Preview & Chat: The Toronto Raptors

Kurt —  February 4, 2009

Records: Lakers 38-9 (1st in the West) Raptors 19-30 (14th in the East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 114.4 (1st in league) Raptors 107.0 (16th in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 105.2 (6th in league) Raptors 109.7 (25th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Raptors Jose Calderon, Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, Andrea Bargnani, Chris Bosh

Bynum Injury Redux: For more info, check out the good brothers over at the Los Angeles Times who talked to ESPN’s in-house doctor about the knee injury.

I think The Dude Abides did the best job I read of explaining how this season is very different from last season:

The difference between Andrew’s injury last season and his injury this year is that this year there is certainty regarding the specific nature of the injury. Last year, he subluxated his patella (momentary dislocation of the kneecap but then it popped back in). I’ve had the same type of injury two or three times, and each time I was back at full strength after one month. However, Andrew’s subluxation was so violent that he also suffered a severe bone bruise, an injury that can take a long time to heal. I once bruised a bone in my foot, and I wasn’t back on the court until two months later.

So, the uncertainty regarding the bone bruise was one factor last year regarding whether or not to have surgery. When it got to mid-May (four months post-injury), and he couldn’t make that final step in rehab, they decided to have his NY doctor take a look. He recommended surgery, and one of the important actions he took in surgery was to smooth the edge of the kneecap, which apparently was rendered a little bit jagged from the subluxation.

In contrast, the partial tear of the MCL is a much more common injury with a straightforward and certain rehab process. No surgery necessary, just strengthening the muscles around Andrew’s knee and increasing the range of motion. I would not be surprised to see him in a game by April 1st.

Thoughts and links: Just a lot of stuff I’ve wanted to get to.

• Great ideas here about upgrading All Star weekend. Maybe my favorite — have the NDBL All-Stars play the NBA Rookie Team. Those “minor leaguers” would have a huge chip on their shoulder and make a real game of it.

• One day after a published interview where I say that LeBron is the MVP right now, I will also agree with the commenters yesterday that said Kobe has injected himself into that conversation now.

Tim Duncan or Shaq? Who is the best big man of his generation?

• Sad to see Jameer Nelson go down, maybe for the season. That guy had clearly put in the work to bring his game up the next level, and he was the second most important player to the Magic. Hope it’s a quick recovery.

• I can’t believe I’m saying this regarding a fictional character, but that Jack In The Box Super Bowl commercial was just disturbing and wrong.

This made me laugh harder than anything has in a while. (Note, lots of cussing, if that offends you.)

The Raptors Coming In: Before the season, there was a question about just how good the Raptors would be, but nobody expected them to be this bad. To help us out, I asked a couple questions of Ryan over at Hoops Addict.

1. Obviously, this year has been a disaster compared to expectations, what went awry?

I think what went wrong is the injury bug struck early and often for Toronto. Heading into the season anyone associated with the team would point to Chris Bosh, Jermaine O’Neal and Jose Calderon as being the three main components to this team. Needless to say, when anyone team loses one of their three main parts they go through a rough stretch. For Toronto this was compounded due to the fact the team was trying to work O’Neal into the mix with new teammates but with him missing nearly one third of the season this has been an impossible task to accomplish.

That’s the easy, surface answer.

If you dig a little deeper you realize that Bryan Colangelo has always rolled the dice but in the past his gambles have paid off. He took a big gamble on his European experiment and when Jorge Garbajosa and Anthony Parker worked out he was adored by the local media and Raptors fans across Canada. This year it kind of fizzled as he placed faith in Calderon being a starter but the Spaniard showed he can’t shoulder starters minutes, Parker’s showing signs of age and his two summer signings – Will Solomon and Roko Ukic – have failed to earn the minutes at backup point guard which have forced Jay Triano to play Parker as the teams backup point guard. He also rolled the dice on O’Neal being able to regain his form and that clearly hasn’t happened.

2. How could the ship be righted long term?

Colangelo needs to roll the dice once again and shake things up… by not making a trade.

Right now the team is only four games out of the playoffs, yet it’s the Eastern Conference we’re talking about so it’s deceiving. While we’re within striking distance of Milwaukee, we’ve lost two heartbreakers within the past month to that team which will more than likely cost us our chance of leapfrogging them in the standings. In fact, if you switch those two losses alone then we’re able to move ahead of Milwaukee and we’re currently sitting in the eighth spot.

What’s sure to drive Colangelo crazy is the knowledge that we had the toughest start to the season of any team in the NBA and our schedule in March and April has us only playing six games with teams that currently have winning records. That means if we win against teams with records under .500 than we could finish the season on a 16-6 run which would have us in the playoffs. Throw into the mix some wins against Houston (who we’ve already beaten), Dallas (who we’ve always played well against) and another playoff team and we could be looking at a better record than last season. None of these games are unwinnable as Toronto has already beaten Orlando this season. There has to be part of Colangelo that wants to deal Jermaine O’Neal to get some help at the wing and bolster our chances of making the playoffs while still improving on last years record.

While that is all fine and good, how does that help us long term? I think this franchise needs to look at what it needs to do to ensure we can re-sign Chris Bosh in the summer of 2010. Personally, I think winning does a long way but with O’Neal’s expiring deal worth nearly $24 that summer it looks to serve as the ticket to being able to afford Bosh while inking another All-Star caliber player to run alongside Bosh and Calderon.

After the team has dealt with trying to add O’Neal into the rotation and switching coaches midseason, is trying to add another player like Shawn Marion into the mix the answer? I don’t think so. If anything, now is the time to hold firm and let some of the pieces gel and get healthy.

Keys To The Game: Kobe drops 61 in the Garden, now he goes to face the Raptors. Has he ever done much against Toronto? Oh, there was this.

Still, I don’t expect 81 or even 61 out of Bryant tonight, but the Raptors have been weak at perimeter defense. They, shockingly, are one of the league leaders in fewest points in the paint allowed. That said, the Lakers can’t go in thinking jumpers, they have to attack the paint, with penetration and with passing, particularly early. But this is a game where Sasha/Fisher/Radman could be big as they get open looks. Oh, and that Kobe guy, too,

The Lakers cannot get caught looking ahead to tomorrow. They started this trip 3-0 and before it even started (back with Bynum healthy) Laker fans would have taken 4-2 as a solid trip. Win tonight and you can do no worse than that, and you get the chance tomake a statement in the next two games. But they need to win this game first. Focus on the task at hand.

