Preview & Chat: The New Orleans Hornets

Kurt —  February 20, 2009
NBA: FEB 18 Magic at Hornets

Records: Lakers 44-10 (1st in the West) Hornets 32-20 (5th in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 114.4 (1st in league) Hornets 109.3 (8th in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 105.5 (9th in league) Hornets 106.2 (10th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Hornets Chris Paul, Rasual Butler, Peja Stojakovic, David West, Hilton Armstrong

Lakers notes: I have to say that the best thing about the trading deadline is that none of the Lakers key opponents for the title got noticeably stronger. Out West, the Spurs stood still, as did Denver and Utah. And the Hornets when it was all said and done.

But Boston and Cleveland also decided to go with what they had. With KG’s injury (hope he is back soon for the good of the sport) I just keep thinking Cleveland is getting the home court advantage out East. That side of the bracket is going to be interesting — come in second and you will have to play a good Orlando team in the second round before you get the top seed. That can wear you down, so Cleveland getting the top seed could be huge. By the way, that noise you hear is the sound of the cash register in David Stern’s head as he thinks about a Kobe/LeBron finals.

On a different topic, about Kobe’s clutchness: He has made 13 go-ahead field goals in the fourth quarter this season. That is tied for third in the Association (with Danny Granger) behind two Spurs — Duncan and Parker.

Last meetings: This is the fourth meeting this season, the Lakers have won two of the first three (all three were won by the road team). The first two games in the Big Easy were pretty comfortable Laker wins, with the team jumping out early and not having to worry about anything but a late run. The Lakers got balanced scoring in the first meeting, the second time it was the Kobe and Pau show.

The last meeting, in LA, was the David West show. He had 40, CP3 added 32 and 15 dimes.

The Hornets Coming In: What is the feeling in Louisiana after the rescinded trade for Tyson Chandler? This comment over at Hornets24/7 pretty much sums it up, I think.

The Hornets emerge from the madness with nothing much to show for themselves but a credibility hit. Tyson Chandler won’t have an easy time redevoting himself to a franchise that was so willing to part with him. Chris Paul and David West are obviously glad to have TC back, but they must be questioning the direction of the team when management seemed more concerned with saving money these past few days than keeping a great core intact.

It was not the sprained ankle that has Chandler out tonight that nixed the trade. It was his big toe, which was operated on a year ago. Ironically, the doctor that did the surgery is the one who did the physical for the Thunder, and he told them that while the toe was fine now it could go in a big way at any time, and they’d be taking on a big risk with this trade. So the Thunder backed out.

One other topic worth noting (and I’m cribbing here from an APBR thread that becomes about adjusted +/-) — Chris Paul is the defensive lynchpin of the Hornets.

He himself is playing better defense this season: opposing PGs are shooting 46.7% (eFG%) against him this season, down from 51.8% last season. When he is on the floor, the Hornets give up 106.1 points per 100 possessions (better than last season’s 107.6 when he was playing).

But, when he is off the floor, the Hornets give up 113.5 per 100 possessions. To give you an idea, if they played like that all the time, they would be 29th in the league in defense (only Sactown would be worse). What is shocking is that last season they improved when Paul sat — 101.4. I’m not close enough to the situation to know why things changed, but they did.

Keys To The Game: Based on that last paragraph above — the Lakers bench needs to make big runs in the few minutes CP3 is sitting. Take advantage of his absence.

The last meeting between these two was the game when Odom hyperextended his knee in the second quarter. It is no coincidence that the David West went off in that game — Odom frustrates West, but he is really the only Lakers that does. He Odom back tonight and him holding West in check as he tends to do will be key.

The Lakers are not going to stop Chris Paul, they never do. Nobody does — CP3 has scored or assisted on 48% of his team’s baskets this season (the highest figure in the NBA). (Kobe, by the way, is fifth in the league at 36.7%.) But the Lakers cannot let Paul rack up 15 assists like he did last game — they need to give him the “Steve Nash Treatment.” Make him a shooter, not a distributor. He’s a great shooter and scorer, but the Hornets by far are a more dangerous team when he is getting everyone involved and not just shooting himself.

Lots of pick-and-roll tonight — in the past the Lakers length has bothered the Hornets on their bread-and-butter play, but that means active bigs. The Lakers need to use their size to slow the probing of the defense by Paul as well as not let West get a bunch of open looks. West (and Posey) are not going to pass, you have to take the shot away from them.

Where you can watch: 7:30 start at Staples Center, and this is an ESPN Game. If you want to watch online, there’s a good feed at ESPN360.

Kurt

Posts

303 responses to Preview & Chat: The New Orleans Hornets

  1. Do you think that Celtics fans feel the same way about Bynum (“hope he is back soon for the good of the sport”)?

    I don’t want to wish injury or hardship on anyone, myself. I feel the same way about KG that you do. More competition is better for everyone.

  2. Go ahead field goals is not the only – and perhaps not the best – measure of clutch. The key is that you make a play (not necessarily a score) the changes the momentum, resulting in the win. Scoring is necessary, but overrated. Besides, I don’t want to encourage those “Kobe against the entire other team” type of plays.

  3. As Dodger Thoughts would put it, DFA’d from the previous thread:

    If the ‘09-10 cap matches the current estimate of $57.3 mil, then the only teams who would be able to sign LO to an initial salary of >$8 mil are:

    Pistons: $33,093,746 commited (7 players)
    Grizzlies: $36,274,350 commited (8 players)
    Thunder: $39,006,888 commited (11 players)
    Hawks: $40,865,197 commited (7 players)
    Raptors: $45,753,371 commited (7 players)

    So, the question is do any of these teams make sense for LO and vice-versa?

    Maybe Detroit, as both McDyess (34) and Wallace (34) are UFAs who are significantly older than LO (30). And with only $11,148,760 committed to ‘10-11, they could easily sign LO and have room to pick up another banner FA at that time.

    Maybe Ok City, as they lack quality veterans to help guide their young players and have nobody who can play in much less facilitate from the post on their roster. Plus, they don’t have to spend any big money on their kids until ‘11-12 (Durant and Green) and ‘12-13 (Westbrook).

    As for Memphis- they’re terrible and are going to be for a while. I don’t see LO signing there for a couple of extra mil.

    Atlanta has big money already committed to one tweener (Josh Smith) and has several key rotation players who are UFAs (Bibby, Marvin Williams, & Pachulia). I don’t see where LO would fit into their plans.

    Toronto’s current roster precludes the need for LO. But with so of their players statuses up in the air, it’s hard to know what direction they might go in.

  4. 1.

    It may be a bit petty, but I wish for KG to be just as healthy as and to be back at the same time as Andrew.

  5. Frankly, I think Odom is playing himself off the lakers. He’s finally figured out that he’s one of the best rebounders (on both ends) in the league and is improved his finishing at the basket (which was terrible) to the point where players on the weakside must challenge his shot, exposing the offensive glass for other players. Odom is going to get a 4yr/42 million dollar offer for a team that sees him as the missing piece. He is not the missing piece on the lakers if Bynum is healthy, but for laker fans that’s starting to become a much bigger if.

  6. The Hornets should move to St. Louis. I’ve always wondered why St. Louis didn’t have a basketball team. They support their other teams pretty well, it seems.

    New Orleans has bigger problems to deal with. It’s easier to make 8 football games than it is to pay for 41 basketball games.

  7. I’m a St. Louis native, just east on the Illinois side. Is there any truth to that? I have doubted our chances at getting a team for a while now.

    We have great support for our teams, I just don’t know if the portion of society that can afford to pay the prices will want to go to the games. Hopefully I am wrong. But if it was to watch Chris Paul and whoever is in town that night, what a miracle.

  8. PeanutButterSpread February 20, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    It’s going to be a challenge tonight.
    The Hornets beat Magic pretty much all because Chris Paul went supernova.
    The Laker guards have to guard the 3, make sure CP3 is kept in check and LO just needs to worry about making West struggle. This is a game Pau needs to go crazy and just dunk on everyone every time.

    On a topic not related to the Lakers,
    How did Amare get his retina injured?
    it’s got to kinda kill the Suns roll they were on
    if he misses a lot of time

  9. 8. I killed the first comment to which you referred. While there have long been rumors that the Hornets would move out of NO (they barely supported the team pre-Katrina) there is nothing close to official. And when a move does come look for Kansas City, Vegas and Anaheim to be in the mix too, they have all been mentioned.

    There is no deal, there is nothing close to a deal to move the team.

  10. Brought over from the last thread, JDH made an interesting point: “What I am taking from the economics situation is that this team really isn’t built to be a dynasty.”

    I agree. It seems like for over a year all we’ve been talking about is how we’ll be around for a long time because of our youth. But Kurt’s timely post yesterday (and the ensuing comments/debate) show that there’s much more involved in a dynasty than just age. Ideally, we need people like Rick Fox – guys who are willing to give up a ton of salary to win a championship. Usually those types of players are veterans, young guys rightfully want a big payday. Farmar, I’ve heard, has already talked about wanting to get paid. So nothing’s a guarantee.

    I agree about needing to draft well, but realistically, at the position we’ll be drafting, it’s hard to find players who can have an immediate impact. To stay on top we’ll need 1) players (from Kobe on down) willing to sacrifice a few million, 2) Buss willing to take a big hit, or 3) slowly replacing our players as they leave with key veterans hungry for a title. I like that last option least. Nothing against veterans (which will obviously help) but I like the idea of our players growing up together.

    9 – He got poked in the same eye against the Clips, by Thornton I believe.

