Preview & Chat: The Atlanta Hawks

Kurt —  February 17, 2009
Clippers-Hawks

Records: Lakers 42-10 (1st in the West) Hawks 31-21 (4th in the East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 114.5 (1st in league) Hawks 109.5 (8th in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 105.5 (7th in league) Hawks 107.5 (15th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Hawks Mike Bibby, Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, Al Horford

A couple of links: You may have heard there was a fight at the Lakers practice yesterday between Chris Mihm and DJ Mbenga. Check it out for yourself. I think this would have been more fun if Tim Floyd coached the Lakers.

Sasha Vujacic has a new Web site, and I have to say it’s a good one. Find out what Sasha is reading, some game and strategy stuff, just a good all around site. Check it out.

Who Is The Lakers Moneyball Player? The thing that has had me thinking the most lately — and had the NBA blogsphere buzzing — is last weekend’s piece in the NY Times Magazine about the statistical steps taken by the Rockets and how they plucked Shane Battier from obscurity to make him a key players. (I’m not sure how a guy recruited to Duke and selected sixth overall ever gets thought of as obscure, but we’ll let that question slide.)

It got me thinking (and emailing people to discuss) — who is the guy who fits that role for the Lakers? The guy whose contributions don’t always show up in the box score. And the first answer is: A lot of them. Ariza. Odom. Walton. Fisher. Farmar. The Lakers have assembled a team of good players by the new metrics, but they did it the old fashioned way.

I think Odom may be the poster boy for the Lakers guys who do the little things. It’s very hard to define Odom’s contributions because he’s a bit of a chameleon. He does just about everything on a basketball court well, but nothing spectacularly well. Still, the roundness of his game allows him to slide into the cracks and fill in this Lakers team’s weaknesses in a matchup on any given night. He rebounds well, and gets into the lane to shoot (59% of his shots are inside according to 82games), he creates mismatches at the three or the four. He is a better defender than he gets credit for. And, I think this gets overlooked, he’s a leader. He’s the guy in the middle of the circle doing the rap while the players bounce around before a Lakers game. In the Lakers locker room you can tell he is liked and respected.

I think there is one key difference between Battier and Odom, something Reed pointed out: Battier gives thought to what he is trying to do Odom plays on almost pure instinct. Those instincts lead to the “O-dumb” mistakes (coming off three point shooters to help inside when the other team just needs a three, for example). But that is what Odom is, an instinctual player whose natural tendency is to sort of fill in what the team is needing on any given night. With Bynum down the Lakers need scoring, so you see him pick that up. But, to borrow a phrase from Darius, you can’t “tie down or burden him with the expectation of statistics.” He just does what he feels needs to be done. But that that has translated to the best +/- on the team — when he is on the court the Lakers are just better. It’s that simple.

I want to add that I find the NY Times piece fascinating it seems to miss the team concepts of basketball. I mean the story does, not the Rockets staff. The story makes it sound as if Battier is out on an island. Battier is a good man-on-man defender, but what he also does very well is shade his man, pushing him toward a help defender. And, when your help is a 7-6 guy with long arms, you get guys pulling up and taking jumpers rather than trying to finish at the rim. Battier is smart to take advantage of this help, but he has it. He’d be less effective if the big help defender behind him was David Lee.

The Hawks Coming In: To find out a little more about the Hawks, I asked Brett from the smart Hoopinion about his team, and if they really are as perimeter oriented as they seem.

They’re as perimeter-oriented as they seem to be. But, they’re able to succeed with that because Smith, Williams, and Horford have all improved their back to the basket games enough that any one of them can create offense from the low post: Williams almost always for himself (he’s close to being a really good offensive player) but Smith and Horford are both good passers.

I can’t overstate the importance of Williams, Mike Bibby, Flip Murray, and Maurice Evans each having career years from behind the three-point line. I’m naturally pessimistic so take my sneaking suspicion that this year’s offensive success is neither sustainable nor fully by design.

Woodson is never going to run the offense through anyone other than Joe Johnson, matchups be damned, but he does give Bibby a free hand to do whatever he wants to do and Bibby can still get himself open 8-10 times a game and, thus far, he’s been making those shots and taking some of the offensive pressure (some of which is self-imposed, I believe) off Johnson.

On the other hand, the machinations the Hawks put themselves through to try and hide Bibby defensively border on the comic and Johnson may have taken on as much of a defensive load because of Bibby as Bibby has lightened Johnson’s offensive responsibilities. Or, Johnson might be showing the wear of attempting to finish in the top 4 in the league in minutes played for the fifth time in six years.

Keys To The Game: Let us repeat our mantra — pound the ball inside. This is not a team that protects the paint well (look what the Knicks did to them). This is another case where if the Lakers go to their length and skill advantage inside they will open things up on the wings. But things work best inside out.