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



179 responses to Preview & Chat: The Toronto Raptors

  1. J.A. Adande is a smuck! Kobe gives an artistic performance, and the corporation disguised as a reporter writes an article about how Kobe has to worry about being over the hill. The guy doesn’t have a creative bone is his body. What is it with these corporate types? Are they that resentful of imagination?

  2. To be fair to Colangelo, you have to gamble to build a good team (unless like the Lakers and Celtics you can make favorable trades) to get good supporting players to surround a high draft pick. San Antonio taking Parker and Ginoibli is a prime example.

    But what could they get for O’Neal now? If say, Maimi gave up Marion they take a real chance of blowing up a season that has come together better than expected. Can you get a good run out of Jermaine?

    Speaking of the Spurs, it seemed strange to rest Duncan and Parker in the second night of a back to back. True, Denver is rough on the lungs, but going into the game the Spurs were only 5 games back of the Lakers in the loss column for best record in the West.

    Is Pop hoping that New Orleans falls to a 4 or 5 seed and Denver (or Portland)gets the 3 seed? In that case the 2 seed looks pretty good.

    Too bad for Orlando and Jameer Nelson. It’s nice to see a young player blossom before your eyes and gut wrenching when they go down to injury. We Lakers fans know.

    Just seeing Bynum on the bench and looking cheerful in New York said alot about how this year is different from last year.

  3. #1

    I don’t read Adande anymore. I don’t trust his opinions. He’s a decent writer, but I feel he has to invent negative things to say about the Lakers so he doesn’t come off as biased since he worked for the LA Times and covered the Lakers.

    And, unfortunately for Toronto, I do not see Bosh staying with the Raptors. They have had a miserable season and I do not see how they turn into a championship contender in one season. Colangelo could prove me wrong . . . but I doubt it.

  4. About tonight’s game, it will be interesting to see how the defense adjusts to Calderon. The Raptors are not physical, but they have a PG blessed with great court vision, high basketball IQ and a great shooting touch… If our defense doesn’t show up, we might be surprised… Just a heads up, because I think it will show up.

  5. I heard an “injury analyst” (whatever that is) on a talk show Sunday discussing Bynum’s injury – she said that a couple of positives re his comeback are that he has gone through the rehab process before, so he knows what it takes for it to be successful. Also, he is in much better overall shape than he was last year, which should accelerate the healing.

  6. How much more ridiculous does “Lamar and Andrew for Jermaine” sound today?

  7. Kurt,

    If the Lakers win tonight, 4-2 would be hard to stomach. I would need at least 5-1 now.

    So far, the Lakers have responded very well in statement games, and with Bynum going down, these games have magnified 17 times. Everyone wants to see if they are able to beat these team without Bynum, if in fact they have to.

    It would be great to have at least one of these games, preferably against Boston.

  8. 4-2 sounds real good.

  9. Thanks for the link to the WTF blanket video. I needed a good laugh. For the last 3 days I’ve been sitting in front of my computer writing a fellowship application, which can get kind of tiresome after a while.

    This could be one of those games where a team looks pass an easier opponent on the first night of a back to back towards the tougher opponent the next night. Hopefully the Lakers come out focused and take care of business so that Kobe, Pau and Fisher don’t need to play a lot of minutes.

    Is 82 too much to hope for?

  10. Andres,

    Sorry. 4-2 sounds good on the surface, or *before* the trip started, as Kurt mentioned. But in reality, 4-2, now would be beating 4 weak teams, and 2 losses to elite teams.

    4-2 is no longer good for this trip. The stakes have been raised. These next two games are for psyche. Of course, they aren’t live or die. But it is imperative to play well in these games.

  11. Really looking forward to the revenge game tomorrow. To be honest, I hope KG isn’t playing so that when we beat the Lakers, y’all don’t have a built-in excuse that we won because Bynum wasn’t playing.

  12. Celts Nation,

    As many times as you’re on this blog, I’d think you were a closet Laker fan. Are the fans at Celtics blog that boring?
    Any way, it should be a great game. Don’t forget that you guys will have an extra day’s rest when you play us, so if you were to lose….well, enough said.

  13. As much as would love to see a win in either Boston or Cleveland, technically we don’t have to beat these teams on this trip. Yes, we will be better off if we do, and we will have more home court advantages in the play-offs if we do, but if I had to choose, I’ll take a loss now for a win in June. That’s when we HAVE to beat them. Right now we just very much want to.

  14. I don’t get the trading losses now for wins later thing. 4-2?, 5-1? Are we leaving ourselves an out so we don’t feel bad after losses? The Lakers should go 6-0 on this trip. A 6-0 road trip by snapping the Cavs home win streak and punching Boston in the mouth would makes a statement. And it’s very doable.

    I’ve been waiting all season for the road games to start. This team has responded very well to the road the 2nd half of the season the last few years. Time to gel.

  15. Clutch824,

    I agree.


    I’m at celticsblog often. They’re starting to call me their resident Laker fan. Nothing wrong with that. It’s good to know what other teams and fans are doing or thinking.


    What do you go by on Celticsblog?

    This game is under tough circumstances, but we have to show what we’re made out of.

  16. At least this time we won’t hear the nonsense that the game meant more to the Lakers than the Celtics.

  17. wondahbap – exactly, it’s good to see/evaluate what the enemy is thinking. Also, while I’m a voracious reader of, I haven’t actually bothered to sign up for an account – as you may imagine, there is nothing I read there that I disagree with!

  18. Calderon can’t shoulder starters minutes? Am I missing something here? Apart from being injured, he’s definately their second best player. He leads the league in assist/TOs, and shoots the 3-ball really well (not to mention the FTs – he hit 87 straight).

    Sure, he hasn’t been real consistent on defence this year, but i attribute that to his hamstring problems more than anything (which has somewhat limited his movement). I’d love to see him in a Laker uniform (no, I’m not talking trades here;)).

  19. Raptors starting lineup will probably be O’Neal/Bosh/Bargnani/Parker/Calderon, they started using that lineup last night

  20. I’m not going to try to speak for anyone else. I feel extremely bad after every single loss, I want perfect seasons and perfect games. I was arguing semantics more than anything else. A perfect road trip would be great, and an even greater statement, but elimination games are must-win games. These are want-win games. Or need-win, if you are me.

    We have an unfortunate history of not playing as well on the road as we do at home. I want 6-0 on this road trip, I hope for 6-0, but I’m not going to be entirely surprised if the road game against the Celtics does not go our way. Second night of a back-to-back, on the road, and without Bynum in the paint… we can still win, but it will be difficult.

