Preview & Chat: The New York Knicks

Kurt —  February 2, 2009
Celebrities at Lakers v Knicks

Records: Lakers 37-9 (1st in the West) Knicks 21-25 (9th in the East, half a game out)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 114.2 (1st in league) Knicks 106.9 (17th in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 105.0 (6th in league) Knicks 108.9 (18th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Knicks Chris Duhon, Quentin Richardson, David Lee, Al Harrington, Jared Jeffries

Andrew Bynum Out 2-3 Months: He tore his MCL, which means he will be out two to three months, according to reports coming out now.

First, our thoughts have to go out to Drew, who must feel terrible right now. He is a young kid and this must be a blow to his psyche. I hope he bounces back.

This means he will be back sometime in April, the Lakers have games through April 14 so it would be nice to get Bynum back for a couple of those games before the end of the season rolling into the playoffs. But after last season, I think we all understand that Bynum time moves slower than regular time (a line borrowed from Timothy Varner at 48 Minutes of Hell).

Frankly, the Lakers can get through the first couple rounds without Drew but this cracks the door a little for San Antonio, and I certainly want him back for any potential Finals matchup. But all we can do now is wait, which is the hardest part someone once said.

Something to read for fun:I did an interview with basketball.org about the Lakers, and this blog. Check it out.

Also, just for the record, my favorite moment from the entire Super Bowl was when Bruce tried to do a slide on his knees up to a camera man on the side of the stage and just plowed into the guy.

The Knicks Coming In: Fun week for the Knicks: Lakers tonight, Cavs on Wednesday and Celtics on Friday.

The Knicks are playing well right now, having won seven of their last 10. David Lee has been the man leading the way — the guy D’Antoni didn’t think would fit his system at the start of the year is working out well. In the last 10 games he is averaging 19 points shooting 55% and is grabbing 14 boards a game. Al Harrington and Chris Duhon also have had big games recently.

The question on the Knicks going into this season was how much could Mike D’Antoni really get out of a mis-matched roster. Well, a fair amount, and Mike over at Knickerblogger is pretty happy with what D’Antoni has done:

Some, if not all, of you may not agree about the Knicks playing the best basketball they can play at the moment. I think they are because I can’t see any better production from this roster. Four of the nine players in the rotation – Harrington, Chandler, Richardson and Thomas – are all wildcards on any given night but overall they’re performing at the level I expect offensively. And with the Knicks already jumping up seven spots in defensive efficiency from last season, it’s doubtful that they make any more significant improvements before season’s end. Basically, I think this roster is maxed which is a compliment to Mike D’Antoni. He’s taken this roster to twenty wins and is one spot shy of the eighth seed in the East this early. Before the season, I didn’t think that was possible.

Keys To The Game: This is one game where being without Bynum will not be felt quite as much — not only are the Lakers still considerably longer than the Knicks in the front court but also Lamar Odom was a huge problem for the Knicks when these teams met in December. Having him start is not a bad thing.

Pound the ball inside. Not only are the Lakers taller, their front line is far more skilled than the Knicks. This is not a team going to go physical on the Lakers, so Gasol and Odom (and Kobe, Quinton can’t cover him) need to get the ball on the block and score easy buckets. Get to the line, get a team with a shallow bench in foul trouble.

Transition defense. Transition defense. Transition defense. Transition defense. Transition defense. Transition defense. Transition defense. I don’t think we can say this enough. Not only do the Knicks run you have to pick up a man in transition because they love the PUJIT. Gasol has to run with the Knicks bigs. Transition defense. Transition defense. Transition defense.

One way to slow fast breaking teams is to make them work and punish them on the offensive glass. With the Lakers height advantage they should be able to do this.

Where you can watch: 4:30 p.m.,, KCAL 9 here in Los Angeles and League Pass and the usual spots nationally.

Kurt

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245 responses to Preview & Chat: The New York Knicks

  1. God is the waiting hard. And not encouraging that the official Lakers blog is currently inoperative.

  2. The most recent update on LA Times is saying that they have no new information yet. Link, since I feel a need to share (spread?) the agony: http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-lakers-andrew-bynum3-2009feb03,0,1436040.story

  3. Can somebody please explain to me how in the world the Knicks are the most valued franchise in the NBA?

    They havent won a championship since Phil left (1973), and won only two conference titles in the 90′s. Prior to that, they were basically inactive since the 70′s.

    I know New York is a huge city, but I find it hard to believe that they have gained many fans outside of NYC – unlike the Lakers, Cleveland, Orlando, Boston etc. How does their valuation make sense?

  4. Anonymous,

    NYC (or New York State) doesn’t need outside fans. Have you ever heard about the Knicks having attendance problems? Never. They are IN the heart of the city, there is no shortage of fans and tourists who will go to the game, purchase apparel, etc. Most importantly, they own their own channel and building. Which means more advertising. MSG is a huge asset in itself. That is why they are as valuable as they are.

  5. will the game be shown on justin.tv?

  6. I know this is kind of straw-grasping territory, but watching Mike Francesa (I’m a Laker fan in NYC) and the bottom ticker just ran that Bynum is a “game-time decision.” Huh?

    Meanwhile, great interview with basketball.org, Kurt. FB&G really is one of the premier ball blogs out there, and the praise it’s been getting is richly deserved.

  7. Ugh. How much longer. Too much waiting.

  8. Just saw on ESPNEWS as of 5 minutes ago:

    “Breaking News: Bynum out for 8-12 weeks (knee)”

    Don’t know what that means but seems like an MCL tear…..??

  9. my heart just broke into a million pieces for andrew =(

  10. the regular season ends 04/14, so he is likely not coming back before the playoff:(((

  11. Devastated. Once again, right when he looked like he was taking a quantum leap. Still a finals team…but the kid was really playing.

  12. Seems we won’t have him back this year. Tough break for him and the Lakers.

  13. even if he makes it back in time for the playoffs…he won’t be as effective…and knowing the front office, they won’t take a chance on risking his future, so more than likely, they’ll shut him down for the season….

  14. well i’m going to the game tonight, but am no longer excited for it

  15. Aaaah! That said, the Lakers dominated the Spurs in the playoffs last year. A lot of this was due to the fact that Kobe was able to score a lot while keeping his teammates scoring too. Balance. And this was against a very good Spurs’ defense! Kobe went off the last game. What were the Celtics doing differently that forced Kobe to be more of a passer? Something about the Celtics defensive scheme. Kobe had improved since the loss to the Pistons in the finals, and could now deal with triple teams. The Celtics up the ante with quadruple, and even quintuple teams.

    Now, I think that Phil has a better handle on how to lick the Celtics defensive scheme. The naysayers will be proven wrong. The Lakers wil make it to finals, Bynum or no Bynum, and they will beat the Celtics, Bynum or no Bynum. Because this time, Kobe will get his looks. Kobe is better than Lebron, and this is his chance to prove it.

  16. PeanutButterSpread February 2, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    smash head on keyboard.
    repeat.

  17. why us, again? crap. this just took a lot of fun out of the season.

  18. Anybody, interested in picking up Kwame Brown?

  19. my sky just turned a little greyer. boo.

  20. correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this the same injury as Farmar had this season? if so, hopefully bynum will come back sooner than expected and play at the level he did prior to his injury just like farmar has so far…keep your fingers crossed!

  21. Deja vu all over again.

    January? Check. Against Memphis? Check. Right as he was playing like an All-Star? Check.

    Hopefully he at least makes it back for the playoffs this time, but I won’t hold my breath.

  22. ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

    look, I feel pretty lousy as a fan, but I mainly feel sad for andrew, because even without him our team is better than it was last year. and this season is not over.

  23. What a bummer.

    !@#$%&*% *&%@

    argh.

    Well, with Ariza getting better every day, with Mihm a decent backup option the Lakers are still the best team in the West.

    But man, this hurts.

  24. Here we go again, didn’t they say 8 weeks at minimum last year?

  25. 21
    Farmar had a partial tear of the meniscus. The MCL is one of the 4 major supporting structures of the knee.

    Once again, we are all going to become experts at knee treatments.

    I am at this moment reading the latest developments at applying stem cells to regenerate ligament tissue….

  26. Maybe a long-shot, but I think Mitch should give Alonzo Mourning’s agent a call, and inquire as to whether Zo would be interested in making one more title run.

    I feel bad for Drew, its gonna be mentally tough to go through this rehab again, I wish him the best

  27. the other Stephen February 2, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    does this mean that odom gets to start again?

  28. #9:
    Yep, that is an MCL tear. LA times are reporting there will be no surgery, which I will celebrate as as silver lining, no matter what anyone says :)

    I’m frustrated and very sad for Andrew though. This is just unfair.

