Preview & Chat: The Cleveland Cavaliers

Kurt —  February 8, 2009

Olympics Day 16 - Basketball
Lakers: 40-9 (1st in West), Cleveland 39-9 (1st in East)
Offensive Rating: Lakers: 114.5 (1st in league), Cleveland: 113.2 (3rd in league)
Defensive Rating: Lakers: 105.7 (7th in league), Cleveland: 101.6 (2nd in league)
Projected Lineups: Lakers Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Cavaliers Mo Williams, Wally Szczerbiak, Lebron, Ben Wallace, Zydrunas Ilgauskas

Episode VI: Return of the Odom: Bill Bridges thinks we have have seen the start of a different Lamar Odom:

In the 1984 finals, his team was bullied, his power forward literally clotheslined. The Lakers were Intimidated and then finally beaten by the Boston Celtics, a team the Lakers had never beaten since their move out west.

Fast forward a year. Pat Riley heard a year of talk about how his team was soft, good enough for show time but not tough enough to win. It was then. prior to the rematch that he told his team what his father had told him. “Just remember what I always taught you. Somewhere, someplace, sometime, you’re going to have to plant your feet, make a stand and kick some ass. And when that time comes, you do it.”

It was the spirit of Lee Riley that Lamar Odom channeled on February 5th 2008. “Sometimes you’ve just got to make a stand. Tonight, we made a stand.”

If history repeats itself it must do so on 24 year cycles. The finesse team from Los Angeles goes into Boston and kicked sand into the bully’s face. As it was in 1985, so it shall be in 2009.

“Cathartic? I don’t know what cathartic means. I didn’t go to college” Kobe Bryant may not know what cathartic means but Lamar Odom embodied it.

We might have witnessed the transformation of LO. For so long he has tantalized us with a unique combination of size, speed, and skills. Always disappointing instead with inconsistency and lack of focus and fortitude. Can a moment be so cathartic for an individual? Can transformation happen in an instant?

Stephen Jay Gould amended Darwin by showing that evolution happens in an instant (geologically speaking). Punctuated Equilibrium rather than a gradual crawl. Evolution is Revolution.

What are the traits keeping LO back from greatness. Not skills. Not size. Not athleticism. But focus, determination, concentration, will. Maybe he finally got it. Finally realized he has to let go to move forward. Phil started the process by having LO come off the bench for the first time in his life. Humility shatters the illusions of the ego that prevent growth. By letting go, maybe LO now can play in the moment. Present, focused, determined.

“Basketball is a humiliating sport, it can humble you right in the middle of the game,” Odom said. “But tonight I just left all that behind.”

Character is shaped not by success but reaction to failure. Evolution only occurs change in environmental stress favours a new variant of the species. Without stress no growth. Andrew Bynum’s injury, especially due to the deja vu nature, created cruel and violent stress. But also an opportunity for growth and evolution. How this team, on this trip, reprising the character of 1985 has responded to this stress been gratifying to us all. How LO, in this game matched the passion of KG, looked the bullies in the eye and, in the end, won the game, might be the true blessing arising from the misfortune in Memphis.

We sensed the change even during the game. Any other game, you would despair at seeing LO at the line with one free throw to tie and two the win. But for the first time since he became a Laker, somehow I knew he would sink both. And he did.

The last week in Lakers Land: From kwame a.:

Sat, Jan. 31: Humming along on the roadie, Drew goes down and is left screaming in pain. Can’t help but think the worst, even while drinking at a wedding reception, can’t stop thinking about Drew being out for the year.

Sun, Feb. 1: Super Bowl Sunday is a subdued affair, waiting for the word on Drew, only to hear the damn doctor couldn’t look at the MRI. Even while enjoying some delicious fat tire ale, and watching a great football game, I’m nervous as hell bad news is looming.

Mon, Feb. 2: Kobe comes out firing early at MSG and you knew he was in that mode. After a virtuoso performance, he ends up with 61, which tempers the earlier news that Drew is out for 8-12 weeks.

Tue, Feb. 3: A day to re-think just how amazing Kobe really is, the fact he has done it for a decade straight, all with the same cold-blooded determination. We are all lucky to be able to have seen his career.

Wed, Feb. 4: The team buckles down in the 4th after some rag-tag play, and led by Pau and Kobe beat the Raptors, 4-0 on the trip, but Gasol goes 45 minutes, how in the hell do we win in Boston tomorrow without AB?!?

Thurs, Feb. 5: Against all odds, and sometimes 3 zebras, the Lakers prevail in OT, showing the requisite “machismo” the mainstream media has lusted for all year. Fans and players know its only a regular season game, but the win felt like it could have important psychological ramifications for the team going forward.

Fri, Feb. 6: Talking heads and typing bloggers argue and debate the BOS/LA classic, arguing over whether the refs were at fault for the C’s loss, what the win meant for the Lakers and what the loss meant for the C’s. Such reaction to a regular season game is rare, even forcing Kurt to reaffirm FBG’s commitment to civil dialogue.

Sat, Feb. 7: While thinking this would be a slow day, I get a text message that we made a trade. I immediately doubt it, but then, there it, confirmed on FBG, Vlad for Morrison and Shanny.

For many teams this type of week would be the most memorable in franchise history. For the Lakers, it’s just another week. With a chance to break the Cavs perfect home record, I can’t wait to see what this next week brings.

Cleveland Coming In: Everyone talks about LeBron and what Mo Williams has brought to the table, but the reason Cleveland is one of the top teams in the NBA is defense.

They are second overall in defensive efficiency (lowest PPG because they play at a slow pace). They do it by limiting shooting percentages with solid perimeter defense and some long arms and big bodies in the paint that can block and alter shots.