The Lakers should also be able to control the glass at both ends. Easy points off offensive rebounds would be huge for the Lakers.

This might be a good night for Olympics Kobe to show up — as Brett noted above the Hawks run their offense through Joe Johnson. Nothing fancy, just isolations and some high screens out at the elbow extended. The Lakers know how to defend this, if they are focused. Shut Johnson down, make the other guys make the plays, and your chances of winning go up. Their other guys are capable, but Johnson is at the center of it all.

On defense, make Josh Smith a jumpshooter. Easier said than done, but he is a 35% jump shooter and 65% if you let him get in close. Pull back, take away the drive and dare him to put up a jumper.

On offense, the Lakers need to be smart with passes — the Hawks are long and athletic and will play to deny the pass, particularly on the wings. The Hawks are a good transition team that can be slowed down, but turn the ball over with sloppy passes and you will give them a lot of easy buckets that they need to win.

The other thing is the Hawks, to make up for their size, will double the post. That will leave room for Pau to hit cutters — it could be a good night for the Gasol/Odom high-low game.

Where you can watch: Back home for a 7:30 start at Staples. Fox Sports locally and NBA TV nationally (which means you NBA broadband people will be scrambling. Sorry).

Kurt

Posts

164 responses to Preview & Chat: The Atlanta Hawks

  1. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3913301

    Chandler to the Thunder is official.

    They could be decent for the rest of this season/next year.

  2. Sorry for the double post-

    I’ll be at this one tonight. Should be a pretty good game as far as athletic plays and such. Hopefully are guys are locked in and ready for the second half of the season.

    I also hope that Joe Johnson still thinks this is the all-star game…

  3. Kurt,

    Re: “I’m not sure how a guy recruited to Duke and selected sixth overall ever gets thought of as obscure, but we’ll let that question slide.”

    Thank you. I made that same point in a comment on FD. He was always a great defender. He didn’t all of a sudden become one due to this new found use of statistics.

    I wondered what the real point of the article was, because Battier, nor Morey were good examples of the use of moneyball stats in basketball.

  4. While I always agree that getting the ball inside is a great option for our team, tonight will be an interesting matchup for our bigs. Odom is going to face a pretty good defender tonight in Josh Smith; a guy that can match his quickness and is a fantastic shot blocker. Smith is also a lefty, so there might be some familiarity to Odom’s game where Smith sees a little bit of himself in our guy and has an innate sense of how to contain him. Also, Horford is the stout, strong, long armed defender that can give Gasol problems. Gasol will need his mid-range game tonight in order to use his quick first step to get to the rim. Horford will battle him for position and will make Pau work.

  5. Was the last time we played the Hawks Pau’s 2nd game as a Laker?

    I can’t remember if we saw them again last season.

  6. If Kobe guards Joe, and Smith and Horford play as well as advertised, then the game will hinge on Fisher/Farmar and Walton/Ariza — hummmmm.

    Perhaps Morrison may need to get some burn.

  7. What I like about Lewis’ description of the Rocket’s statistical approach is that the purpose of their analysis is not to arrive at one number to determine who the best players is, rather they are mimicking the best practices in business, whereby your employees (or superiors) are getting actionable information that will help them succeed at their jobs. Basically, Battier was given a modern version of a scouting report on Kobe, one that was bolstered and supported by statistics.

  8. 4. I agree those are matchup problems, but when you look at the PER allowed by the Hawks they get torched at the 4 and 5 spot. This deep into the season that is a trend.

  9. Horford has been nursing injuries a lot this season, hasn’t he? Josh Smith is great, but he seems a little undersized to guard the 4… though I guess LO is an undersized 4. Will smith’s defense really be that big a key if we don’t rely on LO to create any more plays than present themselves? Smith is a good rebounder for his size, but I think LO will still get his, and that’s one of his main contributions.

    Then on the other end, Smith’s inability to shoot from outside means Odom can stay inside and concentrate on the defensive glass.

    My first reaction to the Chandler trade is that the hornets made themselves worse, but my second reaction is to wait and see. Wilcox is underrated and Chandler wasn’t producing as well this year. And Smith helps their bench bigs a lot. So maybe this combo will surprise us. How well OKC plays after this depends on if Chandler can get back to his previous form. Who’s going to be throwing him lobs?

  10. I’m a big Wilcox fan, but the Hornets at best made a lateral move, in my opinion. But for them to challenge the Lakers or Spurs, they needed to take a step forward somehow. The owners finances just wouldn’t let them.

    For OKC, they get a quality defensive big, which is a nice piece.

  11. Well then Kurt, if you want demolish my commet by giving out actual facts…haha.

    I do think we can/will be successful going inside as it’s a staple of our offense and dictates most of the cuts/actions in the Triangle. I think that even if LO and Gasol aren’t doing the damage themselves that it will create looks for others when they get involved from the low block. I’m just saying that the two players from the Hawks (Smith and Horford) present the type of players that have traditionally been the brand of defenders that can bother our two guys (LO and Gasol). Like you said though, the numbers are in our favor.