  11. 9-I think Amare went up to block a dunk attempt and the dunker’s (someone from the Clips) off hand accidentally poked him in the eye. It didn’t look like much when it happened — in fact, Amare only missed a couple minutes of play before returning.

    It’s really sad. I’m no Suns fan, but It’s great for the league to have that team firing on all cylinders. It think it really helps the NBA for that style of play to succeed.

  12. With respect to Kurt, there will be no NBA team moving to Las Vegas anytime soon.

    The NBA and David Stern openly blasted the Thomas & Mack Center as inadequate when the All-Star game was here two years ago, and the plans to build a new NBA-quality arena have proven to be nothing more than talk, especially after the local and national economy went south.

    The sports betting issue hasn’t gone away, and there was a large distaste among many residents following All-Star week following some thuggish behaviour by those in town for the event. (Pacman Jones included.)

    I’ve lived in Las Vegas for my whole life, and even covered the tourism industry here for the local newspaper for several years. (Including the city’s quest to land the All-Star game in 2007, which was a story I broke for the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2006.)

    This city’s readiness to host an NBA franchise was questionable, at best, two or three years ago when the economy was soaring. As things now stand, it’ll be a while before the NBA calls this place home to more than a summer league and a Lakers exhibition game each October.

    I wish that weren’t the case, but that’s how it is.

  13. As always during the stretch run of an NBA season, injuries are about to start having a major impact on playoff seeding. Just off the top of my head, here’s a list of teams … all of them contenders or considered contenders at one point … who are currently feeling the pain:

    Celtics (Garnett)
    Magic (Nelson)
    Suns (Stoudemire)
    Rockets (T-Mac)
    Hornets (Chandler)
    Spurs (Ginobli)

    And that doesn’t include teams like the Sixers or the Jazz, who’ve been dealing with major injury issues all season long.

    We’re fortunate that our incredible depth has allowed us to handle the loss of Drew while hardly breaking stride; at least a few of those teams listed won’t be so lucky.

    We’re also fortunate that the Spurs did not land Marcus Camby before the trade deadline (as was rumored). That could have been a killer!

  14. Asked if it was difficult to avoid getting frustrated when he wasn’t playing much earlier this season, Josh Powell recoiled as though he’d been told to give Charles Barkley a deep-tissue massage. Then he gave a response that illustrated how much it means to him to be part of a title contender.

    “How do you avoid (frustration)?” Powell said. “Let me see. Let me think. I’m on the best team in the league. I’m playing with the Lakers. I’m playing with the some of the best guys in the league. How else do you want me to put it? I’m in the NBA. There’s a lot to be thankful for. It’s tough. Me and everybody else, you want to be able to participate and show what you can do, but we’ve all got a lot to be thankful for.”

    Nice excerpt from Josh Powell. We really are lucky to have some quality guys on our team.

    As for tonights game I look for the Lakers to come out ready. They seem to get up for games where they have something to prove and I don’t think tonight will be any different.

    Hopefully we can contain Chris Paul and the 3 ball. I think we’ll have more success on West tonight w/ Odom (as we have in the past) and Pau shouldn’t really have a problem handling their bigs. I also think Kobe will get out of his mini shooting slump that has been going on over the last few games, hopefully my feeling is right.

  15. Figures that Amare would get hurt the one and only time he tried to play defense. ;)

  16. So long as David West doesn’t go nova on us again. Chris Paul I can handle. I expect that. But I hate seeing the “17 foot Assassin” go off. Hope not, LO’s starting on him now.

    By the way, what stupid nickname for a PF. KG should be the “3 1/2 Quarters 18 Foot Killer.”

  17. I love to watch CP3 play. Simply put, he is the best PG I have ever seen besides Magic. The ball is like a yo-yo, I’ve never seen anyone dribble with such control. What he is doing is far mor impressive than what Nash did in his faux back-to-back titles.

    I think Odom is gonna be able to defend West better than last time, and Pau should have his way with Hilton Armstrong. I’d also like to see Ariza get some CP3 time, with Fish or Jordan guarding Butler or Mo Pete.

  18. Oops, only in a nightmare did Nash win any titles, I meant MVP’s

  19. From the discussion on the last thread, some of us are aware of two important facts on the payroll for the first time: the fact that minimum salaries don’t count against the luxury tax, and the fact that the league partially reimburses teams for signing veterans to pay scale minimum contracts. Knowing this, and knowing Jerry Buss’ history, I’m almost certain that both LO and the Cobra will be re-signed. Fisher’s contract comes off the books after next season, so the team can offer to pay LO a little less in 09-10, and make up for it in 10-11 and 11-12. The only way he doesn’t re-up with the team is if someone else totally overpays him ($11m per yr or higher).

    Yes, we’ll need to draft well. I am crossing my fingers that either Patty Mills of St. Mary’s or UCLA’s Darren Collison is available when our turn comes in the draft. I would actually prefer Collison, as he’s a deadeye outside shooter in addition to having blinding speed and good defensive fundamentals.

  20. I wonder if it was the same eye Amare injured earlier this season.

  21. Has anyone noticed that Kobe is more likely to struggle against big, athletic defenders. That’s what he has been facing recently. Tonight he will face Posey. Nobody stops Kobe, but these types of players do slow him down. The problem is that Kobe reacts to these people by trying to go 1-on-1 with them. Then the rest of the team just stands around and doesn’t move to open places to make a pass from Kobe easier.

  22. anyone know for sure if chandler is playing tonight? From the latimes article below, it seems like PJ is expecting him to:

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-lakers-fyi20-2009feb20,0,5855717.story

  23. I want KG to be healthy not only for decency’s sake but also because I don’t want the Celtics to have any excuses when we beat them (if they make the Finals).

  24. Great side-by-side look at Shannon Brown’s monster block and the reaction from the Laker bench. Hilarious!

    http://lakerlogic.blogspot.com/2009/02/shannon-brown-welcome-to-la.html

    Go Lakers!!!

  25. Pj, the Celtics wont even make the finals without KG. Also, the magic have no shot without Nelson, so it would be the Kobe and Lebron showdown

  26. 23. Chandler is not playing tonight. He has missed 14 games and is not going to be back until next month, according to the Hornets yesterday.

  27. kurt,
    in the ‘keys to the game’ last sentence about LO and west is messed up.
    well, I’m finally back home in LA, thanks darious for the advice on seeing games via the net…
    and wouldn’t ya know it…it’s on espn.
    hey, I’m good now, get to see games in pacific time from the comfort of my home…yeah.

  28. Any chance the Lakers would be players with the annual “waive me so I can play on a contender” folks? (ie Joe Smith, everyone on Sacto, etc.) Seems like everyone thinks that the Celts and Cavs are the preferred destination, but last time I checked, the Lakers weren’t too shabby!

    Also, would Mihm possibly fall into that category as well?

  29. DY,

    We’d be happy to sign a big for the minimum, but I don’t think the front office is actively searching the waiver wire like the Cavs and Celtics are. Not a whole lot of bigs we’d be interested in. Smith would be great, but KG and him are chummy and he played for the Cavs, so he goes there before coming here. Moore likely goes to Boston. Gooden still has a groin injury and might not get a buyout. Nesterovic has a one-way ticket to San Antonio if he gets bought out — he won a ring there and knows the system. And yes, Mihm falls under this description, but he frankly isn’t going to contribute as much as some of these other names.

    Anyhow, as for the game, give it to Pau. He should abuse Armstrong or Ely all night long.

  30. Kobe sure likes hiding his face in his hands. That’s a new gesture. A little less provocative than the Cassell dance.

    29 – I’ve always wondered why those cheap veterans who want to hitch onto a contender never really seem to consider LA. I think part of it is that our team is so deep, there isn’t really a hole to fill. Maybe our front office never makes any overtures. Part of it is franchise player charisma (I’m thinking of GP joining Shaq in Miami), although if a veteran wants to win, playing with Kobe should be #1 on the list. Plus who wouldn’t want to live in LA? I’m not sure I completely understand it.

  31. 22) Craig W, Yes.

    Kobe could easily make an instant, noticeable improvement in the Lakers, by sending the ball inside instead of forcing the issue with isos (as you mentioned), by not gambling so much on defense, and by hustling back on defense instead of complaining to the refs when he doesn’t get a call. Probably 3-4 points improvement in the point differential, which would be very significant.

  32. The only nba-team-moving-to-a-different-city rumor that should be encouraged is for the Clippers.

    I wonder if we can start a petition to have the team expelled from the County???

  33. Kurt,

    The game is also supposed to be on FSN locally.

  34. Chris H- One of the best things in the world is coming back to Cali after being away for awhile. Welcome back, now go hit a taco truck, I know they didn’t have any of those in Tennessee

  35. That post with the bench reaction to Brown’s post is hilarious. Made me feel better about working on Saturday.

  36. If Chandler plays anytime soon, OKC fans should be angry at their team doctors.

    BTW Kurt, I saw this today:
    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/bracketology

    Are you excited about your Long Beach team? My mom graduated from there also. I learned even more respect for them last year when I shared a Jet Blue flight with their basketball team up to Oalkand the day of their game.

  37. FYI on an NBA loss: Utah Owner larry miller passed away today.

  38. I am confused.

    I understand that if you go over the luxury tax…you pay dollar for dollar on how much you are over…that money goes to all teams which are below the luxury tax…

    i also understand there is a salary cap. But, what if you are in between?

    Lets use easier numbers, and hopefully someone can explain that to me.

    If the salary cap is 10 dollars…and the luxury cap is 15 dollars.
    and your payroll is 17 dollars. You would actually be paying 19 dollars. because the 2 dollars over would double.

    but what if your payroll is at 12 dollars?

