bone Bruise

Kurt —  January 7, 2009
Esquire House Hollywood Hills

Here is the official medical statement from the Lakers:

Lakers forward Lamar Odom was examined today by team physician Dr. Steve Lombardo and MRI results show that Odom has a bone bruise in his right knee. Odom will not play in tonight’s game in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors, and his status beyond that is listed as day-to-day.

There’s some very good news here — it is not structural damage, so no surgery. (With Odom a free agent after the season, that is huge for him.) On a lesser note, seeing what Odom wears on the sidelines for the next week or three also will be entertaining.

How long Odom is out depends on the severity of the bruise. Complicating the matter a little is this is the same knee where Odom battles tendonitis. It could be a week, it could be a month. (There are also severe bone bruises that don’t heal for months, but the way he got this injury doesn’t really look like that.)

Bone bruises are called periosteal. To quote the Sports Injury Blog: What happens in a bone bruise is a compressive force pushes the in on itself. When this happens the outer layer of the bone, which is fibrous, breaks down. This leads to leaking of fluid.

Here’s what I do know. First, bone bruises hurt like a son of a %&#$$. And, you can’t do a ton until they heal, it just takes time.

On the court, this is why Josh Powell is getting paid. He is a very solid, professional NBA player who is going to have to step in — he can’t do all the things Odom can, but he can be a solid four off the bench. And that should be enough most nights.

Nomuskles and others said it in the comments — for all those that think Lamar Odom is holding this team back, have scapegoated him for the Lakers problems, you are about to see just how much they need him. It started last night.

1st Quarter

The Space Cadet is starting tonight instead of Ariza or Luke (injured).

12:00 – And we’re off an auspicious start! The jump ball is whistled dead and goes the Lakers way, although I have no idea why and Joel doesn’t bother to tell us why. That’s great. Something confusing happens and neither announcer deems it necessary to clarify the situation.

11:45 – First possession the Lakers go to the oft used Fisher-in-the-low-post set. Fisher gets two point-blank tries and blows them both. Shocked, I say.

11:27 – The Hornets will throw up their initial shot with a David West jumper over Pau. Nope.

11:02 – Too close. Peja’s fake the three, one dribble to the midrange pull-up shot is short.

10:33 – David West draws first blood. Same pull-up jumper over The Spaniard this time goes in. 2-0 Hornets.

9:49 – Disjointed offensive possession by the Lakers. Kobe got stopped and Fisher ends up trying to penetrate from the corner. Bynum gets the feed inside and draws a foul. The Lakers bench is still standing and wishing they didn’t promise to stand until the first field goal is made. Bynum misses the first makes the second.

9:20 – Radmanovic throws his easy layup off the backboard like a young man meeting Scarlett Johansson. that is to say, it was spastic and overeager. Speaking of Ms. Johansson, she is not not not ugly. Yeah, that’s right. I busted out the rarely used triple negative.

8:57 – Double team on Pau and Fisher benefits with a wide open three. The Bench Mob can finally sit down. I was starting to feel bad for them. If they made it 4 minutes without a field goal, does Sun Yue just say, “aww forget it. I’m sitting. You guys are professional basketball players and can’t score. That’s pathetic.” 4-4

7:50 – Lakers look like they could use a Garmin Nuvi. They are lost. And then Kobe bails them out with a behind the back dribble that frees him for a jumper over Rasual Butler. Bucket. 6-6.

7:11 – Chris Paul has been relatively quiet. I feel it’s time for him to show his stuff. I’m psychic. It’s official. He gets a good screen and hits a 17 foot jumper.

6:19 – CP3 to TC6 (doesn’t quite have the same ring to it) alley-oop. 12-9 Hornets “stinging” the Lakers. Bad Pun Alert #1

5:50 – Pau’s turnaround hookshot comes up shorter than the Federal Budget.

5:03 – Kobe runs through a gauntlet of teal-clad defenders, draws a foul, and hits the running tear drop to spite his face. I’m pretty sure that cliché doesn’t apply here. Oh well. You can write your own live blog. Kobe converts the three point play 16-12 Hornets still lead.