  29. Is Andrew the new Sam Bowie, or Bill Walton? loads of potential but always injured this is becoming a disturbing pattern

  30. Serious question…is it fair to call him injury prone at this point, or was he just really really unlucky the past two years? That’d be a major drag if Andrew Bynum became one of those guys you couldn’t rely on to be healthy all season long like Jermaine O’Neal or T-Mac. Anything that can be done to prevent this in the future, like knee pads maybe? Certainly doesn’t help any hope for a championship. Realistically, if we’re gonna win one this year it’s gonna be with the guys we have now, rather than hoping Bynum comes back/gets his timing back and conditioning back. Hopefully the group we have now learned some lessons last year, and don’t have to rely on Bynum to win it all.

  31. Psst… don’t feed the troll, Rafael ;)

  32. from now on Bynum should not play the grizzlies ever again.

  33. Let’s stay positive – if he heals in say 10 weeks, that would still leave him 2-3 weeks to play back into decent shape before the playoffs. This is a partial tear – not a completely torn ligament. He’ll likely have some surgery, rest, rehab and return this year. Get healthy, Drew!!

  34. I really hope Andrew gets back in time but don’t think it’s a good idea to risk his future for a chip this year. Other commenters already mentioned that this team was good enough to make it to the finals and if they can put extra effort into the defensive end, things might be different this year.

    It really sucks to have this happen at this point in time, but we still have a bright future.

    As for Odom being moved back to the starters, I like it. Although I’d play Powell for minutes too because he has the knack for tracking down rebounds and isn’t afraid to be physical.

  35. On another note, I truly believe the current Laker team as constituted can win a title this year. LO will have to be the player he was in the Utah series, Pau will have to commit to anchoring the interior defense, and “role players” like Sasha, Trevor and Jordan have to up their game from here on out. I don’t think any of that is out of the realm of possiblitly, and I know Kobe and Phil will do what they have to do to adjust to life without AB.

  36. Best of Luck to Bynum. Hopefully he will come back early like Farmar did. It really sucks to see him go down just when he was getting his confidence again.

  37. Mimsy, that’s actually good news that he doesn’t need surgery and just rest time. News like that brings my heart up a little. Thanks for the update.

  38. Joe, as long as you are suggesting it is OK for any player to be injured, your comments will keep being deleted. That is the end of this discussion. We don’t play with trolls here.

  39. the other Stephen February 2, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    my heart goes out to you, socks. but at least you came out this season fighting, and showed all the doubting and hating bastards a little something. this time, i hope you come back even stronger and tougher, both mentally and physically.

  40. I think that the Lakers, and by extension all of us fans, need to be realistic and concede that Bynum isn’t going to be back for the playoffs this season.

    Some kind of gypsy curse or something… I am so bummed right now.

    I do hope that they shut him down, let him get the surgery to repair it, and rehab/work out until next year.

    I don’t think he is injury prone, so much as really unlucky. Landing on a foot coming down is one of those things. Having a player slide into you while you are looking for the rebound is just one of those things.

    He might be a bit slow in recovery, but that is to be expected from the big guys with joint injuries. More weight = more time to get strong again.

    *sigh*

    Let’s see what Mitch has in the bag of tricks now…

  41. There’s still hope Andrew returns this year. We have at least that much.

    This may be a blessing in disguise, the sort of disaster that will make the Lakers more cohesive, compel them to take every game seriously, and fight like a wounded animal.

  42. What was Bynum’s injury last year? Specifically?

  43. 44-subluxation of the patella, iirc.

  44. With all the expectations for this year, this news is definitely depressing. Sure ruined my day. I hope Bynum rehabs quickly and comes back stronger.

    Hopefully this episode will make the rest of the team commit themselves to playing hard defensively throughout each and every game to prepare for the playoffs. We’ll need it if we are to win the championship.

  45. Kurt- I did not suggest that Bynum should be injured.

    [The comment you responded to was edited, and responses to it and to your comments also were deleted.]

  46. So what would be considered a more serious injury? This one or last year’s? And would the timeframe given for his recovery this year be more reliable than the one given last year?

  47. And thanks, chibi, for the previous answer.

  48. wow, feels like a greek drama. hopefully, he will be back in april. from what i´ve read so far, this injury is not as bad as the last one, am i right? i am pretty sure that he will come back strong! i only hope it will be on time. this really makes me kinda sad, though. lets just wish him all the best and wait for the dust to settle.

  49. 31) Anon
    “Serious question…is it fair to call him injury prone at this point, or was he just really really unlucky the past two years? ”

    He also had the injury his senior year in H.S.; it is at least a valid concern.

  50. 48-last year’s injury was probably worse simply because the patella essentially dislocated — very very bad considering that the patella is THE major knee ligament. also, MCL tears are more common and I think rehab generally goes better because of this.

  51. i don’t worry about the lakers as much as i just feel bad for Andrew.

    8 weeks, even 10 weeks, is way different than 12 weeks so lest hope for the best and remember this team went to the finals and we have ariza.

  52. Not exactly surprised by the news of 2-3 months. I wish Andrew a speedy recovery and to not lose the motivation that got him to the level he was just at.

    Remember at the end of last year, we weren’t completely deflated b/c when we look big picture we know that we have the brightest future of all the teams. Success won’t be just one championship, but championships. We aren’t a bunch of veterans and are just on the cusp of success. Right now I still like our chances this year. We have a starter in the waiting who is in a contract year and will have something to prove. We all know he has focus issues, but I still put my support behind him and the Lakers.

    I especially look forward to the end of this road trip as we play Cleveland and Boston. With the team as currently constructed I’m sure it will be an indicator on what we will need to improve heading towards the playoffs.

  53. For Farmar – 8 to 12 weeks means about 6 weeks.

    For Bynum – 8 to 12 weeks means about 8 months.

    Atleast we know Lamar won’t be traded this season. Where’s DJ Mbenga?

  54. Let’s hope that Farmar’s early return sparks a streak of fast recoveries.

  55. 48-sorry, what I meant to write is that the patella is connected to THE major knee ligaments. which is why dislocation of it is worse.

  56. has anyone read what the grade of Bynum’s injury is? (We can rule out grade I, based on the estimated recovery time.)

  57. Chibi,

    I think Gary Vitti curves the grades anyway, so I’m not sure it would matter,

  58. YW, hertagnism. Just trying to see silver linings wherever I can…

    I would say that last year’s injury was worse, based on simple math: Tearing two ligaments is worse than tearing one. And maybe this is a good omen? First two, then one… next season, no torn ligaments at all!

    Is this were we pick ourselves up and move on? The season moves on, we thankfully have bench players good enough that they could easily be starters on other teams, and Lamar and Pau did pretty well together last season. I’m not trying to trivialize the injury, but forgetting to look forward at the next fight is a really good way to get sucker-punched.

    I will probably always be nervous about the state of our defense, though it is better than last year. Trevor Ariza really makes a difference here.

  59. Wow. Torn MCL. That really blows.

    But tonight (in a selfish way), I hope that Kobe comes out and drops 50 on the Knicks (for a W), just as a reminder to the league. We’ll be fine. But I truly hope Bynum gets to play at least in the playoffs this season.

  60. Thanks, specialM.

    I don’t pretend to have any medical knowledge, so it’s good to get some insight from those that have.

  61. Tough loss. Hopefully he can make it back by the beginning of April and can play in a few games before the playoffs start. I think from now on Bynum should sit out every time the Lakers play in Memphis.

  62. Chilibi, Grade III

  63. I know it’s being reported that there are no plans at present for AB to have surgery, but is it objectively the nature of this kind of injury that surgery is never an option or is the possibility of surgery still potentially on the table? Some of us still remember the karl malone fiasco and question if the lakers’ medical and PR staff truly have the players’ best interests at heart…

    More simply put, is there the possibility that subsequent doctors will recommend surgery after all, or is this kind of injury exclusively treated through rest and rehab?

    Heartbroken.

  64. kurt-thanks.

  65. I’m not a doctor, I just type like one on the Internet. I am trained in physio-therapy and body motion. Andrew’s body structure and the way he carries himself seem to make him prone to leg injuries. He uses his length more then his legs when rebounding and jumping and he doesn’t carry himself athletically with bent knees. He spends too much time with his knees locked. Over the course of a lifetime this will make for structural weaknesses. It is not that he will always be injured it is that he is more likely to have fluke injuries. Others can land on a foot or get bumped by a falling teammate and they will not get effected. Bynum’s posture is such that these sorts of collisions have devastating effects on his joints.

    I think dude needs to keep his weight down and he needs to train his body and mind to hold positions and make motions that are less demanding on what are already weakened joints. He needs to learn to not lock his knees.