  39. 7,8 – St. Louis doesn’t have a pro basketball town, because it’s not a basketball town. I also doubt it could support 4 pro teams.

    17 – If someone puts a hand in West’s face tonight and forces him to drive, we’ll be fine. If there’s the standard piercing glance for jumpshooter defense, there could be trouble again.

    22 – True, but I don’t ever remember Posey having great individual success guarding Kobe. Any success he had in the Finals could be attributed to the team scheme.

  40. Stern will NOT allow a team to play in Vegas. I just don’t see it. I think San Jose and KC are the most viable options.

    Anaheim is pushing for one, but I doubt the league will want 3 teams in 1 market.

    Maybe the league will contract by 2 teams (Hornets & Memphis?)

  41. Jon Barry just reported on ESPN that he heard “it’s gonna be a month” before KG returns.

  42. 37. I’m actually going to see Long Beach play tomorrow against Green Bay (who beat Butler a couple days ago). I really like what Dan Monson (one of the architects at Gonzaga years ago) is building, Long Beach has a couple of scorers who are older but their best players and core are freshmen. They keep recruiting and getting better and they could be the best team in the conference consistently in a couple years.

    That said, the Big West is wide open this year, there are about 5 teams that could win the conference tourney and get the bid. Each team has flaws (LB is weak inside and sometimes those talented freshmen make freshmen mistakes under pressure). But the program has come so far in two years, backers have to be happy.

  43. 39. Salary man, you would pay $12 in that scenario. The only way you can go over $10 is with specific exemptions, for example you resign one of your own free agents or you bring in someone for the mid-level exemption. The NBA cap is a soft cap because of those exemptions, but when you go over it you just pay the salary (up to the luxury tax number).

  44. Sorry if my post (#42) qualifies under rumors. I was just so happy… errr…. sad when I heard it that I had to post it.

  45. thanks Kwame! one of the nice things while being away was being able to be a part of this family at FB&G.
    taco cart is a good idea, but we have a great little taco shack just down the street.
    actually today was a mid afternoon lunch at my wife’s fav…Yang Chow in Chinatown, if you like Chinese food and have never been there, ya gotta try it one of these days, now we have leftovers for a couple days too.
    for tonight, yeah, it’ll be interesting to see how LO brings it, he fills it up around the boards. but then when Trevor, farmar, and now Josh Powell start bringing it on the 2nd unit, it’s just a relentless press on our opposition.
    How many times are we yelling as our second unit builds on the lead, (or reduces theirs) only to realize…”hey Kobe’s been on the bench…Pau too…wow, these guys must get bummed when they also realize this, (the opponents)”.
    Hornets are going to be tough though, they know this is the big stage, so we have to be ready to match the effort.

  46. @39 :
    1. You don’t pay any luxury tax.
    2. You are restricted in any additional signings to exceptions such as bird exceptions, MLE, etc
    3. Other teams A,B,C happen to pay luxury tax. this is divvied up among the non-luxury tax teams and you get a nice checque.

  47. (40) clutch824,

    Well, what makes New Orleans a basketball town? Or OKC, Seattle, San Antonio, Utah, Charlotte, Orlando, Miami, Portland or any other city a basketball town? There’s really no such thing. You can call Charlotte a “basketball” town due to their love of Duke and UNC, or Indiana, but they both rank near the bottom of the NBA with 75% attendance rates. Would you consider Dallas, home of the Cowboys, in the biggest football state a basketball town? The Mavs are at 104% percent (must be SRO tickets).

    I’m sure they can support an NBA team better than a lot of cities in the NBA. St. Louis has a history of having good attendance for their pro teams. Per ESPN the Rams have a 91% attendance rate, the Cardinals have 90% rate, and the Blues at 87% this year.

  48. Is anybody watching the Cavs-Bucks game?

    LeBron… WOW.

  49. lebron has 41 points and theres still 8 minutes left in the 3rd… wow

  50. 38-Bummer. Diabetes, what a brutal way to go. First he had both legs amputated, and then he didn’t live much longer. I hope Miller was alert enough to watch his Jazz defeat the Celtics last night. That would have made him happy. Our team owes him a debt of gratitude for the classy way he treated Derek Fisher, despite the fact that Fish’s departure helped the Jazz salary cap-wise.

  51. A few quick thoughts before the game.

    Gotta wonder what the Hornets mental attitude is like. They know they’ve underachieved this year and then their owner basically ‘gave up’ on them by trying to dump Chandler’s salary.

    The possibility of the Hornets moving must make Sonic fans upset. If it wouldn’t have been such bad PR the Hornets should have stayed in OKC, thereby making it impossible for the Sonics to move there.

    Re the above questions about Amar’e. Yes it’s the same eye he injured in pre-season. The Suns’ eye doctor (and other Phx pro teams as well) was on local radio today saying that Amar’e had reported seeing ‘floaters’ in his eye before the game, but not ‘shooting stars’ or other signs of a detached retina. Other than pain he didn’t have any sight problems due to the injury in the Clips game. In fact the doctor said it’s not certain that the injury during the game had caused the detached retina. Phx team docs, to be safe, had Amar’e see the eye doc yesterday. The eye doc said Amar’e is lucky they did because if they’d waited just 1 or 2 days “he could have had serious trouble” (which I take to mean possible permanent damage).

    Get back soon KG, Bynum, Chandler, and any other important cog for playoff teams. I hate seeing anyone get injured, especially if it effects a team’s chances for playoff success. Apparently a few Laker fans went to CelticsBlog to cheer the inury. Disgusting.

    Go UCI in the Big West, says this former Anteater!

  52. OT-I’ve noticed that approximately 70%of my comments are delayed for moderation, including my recent comment on Larry Miller. Is there anything I can do to avoid this, such as avoiding typing certain keywords that may trigger the spam filter?

  53. LeBron is 8/10 from 3, and one of those misses was a fullcourt heave.

  54. Anyone else as sick of A-Rod as me? I’m trying to figure out a way to block the ESPN crawl at the bottom of the screen right now.

  55. PHX has 79 points at the half. What the heck is going on over there????????

  56. 53. Dude, you do for some reason have issues. I’ll shoot you an email with the list of words that triggers the filter. But there are some other things as well in the system. You’re not sending from hustler.com, are you?

    56. It helps that the games since they went back to running that they have played the Clippers and OKC, not exactly the best defensive teams in the league.

  57. 56

    They picked the perfect time to switch coaches and reinstate the SSOL system. Games against OKC and the Clippers will always help you pad those scoring stats.

  58. yes man -

    and lebron has 47 points.

    wow its an impressive offensive night haha for the suns and for bron. maybe for us too? i hope so, enough to come out with the W at least.

  59. I actually have the same problem as The Dude, and I’m pretty sure that I’m not writing anything offensive.

    Could it be that I’m posting from a Swedish ISP or something like that? (And no – not from some Swedish version of hustler.com;))

    Sorry for the off-topic.

  60. Oh no, Mark Jackson again… :(

  61. Joel: Today he has JVG by his side though, and that makes it much more endurable. Or maybe it’s just me having a man-crush on JVG:D

  62. Andreas:
    En till svensk? Heja Sverige! :)

    Out of courtesy to Kurt and the other blog mods I’ll go back to English from here on: I have a similar problem, but only when posting from my laptop. It happens when I hit Tab to highlight the “submit comment” button, and then hit the space bar to submit. If I use the touchpad to move the cursor and click with one of the laptop mouse buttons, I don’t have this problem. It never happens on my desktop computers either at home or at work.

  63. And in the greatest feat of irony ever my first post was hit with “awaiting moderation”. Is it because of the smiley?

  64. 62

    As long as JVG doesn’t try too hard to be a comedian I’m fine with him.

  65. Odom…. right hand?

  66. gotta be at least a one game suspension coming Villanueva’s way

  67. 48 – I guess I stand corrected. That’s just my feeling, though.

    55 – Definitely sick of seeing anything to do with A-Rod. That’s one of the worst things about NBA on ESPN. You have to get all their “expertise” for all sports during games.

  68. kobe is struggling, looks a little tired still

  69. bad gamble by sasha

  70. #55, 68:
    Could not agree more. Baseball = steroids, as far as I am concerned, right now anyway. If they wanted to do the sport a favor, ESPN and the like would focus less on A-Rod and more on everyone else.

    Back to the Lakers… is it just me, or is our bench playing slightly better than the starters right now?

  71. RE: PHX
    Barbosa is sizzling of late.

    RE: CLE
    Bron bron has 9 assists and 5 rebounds. The rebound kinda speaks to where his mind is at nowadays, I guess.

    RE: LAL
    Kobe’s in a shooting funk of late. He needs some Barbosa in him.

  72. We’re supposed to extend the lead with Paul out, not let them come back.

    *Sigh*

  73. @71, mimsy i think its just you. 6-0 this quarter and free throws coming. They’re fouling way to much

  74. #73,
    I was afraid of that :(

  75. Shannon Brown?

  76. That would be why…?

  77. i like the hustle! go shannon

  78. Wow, Brown flew across the floor to try to get that loose ball. Ball of energy.

  79. If nothing else, Shannon needs to get some sort of reward for that block he pulled. Give him some minutes, and if he does good, give him more.

  80. I think he might need to work on his jumper a bit.

  81. This is a brickfest. Why is Kobe the only good outside shooter on the court for the Lakers?

  82. Cause sasha and farmar are both playing like they have taken over for good ol’ space cadet

  83. since the 61 point game, Kobe’s shooting % has not been good. Today he’s 3-10.

  84. 3-11

  85. This is the type of game where we miss Bynum. We’re having trouble establishing an inside game and we’re settling for far too many jumpers.