3:04 – Lamar uses his own “crab dribble” (Lebron clearly traveled, btw) and picks up a couple free throws. FSW shows a great slo-mo of a chris paul tear drop on a prior possession. The ball never rotated more than a couple degrees. Great demonstration of the difficulty and skill of that shot.

2:35 – Sasha subs into the game and takes about three seconds to decide to shoot. THE MACHINE WILL STOP AT NOTHING! NOTHING! He drills the short corner three. Lakers still trail 24-18.

1:50-James Posey says, “BUT MOOOOOOOOM” Except in this case, Mom is Joey Crawford. I’m not sure he’s going to win this argument. Just sayin’. Kobe gets fouled out at the top of the circle (whistle sounds) and then when Kobe runs past, Posey fouled Kobe again as Kobe went up for the shot. Crawford whistles Posey for a technical and Posey can’t believe it. I’m okay with the call (Posey’s second foul was fairly late) but I also understand his confusion. If players can go for a second or two and still get continuation, defenders should be able to go for a second or two and still foul. New rule: a player can earn TWO fouls on the same play. Write that down. I’m a genius. After the free throw situation, Kobe’s Lakers are still down 27-20.

1:40 – Flopper award goes to: Chris Paul. Sasha hits him on the arm as he shoots and Chris acts like he got hit by Brian Urlacher. Sorry dude, that was too much.

1:13 – Sasha picks up a second foul going around a screen and he tells Phil not to take him out. Phil plays genie and grants his wish.

0:46 – Sasha wants to get embarrassed. He’s on an island against Chris Paul. The instectoids don’t take advantage.

0:15 – CP3 again on an island against Sasha. Chris bangs into Sasha 35 feet from the bucket and gets another foul. That call was questionable at best. Questionable or not, that was Sasha’s third and we’ll not be seeing him again for a long while.

0:10 – Lakers will try and get the last shot of the possession.

0:03 – Lamar gets a lefty scoop to fall.

0:00 – Peja has a wide open shot to end the quarter that is too long. Radmanovich puts on his Chevy Chase impersonation and falls down face first into the lap of the first row ticket holder. I’m not sure what happened there. Maybe he wanted some popcorn. The result was Peja had too much space to shoot and the ensuing vacuum screwed up his usually text book form.

2nd Quarter

11:11 – Posey shows off his Olajuwon moves and hits a running hook over Radman. The Space Cadet’s a stout defender, to be sure. ::throws shoe at tv::

10:13 – Bynum shows some “energy” and dunks the ball around Hilton Armstrong. I’m not sure why this play isn’t run every time. David only beat Goliath once. The other 99 times Goliath would’ve eaten David as an h’ordeuvre.

8:51 – Lakers force a 24-second violation. It wasn’t great defense so much as disjointed offense. Without Chris Paul directing traffic, the Hornets had a little difficulty getting the ball into threatening position.

Whoa. Vlade Divac must have found some wonderful eateries in Europe. He’s carrying a lot of extra baggage. And, no, a psychiatrist would not be the right person to see about it.

8:15 – I <3 Ariza. He forces a steal at half court and then hustles for the ball. Sitting down he throws it to a streaking Radmanovich who finishes the layup with Posey fouling him hard. Beautiful sequence if you’re a Lakers fan. Lakers closing the gap, 35-36.

7:15 – Maybe it wasn’t CP3’s absence before that caused problems. They have a careless turnover even with him on the floor. Chandler felt the relentless pressure of Lamar and threw it into the backcourt.

7:03 – Lamar does his patented make one, miss one routine. Any other imitators will need to pay him royalties. 38-36 Hornets.

Kobe and Pau are back in. and of course, the right shot is a Lamar 3 pointer. What bizarro world are we living in? even more bizarre, Lamar nails it. First lead for the Lakers.

Hornets don’t let them keep it.

5:43 – Perhaps it’d be a good idea to pretend to guard David West from 18 feet. Just a thought. The Lakers can’t even manage to look like they are guarding him. 43-39 Hornets.

Lamar ignores PJ’s wish for a timeout and drives hard to the rim earning a bucket and a foul. Lamar converts it. Phew. 43-42 Lakers behind again.

