Preview & Chat: The Los Angeles Clippers

Kurt —  October 27, 2009

NBA 2009 - Lakers Beat Clippers 88-85
Records: Lakers 0-0 Clippers 0-0
Offensive ratings: Lakers NA Clippers NA
Defensive ratings: Lakers NA Clippers NA
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum
Clippers: Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Al Thornton, Craig Smith, Chris Kaman

Going For The Game One Overload: In addition to the flowing comments here, I’ll be taking part in a live chat tonight at the ESPN.com NBA page. There will be some ESPN.com NBA writers, a few of us bloggers and whoever else wanders in. When I have the link I’ll post it, but come on by there (I’ll be bouncing between here and there like a Forest Gump ping-pong match).

The Lakers Coming in: First the injury news: Gasol is a game-time decision but I expect the Lakers to err on the side of caution and he will sit. Kobe has a sore foot, but frankly if you amputated his foot this afternoon he would still play. Also, DJ Mbenga is your inactive tonight.

Tonight first is a chance to celebrate last season — and we should revel in that one more time. Championships are precious things to be savored. Enjoy the ring ceremony, enjoy the banner being unveiled. Soak it in.

Then the players need to forget and move on.

After a preseason of “Phil Jackson’s Experimental Kitchen” tonight we start to get a feel for his rotations. Well, a little bit. Obviously no Gasol means no early Odom and probably some time for Josh Powell. I am curious to see the guard order off the bench (Farmar, Sasha, then Brown is my guess). I’ll add I think Brown gets more minutes tonight because the Clippers backcourt of Davis and Gordon are physically strong — that suits Brown’s defense better. Jordan may get some time on the ultra-quick Telfair.

The Clippers Coming in: Again? Already the injury bug has bitten the Clippers — Blake Griffin is out six weeks with a stress fracture. It really does suck, he won me over with his play at Summer League and just came off as a down-to-earth guy when you spoke with him. Fortunately it’s not career threatening. In addition to the headline injury, Baron Davis and Marcus Camby are slowed, but expected to play tonight.

Still, there is hope in Clippers land. And — on paper — there should be. Kevin at Clipperblog explains:

Griffin and Gordon may not be saviors, but they’re something. Griffin’s skills and his tenacious work ethic (the guy runs up sand dunes in his free time) will be a boon to a team desperate for cultural overhaul. Gordon offers an enticing combination of spot-up shooting and forays into the paint. He finished third in true shooting percentage among starting off guards in his rookie campaign, something that can only help a team that ranked dead last in offensive efficiency last season.

Both Griffin and Gordon are 20 years old, and it’s unreasonable to expect them to make the Clippers a playoff team by themselves. Fortunately, the Clips have surrounded the duo with a decent collection of veterans. The list starts at center, where Marcus Camby is in the twilight of his career at 35, but remains a formidable defensive rover and rebounder. A healthy Chris Kaman commands serious defensive attention in the post and can block shots in bundles.

But there is really one big question looming over the Clippers season: Can Baron Davis and Mike Dunleavy share the sandbox? Their clash of styles last year — Davis thinking he was still with Golden State while Dunleavy wanted to play slower than the Spurs — was the millstone around the Clippers neck. This year, Davis has come in promising to do what his coach asks (plus he looks fit). Dunleavy, with a team full of young guys that can run, would be a fool not to let them. Maybe they should try a little of what Phil Jackson has done with the Lakers — the first seven seconds of the shot clock run and freelance, but after that run the offense. We will see.

Blogs/Links to check out: In addition to the previously mentioned ClipperBlog — just one of the best team blogs out there in the NBA — check out ClipsNation.

Also, check out ESPN’s E:60 for a feature on Ron Artest today. (Starts at 4 Pacific on the big network.)

On a separate note, great piece in the New York Times Sunday on the history of basketball and James Naismith.

Keys to game: This will be the first test of one of the big concerns about the Lakers this season — focus. Plenty of teams get wrapped up in the rings and the banner and the celebration and forget about the game at hand. Meanwhile, the other team sits there and watches the rings and the banners and just gets ticked, then comes out focused. Darius notes that during the preseason, energy was not the issue.