  21. emh101,
    Take a look at the CBA. It is very intentionally biased in favor of a player signing with their current club. Bosh does not have a lot of outside income clout, so he can’t afford to walk away from $30M dollars or so, just to change clubs.

  22. This is a very important game in the context of the road trip. We really haven’t played a game without Bynum (the Knick’s style + Kobe’s 61 doesn’t help the team’s adjustment to missing such a dominant option) and need to determine our identity without him. I don’t agree we now are the same team that went to the Finals with last year as the players and chemistry have evolved since then, but I do agree with preview that the team needs to continue to go inside, using Pau and Kobe (and to a certain extent Odom), to continue the team’s development as a predominantly inside-out group. Playing this way tonight will help us gain momentum, chemistry, and identity that will help us in the high-profile “important” games later on this week.

  23. Wondahbap, on comment 7:
    I enjoyed the reference to Bynum “these games have magnified 17 times” made me smile 🙂

  24. Craig-Bosh will have more exposure opportunities if he plays in the US and he will want to be on a better club if Tornto doesn’t improve.

    Kurt-I think Shaq is hands down the best big of his generation. He led a team to a 3-peat, and clearly was dominant for a long stretch. Duncan has been more consistent over time, but never as dominant as Shaq.

    Goo-I’m not sure they run that lineup out again tonight, as it was a disaster yesterday.

    Tonight we need to focus on taking care of biz in the first 3 quarters, and hopefully letting Kobe, Pau and Fish get some rest in the 4th as we have a big one tommorow.

  25. the other Stephen February 4, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    in the past week, hordes of fans have accused bynum of being everything from a dirty player to a murderer, and rejoiced when he too, got injured, saying he deserved nothing less.

    two days ago, kendrick porkins did this, and i haven’t heard a damn peep out of anyone:

    i’m pretty sure that most sports fans in this country have started to mate with vegetables.

  26. The difference #25 is that while Gerald Wallace has a collapsed lung and is out indefinitely, Maxiell is perfectly okay. And it’s Perkins to you, son.

  27. For 3 seasons, Shaq dominated the league in a way Duncan didn’t. Shaq reached a higher level for a short period, Duncan was more stable throughout his career. Really can’t pick…

  28. Ok, while I like everyone else was amazed once again at Kobe’s 61, are we forgetting about the other part of the 1-2 punch. Nothing has been said about Pau’s 31-14-5.

    In some ways, it almost looks better than Kobe’s 61-0-2.

    Good luck today guys, hopefully they show it on ESPN which I can record. Otherwise, Lakers Radio for me! (At work as its played at like 11am here, and the internet connection is shite not to mention my boss would be pissed if I watched a stream for 2 1/2 hours!)

  29. Andreas-Calderon is a good player, but they were a better team with TJ Ford starting, it just fit their system better. Now they have no system, and Calderon walks the ball up the court and they just ISO Bosh. It’s really sad to see a team on the rise fall so fast, but the biggest mistake of all was moving Ford, he really created opportunities that Calderon can’t. On the right team though, Calderon could be a viable and valubale starter.

    Emh101-I agree 100% with you on Adande, ever since he went to Around the Horn he has become a simplistic ESPN/mainstream media type who looks to make outlandish comments to generate hits/ratings, I won’t help him with that.

  30. celt’s – one was intentional, the other was not. one got ejected, correctly so, you figure it out

  31. Never mind intent hm? Let’s look only at the outcome and not pay any attention to whether Wallace’s injury was a fluke or intentional?

    Caveat:I have not seen the YouTube video of the Perkins foul. Work has been blocking YouTube since one of the vegetables that agreed to mate with to a non-thinking fan used the provided internet connection to look at YouTube’s adult selection… I base my comment on seeing Bynum fouling Wallace, and no, I don’t think he was trying to injure Wallace at all. I think it was just bad luck.

  32. Celts Nation-Were you one of the “fans” in Boston that was chanting MVP for Kobe back in the 2006-2007 season? I don’t care how bad it gets in LA, we will never chant MVP for the oppossing player. Funny how they all pretend to hate Kobe now. Once Garnett and Allen and Pierce are gone, Celtic “fans” will probably be chanting MVP for the oppossing teams players again. I’m glad there’s a new generation to the rivalry, I was pretty saddened to see Boston give up for 20 years.

  33. i’m hoping a good chunk of bynum’s minutes end up going to powell while bynum’s out. like what i’m seeing from that kid.

  34. While I was crushed by another injury to Bynum just as he was beginning to show his full game once again, I do think its going to end up having some positive side effects.

    Its going to give some much needed floor time to some of the bench guys, which will ultimately help make them better players, and make the team stronger should they have to call on them. 3 guys in particular I’m keeping an eye on.

    1. Chris Mihm. He’s never going to be a spectacular center, but he’s solid and reliable. He’s finally healthy, and he provides a decent physical presence.

    2. Josh Powell. I like this kid a lot. Has a nice mid-range jumper, and hits the boards like a madman. He’s got rebounder’s instincts, which you just can’t teach. If he works some more on his defense and at a low post game, I think he’s gonna be a good player.

    3. Lamar Odom. His contract is up, and he couldn’t ask for a better situation to audition his skills. He’s going to have to step up his game and show everyone what he can really do.

    Should be a fun ride. Here’s hoping Andrew gets back for the start of the playoffs so he’ll have a couple of series to warm up for the WCF against the Spurs, and then the Celtics in the Finals.

  35. Hey leprechaun – you would have seen a good those of what Bynum would have done to porkins had he not gotten injured. We’ll talk come thursday after our Lakers lay a beatdown on you trolls.

  36. sorry *dose*

  37. sorry for the multiple posts, but please lets not resort to yahoo-esque, mindless blog comments here – lets keep the high standard here and not allow trolls to post their crap here

  38. Am I the only one that isn’t worried about the Celtics?

    They are a nothing team. LeBron and Co, along with their Zebra buddies and the Sternean overlord, are going to eat them alive come playoff time.

    Remember what happened in Cleveland without big Z?

    As a Laker fan, I am mostly concerned with the Craboliers.

  39. Kwame A, I wasn’t. And were you one of those “Laker fans” who wanted to trade Kobe to the Bulls (or Bynum to the Nets for Kidd)???

    And Busterjonez, yes, you are the only one not worried about the Celtics.

  40. kwame a.