5:00 – Hilton Armstrong is a beast on the boards. Well, that’s what LO is going to say, anyway. Armstrong gets an offensive rebound and a nice running hookshot to go. ::currently shoeless::

4:18 – The Lakers fans dust off the AIRBALL chant for Peja. That was muy feo. Where’s Pau??? He has been a virtual no-show.

3:59 – Fisher gets creamed drawing a charging foul on a 3 on 1 break. That’s going to leave a mark.

3:44 – Kobe has just turned the ball over for the second time on a sideline trap. Stu tells us that Kobe needs to avoid going to the sideline. Ya think? It would also help if the rest of the Lakers didn’t stand and punch their time cards on the other side of the court waiting for a Jesus and Lazarus moment.

3:14 – Kobe tries his hand at a three. It was pure all the way. Devin Brown, you got served.

3:03 – Lamar hyperextends his knee on a weird defensive play. He goes back to the locker room. He might not be back for a while.

2:22 – BYNUM! Hello young fella. He’s showing some energy again as he follows his own miss and gets fouled on the putback. Great stuff. Let’s see more of that! 50-48 going into a timeout with free throws coming. Bynum hits both and we’re tied.

2:11 – That was the fastest defensive two second call ever. Oh you’ve never heard of the defensive two second call? Me either. But Joey Crawford has. What a bald-headed ninny.

1:40 – Kobe is doing the right thing, passing when he’s double/triple teamed and his teammates aren’t hitting squat. Fisher misses so badly it leads to a NO fast break.

0:54 – I think that’s three or four straight turnovers by the Lakers. Yikes. 57-50 Hornets.

0:34 – Paul shows off his unstoppable teardrop again. This time it’s a cross-cultural learning project as he takes the Spaniard a la escuela.

0:01 – Paul hits a ridiculous shot over a couple defenders on the inside.

0:00 – Kobe gets the last shot on a great inbounds pass to half court and drills it as the lights come on. I’m not even going to mention Devin Brown is a knucklehead and fouled Kobe right before he took that shot. 61-56 Hornets take the lead into the intermission.

3rd Quarter

Lamar’s status is unknown. Officially it’s a hyperextension of the right knee. Pau is 0-4 with 0 points.

11:13 – Kobe matches david West as both of them hit three pointers. 63-58 Hornets.

10:50 – Maybe Kobe will just score another 81 points tonight. He seems to be the only Laker willing to make a bucket. Lamar will not return with an MRI coming tomorrow.

10:32 – Tyson Chandler has a beautiful free throw technique. It’s a little bit like a break dancer at the charity stripe.

10:01 – Six Pac! CP3 tries to find chandler rolling for the alley-oop and bynum spikes the pass into the first row of spectators.

9:30 – David West. How about we guard him? kthxbye. 69-65 Hornets.

8:57 – Pau doubles his scoring total with two free throws. 71-67 Hornets.

8:35 – West showed up to play tonight. He puts some man sauce on that one. A nice jump hook over the outstretched hands of Gasol.

So far Paul has 23 points and 10 assists with 0 turnovers. That’s some nice contribution.

8:01 – The Kobes score again. I’m calling them the Kobes because he’s the only one who seems to be able to score. David West answers back.

7:22 – david West is human after all. He misses.

7:10 – Rainbowwwwwwww. Kobe nails it from long distance. 77-72 Lakers trailing.

6:22 – mistmatch? Chris Paul vs. Andrew bynum at the arc. Awkward. Hornets don’t make them pay.

6:00 – Kobe’s rain dance paid off. His long three rattles home after almost bouncing out.

5:35 – chris Paul gets a three point play. Kobe just goes down and hits another three. 80-78 Hornets. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!! (zoolander fans?)

5:04 – Lakers tie it up. Not for long. Peja burns them with the corner three.

4:27 – Kobe isn’t playing against David West but he is taking the challenge personally. He drills another jumper. 83-82 Hornets.

3:48 – The crowd is ready to erupt as The Spaceman has a wide open three and he decides that it’s too early for histrionics. Brick.

3:17 – Fisher drains his three attempt. Lakers take the lead

2:52 – All of Staples Center breathes a sigh of relief as Peja’s wide open three (radman, I’m looking at you) misses. A Chris Paul foul takes us to a timeout. I’ll remember to breathe now.

