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The Hornets Coming In: What is the feeling in Louisiana after the rescinded trade for Tyson Chandler?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.


303 responses to Preview & Chat: The New Orleans Hornets

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

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  2. Please don’t give up an open 3…

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  3. big shocker on that call.

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  4. 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

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  5. Wow, Pau. Really dumb play.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  12. 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!

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

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  14. 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?

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  15. Whew!

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

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  16. 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.

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  17. 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.

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

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

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

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  21. 216,

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

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

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  23. 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.

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  24. 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.

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  25. 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.

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

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  27. 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.

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

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  29. Yeah, Lamar! Stop rebounding so much!

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  30. #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?

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

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  32. 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?

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  33. 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.

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  34. 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.

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  35. 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.

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  36. 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.

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  37. Great game! Cp3 is not invincible aha

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  38. 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).

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  39. 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.

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  40. 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.

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  41. 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.

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  42. 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.

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  43. 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

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

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  45. 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.

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

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  47. TC

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

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  48. 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.

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  49. Anon – thanks!

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  50. 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?

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  51. 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.

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  52. 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.

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  53. 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.

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  54. 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…

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  55. 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.

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  56. 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…

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  57. 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…

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  58. 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).

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  59. 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.

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  60. 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.

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  61. 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.

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  62. 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.

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  63. 258: Totally agree, the second unit MUST go through Gasol, he will get them all better shots.

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  64. 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.

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  65. 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.

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  66. 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.

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  67. 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.

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  68. 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.

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

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

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  71. 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.

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  72. What’s a Snuggie??

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  73. 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.

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  74. 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

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  75. 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.

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  76. 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.

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  77. 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.

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  78. 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)

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  79. 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.”

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  80. 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.

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  81. 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.

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

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

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

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

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  84. 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..

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  85. meant even with* boozer still out

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  86. 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.

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  87. 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.

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  88. 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.

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  89. 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.

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

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

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  91. 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

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  92. 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…

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  93. 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…

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  94. Honour doesn’t win games I meant…

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  95. Warren Wee Lim,

    Nice analogy, my young Padawan.

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  96. 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.

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  97. 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.

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  98. 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!

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

    End times are near.

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  100. 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.

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  101. Is it just me or is Devin Brown the worst rotation player in the L?

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  102. 293 – J.R., I dare say the Jazz of the late 90’s were one of least honorable teams in history – they just had a bunch of white boys with choir boy looks which made it harder for the less discerning fan to notice all the elbows and cheap shots.

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