    100% agree. Many sports pundits give these radical, “all or nothing” type of opinions just to be controversial. I wish for a show with sports analysts that can spur the type of rational, intelligent conversation that we have (for the most part) here at FB&G.

    Craig W.

    Good point about Bosh being able to make more money with the Raptors. But I wonder if the pull of a bigger market and promises of greater NBA glory won’t entice him out of Toronto. Maybe a sign and trade or something of that sort.

  41. the other Stephen February 4, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    what i aim to establish is that as much as i dislike a team, i would never, ever wish injuries upon its player, or rejoice when such things happen. in the end, all i want is to sit down and watch a good game of basketball. and i’m sure it’s quite similar for the players themselves. this whole thing has just been a soupy mess of

  42. the other Stephen February 4, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    clouded judgement and self-righteousness.

  43. Well said other stephen.

  44. Well said, Other Stephen. While we all would love to face the Celtics without Garnett or Perkins, or the Cavs without LeBron, only the immature and small-minded would actually wish for them to get injured. That is what haters do, not fans.

  45. Kurt-What’s your take on Jon and Dodgerthoughts going to the LA Times. I can’t believe how both of you guys have blown up so much in the last 3-4 years.

  46. I ditto the other stephen sentiment. and I’d like to add that I would PREFER to play a healthy celtics/cavs/whatever team. I want our guys to beat their guys at their BEST. it’s the only way to be fully satisfied.

    maybe I’ve just grown up being spoiled by a great franchise, but I can’t understand why some fans actually relish in injuries to their rivals.

  47. If you didn’t see this, great stuff from the Brothers K who talked to a doctor about Bynum’s knee:–1.html

  48. Kwame A. – Well put, indeed.

    Celts Agitation – Enjoy this season and possibly next, because after that, Pierce and Co. will likely really need the wheelchair (and not because of some fake injury). And it’s nice to know that we Laker fans have witnessed arguably one of the greatest to ever play do so for one team – ours. Once the Celts revert back to their post-Lenny Bias curse ways, normalcy will ensue.

    Here’s hoping that this one is in the refrigerator early tonight.

  49. I’m surprised nobody brought up this yet but Popovich rested Duncan, Parker, and Manu against Denver. Manu had a legitimate reason but Duncan and Parker was based on “various reasons” that Popovich would not mention.

    Would it be good for us to rest some of our key guys in a game down the stretch? Give Fish, Kobe, and Gasol the night off in late March so they can be fresh to build some momentum in April?

    I personally would rather have them play limited minutes than have them sit out in hopes of not disturbing the flow of the team. Alot of blogs are beating down on Popovich’s decision but I think his decision was good due to the fact that the Spurs are a veteran and very smart team so resting them here and there will only benefit their aging players. We don’t have the luxury because the majority of our team is so young.


  50. Kwame a: You make a valid point. I still think the hamstring plays a part in this though. I’ve watched quite a lot of Calde in both Raptors and the national team and it looks to me like he’s been penetrating a little bit less this season (which in turn leads to the stagnant offense that you speak of).

    Last season I thought they were a better team when TJ was out and Calde started, but that’s just my opinion of course (and I admit to being a bit biased when discussing Spanish players since I’m half Spanish=)).

  51. 49.

    I watched the Nugs/Spurs game and I thought it was brilliant. The Spurs know they ‘currently’ don’t have the depth to compete with the Lakers, so why not accelerate the maturation by putting some of the bench players in tough games now without Duncan, Parker or Manu to bail them out. By benching the stars, players like Bonner, Hill and Mason got valuable mins that our Powell, Mihm and Mbenga likely won’t get (maybe now with the Bynum’s injury). In late April when Mason or Hill has a big game, I’ll look back to this ‘benching’ as to why.

    I definitely think Pop was thinking Lakers in terms of this move. Looking at CP3 being out for a few games, and I don’t really think the Spurs respect Portland or Denver, they could afford to wing it last night and still hold firmly to the #2 seed. And the Spurs reserves still made a game out of it.

  52. Shaq vs Duncan…

    If you could pick one of the two and be stuck with him from their rookie years until the end, who would you pick?

    I’d pick Shaq, as he was a force from the get-go and is still a very good player despite his questionable working ethic and penchant for attention (one of the greatest divas of our time).

    Duncan’s ‘sustained excellence’ is great but Shaq’s level hasn’t been bad either, and on their peak, I’d say Shaq was far more unstoppable than Duncan, although Duncan probably is the better player on defense.

  53. And Shaq v. Duncan?

    While I think Duncan is one of the most underrated players of all time, mainly from a skill set position, I’d definitely go with Shaq 10 times out of 10. Most dominate player I’ve ever seen not named Michael Jeffrey Jordan. Although he should have been more committed to rebounding in his prime. Between 95-01, Shaq had the capacity to be a 20/20 man for a number of years.

  54. any links to the game?

  55. Wow, ridiculously tall lineup for the (c)Raptors today, Joey Graham in for Calderon…2 SF’s and 3 PF/C’s

  56. Add that one to Lamar’s Greatest Hits and Misses reel

  57. 55 – Is it just me, or is the stream kind of laggy? It starts and stops every few seconds.

    Not that I’m complaining, but..

    yeah. I’m complaining. Sorry. Thanks.

  58. 58. Its working fine for me. The last two games I couldn’t watch because every link i could find was lagging so bad that it was unwatchable

  59. The Raptors announcers say that the Lakers lack “grit” and “toughness.” Sigh.

  60. you guys need a T1 line or something…cuz no lag here…

  61. I’m not actually able to see the game, I can only see the score. 🙁 So far I’m not liking how many points we’re giving up early. 17 in five minutes…

  62. Wow could this start be any worse. The Lakers heads are not in the game, and they are missing a lot of easy shots.

  63. 59 – Thanks. It’s probably my internet connection, cause I’m at school and the bandwidth is probably being used up.

    Thanks for the link.

  64. Unable to watch being at work, but what is going on with the game? Odom and Luke both with 2 fouls and 23 points for the Rapts? Can someone explain?

  65. KOBE!!!. I want 82.

  66. #64– I’m at work, and I have the problem that in addition to the bandwidth the corporate firewall doesn’t like streaming anything, so they block those things. Your school could have a similar policy, where instead of blocking they just screen it so thoroughly things get slowed down.

  67. 21-23, time-out Raptors.

    Go get them Kobe!