    That said, heal quickly and meet us in the playoffs. I think this Lakers team, without Bynum, is better then last year’s team. I think it has the pieces in place to beat the rest of the west. I think the team that will give us the most problems is Cleveland. Bynum was a big influance over what it was that James could do on the court. It would be nice to have Andrew if we meet the Celtics as he would be effective against Perkins and minimize the damage that an improved Rondo is liable to wreak. Others have already made the point but JP is more effective then Mbenge and I’m hoping this year’s Mihm can do more for us then last year’s version. There is tremendous depth to our big boy squad and that is something that no other contending team can claim.

  66. Does this mean AB is injury prone.. Or just two flukes? What makes a player “injury prone”?

  67. lil’ pau,

    I think Andrew was diagnosed and is being treated by the doctor he went to after losing confidence in the Lakers’ staff.

  68. lil’ pau. From my understand a torn MCL usually does not require surgery.

    “Grade III MCL Tear
    A grade III injury is a complete tear of the MCL. Patients have significant pain and swelling, and often have difficulty bending the knee. Instability, or giving out, is a common finding with grade III MCL tears. A knee brace or a knee immobilizer is usually needed for comfort, and healing may take 6 weeks or longer. ”

    “Treatment of a medial collateral ligament injury rarely requires surgical intervention. Almost always, some simple treatment steps, along with rehabilitation, will allow patients to resume their previous level of activity. The time before an athlete is able to return to their sport corresponds to the grade of the injury. ”

    “When a grade III injury occurs, patients usually wear a knee immobilizer and protect weight-bearing (crutches) for the first week to 10 days following injury. Patients should remove the immobilizer several times a day to work on bending their knee. After that time, the patient can begin wearing a hinged knee brace, and can begin to increase their range of motion in the knee. They can apply more weight to the knee as pain allows.

    Once the patient can flex the knee at least to 100 degrees, they may begin riding a stationary bicycle. The crutches can be discontinued one the patient is able to walk without limping. Jogging can begin once the patient has regained 60% of their quadriceps strength (compared to the opposite side), and agility drills can begin one they have regained 80% of their strength. Complete rehab from a grade III MCL tear can take 3-4 months.

    Is surgery ever needed for a MCL tear?
    Some surgeons describe a so-called grade IV injury to the medial collateral ligament. This is also called a medial column injury, and involves injury to more ligaments than just the MCL. Whether or not to repair the MCL, even in these settings, is controversial. Some doctors prefer to allow all MCL injuries to heal without surgery, and some prefer to repair these most significant injuries to the MCL. No significant difference has been demonstrated in these patients. ”

    http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/kneeinjuries/a/mclinjury_2.htm

    Sorry for the long post.

  69. Good suggestion to call Mourning’s agent.

    And nobody’s brought it up yet (sensitive subject?) but the brass should’ve waited until his last contract was up before giving the kid 57 million.

  70. So this is the kind of adversity, unfortunate as it is, that great teams sometime have to face. I have confidence that we can keep the #1 seed out West, but it will hurt our chances for home court in the finals…drastically. Never the less, our team is still much better than it was last year, obviously w/ TA & the defense.

    Powell will be getting a boost, maybe up to 20 minutes or so. We may look to run more, and I see us running Kobe through the post with Lamar on the perimeter for the 3 (which has improved – let’s see how well) as well as slashing and making those great passes on the move.

    As terrible as the injury is, it will be really interesting to see the team moving forward. I really appreciate Odom right now….I’ll take the boneheaded mistakes

  71. lil’ pau

    the MCL is very good at heeling itself (much better than other knee ligaments) because it’s big and receives a lot of regular blood flow.

  72. 19/Paul said “Anybody, interested in picking up Kwame Brown?”

    Well, Memphis does have another Gasol, and the trade deadline isn’t for a couple of weeks…

    (Just trying to find some humor in a dark situation…)

  73. The article I read in LA Times said surgery is not required for this type of injury. The key word there is “required”… we’ll have to wait and see.

  74. perhaps we should trade detroit for kwame, and then trade him to memphis for gasol?

  75. I’m sad :(

  76. didn’t Karl Malone have a torn MCL when he was with the lakers? he missed 39 games that season…perhaps a slow healer or probably cuz he was 40 years old huh?!?

  77. Okay, thanks guys. I guess all we can do is wait…

    And prognosticate:

    My sense of the Lakers without Bynum? I think we’re the second best team in the west (let’s not forget manu was injured in last year’s playoffs) and I think we should be able to survive the first two rounds without him, but I also think we’re well behind the big 3 in the east.

  78. 67–It depends on your definition. In one sense, it means injuries occur frequently. Although major, Bynum’s injuries have been infrequent. On the other hand, people inherit and acquire flaws that make them prone to particular injuries. So, I think Bynum is going to be prone to longer recovery times whenever he tweaks a knee in the future. So, while another player may be day-to-day with a bit of a knee sprain, Bynum may miss a game or two or play shortened minutes with the same ailment for cautionary reasons.

  79. For a Grade III MCL Tear:

    Grade III MCL Tears
    When a grade III injury occurs, patients usually wear a knee immobilizer and protect weight-bearing (crutches) for the first week to 10 days following injury. Patients should remove the immobilizer several times a day to work on bending their knee. After that time, the patient can begin wearing a hinged knee brace, and can begin to increase their range of motion in the knee. They can apply more weight to the knee as pain allows.

    Once the patient can flex the knee at least to 100 degrees, they may begin riding a stationary bicycle. The crutches can be discontinued one the patient is able to walk without limping. Jogging can begin once the patient has regained 60% of their quadriceps strength (compared to the opposite side), and agility drills can begin one they have regained 80% of their strength. Complete rehab from a grade III MCL tear can take 3-4 months.

    http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/kneeinjuries/a/mclinjury_2.htm

  80. Lakers are……very possibly finished….yes I know I am being negative, but even if Bynum comes back, he probably will be way out of the flow of the offense, the guy is to young to just come back and be dominate right away and he wont have enough time to get himself back into the dominate Bynum he had become. Lakers will still make it out of the West. San Antonio doesnt impress me as they are not a dominate defensive team no more. Houston if they are fully healthy would be a problem, and possibly the Hornets. Denver and Utah are to good offensive teams with no defense, which wont beat the Lakers. Without Bynum Lakers got no shot against the 3 eastern powerhouses.

    Yea its fun to be negative lol…..so let the bashing begin :) And remember, its ONLY an opinion, I am not saying I am right…..now..let the bashing begin!

  81. I don’t think Kupchak needs to sign another big. And he’d probably be reluctant to pull the trigger b/c of the time needed to get acclimated with the triangle. And who’s available, really? Sean Williams from NJ?

  82. ^ oops sorry about the late post.

    I think the Lakers will either:

    1. Wither into mediocrity and self loathing. Kobe, feeling somewhat responsible, will try to take over the season by himself, disrupting the chemistry and balance of the team.

    2. I think most likely, the Lakers will use this as motivation to play harder than ever. I think we’ve seen when a fire is lit in the Lakers, they are unstoppable. (Christmas Day revenge, Second half against the Grizzlies, latest win against Spurs). Defense, Kobe and pau’s super efficient shooting, bench mob, and Ariza’s X-Factor are going to power this team to the finals and over the Cavs.

  83. For a rare positive comment, haha, the Lakers will use this as motivation to play better. You know Kobe will take more responsibilty and step up his game, and the younger guys will follow. Most teams do step it up when they have key players out. At first I think the Lakers will play well without Bynum, the question is, will it catch up to them.

  84. “Complete rehab from a grade III MCL tear can take 3-4 months.”

    Ugh…. Commence banging head on desk.

  85. 84

    I wonder, too, if this could sharpen the Lakers’ focus. They know they cannot mess around with lesser teams and get away with it. They will need to keep the intensity and energy up for a full four quarters for the rest of the year. Of course, they will still have off games, but could this become a rallying point?

  86. the schmoes, I think you’re right on option #2

    kurt, do you think John R has changed his moniker?

    for the game, I’m looking to see if Powell starts to step up, this is why the Lakers have kept him all along, insurance for the bigs, and I feel he will be a nice surprise.

  87. Not only are we not going to get in to trade/free agent speculation, I just don’t see a lot of easily available people who can help us now. Quality bigs are too much of a premium to expect lighting to strike twice for the Lakers.

    The roster we have can win the West. If Bynum comes back and is functional for the Finals, I like our chances. And, I’m trying not to get too down.

  88. Malone ended up needing surgery. I don’t know if he tried to come back too soon or was misdiagnosed or what.

  89. Is he out two to three months or two to three weeks? Your post says both.

    Bummer (to say the least).

  90. #90, from what I remember, I think the lakers tried to bring him back too soon, which made his injury worse….but, he never had an MRI on his injury, so they never really knew the severity of his injury….

  91. One of the biggest drawbacks with working in Mountain Time is that I get out of work somewhere around the middle of the second quarter to tonight’s game.