  12. OKC is one quality guard away from being a scary team down the road. Sam Presti has done a hell of a job rebuilding that franchise.

    “On defense, make Josh Smith a jumpshooter. Easier said than done, but he is a 35% jump shooter and 65% if you let him get in close. Pull back, take away the drive and dare him to put up a jumper.”

    Josh Smith might decide to make himself a jumpshooter if the mood takes him.

    I like the matchups in this game for the Lakers. Bibby should not (I hope) be able to exploit Fisher and Farmar like quicker PGs, Odom can handle Smith if he’s smart, and Gasol has a major size advantage over Horford. And of course, Atlanta’s best player is up against the best player in the league.

    Marvin Williams could be the swing guy – he’s a capable all-around scorer who has improved his range and can get to the line. Luke will have has hands full.

  13. I thought the Lewis article was outstanding. You have to remember, he is trying to engage non-basketball fans (and even non-sports fans). I thought it was a fascinating profile of Battier as the loner, the thinker, the bi-racial star, the winner.

    Of course people who know more about basketball can say, yes Battier has Yao behind him, what about PER, plus/minus is flawed, etc. It wasn’t meant to be a definitive statement about new stats in the NBA.

  14. the other Stephen February 17, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    that fight reminded me of dikembe mutombo, except over the course of his career, he actually did injure numerous teammates in practice, and they never took it out on him personally (at least, not to the public’s knowledge). dj seems to have a bit of a temper. no need to go after mihm, just watch out for your teammate next time, big fella…

  15. Wilcox can’t replace Chandler’s length, shot blocking and ability to play off Chris Paul’s penetration.

  16. Inwit,

    I’d say Chris Wilcox will play off of Paul’s penetration better than Chandler. Tyson was only able to score on alley-oops and put back. I think Wilcox is better offensively.

  17. wondahbap – I don’t disagree with you regarding Wilcox’s offensive abilities, but defending the alley-opp means defensive rotation from the weak side, opening up space for Paul and opportunities for the 3 point shooters. Wilcox might clog the lane more and cut down CP3′s effectiveness.

  18. New Orleans didn’t really lose as much as we would think in that trade. Wilcox is as capable of scoring off alley-oops as Chandler, and Smith is a quality big off the bench. Neither, however, duplicates Chandler’s defensive strengths, so I still don’t think they can make that much noise in the playoffs.

    Another interesting trade rumor:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3913836

    Depending on what the Rockets give up, Carter would be a quality addition. He certainly would be a better wing than T-Mac at the moment.

  19. Have you guys seen this:
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3913836

    Given where the teams are in their counteroffers it doesn’t look likely yet, but the counteroffer by the nets is interesting in light of the moneyball article. They basically asked for every “bargain” player on Houston. Everybody who is paid very low compared to their value for the team.

    It would leave them with an all-overpaid team of Tmac-VC-Yao et al. It’s almost like Rod Thorn read the article we read and this is his way of needling Morey.

  20. I read that article as well, would be highly surprised if the Nets’ version of the deal got anywhere; only Scola and possibly Brooks getting thrown in would make that offer any worse IMO.

    I agree with Kurt, the OKC-NO deal was a lateral move at best for the Hornets. Either of the guys the Hornets got back is better at the offensive end than Chandler (who wouldn’t be, really), but they lose his size, length and defense. About the biggest plus I can see for them is that they finally got a decent 3rd big for their rotation in Smith.

  21. LO v. Josh Smith should be fun, a battle between two guys who have some similarities and differences. Both are Left-centric players who rarely use their oft-hand,

    While LO is a jack of all trades master of none type, Smith excels in certain areas: the open court on offense and the weakside shot-block on defense. I think if LO is patient on offense he can get Smith into early foul trouble. The Hawks guard play off the bench isn’t too bad, but aside from Pauchilla they bring nothing off the bench in the form of a big. As Kurt said, we should get ‘em inside, early and often.

  22. One side benefit of the OKC-NO deal is that means no Smith to Celtics, as has been thrown around from time to time. At this point in his career, Joe Smith is nothing special, but I could see him being a key cog on the Celtics bench. He has to better than Big Baby, right?

  23. PeanutButterSpread February 17, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    T34,

    the last time the Lakers played the Hawks was Pau’s first game as a Laker at Staples Center.

    Pau’s played two times against the Hawks as a Laker. The first time was in Atlanta during that brutal road trip and I believe the Lakers lost that game, but then bounced back for a ten game win streak.

    That’s what made that game against the Hawks on the Laker’s court so special. Not only was it Pau’s Homecoming game, it was also a revenge game.