  86. wow, someone scored!

  87. 3-12

  88. So far, our best player in this game has been Luke. When he was in the game, the ball went down low into the post for either inside shots or catch and shoot open jumpers.

  89. We have to give Pau the ball….don’t we?

  90. Don’t take this the wrong way, because I do like Luke, but when he is the best player on a team that has two All-Stars, something has gone wrong….

  91. That was hilarious. I wonder if that was retaliation for Kobe’s cherry-picking.

  92. Mimsy: Ja för fan – halvspanjor iofs, men nära nog;)

    And now the Lakers go on a little run – Swedish seems to be a good luck charm!

  93. the hornets’ pathetic 1st quarter play just put us to sleep. once they took the lead, we seemed to pick up our play.

    I’m sure we’ll be asleep soon again.

  94. 422 points for Phoenix in their last three games. Granted it was against the Clippers twice and OKC, but it’s pretty impressive.

  95. JVG had it right, (besides Ariza) our bench has not played well, especially our guards. Since Fish and Walton have come back in we’ve looked much steadier.

  96. did everyone else hear phil “ohhhhhhh” on that shot?

  97. This is just a hideous game

  98. Halvspanjor är nära nog för att räknas som svensk. :) Mer än mig i alla fall, jag har bott i USA i fyra och ett halvt år nu…

    According to US stereotypes, a Swedish woman who loves sports and who is good at cooking is a good thing to have nearby ;)

  99. Honestly, this is some of the worst shooting I’ve seen from 2 NBA teams in a while. A lot of these jumpers haven’t even been close.

  100. Let’s call off the second half and have both teams head to the santa monica pier. Firt team that manages to throw the ball into the pacific ocean wins.

  101. Note: it’s always a good idea to fire your coach right before a Clippers-Clippers-Thunder stretch.

  102. Incredible night for lebron, I don’t mean to be a downer, but of the 8 3′s he made tonight at least 6 of them were “bad” shots, amazing, but not quality shots. he was just on. If it were kobe taking those shots everyone would be all over him for being “selfish”. i just don’t understand the double standard

  103. Mimsy: Actually, I think that’s a more or less universal truth. Even the Swedes themselves scour the land for such women;)

    Derek: Spot on. Anazingly bad shot selection, and amazingly good results. I guess that’s what separates players like Bron and Kobe from the mere mortals huh?

  104. amazingly*

  105. Derek, you just bemoaned a double standard that only occurred in a hypothetical in your head. Kobe dominated the ball in the New York game… and was praised by nearly everyone. He and Lebron are the consensus best players in the league- some people just disagree on who is #1. I don’t understand the persecution complex.

  106. Carmelo Walton out there tonight.

  107. Give the ball to Luke and get out of the way?

  108. Wow. Go Luke. Something clicked somewhere.

  109. Luke Walton is playing out of his mind right now. He’s basically been the difference between the 2 teams tonight.

  110. luke ate his wheaties this morning…

  111. I take back what I said earlier. Luke is the Skywalker tonight.

  112. There is nothing as difficult to stop as big to big passing. That is pretty.

  113. 113-Odom and Gasol have ridiculous chemistry. They just move to the right spots on offense like they’ve played together for 10 years.

  114. Some day Chris Paul’s trick of pivoting into his defender off the dribble to draw the foul right as the defender is reaching around him will be taught in text books. It’s the equivalent of swinging your arms up for a shot when the defender sticks his hand in your face.

  115. 114-I know everyone gave Kobe credit for Pau fitting in last year in the way he did, but really I think it was LO and Pau fitting in so quickly that let him adjust so rapidly.

  116. That was Lamar Odom at his absolute best. Beautiful pass.

  117. j.d. I realize that they are number one and number two and very few if any think otherwise. But Kobe very often is cast as selfish, and on the other hand lebron has never been acused of being such. thats all im saying.

  118. Those full court galavants by LO remind me of when he was at Rhode Island, and he looked like a young Magic handling the ball at 6’9.

  119. 117

    For what’s it worth I agree with you Derek, and your example is not hypothetical – it’s already happened time after time.

  120. Right now CP3 has a -19…no typo

  121. Jack smack talking Chris Paul? Love it.

  122. JD Hastings, by the way, next weekend Cal baseball is in town to take on Long Beach. Probably head out to that. LB has an amazing baseball program (Longoria, Bobby Crosby, Jered Weaver, Jason Giambi and many more).

  123. Sorry, but having Bobby Crosby come from your program can NOT be a good thing. Especially to an A’s fan.

  124. Thank you joel. I don’t think lebron should be cast as selfish. I just dont understand why kobe is. IF they are the best two players in the league they should be shooting more often… especially if they are shooting like kobe was at MSG and lebron tonight. I just think that there is a little bit of a double standard between the two. During the course of a game kobe is mostly in the flow of the offense other than the last few minutes of a close game or if hes shooting lights out. Where as lebron basically has the ball in his hands nearly every possesion.

  125. JVG, shut up. You’re not a referee. You’ve complained to refs as a coach for trivial calls. Don’t be a hypocrite.

  126. Wow. Fish made the pass at the right time on a fastbreak. I can’t believe it.

  127. The reason the Lakers are a good team is because you know, I know, the announcers know and most importantly, the other team knows that at some point the Lakers will rip off a 22-6 run, and a close game is not close. It is the mark of a great team and the Lakers are making it routine these days. Key to this 4th quarter is closing the door early.

  128. I think kobe IS selfish, but that’s part of the drive that makes him great. Occasionally the criticisms have had a basis (Lebron didn’t have to define himself while alongside shaq in his prime). The last couple of years I think a lot of that criticism subsided (as he got the mvp).

    Now I think Lebron has improved over his career by becoming MORE selfish, in part by being constantly compared to Kobe. Only selfishness could have led him to take over that game v. Detroit on the way to the finals. Selfishness led to how he played in game 7 v. the Celtics last year.

    Some peole do just dislike Kobe, but that comes with success in sports and some of the obvious other things. I don’t think that praising lebron = criticizing kobe though.

  129. 127

    Well we’ve already seen Odom drive and finish with his right hand, so why not Fish running the perfect break?

  130. Anyone else enjoying the irony of Van Gundy saying someone needs to play at a faster pace?

  131. Eh, Van Gundy lacks the brain capacity to speak without contradicting himself every 2 minutes.

  132. Marc Jackson is such a reactive commentator. I wish he could be more proactive and let us know what might be coming being that he was a point guard. He talks most during replays, telling us in precise details how the play unfolded.

  133. 129- You may not criticize Kobe while praising Lebron, but many people have. Bill Simmons is the obvious one, but he’s not alone. Ive heard and read many people over the last few months who just cannot give Lebron a compliment without dissing Kobe. And I just really don’t see why that’s necessary.

  134. I agree with all that. They both are selfish sometimes but nobody uses “selfish” in the same tense you do. whenever it is used its ALWAYS negative.

  135. farmar’s defense has improved dramatically.

  136. They don’t call anything for 3 quarters then suddenly call everything. That happens a lot.

    The +/- differential between the benches and starting units is ridiculous.

  137. 133

    Jackson just waits for someone to score so he can say “That’s just bad defense” or something like that. If you’re hoping for him to provide some kind of useful insight you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.

  138. I know this is an oldie, but may someone please explain to me how it’s possible that while playing with the second unit Pau is not our first option in offense?

  139. how is that call even possible?

  140. god I love these officials. they’re really upping their game for the 4th quarter.

  141. Not holding my breath for any insight. His best saying however is “that was good defense, just better offense”

    At lesat JVG can be funny sometimes and i rather just listen to him ramble and contradict himself all day.

  142. Our bench didnt hold us down today

  143. I know the Lakers’ philosophy is to pack the paint, but does that mean they’re not allowed to run out on shooters when the ball is kicked out? Sheesh.

  144. lakergirl: I agree totally.

    How was that last play a foul btw?

  145. i cant believe im saying this but i think we need luke back in there

  146. Paul even makes Marks look good. What a player.

  147. We really have not got the ball to Pau enough. We either should be going inside to him (allowing Kobe to come off the ball) or have Kobe and Pau run the pick and roll. On defense we need to play more honest, the SSZ is getting ripped because the hornets are overloading the weak side or making the skip pass, we need to stay at home.

  148. Bill Simmons has his own opinions. That does not a conspiracy make. I never said nobody criticized Kobe. People criticize Lebron too. His lack of a post up game, his poor outside shooting… Its just the Kobe crowd are so over-sensitive. Seriously, does it matter if not everybody loves him? Sometimes Kobe does take too many bad shots- see the loss to utah as an example. Just because somebody acknowledges that doesn’t mean they have an agenda to slander the man.

    Simmons said kobe would be top 10 all time if the lakers win it all this year. Look at this list:

    http://www.basketballreference.com/leaders/leadershof.htm

    Simmons would bump one of those people for kobe. Does that sound like hate or unfairness????

  149. Unbelievable!

  150. And no foul was called there? Unbelievable.

  151. Bogus offensive foul. Wow.

  152. some shocking reffing going on here

  153. Now this is just getting out of hand:

    1. Pau got fouled.

    2. That was a blocking foul on Posey.

  154. I don’t usually complain about the calls, but Chris Paul grabbed fisher’s arm -no call- fisher runs into Posey, who is IN the restricted circle and its an offensive foul.

  155. Kwame a. you are right, time to go to the Kobe/Pau pick and roll for a few times down. NO has stepped up the defensive pressure and running the O through Odom and Walton is not working.