    I’ll join the choir of agreements with theshmoes, I think this will be a rallying point for the Lakers. This is their chance to prove that last season’s playoffs wasn’t a fluke, but that they really are that good, and that the entire team does not stand or fall with Bynum’s knees. I’m expecting Kobe especially to work towards that tonight… and Lamar as well. He liked his starting spot, and this is his chance to show he still deserves to have it.

  92. I feel bad that Bynum was hurt as much as he was. But I’m good with the long-term ramifications here — I want Kobe thinking there is a price to pay for coming into the lane. I want the Lakers to be wary of being physical like this now and again. Like a pitcher who throws hard every pitch, you will strike a few batters out but you establish the possibility of injury. I want the Lakers to be submissive in the paint, particularly Bynum, and this is part of that.

  93. I look forward to Phil jackson dusting the cobwebs off of Mihm. Prior to his foot/ankle injuries he was an athletic big who could rebound and block some shots. You wouldn’t build your offense around him, but you can dump the ball down to him a couple times a game (depending on the matchups). He also had a decent 10 to 15 foot shot which is useful for when Pau gets doubled down low. I would rather see Mihm get the wear and tear from banging against oppenents centers then Pau. It is also a contract year for Mihm, and that typically seems to motivate players. If he plays well for the next five months it could significantly boost the length and dollars of his next contract.

  94. kneejerkNBA,

    Call Mourning’s agent? Brass should’ve waited before giving the extension?

    Why?

    Do you realize this team is the now same team without Bynum that made the Finals? Easily. Do you also realize that this injury was a fluke. Not due to him being injury prone (like last year). He could’ve finished this season out injury free, “earned” his money and this could’ve happened next year. What would be the difference? As you can see, he is worth every penny he got.

  95. ….and today’s Groundhog’s day.

    how ironic.

  96. *could happen next year.

  97. “And remember, its ONLY an opinion, I am not saying I am right”

    I’ve never understood what this means. What’s the point in holding and expressing an opinion if you don’t think it’s right?

  98. Just for point of reference since basketball and futbol/soccer are similar, in running, jumping, explosive moves, unlike baseball, when Arsenal’s Cesc Fabergas did a partial rupture of his MCL on December 21, his time line was placed at 4 months. Now that of course could be some gamesmanship on the teams part but that was his time line for a partial MCL rupture. Now I haven’t seen anything stated whether Drew’s was partial or a full rupture, generally the MCL doesn’t require surgery. Fabergas started lite jogging this Thursday and is supposed to get evaluated in 2 weeks for a return date. That would put him at about the 8 week mark for his overview, and if everything were going well, about1-2 weeks to get into game shape. As a Laker and Arsenal fan I place this info here simply as a reference point to show how a MCL recovery is going. Hopefully the medical staff for LA is better then I give them credit for, often times I wince not just from the prospect of losing the injured player for extended time, but with past thoughts of LA medical mishaps.

  99. I’m sorry, but I think our championship hopes are gone. I agree with Kurt that we can make the finals, but we would lose to any of the east powers. Boston would do what they did last yearl; push us around and quadruple team Kobe. LeBron would be able to drive the lane at will with no Byno patrolling the paint. Howard would man-handle Pau.

    Once again are eggs are in the basket of O-DUMB living up to the 9-yr or so potential/hype were all foolishly led to believe he will fulfill.

    I love the Lakers and will ride and die with’em, but this has last years script written all over it.

    I am a mother effing pissed man today.

  100. ed i think you are underestimating the lakers and phil jackson. he’s done more with less.

    We were still dominant early in the season, when bynum was still apprehensive and ineffective. Why can’t we still be dominant now? We still have a great system, two all stars, a loaded bench, and a mastermind coaching staff.

    I’m not throwing in the towel yet. Far from it!

  101. 91. Emma, two to three months, my bad and it’s is fixed. Maybe that was Freudian typing of what I wished.

  102. 8-12 weeks? I think he’ll be back in 8 just beccause he’ll have better luck then last time. We don’t need him to be the Bynum of the last 4 games so I’m not worries about his timing and conditioning. We just need his size out and strength out there. I’m terrrified of the spurs without bynum. Pau can’t guard him or keep him off the boards with the same effectiveness Bynum can. Well we’ll see big week comin up. I’m excited I don’t know about you.

  103. Guys – we can’t fairly use last season as a measuring stick for what lies ahead for us this year. After all, certain players were not at 100% (Ariza got hurt, Mihm was not fully recovered, Walton got hurt too) . We also lost Ronnie – but gained J. Powell. Even without Bynum, this team is a better version of last years team.

    Having said that, the Spurs, Charlotte and the Rockets are also better versions of themselves on paper than last year. Also, Cleveland and Orlando are waaaayyy better than last year and after some struggles the Celtics seem to be on a tear yet again. In short, if the Lakers are going to make it to the finals and contend, things are going to be very different all around.

    Guys can step up or can choke, but its simply too early to be able to make accurate predicitons. Who knows, Bynum could come back and be a non-factor (like Ariza was in last year’s playoffs) or be the deciding factor. so, rather than predicting doom or being overtly opotimistic, let’s just see what transpires in the next 8-12 weeks.

  104. Kobe’s comments to ESPN on if they still have a chance to win a title:

    “We do,” Bryant replied, saying that even a season-ending injury to Bynum would not be insurmountable. “There have been plenty of teams that lost in the Finals that go back and win the next year.” Bryant, enhancing his argument, pointed to the experience his teammates picked up in their trip to the Finals last June.

    “We’re better prepared,” he said. “For a lot of guys it was the first time, for Pau (Gasol) it was his first time out of the first round and he went all the way to the Finals. So a lot of things were new, but I think having a year of experience and also learning a lot from that series — because we learned a lot — now we take those lessons and apply them to this season.”

  105. theshmoes, I hope you are right man. But I am just haunted by last year. Yes we can still be dominant, and probably will be.

    It’s in the Finals I worry about. I know that is looking ahead, but I really do think we’ll make it there again. San Antonio and if Houston can get healthy are the only teams I worry about in the west.

    And I was in the camp that if we kept a relatively healthy roster in tact, we would roll thru the playoffs and Finals; no matter who showed up in the East because I knew we were that damn good.

    Now can we win the Finals? Maybe. But it just got a lot damn harder.

  106. To anyone thinking the loss of Bynum ipes out any hope of a Chip, please read Kobe’s comments.

    The difference this year, is we are ready for what any team will try to do. In EVERY game so far, where supposedly the other team was “tougher,” WE took it to THEM. We’ll be ready. Just don’t be on the boat when they prove they’re ready.

  107. Things are bad, but just remember: we have to play for the next 2-3 months with the same Lakers team that made it to the Finals relatively easily last year, but with the addition of a healthy Trevor Ariza and the all the young guys on the bench being a year older and a year more experienced. I’d say that our chances are solid to return to the Finals, and even a mediocre Andrew Bynum sighting would be enough to take down either the Celtics or the Cavs (as we showed earlier this season by beating both teams even though Bynum didn’t play that well). I’d saay things could be a lot worse.

  108. Like Laker fans everywhere, I’m certainly struggling with this blow. Bynum’s physicality, offensive skill, and sheer presence have brought back memories of Shaq. It’s been slightly overlooked, but Drew was becoming our secondary “go to” guy after Kobe. Take the Bobcats game, for example. Following Kobe’s foul out, the Lakers turned to Bynum for clutch, one on one play, and he emphatically delivered, scoring 7 points in the second overtime. We’re certainly going to miss his predominant role in the offense, and perhaps more importantly, his blossoming ability to succeed in isolated, one on one play late in games.

    That said, it’s now up to Gasol to step up and compensate for that void. We all know the guy is versatile enough to move back down low and be just as effective, but he’s got to resume that “Number Two” scoring status that Andrew had recently taken up. The offense had finally learned to initiate the triangle with early passes to the post to Bynum, and hopefully that will continue with Pau instead. This current Laker team might not be as dominant without Bynum, but it’s still an incredible, deep squad. Throw in the addition of Ariza from last season and the experience garnered last year, it should become obvious that the Lakers can still beat anyone in this league. The upcoming slew of games should reaffirm this.

    And finally, let’s all cut back on the trade talk. We’ve got no assets besides Odom, whom we now need more than ever, and Sun Yue, who’d warm the bench for even the Clippers. It doesn’t even merit discussion.

  109. now that bynum is out we REALLY need LO to step up.
    ariza needs to be more consistent with his shots

    and it’ll be interesting to see how the line ups go. will powell get increased PT? mihm?

  110. I think it’s time to start running the offense through Mbenga.

  111. also we did dominate the spurs last year in the conference finals but ginobili was coming off an injury. they have new additions to the team, all of a sudden getting to the championship, we can’t consider it a one and done deal. take into consideration that the spurs play in the championship every other year we have to step up. we can’t play and say “oh well bynum will come back for the playoffs” because it seems that his recovery time takes longer then the norm. he’s also bigger, so it will take longer.

    take into account his size, rehabbing, and getting back to his usual dominant self.. we have to get there without bynum and we might have to win it without bynum

  112. Guys,

    As much as we’re panicking here, this is still a team that went all the way to the Finals last year. Outside of Portland, the teams in the West haven’t improved that much.

