Preview & Chat: The Memphis Grizzlies

Kurt —  March 3, 2009

Records: Lakers 48-12 (1st in the West) Grizzlies 15-43 (13th in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 113.9 (1st in league) Grizzlies 102.4 (29th in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 105.5 (6th in league) Grizzlies 109.4 (20th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Grizzlies Mike Conley, O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay, Darrell Arthur, Marc Gasol.

The Lakers Coming In: Phil Jackson said what pretty much everyone had seen lately — the Lakers are a tired team. A week of home games with some long breaks should help them recover a little this week, but they also just have to fight through it. Every team gets this.

But the question is are we just talking about tired with our guard play of late, where every guard not named Kobe has struggled. Kwame a. weighed in on this in the comments.

One thing that I am concerned about is D-Fish and his shot. It is kind of reminiscent of last year when he got off to a great start, kind of leveled off in the middle of the season and struggled late. I fully trust Fish to be productive in crunch time and play hard-nosed defense, but he was really giving us a boost earlier in the year with his early offense. We need him to be a weapon and that is why it is so important that Jordan (or Sasha) be able to EFFECTIVLEY spell Fish so Fish only plays about 28-30 minutes a game. If not, he may be too tired when we really need him. It’s a delicate balance for Sasha and Jordan because both guys are confident dudes and this has translated into them feeling confident in their abilities and a willingness to take some questionable shots and passes. The coaching staff has to find a way to encourage them to play with confidence, but more importantly to play smart and efficiently. These next two games should help with that process, but they must be able to translate that on the road (like they have shown already this season, i.e. at the Cavs).

Darius added to this:

I am concerned though with Farmar and Sasha and the point you’ve made before about them not playing as well together. You’re spot on that Sasha’s numbers were best when Jordan was injured and I’m wondering how Sasha can get on track with the consistency that he showed last season. One thing I can say about this whole situation that I also feel is affecting Sasha is Ariza. Again not that these guys have issues with each other, but their roles on the team are in direct competition. First, unlike Sasha, Ariza has tremendous chemistry with Farmar. Those guys look for each other constantly and usually hook up for one highlight play per game (as a matter of fact, that turnover the Kurt illustrated in the body of this post was Farmar looking for a slightly trailing Ariza). Second, Ariza is now our closer at SF. Last season, that was Sasha’s role (not at SF, but at SG with Kobe playing SF). Now, it’s really rare for Sasha to close a game. Phil has seemingly decided that Ariza’s contributions on defense and decent shooting trump Sasha’s decent defense and (supposed) stronger shooting. Although with Sasha shooting so poorly this season, you really can’t blame Phil for going this route.

One other guy that has gone ice cold is Luke Walton, who in his last three games has averaged 5.3 points on 36.8% shooting. He needs a couple easy baskets to get going.

The Grizzlies Coming In: Memphis is really not playing well, having lost seven games in a row and driving fans nuts. Here’s a recent quote from Three Shades of Blue:

Memphis is struggling and struggling in a big way. Rudy Gay and Hakim Warrick don’t seem to be pleased with Lionel Hollins or the Grizzlies front office and you can’t help but suspect this has something to do with Kyle Lowry being traded. That is a huge part of the Grizzlies attack. Defensively the youngsters are routinely getting beaten to the paint and that is especially noticeable at the point where Mike Conley seems unable to stop dribble penetration despite his incredible speed and his backup, Marco Jaric, can’t throw the ball in the Mississippi River since getting married to Adriana Lima. It is still too early in the season to contemplate the team throwing games so they must really be this bad. That isn’t encouraging.

OJ Mayo seems to have hit a wall — in his last 10 games he is shooting 41% eFG% and 31% from three (he is getting to the line about 1 more time per contest).

Marco Jaric has not made one shot since he eloped with a supermodel. Not one shot. On a basketball court.

Chris Mihm will not play tonight, he continues to have ankle pain after getting increased minutes since the trade to Memphis. I just feel bad for the guy. But it shows why keeping him would not have helped our front line out.

Keys To The Game: Keep Andrew Bynum healthy. No, he is not playing tonight, but any time Memphis is the opponent that will be my top concern.

The Lakers need to re-establish some focused intensity in their game, not looking tired but looking like a team that can take care of business. The next two games against struggling teams are a chance to do that and get some rest before heading out on the road. What I hope to see is not a Lakers team playing to the level of the competition, but one that is focused and ready to get to work.

This is a game where the Lakers more aggressive defense can really work — Mayo and Gay are great off the dribble but not great (yet, at least) at setting up teammates. The Grizzlies offense is about isolations and pick-and-rolls, ones often with little passing. The Lakers need to be smart and contest the shots those two put up and not let them just get into the lane.

Fun matchup in the paint with the Gasol brothers going at one another. Marc is a solid player, but Pau is far more skilled and should be able to get his points. How much Pau scores though is not really the point, with his passing the Lakers triangle offense looks better when the ball goes through Pau.

Remember a year ago when we were talking about all the great young point guards Memphis was stockpiling? Not so much now. Fisher should be able to control Conley and get into the paint on drives. I rarely say run the pick and roll with Fish, but this might be a night to try it.