Part of that is Ilgauskas, he is quietly the key to this team. They need his scoring as a big, his presence and length inside. With him in the lineup they score fore more points a game. With him they are 28-4, without him 11-5.

Last Time They Met: The Lakers handed the Cavs their worst start of the season back in January. We can take nothing much from that game, the Cavs were without Big Z. and Delonte West. As stated above, with Z in the lineup they are a different team.

Keys to the Game: One of the things that has been a problem for the Lakers this season is teams with a center who can step out and hit the jumper, pulling the help defender away from the basket. That is a basic tenent of the Cavs offense — Big Z lives in the corner as a spot-up guy on the three. The Lakers are going to have to defend the P&R without a simple backstop, they need to be smart about it.

On the other end, we seem to always talk about getting Gasol involved, and the Lakers need to because he is hot — in the last four games he is shooting 69.4%, scoring 27 per and adding 13 boards.

In the last meeting Kobe did a good job denying LeBron and making him work for his points. I expect to see that again, the goal is to force the other Cavs to beat you, the problem is that they can in this meeting far better than they did in the last meeting

Kobe Bryant has to play with his team, he cannot get sucked into a one-on-one deal with LeBron. It’s one thing to do that against the Knicks (and shooting 60% while doing it) but in this game it is not a winning strategy.

Where to watch: 12:30 on ABC, after a pretty interesting Spurc/Celtics game.



349 responses to Preview & Chat: The Cleveland Cavaliers

  1. From Kevin Ding about our last straw from our favorite space cadet.

  2. Radman was a favorite of mine. Shame to see him go.

    You guys can’t deny that Radmanovich is undoubtedly more useful than those other two.

  3. 3. I don’t think anyone questions that Radman is more useful short term than Morrison, the question is was he more useful than the money saved?

  4. The way I see it, what Radmanovic contributed the most was good outside shooting–which we really don’t need any more of on this team. What we need more of is solid defenders, and he was anything but. Granted, Morrison and Brown might not be that either, but at least they won’t cost as us much money.

  5. I like most people have wondered about the playing time (or lack thereof) that Ariza had in the Boston game. Maybe it was because Phil plans to use him on LeBron a lot this game. As solid as Walton was on defense against Pierce, I think Ariza is going to be a lot more valuable this game.

  6. If Wally starts it either means (a) Lebron is going to guard Kobe from jump or (b) Wally is gonna be guarding Kobe early. If Wally is on Kobe early, we must punish the Cavs, if Lebron is on Kobe, we may be able to get him in early foul trouble.

  7. Drew Andrekopoulos February 8, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Even without Andrew in the line up today, the Lakers win and stop the Cavs home win streak. Go Lakers!!

  8. 7. That is the starting lineup they have used the last few games.

  9. Who do you think they throw on Kobe?


    A little more about the trade. Will we see them in uni today?

  11. Is it just me?

    Every time I see a link for a supposed trade or rumor from hoopshype, it always bogus.

    Are they the National Enquirer of NBA news? They seem to be worse than Chad Ford.

  12. Not only that, the links never work. Whenever i click on them I come to a 404 error…

  13. 10. Kind of has to be LeBron, doesn’t it?

  14. Actually, I guess that’s unfair for me to say.

    They only link what they read.

    I take that back.

  15. What I really hope is that Kobe not take any defense personally, but just find the open man. I want to see him have 15 assists today.

    Let Pau carry the scoring load, unless he has an open shot.

    Level off Lebron, that’s all I ask.

  16. Aha! That makes so much more sense :)

  17. I cut the first link because 1) the link didn’t work; 2) The trade mentioned as done is not even mentioned as a rumor on a site that runs every rumor they can find.

  18. Big Z presents a problem for the Lakers, but don’t forget the reverse: he’s too slow to guard either Gasol or Odom. We need to go to the post relentlessly and exploit that. I really don’t want to see a bunch of long contested shots by Kobe again

  19. Boston is down right now.

    The psychological angle we’ve been discussing lately, becomes so much more interesting in games like these. Boston fans might have a minor meltdown if they lose today.

  20. ….and possibly the team.

    Look at the schedule after this game:

    All road games. We all know what happened last time they had a Western road trip.

  21. Frankly, I don’t see us winning. Cavs with Big Z is a different team. I think the Celtics game was kind of emotional peak, the next one could a letdown. I’m afraid of a rout.

    What we need to do to win? Go to Gasol early, go to Gasol ofte, and scream like hell if refs don’t whistle a couple of quick ones on Ilgauskas.

    What we need not to do to win? Stop Kobe from shooting contest with James.

  22. i want lakers to win this game, just to show that kobe is better than lebron (for now).

    and this cannot be done by kobe shooting all the way.

  23. Trad,

    I think the big win gives them momentum going into this game. Reed’s post and Dex’s comment were great reads as to why the win in Boston will *help.*

    Did Kobe get into a shooting contest last game?

    Did he last year? Did he against Dwyane Wade? I don’t understand why people are so afraid of that. He hasn’t done that all year.

  24. Does anyone know if Morrison and Brown will be at the game? I realize that it is almost certain they won’t play, but I was curious if they would be sitting in their suits courtside.

  25. People watching the Spurs-Celtics game? Mason just hit a beautiful three to put the Spurs up two. Man is clutch.

  26. thanks for reminding that kobe hasn’t done shooting contest this year.

    i really hope this game it will hold.
    except of course, if we really need kobe to do so

  27. 26) i read that morrison and brown will take their physicals in LA, and join the team for practice monday.

  28. from what i’ve read morrison and brown wont be at the game. They went back to L.A. for the physicals

  29. Wow. Celtics blew the game in the last minute of the game. Good D and clutch shooting from the Spurs. We need to keep an eye on the Spurs… they are going to be tough.