  68. Yea Lebron, its all about team, and youre not worried about individual accolades….11 pts in 5 mins to start the game seems to imply somebody was watchin the player formerly known as ocho.

  69. 41-43 Raptors.

    Good game. Thanks for the link Ryan!

  70. Gotta love J.O. Hasn’t done squat all season and he choses this game to start hustling. Jeez.

  71. Mihm? Seriously? his ankle might be 100%, but his vertical is still 3″….geez

  72. I’m hoping LeBron fails to get 62 points tonight… though it does him credit that he is trying. If I admire that drive in Kobe, I should in all fairness admit that it is a virtue in other players as well.

    Go Lakers! Let’s be ahead at the half.

  73. What is that now, 100 ft’s for the Raptors.

  74. yeah, I think oneal is definitely playing his “please trade for me” game

  75. fairly dodgy offciating so far

  76. ps lebron has 20 after 1st quarter

  77. hmmm…the king trying to one up kobe huh?!?

  78. lebron’s going for 80 hehe

  79. At the rate Labron is going, I think he’s aiming to break Kobe’s record. If he gets 20 every quarter, he’ll be 1 shy of Kobe’s 81. Interesting to see him taking on the challenge and hype of tonight’s game.

  80. some D would be nice

  81. Geez…..2001 called, wants its Jermaine O’Neal back

  82. Hopefully Kobe doesn’t come out in the 2nd half trying to outdo Labron, gunning to be top dog. It will not be good for the rest of the team as much as I like Kobe to break 81.

  83. I wish in the end, knicks beat Cavaliers while Lebron scores 61 points.

  84. BTW, apparently TNT will host a HORSE event on allstar weekend:

    it’s not an official all-star event though. we’ll have to see…

  85. I think Lebron is going for something more impressive.. like a 40-10-10

  86. Lakers are getting good shots. They are just not hitting them. And the Lakers defense is lazy. Luke should have gone after that loose ball.

  87. we definitely miss bynum tonight…

  88. that’s not impressive…he already did a 50-10-8 in MSG…more like 60-10-10-5

  89. 88

    yeah, that’s right.. something like that.. and we all know he’s capable of doing that..

  90. I think LeBron is the second coming of Jesus.

  91. How many offensive rebounds is that now for the Raps

  92. Lebron on his way to 40 now… I still say this is unfair to the Knicks.

  93. Lebron’s definitely gunning for Kobe. 4 shots in the first 3 minutes of the second half, 16 in the first half.

    But of course, tomorrow we’ll be serenaded with how Lebron plays so well within a team game. He only took that many shots because he was taking what the defense was giving him. The lights of MSG blinded him so he couldn’t see his teammates.

    But Lebron, wanting to score first? Blasphemous.

  94. Wow with D like that I could score on the Lakers.

  95. We let Roko Ukic stroll up the lane and score? I pray this isn’t the defensive effort we show tomorrow.

  96. does it seem to you like Kobe makes his shots harder than they need to be? he’s always falling back, away, or leaning one way or the other. a lot of it is avoiding a block, but it seems he does it so much out of habit that he falls away when he doesn’t even need to. of course Kobe being Kobe, he can do that, but I think he could do better if he makes more of a conscious effort to go straight up and down.

  97. Please tell me I’m not the only one who finds the Raptors announcers extremely annoying?

  98. is sasha cant make that shot then why is he playing

  99. sorry sasha, made me look silly

  100. 96, been watching on mute for the past half hour

  101. Sprained right knee for Bosh. Ouch. If he’s out for any significant period of time, the Raptors’ playoffs chances are nil. Not good for keeping Bosh in ’10.

  102. 96

    I wish you were, but my ears are bleeding right now.

  103. Pau is having a good night. If he can be as effective on the defensive end, I think we’ll be okay for the next few w… uh-oh. What happened to Lamar?

  104. The announcers are calling this game like it’s the Finals.

  105. why is sasha in there and not ariza?

  106. 95

    You mean like that shot there?

  107. It is becoming apparent that Pau, Kobe, and Lamar are offensively filling the void left by Andrew Bynum..defense, however, is another story.

  108. Kobe saving us in the clutch.

  109. watching those last 2 kobe shots, you have to think: why does he ever shoot the first kind where he triple fakes then takes the crazy turn around. I mean, there was still 10 sec. on the clock.

    anyways, kobe time on the 2nd shot.

  110. kobe and pau playing some big minutes tonight – i hope they’ve got some left for tomorrow

  111. 106

    To be fair, the defense wasn’t exactly locking things down even with Bynum in the middle. Dribble penetration (especially from the PG) and motion offenses befuddle these guys way too often.

  112. Kobe does his Kobe thing… best closer in the league is at it again. *cue fangirl moment*

  113. Where’s Joel?

    STOP! Kobe Time!

  114. well, we pulled it out, once again proving that we can lock down when it counts. I wish we could expand our definition of “when it counts,” but i guess you take what you can get

  115. 111

    Ah sorry, I was slacking, it won’t happen again. 🙁

  116. Ugly win, but then again, we were playing less-than-stellar leading up to the Christmas game and we know how that ended up. Look forward to the game tomorrow.

  117. Anyway, it’s ‘LeBron time’ now. This Knicks game is looking interesting.


    The Lakers don’t have the defensive discipline to crush inferior teams like Toronto on a consistent basis. I won’t be surprised if they suddenly remember how to play D on Thursday and Sunday.

  118. at this point I’m totally comfortable (though not happy) with this type of win. 3 sloppy quarters, 1 focused/efficient quarter. we do this against most of the weaker teams. I’m sure tomorrow will be different.

  119. go knicks!

  120. i just want to get this game over and done with and bring it on with boston and cleveland. i am not willing to concede a 4-2 trip though that may just be enough for such a stretch. are we having another 6-game trip again? all i know is that we’d be having more road games to the end. i also know that boston is not 100%, has a string of wins that we last broke at that rate and the lakers are better than last year (but a winded kobe-pau is another thing). implying? i just hope we bag a convincing W and sweep the series. about cleveland they have a winning, o goodness, a loss-less stint at home and a determined lebron james. again, we have kobe and pau and the rest of the mob. but i hope we do not run out of gas. implying? let’s take this 6-0 shall we? go Lakers!

  121. Lebron is amazing…..50/10/8 is what he’s probably going to end up with…….wow.

    Of course that means tomorrow we get to hear all the pundits compare Kobe and Lebron and ask, which is more impressive: 61 pts or 50/10/8…….lame.