  156. If Fish fouls out we should put Kobe or Ariza on CP3. Where is LO??

  157. Time to go to the Kobe-Gasol-Odom strong side triangle play. No easy scores for a while now.

  158. Brutal charge call on Fish. Posey was both in the restricted area and shifting over after Fish left his feet. Should have been two points and the FT.

  159. Let’s face it, the officiating is awfull, but today the blame should go to PJ, I know that you are going to tell about letting them grow…but he let the second unit being beaten for too long at the begining of the fourth

  160. We have got to attack the basket on O.

  161. Please stop with the ISO’s

  162. Why do the Lakers keep running these isos for Kobe in the 4th? How often does it produce a good shot? Once every 4 possessions?

  163. 5-5 3pts in this quarter, and none of them was even contested…

  164. Wow. Not sure Fish was set there, but the calls have been off all night.

  165. Wow. Huge, huge bailout there. Great flop Fish.

  166. Make up call.

  167. The is the worst game (on both ends) I’ve seen Kobe have in years. He’s taking selfish shots, not closing out on defense and no attacking the rim agressively. This loss is on Kobe if they lose.

  168. the team has looked downright panicked at moments here.

  169. Questionable calls both ways. The hornets are the aggressors right now. We are just reacting.

    Kobe’s Isos are getting old….

  170. The NO bloggers and commenters complain about Posey all the time, and a lot of national writers say that NO gave him too much money for too many years. The sad thing for the Lakers is that he seems to only play well against them.

  171. Fisher = clutch.

  172. Derek Fisher is ridiculously clutch.

  173. fisher saved us this quarter.

  174. clutch fish…. its ours in OT

  175. Kobe as decoy: UNSELFISH

  176. Good play by Phil. Im glad they got an open shot from Fish instead of the usual contested 3 from Kobe

  177. Okay, no time out by NO, but don’t you have West come out for the P&R. Pure Iso for a pullup? Not the shot you want.

  178. 0-4 from 3 goin into the 4th, 2-3 in the clutch, including game-saving charge and game-tying 3 ball…D Fish.

  179. Fisher always seems to be caught in momentum/game changing situations. Tonight it was the Charge and clutch 3!! Way to Fish!!!

  180. my question is… why cant they run stuff like that more often in the fourth instead of the iso’s?

  181. Does anybody embrace the moment like Fish. Wow. So, lets win this thing!

  182. I think a large part of Kobe’s less then stellar crunch time numbers is our utter refusal to run anything but Kobe iso down the stretch. Other teams know it’s coming and plan for it. Why don’t we ever give it to Pau down the stretch?

  183. 180

    This game hasn’t been the greatest for offensive execution…

  184. Kurt: All the teams seem to fall into the same trap more often than not during the closing seconds – they just give the ball to their best player for an iso which usually leads to a low percentage shot.

    The fact that the Lakers didn’t do it this time, and that NO did, was what saved us.

  185. Fish was open because Paul thought kobe was getting the ball on the handoff.

    Hornets still have the momentum, but the thing about momentum is its always changing.

  186. Stupid refereeing which throws back to 2 years ago when you could jump into defenders to “draw a foul”.

  187. finally Kobe is playing like kobe in OT.

  188. I love Poseys game, what team couldn’t use a guy like that. Clutch 3′s hard fouls, what’s not to like

  189. What’s annoying is that the Kobe-Gasol 2-man game has worked so many times in so many close games, and still they don’t go to it enough.

  190. Chris Paul, that call just made up for the non call on the foul the last possession.

    Did they pull fans out of the stands to ref this game?

  191. We just lucked out. Kobe fouled him.

  192. 193-exactly. when he tripped over his own feet.

  193. nice to see NO forgot to play D on the most important play of the game.

  194. We should do that…every play late in games.

  195. Stop! Kobe time!

  196. Kobe coming through in OT.

  197. Holy ****. Kobe really IS he best.

  198. Man he is good. He needs to go to the cup more often.

  199. Please don’t give up an open 3…

  200. big shocker on that call.

  201. The girl behind the announcers was going to get a serious face cramp from forcing a smile while the camera was on them for so long

  202. Wow, Pau. Really dumb play.

  203. Better yet, a 3-point play. Yikes.

  204. That my friends, is one of the worst fouls I have ever, ever seen.What is Gasol thinking?

  205. Knowing the lakers like we do, I say there is a 100 percent chance they get an open 3 out of the timeout

  206. Is he thinking? Inquiring minds want to know…

  207. If Butler gets an open look at a three I will shave my eyeballs with a dull razor.

  208. good to see we didn’t give up an open three…. OH WAIT!

  209. The Hornets are like Michael Meyers: hard to kill.

    I feel the same way about that as I do about Mike Meyers: no longer funny.

    If we don’t have to see James Posey again this year, that would be fine by me!

  210. When was the last time Rasual Butler missed a jumper? Good grief!

  211. I don’t get this obsession with fouling on the last play when up by three or more. Honestly, JVG, who are you to doubt Phil or Pop, neither of whom like this tactic?

  212. Whew!

    This game had lots of lulls, but that overtime period was a barn-burner.

  213. Pau played 48 minutes tonight, most on the team. I hope he can keep this up and play more heavy minutes in the playoffs. Maybe we’ll get more blowouts and thats when Phil will rest him, but still…this is some heavy minutes.

  214. why would pau even contest that last shot?
    g*d damn we played a poor game.
    game ball to d-fish. we deserved to lose, but he saved us.

  215. …aaand we are 45-10. I am okay with this.

  216. The weird thing? Rasual Butler was a team worst -20

  217. Our 2nd Unit killed us tonight. They made it a game.

  218. 216,

    I concur. If there’s any reason to get a big off the waiver wire, it’s to relieve minutes for Gasol.

  219. we sure did play poor tonight especially the bench and until overtime kobe was poor but hey we still won

  220. 220- yeah, while our first unit looked a bit out of sorts late in the 4th, it was the bench that put them in that position.

  221. The 6th foul on CP3 was the correct call. He totally flopped when he and Kobe both went for the ball. The replay with the best angle showed that Kobe barely nudged him. Then CP3 dived, and took out Kobe’s legs. Think about it–CP3 is unbelievably strong at maintaining enough control when driving to the hoop and drawing strong contact from a much bigger defender to make his shot. That little nudge by Kobe and he flops and does a complete horizontal 360? He looked like a Euro soccer player. He deserved to be fouled out of the game for flopping like that.

  222. Completely unrelated note…just saw LeBron’s third quarter…oh my god. He was pulling up, in transition, from feet behind the arc, and swishing it. Repeatedly.

  223. If Lamar finishes the year with these type of numbers, someone is going to give him 12-14 million a year.

  224. As for Pau’s minutes, I think Phil is waiting for garbage time so that Mbenga can be worked in slowly. He hasn’t played all season, except for three minutes of garbage time in only one game.

  225. Archon, yea that is a worry of mine also.

  226. Yeah, Lamar! Stop rebounding so much!

  227. #225 – Archon, I know you also voiced your concern about losing Lamar in the off-season to the highest bidder earlier in this same thread, but didn’t Sean P. (comment #3) do the math and determine that there are only five teams who’ll be far enough under the cap to offer LO more than $8 a year?

    Pistons, Grizzles, Thunder, Hawks, Raptors … who on that list do you think is actually likely to pony up up for Odom?

  228. The Pistons should be desperate for an Odom type.

  229. By the way the only player I have ever seen play the point guard position as well as Chris Paul is the Magic man. Imagine if Paul had a true superstar playing with him?

  230. I think the Pistons, Hawks, and Raptors could see Lamar as a missing piece type, especially Atlanta. Trade Marvin Williams, play Smith at the 3, Lamar at the 4 and AL Hartford at the 5. That’s a tough team in the east.

  231. This was a win, and I’m happy we got it, but honestly this was one of the most frustrating games I’ve watched all season. For all the Fisher heroics and Kobe being Kobe in OT, so many things about this game bothered me that I don’t even know where to start…

    The one thing that bothered me the most was our bench. Look at the boxscore and you’ll see that our 2nd and 4th quarters were terrible. Farmar, Sasha, and Powell gave us nothing. If not for Ariza, our bench would have been a complete negative. If there was one thing that really stood out to me though, it was our bench’s inability to run our sets with any crispness (there was a reason that everything looked so much better when Luke came into the game, even if it was at the expense of Ariza who did play well). Our guys would just dump the ball into Pau and stand around, or they’d come off screens just looking to gun for themselves, or they’d try to penetrate from a wing isolation, or they’d get the ball on the block and just shoot whatever shot made itself available. This unit needs to learn how to run our sets because when the running game isn’t there, the offense stalls entirely too easily. I was very disappointed in them tonight. The Hornets are a very slow paced team and do a pretty good job of getting back on D and that combination just completely took our second unit out of their game. I don’t want to make tonight’s problems seem too large or some sort of bigger issue that will plague us forever, but I do want to see more variety from our second team. I love their energy and hustle and ability to wear down the other team’s bench, but I still want to see some diversity.

    Anyways. I’ll take the win.

  232. I second Darius and the bench.

    Also, this is the 3rd/4th straight game that Kobe doesn’t look good because he was playing against a big, athletic defender. Kobe continues to try to force it with a medium range fade away – low percentage shot. Better he should find an open player or dive to the rim – like he did late in the game – but stop with these stupid fade aways when playing a big athletic player.

  233. 212-Best comment of the thread

    220/234-The bench let the Hornets back in, but I was really disappointed with our starters over the last 6 minutes of the game. We ran iso after iso, completely ignoring the fact the Hornets were single covering Gasol with Sean Marks. Sean Marks. We didn’t run pick and roll and our offense was very linear. Defensivley we didn’t close out too well either once they got it going. Still, a nice win, and another chapter in the D Fish legacy book.