The Lakers cannot turn the ball over, that leads to breaks and easy points for an athletic team. Smart passes and good ball handling will lead Memphis to be over-aggressive in going for steals, opening up cuts and kick-outs for good looks. Just take care of the ball.

Where you can watch: 7:30 start on Fox Sports and all the usual places.

Kurt

Posts

185 responses to Preview & Chat: The Memphis Grizzlies

  1. Time to get another W streak going. If I were the coaching staff, I wouldn’t even have Drew come out and sit with the team, in the event that one of the Grizzlies dove out of bounds and reinjured him. Seriously, we need to ice this game early and then get 2 days of rest. With one more game until the dreaded Portland road game, rest is definitely needed.

  2. Since training camp, I truly believed that Jordan Farmar would be the key player to the Lakers success this season. As Kwame pointed out D-Fish at some point this season will struggle with his shots. Which leads to bad decicion making both on offense/defense which is a a flaw on D-Fish’s game he never lets up.

    With that said, this is when Jordan Farmar comes in to place. Here a guy who is atheltic can defend, penetrate, run the break as well as anybody, ball-handling skills, shoot. Can easily take pressure off a guys like D-Fish who is struggling. This is not a knock on D-Fish’s game, but more of a confidence issue with Jordan Farmar.

    Sasha Vujacic as much as I like Sasha, he does hit BIG SHOTS but he does tend to take a lot more of BAD SHOTS which leads to bad transition defense because they don’t get back enough. W/ Sasha he needs to pick his spots and shoot more effectively. Here’s a player who can definitely shoot and defend.

    Trevor Ariza needs to go back to the basics the way he started this season. Blocking shots, defending and rebounding. Offense will easily come to Ariza because no NBA player respects his offensive game which leads to open shots. He too can drive the ball with the best of them and finish with ease. He too can shoot the ball when he’s on especially on the defensive end where he’s most effective.

    GREAT DEFENSE LEADS TO GREAT OFFENSE.

    KEYS TO A CHAMPIONSHIP

  3. The Dude Abides March 3, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Wouldn’t it be funny if J-Critt turned out to be the best PG on the Memphis roster last season? The guy is beginning to show signs of decent play in Washington this past month. That trade of Pau netted them:
    Marc Gasol
    Darrell Arthur late 2008 1st round pick
    J-Critt
    Late 2010 1st round pick
    Plus, a worse record last season to enable them to get Mayo.

    Not as bad as everyone said around the league, but not nearly the haul that Mitch got for Shaq:

    Lamar
    Caron Butler
    Brian Grant’s overpriced contract
    1st round pick in 06 (Farmar)
    Plus, the lousy record in 05 that enabled us to draft Bynum.

  4. “Keys to the Game: Keep Andrew Bynum healthy.”

    I enjoyed that statement.

    ————————————-

    Anyway, this game comes at a good time, I hope. Players who have struggled as of late can feast on a bad team and regain their confidence. Heck, we might even get an Adam Morrison sighting.

  5. Against a lowly team like Memphis, we obviously have advantages all over the court. Kobe, Fish, Gasol, our bench etc. However, I hope to see a bounce back effort from Odom the most. He’s matched up against a rookie and If Warrick plays at all, he’ll have a matchup advantage against him as well. I mean, besides Kobe, LO probably has the biggest advantages over any of the players that he’ll face this evening (even more so than Gasol who is not only facing someone who should know his game, but a big and bulky player that may be able to limit his ability to get to his sweet spots). It’d be nice to see him score the ball on offense, and even if that’s not happening for him to be more active in creating for others.

  6. are Lakers in the boat of trying to get Joe Smith or Gooden?

  7. love to see kobe and pau get plenty of rest this week.
    they’ve been carrying too much of the load lately, and are in need of a recharge. this week looks to be our best chance for this.
    in other words, starters get an early lead.
    bench plays with renewed confidence.
    this would mean the starters have a light week.
    and the bench regains their belief in themselves.
    let’s hope we see a week like this.

  8. 6. Not seriously, from what I hear. Of course Phil says he’d like them, but Phil has never been the best evaluator of talent or the Buss pocket book.

    Also, this is not going to become a debate about if we should get them.

  9. I have read the Lakers have a slim shot at Smith because they are willing to offer an extra year as opposed to Cleveland and some of the other potential teams interested. I’d like him, but w/ Andrew back and healthy I don’t really think he would be that useful/important.

    Anyway onto this game, we should be able to break out of the funk tonight. Getting rid of Conley was seemingly the worst thing Memphis could have done as far as building up this teams confidence. Even though they were losing before you could sort of sense that if everything fell into place they could be a decent team. Taking Conley out of that equation has changed everything, though. Hopefully L.O. can get back on track, last time he had an off game (I believe against Minnesota) he came back strong.

    Also, happy that Pau got recognized as the player of the month.

  10. Whenever I see Peter Vecseys name pop up and can’t help but hum the NBA on NBC theme.

  11. Last time these two teams played, my five year old saw Marc guarding Pau and stated, “Pau Gasol looks a lot like his dad.”

  12. Lol @ T34 & Gatinho. Thats funny.

  13. I liked the Lakers’ chances of having HCA throughout the playoffs with Bynum in tow. With Drew out of the equation, I don’t know about their chances. It’s kind of unreasonable to expect they can, without that key piece. I worry the Lakers are sacrificing post-season wins for regular season ones.