    The Spurs have a healthy Manu, but we have a healthy Ariza to play defense on him. The Hornets still have zero depth on their bench (aka the moment Paul or West leave the game, we drop 10) and Chandler has been a shadow of the player he was last year. Denver doesn’t have the defense (especially their frontcourt) or the ability to outscore us in a seven game series. Portland is frankly too young, and doesn’t really have a go-to guy outside of Roy, who I think Kobe can outplay. Knowing Houston, either McGrady, Artest, or Yao won’t be at 100% come playoffs time, and not having that team chemistry with all three playing together will be big. Dallas and Phoenix are filled with problems that make me pretty confident in our prospects of beating them. Utah, if fully healthy, is a team that worries me, but remember that we beat them last year when they were fully healthy without Ariza.

    Anyhow, on the subject of trade scenarios, there really aren’t any bigs available for us to fleece. That said, if Mihm shakes off the cobwebs, he can be a pretty effective backup center. Getting back in a rhythm for the regular season would be important for him. Powell has also shown that he can play quality minutes (notably in the beautiful P&R with Kobe during the first Lakers-Spurs game that looked like Nash-Amare lite). I think that come playoffs time if both of these players step up, we’ll be okay.

    Despite Bynum’s loss though, I still think that our greatest weakness is still at PG. Does anyone have any reasonable trade for picking up say Hinrich? That would alleviate a lot of issues there.

  113. That’s what I’m talking about Kurt!

  114. throw it down low to DJ “I get banged on” Mbenga!!!…haha

  115. Let’s stop saying we are going to make it to the finals and blow the western conference “just like last year” and in the same breath say that we wont lose in the finals “because our team is better this year.” This is a new season, a new team, and many teams are “better” than they were last year. If improvement were the only measure of an NBA champion then let’s go ahead and hand the trophy to the Knicks right now.

    Truth is that young Andrew’s injry hurts our chances. A lot. But with 12 weeks of season left, a lot can happen. For now, I think the players should assume that Andrew will not be back and that for some this means a lot of opportunity. Those that will benefit the most by Drew being out (Mihn, Powell) need to take advantage of the opoportunity and show that they are champions.

    It’s time to prove our mettle folks, not sulk in dissapointment.

  116. Any link for tonight game?

  117. Anyone have a different link.

    This one is lagging really bad for me.

    http://www.justin.tv/nyknicks2009

  118. Anyone have a working link to the game? I’m up at school and can’t watch it on FS West.

    Much thanks.

  119. I say this every time I get to watch a Knicks game — I love listening to Clyde Frazier. He just seems to be enjoying every minute.

  120. Yeah, at least Clyde isn’t a big time homer like Stu…haha

  121. I’m stuck at work… :(

  122. i don’t really buy into the “Bynum is a slow recoverer” theory yet…

    Although Malone took from mid-december to March (~12 weeks) to return to the team after tearing his MCL, he was nearly double the age Andrew is now.

    With Andrew being 21 and in better shape than he was last year, I have confidence we’ll see him this season. Even though he’s big, he’s only 10 pounds heavier than lebron (~270), so his size shouldn’t hold back his recovery too much..

  123. I think all of you should just relax. We’ve added Ariza to last year’s team that went to game 6, with one game that could’ve been won rather handily but lost, and one that we could’ve pulled off.

    Boston, on the other hand, had some growth across the roster but is lacking some pieces that torched us, so I don’t see what the big fuss is about.

    Sure it’d be much nicer to have Bynum, but the gap wasn’t that wide and we did add Ariza to the mix.

  124. Lakers playing well. Kobe seems to be on a mission tonight.

  125. Yeah, while I am obviously disappointed that Bynum got injured again (playing against the same team! in the same month!), I don’t get the people who say that the Lakers are “done” now. This is the lineup that reached the NBA finals last year!

  126. Kobe needs to quit being so timid and try shooting the ball.

  127. for what it’s worth, the prognosis is that he shouldn’t be out for the entire season.

    http://lakers.freedomblogging.com/2009/02/02/severity-of-bynums-torn-ligament-medium-to-high/10836/

  128. Kobe and Gasol brought the “A” game tonight. Everyone else….

  129. Late to the party, just found out and I’m devastated, but there’s nothing we can do about it.

    No trade spec, but I see only 1 possible player that can help us – as someone stated, Alonzo Mourning. Perfect in a 20-25 minute role, ferocious defender, will protect the paint better than Bynum. Only problem – he retired. I wonder how persuasive Mitch is.

    I do think it’s important to at least consider bringing in a 5, because we’ve seen this year how damn efficient Pau is playing his natural position. He’s a killer at the 4. But no real options other than Alonzo, everyone else is in the Mbenga mold.

    Maybe this is how it was ‘meant to be.’ The team that lost last year will have to show how they’ve grown and sharpened mentally. We’ll be fine. This season just got a whole lot more interesting.

  130. 131. I expected a certain amount of freaking out by people today. Tomorrow, things will not be perfect, but things will look a little better, there will be hope.

  131. Kobe going for 81?

  132. omg kobe! i think vlade just played the worst 5 mins of b ball ever lol

  133. I don’t want to hear the optimistic prognoses about bynum. We heard those up through late last year too. Just call me when he’s on the court.

  134. Kobe: I know, I know… I was a facilitator… But I am still KOBE.

    He is one of the best pure scorers anyone has ever seen.

    I like that he is doing this in the first game with Bynum out. Not for the team dynamic, but to remind the fans that the Lakers still have the best basketball player on the planet playing for them.

  135. 132 – From the box score, it doesn’t look like many others have had the opportunity to do much. I like that the 2 leaders have stepped up, Kobe and Pau seem to be sending a message to the rest of the team that there’ll be no pouting or ‘what-ifs.’

  136. I don’t have access to the game, but from the boxscore I’m thinking maybe Kobe will score in the 50′s tonight (maybe 52).

  137. Kobe needs to step it up….hahahaha

  138. Wow, at MSG, they interview celebrities BETWEEN halves. What a weird idea!

  139. I was wrong. I got back home right in time for half time. Sigh.

    So now I’m looking at the box score on Yahoo and reading the comments here and apparently we’re getting some vintage Kobe tonight? Either he feels he needs to compensate for his poor shooting in the first half of the last game, or he is sending a message to each and everyone watching: Bynum may be out, but we are not. We’re on the court, we’re playing hard, we’re still the Lakers.

  140. Actually, we’re NOT the same team we were when we went to the Finals last year. We now have a healthy Ariza (knock on wood) and Pau has actually been through a training camp with the team. There is no reason that we can’t win it all as is, even if Drew doesn’t make it back in time.

    Kobe is lighting it up tonight. He looked set to go for 50 from the tip.

  141. 138- While I’m not saying Kobe isn’t sending a message now that Bynum’s out, he ALWAYS looks to fill it up at Madison Square Garden. He only gets one trip to the Mecha each year, so he tries to make the most of it.

  142. Wow, looks like I missed one of Kobe’s patented scoring explosions. What is the highest points total ever scored at the Garden by an opponent?

  143. What’s the MSG record for points in a game anyways?

  144. 145- great minds…

  145. Well, I think the team will step up more than ever now, because they know this squad can make it to the Final’s AS IS. LO will now be able to show in his contract year what he can do as the Lakers starting PF. I remember LO and Pau doing just fine together last year with many minutes of PT. We do not want Bynum to rush back, remember Arenas last year tried to play and look at where he is now.

  146. Maybe Kobe read this article back in October

    http://nba.fanhouse.com/2008/10/27/most-likely-to-drop-50-in-the-garden-kobe-bryant/

    Let’s hope he (and the team) can keep it up!

  147. smart lamar. smart

  148. Um… guys? Score more?

  149. yeah, would be nice if we actually got some shot attempts in the 2nd half

  150. Kobe will get his 40…
    Pau got his 20-10
    Lamar has double digit rebounds along with 2 blocks and 4 assists…

    Luke has 6 points, 5 assists, 2 rebounds,1 block.

    D’Antoni, the ultimate stat inflater. Must be real nice to play for / against him since he helps you pad your stats.

  151. What record is Kobe going for tonight?

  152. Oh-oh. Kobe cooling?

  153. I know, I wanted more scoring, but isn’t Kobe forcing it a bit…?

  154. I’m a little confused by kobe’s play tonight. He’s been forcing it way too much, when the game plan should be draw some double teams and send it down low. Not to mention the fact that our defense is looking especially porous tonight-why isn’t he working hard defensively and relaxing a bit on offense?