  24. I think that as far as money ball player you say Ariza, only difference is he actually is gifted athleticcally but I guarentee you he was on that list of 15 players that were undervalued by the rockets at the time. Other than that the Lakers dont really have a guy that plays a ton of minutes and puts up terrible numbers yet improves the team, as even Ariza’s numbers are pretty good. I think Battier is a rare breed.

  25. adding to that I dont see how you can compare Walton, Fisher and Odom with Battier and the numbers the Rockets use, not even close. Walton and Odom over rated, over paid sure they fit the system but that wasn’t the point of the article, it was value, and also value not presented by standard stats. Walton and Odom already are not in the category as they make way too much money, and Odom was always a standard number guy. I think you should recognize Mitch is great but not one of the new school Jamesian thinkiers.

  26. #27 –

    I think Walton is a good example to compare with Battier. It’s not like Battier is underpaid. Dude has 3 years left on a deal that pays him $6.8M per. Compare to Walton’s deal at 5 years left, at $5.26M per. Both have similar basic stats (Battier averages 6-5-2 in 31 minutes/game, Walton averages 4-2-2 at 15 minutes/game), and you can certainly argue that whatever intangible effect that Battier has on the Rockets overall team D, Walton has a similar intangible effect on the Lakers overall team O. The offense certainly runs far more smoothly when Walton is in the game than when he isn’t.

  27. i don’t think Walton fits the bill, as Walton fills a specific need for the lakers but not the league in general. I would say Vladimir was the antithesis of Shane, but we probably don’t have somebody that fits Shane’s bill other than perhaps Ariza (but he makes his presence felt on the box score as well).

  28. Did anyone see this, apparently Z-Bo just got ejected for punching Lou Amundson in the face.

  29. Kevin Durant is very good at basketball.

  30. What? Since when is punching Lou Amundson in the face a foul? There is such a double standard when it comes to Zeebo.

    Or maybe he just liked his all star vacation enough to continue it unpaid.

    NBAtv is showing the Knicks beat the Spurs and I have no idea whose announcers are calling the game. I think it’s actually Gus Johnson. No Clyde or Sean Elliot… They were making fun of Pop a bit. I’m at a complete loss. This is the most inconsequential mysteries of my life right now.

  31. 32

    Gus Johnson and Kelly Tripucka called the game on MSG.

  32. Oh. They only use Clyde Frazier with Mike Breen?

    Oh my. Kevin Durant is indeed very good at basketball…

    But so is chris paul

  33. Joel: You can say that again…that last shot was sick. Allthough Chris Paul’s response wasn’t too bad either…

  34. OKC loses yet another close game. That was an insane shot by Durant though.

  35. LA Clippers 49
    Phoenix 81
    Half

    wow.

  36. The suns shot 31-41 for the half. 76%

    I’ll say again: wow.

    So is this proof that Porter was the problem, the result of Zeebo punching Amundsen, or just another night of the Clipper defense?

  37. 38

    It’s the Clippers, and that’s all there is to it.

  38. Ricky Davis is going for a record- he;’s already at -39 for the game. What;s the worst single game +/- in history? I thinking posting a -50 should get at LEAST as much attention as a 50 point game.

  39. -41!

  40. links?

  41. Wow ridiculous…sun’s rebounds 32 to clippers 9. 9 in all of 3 quarters.

  42. 43- hahaha- The Suns have 6 Orebs on only 17 misses.

  43. What’s with the lack of post touches for Pau?

  44. I would ask how the heck Dunleavy still has a job, but I’m sure it’s because Sterling doesn’t want to pay him to leave.

  45. Is it just me, or is Fish finishing around the rim better lately?

  46. The box score for the Suns-Clippers game looks like it could come from one of my NBA 2K9 games.

    I wonder if the Clippers all got together for a team meeting before the game and agreed to quit on Mike D in hopes of getting him fired.

  47. I don’t understand the logic of trying to post up Kobe on every possession. The Hawks guards all have enough size to hold their now down there. The offense should be going through Gasol.

  48. What a shot of adrenaline to the Suns coming out of all-star weekend, back to their run and gun game: a back to back home and home with the Clippers.

  49. I come back from an excruciating hour of torture at the gym (seriously having second thoughts about paying for this level of pain), and we are down 15-24 to the Hawks?

    What happened? Lamar and Pau stopped rebounding and Kobe can’t hit the broad side of a hockey rink?

  50. Can Odom outrebound the Clippers?

  51. Farmar is bringing it. Getting us back into this game.

  52. Hmm it’s not that I expect Chris Mihm to be Bynum, but one would hope that he’d do a little better than this…

  53. oh man chris mihm is not very gd

  54. why’d mihm come in before powell?

  55. Scratch that, we are now doing a lot better. Apologies for the delay in posting the questions earlier. My connection seems to have some sort of glitch in it tonight.