  14. If you haven’t seen this, the Wall Street Journal is channeling Bill Simmons, but with less humor and bigger words:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123604299220015201.html

  15. No idea why any FA would want to come to the Lakers. We can’t give them any money and we can’t give them any playing time. But if they’re anything like me, a free courtside seat to every Laker game would be totally worth it

  16. Chibi-Do you mean that Pau and Kobe are having to carry too big of a load?

  17. Goo – Lakers may be the best chance for them to get a ring. That alone should be lure enough to play for the Lakers from here on out.

  18. should enjoy this beating. no close ones tonight please lakers. i mean, maybe aside from youth, athleticism and number of losses, we lead this team on almost all cylinders.

    lol to bynum staying healthy
    lol to marc gasol looking like pau’s dad

    kurt — i never imagined phil to be a poor evaluator of talent…guess my ignorance runs deep. he really seems like “i know who i have and i’ll run with” type of coach but i always wished he had that greg pops and d’antoni element to him — make 1-2 unknown players begin playing like starters (must be their system)

    GO LAKERS!

  19. ooops maybe i stand corrected — bynum, farmar, ariza and still to an extent sasha … nice talent

  20. id like to see the starters in with farmar at one point to see how he does. i havent seen farmar in with just the starters and i think we could get more of a feel of how well he is doing in the triangle offense and how good he is at PG through that

  21. 18, I also think Phil is probably a reasonable judge of talent, but it’s hard to tell exactly who is responsible for which acquisition.

    I think he gets a lot out of his bench and unknown role players… I was watching the last game of the Bulls-Pistons series in 1991 when the the Bulls finally broke through vs the Bad Boys. It was amazing watching their role players stepping up… it was very much not the Jordan and Pippen show (though surely they were great).

    Paxson never was more successful, others that Phil got mileage out of were Pete Meyers, Will Perdue, Scott Williams… Longley and Wennington…

    And among our current group, I argue that he has really nurtured Ariza, Sasha, Bynum, Walton and Farmar (which I think you are agreeing with in 19). In fact, I think he’s gotten more mileage than you’d expect by getting them to buy into roles (less this year) they can succeed at, to the point where they are regularly overrated as a bench.

    That said, I find it unthinkable that they pick up Smith or Gooden. It will take too long for them to pick up the tri and as much as it has wonderful aspects, the Tri almost guarantees that we can’t pick up quick help (Pau was a freak exception).

  22. 14. Kurt

    Simmons’ article was ultimately more entertaining. Bucher wrote an article on the same subject for ESPN Mag, which I think largely went unnoticed – dwarfed by the Simmons Brand.

    Simmons articles are consistently entertaining, because he consistently writes like a true fan, which means:

    1) Blatant homerism
    2) Over-reacting
    3) Flip-flopping feelings on a given player/coach depending on the day
    4) Real passion

    You can think he’s an idiot, but just about everyone always reads him, because he’s never dull.

    Case in point, in his NBA Money article he took a moment to complain about the refs in the middle.

  23. 17/kwame–

    that’s what it boils down to; i don’t want to see the lakers run out of steam like detroit did a couple of years ago.

    it’s hard to second-guess phil. his style is to allow a team to play through adversity, develop chemistry, and build character. i guess that’s what he’s doing.

  24. Chibi-I think that is a valid concern, although I think it applies more to Pau than to Kobe. Blowout victories in games like tonite are key to ensuring they both get the necessary rest to gear up for this title run.

  25. apricot thanks for the insights. i forgot to throw in there walton. i wonder though whether these same players would have blossomed in other systems or not but i guess it’s really hard to say. we only work with the here and now and what we have.

    as for farmar starting. i like the idea it’s just that it’s hard to relegate fisher to a bench or supporting role and in my psyche (blame me for this), his spot is really (as for the moment) with the starting 5. when drew comes back i wouldn’t mind seeing him benched for good reason. i think he could run and at his age, should run with the bench. plus that guarantees a post option so lacking that we end up jacking up short 3s and wild layups.

    i am concerned with pau’s minutes and kobe’s as well. it’s becoming obvious. that’s why kwame, i hope they destroy memphis and resoundingly do so. it will help a lot sleep tonight. i know it’s one game but it is a game they ought to win.

    i firmly believe the 3 road games are winnable and they always have been even at the get go of the season. we just really have to go in and grab them. maybe this is one of them like the east coast trips
    that fire them up. i only hope they have enough.
    i’ve given up on the smith and gooden idea though i am not against it. i will not pursue discussion on this.

    i hope ariza takes it to the next level and be some manu-type player. i think he can and at a more explosive one under the rim. amusing this dream used to belong to odom but i consider him a lock on the starting 5. or maybe not.

    GO LAKERS!

  26. i was referring to bynum not fisher running…apologies

  27. 22. Chris, I like Simmons, I read most of his stuff and I think he’s a smart NBA fan, and a fan first, and I like that about him. All I was trying to do is contrast him with the Wall Street Journal, which is not a place suited to his writing.

    As for Kobe/Pau or anyone else being tired: I think when the West is more locked down, Phil could give someone a night off, not play them in a back-to-back, something like that. Of my concerns about Phil, his ability to have teams ready come playoff time is not one of them.

