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.