  30. I’m finding myself rooting for the Spurs to win… I feel dirty…

  31. 32>
    u’re even dirtier if u root for celtics

  32. I love Boston losing two home games in a row. Yea!!

  33. West Side!

  34. Wait- if Adam Morrison isn’t playing, who’s going to guard Lebron???

  35. 36-
    Sun Yue, obviously.

  36. I guess we will see if the lakers are…tough…enough again lol

  37. This is the best double header iin ages. George hill really came thru.

    After the cavs game I don’t see anymore really tough games for the lakers they will be favoured here on out. And yes I know they will be on the road but the lakers are a great road team.

    Winning streak???

  38. Hey, Bill Muray in Meatballs is on Comedy Central right now.

  39. anyone watch the spurs game? mason has ice in his veins.

  40. Hello guys. Any link?

  41. #31:
    I disagree, I don’t think the Celtics blew it. The Spurs simply beat them, by playing better defense, making clutch shots, and by sinking important free-throws. Also, they successfully avoided having their inbound passes deflected and turned into turn-overs.

    I do agree with you that the Spurs are, as always, very dangerous. You simply cannot break that team, they are like the proverbial cockroach. No matter how many times you step on it, not matter how thoroughly you think you have crushed it, it comes right back at you with full energy again.

  42. the lakers should be the only team allowed to wear yellow at home games

  43. that’s right. run big z around pick all night.

  44. Mason, Hill and uh… the big goofy white center who only scores from outside all stepped up big for the Spurs. You have to hand it to them- they’ve created a supporting cast out of scratch there. We take them lightly at our own risk.

  45. #44:
    Either that, or all other teams that do need to sign a legally binding contract to make it non-ugly yellow uniforms. Seriously, the Cavs are hideous.

  46. Big goofy outside scorer = Bonner?

  47. Play Wallace to pass, make him shoot.

  48. Lakers offense right now has great player and ball movement.

  49. Kobe is running Pavlovic ragged.

  50. 49- Yes, that’s the one. I think they should print my description on the back of his jersey though.

  51. Somebody has got to rotate on Big Z on those. He’s too good to just leave like that.

  52. Kobe should have passed back to fisher on that double team


  53. we should work through pau all night. he looks like he can abuse Z.

  54. What is the tie breaker for teams in different conferences if they split the season series?

  55. Holy moly, I knew that Z and Ben Wallace couldn’t check Pau and Lamar, I just didn’t know it’d be this easy for our guys to score on them

  56. Is it me, or does Kobe look tired already? The announcers said something about him being sick…?

  57. If the Cavs wore these uniforms on that floor in Minnesota, I might go blind.

  58. @59 Being sick affects other players, but by now Kobe’s shown that he can play just as well sick as not. It may seem unrealistic, but I expect the best out of him every game.

  59. Pauuuuwerrr gasol

  60. z is too slow for pau…but on the other hand, on offense, z pop out and shoot jumper

    so defense need to catch up with z

    what i am worried about is pau closing down on z and nobody get the defensive rebound.

    cavs off rebound is reasonable right now, but we need to be careful

  61. oh my lord. lamar is bringing it.

  62. Did lebron walk on the fast break

  63. Memo to Lakers: Ilgauskas is a great midrange jumpshooter.

  64. i thought he did

  65. I’m pretty sure lebron just stood on the high right side of the court for an entire possession and walked on the fast break.

  66. lean like a cholo… in cleveland?!?! LOLOL

  67. Wally is no Rip Hamilton

  68. varejao is being a little cavalier with those elbows. hope the lakers can match their physicality.

  69. No love from the refs tonight.

  70. Mark Jackson is like fingernails on a chalkboard.

  71. Jackson and Van Gundy saying that Mo Williams or Ray Allen are more deserving All-Stars than Devin Harris, Danny Granger, and Chris Bosh because they’re on losing teams is incredibly myopic.

  72. Bad call

  73. Varejao is one of the players I really like to watch. Plays hard, smart at both ends. He’s the kind of guy every team could use.

  74. 74- at least they’ve consistently said it every 5 minutes for the last 3 weeks…

  75. I don’t get, how is even possible that while playing alongside the second unit, Gasol gets even fewer touches…

    Obviosuly it must be me, don’t getting what basketball is about…

  76. Mihm sighting, and a quick foul.

  77. love odom so far. great energy.

  78. TREVOR!!!

    Nice pass Sasha.

  79. 74

    Apparently they don’t know that there is already a ‘reward’ for players on good teams. It’s called the playoffs.

  80. Is it just me or does Cleveland have the hardest working MC in all of basketball. That music never stops!

  81. Sasha has looked good this game. Not settling for the 3, looking to make the pass. Like an all around player.

  82. By the way, Phil’s between quarter comments were interesting. They are going to let Big Z have that shot all night, thinking he will wear down. Interesting.

  83. Like we always say, don’t expect that 3 to fall all night.

  84. Do illegal screens exist anymore?

  85. For how long are the Cavs going to nail every 3pointer they shoot?

  86. 77,

    Doesn’t detract from how short-sighted their view is.



    And in any case, Wally isn’t going to be this hot all night. Cavs are in the game because they’re nailing three-pointers.

  87. memo to ariza, wally can only shot.
    he won’t pass u on penetration. he’s too slow.

    close him down

  88. If Pau keeps making Z work on D hopefully he will wear down.

  89. Here’s a question- the way Wally’s mask sticks out so far below his nose, doesn’t that make his nose something of a fulcrum, putting MORE pressure on it if anything catches it down that?