  28. kurt — you caught my interest with your closing remark. are there any glaring concerns about phil jackson worth mentioning at this point?

  29. Not serious ones. I’ve come to accept his stoic nature on the bench (he’s not that way in practice) and have come to accept that the short term frustrating things about his player rotations are really for him about the bigger picture.

    One thing, and this ties into my comment about Phil as a judge of talent: As a coach he and others can covet talent that may not fit with what he wants to do. Larry Brown may be the king of this flaw, but I think most coaches want all the best pieces and will worry about fit later, even Phil to a degree. Also once a player earns his trust Phil has blind spots to the deterioration of that player’s skills (or, maybe a better way to phrase that is his loyalty outweighs what his eyes see).

    Basically, I think having a coach/GM is a mistake. The two need to be on the same page philosophically, and they need to be able to work together, but making them one in the same person gets you, well, Clippers like moves.

  30. thanks kurt. well maybe his choosing parts he may not need or may not fit with his system is a sign of how he sees things and trusts his own judgment and skills. evidently, we are not disappointed there. we always here larry brown and his superiors making trades for his system. this flaw did not occur to me.

    on the point about deteriorating players, is there one you would hands down consider as one he sees in a different light as compared to that player’s skils in this current roster?

    i have yet to come to terms with him being stoic and all. i wish he could get up and let his players hear a different, louder side of him once in a while

  31. Looks like ESPN is reporting that Manny just signed with the Dodgers…

  32. Any links for tonight?

  33. Oh yea…the Lakers are screwed. because they didn’t sign joe smith or Drew Gooden. They might as well start tanking now.

  34. Luke needs to close out. Drag his man off the 3 pt line.

  35. “I like turtles” March 3, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    We all know how role players can affect a game. Remember James Posey, Leon Powe, Eddie House?

    None of the these players on their own are imposing, but they all had the ability to affect the Finals in a big way.

    Drew Gooden or Joe Smith can have the safe effect. Same with Starbury. Mikki Moore?…not so much.

  36. Fish with the PUJIT just a few minutes into the game.

  37. 37. what’s the passcode please?

  38. close out on those shooters!

  39. I wonder if the Lakers’ defensive strategy explicitly says that you should consciously help on the guy with the ball at all times, even if you are guarding a great three point shooter. If so, I think it’s time to incorporate some exceptions to the rule.

  40. Lakers really need to close out. If the starters are lazy, they are not setting a good example for the bench.

  41. FISHER IS ON! stay that way. starters look tired this early?!

    dominate LA go there and dominate!

  42. 41

    I think the ‘help on the guy with the ball’ is part of the strategy, but not the refusal to close out when the ball is kicked out to a shooter. I could be wrong though.

  43. can sasha just wear on a killer face today? he looks glowing and all.

  44. That’s the way to run the break.

  45. Yes Memphis, keep pushing the ball and taking quick PUJITs. Note to Fisher, don’t mimic Memphis.

  46. where’s that stop kobe time? all good right now. i just hope the bench comes in to at least maintain that lead. memphis has poor D right now. this game will tell me something about our bench. game is open. how do they respond to the call? GO LAKERS!

  47. Joel-
    I sometimes wonder if the Lakers (halfheartedly, of course) actually read scouting reports. If you’re lazy on a closeout when Warrick is putting up an 18 footer, that’s OK. If you’re lazy when OJ Mayo is putting up an open 3, that’s another issue. You see a guy like him spotting up for an open look (or Barbosa or JR Smith, for that matter), you better strike some fire into yourself.

  48. Mo & Joe

    Based on the Lakers Strong Side Zone D, I think it is necessary to stop the ball before it hits the second level. Part of that includes closing out on the 3 in kickout situations.

  49. 47

    Kobe is notorious for failing to close out on good shooters. It’s the one thing about his defense that drives me bananas.

  50. 81W – The issue is compounded when we “close out” but actually open things up when we 1) fly by a 3 point shooter or 2) get beat off the pump fake and dribble. This happens way too often and it leaves us with one less guy inside the 3 point line. Sometimes, you’ve just gotta go back to the fundamentals.

  51. That said, good quarter overall. Nice to see the ball moving on offense.

  52. Hmmm. I guess Kurt deleted some posts, which explains how I responded to #47 before it even existed. (Either that or I’m going mad.)

  53. Lamar is halfway to a triple double after one quarter.

  54. Haha you’re not going mad, I see it too.

  55. Mohan…I completely understand your point…and agree…

    except Hakim Warrick is actually a pretty good shooter from the 15-20 foot range.

  56. 54 I did.

    The Lakers defensive system does call for taking away penetration and in doing so closing out on three point shooters takes somewhat of a back seat, but it depends on who is shooting.

    And lately OJ Mayo has not been shooting well from three. I might let him have a couple rather than let him drive, than adjust if he gets hot.

  57. giddy-up powell!

  58. I’d actually prefer to have Mayo driving to the hole…he hasn’t consistently proven to be an effective playmaker off the dribble. Once he gets to that point, he’ll be scary. I see him play from time-to-time and a large percentage of his misses come from shots on the move, not catch-and-shoots.