  234. Great game! Cp3 is not invincible aha

  235. 236. Kwame,
    I hear you on what our starters were doing down the stretch and do think that Gasol should have gotten more touches. However, Pau was not as aggressive as he could have been all night (I mean, not only did he have Marks on him, but he also saw Ely and Armstrong too who should not be able to limit him the way that he was tonight). Also, the Hornets did a pretty good job on our P&R when we did run it by collapsing from the weakside and clogging the lane so that there weren’t as many openings for us inside.

    I would also say that when the bench gave up the lead in the first part of the 4th quarter, it fed their confidence to the point that when our starters came back into the game they were in a real dogfight the rest of the night. Like Joel R. did say, the Hornets were hard to kill tonight, but it was our bench that gave them that second (and third) life. I do agree with you on our 3pt. defense though (but Butler was way hot and by the end it didn’t matter if we were closing out or not).

  236. Would anyone else agree that Kobe is not hitting jumpers as much? I dont think he hit one all night, besides a 3 pointer earlierin the game. Lately, he seems to only score when he goes to the basket or shoots within the paint. Also, inexusible let up in the game. Disapointing effort by the bench. All I can say is thank god for Fisher. This makes up for his San Antonio disaster earlier in the year.

  237. 238

    Agree with you there. The lack of success on offense by the 2nd unit produced an imbalance on defense and the Hornets ate us up.

    Another thing that disturbed me was the defense at the end. The Hornets realized that LO would stay on the side CP3 was on and was just willing to hedge when necessary. NOH made the adjustment and started hitting open guys for the 3 pointer (see Posey and Butler). I think the defensive tactic worked very well until it was figured out. But we can correct this by closing out better and using better instincts. Too many times Luke and Kobe were flat footed instead of contesting shots. That is a matter of effort and reading the offense, something for the defense to work on, that last rotation out to the shooter.

  238. 212- since its best comment according to Kwame i feel it deserves my two cents.

    All of the comebacks the lakers face in the fourth quarter this year Wizards, Bobcats, Hornets x 2 are games Phil stuck to leaving a bench mob in their till the 8 minute mark or so. The Wizards game was especially hurtful as I had the Lakers minus fiteen for 250 bux and when they were up by 19 late in the game Phil sent the BMOB in and refused to bring back the starters till they almost lost.

    Lesson learned only bet the Lakers when they are getting points but bet them EVERY TIME when they are getting points.

    Anyways, back to the point:Same deal tonite, somtimes it works and when it doesnt Phil feels it improves his team and doesnt care too much about an occasional loss, and honestly probably prefers a close win to build confidence and have something to criticize. Sorry, there is no way you can convince me that he would of had that same squad in there in the 4th quarter of game 7 against the Hornets. Notice the close game at Boston due to the fact he felt it was an “important” regular season game, he started what he felt was his best five that game including Kobe for the fourth quarter. IN essence what I am saying is recognize that although I dont agree with Phil a lot of the time, he coaches for the post season and I dont expect these terrible leads to be lost as often in the playoffs, although it has happened before hopefully he has learned his lesson (game four Celtics last year) he pulled the stame bullshit stunt. Honestly if he cant put his best five in to start the fourth all post-season regardless of the score I plan on having many cardiac moments.

    The glue on this team is Kobe and Fisher, Sasha and Farmar arent there yet, nor have I seen anything to convince they ever will be the guys you want out there to put a game away, or slow it down and play great D.

    I really hope Phil will do everything in his power to actually coach this postseason, not just build winners and character, cuz he has come up short in my opinion in three playoff exits Celtics, Detroit and the 3-1 lead on that Suns team, all series he should of won. So hopefully he will pull out all the stops and not get outcoached by a novice like Doc this year.

    THE END.

  239. I’m really tired of Mark Jackson and JVG. They were good when they first started, but they bought into their schtick too much. I’ll take Hubie or Doug Collins anyday.

    Joe,

    Jumpers are tough when Posey is playing defense.

  240. Our starters killed theirs. Their bench killed ours. Look at the +/- in the box score. Then remember that the NOH starters played big minutes against our 2nd Unit, improving their numbers. Our first unit really outplayed theirs head up.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=290220013

  241. *Their 1st against our 2nd an the start of the 4th.

  242. 239 – I agree. Kobe’s shot has been off since the all star break. In the past, he would compensate for these bad shooting stretches by driving to the baket more, but he seems reluctant to do that lately. I get the feeling he’s just saving his legs and protecting his body until the playoffs come. Afterall, aside from the OT period of this game, he’s coasted through the last three games and we’ve won each one. I expect his aggresiveness to ramp up in april.

  243. Hey guys (and gals) when did that block by Shannon Brown happen?

  244. TC

    the block was during that hawks game. garbage minutes basically.

  245. JD – I agree with you about Kobe being “selfish”. I think a more accurate way to phrase it is he has tunnel vision. If commentators said it that way, no one would argue. He is as focused as Jordan. He would step on his grandma to get an easy hoop. He doesn’t care what people think. And I agree, I don’t understand why it’s so important that a guy be personally likable. Quite frankly, as a person, I don’t know Kobe is a good dude. But as a hoopster, there’s no one better. Period. Sounds like Fish came up Clutch. And y’all hating on JVG and Mark Jack. I swear, ABC should have them on ALL THE TIME. Have them comment on ABC News, on GMA, on everything. They would bring a bit of truth to things and the world would make a little more sense.

  246. Anon – thanks!

  247. whewww glad we escaped that one!

    at one point in the fourth quarter, it seemed as if the hornets could do no wrong on the offensive end. They were swishing threes, chris paul was finding sean marks for dunks, life was good. Then somehow someway, the lakers crawled right back into it with some key offensive possessions of their own. They came out of timeouts with good looks and made some great shots.

    I’m somewhat worried about sasha’s lack of 3-pointers. Has the machine fallen off the face of the planet?

  248. One possible benefit of this is that we ran a good last minute play that succeeded without Kobe having to shoot. For the last couple years it seems like kobe always takes and shoots over 8 people. Maybe there have been exceptions, but I don’t remember many- as opposed to the championship days when he was perfectly willing to give it up to horry in the corner or shaw or whoever.

    When Pau passed to Fisher it took all 3 defenders on the play AND kobe by surprise. They all looked over stunned as fisher took that shot. If kobe comes away from this with added trust in fisher at least to make that shot, it’ll make our end of game sets much more natural and effective.

  249. A few other thigns while watching the replay on espn: Watching Phil Jackson in the background during every defensive lapse is comedy, as is Adam Morrison’s reaction to Fisher taking the charge on Paul. Ammo looks enough like a comic book villain just sitting there, but his exaggerated reaction to this play just looks evil.

  250. PeanutButterSpread February 21, 2009 at 3:40 am

    j.d., were we watching the same replay?

    I don’t think Ammo was sitting at all, the entire bench was standing up the last minute in regulation. He was making that charging ref sign and was pretty animated about Fish taking the charge on Paul lol I think he likes being a Laker.

  251. Question to ponder is this:

    Is Kobe being selfish by taking shots in the 4th, or is he bailing out lesser teammates, thus actually being unselfish?

    I mean, Kobe passed to Fisher, that’s great, but it’s only great if Fisher makes the shot. If he does, it makes both look good, if he doesn’t, it makes Fisher look worse than it does Kobe, if Kobe doesn’t pass, it only makes Kobe look bad.

    That was just something I had to throw out there out of frustration with Kobe. I’m about to blame him for everything wrong then all of a sudden he just turns it on for OT. Clutch got to include some stats about players who dramatically improve their % during 4th or OT…

  252. I was surprised at Gasol’s lack of production in the early stages of the game. I thought he should have dominated given the opposition. And it didn’t seem to be a lack of touches.

    I think the bench struggles without LO, at times. I like LO as a starter – but when he is the first guy off your bench and then TA is second – you have a deep team. He also lends some cohesion to that unit IMO.

    We miss AB in a somewhat intangible way in that with him out our big three have to work a whole lot harder every night. Our record doesn’t show a drop off – but I see it in our play. Our main guys are burning a lot more fuel each game.

    Agreed on the Kobe iso plays – we are too good and too deep for that to be a main staple down the stretch. Loved that Gasol and Fish were the guys on the last play in reg. Kobe is a helluva decoy to have.

    If Luke plays like this all the time, I’ll never complain about him again. I’m not asking for 5-5 but just a consistent shot and aggressive moves to the hoop to make his man account for him on D. The other parts of his game have always been fine.

    We are going to miss LO – and I agree with those who see him getting big money somewhere. I’m just trying to enjoy him this season and not think about next.

    Finally, There has to be a way to limit Gasol’s minutes – or we are going to be sorry in the WCF and Finals (if we get that far).

    Hornets are tough team – we took three of four – got appreciate the win.

  253. I have a new mantra too! I’m the last post nowadays :/

    Anyways, great win for us. Secured that we are better than Boston after 55 games…

    To the guys that are keeping track of my 1st-post record – are you kidding me?! I’m still flawless :p

    Its fun being back – although I had to claw through 200+ comments. My how FBG has grown…

  254. Kurt you may delete this if you find it inappropriate but how do guys here feel about acquiring a higher pick than we are set to get… with a little discussion on who we can set out to “possibly” want and get.

    The inclusion of the word “possibly” might create the hesitation but we can nevertheless talk about the upcoming sure draftees.