    Also, after seeing a stat line, I take back what I said about the rebounding. I will shut up now.

  56. It’s hard to believe Chris Mihm was starting for the couple years of the post-Shaq era. He looks worse than DJ Mbenga.

  57. VC is on SA’s radar too. Imagine SA +VC, I think that puts them a notch higher than where they are now, and that’s speaking a ton. If they do get VC, that would make the WC finals a REAL dog-fight. I say, let’s get it on!

  58. 53. Lamar just might. He has 10 already. Only needs 7 more to out rebound the Clips tonight.

    The bench mob is back!

  59. Mimsy, it’s alright. I’ve spent whole games commenting on here after forgetting that I’m watching on my dvr an hour behind everyone else.

  60. j.d.:

    Clippers in 43 min: 17 boards.

    LO in 15 min: 10 boards.

    :D

  61. two quick things:
    1. ariza is shooting from outside with more confidence now, but i think he need to be reminded to balance it out with slashing to the basket
    2. 16 FG made, 14 Assists…offense is pretty good. we’re only missing shots. i guess

  62. SA just got dropped by NY

  63. 61

    I don’t know if Vince is the best fit for their system or their needs, but it would be interesting.

  64. j.d., thanks, but I am actually not watching it on dvr… I’m just severely confused by having my hamstrings try to kill me from pain and cramping. So, since I am severely confused, I am shutting up :D

    I will add, before shutting up, that I’m happy to see Powell on the court again. I like the way he plays, reminds me a bit of Turiaf–physical and fearless, and what he lacks in skill/talent, he makes up in effort.

  65. OK, I’ve said this before. The Chris Mihm experiment needs to end. Without Drew, Powell needs to be the first big off the bench, and Mbenga the second. If Mihm gives us absolutely nothing on the offensive end or on the boards, what good is he? At least DJ can block shots, and catch and dunk. Mihm can’t seem to do any of those three.

    Now, because I don’t want to dwell on the negative anymore, how about that bench (plus Lamar)?

  66. The Suns have not one player in the negative in terms of +/-, not that it’s terribly surprising.

    Durant has ridiculous FG% and this David West guy reminds me of the talk we once had here about him not really being a 20-10 guy or something…

    Net’s not really strengthening their trade cards by losing big…

    Somebody tell me how Nate Robinson has… 10 rebounds?! I guess he can jump.

    D. Howard. 45 bts, 19 boards, 8 blks. Unfair. Vladdy doing ok, I guess.

    This is a fun night for basketball.

  67. Well if we were showcasing Mihm for a possible trade, I think we talked the other team out of it.

    Eric Gordon passed Ricky Davis, sporting a team low -46. It’s funnier when Ricky does it.

  68. kobe with just 2 points and we’re up :) I like this

  69. Given the start of this half, holding the hawks under 40 is extremely impressive.

  70. maybe it’s time to give Ammo some burn…cuz Luke ain’t doing s**t!

  71. probably the sloppiest half of nba ive seen the season but were winning so who cares

  72. That FSwest ad with Odom touching and lighting up stars in the sky is silly, but somehow totally Odom.

  73. you said it j.d.
    I don’t think Mihm has looked this bad since training camp rookie year…

  74. One thing about the Chandler trade- Devon Hardin (Center from Cal) was a throw in. There’s no guarantee Hardin will ever make the league because he needs work, but if there’s a guy to compare him to it would be Tyson Chandler. He has a lot of defensive potential, but very little offensive game. But has a great physique and is a good athlete. With the right mentor, he might help make up for the loss. Might.

  75. Anonymous, Luke pretty much played Marvin Williams to a draw, and had three assists. Basically, the offense runs more smoothly when Luke’s in the game, and whenever he makes an open jumper, it’s a bonus. He is a decent man defender (see Anthony, Carmelo and Pierce, Paul). About once every three games, he makes more jumpers than he misses. Now let’s contrast Luke with Mihm, who (1) is a matchup defense liability, (2) can’t rotate well enough to play effective team defense, (3) has become a real liability on offense, and (4) can’t rebound.

  76. Odom is on a tear… I guess that stint on the bench really, really saved his legs for the 2nd half of the season.

    If he can play like this during the PO, I feel very good about our chances regardless of Bynum’s return.

  77. If you haven’t already.

    Look at the Box scores for the following players for tonights games.

    Dwight Howard.
    Kevin Durant.

    Thanks.

  78. The way this is going we might see Adam Morrison at some point.

  79. I’m loving this game. The team started out rusty. The starters were dead cold. All of them. The bench comes in, provides a start and the team focuses on their defense (I’ve especially liked Kobe’s). Having dominated the first half on D, now the shots are falling for everyone. That’s basketball I love to see.