  90. *down there

  91. so far they’re making tough threes and we are missing layups so not too woried yet

  92. Smart foul by Farmar.

  93. I think Phil kept Kobe on the bench a couple minutes too long. The momentum has swung towards Cleveland now.

    Thanks to JVG for pointing out that the Lakers wouldn’t be this good if Mitch hadn’t traded for Pau. I was really on the fence about that…

  94. But how was that foul in the act of shooting…

  95. Adam Morrison never would have made that foul….

    I kid, I kid.

  96. Not a strong finish, we’re going to need a big third quarter.

  97. Pathetic last minute of the half.

    LOL at lebron kicking Mo Williams in the face though.

  98. Everyone thinks the Cavs ust have Lebron and no back up….you dont go 39-9 if you have only one good player.

  99. j.d.
    It was actually Kobe that kicked him in the face.

  100. 1st half, the boys looked like they just wanted to go home! Looks like a couple of days off made them super homesick.

    …wish this game was the 2nd of a back-to-back! Then maybe they would have energy. C’mon Lakes gotta match their energy/intensity in the 2nd half.

  101. how come luke is in to close out quarters now instead of ariza?

  102. 103.
    i dont think energy is the problem.
    looking at the stat, it seems lakers just need to close down cavs 3pts shots.

    other than that, pretty even (except probably rebounds)

  103. 102- oops. my typing is terrible sometimes.

  104. The first 5mins of the 3rd is crucial..If we can go on a run then we’d be good

  105. I think a lot of this lead so far is due to the cavs being hot, but Lebron is also waiting to get his, so even if the rest of cleveland goes cold, he could go off in the 2nd.

    Meanwhile I don’t think Kobe played great. He scored fine, but made some poor decisions. After the great post up on lebron from the halfcourt feed from fisher, he comes down next time and hoists a quick outside shot, then the strip at the end. Instead of getting it down to 4, we’re back up to 10.

  106. ugh. the celtics gave kobe the flu.

  107. Oh that’s right, he’s sick. That makes sense. I can live with an L in this game, provided they put up a good fight.

  108. 109-yup. my thought exactly.

  109. nice catch by PJ

  110. wow we made that 11-0 run look easy, walton with a fadeaway but then misses a layup to go infront! great blocks by odom

  111. Odom has been huge today. If he hadn’t scored a point, his defense and rebounding alone has been crucial.

  112. interesting stat, team assist 16 both lakers and cavs

    the difference is lebron has 8…either it means lebron has the ball all the time, or he is a good passer

    but it shows that lakers doesn’t need someone to distribute the ball all by himself

  113. Zoolander is on his game today…Blue Steel. We can score when we’re patient, so we just need to keep up our ball movement. We look a step slow on our rotations and it’s hurting us because they’re making their jumpers. If we can stop giving them that extra half second to set up on their perimeter shots, we’ll be fine.

  114. So Kobe is playing with the flu, threw up before the game, and needed an IV at the half. That kind of takes away any excuses anyone else might have… and all of a sudden him sitting almost an entire quarter makes much more sense.

  115. lamar odom superstar!

  116. Lamaaarrrrr!

  117. Great help d by Pau there. LO with the rebound.

  118. wow odom has been superb so far

  119. Odom on fire. No way Wallace can keep up with him.

  120. Lamar Odom came to play…

  121. Wally is really starting to annoy me. How many points is that??

    Lamar is a monster tonight.

  122. I guess that’s the downside of Lebron as the rebounder. If Kobe’s on Lebron, Odom is on wally, so he can either help/ rebound or cover the 3. I’m guessing this Time out by PJ is to address that.

  123. Lamar the rebounder. Damn I can’t get a name right today

  124. Lakers have picked up their defense a little, thats the difference

  125. All things considered, Lamar had better play this way. We need someone to step up to fill the void Bynum’s injury created, Lamar is in a contract year, and we just cleared cap space to keep him. He’d better step up.

    Oh, and he’s a beast on the rebounding today.

  126. the interior passing from pau to lamar has been spectacular. great timing by both guys.

  127. 22 points and 12 rebounds for LO in 30 minutes of play. I think someone showed up to play.

  128. Rediculous foul called….just because James airballed it

  129. Gasol to Odom is becoming like Stockton to Malone

  130. lamar odom out of his mind!
    he is playing perfect!
    offensive rebounds, great put backs, great hands.
    my lord, is this all because of KG or the trade?

  131. 13 points, 9 rebounds in the third quarter for LO. I think this is the best I’ve ever seen him play.


  133. I dont know what got into Odom….but me LIKES!!!

  134. ODOM IS A BEAST!!!!!! LOOK OUT!!!

  135. Anybody remember how LO played last year during the b2b with the warriors while Pau was out? He was ridiculous, putting up one 20-20 game and one 20-18 if I remember. Dude brings it when it’s time.

    He’s collecting every missed 3 the lakers take this quarter. I’ve always loved this guy/

  136. Correction: 15 points on the incredible play by LO at the buzzer. Amazing.

  137. Hickson can simply not handle Lamar on the glass!
    All things considered, that 3rd quarter couldn’t have gone much better for our guys.
    The 4th should be awfully exciting …


  139. OMG ODOM, i cant believe what im seeing

  140. Has Odom ever had this impact through three quarters as a Laker?! What a beast!

  141. the box score only has us up 3 – is that because they are reviewing lamar’s bucket?

  142. The Dude Abides February 8, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Lamar with 26 pts and 15 rebs after three quarters. That second-half performance against the Evil Empire really boosted his confidence (and his focus).