    Personally, I only have 1 favorite: Stephen Curry. Doubt he falls outside lotto though…

  255. Seems to me the 2nd unit thrives on individual hustle and shot making rather than systematic plays whereby they can get consistent scoring. When their energy is flagging and the shots aren’t falling, they look really lost. I think what will help is to place more emphasis on defense, get some fast breaks going, and pick up the energy on the other end. And if Pau is on the court, for goodness sake get him the ball!

    (speaking of Pau, man is he playing a lot of minutes)

    Regarding Kobe: yeah I’m also frustrated by all the isos down the stretch. I can understand going to Kobe last 2 minutes, but before that, seems our best bet is usually running the play through Pau.

    The problem with Kobe isn’t so much that he’s selfish as people accuse him of being, but that he’s egotistical. When faced with a bigger defender that gives him problems, he tends to perversely try to do things he shouldn’t. He plays more on one one, does more fade-aways or riseup jumpers (both low percentage plays), and refuses to drive to the basket. He did a lot of that in the 4th, then finally in the last min and OT he started playing a smarter game, dishing and penetrating.

    Kobe’s ego is a double edged sword, of course. It enables him to do that voodoo that we love so well, but he also gets into situations where he tries to show the other guy can’t guard him and his game has no weakness, instead of reading the situation, figuring out what his best play is and going with it as a lesser player may do. He often comes around to doing the right thing eventually, but in the meanwhile, he and the team can get into a lot of trouble.

    All the superstars have superegos (Duncan being an anomalous exception). The question is do they have the emotional intelligence to monitor and keep their egos in check for the sake of winning. Kobe doesn’t quite have as much of that as someone more centered and well-adjusted like Magic does. I think in that respect, LeBron also have the edge over Kobe.

    Regardless, I still have to remind myself to step back and look at the big picture and realize what a blessing it is to be able to watch a player like Kobe and have him play for our beloved Lakers. To paraphtase the bard: he’s the man, take him for all in all, we shall not see his like in blue and gold again (any time soon).

  256. Warren,

    Steph Curry has New York Knick written all over him. It’ll happen. Watch. Then Cleveland can help LBJ pack up for his move to NY.

  257. Warren, this is one of the weakest drafts coming up in a long time. The Lakers are not going to get Curry, and in a draft like this just stick with your pick and try to get a project player that can be useful in a couple years. The talent here isn’t worth moving up for, in my mind.

  258. 258) luubi – you wrote much better than I could what I have been thinking. I think his tendency to gamble on defense too much is part of that.

  259. Yes. It is a weak draft. Plus, Curry wouldn’t help us. He’s good, but he’s another smallish PG who would get exploited defensively by CP, Deron, Tony Parker, etc.

  260. 258: Totally agree, the second unit MUST go through Gasol, he will get them all better shots.

  261. The Lakers’ pack-it-in defensive philosophy is designed to allow more 3pt shooting. The real problem is that Kobe, Lamar, Sasha, and somewhat Trevor all will rotate off their outside man to help down low. This seems to be a tactical issue and there doesn’t appear to be any strategic sense of the opponent or time/place in the game.

    Near the end of the shot clock we shouldn’t be rotating off the wings, because there there is still time for a 2nd pass. Not until the last couple of seconds – when a pass will result in a 24sec violation – should we be leaving our wing man, unless they are a poor 3pt shooter.

    Phil/Kurt seem to have simplified the defensive assignments so the players don’t have to think so much. Great — but there has to be some thinking going on.

  262. Warren-While you were gone, Kurt basically took over the world. Its brought a ton of new folks to the mix and for the most part they have been great.

  263. The problem with the Lakers last night was Jackson. He sat in his high chare chanting while his bench twice through away leads to the Hornets.

    Just look at the over under in the box score. The subs were pathetic on both ends of the court. And while they were stinking it up the Laker starters were getting cold and the Hornets got the momentum.

    You have to blame coaching or the lack of same for blowing a 13 point lead, and almost the game, in the rourth quarter. Putting those subs out their for that long against the Hornet starters in the fourth quarter was just stupedity.

  264. I think most of you are forgetting that this is the regular season. The Hornets are not going to end up with a better record than us, so we won’t have to worry about them having home court advantage in the playoffs. So which is more valuable: Winning a meaningless regular season game, or getting our substitutes valuable crunch time experience, under duress, with tons of pressure on them to succeed? Phil Jackson has never, ever let the situation of the game dictate his substitution pattern (except for the aforementioned Boston-game, which was NOT just another regular season game). Not only does this give players a better rhythm in the game, but it also allows them to retain the same roles, substituting in during the same situations, and excelling in the same circumstances each and every game.

    I’ve written about my disgust for Kobe-Iso before, but, I honestly don’t mind us running it when he faces up to the basket. It’s when he turns his back that the play becomes highly inefficient. When Kobe faces the basket, he can drive, shoot, look for open passing lanes, and call for a pick if necessary. When Kobe turns his back, he shoots a turnaround. He has gotten extremely good at the turnaround shot (not Jordan good, but better nonetheless), but that doesn’t outweigh the number of misses, which is probably close to 1 in 4.

    I don’t blame last night on Kobe, I blame last night on the team. I think everyone got stuck Kobe watching and just let him go to work. Gasol can force Kobe to run the PNR if Gasol comes over. Even if Kobe waves him off, if Gasol sets the pick, Kobe has to use it; he can’t post up two guys at once. Running Kobe-Iso against Posey is especially stupid, because he is long and strong enough to keep Kobe out of the lane and contest his turnaround. The team (Gasol, Odom, Fisher, especially) need to develop the gonads to go to Kobe and say “What we are doing is borderline retarded. Run the PNR and let’s win this game.”

    That being said, Vujacic is in a huge shooting slump, and it’s affecting his defense. Most of the Hornets comeback was on stupid fouls and open threes, the latter mostly caused by helping on to Chris Paul. I really like the trapping we were doing on CP3, with both Pau and Gasol hedging hard off the pick, but I don’t like the third man (usually Walton or Vujacic) coming off their guys on the wings to help on the drive. This leaves us open to too many corner threes.

    As was said in the Michael Lewis article, the corner three is the most efficient shot in basketball. Our team is leaving the most efficient shot in the game open every single time down the floor, and that is disturbing. We’re going to have to learn better defensive discipline in helping off corner threes.

  265. For those trying to “blame” Phil Jackson for last night: This is what he does, and he does it for a reason. He left the second unit out there to struggle and try to find itself because he needs them to adjust and not make these mistakes in the playoffs. That is when it matters, and Phil is willing to sacrifice a regular season game to teach.

    That is hard for us fans who live and die with regular season games more than Phil or the team does. We want home cort in the playoffs and we want the team to go balls out every game. But Phil has his eyes on the big picture the entire time. And that’s one reason he has nine rings.

  266. By the way, I’m thinking of having a Forum Blue & Gold watching party, but the twist is everyone has to wear a Snuggie.

  267. Mychael Thompson’s kid has 13 points in about 10 minutes against UCLA. Dude has a nice shot

  268. Our second unit is going to be a lot better in April when Drew comes back. He is more vocal about demanding the ball in the post than Pau is. He will get better position down low on the opposition’s backup center and force a lot of double teams after punishing the opposition for initial single coverage, giving Jordan, Sasha, and Trevor plenty of wide-open threes. I’m serious, I really think that if he is able to rehab well enough to be in playing shape by the time the playoffs arrive, his presence on the second unit will lead to a repeat of the 2001 postseason.

  269. What’s a Snuggie??

  270. 253- re-read the comment

    254- Harold- Pau actually made the pass to fisher. Kobe took a terrible shot with a minute left in regulation, but a lot of his other misses were shots he normally makes. I wonder a little about the state of his 2 fingers lately because his shot has generally been off, but I actually don’t think kobe forced it too much in the second half.

    He finished 13-30, but he started 3-13, which means that from the mid second quarter on he was 10-17, a much more efficient result (compared to the utah game, where he started hot and finished dead cold). That might have been better had they plaed more s/r instead of the bad isos, but Kobe had a positive impact in that game throughout, as the +/- and OT showed.

    I don’t “blame” last night on anyone really. The bench can have an off night. But I am concerned about the ability of the hornets to make late runs against us. Its a trend that started last year. I don’t understand it, but would rather not face it in the playoffs either. Let’s all just hope they face SAS in the first round.

  271. Incidentally, last week someone posted a link to a New York Times article on platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP), which enabled Pittsburgh Steeler stars Troy Polemalu and Hines Ward to make rapid comebacks from injuries suffered during the playoffs. In fact, Ward played in the Super Bowl two weeks after a Grade 2 injury to his MCL. Anyway, I emailed that New York Times link to Andrew’s website. I wonder if his medical team is considering it. Here’s the article again.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/17/sports/17blood.html

  272. LeBron and Dwyane Wade run a lot of ISO’s to try to tie or win games. You just don’t watch the night in and night out like you do for Kobe, so you can’t see it.. It’s impossible for Tim Duncan to run iso’s. So don’t give an edge to them, or blame Kobe.

    He may settle for the jumper sometimes, but last night he was adamant about getting the ball in the low post, AND driving. It worked, we won.

  273. To an extent I agree with Kurt, that Phil does this for a reason, however any decent analyst can see and break down that a lot of what Phil does coaching is in fact simply not coach in games and trust his players, this is not anything new he has always been this way. I have no problem with this in the regular season however, I do have serious issues with it in the playoffs as his do nothing attitude cost three series, the one against Phoenix and game four against Boston along with the tragedy that was the Detroit series years back, in fact I dont even like Jim Rome but when it comes to PJ he is right on the mark. You dont think oppossing coaches know that they get a chance to make a comeback in the first four minutes of the fourth.