  122. Kobe 61 and now Lebron 50 and counting. It doesnt seem like the Knicks care about containing the big players.

  123. 118

    I think they’ll do more ‘telling’ than ‘asking’, but what the heck. You can’t really blame them when Kobe breaks the scoring record at MSG and LeBron responds with 50+ points and a near triple-double 2 nights later.

  124. if were gonna compare it should be noted that kobe shot 10 percent better and played less minutes but either way both amazing players

  125. Did I say ‘near’ triple-double?

  126. 52 pts, 10 rebs, 11 assists. Amazing game.

    Knicks were screwed on a call late, though.

  127. Joel..good point, I definitely do think they played a little more timid defensively knowing there wasn’t a backup in the middle who should be there, but yes..the defense with andrew against penetration/big shooters was iffy as it was.

    95 luubi

    I completely agree..often he can make one extra pass and get the hockey assist through another extra pass made to an open three or a cutting Pau. When this happens, we call it Kobe “facilitating.” but when kobe feels “in rhythm” I think he likes to take things into his own hands, even if it means shooting fadeaway jumpers with 10 seconds on the shot clock, two defenders, and on the way down. A little frustrating.

  128. 52-10-11 is more impressive than 61…but that still doesn’t mean that Lebron is a better player than Kobe. In Cavs offense, Lebron initiates the offense almost 90% of the time. In Lakers offense, Kobe initiates the offense 40-60% of the time depending on how little movement of the ball is.

    Still, we are witnessing two of the greatest EVER to play the game, in the realm of Magic, Jordan, and Bird.

  129. lebron might have gotten a triple double, but the guy he was guarding most of the game scored 39 pts on him. Plus, he played 7 more minutes than Kobe. Can you imagine how many more points Kobe could’ve scored in 7 mins? Nevertheless, an amazing feat.

  130. plus, kobe was a +19 for that game and lebron was only a +7…whatever that means…haha

  131. Amazing game by LeBron. Knicks made a game out of it though.

    On an unrelated note, Jaime just got kicked off Top Chef. Wow. Leah should have been sent home. Really is Stephan’s to lose now.

  132. Good win tonight, any win is a good win, right?

    I think our defensive problems stemmed more from our perimeter defense (looking at you Jordan). I really think that with Drew out we have to stress the importance of perimeter defense. Without the big fella to clean up their messes, it falls on Kobe, Fish, Jordan, Sasha and Trevor to stay in front of their men better, and rely less on our bigs coming to swat the shot. I think Sasha is a better defender than Jordan, and in certain games we should let Sasha run the PG. I dont have a reason, but I have noticed that Sasha plays better without Jordan, than he does with him.

  133. PS-Kobe has 97 pts in his last two games and Pau has 62 pts and 29 rebs in his last two. Just sayin.

  134. Stop with the comparisons. They are pointless. Kobe is great. Lebron is great. Each has awesome aspects of their game. Noboby cares who is better, except overly-obsessed fans.

  135. Man, Pau has really stepped up great these last two games. During Bynum’s coming up the last few weeks I kind of got the impression Pau was taking a little off for the youngster, now I think that’s bearing out. I just hope it doesn’t take too much out of him.

    Poor New York. Its become a pinata for the league’s greats to see how much they can single handedly damage them. Maybe the Celtics will go in and just try to double them up on the scoreboard…

  136. Some (potentially) good news in case you guys didn’t see it:

    “Phil Jackson said Wednesday that Andrew Bynum (right knee) will concentrate on icing and resting his knee for the next two weeks, then spend another two weeks on conditioning drills.
    At that point, barring any setbacks, it’s possible that Bynum could resume basketball activities and possibly return in five weeks or so. We’re still not sure why the Lakers said he’d miss 8-12 weeks, as several doctors have told Rotoworld that the typical recovery time for a moderate MCL tear is 4-6 weeks.” via Rotoworld

    Granted, it’s from a fantasy site and I don’t want to get my hopes up too much…but still encouraging.

  137. The guy I was disappointed with tonight was Lamar – the Smush of the night. The guy started out with a turnover and just kept at it with the ‘brain farts’. I know I watch Lamar because I am afraid what he might do, but tonight we needed him to be steady.

    I really think he makes fewer mistakes when he comes off the bench – he has said he gets to get a feel for the flow when he doesn’t start.

    As a result of our porous defense Pau played 43+ minutes, with Boston coming up. Of course he was rock steady, but we will really need him tomorrow night.

  138. Craig-I think you’re being overly harsh with Lamar, he played a solid game. It wasn’t his man who went for a career high, and he wasn’t guarding the players who were penetrating. I know the turnover stood out as a typical “Odumb” play, but he had a solid game and played better on D than most of our other players. Just think as the bonehead plays as Lamar being Lamar

  139. rhetorical question: what would we do without Gasol? Sir Pau, I dub thee The Rock (as in: steady). We are blessed to have found a player who does so well and reliably what we need him to do, and who is so temperamentally suited to playing along side (and in the shadow of) Kobe.

  140. How much you want to bet that sportcenter will ask the question, “Who had the more impressive game, Kobe or Lebron”, or will ask who is better. One of the 2. By all around stats Lebron had a way better game.

  141. Lebron is ridiculous. He took the bait. He was obviously gunning for Kobe’s record in the garden. The only thing more ridiculous than Lebron? The Knicks!! Hell, they got to entertain the fans somehow.

  142. Im so incrediby sick of ESPN’s lovefest with lebron. It’s never gonna stop.

  143. Interesting excerpt:

    “Unlike Monday, when the MSG crowd loudly cheered for Bryant, the fans were behind the Knicks in this one. ”

    Probably just because this was a close game. Still, Kobe is the more polarizing force. You’d think NY would cheer for Lebron, as they’re trying to woo him. But Kobe’s personality is simply larger than Lebron’s at this point.

    kwame a – I’ve noticed the exact same thing. For some reason, Jordan seems to detract from Sasha’s performances. Both can be great sparks off the bench, and maybe Phil should alternate to see who’s hot on a given day (both are inconsistent). But I value Sasha’s D over Jordan’s contributions. I’d like to see Sasha close out more games at the point, like last year.

  144. Lebron plays in the same conference as Kobe. Its easier to cheer for a guy you know you won’t see in the playoffs, and only see once a year at home. There’s also a lot more Lakers fans translplanted all over the country than Cavs fans.

  145. Same conference as the Knicks. I’m an idiot

  146. Just watched Lebron’s post game conference on espn and i just noticed the king is losing his hair drastically…is he really on 24 yrs old????