  143. I can’t believe van gundy just said, “Block out, son!”

  144. i cannot believe i’ll be saying this.

    but kobe is really struggling…i say we need to put ariza to cover lebron and really save kobe when we REALLY need him.

    oh, ODOM is superb

  145. If Odom plays half this well the rest of the season, the Lakers might only lose 3 more games…

    Unreal how good he was in the 3rd Quarter…

    Seriously, if we had Kobe, Pau, Andrew and Lamar all at their best at the same time, the Lakers would be scoring 130 a night.

    Even if we lose, that quarter makes me feel great about our chances if we meet Cleveland in the Finals.

  146. I feel compelled to ask, why doesn’t Lamar do this more often? he has the tools, he has the ability, so where the @$%&%#$ is this every night he’s on the court?

  147. Why can’t Odom play like this every game? I think if he really concentrates on rebounding and cutting, he’s gonna be that much better. His rebounding helps him to become active and energize him.

    Go Lakers!

  148. btw, PJ’s prediction about cavs missing shots

  149. Wow, still up after shooting 3-15 on the 3.

  150. Why take ODOM out right now?!?!

  151. I love it! Cleveland is imploding!
    Also, they are sooooooooooooooooo cold.

  152. Powell gets jumped on and no foul!!

  153. We said those 3’s wouldn’t keep falling.

  154. Is Mo Williams falling on Josh Powell’s back not considered a foul? I know some whistles favored the lakers in the last minute but how do they not call that?

  155. kobe is really sick.

    what’s up with kobe vs cavs?

    he always not 100%

  156. this is serious defence, how can lebron be the best player in the world when he’s scared of taking a jump shot?

  157. By the way… unforgivable remake of A Space Oddity. Seriously, if you are going to cover a legendary song, you have to have the chops to do it.

  158. The fans in Cleveland are letting the refs hear it over some non-calls, but how about Mo Williams practically using Josh Powell as a pommel horse on that made layup?! That’s an And-1 if I’ve ever seen one. No complaints, though, if this score holds up.

  159. The Dude Abides February 8, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    157-The refs have been letting them play in the second half, a lot of contact at both ends that they’re letting go (except on LeBron’s airball). If LeBron continues to not get bailed out on his drives to the basket, I’ll take that trade-off.

  160. hey whoever commented last game about KG giving the lakers the flu:

  161. If the Lakers could hit a 3 this game would be ever by now.

  162. The Dude Abides February 8, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Oh man, did I ever speak too soon. Ticky-tacks on LeBron’s drive and the baseline drive by Gibson.

  163. Farmar with the beautiful full court pass!

  164. way to run the floor, powell

  165. +38 in the paint…

    Those jumpshots have stopped falling..

  166. What a pass by Farmar! If the bench keeps this up, we might be able to keep Kobe out the rest of the game!

  167. Why is the bench mob still on the floor?

  168. The crab dribble makes a come-back!

  169. Ok, we know the Cavs will make a run. We just need to stay poised and cool and continue to make big shots.

  170. How about the second unit??!!

  171. Maybe I don’t understand the traveling “rule”, but how can you hop (both feet in the air), land, and then pass and it not be traveling?

    At best, isn’t that still an “up and down”?

  172. How crazy would it be if odom and kobe sits through the fourth and the lakers win?

    I think the motto for the Lakers this season should be:


    Always bring that fight and that intensity.

  173. 163- Dude Abides- There’s letting them play and then there’s letting a guy jump and land on another’s back. That’s just dangerous. And now they’re calling every breath of contact. Annoying.

  174. surely gasol needs more touches especially when 3’s arent falling

  175. Bench mob is rotating very well on defense. thats why phil is leaving them in with 6min left in 4th

  176. Why does Boobie have stars shaved in his head. Does he think he was snubbed too?

  177. The Dude Abides February 8, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    I think Trevor kicked Gibson after that time out was called.

  178. Lamar picking up where he left off!

  179. oh my god lamar odom.

    i will not stop typing that.

  180. Odom is a BEAST on the offensive glass!

  181. Lamar is having a Kobe game. With rebounds.

  182. Kobe shouldnt be in this game

  183. #188:
    I agree. He is not healthy, we need to sub in someone who can keep up.

  184. Every time Fisher leads the break I just want him to give it up.

  185. Ok yeah, it’s a foul when Lebron falls on Fisher.

  186. Heh. My husband just told me that Kobe at 50% still beats anyone else at 100%. Just as he said that, Kobe makes a great defensive play.

    I may have jumped to conclusions.

  187. Kurt was absolutely right in his preview: Ilgauskas makes a HUGE difference for the Cavs. He’s keeping them in this game. That, and our inability to put down any three-pointers.

  188. that’s why kobe’s in the game

  189. Um, Kobe looked pretty good on that one.

  190. I take it back…Kobe can be in whatever game he chooses :)

    I guess his presence counts for something

  191. I did jump to conclusions. I humbly apologize.


  192. ive never seen kobe so ball shy

  193. Stop! Kobe time!

  194. J-tag,

    I don’t ever want to read that Kobe shouldn’t be in the game. EVER

  195. The announcers seem to have been rooting for the Cavs the whole game…anyone agree?

  196. I think I’m gonna start worshiping Kobe every day with prayers because he is a basketball god!

  197. The Dude Abides February 8, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    I wonder if that was the sickest shot of Kobe’s this season.

  198. As long as LeBron is on Kobe on defense, the Lakers have great matchups all over the place. He can almost be a decoy, with a shot here and there to keep them honest.

  199. Boys and Girls, the shape of that shot by Kobe is called a Parabola. Parabola. That’s our word for the day.

  200. #204:
    If he has stomach flu, that’s a “yes” 😉

  201. he is in james’ head. lebron knows whos the best

  202. The Dude Abides February 8, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    It helps Cleveland in this game to have a guy who is 7-3 and also has a soft touch.