I love the mentality of this team; I love what this team is projecting when they’re on the court. They look loose, they look like they’re having fun, and best of all they look like they’re competing and still hungry. People have had complacency concerns with this team and that is understandable. But I think back to the weeks right after the season and hearing Fish and Kobe talk about the mindset of a repeating champion. How the goals for this team aren’t limited to winning one title, but in extending their run to put their stamp on the league. This is where having the Phil/Kobe/Fisher triumvirate is meaningful to long-term success. These guys have all been through successful 3-peats and they *know* what it takes. With these guys steering the ship I’m positive we’ll put forth our best effort in driving for the ultimate goal. That doesn’t mean we won’t have some lackluster nights or lose games against bad teams. But it does mean that this team will play their best ball when it matters most.

On offense the Lakers will stay with the pattern seen in the preseason — they will go in to the post early and often. Bynum will get touches, and Odom may as well. One matchup I’d like to see the Lakers exploit is Ron Artest covered by Al Thornton — because Thornton and defense are like oil and water. Look for Rasual Butler to get the majority of the time at the three, he plays defense, and Thornton should get some time at the four with Butler. Of course, Kobe should be able to get his as always. Scoring is not the concern tonight.

On defense, the Lakers need to cut off the head — focus on Baron Davis. That starts with Fisher (and Brown and Farmar) but it is going to take smart rotations from Bynum and Odom as well. Next, the Lakers need to not let Craig Smith eat them up inside like he did in preseason. Granted, that was preseason, but the Lakers need to make sure he doesn’t drop 20+.

Without Griffin, the Clippers will be more of a perimeter team. As Darius noted in the comments, Kobe likes to play free safety and has wandered away from Eric Gordon in the past — do that tonight and he will have a big game. No need to collapse inside, the bigs got it. Stay at home.

Finally, the Lakers need to get back in transition — the Clippers have a lot of guys who can run. Gordon, DeAndre Jordan (who I like a lot, he could have a big year) and Griffin when healthy all can get out and go, and with Telfair running the second unit they could get good looks in transition. The Lakers need to get back.

Where you can watch: TNT has the game, with a 7:30 tip off after what should be an entertaining Celtics/Cavaliers tilt. (The best part of the first game will be watching some columnist from the losing city virtually write their city’s team off after a loss in the first game of a long season.) Hopefully TNT will give us a lot of ring ceremony, which starts at 7 (if TNT runs long NBA.com is supposed to have a stream of the ceremony).

Kurt

Posts

223 responses to Preview & Chat: The Los Angeles Clippers

  1. this one’s for Warren!
    finally the first real game preview, yes!!!

  2. The ring ceremony will be on nba.com if the earlier game runs over.

  3. Finally, just a few more hours. I have my DVR set (I won’t be home I have a meeting for foster care to go to) so I won’t miss the game. I can finally get my basketball fix. I hope they get to show the ring ceremony on TNT, hopefully the earlier game does not go late.

  4. Everybody now… “happy days are here again!” :)

    Go Lakers!

  5. Best part of it all? In Sweden we have already shifted our clocks back one hour, which means that until you guys do the same – ie this Sunday if I’m not mistaken – the games will begin one hour earlier.

    This means that tonight’s game will start at 3.30 am Swedish time (oh I know; it’s still hell).

  6. Finally!!!

  7. Telfair is “tall”? At 6 feet even?

  8. Thanks chris h, great, the good luck first comment has been made for tonight’s game.

    Go Lakers…

  9. Yes!!! Let’s go Lake Show!

  10. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nZT3vyiHSs&feature=player_embedded
    I find it peculiar that ESPN hasn’t picked up on this as a sign that Artest is making Kobe tune out the Zen Master ;)

  11. Hopefully Mbenga sitting means Gasol is good to go tonight.

    So glad that the season is starting.

  12. Hey, What’s Up Everybody??

    After the disappointing loss to my Australian Rules Football team in the Championship game, I’m glad the Lakers are back to fill in my day-to-day overall “being”.