  147. The thought of a Cavs-Knicks playoffs series is hilarious. The media frenzy would be overwhelming. If the Knicks actually stole a game (which I doubt immensely; LeBron can play 45+ minutes a game in the playoffs and would absolutely shred a D’Antoni-led defense in playoff mode), the NY media would explode with Atlanta-Boston comparisons. Fun, fun.

    For the five to seven spots in the East, Detroit, Miami, and Philadelphia are frankly too good not to drop out at this point. Detroit has too much talent and will get better as the season goes on. Miami has Wade and Beasley will develop more. Philly is getting their mojo together (I really, really thought they had Boston beat the other night), and I think Brand is traded or switched in at center for Dalembert.

    As for the teams jostling for the last spot, Milwaukee, New Jersey, Chicago, New York, and Charlotte are fairly close. Milwaukee just lost Bogut for eight weeks, so I think their window closes, as Hammond will be looking towards the future with trades. I don’t think New Jersey has the depth to make it, despite how well Harris, Carter, and Lopez are playing. Until Chicago shows that they have chemistry and can run a respectable offense for 48 minutes, then they probably can’t make it. New York just needs a stretch in which they’re knocking down the shots and they probably have a shot; consistency is king there. I had Charlotte as a dark horse candidate until they lost Wallace. Morrison is playing positively abysmally as his replacement (single-digit PER). Everyone else is too far out. Toronto is likely going to lose Bosh, which nukes their chances. Washington is way too far gone to have a chance. In the end, I’m going to chalk it up as a race between New Jersey, Chicago, and New York as the first round sacrificial lamb to the Cavs or the Celtics. New York has a reasonable chance (unless they something to cut salary, like dumping Lee somewhere).

  148. 4th game of the road trip and we still came out with a W. Good effort by the team, but there were a few errors that were bugging me throughout the first half. Stu says it best, “Fly by the shooters dominant side and make sure your momentum goes past the offensive player.” Lamar had a few dumb fouls on those contests as did Powell. They need to be taking notes from Ariza, he’s very good about contesting, not fouling a jump shooter, and uses his instincts very well.

    Another issue I worried about was Kobe going mano y mano against J. Graham. Kobe did a little bit of it b/c Graham was going off and tried to embarrass Kobe (that one behind the back spin move) so Kobe’s shot selection was a little questionable in the first half, but got tremendously more selective in the 2nd half, it also helps that he was in the zone.

    I liked how Sasha and Fisher were not forcing their shots up, instead they were working in the flow of the offense. On the other hand I think it’s up to Pau and Kobe to work that inside out game and try to get Sasha going early b/c his offense feeds his defense intensity. Almost like how Radmonivic is absolutely ineffective if he’s not shooting the ball early, he just can’t find his flow to the game. I know he’s still adjusting to coming off the bench, but come on contribute something to the game other than your shot…psst like defense and maybe you will find yourself in the game. Ever heard of us starting Rick Fox over Glen Rice?

    Can’t wait until the game tomorrow. I’m positive KG will play, and I hope our team doesn’t allow themselves to be “punked” if they play hard defense for more than a quarter, stay composed, and rebound I like our chances.

    Sorry for the long post.

    p.s. Kurt sorry about Jamie losing. The new dark horse to win is officially Carla. She’s got that chip on her shoulder and the “nobody believes in me” card going for her.

  149. kwame a.,
    You are probably right about my observation about Lamar. It is just so frustrating that he is so, so, so talented and so, so, so mentally inconsistent. Lamar should have been Lebron, before there was a Lebron, but he just doesn’t have the head for it.

  150. I find it hillarious that Lebron publicly stated that he “isn’t about individual accolades” and then promptly chased down a meaningless rebound with time running out and the game decided to ensure he got a triple double. Had Kobe done this, on the heels of the statement James made, he would have taken heat, of that I am sure. Regardless, kudos to Lebron, I am really looking forward to busting up their streak on Sunday, but I heard we have a game before then against some team from MA.

  151. Any true laker fan knew that AB was going down at some point, the Lakers were good enough to win it all last year, they didn’t but they took two and were in another couple of games, add a healthy Ariza and a smarter Lamar anything is possible. I am not saying they will but if this team stays healthy they have as good a chance as anyone, Pau, Lamar and Ariza with some shooters plus Fisher are comparable with anything Jordan ever had. I expect there to be zero loss on the offensive end, but the Lakers can not afford another injury. Note to coach, bench Bynum against Memphis next year.

  152. 149 Kwame good point Lebron came into the league suppossidely this selfless dude, he is the most arrogant butthole in the NBA. when his team loses and he plays well he points out how good he played individually, bottom line if he was about the team he would abandon his outside jumpshot all together. I will tell you this if the Lakers make the finals we can only pray that it is against Cleveland as Trevor is all about embarrasing lebron.

  153. Sorry i got one more comment, I have been the ultimate Lamar hater for his stay here, but I think the guy is playing extremely well, for chrisake he actually makes jumps shots. Bottom line he boards, and even with Bynum out you don’t really need him to score too much, I think it is a one year thing but Lamar as your fourth or fifth best player is pretty ridiculous. I reserve my hate for Sasha.

  154. The Dude Abides February 5, 2009 at 4:09 am

    Wow. Just got some free time to surf the internet and saw this post. Thanks for the recognition, Kurt. I was able to catch today’s game from a sports bar about 125 miles from home and I can understand why the Raptors give up so few points in the paint. That’s a long front line, and when Jermaine or Bargnani don’t start, Moon has some hops at the SF position. Good to see Pau take up the slack in Drew’s absence.

  155. I’m startin to wonder if we are going to regret the sasha signing in the later years. He seems like a one trick pony. He’s annoying on defense but I don’t know if that means he’s a good defender. He got alot of undeserved credit for guarding a hobbled Ginobili in the spurs series and chasing Korver around in the Jazz series. I love his effort tho, other then his sometimes questionable shot selection he doesn’t make mistakes but I’m starting to think he wasn’t worth the money. His contract and JR smiths contract are pretty similar from what I remember. Was it worth it?

  156. Ryan O. Thats what I was asking. Why the time line of 8-12 weeks if it was a grade II which typically take 3-4 weeks to heal.? Even if it was a severe grade II it shouldn’t take more than 6-8 weeks to heal.

    I have been kind of confused. Maybe they were down playing expectations so that if it only takes 4-6 weeks, than it is seen as Bynum coming back early, but if for some reason it takes the 8-12 than he is on time.