  203. I hate the little bus ads. I don’t think hate is too strong a word.

  204. With all that Kobe brings, I want to thank Lamar today.

  205. Was Joel freaking out about how much arc Kobe put on that shot?

  206. Lamar doesn’t even need to be mic-ed up, he’s so loud!

  207. Lakers leaving the door wide open with 2nd chance pt opportunities and missed fts

  208. PAU!!!!

    Game over.

  209. Whoever said the Lakers aint tough????

  210. PAU PAU PAU

  211. 6-0 road trip. I hoped, but I never dared believe.

    I am very happy now. :)

  212. I just wish lamar could have broke 30 pts. I think he’s never done it before.

  213. alright. the butter’s getting hard.

  214. LOL, Kobe doesn’t even want his teammates to hug him too hard. He looks about ready to pass out.

  215. What a win.

    Man, what an incredible road trip!

    This Lakers team has shown us there’s no challenge they’re not up for.

  216. Thank you Lakers for cheering me up! Woke up today 4am in the morning and found out my car is stolen. I really needed this win to cheer me up. Thank You Odom…Thank you Gasol…Thank you Kobe and the rest.

    If any of you by any chance see a 02 Subaru WRX in the San Diego area with a Los Angeles Lakers chrome frame…please call the police.

    Go Lakers!!!!! 6-0 on the road!

  217. and friends, the lakers have won it. hats off to odom. pau delivered in the end. kobe sick put still has decent numbers. defense stepped in. cleveland can’t hit jumpers as much as we can’t hit threes. i like our chances. our like our depth. get well andrew, for now go lakeshow!

  218. i hope this game proves to everyone that the lakers are “tough” whatever that means

  219. The Dude Abides February 8, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    I am immensely satisfied. First Cav home loss this season.

  220. Our front court dominated this game without our starting center.

    6-0. I think that’s tied for the best road trip in franchise history.


  222. Statement game. This will do wonders for our team’s confidence. Excellent, excellent week for us. Congrats everyone.

  223. The Dude Abides February 8, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Gotta love Lamar’s courtside post-game interviews and how they perplex the announcers. Way to step up, LO!

  224. Im not fully convinced the Lakers can beat Boston in a 7 game series, but this Cavs team aint quite there, Lakers are better.

  225. As much as it will help the Lakers’ confidence, I like thinking about how it will affect the psyche of the rest of the league. Except maybe Orlando.

  226. I don’t know if someone mentioned it…but big minutes for Pau again. 44 tonight. I would like to see him rest a little more, but no complaints. What a road trip.

  227. did you guys catch LO crying after the game, when he was interviewed his eyes were watering and really red…

  228. Lamar. Stay in the moment.



  229. Hey Joe, this road trip was 6-0 and we beat a tough Celtic team on their home court. Look, it’s still a series, but we should be favored to come away with the cup.

  230. We held them to 30 second half points.

  231. 236-I saw the eyes too. I wonder if this really is a new lamar.

  232. great win for the Lakers and a 6-0 road trip. Another streak busted

  233. Well the Celtics game could have gone either way, but this was our game. We did this without Bynum which is impressive

  234. Lamar Odom. Best. Game. Of. His. Career.

    He was a MAN, tonight.


    We’re going to need a part three.


    Ignore that guy. He’s clueless.

  235. Jalen Rose just said on ESPN that Lamar’s nickname is “The Goods” … is this true? If so, I don’t believe I’ve heard it before.

  236. 236- LO was playing stoned, that was visine in his eyes.

    still a lot of season left, but we’re surpassing all expectations so far, hope we don’t relax too much.

  237. 243: yes from his NY days. Great team win. I thought before the game that Kobe would have to have a huge impact to win, but the rest of the team really stepped up.

  238. the only downside to this victory is it might convince the cavs to make a trade with wally’s contract and grab some like vc

  239. I’m so unbelievably proud of the guys right now. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a win this much so far this season

  240. Regular season tests do not come any tougher than what we accomplished this past week. Not only did the Lakers pass, but somewhere along the way, something clicked.

    To end another Celtics streak in Boston, AND end Cleveland’s home streak, after Bynum going down?

    If this can’t convince anyone what we’re capable of, then nothing will.

    I am proud of these guys right now.

  241. I think against most teams, with or without Bynum, our bigs are more of a mismatch than Kobe and whoever is guarding him.

  242. @The Dude Abides – As much as I loved the game and how the Lakers battled back in the 3rd, that postgame interview was icing on the cake. He was wired for sound and didn’t disappoint. “it just helped me to focus. right now i’m being too subtle, i’m just UGGHHHH”

  243. I am listening to ABC’s Sports Center in LA and they are saying Kobe had a really off game.

    Boy are we spoiled.

    Kobe had 19pts on a day when he was throwing up and had to take fluids with the flu. What, exactly, should we expect from the Kobster? Most players wouldn’t have played — he scored 19pts and guarded Lebron a lot of the time. Jeesch!

  244. As I said yesterday, this should go down as one of, if not the best, regular season road trips ever. 6-0 with closing wins over Bos and Cle is no small feat. Kobe wasn’t near 50% but Lamar was just awesome. Doc Rivers pregame comments today look downright dumb.

  245. Kobe had an off game? He basically had Mo Williams’s season averages and theyre whining that he should be an allstar…

  246. Look at leBron’s box score:

    Pretty good job on him tonight.

  247. As I’ve said before – The Lakers are the best team in the league and the team to beat. We’re unstoppable. I know people don’t like to hand out the championships out this early but you’re a fool if you don’t think we’re a lock to win it all. Bynum isn’t even playing and we have arguably the best starting 5 in the game. Our starting 5 could easily be the starting 5 for the all star game. We’re seriously that good. I’m ecstatic. It’s a great day to rep the purple and gold. Odom is the best PF in the game. I no longer want him out of L.A.