  59. Here is another link:

    http://www.atdhe.net/

    Just scroll down and choose the game from the list.

  60. Somehow, I don’t think that’s how the lob to Farmar was supposed to play out, but whatever.

  61. Marc teaches Pau a lesson for stealing his lunch money this summer.

  62. I’m still at work, how have we given up nine offensive rebounds to Memphis?

  63. Kurt – Marc Gasol seems to occupy the entire paint, half of the Grizzlies bench, and a block on Figueroa.

    OK in reality, nobody seems to be able to take the ball away from him or push him far enough from the hoop. Memphis has corralled a few long rebounds as well.

  64. That was the most awkward camera work on an interview I’ve ever seen. Anybody see that?

  65. Mo –

    I’d much rather have a shooter take an off-balance, pull-up 15-20 footer vs a set, wide-open 3.

  66. not being from LA…
    can you type phonetically how to pronounce Figueroa?

    we have street like that in Chicago, which I hear all different ways from tourists. Wabash which is pronounced “WAH-bash”

  67. Fig-ah-row-ah

  68. Or I suppose it could be Fig-uh-row-ah

  69. I just figured out, I know who Lamar reminds me of. Anyone remember how poor KG’s effort was in his last two season’s in Minny. The guy would not jump for rebounds, refused to box out, and just wasn’t 100% there on offense.

    LO = Dissatisfied KG.

  70. Oh man that’s rough 81. I definitely wouldn’t go that far…I don’t think you can confuse Lamar’s style (volleyballing rebounds instead of leaping for boards) for KG (at any point in his career). As for effort, one could even make the case that Lamar works harder than any other Laker on the defensive end.

  71. Thanks mohan

  72. I simply don’t understand why we don’t throw the ball inside more to Pau. This is an ongoing mystery for me with the Lakers. I mean, it’s not like he’s not making shots?

  73. I can’t speak for KG, I never watched him in those years in Minny. But from what you said, his rebound’s should have slipped-and they didn’t, almost at all-
    Per 40 Minutes
    03-04 14.1
    04-05 14.2
    05-06 13.1
    06-07 13.0

    Seems his numbers might have just dropped from his peak years a little.

  74. Second unit was fine until LO went out with his second foul – then the slow bleed began – Sasha missing two wide open threes, Farmar blowing two lay-ups at the rim – Powell turning the ball over…7-0 run.

    Then Kobe comes back in and goes into hero mode, and the 15 point lead turns into a 5 point lead.

    Lakers will be fine tonight, but GOOD LORD things don’t seem to be getting better, do they?

  75. 71

    With all due respect to Odom, if he were as good as a ‘dissatisfied’ KG the Lakers would be threatening 70 wins.

  76. Yeah, the Lakers WERE threatening 70 wins and KG played close to 40 a game.

  77. Kobe working the elbow…we need to see that more often.

  78. well, that pujit works

  79. I think I don’t understand what you are saying when you said “KG played close to 40 a game.” Unless you were adrressing someone else…in which case I’m rambling, and I apologize.
    I said per 40 minutes to get rid of small playing time discrepancies. He played slightly different minutes each year. His rebounds per 40 dropped by 1from his age 27-28 years to his 29-30…if that is a “dissatisfied” player, I want a lot of them.

  80. any other links, both earlier mentioned are choppy then suddenly go to stop. ty!

  81. That baseline reverse was vintage Kobe. Haven’t seen that in a while.

  82. Poor Luke just had to cover half of the three point line by himself. That only works in NBA 2K9.

  83. surely lamar should be shooting wide open 10 footers

  84. Joel he had a couple of nice vintage kobe dunks against the suns

  85. 85

    He did, but I was thinking for of that specific play (driving down the right baseline and coming up on the other side). I don’t recall seeing him do that too often this season.

    Odom is just filling up the box score tonight. That was a GREAT block.

  86. Lamar is going for a triple-double with only two points.

  87. “Thinking more” not “thinking for”

  88. what is this guy gonna say when he does pass Robert Parish…it seems like that is the only thing in his notes.

  89. Not sure you completely understand Matt. When I used to watch KG, he’d just put his hand up (no jumps) and would catch it. He’d make it look like he doesn’t play wth much effort or passion during those last 2 seasons.

  90. Has there ever been a rebounds-assists-blocks only triple double?

  91. nice bounce pass luke!

  92. Beautiful pass by Luke…that’s what we need to see.

  93. Who else was ready to stand up and leave their home if Ariza completed that lob off the backboard?

  94. man does lamar look casual on offence

  95. Mohan, it seemed to be more of a bullet off the backboard than a lob, haha

  96. 89

    I think Phil was ready to stand up and slap Odom silly.

  97. Can’t blame him Joel. LO deserves it.

  98. One thing about Lamar, he makes dumb plays but is always having fun out there and plays hard

  99. Mbenga!!!!

  100. Archon – Lamar is like Woody Harrelson in White Men Can’t Jump and Kobe is Wesley Snipes. Lamar can’t jump and he’s mad goofy while Kobe is better when he’s mad.

  101. He Mbade a shot!

  102. I can’t tell if DJ is underrated or the least skilled player of all time, or can it be both?

  103. lol yes dj, how was mihm ever ahead of this man in the rotation?