  155. Kobe’s the best scorer ever with 8 good fingers on their shooting hand.

  156. Ps this lineup of pau, ariza, Lamar, Jordan, and Kobe should build up a good lead..let’s hope the lakers make me look good.

  157. Some of the shots Kobe is hitting are absolutely insane – and I’m not even surprised when he makes them.

  158. Somebody needs to tell these trolls that this isn’t ESPN and their spam will be deleted.

  159. against D’Antoni’s team, defense becomes an afterthought because there will be tons and tons of possessions.

    Also, if both teams are running (since that’s our preferred style too) there’s just too much running involved both on offense and on defense… if you run out to attack, you’ll have a hard time running back for defense and it becomes like a senior-old basketball game where one player is permanently planted on the other team’s court ;)

  160. the other Stephen February 2, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    i think that after showing signs of humanity in the last game, kobe resolved not to let his emotions get the better of him and his game again. from here on out, i’m not sure if we’ll be seeing substantially more of kobe the scoring terror, or a lakers team that’s more capable of taking up a share of the scoring load. i expected this from kobe tonight, and i expect odom to really step up as well.

  161. Harold, stop insulting my game :-)

  162. What are the odds some NY columnist tomorrow writes a “Forget getting LeBron in 2010, we can get Kobe when he opts out….”

  163. And, Jordan once dropped 55 on the Knicks according to Joel and Stu.

  164. Jordan dropped 55, Lebron had 50-10-8.

    Kobe has a very, very, unusual 0 rebound performance tonight. Not sure (since i’m box-watching) if that’s cause of his offensive mindset, or because Pau and Lamar (and Powell) are really cleaning things up.

  165. Kurt,

    Mike Breen just asked Clyde if Kobe will go for Jordan’s MSG record.

    No doubt about it. He’s going for 60.

  166. Hate to say I told you so.

    http://nba.fanhouse.com/2008/10/27/most-likely-to-drop-50-in-the-garden-kobe-bryant/

    And Rip Hamilton also got 50 in a triple overtime game in 2006 at MSG (according to my boy Matt Watson). I’m not sure if that should count though.

  167. Pau has 14 rebounds, Lamar has 13… I’m guessing that would be why Kobe hasn’t done much rebounding tonight

  168. I wonder if Lebron will feel challenged to top Kobe…

  169. Haha.

    AND LBJ will be in NY on Wednesday. Kobe is the ultimate showman.

  170. Walt Fraziers voice is so soothing..

  171. Bernard King had a 60 for the home team once.

  172. Kobe would be the 2nd highest scorer in the Knicks team… on FTs alone.

    The man can’t miss (knock)

  173. On the NY broadcast you can hear one lonely fan chanting, “Kobe Sucks”

  174. Jordan’s record was for an opponent.

  175. Wait, Kobe gets a scoring record in the Garden, LeBron arrives a couple of days later… I feel like I should pity the Knicks.

  176. We are done for in the post-season. No defense and Kobe can’t score 50+ every night.

    Looking forward to a healthier 2009-10. Too bad Lamar might not be here.

  177. Beat THAT LeBron!

  178. I think the real question in this game is whether or not we play any actual centers. Small team tonight. No Mihm appearance. Chris Mihm didn’t used to suck as a back up center. I wonder why he doesn’t get more run.

  179. Baylor made 71 pts in the MSG (november 15th, 1960).

    LAL won 123-108

  180. I don’t care if we don’t have much defense if our top two scorers combine for 90 on near 66% shooting.

  181. I really think people do not understand that how many points the other team scores is extremely dependent on the pace of the game. In terms of defensive efficiency were actually quite good at defense and phenomenal in certain stretches.

  182. 185- they did say “in THIS garden.” I dunno when it opened.

    186- yeah, the lakers defense hasn’t been bad this game except that they fouled a lot.

  183. Sorry, Elgin’s 71 pts were in the old MSG (at 50th Street and 8th Avenue)…

    I didn’t remember that…

  184. 1 point off. that kobe guy is pretty good.

  185. Sun rises in the garden.

  186. 181 – Explain last year? Our team is playing better together and has added a key player (Ariza). And that squad was extremely close to winning the Championship (maybe a more fairly officiated game 2 and the Lakers win it all) .

    Bynum is frosting on the cake. This team is very deep even without our All Star center.

    We just need to take a deep breath and remember what it takes to win a ‘ship. And perseverance might be the most important attribute for the cause.

  187. nice confidence booster for the lakers. kobe has told his team and the world that the lakers are still a team to be feared. 61 points! most ever at MSG!

  188. Well deserved standing ovation for Kobe. Are we sure that guy is entirely human?

  189. 3-0 to start the trip. Nice.

  190. Kurt: I was just referring to visiting players. Jamal Crawford has scored 50 in the Garden for the home team too.

  191. The 61 is nice, but I really think Kobe will be remembered for his 3 assists tonight…

  192. 194.

    Yes. He would need to actually get a rebound to be anything else. really though an incredible performance. really wish i had been able to watch the game.

  193. Further to your point ben, the Knicks have shot right around 44% (their usual number) for the game. They just took so many shots that they eventually got to 117.

  194. So, how do you adjust your shot when you have one finger that has recently been dislocated, another that is torn with bone attached, to hit 20 FTs in a row as well as shoot nearly 60% from the field?

    And poor Pau, he’s got 31 pts and 14 rebounds, as well as a few blocks and assists, but was outscored by 30. Still, scored more than anyone on the Knicks, I think.

  195. Disapointing…Kobe was 20 shy of his record…just pitiful. Ok ok ok, even I have to admit…amazing

  196. Also remember for that last 3:00 or so, the Lakers allowed the Knicks to basically score at will, so a 20 pt deficit when to 9 fairly fast. When Kobe went out especially, our guys’ defensive effort when to about zero.

  197. i dont know how ill watch basketball after kobe is gone…. everything else will just be blah

  198. yeah me too. wish i had seen that show. give and take what is due, i appreciate kobe (and pau to an extent) making a statement tonight and i hope he does that thing in the playoffs against the likes of boston and cleveland. i do hope we could have balanced lines every night but come on? kobe will have to deliver at some stretches. just look at this…we won by just 9. a win nonetheless and a 3-0 start is fine. now to rest and show some in cleveland and boston (or is it the other way around?). i do agree that a big man pickup is needed (but who to pick?) and lo need not be traded (for we need his versatility, chemistry with pau and overdue promise right now. a 16-11 line from him night in and out is fine by me). the bench is far more experienced and remains loaded. i have a good feeling surprises are underway. powell can and should shine. so does chris. our points have to do better though. the sun still shines in LA. Go Lakers!

  199. Some of you just have to nit pick. You have to realize that Kobe know when he can have games like this, and when he can’t.

    Tonight was a game he could. It’s a road game against a team they should beat easy (and did). It’s typically games like this where we come out flat. Not to mention, there’s an element to professional basketball (especially at Kobe’s caliber) that we could never fully understand. So, he had 0 rebs and 3 assists. He was still awfully good tonight.

  200. Know what Kobe’s per-48 scoring number is for this game?

    81.

  201. Kobe and Pau totals for 92 points. Wow.

  202. The problem with having Kobe on the Lakers, is that a typical LA fan like myself just gets used to this kind of performance. I don’t want to think of watching a Basketball game without seeing him nightly. I guess the bad fingers are not slowing him down, huh.

  203. Kobe’s performance tonight was merely AVG= Another Vintage Game.

  204. The Lakers savior until Bynum comes back: Chris Mihm!

    I think Kobe was trying to send a message to the rest of the league today by going supernova. He wants everyone to know that number 8 can come back anytime he wants. Seriously, how insane is 61 pts in 37 minutes?!?! I can’t even do that in NBA 2k9.

  205. I think a few (handful) of players in NBA can score 40 points in one game if they got enough shots and was in a zone. The difference with Kobe, MJ, Lebron, Wilt, and Elgin were that they can score 40 points a night if they choose to. Of course, it doesn’t translate into winning games. What’s so amazing about Kobe is that he can turn it on or off whenever he wants to. You know that he wanted to make a statement to the league and the team tonight. By scoring 61 at the garden, he’s declaring that HE WILL NOT LET THEM FALTER with Bynum gone with injury. He’s being the LEADER the team needs him to be. It’s also nice to have a sidekick who can also chip in 31 points. I know that we’ll have tougher time, but the Lakers will not allow Bynum’s injury as an excuse if they don’t win it all this year. They will use it as battle horn signifying the beginning of the crusade to the top of NBA!

  206. i was at this game. it was insane. i don’t know if it was a referendum on the state of the knicks or the state of the lakers that there were easily more kobe fans in the building than there were knicks fans…

  207. the suns are ripping the kings 103 – 55 with a minute left in the 3rd wow

  208. 212,

    Marc Stein was right. The Kings are the NBA’s “feel good” team. If you’re on a losing streak, have chemistry problems, or whatever, you face the Kings, crush them, and get back to business. Good thing for the Suns after they had their closed door meeting about the makeup of the team.