  157. One thing the Raptors had some success with offensively last night with using Parker’s size mismatch on fisher to get some post-up opportunities, offensive put-backs, etc. Then they went with Ukic at the point in the 4th and couldn’t get anything to go offensively save for a little spurt at the end. I thought that was a pretty questionnable coaching move on their part, not that i’m complaining…

  158. Do Kobe, LeBron, and D’Antoni have some sort of bet going on? I wonder how much money’s on the table? Is the NBA becoming the WWF?

  159. So when will they publish the article where it says Lebron scoring 50+ is an ominous sign for the Cavs?

    Why was it a sign for Kobe’s case?

  160. 157. Basketball teams are taking pages out of hockey and NFL franchise books, and not really discussing serious injuries in detail. We don’t know how bad the tear is because they won’t tell us, and we can’t trust their timeline. It’s about confusing the opponent, I guess, although I see little motivation for that in February.

  161. I think that they would rather over estimate the timeline considering what happened last year. Last year they gave the fans time tables that obviously couldn’t be met, and we got frustrated.

    Plus, if we’re still playing very well, they use the extra week or two as a precaution.

  162. 136) j.d.
    “Man, Pau has really stepped up great these last two games.”

    Because of their depth, the Lakers have a fair amount of “game” that wasn’t being utilized with Bynum playing.

  163. I know it’s just a game in Feburary…I know it’s just a game in feburary…

    But DAMN it, I Really, really want a win tonight. Like, BADLY. Really crummy week last week, if we can eke it out tonight, it’ll all be worth it.

  164. 156- Sasha has very good shot selection. He almost never takes a shot that is not in the flow of the offense.

  165. Jeff – sorry to break it down for you like this, but it ain’t gonna happen!

  166. #162:
    I think you’re exactly right. Under-promise and over-deliver is a basic marketing and customer service strategy. Last season they set expectations they were unable to meet for various reasons. It only makes sense they would set them lower this year, and if Bynum comes back sooner than we expected, so much the better.

  167. Also, I don’t think they want false optimism to be brought up. Last year, we thought Bynum would be back by the playoffs, and then he was continuously delayed until he finally had his surgery. Setting expectations low is what the management is shooting for here.

  168. 163) I totally agree with you. We have a lot of flexibilty and everyone will just need to step it up with Bynum out. We should be fine tonight as long as we can keep our intensity up.

  169. #157 and 161 – Or perhaps Bynum has a tear that is somwhere between a II and III, or maybe the Lakers are basing the timeline on the difficulty Bynum had with recovery last year.

    Either way, no big deal. I think its a good sign that (1) Bynum is traveling with the team and not back in LA, and (2) Bynum seems very positive about the situation.

  170. I apologize for getting on everyone’s nerves. Thruth be told, I’m scared about tonight. Frankly, Pierce is having a good – but not great – season, KG has been sick and people are no longer intimiated by him (except for short white point guards), and Rondo has done a dissapearing act. We have won some guys lately, and that’s peachy, but I don’t think this team has what it takes to beat Lebron or DHoward in a seven game series. I guess I just wanted to saver this title a little more. After all, it took almost 20 years to bring one back to beantown and who knows when we will see it again.

    Again, my apologies.

  171. 156. I think Sasha when he gets a fair amount of minutes makes good use of it. Sasha performed pretty well when Farmar was out. As other people have noted b4, Sasha’s game just isn’t as good with Farmar in the mix. I noticed in a couple of plays in past games where Sasha was wide open with no one near him that Farmar, instead of passing to Sasha, chose to take a low percentage shot or drive into a packed lane instead, which he missed. Makes me wonder if there’s some sort of issue with the 2 of them since they are somewhat interchangeable in their roles and may see each other as competition. Just speculations, but it is an intersting thought.

    If I had to chose between the two, I would keep Sasha over Farmar. he plays better defense and shoots better than Farmar and can play the point if necessary. PG is our weekest position at the moment in my opinion.

    149. I thought Leah should have gone also. She demonstrated she wasn’t top chef material for giving up on the quick challenge. Funny thing about Jaime, I had brunch at her restaurant in SF once (b4 the espisode where she undercooked her eggs and got reemed for it) and ordered a simple eggs and bacon, etc. At first glanced I thought my over easy eggs looked pretty good until I flipped it over and discovered it was undercooked just like in the episode. I rated as one of my worse brunch experience for the money I paid ($70 for 2 ppl).

  172. #172:
    Thank you, I feel better now 😉

    Just kidding. Good fight tonight, and hopefully not too much trash talk afterwards, right?

  173. Just goes to show the integrity of the person who masqueraded as me. Really brings home the point about some Laker fans, much better than I ever could.

    [ed. note, I didn’t read the old post closely at first, once I did it was deleted.]

  174. 154.

    Just an idea, but how about reserving your hate for players that play on the other teams?


    Rondo has been tearing it up lately, putting up 14.0 ppg on 60.8 fg%, 10.2 apg, & 5.2 rpg over the last 5 games.

    On another note, I am not sure if anyone has posted this yet, as people tend to focus on the Lakers’ defensive performance, but we put up some amazing offensive efficiency numbers last night with 50.6 fg%, 41.2 3fg%, and 25 assists to only 4 turnovers.

  175. Kurt,

    Bring on the new post already. It’s time for some Celtic bashing.

  176. 160-“So when will they publish the article where it says Lebron scoring 50+ is an ominous sign for the Cavs?

    Why was it a sign for Kobe’s case?”

    Kobe’s was ominous because to a lot of people it looked like he was going to go into extreme gunner mode, which you love when he’s on, and hate when he’s not. (To be honest, some of his shots in the 4th last night against toronto had me cringing — I know Graham can’t guard him but he was really off the mark a few times and I hope that doesn’t show up tonight.)

    I know you were only half serious, but I actually thought it was an ominous sign that despite LBJ’s ridiculous game last night the cavs came down to the last possession against a team that the lakers blew out (I think we were up by 16 with 5 minutes to go).

    Of course, on the flip side, our defense kind of stank up Canada last night and we were tied in the 4th against the Raptors.

    I think both teams have problems, but the Lakers at least have to adjust to playing like they did last year without their center. Meanwhile the cavs have no good explanation for why they couldn’t blow out the Knicks, since both Z and Mo are back.

  177. Tyronn Lue’s been traded to the Magic for Keith Bogans.