  80. 67. you’ll never know w/ popovich & SA. that team do know what pieces they need for their system. but I agree w/ you. it’ll be interesting, at the least

  81. Pau closing in on a triple-double. Him and LO with a total of 27 boards between them so far. Pretty good game for the Lakers’ inside duo=)

  82. 79

    Howard manhandled Okafor as usual. Does anyone else remember when there was a serious debate as to which of the two Orlando should have taken #1? (Bill Simmons was critical of them for taking Dwight if I’m not mistaken.)

  83. That jumper by Kobe just gave Pau a triple double

  84. Here’s hoping (and knowing) that Kobe doesn’t start padding his stats.

    A 3 just as i type that gives Pau his trip doub.

  85. I believe that’s the first of his NBA career=) Congrats Pau!

  86. has anyone noticed? all Lakers who enetered the game is a +, KB’s under double digit on pts & we have the lead by a mile! nice way to start the 2nd half of the season, LA. GO!

  87. if odom plays with gasol like this (reminiscent of last year ) and even better on the board and more efficient in offense (like drilling a 27-foot 3 awhile ago), then i love our chances. kobe isn’t even putting much to this game as i look at his stat line and we’re beating an eastern playoff team badly. we haven’t reached the ceiling as long as bynum is out and unhealthy. when that happens, kobe may find himself as a “just” a starting guard but i doubt that happens. GO LAKERS!

  88. Ah sorry…make that his third. First as a Laker anyway.

  89. Pau has a triple double tonight already.

  90. Kobe hasn’t forced things too much this game. That’s a great sign. 6 guys with 8+ shot attempts. Ironically, this will hurt his mvp campaign, but is a better sign of his ability to lead this team than his 37 points against Utah.

  91. Miiiiiiiihhhhhhhhhmmmmmmm!!!!

  92. Mihm can rebound!

    That possession must’ve been just disheartening for the Hawks.

  93. Stop the presses, Mihm does something positive.

  94. I wanted to believe that Mihm could get back to his old form, but it looks like that is just not going to happen. Which is too bad.

    Let’s see the big guns get some rest heading into a fast-paced game tomorrow against Golden State.

  95. we need some ammo…

  96. Wonder if we can beat them by 40 so net +/- for LA is at a tidy 0.

    Anyway, Odom leading all scorers with 15.

    Odom 15 (9att)
    Fish 14 (10att)
    Pau 12 (10att)
    Kobe, Ariza, 10 per. (12/10 att)

    That’s balance.

  97. Trevor is a ninja!

    Another thought: props to the announcing team. They only have a bias as far as the angle they are approaching the game from is obviously the Lakers’ one. They treat almost every call objectively and are really knowledgeable about other players’ strenghts and weaknesses. Warrants applauding, I think.

  98. Haha at leats Mihm’s being active. But in the words of coach Wooden:

    Never mistake acitivity for achivement;)

  99. Man is Phil taking LO out? He’s just one board away to complete jd’s challenge to outrebound the Clippers..

  100. Odom is 1 rebound shy of tying Clippers’ total for the night. With some prodding we may see him get 20-20.

    Although my hope is to have Mihm, Farmar and Sasha reach 10 each ;)

  101. Was hoping for a bit of mo evans vs. trevor ariza angle hehe (I know we also gave out cookie but well I don’t think he really counts anymore)

    i really want to try out some new ammo…

  102. If Drew can make it back this season, I can see him coming back off the bench and destroying the opposition’s backup center. Now that Farmar is finally at or above last year’s level, no team’s second unit could stand up to ours.

  103. Morrison picking up where he left off in Charlotte…

  104. Wow.. even Brown is playing now. I miss Sun.

  105. NBDL on NBA!

    I guess Mbenga was the guilty one in the scuffle yesterday looking at Mihm’s PT.

    Now let’s see some Sun.

  106. where is sun?

    is he still on our active roster?

  107. I thought Sun was on the inactive list?

  108. chris mihm is quite stunningly bad, no way dj is worse

  109. Wow, maybe DJ should be the next big man on the totem pole in there instead of Mihm…at least he could jump higher than 3″. Geez!

  110. okay, shannon brown is an athlete!

  111. -1 for Mihm. I feel bad for him.. I really liked him during the initial post-Shaq era.

  112. WOW….Shannon Brown can leap!

  113. Breaking news: Shannon Brown can jump. Wow.

  114. DJ gave us some pretty solid minutes last season when Pau had the sprained ankle, sometimes even during crunch time of close games. The guy makes it his solemn duty to protect the rim and have his teammates’ back. Oh, and that was a spectacular play by Shannon Brown, no way that was a foul.

  115. Wow! Shannon Brown can JUMP.

  116. the other Stephen February 17, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    OMG. there have been many great plays tonight, but none have impressed me as much as that last one by shannon brown, even thought it was a foul. OMG.