2:06 – This game has long since turned into a defense-optional affair. It’s like all this talk about the effect of 7SOL has somehow made these teams want to shoot threes all over the place.

1:33 – Great hustle by Bynum to track down a long rebound, get it ahead to Kobe, who passed up a three to feed Pau under the rim for an easy dunk. Great play.

1:04 – Lakers prove to be bullet-dodgers as Peja misses what seems like his umpteenth open three.

0:35 – Kobe and Bynum two man game. Kobe drills a long three.

0:30 – Chris Paul whirling dervish shot in the post against fisher. Money. 87-92 Lakers up.

0:00 – Lakers finish the 3rd up by 3. 92-89.

4th Quarter

It’d be nice if the Lakers played better defense on their penetration. Whoever is defending West and Peja need to not sag in. they should just stay on their man.

11:30 – Hornets strike first with two Rasual Butler fouls.

Josh Powell sighting. He has two negative plays to start the quarter. He doesn’t stop West from getting an offensive rebound and he gets called for a traveling.

10:21 – Great hustle. Ariza tries to get his miss and it gets tapped out towards the New Orleans bench. Pau saves it. Kobe wastes the possession and throws up a prayer hoping to get fouled. The zebras (outdated moniker) don’t bail him out.

9:52 – david West needs more muscles. He clearly doesn’t work out enough. Yikes. He and Derek go to the same body sculptor.

9:51 – I learned something new. You can’t closed-fist contact the basketball. Hilton Armstrong is guilty of this little-known infraction.

9:10 – Kobe does the righty scoop in honor of Lamar and gets it to go.

8:50 – David West answers with a nice 15 footer of his own.

8:31 – If at first you don’t succeed… Ariza takes his billionth shot from downtown and finally hits it. 94-99 Lakers lead.

8:10 – David West gets his 30th point.

7:39 – Rasual Butler ties the game at 99 with his short corner three. Kobe’s on the bench and the Lakers will need to figure out how to score without him setting the court aflame.

7:10 – Or not. Kobe will check back in.

6:38 – A weak chant of “defense” breaks out. Lakers follow suit and allow david west to get his 34th point.

5:58 – Ariza gets a great steal and Fisher has himself a contested layup. He feels there is contact but the refs don’t see it that way. He is unable to convince them of the error of their ways and earns a technical. Wasted opportunity. 104-99 Hornets up after the T.

5:52 – The majestic Bynum has checked back in to re-ignite the twin towers. Posey beats them with a three from the corner. 107-99.

4:48 – Mr. West is going to win this one by himself. He raises up over The Spaniard to put the Hornets up 109-99.

4:07 – Ariza is left all alone…again. And he misses. Again. ::smacks forehead:: Did someone order a Coors Light? The Lakers are ice cold.

3:02 – David West might have gone to Xavier. I’m not sure. The big ‘X’ tattoo seems to indicate the possibility. He is now sitting on 39 points. 1 shy of his career high. 111-102.

2:29 – Lakers get a much-needed stop. Bynum bulls his way into an offensive foul. That should pretty much do it.

1:53 – 24 second shot clock violation on the teal marauders. No big deal for them.

1:22 – You know what’s awesome? Watching Chris Paul being guarded by a big and the big looking around like someone played a practical joke on him. Senor Gasol, I raise my glass to your befuddled bewilderment.

0:45 – Kobe saves some dignity by taking Rasual Butler’s. Kobe two-hand blocks Butler’s breakaway layup. Sick play. If Kobe did that at the park, Butler wouldn’t be allowed back on the court till Friday. Too bad it doesn’t mean anything. Hornets are too far ahead. Fisher hits a three off the turnover.

0:30 – That’ll do it. What a sad fourth quarter that was.

0:00 – 116-105 is your final count here. Man, I would love to thump David West on the ear right now. He killed the Lakers tonight. I guess that is a back-handed way of tipping my hat to him. Lakers fans go home disappointed. Hopefully they’ll make it up tomorrow night in Alameda County where we’ll be treated to the sweet sounds of Nellie Ball.

Things the Lakers did well:

  • Limited the Pick and Roll leading to an alley-oop
  • got open looks

Things the Lakers could’ve done more awesomely:

  • stopped the Juggernaut that was David West
  • hit a shot in the 4th.