    Come on now, you gotta adjust at least in the post-season. The Lakers had to win that game three times last nite, now I guess thats great for confidence but it also can be good for confidence to blow the team out and bring your bench in at the end of the fourth, I dont see the need to continually reward players like Sasha and Farmar when they arent getting it done, they are professionals that can learn from there mistakes as well. HE babies the backups with too much leeway, until he decides that he can just trade em. By the way, Vladmir is looking like a huge mistake, as he is the only laker that when wide open could hit his three consistently, Odom has improved and deserves time but I am sorry as good as Luke was last nite his three point shot is terrible even when it finds it way in.

  274. what’s weird is the game before in oakland they relied on the p/r late in the game to help them win. This game they didn’t. Makes me wonder if there was some other reasoning behind not going to it that we aren’t privy to.

  275. anyone else feel gasol is logging way too many minutes, since the bynum injury his minutes have been 40 minutes if not more (only the hawks game did he log less 30 mins)

  276. 276, wondah, I’m going to have to politely and completely disagree with you. We didn’t win because we ran Kobe-Iso; we won in spite of it. Lebron and Wade run iso’s because their teams are built for it.

    In Cleveland, they surround Lebron with 4 shooters and let him go to work. In Miami, they surround Wade with 3 shooters and let him go to work. In San Antonio, they usually run Parker or Ginobili off a ton of screens, with few plays run for Duncan in crunch time. Their teams are built to run these plays, from their personnel up through the coaching staff.

    Our team is not built for Kobe-Iso, number one, because Kobe rarely drives these days. I’m almost certain he did not drive once in the 4th quarter; his only really good drive came in the OT. Otherwise, it was backing Posey or Butler down, then doing a fadeaway turnaround somewhere between 12-18 feet from the basket. This is not a shot that I am satisfied with in the fourth quarter.

    On the other hand, our team is literally built to run the Kobe-Gasol PNR. We have Kobe, one of the best decision-makers ever, coming off a pick from Gasol, one of the best shooting big men who can also roll to the basket, with Odom, one of the best passing big men in the game, flashing at the free throw line. Surround this play with Fisher on the wing and Sasha in the corner, and our team is built to run this play.

    My point is that even if Kobe is adamant about getting the ball in the post (and I wouldn’t even call it that, it’s more like on the wing, Kobe just likes to have his back to the basket when he’s 17 feet from it), our team should have the guts to go up to him and say, “we’re not running that stupid play anymore. Run the PNR and let our team go to work.”

  277. j. d. hastings,
    The pick-n-roll is a staple offensive move, but it’s effectiveness is better defended by some clubs – GS is not among this group.

    Different clubs defend things differently. The Lakers can – and do – do many different things well. That is why they are so dangerous.

  278. Good PGs without Bynum in the middle are going to cause problems, because neither Fisher or Farmar can cover them, and Gasol isn’t as good defensively as Bynum for a final line of defense.

  279. the other Stephen February 21, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    269. does anyone own a pair of those gigantic soft lakers sneaker slippers???

  280. The economy must be affecting ticket sales a lot.

    I just bought tickets to Orlando @ Chicago on tuesday night for $9.00 each

  281. anyone worried about jazz? i think theyre becoming a VERY good team even without boozer still out, could be tough if we face them in the playoffs. they beat us and boston too, looks like they’ve got the hornets game under control as well..

  282. meant even with* boozer still out

  283. Zephid,

    I didn’t mean that we won because Kobe was ISO’d. I meant that we won because he was successful in the post, and when he drove. I was just saying that many other teams and stars run the Iso, so it isn’t just a Kobe thing.

    Bezhad,

    I think it’s more of a Chicago sucks thing.
    Plus, Orlando is an average draw. I paid 13.75 total for 9 tickets for the Blazers Vs. Nets at NJ. The tickets were free. I only had to pay the Ticketmaster service fee. New Jersey can’t give out enough tickets right now. They are 24th in the NBA in attendance, most likely skewed by the free tickets.

    I almost couldn’t get 3 seats together for the Laker game. They are sold out. At premium prices. The Lakers are the best road draw in the NBA.

    I gave up looking for tickets to the Boston game, because they were sky high for the cheapest of seats. I think the Celtics are sold out for the season.

    People will pay to see the good teams. even with the economy.

  284. Anonymous,

    Unless the Jazz will get to play all 7 games in a series at home, there isn’t too much to fear. They benefit from very generous calls at home. They are 9-17 on the road. They are playing better though.

  285. I thoroughly enjoyed last night’s game. I enjoyed Luke’s great contributions. I enjoyed the Lakers fighting through tough calls and dry spells. I enjoyed Kobe letting Posey have a piece of his mind…again and again. I enjoyed Fisher’s destiny three. I enjoyed Kobe dominating the OT.

    I’m not sure if it was mentioned, but Shannon Brown’s presence in the game obviously caused some problems. It reminded me of when Ariza had a difficult time fitting in during the playoffs last year after his injury. However, the lesson I’m taking away from The Ariza Experience is that athletic guys who provide toughness and play their hearts out can find a way to contribute to the team. I’m hoping Brown follows in Ariza’s footsteps.

    One thing I did not enjoy: Chris Paul scissor kicking Kobe’s legs because he wasn’t getting calls. He’s a wondrous player but that was a play I wish I hadn’t witnessed. It was, in my opinion, a very dangerous play. I hope that was a one-time thing for Paul, as he’s one of the best young players in the league and I’d be sad as a fan if it turned out he’s a dirty player.

  286. Nomuskles – I’ve grappled with similar feelings about Chris Paul.

    I became a fan of his after watching his performance in his rookie game, and I’ve loved watching him play ever since. He controls the PG position in a way I’ve never seen before (I’m too young to have seen Magic).

    However last year more articles came out on Chris Paul, more was seen of him in the playoffs, and it became apparent that Paul can be a whiny little….ah, brat. I didn’t want to believe it, because I loved his game so much. But he flopped as much as Ginobili in the SA series, often undercut other players while they were up in the air, and basically pulled a lot of ‘tricks’ (that have led many to call Bowen dirty).

    He’s still absolutely phenomenal, but it left a little bitter taste. No one’s perfect of course, but I’m not surprised by CP3 pulling a dirty play or two.

  287. I like Chris Paul. But this is funny and pertinent.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9F3tptzEWmM

  288. Can u imagine the bad press Kobe wud get if he did any of the dirty things Paul has done?? (hitting below the belt). Does anyone remember the time when Kobe used to do that flail with his arms that ended up hurting players on two seperate occasions… I forgot who… Was it jaric and ginobili?? I remember reading negative stuff on that for months

  289. Kobe has the villain appeal going for him… sort of like the Anakin Skywalker effect thus every little bit wrong he does is blown out of proportion.

    Chris Paul meanwhile has the Luke Skywalker appeal. Can’t hurt no fly…

  290. As a general rule all superstars would be absolute pricks on the court (and often off, re: MJ cheating grandma at cards). The subtle, dirty stuff is why the Utah Jazz didn’t win a championship and the Bulls’ did.

    Honour doesn’t games in professional sports, which is why none of the baseball stuff surprises me. I don’t even blame the players, the environmental conditions were set by the league to reward cheaters, the players who wanted to win had to adapt.

    Similarly, although I don’t have an answer, every sport rewards cheaters. The trick is to cheat well. Bowen made a living out of it…

  291. Honour doesn’t win games I meant…

  292. Warren Wee Lim,

    Nice analogy, my young Padawan.

  293. Re Phil: I get what the Zen master tries to do, in theory. In practice, though, he seems to fall into the same trap as Kobe — stubbornly sticking to something that is not working to make a point. It’s as if in his head he’s thinking “okay, I guess this is where most coaches would call a timeout. PSYCHE!!” It’s the Costanza principle where everybody else = Costanza.

    Yes the man has 9 rings. He also has had 1) arguably the best player ever, 2) contender to the best player ever, 3) most dominant center of his generation. But I question whether his hands off approach actually work that well for mere mortals, especially the portion that sits on the bench. Too often the players are just floundering while Phil ‘lets them figure it out’. If they ‘figure it out’ it’s usually because somebody makes a shot finally and they relax and play better.

    In the end, they always figure it out, don’t they? Like when they hit the shower and think ‘dang, why didn’t we try to get the ball into Pau?’ But during the hustle and bustle and adrenaline of the game, maybe a well-placed TO or some timely commentary can calm the pulse and focus the mind.

  294. 296, Any great coach has to have great players to succeed. Would Jerry Sloan have been around for 20 years if not for Stockton and Malone being there for so many of them? Would Red Auerbach have won any championships if he hadn’t had 7 Hall-of-Famers on his squad? Would Gregg Popovich have won any without TD? Same goes for Riley and Showtime.

    A great coach with a bad team will be marginally successful (Larry Brown’s 76ers come to mind), and a great team with a bad coach will underachieve (George Karl and the 90′s Sonics come to mind), but a great coach with a great team will get the most out of them. It doesn’t matter how good Michael Jordan was, he didn’t win anything until Phil Jackson became his coach.

    His methods may be unorthodox, but 9 championships speak for themselves. Those Jordan-Bull teams did not win because of the greatness of Michael Jordan, they won because Phil Jackson (and Tex Winter) developed a system that got the most out of ALL their players.

  295. wondahop… you are right…

    on March 21 when the lakers come here to chicago…those tickets were 10 times that price..for the cheapest seats…

    i bought those months ago!

  296. Brian Scalabrine just received a full court outlet pass to score a driving layup on the break.

    End times are near.

  297. Rondo is 12-16 from the field, ray allen is 9-12. 21-28 combined. I think Phoenix may have een affected by Oklahoma and the Clippers’ defense.