  104. I vote both. Remember the airball? But you can’t say he has no offensive touch-he does have a nice looking jumper. And then he goes and blocks a shot like that. I cannot figure him out.

  105. Our second unit shows life. Good to see.

    Archon,

    Probably both. He’s definitely been working on his game in the offseason and it’s great to see an athletic seven footer who can swat shots, but he’s still very raw on both ends.

  106. they have 4 starters in.
    we have none

  107. The DJ show in full effect!

  108. Nevermind! DJ for MVP!

  109. Hahaha who just kicked DJ in the butt???

  110. Mbenga! Beautiful sequence.

  111. DJ wth the 20 footer. He’s tearing the roof down at Staples!!!!!

  112. kobe almost got killed trying to chestbump DJ

  113. 98

    Stop hating on DJ. Just hitting that jumper makes him more skilled than Kwame.

  114. Mbenga time has come.

  115. I do hope he never takes that shot again, however.

  116. My bad, DJ just looked like David Robinson on that sequence!!

  117. Joel…Just catching the ball makes him more skilled than Kwame!

  118. Kwame had nice footwork, he just had the hands of a five year old girl

  119. One thing about DJ though-he is an excellent shot blocker with his length and athleticism, but he isn’t that great of a rebounder, just watching him. He doesn’t seem to have good instincts of where the ball is and doesn’t move to it much.

  120. mohan… great clip

  121. “Joel…Just catching the ball makes him more skilled than Kwame!”

    Touché.

  122. 116

    He does get himself out of position a lot going for blocks. Turiaf is similar in that regard.

  123. sasha gettin some rhythm back…

  124. so.. Pau wins the game… but Marc outplays his older brother…

    who gets trash talking rights?

  125. This is Sasha’s best game in weeks. You know things are going for him when he’s throwing lobs and scoring off putbacks.

  126. Sasha is hitting shots today. Hopefully today would be his slump buster

  127. how come now shannon or morrison?

  128. Anyone who has called Pau soft never saw him beat the life out of that net.

  129. There were like five offensive rebounds recorded on that play. Pau was just trying to get his rebound numbers respectable ;-)

  130. I think a few more years in the leauge and the Gasol trade wouldn’t seem so lopsided :)

  131. The thing with Pau is he is such an elegant player, he makes the moves look so easy, it looks like he’s not putting any effort. But he is a fighter.

  132. Man, Phil likes to play it close to the edge. Today he seemed to go to the bench when we seemed on the verge of pulling away, and that kept the game closer than it could have been.

    His gamble paid off today, in that we got the win, all starters under 30 min, all bench players around 20 min with some success, hopefully some bench players had spark games (Sasha, Mbenga)…

  133. But that is classical Phil Jackson. He’s a true strategist. He is aware of the implications of not involving the bench in going through what many perceive to be a mini-slump. He did the right thing in engaging them and putting a hot situation in their hands for them to resolve, and everyone came out stronger because of that. I wouldn’t call it a gamble, but the right strategic move in preparing the Lakers’ bench mentally.

  134. j. d. hastings March 3, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    1:12 LAL – P. Gasol offensive rebound
    1:12 LAL – P. Gasol misses a layup
    1:14 LAL – P. Gasol offensive rebound
    1:14 LAL – P. Gasol misses a tip in
    1:15 LAL – P. Gasol offensive rebound
    1:15 LAL – P. Gasol misses a tip in
    1:16 LAL – P. Gasol offensive rebound
    1:16 LAL – P. Gasol misses a layup

  135. The Sasha Abides March 3, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    its memphis no bragging rights, just a waste of two and a half hours.

  136. That Gasol sequence is rather LOL than LAL.

  137. 135,

    Yep, just Pau padding his rebound stats :p

  138. j. d. hastings March 3, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    I’m all for PJ forcing the Bench to play more minutes at important junctures. Whatever may be wrong with them, let them know he’s going to stay with them and they can work through it- Get them their reps so we can rely on them in the long run.

    Today they still posted some negative +/- numbers, but Sasha had 11 points, 3 rebs, 4 assists (!), 3 steals. If that leads him to playing closer to last year, that’d be a huge boost. Ariza continues his shaky stretch, but I don’t worry about him. He relies on energy and athleticism, so at some point he’ll swing back. Farmar too.

    The big men? Well they aren’t Odom or Bynum. They never will be.

  139. 137-Wasn’t a waste to me. If you don’t wana watch, go read a book.

  140. That was an interesting Pau play to watch. He missed but also never lost control of the ball. It was also a bit humorous because of the repeated attempts at scoring. I don’t think j.d. hastings posted it out of malice.

  141. My comment was directed at “the sasha abides”. Pau’s play and J.D. Hastings are both funny.

  142. j. d. hastings March 4, 2009 at 12:27 am

    I knew who it was directed to- its one of the unfortunate side effects of the neccisity of moderating comments that I think confuses people the first time they see the numbers off.

  143. j. d. hastings March 4, 2009 at 12:28 am

    necessity. I never spell that word right. You’ll all just have to wait and see the typo I’m correcting till it’s approved…

  144. this is a sad story…
    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=AhgkYPn3LupPThIWaUxrhV.QvLYF?slug=ap-grizzlies-mihm&prov=ap&type=lgns

    it seems mihm’s ankle is injured again.
    i really like him…i like his tenacity.