    That said, I don’t think this rule applies to us, as our games against the Kings earlier this season demonstrated :(

  209. well the kings no matter how bad they are doing seem to play the lakers hard all the time, sigh

  210. Whoo! I love it when Kobe refuses to pass the ball! What a player! Greatest player ever!

  211. See comment #61. Kinda prophetic, huh? :-)

    Watching Kobe on nights like tonight is like watching a Baryshnikov ballet, reading Things Fall Apart and watching Denzel Washington in “Training Day” at the SAME TIME. Beautiful, deep yet cutthroat…

  212. PB – Can we not put Lebron in that category of -scorers- yet? Not saying he won’t get there but he doesn’t have any real body of work in that department yet.

    Being put in with Elgin etc you really need to have demonstrated more than Lebron has yet. Agent Zero, Tmac etc all have similar or better -scoring- resumes.

    This isn’t an argument Kobe v Lebron, I couldn’t care less, but its just a statement that Kobe, Elgin, MJ etc did what they did over a long period of time. Let Lebron get there himself, like we all know he will, before we throw him around with those names. Lebron himself wouldn’t feel comfortable with that kind of praise.

  213. The scary part about Kobe to me is that after watching him for so long, its not difficult to tell that he’s going to explode. For other guys, they get hot and you think “oh man, he could go for 50!” But with Kobe, you see his face in the first minute, after only one shot, and you just know he’s having a big night.

  214. Kobe was just reminding the rest of the league that he is still Kobe.

    No one is safe when he is feeling it.

    He is one of the few players in the history of the league that cannot be stopped. Single high with help. Doubles, Pressing, Fouling, Tripling… he is relentless and precise and fearless.

    The Laker fans are blessed to have had a handful of players like that (Mikan, Kareem, Magic, Shaq, Wilt) but no one, no one, is on par with Kobe.

    He has almost limitless moves, and angles, and shots.

    He can penetrate, shoot off of screens, create of the dribble, finish strong in traffic, fade away, spins and up and unders.

    Short of tackling him, forget it.

    And if you tackle him, he hits both and comes right back at you.

    Love to watch him play…

  215. harold wrote “Kobe’s the best scorer ever with 8 good fingers on their shooting hand.”

    ahhhh…. I think I know what you meant, but wow! Actually this brought up thoughts of “The Princes Bride” for me and the six fingered man. Do you think that gave him an advantage in sword fighting? extra leverage perhaps? anyway…

    They said this was the record for points at THIS MSG (Garden IV apparently). The record for any was Baylor’s 71. So we now have 2 Lakers with the highest point games on a Knicks court (Fantastic!)

    I believe we will be ok with Bynum out. I hope for him a speedy (and full) recovery. I’m not sure I trust the 8-12 weeks though. I think it might be longer since he took longer than expected last year and with the injury during his senior year of HS. Unless the 8-12 weeks already includes his personally longer recovery time. That would be interesting to find out.

  216. Personally, I think Kobe read Kurt’s interview at http://www.basketball.org and got a little po’ed. Kurt needs to do more interviews where he calls Lebron the MVP so Lakers get more treats like tonight.

  217. Hrm, yeah, didn’t mean that he had 8 fingers on his right hand. That would not be right.

    The thing with Kobe is that he can shoot. As he gets older, he can still be successful becoming a Reggie Miller type shooter, and if he decides to milk his career, become somebody like Steve Kerr. He could probably play THAT role well into his 40s, even.

    It’s sometimes mindboggling to realize that his highlights are mostly body-controlled jumpshots – who else has as many J highlights, really? Sure he has his share of alley oops and dunks (I still remember one where he soared to get the ball from Fisher or Luke) but this guy’s game is built to last a while, built on a solid jumper that has range.

  218. Yea, I just read the 5 on 5 interview also just now, and Kurt you say it how you feel, that’s good, go ahead and piss us off. Keep it up and maybe Kobe will beat his 81 this year or have a quadruple double.

    “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

  219. Paul Forrester bashed kobe’s 61 point performance as some ominous me-first sign that Kobe is taking this on himself and ignores open teammates while only having a puny 3 assists (which apparently is puny only when scores 60 or points and when one is in the 20′s its ok…). He also mentioned a couple of completely untrue and unfair comments about how the celtics as well as lebron showed that a little defense makes kobe completely useless.

    First off on the lebron comment. He said that lebron showed last week that good individual defense makes kobe useless and that only the saving graces of kobe’s teammates made the lakers win.

    1. Lebron barely guarded kobe. So this alone makes Forrester a poor journalist.

    2. Kobe way outplayed lebron when it came to offensive stats (points, assists, fg%: ). This is despite the fact that this doesn’t take into account fast break situations where beating individual defense gives out to team defense and speed so therefore such an analysis doesn’t apply.

    3. It was completely apparent to any reasonable basketball analyzer that kobe was far more efficient and effective in the half court offense using his teammates, setting them up as well as creating good opportunities for himself. Lebron on the other hand was (and is) a more effective rebounder and fast break player (due to his shear size combined with length and linear speed).

    4. The fact that lebron leads the league in fast break points is a double edge sword when it comes to his half court efficiency. It signifies that his rather comparable offensive numbers lose shooting % and point totals when it comes to a pure half court pick-you-apart game. (note: this is not to diminish the value of lebron as a player but merely highlight the different positive and negative attributes of his game, which is outstanding, compared to another outstanding player).

    5. The point is that Forrester is completely wrong and both a poor basketball analyst as well as a poor journalist.

    Now about the finals…

    How bout turning the whole passing thing on its head and having a couple useful teammates (such as the clevand game or many others where kobe racked up assists) makes attempting smothering defense on one to be unnamed superstar useless. Its easy to triple team someone when his teammates can’t make squat. It doesn’t work so well when they are hitting open threes at a 40% clip.

  220. bynum only has a partial tear(grade II) and not a complete tear (grade III)

  221. #218 – I read your comment earlier and couldn’t help but think “he may be right”…

    MVP!!! MVP!!! MVP!!!!

    I love a comment I heard that begged the question of whether or not the number of Kobe fans in attendance was a credit to the Lakers and Kobe’s popularity, or due to a lack of NY Knicks support because of their current position. I like to think Kobe’s greatness is the reason…

  222. 227. I saw that tonight in further reserach, and meant to say something. Sorry for the mistake earlier.

    228. Say what you will about them, but I think Knicks fans are some of the smartest basketball fans out there. (Notice I said fans, not ownership or management.) They have a real passion and understanding of the game. And they like to be entertained. Kobe brought all that to the table, and they thanked him for it.

  223. @ 225, if only there was a precedent of a star SG who later in his career relied more on his jump shot and eventually the fade away in the low post and helped his team win a few championships. ;)

    With Bynum out, time for Kobe to spend more time down low as well?

  224. Aren’t the hardcore fans priced out in MSG just like in Staples though? Everyone in the first 5 rows outside of Spike Lee was a trophy wife or a wall streeter putting his bailout money to good use

    ..and I’ll still put up LA against other city in terms of basketball passion. 90% of the commenters at FBG more or less prove it

  225. woohoo, that was vintage kobe. he is still as good as he was 3/4 years ago. maybe he is even better. at the beginning of the season, people started writing him off a bit. hollinger did it, some hoopsworld dudes did it. mostly they said he could not go to the rack as explosive anymore. simmons said kobe needs to develope a fadeawy jay (as if he could not stroke it off-balanced) or he would decline rapidly. they are simply wrong. i think we will see the same kobe, as we saw last year and he has even more gas in the tank, because he had some rest in the first 30 games. he will climb up the mvp ranks again, because he is still better than lebron, he just is, come on, we know it.

    i think he feels guilty for crashing into drew and he will carry the load from now on. throw in a little pau, lamar, mihm and ariza and you can see that we are heading to the finals again!
    i personaly think that andrew will be back come playoff time. i am a believer!

    keep smiling guys. andrew bynum will be around for the next 15 years, propably. so lets just focus on the now!

  226. 226

    Someone always trots out the same cliches and BS whenever Kobe has a big scoring night. (Lakers win more when Kobe shoots less, yadda, yadda, yadda…) It’s amazing how a 3-time champion who has been to the finals 5 times and missed the playoffs once still needs to ‘prove’ to some random journalist that he can trust his teammates. You can still get easy fodder for a story using that tired angle.

    With that being said, saying LeBron ‘neutralized’ Kobe isn’t even a cliche, it’s a blatant lie and shows how lazy Forrester was in writing that column.

  227. I think we just have to accept that Kobe is the most polarising figure in sports today. As many people love to see him win as they do see him lose. We just have to enjoy watching him play while we have the chance and hope he gets a few more championships!