  117. That was a bogus foul. What is the matter with these refs, are they aware of the time and score?

  118. It would be great if Kupchek can get us Mayo for Mihm.

  119. Unrealistic, i know. it’s my pipe dream.

  120. omg this is gettin embarrising, these guys would lose to a wnba team

  121. impressive win, but 11 points in the 4th is inexcusable…

  122. the other Stephen February 17, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    i want to see that shannon brown block again, but i have to wait for the highlights or for youtube. i’m not sure i can wait.

  123. How many turnovers during garbage time?

    Anyway, guess we have a huge talent dropoff from our 2nd string to our 3rd.

    Kinda funny that we even get to see the dropoff during regular season games.

  124. How high exactly did Brown jump again? Did he go past the backboard going for a rebound or something?

  125. Put it this way, his head was almost parallel with the rim…now that’s some major hops!

  126. Mayo? You never trade big for small. Mihm for KG makes a lot more sense.

  127. Wow…Lakers with an impressive 67 rebounds. Other LA team 21. Odom 20.

  128. Remember regarding all the ineffective play during garbage time–we’re playing two guys for the first time in a Laker uniform (and the triangle), and one guy who has no longer has any business wearing an NBA uniform.

  129. It’s a pipe dream. Ok, how about for Marc Gasol then.

  130. Mihm for KG? Chris must feel insulted with the very thought of it. I’d rather trade him for Darko.

    XD

  131. tmac officially out for season

  132. There goes the VC-for-TMac trade down the toilet…

  133. Mihm for Kwame! Anyway, let’s not start making another guy to pin negativity on. I’m sure he looks a lot better during practice or at least holds his own there. He did get some rebounds, too.

    I’m fairly certain Pau is enjoying his third triple double much more than he is when he got his first two in Memphis.

  134. I think we’ll now proceed to execute you jd.

    And this team needs a PG, so I think Mihm for Chris Paul makes way more sense.

  135. I agree that Mihm has not come close to the player he once was. His fundamentals are still there but his athleticism has been sapped by all those surgeries. Kinda sad. As for Mbenga, I’m not sure if he’d be any better. I know at this point he’s more athletic but if there’s one thing I remember vividly about him it was that he consistently went for blocks and left his rebounding responsibilities to the backside guard. I understand trying to defend the paint but there must be some awareness as to when to try and block the shot and when to hedge to show help while still recovering back to the defensive glass. If he gets some burn this season, we’ll see if that has changed.

    As for tonight, what I was really impressed with was our defense in the middle part of the game. What I’ve noticed recently with our defense is our ability to keep the opposing offense on one side of the court. We are making sure the PG is staying on the side that he initiates the offense on and then forcing everything to our helping bigs. We really hurt Bibby and Joe Johnson with this as their jumpers were contested by the on ball defender and when they tried to put the ball on the floor the second defender was always lurking. If we can keep up this strategy for the rest of the season, I really see our defense being strong.

    Also tonight, our balance was tremendous. LO is continuing to make Bill Bridges proclomations about his development look pure genius and the rest of guys played really well too. I really like the spark that Farmar is providing and I also love his chemistry with Ariza. The team made a great push to start the 2nd half and this was a good win to start the post all-star break portion of our season.

  136. On nba coast-to-coast their reporting that T Mac is done for the remainder of the season pending an upcoming microfracture surgery on his knee. Also they said the Cav’s are reportedly close to landing Antawn Jamison from the Wizards. Great win tonight from our Lakers!

  137. odom’s rebound stats the past 4 games:
    17, 18, 19, 20

    next is 21…

    awesome.

    btw, kobe only scored 10 pts.
    We won this game on the defensive end.

  138. Jamison to the Cavs doesn’t make me happy.

  139. Wally for Jamison + Etan Thomas? I didn’t know Wall-E was THAT valuable. Please don’t do this Washington… you can do better than that.

  140. Also, if there was one Wizard I wanted to see to get traded to the Cavs, it would be DeShawn Stevenson.

    Imagine what the tension would be like in the locker room.

  141. Jamison for Wally is scary :(

  142. Kurt-Totally agree with you re: Mihm. I’ve been rooting for him, but it just looks like his legs are shot. I’d like to see what Mbenga can do with some minutes, and now would be a great time in the season to see if he can give the team some contribution this years squad.

  143. 126:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdG2ABF2ehI

    Just saw this on youtube. Holy Shannon.

  144. Yeah, I’m bummed for Mihm. He was very athletic for a big man before he got hurt, but he has absolutely no lift now. No lift, plus bad hands = bad news.

    On the plus side, we got more offensive rebounds (28) than the Hawks got defensive rebounds (24) – we rebounded more of our misses than they did!

  145. WOW. Insane jump by Brown. The man could get a cat out of a tree without climbing it.

    Unbelievable.