    The Lakers definitely look stronger this year with Artest, and he’s looked unusually unselfish during the pre-season which, if it continues, will only make us better.

    So, lets sit back, enjoy 82 games of regular season, then get to the business end.

    Here’s hoping we stay relatively injury free again this year which I believe has a lot to do with where you end up come playoff time, not just in basketball, but in all sports.

    Everybody going to Staples and watching on TV, enjoy the Ring Ceremony. As per usual, I’ll be at work listening on ESPN Radio.

  13. 7, Richard. Yea, I don’t know what was in my head there, thanks for the catch I made the change. I’ve seen Telfair in the locker room and saying 6 foot is generous. Farmar may get some time on him, but this is a very quick guard the Lakers will have to deal with off the bench.

  14. @Maes,
    Oh, I’m sure they will find plenty of sinister signs of impending Artest-induced doom and gloom as the season goes on. As Kurt posted in the last blog entry… people hate us now. ;)

  15. Gasol is on the active roster, but I still don’t think he’ll play. That’s more hunch (and what people at practice thought) more than anything else.

  16. Unless we badly need Gasol to play, I’d rather he didn’t. I would much prefer that he sits out a week extra and return at 100%, than returns too early, slows down recovery, and risks a re-injury… I will happily wait and see what happens on that front.

  17. so looking forward to this. the game, the season, this site. just basketball. Here we go!

  18. I think Gasol is a go. That locker room is going to be fired up and he wants to play. this game will be like a practice anyway.

  19. I’m bummed DJ isn’t dressing. If Pau can’t go, and Drew gets in foul trouble, who will protect the rim? Either Pau or Ammo should have been deactivated. Ammo is a 3rd-string SF, and DJ is a 3rd-string C. If our 2nd-string C (Pau) can’t play, then we’re left with a SF position that is three-deep, and only one center.

  20. By the way, among the things I could be wrong about is the Clippers starting lineup. Clipperblog Kevin said Dunleavy did not know at practice yesterday. Camby may start at the four, and Butler could get the nod at the three over Thornton. Nobody seems to know.

  21. I wouldn’t put it past the Celtics to call some unnecessary timeouts to stretch the game so that the Laker ring ceremony is not televised.

  22. That would be unbelievably petty wouldn’t it be? I don’t think they’d do that…

  23. I am not accomplishing anything of any importance today, the ONLY thing on my mind is the 1st Laker game of the season, which I will have to wait until around midnight to see, I can’t take it anymore.

  24. The word about Griffin would be comical if it wasn’t so sad. The Clips are just doomed. I passed on him twice in my fantasy draft because I KNEW he would be significantly injured within three weeks; it only took one. Wow.

  25. Alright!!! Game 1 of 82 and then a June overtime. As all thing sweet need a little bitterness to add depth, I’ll miss seeing Trevor up there picking up his ring as he’ll be busy getting hated on by the Blazer fans. They’re still waiting for Rudy to get up off the court up here.

    As a guy who has spent consideral time all over the country, just from my perspective, people arre always hating the Lakers, they are always gunning for them, it is just the way things are. The thing that makes it different right now is the begrudging respect they have to give the team and that is a whole other kind of hate, especially since Kobe was clearly the man most hated. Hell, even Simmons is starting to rething the Kobe Shaq dynamic.

    Alright, enough of the BS… RING CEREMONY!!!!!!

  26. You know what one of the best parts of being a Lakers fan right now is? There is no chance the owner is going to end up in an ugly, tabloid-style divorce.

  27. Im excited to finally get this started, my college and pro football teams made me want to throw the remote several times this season, so I hope LA can get me out of this funk I have been in since football season started. Let’s go Lakers!