  145. one thing about Sasha, even while he was mired in his shooting slump (note the past tense, knock on wood), he was still finding ways to contribute with his overall floor game – playing energetic D, initiating the offense, running the side pick-and-roll, etc. In past years when he was a “3PM player” I didn’t necessarily see that happening. It’s good to see he’s matured and broadened his game a little bit.

  146. #147 – You say tenacity, I see a guy who knows teams will be willing to take a chance on him due to his size for a nice comfy pay check of about $2-3m a year. In other words, I see a smart guy that knows his playing days are over but is smart enough to try and milk it for what he can as long as he can. There’s nothing tenacious about that, its just plain greed.

  147. 149. If he wasn’t tenacious, he would not have tried to even come back from years of ankle problems. Do you have any idea how much rehab we are talking about, how much time in a training room and just working out hoping to someday get back on a court? That is not the fun part of basketball, you do that because you want to play.

    And by the way, Mihm had made nearly $18 million before the injury, he could have just hung it up then. This guy was a solid player, not some scrub.

  148. 149. really, i’m sorry for him.
    he’s working really hard.

    for him to get back on the court, it just shows how much he loves this game.
    and i always appreciate someone like that.

    anyway, i’m pretty sure he’s already hurt when he plays as a laker.
    which means he’s playing hurt too.

    i’m feeling bad for him.
    i just hope he can get back on the court soon.

  149. not to mention…when you do come back after all the rehab and training…you end up being the practice player who is just there to guard the starters in practice as they beat up on you…and then cheer them on in the games

  150. I’ve never once thought of Mihm as greedy. Scott Boras is greedy.

  151. Scott Boras is good at what he does. lol.

  152. Scott Boras rejected a two-year, $45 million deal so that 4 months later he could advise his client to take a two year, $45 million deal.

    I would say he misread the market, but a more accurate way of saying that is he misread the market everywhere outside the Bronx. If you’re the Yankees brass, do you have to be looking at the offseason market and think you could have gotten one or two of those guys for less money?

  153. By the way, I’m swamped today so not sure if there will be a new post until tomorrow.

  154. 147.

    Well, at least the Mihm trade now makes sense. Another win for Kupchak. Thanks Memphis.

    149.

    I am not sure what your getting at here. There is nothing ‘comfy’ about multiple surgeries and years of rehab.

  155. About Manny…
    I suspect the reason he didn’t accept the Dodgers’ offer had as much to do with his not wanting to go through spring training as it did with any money problems. Why sign when you can wait – and miss most of the training period?

    I am glad Scott Boras got his.

  156. Sabathia’s market was set by Johan Santana’s deal. The Yanks may have overpaid for oft-injured pitcher AJ Burnett, though the price tag went up as other teams got involved. I think Mark Teixeira signed at market price given his age and production. By the way, Teixeira is a Scott Boris client too.

    I do agree that he read the market wrong with Manny.

  157. 159, boras probably did misread the market, but at what cost? I would argue that any delay or his ‘mistake’ didn’t cost his player anything; in fact, to the contrary…

    What is being systematically reported as the ‘same deal’ Manny was offered months ago has one major difference: a second year player’s option versus a team option. sportscasters are eliding over that distinction to make the easy statement that ‘nothing was accomplished in 4 months’.

    This is absolutely wrong.

    I’m not saying that this is the issue that was being negotiated for the last 4 months – obviously, that was about money that never came – but this is still a much more favorable deal than the dodgers previously offered.

    think of it this way: if manny plays well and the FA market improves next year and boras learns he can get more elsewhere, manny can walk away with a whispered new deal in place. otoh, if manny tanks, let’s say he’s the second coming of andruw jones, he’ll exercise his option for a ‘free’ 22.5 million bucks that the dodgers would never wanted to have paid. there’s a reason the team didn’t want to do this 4 months ago…

    i’m not saying it’s a bad deal (or a good deal); just that’s its a more ‘upgraded’ deal than is being reported for the sake of the snarky headline.

  158. lil’ pau,
    The very original deal did not have the player option in it, but, the next deal did have this option and the option has been out there for quite a while.

    I still think Manny didn’t want to go to spring training and has avoided most of that with his waiting.

  159. Hey guys,
    2 dumb questions for you from someone who doesn’t “see” many games (bit hard when I’m at work and its 2.30pm in the afternoon when the games start).
    1. Was it Hispanic Lakers day or something yesterday? What’s with the Los Lakers tops?
    2. Don’t the Lakers only wear white on Sunday’s, or has this changed?
    Just something I realised from watching the highlights.

  160. #162. ozlaker,
    Here’s a quick story from Ball Don’t Lie on the jerseys and idea behind them:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Los-Lakers-Los-Spurs-and-other-Noche-Latina-jer?urn=nba,145723

  161. The Dude Abides March 4, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Most under the radar story in the NBA this season:

    The Sacramento Kings are still winless against the Eastern Conference (0-24). Can they go the entire season without a win? They have home games against CLE and PHI, and a four-game road trip against WASH, ATL, CHA, and NY.
    http://tinyurl.com/b6pq8m

    Now that they’ve become sort of pathetic, I kind of feel sorry for the BallSACs. Looks like the Wizards game is their best shot at a victory. Going 0-30 would be absolutely humiliating.