  146. Much better quality of the Brown Block of Doom:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0N5D728RkE

    I know Kurt mentioned that this guy couldn’t get off the bench for Larry Brown to play in front of Felton…but Brown’s the same coach who called Ariza “delusional” and buried him in the depth chart too

  147. FYI, here’s another very interesting NY Times story on “platelet-rich plasma therapy” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/17/sports/17blood.html?_r=1&em.

    This is a noninvasive procedure that may increase recovery times for tennis elbow, knee tendinitis, torn MCLs, etc.

    Steelers Hines Ward and Troy Palomalu used it to play in the Super Bowl after sustaining injuries earlier in the Play Offs.

    Is this something that could hasten Bynum’s return?

  148. Wow. That was an amazing jump by Brown. He and Ariza should have contests to see who can outdo each other on that end. If he could figure out how to shoot, he can stay as a fifth guard for as long as he wants. He notably is shooting better this year — .455 FG% as versus .378 and .349 in the two previous years. Besides that, his PER is six points higher than last years’ and he’s only 23, so we could see some improvement.

    As for Morrison, well, he’ll be a useful $5 million trade chip next year.

    In any case, with T-Mac out for the season, it will be interesting to see whether the Rockets trade for Carter to give themselves a puncher’s chance in the playoffs. To do so, they’ll have to give up Artest and another asset — the Nets want Landry. Be interesting to see how they gel as the season goes on if this is the direction they want to go.

  149. I feel the same way about Mihm. I remember well that he was an effective and hard-working player a few years ago (though foul-prone and never able to get much slack from the refs). I felt then, and still do, that he didn’t get enough credit back then, and I’ve been rooting hard for him after the surgeries. But every time I see him out on the floor now, he looks like a train wreck–can’t catch the ball, can’t shoot or board, can’t get elevation, turns the ball over, fouls. It’s hard to watch. Unless he’s showing something in practice that doesn’t come out in games, he just looks done.

  150. the other Stephen February 18, 2009 at 6:45 am

    Holy Shannon! It’s the Brown Block of Doom!

  151. Jamison doesn’t scare me. Let him go to Cleveland. I just hope they have to send Varajao in the deal.

    I’m betting T-Mac only decided to end his season, and possibly next season to kill any possible trade to NJ. If he was likely to get shipped to a good team, he might heal faster than Shaq.

    Lamar has been impressive.

  152. Goo, I would love Brown to prove me wrong and work out to be a solid rotation guy at the guard spot. We could use it.

    153. Let’s give Morrison more than one game, or even the rest of this season, before we give up on him. He missed a couple wide-open shots, things you know he can hit, I think it may have been a nerves/confidence thing. Maybe he can get that confidence back, along with the porn stache.

  153. Kurt,

    Yeah, I suppose I’m passing judgment a bit too soon. For a guy with his level of athleticism though, he will have to be lights out in order to crack the rotation, so last night wasn’t especially encouraging. And yes, the porn stache must return.

  154. Solid win, I’m glad the starters could rest and take a break and let the subs get some burn. They didn’t use their time effectively, but we still won.

    What I was watching during the game was just a subtle change in our defensive behavior. I have been noticing that when Pau is playing defense at the rim, he goes straight up. He doesn’t extend his arms forward into the player and alters the shot with his length and doesn’t get a foul called. Last night the team was doing the same thing and it resulted in less foul calls.

    Two excellent defensive teams Boston and San Antonio use the same mentality and treat free throws as a horrible result of a defensive stand. Hopefully this trend continues and we continue to contest and alter instead of foul.

  155. After a game like last night there is no way Kobe gets an MVP this year, but he sure is in line to compete hard for a ring.

  156. New Post up.

  157. Brown Block of Doom was sweet, but the thing that totally made that sequence for me was watching the bench explode and start falling over each other.

    Looking past the BBoD, he had a horrible game. He had two (or three) botched handoff receptions, and the BBoD only began when he didn’t come hard to meet the pass at the top.

    But hey, it’s garbage time, it’s his first attempt and on the good side, he did seem to be playing within the triangle.

    As for Ammo, yeah he looked nervous. I trust that Phil has a good shot in recovering some of Ammo’s confidence, except that there isn’t much game time left to let Ammo fail and succeed. We need more blowouts!

  158. I was disappointed for Mihm as well. It seems like he’s trying to hard, though maybe that’s a result of trying to do things that he used to be able to do. But I thought the rest of the team responded well to him – the players on the floor kept trying to get him the ball, and the players on the bench seemed genuinely happy when he was successful.

    Along the same lines, I think it’s great that the team has welcomed the new players and wants them to fit in. Sure, it’s easy to be happy when things are going well, but sometimes teams with high goals put themselves under a lot of pressure and don’t respond well to it.

  159. I’m not sure whether it’s because Kobe isn’t attacking the basket, or the refs just aren’t making the calls – but 2 free-throws by Kobe, both of them from Technical fouls?