  248. Awesome game by Lamar, he was just incredible.

    Gasol looked worn out, but I think taht he did hell of a job deniying the rim to Lebron (he was 1/7 within 5 feet from the rim).

    Maybe we shoul sideline Gasol the next game vs Thunder to get him some rest. God knows that I’m a huge fan of him, but I seriously doubt that he is going to be able to play over 40 min/game and stay healthy.

  249. ODOM!!! Can you believe that performance? I just wish he could play like that more consistently. If Odom plays like that for the rest of the season and then Bynum comes back, we’re cruising to finals. HUGE WIN! Take Lebron out of Cleveland and they’re barely a contender. Take Kobe our of LA and we’re still the best team in the league by far.

  250. Come on! We are not the best team in the NBA if you take Kobe off the team. We have a very strong and deep team, but Kobe is clearly the lynch pin.

    I think it is amazing that you might be able to finish in the playoffs without Kobe. That is how good our team is. I don’t, for a moment think we are a championship caliber team without him, however.

  251. When was the last time Kobe was healthy for a game against Cleveland?

  252. Great win. This road trip is showing how strong we really are. I’m amazed at how much we’ve grown as a team. Everyone looked composed during the final minutes while the Cavs were like chickens with their heads cut off. Any of our bench players could start on the Cavs and we showed it tonight. Our bench shut down Lebron who was neutralized. We really don’t have a reason to fear anyone in the league now. We’ve destroyed nearly every contender. We can win at home and away. In a 7 game series against anyone, I pick the Lakers and this road trip has solidified this notion. Anyone who disagrees is just a jealous Laker hater.

  253. I agree. These road wins are making my week/weekend so much better. We’re proving that we’re the best franchise in basketball day in and day out. Our history and past players dwarf anyone other franchises. I haven’t been this excited since the Kobe/Shaq years. This is incredible.

  254. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Yes this was a good game, but this could’ve easily gone the other way. The notes…

    1.) Kobe/Ariza played REALLY far off Lebron. Both guys were going under every screen, basically telling Lebron to take jump shots. Last game, Kobe had some excellent ball denial on Lebron; this game, not so much.

    2.) Hats off to Odom and Pau for their excellent DEFENSE. You can tell the Lakers game plan was to make Lebron score in the lane, instead of bailing him out with fouls. You could visibly see them backing off Lebron and forcing him to actually make those tough layups instead of fouling him. Good scheme, well executed.

    3.) Why did Odom play so well? 2 words: Wally, Sczerbiak. Odom can shoot over Wally, drive around Wally, and most importantly, rebound over Wally. Most of Odom’s points were on putbacks and cuts to the basket, both made much, much easier by the fact that he was being guarded by Wally World.

    4.) Great game from the bench overall. Nice production from Farmar, Sasha, and Powell (Mihm, not so much).

  255. Step right up and lose to the Lakers!

  256. As much as I don’t like to gloat, this team is playing excellent. It’s really TEAM basketball. Our defense is really picking up. I think we’re a better defensive team now than last years Celtics and this years Celtics. If we play like we have for the past couple of days, when Bynum comes back to his dominate self, there really won’t be an obstacle between us and another championship.

    P.S. All this winning is getting old. NOT. I feel like Brad Pitt in Troy – “IS THERE NO ONE ELSE????”

  257. Now who would be shocked if we stepped up and lost to OKC next game?

    At this point I don’t even think I’d mind.

  258. Hahaha Glen,

    I love that scene in Troy. Awesome win. I’ve been betting Lakers every game. Haven’t lost yet. I just put in a bet for the Lakers a sure thing to win in the Finals against the Cavs (Celtics won’t make it this year, sorry Boston fans – have fun having another 22 years of nothing) And Cavs fans, have fun when Lebron comes to NY.

  259. And this was without Morrison and Brown!!

  260. LO is a freaking stud. He is why we won these last two games.

  261. And to think this trip started on the heels of a home loss to the Bobcats. My how things change…

  262. #252, 254:
    I was just thinking that as I looked at the post-game stats. Kobe had 19 points and shot just under 50%, WITH THE FLU! (Not meaning to shout, just trying to add emphasis.) For any other player, that is a good stat line. For Kobe, that is an off night, with almost half his normal minutes, and with a nasty flu to go with that.

    And people wonder why I’m such a fangirl? There’s just no one like Kobe.

  263. So….

    who do we have to beat now?

  264. lol mimsy. How could you not be a Kobe fan? How could you not be a Lakers fan?

  265. My yawn count was up to 60 during this game. It’s almost amazing how we’re taking these wins.

  266. when we get bynum back we’ll be the toughest team in the league.

  267. anthony k,

    we’re the toughest team in the league already. did you see us push the celtics and cavs around recently?

  268. IEIZZ76, I’m just going to refer you to this comment:

    I am as rabid about Kobe as they come. He’s the best. No exceptions, no contest, no nothing. When all is sad and done, the best ever to play the game, will have been Kobe Bryant.

  269. Just finished watching the game (DVR).

    LAMAR FREAKIN ODOM!!!! Garnett unleashed the beast. He dominated the game tonight, this victory goes to him. Lamar has been awesome the last game and a half.

    Huge victory by the Lakers. Last game of a six games east coast road trip. Without Bynum, with a sick Kobe Bryant. Wow 6-0 thats amazing.

    And that rainbow fade away J by Kobe over Lebron with just over 2:30 to go was a thing of beauty. The raibow, it was practically a tear drop shot from 15 ft. Amazing, one off the prettiest shots I have ever seen Kobe make and that’s saying a lot.