    Anyway like Kurt said, the Knicks fans are great, they wouldn’t lie about what they saw last night and they clearly enjoyed it. Personally haven’t seen the game yet but am looking forward to it…

  228. The gloom and doom in Lakerdom surrounding Andrew’s injury is premature and misplaced–just as it was last year.

    Rather than a disaster, we may come to see Andrew’s injury as an unfortunate detour. This event may even have increased the prospects of a Laker championship this year. At the very least, it might be an opportunity to appreciate the Laker team and organization in a deeper way.

    The race for “best record” is far from over, even considering the many road games and the loss of Andrew for the Lakers. Injuries and matchups are issues both in the Western and the Eastern Conference. The Lakers have an advantage in that it is easier to win in the West. In addition, the Lakers only need to face Boston, Orlando, and Cleveland twice (they’re 2-2 so far); the Eastern Conference leaders must face each other 4 times.

    We must consider that all teams have injuries–not just the Lakers. The Leprechaun swoon coincided with shoulder injuries to Perkins. Cleveland is without their center. Orlando just lost Jameer Nelson.

    The key concept we must appreciate with the Lakers is “redundancy”–the team has selected, developed and financially supported unusual depth: more outstanding players than available playing time. Compared to last year, Lamar has been playing reduced minutes, Luke and Vladimir have been playing reduced minutes. Mihm virtually none, and Mbenga has been rarely even able to suit up. Turiaff has been replaced by Powell, who has gone from a starter with the Clippers to spectator with the Lakers.

    The price of diminished minutes is rusty performance. With injuries, though, redundancy can reveal a different team that actually outperforms the “healthy” team as forgotten players with renewed playing time take on new roles.

    The clearest example of this last year was the Houston Rockets, who went on a WINNING streak after they lost Yao Ming for the season. This year, with a healthy Yao, the Rockets seem unable to recapture that chemistry with apparently much better players.

    The Lakers were similar to last year’s Rockets–but they found their redundant player through a trade for Pau Gasol. Unlike the Rockets, however, the Lakers were able to reestablish chemistry with the return of Andrew (and Trevor).

    With the loss of Andrew for much of the remaining season (at least), the Lakers will become a different team. Scouting plans by opponents will have to be rethought. How different and in what way remains to be seen.

    If the Lakers “stand pat,” they are likely to use Lamar at the power forward and Pau at Center. Presumably, Mihm could back up Pau, and Powell could back up Lamar.

    The Lakers might look for another “big.”

    I’m not aware of any veteran “bigs” available as free agents, but I could imagine several potentially available in trade that could step right in. The most interesting (to me) would be Marc Gasol, with the Grizz. Given the Grizz season record, they may be looking for salary dumps. If Marc came to the Lakers, brother Pau might be available to remain at power forward under more circumstances. I don’t think anyone thinks Marc is “soft.”

    This new/old Laker team might not be as offensive without Drew, so they would have to do better switching and better transition defense. We got a glimpse of that when the Laker D (with Chris Mihm and no Bynum) only gave up 38 points in the second half.

    Whatever happens–the journey just got more interesting.

  229. drrayeye, do we really need more bigs? I think the depth you just mentioned shows that we don’t need to make any moves. I’m actually keen to see what Mihm can do given some time.

    Imo this is a pretty big setback because I’ve never thought we have looked -really- comfortable in our roles this season. Our team is still feeling eachother and their roles out, as evidenced by Bynum’s scoring explosion. I genuinely feel we needed at least a little bit of time to settle Bynum and the team back down into his new confidence.

    With Bynum out the team looks way more comfortable, because the roles are more defined. There is less clash in the post between Bynum, Gasol and Kobe. I think we needed more time to get this level of comfort with Bynum.

  230. If Bynum’s injury is only a grade II torn MCL than he could be back as early as 3-4 weeks which would give him plenty of time to get his confidence back. If its only a grade II than why is everyone reporting 8-12 weeks?

  231. 234 – Because of last season.

    233 – Right, Bynum’s injury is a definite setback. Over the last 3 weeks or so the team was starting to get comfortable with his increasing role. You could see the transformation from the coaching staff & the players. He was slowly moving into the 2nd option, which IMO is the best thing for this team.

    Now that’s all over. If he comes back in April (and that’s a big if after last year) he’ll come off the bench with no conditioning, having to regain confidence in his knee. Basically starting from scratch. At best he may bring some rebounding, post defense, and catch some lobs with the 2nd unit in limited minutes. How can anyone think this is ideal vs SA and the East winner?

  232. Bynum’s injury always happens at the worst time – when everyone is just getting used to (Bynum included) playing with Bynum.

    We will do fine without him, maybe even better since this is the system we’ve used for a while and because it plays to everyone’s strength – being relatively lithe and coordinated for their position, if a little undersized.

    Without Bynum, we have multi-talented, multi-positional players who can create mismatches while not granting much the other way around.

    With Bynum, everyone’s role must be more defined, which tends to weaken our versatile and free-flowing, no-look-passing, showtime game.

    Until Bynum gets back, I think we’ll have the team of D’Antoni’s dreams.

  233. Ryan – From what someone else said I think they are being cautious because it took so long last time which seems fair.

    Also there was some talk that Bynum’s doctor may not have been so good because he took so long. I might go the other way, the doctor may have been protecting Bynum’s career from a medical standpoint as best he could and thus held him back longer. I’m no orthopod though so its just a theory…

  234. While Bynum’s absence hurts the team overall, the Lakers will be able to compensate for most of what Bynum provided. They have a number of players that, so far this season, have not had to contribute what they are capable of. Odom, Kobe, Gasol, Mihm, Powell can all provide more; now it becomes a question of figuring out the best mix. (Which will also be an issue when Bynum comes back, since he will likely be at some reduced capability for awhile.)

  235. For all those who fear Bynum will be lost for longer than 10-12 wks and won’t be able to fit into the team when he comes back…

    1) Bynum is 21 and this means he is probably learning faster the other players.
    2) Bynum has experience with coming back from a much more serious injury last year and knows what to do better.
    3) Since he recovered, he probably won’t be as afraid of things when he steps on the court.
    4) Since he really was starting to mesh, he will want to reach that point again, faster. He will push himself more.

    While I am concerned, I wouldn’t put last year’s experience on this year’s expectations.

  236. Have not read the thread yet, so may be repeating.

    Based on the nature of the injury and last year’s rehab, I think we have to assume that Bynum will not be back. Also, I think it is fairly clear that the Lakers cannot win the title without Ariza and Bynum. This is last year’s team again right now, so it can make the finals, but I see beating Boston, Cleveland (or perhaps Orlando) as highly unlikely. If they have Ariza and everybody else but not Bynum at playoff time, that will probably not be enough, either.

    Equally problematic, of course, is what this means for Bynum’s future, leaving the 2009 playoffs out of it. Two serious knee injuries before age 22 is a long-term issue that seems certain to affect the man’s entire career arc.

  237. RE: trades
    We already have Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Chris Mihm and DJ Mbenga. Do we really need another big guy in the middle?

    RE: polarizing Kobe
    Let me be the first one to confess that I am a relentless and hopeless Kobe Bryant fangirl in every way.

    I moved to the US in August of 2004, and after watching my husband follow the pre-season and training camp I sat down to watch the first game of the season with him. He obviously cared a lot about this team, so showing interest seemed like a good wife-thing to do. Of course he had no objections and instead told me to pay special attention to Laker player number 8.

    “That short scrawny guy?”

    My husband gave me one of those looks and told me to just watch number 8. So I watched, without understanding what was he so special about him. Until he drove into the lane for a lay-up and shot a beautiful free throw, and that was that. I was hooked on basketbll.

    Here’s the thing: People like me rub the ones who dislike Kobe the wrong way. Whatever criticism you present, I am going to have an argument against it, very often one that includes assuming that at least half the reason you criticize is because you just don’t like him so your criticism really isn’t valid. You point out a flaw, be it on or off the court, and I will point out a virtue that outweighs and outshines it, and I will keep doing it because unlike you, I like this guy. Judging by the number of enthusiastic comments about Kobe’s 61 points yesterday, there are at least two or three others like me out there as well.

    In addition to people like us, NBA announcers have a tendency to go on long tangents about Kobe’s greatness whenever he plays well, and if that annoys me when they do that about other super-stars that I like, I can only imagine the nausea when someone is forced to listen to never-ending adulation for a player they dislike already.

    Throw in the feud with Shaq, the trade demands last summer and that Colorado thing, add on the small but important fact that he’s playing for a team that is defeating most other teams in the league this season, and there just isn’t much reason to start liking Kobe Bryant if you don’t like him already.

    Not that that is going to change my mind, but then, I’m just a hopeless fangirl… you can’t expect me to see reason ;)