  162. 162 – They wore the white Los Lakers jerseys. Usually the whites are only worn on Sundays (hence the Sunday Whites) or on Christmas, although I do know that there was one road game in the 03-04 year where we actually wore the white uni’s for a road game in Phoenix (never found out why).

  163. Top-notch research and post by Henry over at Truehoop. I found the difference in philosophy between the refs and the rulebook extremely interestng:

    http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-38-270/NBA-Traveling—We-Really-Don-t-Reference-the-Rulebook-.html

  164. Dude – that is baffling. Could it have something to do w/ the West being perceived as “tough” so eastern conference teams coming to play Sac think “we’ve gotta get this one”…I mean, other than the obvious answer..

  165. Man, Shaq sure is going down swinging. In the last couple weeks the guy has danced with the Walka Jabbies (shout out Craig Sager), won an all-star game MVP, dropped 45 on the Raptors-proceeding to call Chris Bosh “the RuPaul of bigmen”, re-asserted his claim to the name “Superman” and verbally sparred with former coach Stan Van Gundy (claiming the only flopper he knows is Van Gundy-in the playoffs).

    May not be the Most Dominant at this point, but surely he is Most Entertaining.

  166. The Dude Abides March 4, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    167. ATown, that’s definitely part of it. The other part is that there’s only one really abysmal team in the East and that’s the Wizards. It’s also possible that the Kings haven’t adopted Portland’s “sleep in, practice late” philosophy when they take their Eastern road trips. I think a bunch of Western teams are doing that, keeping their biological clocks oriented to Pacific time. And finally, the KIngs are tuuurrrible.

  167. The Dude Abides March 4, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Some possibly great news about Andrew:
    http://tinyurl.com/dhpm6f

    Update: The Orange County Register reports that Bynum (knee) may return to the Lakers’ lineup by March 30.

    Recommendation: Coach Phil Jackson said that Bynum will return to help the team in the last month of the season. It appears as if his knee injury is progressing very well.

  168. Dude, that is great news. Thanks.

  169. Rockets at Jazz, I feel a streak ending tonight. And just when I was about to type that on my tiny TV Scola and Sasha look like brothers, The Machine goes and gets all squeaky clean shaven.

  170. 172. if machine can play like he did yesterday, i’m all for sasha with bald head.

    i am just glad, he’s playing better now. (althought it’s just one game). But hopefully, he keeps getting better.

  171. Cavaliers clinch playoff spot with win over Bucks

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/recap;_ylt=AiSsLfb3dzX_kN91JY_jZHO8vLYF?gid=2009030405

    I thought our record is better than the Cavs, why are they the first team to clinch a playoff spot?

  172. Which leads to the question…What was the all-time baldest starting Laker team?

  173. Shifting Trevor Ariza into the starting lineup is not a viable option, however.

    “Trevor and I have a pact that he won’t have to start with those guys,” Jackson said. “I mean, I’ll do it if it’s best for the team.”

  174. Clinching a playoff spot has more to do with the records of the teams behind you than with your own record. It essentially means that the Cavs could lose all their remaining games and would still have a better record than the 9th place team, thus guaranteeing themselves a place in the postseason.

  175. 174. The difference is the ninth place team in the East, not the record. The ninth place team in the East is Chicago at 28-34, 21 games back of the Cavs.

    Out west, Phoenix is ninth at 34-27. They are 15 games back of the Lakers.

    The Lakers are 1/2 a game ahead of the Cavs, but they are tied in the loss column. The Lakers would have the tiebreaker if it came to that.

  176. dude, dude that is indeed exciting news. better not rush it drew. that addresses a ton of our issues of late — the size, the rebounding, the fatigue but again i am intrigued to see him off the bench to anchor the mob in transition or more viable halfcourt plays.

  177. Interesting…Chris Sheridan writes an ESPN article centered around the fact that Shaq and Wade didn’t shake hands at the beginning. And yet if you watch the ESPN highlights, the first thing they show is the two shaking hands. Who are these ESPN editors?

  178. Thank god we bounced back. I was beginning to think that our vaunted ‘depth’ was actually just having either Lamar or Bynum in there, meaning that we were actually just 7 deep.

    Which makes me wonder – don’t you just need 6 starter-level players to flaunt depth, barring injuries?

  179. Continuity,

    C O N T I N U I T Y

    CONTINUITY!!!!!!!!!!!

    Sorry if that was obscene, but I am trying to do my best Jack on the sidelines. Triangle Offense, let’s just make the game easy. Shift in the right pieces and get it going.

    Talkin bout a revolution… Yeah

  180. The Dude Abides March 5, 2009 at 5:58 am

    I went to the OC Register site and couldn’t find any actual comments by anyone on Andrew’s return, only speculation by one of their Laker bloggers that he could return by March 30. So, we’ll see. I do think he could return that quickly if he undergoes PRP therapy.

  181. 183. Nobody will talk on the record, but last Laker game I went to working for the other site, the rumor that he is going to bounce back quickly is there at Staples. He may well be, but nobody is talking right now. So, what you get is guys trying to hint at it.