  270. 280. OKC Thunder

  271. 295. Did you actually see the Celtics game or even read the box score?

  272. I was visiting my uncle in Cleveland and he had tickets for the game. It was great to see live. I was wearing my Kobe jersey and people around me were hating it! I love being a Laker fan. I was screaming ‘we are the champions’ to everyone in the stands and they were booing me like crazy! haha I thought you guys would like that.

  273. It was a great win, and Odom is playing very well,


    Let’s stop planning the parade and ring sizing. There is still quite a bit of the season to go and the then the playoffs.

    Just as we shouldn’t get too down when we lose or play poorly for a few games; we shouldn’t get too high either. Even after two hard fought victories on the road.

  274. These last two games, though, have been a pleasure to watch. When we play to our potential, we play huge.

  275. Lamar Odom!!!! He had two reasons to cry in his post game interview. 1. Bynum went down and Lamar stepped in and played solidly. 2. This game was nationally televised and Kobe has the flu! Lamar had to prove to himself and to everyone else that he is and will be worthy of a contract extension. This being his contract year, he played himself into a contract for several years based upon how he played in today’s game. He played smart with passion and a bounce in his step. Great game Lamar!!

    We all wish that he played this way, if not every night at least every other night, because as Jalen Rose said, he has “The Goods”!

  276. I love fan message boards. We can go from “the sky is falling” to “dynasty for years to come!” in nothing flat.

    Kurt: Minny court + Cavs retro jerseys = could out my eyes Full Metal Jacket style.

    And I 100% agree with you about Fish pushing the ball up in transition. My friends got tired of hearing me say “pass it, Fish, pass it Fish” every time he ran the break.

  277. People–please. Settle down. Great win, great road trip. But the last two games were tight wins. The margin between us and other contenders remains small and there’s a long way to go yet.

    This stuff about us beating every contender with ease and being dominant is crazy. C’mon Laker fans. We’re better than that.

  278. i agree w/ emh101, even though these last 2 games (and road trip in general) have been great, the championship isn’t ours until the trophy’s in their hands. That aside, Lakers are playing with a lot of heart and are showing just how deep they are.

  279. The Lakers became the first team in NBA history to win back-to-back games, both on the road, against teams with .800-plus win percentage at least 40 games into the season.

    The Lakers finished their road trip with a perfect 6-0 record. The last time the Lakers finished a road trip at least 6-0 was in the 1999-00 season which was the first year of their three straight NBA titles. The last team to go at least 6-0 on a road trip was the Mavericks during the 2006-07 season.

  280. Fianlly, some level-headed comments here. I hope/wish that Odom will play like he has in recent games the rest of the year, but we will have to see (you know how LO can be at times), right. This has been a good roadtrip for us, but there is alot of season to go with very good teams in the west to have to go through before any talk of a Finals appearance.
    Bring on the Son**, Thun**, whoever they are…

  281. Wow, it fells kind of weird reading the comments lately, this doesn’t feel like the FB&G I admired with Reed, nomuskles, Drrayeye, Bill…

  282. I’m loving this road trip as much as any Lakers fan, but some of these comments make me think of what Harvey Keitel said in Pulp Fiction: “let’s not start [overcelebrating] yet”.

    Cleveland and Boston will not look at these two games and decide to pack it in. (unfortunately for us, they’re not managed by Steve Kerr so we can’t expect some panicked bone-headed move, either.) They’ll be just that much more intense and focused when/if they meet the Lakers. I think the Lakers even without Bynum will have the edge over Cleveland, but who knows what kind of crazy zone Lebron could get into. As for Boston, until the Lakers actually beat them in the playoffs, I’m still going to give them the edge.

    I guess what I’m saying is, let’s celebrate responsibly!

    now for the real challenge: the Thunder! be afraid, be very afraid.

  283. The Lakers became the first team in NBA history to win back-to-back games, both on the road, against teams with .800-plus win percentage at least 40 games into the season.

    … says fast facts.


    no, awesome.

  284. Where were all these POSITIVE and encouraging remarks when we lost to the Bobcats?

    I think it was a great effort by a team facing the most difficult test in losing their young stud center, who was just beginning to dominate the paint. I am excited as many of you are here, but some of the superlatives you are using doesn’t really go with the reasonable and analytical writing that go on here.

    Sure this road trip was great, but the Lakers will not go undefeated for the rest of the season nor will it win 70 games. Also, Lamar is a very talented player, but he is inconsistent and no way near the player Garnett is. Please reserve your enthusiasm a bit when our team is doing well and use it when they need it most–when they are struggling. I think fans need to take the good and the bad in equal strides. One game does not make a season, and the season doesn’t depend on one game. It’s a great win and a great road trip. Let’s leave it at that.

    That said…Go Lakers…all the way to the Finals!

  285. interesting stat

    Lakers G Derek Fisher didn’t have a turnover in 28 minutes and hasn’t made one in 158 minutes over his last five games.

  286. We are not going to have a bunch of “nobody can beat us, we are going to win easy” comments. All of those have been deleted, and I will keep deleting.

    We are going to keep some standards for comments here — full sentences, complete thoughts with a little nuance.

    As has been said, I don’t think the Cavs have decided to give up. Do I feel like the Lakers are favorites now, but it’s February. Being the best team in February and $4 gets you a latte.

  287. 297. You and me both. The great comments are still there, they are just getting lost in the waves right now.

  288. I’m still troubled by Gasol’s playing time, he has played 44min the last four games, and today he “struggled” in offense because he seemed tired.

    Either Mihm or Powell should step up to get him some rest (not sure if Mihm has something left in the tank…), I was serious before when suggested that we could sideline Pau vs OKC.

    We could go for DJ, but as much as I like him as person, I don’t think he’s much of a player.