BREAKING NEWS: The Lakers have traded Chris Mihm to the Memphis Grizzlies for a second round pick. The move saves money for the Lakers — the rest of this year’s salary (he is making $2.5 million for the season) plus the full $2.5 against the luxury tax, which is calculated at the end of the regular season.
I really wish things had worked out better here for Mihm. In the first year after the Shaq trade, Mihm was maybe the second best Laker, not in terms of talent but in terms of nightly effort. He cared and tried. Unfortunately, injuries robbed him of his legs and after missing two seasons with injuries he has been able to do little this year, and has had trouble getting off the bench on a deep team.
We wish him well, and hope he gets some run and his game back in Memphis.
Pace: 97.6 (1st)
Off. Rating: 108.7 (12th)
Def. Rating: 112.3 (28th)
Pace: 94.5 (4th)
Off Rating: 114.3 (1st)
Def Rating: 105.5 (8th)
Lineup: Fisher, Bryant, Walton, Odom, Gasol
Warriors Coming In: This is not the same team the Lakers played in January. That was a team that was starting Marco Bellinelli and Brandon Jacobs while waiting for Monta Ellis to return from a moped injury. (Hey, at least Jeff Kent was riding a motorcycle).
Monta is back, and coming along quickly are his springs and his speed. (I’d take him over Devin Harris in that end-to-end race.)
Despite Tim Kawakami‘s assertion on local radio that Monta would never wear a Warriors uniform again after the acrimony created coming out of the situation, Monta’s rounding into playing shape and has these “6-Seconds-or-Less” Warriors on a 3 game winning streak.
They have won 7 of 9 over the last month and are 6-5 since the Mississippi Bullet’s return. Things started to click for the Warriors after beating a certain green team on December 26th. And the Dubs would be looking at a .500 record since then and a 12 game home winning streak were it not for a series of buzzer beaters (Kings, Thunder, Cavs) and blown leads (up by 12 with 8 minutes to play against the Spurs).
But the credit for their improvement also goes to a healthy Stephen Jackson, who has been getting Monta the ball in comfortable places while knocking down his own jumpers. If Captain Jack is hot, this team is trouble. The rest of the Warrior-lings feed off of his confidence.
As should be expected, Warrior fans have taken to Ronny Turiaf and his infectious demeanor. Turiaf comes off the bench for the Dubs (he started the last 3 in Biedrin’s absence) and has been a factor on their recent upswing (11 points, 7 boards over the last 5 games). Turiaf’s rebounding bump has been caused by the Warriors perimeter D. The D has tightened up as guys become healthier and this has allowed Turiaf to box out rather than hurrying to block weak side shots, which puts him out of position to rebound.
The Warriors are returning to full strength with the return of Bellinelli and more importantly Biedrins. The fans are pining for another big, but can they get that big without sacrificing Ellis? Unless something shocking happens at the deadline, the Warriors will live with Biedrins and Turiaf. In fact, Nelson likes the contrast in the two players games. The back to the basket, solid rebounding game of Biedrins replaced by the face up game and shot blocking hustle of Turiaf creates a change of pace that keeps opposing bigs off balance.
The Lakers will have to keep Turiaf off the offensive glass, his 7 offensive rebounds were a big piece of the Portland win.
The Lakers Coming In: Winning the second game of a back to back has become a measurement of the professionalism and grit that this team lacked last year (or so I’ve been told). The newest human victory cigars were out last night (Crazy block, Shannon), and the ice was on the knees early, so fatigue should not be an issue.
The Lakers will want to control the pace by pounding it inside to Pau in hopes of some early foul trouble for Biedrins. Run the offense and the size advantage will do its magic.
Defensively they need to keep the water strider out of the middle and close out on Jackson on the perimeter. Make Magette a jump shooter and keep him off the line. He gets there almost as often as Kobe.
LO Does Windows: 74 rebounds in 4 games.
Not in Phoenix, but what about the HOF?: The Warriors were one of the few teams that had zero representation during the All-Star festivities, but they do have 3 candidates on the HOF ballot. Don Nelson, Chris Mullin (as a player not a GM), and coach of the ’75 Championship team, Al Attles.
Warriors-Lakers History: Chick calling Game 4 of a 1987 series between Lakers and Warriors. Sleepy Floyd: 29 points in the quarter, 39 in the half, 12 consecutive field goals in the fourth quarter, finishing the game with 51 points. What’s more impressive is that he was being guarded by the NBA’s Defensive POY.
Where to watch: 7:30 start. Nationally this game will be on ESPN, and those who watch online can check out the ESPN 360 Live Stream.