  28. Is anyone else not able to view the link to the photo of the rings?

    Also, some appropriate song lyrics for the Lakers season…

    Well they tell me that I’m wanted
    Yeah, I’m a wanted man
    I’m a colt in your stable
    I’m what Cain was to Abel
    Mister catch me if you can – Jon Bon Jovi “Blaze of Glory”

  29. Im kinda upset that the Cavs/Celts matchup is overshadowing our opener. Everywhere I go thats all people are talking about. LA should have been scheduled a more formidable opponent than the Clippers. I just dont want some other team, especially the Celts, take our shine.

  30. damn it. collins and harlan on the mike. that means reggie miller covers the laker game. noooo.

  31. Rob S., just checked, but NBA.com pulled the story and photo off their site all together. Not sure why.

  32. Cleveland has been really crisp, although they can’t expect Varajeo to hit those shots all game.

    Boston just looks…flat.

  33. Interesting…I could have sworn I just heard TNT go to a break with Robin Trower’s “Day of the Eagle” playing out to the commercial.

  34. Any links for the Boston-Cleveland and later on the Laker-Clips game?

  35. Okay, it’s been so long that I am confused… when FB&G says the game starts at 7:30, that’s 7:30 Staples Center time, right?

  36. Busy times for me at work here in Brisbane, Australia – GameCast of Celts@Cavs in one window, looking at tickets for Laker games in another window (planning my impending trip State-side), and just trying to stuff as much NBA into my workday as possible (all while hoping that the HD recorder at home has started at the right time!).

    Gotta love opening night (or day if you’re in Australia!).

  37. Mimsy, that is 7:30 Pacific. We have a distinct West Coast bias at this site.

  38. Thanks Kurt! I was hoping that was the case. :)

  39. Speaking of time: It would be a nice feature if you could add a button or something that allows you to see which time the game starts in different time zones (around the globe). Since the Lakers have a global fan base I suspect that such a feature would be appreciated?

    Don’t know if it’s tricky to implement, but my guess would be that it’s pretty simple?=)

  40. Thanks Mimsy=) I normally keep pretty good track of the time difference since I watch every Laker game though, but not everyone can be that crazy;)

  41. This Cleveland (LeBron) offense looks a lot like the one that lost to Orlando…

  42. @Andreas
    Happy to help. :) I use it so I’ll know when it’s okay to call my family in Sweden… I once miscalculated and called them at 4 in the morning. It was not appreciated… I got that add-on the day after.

  43. Yeah Cleveland looks stale, Lebron trying to do too much on offense one on one.

  44. I just tuned in and (despite the #s) Shaq seems horribly lost on offense. Just doesn’t know where to be unless they run a play for him.

    Underrated matchup, but I like seeing Shaq and Perkins go at it. Would have loved to see Shaq in his prime roll over the child-eater.

    And Orlando still has the highest ceiling if everything goes right. The East is going to be fun this year.

  45. Hmmm…three steps with no dribble…no call. Glad the real refs are back.

  46. Just a quick aside while we wait for the ring ceremony (and watch Cleveland flounder in the 2nd half) – what is the best way for me to get Laker tickets for my upcoming trip to the US? Just book them online before coming? Or should I do something once I arrive (December 10th)?

  47. @Snoopy,
    Shaq must have misplaced the cheat sheet they gave him :)

    ESPN had an article (series?) about the East being tougher than the West this year. Whether you agree on that or not it’s a good read, and the Magic are definitely the team to watch. With all they had last year, they have added Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson is now healthy. They’re going to be good.

  48. By the way, here is the link for the ESPN chat. I will be bouncing between here and there.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/dailydime?page=dime-091027

  49. I love this… Shaq is lost on offense. Perhaps there was some truth behind that ESPN rumor that Shaq had not spent anytime memorizing the Cavs playbook (guess that good-old Shaq work ethic is hard to let go). If that is true, I wonder how Lebron as the “team leader” will address with Shaq and the media after the game.

  50. As things stand I’m expecting a Magic-Celtics ECF but that top 3 is just murder.

    I’d give Boston the edge over Orlando in a 7-game series. I remain unconvinced by Cleveland but I think they’re better equipped to beat Boston than Orlando.

  51. Kurt, you said there would be a live stream of the ring ceremony. On NBA.com, clicking that link only takes me to a page asking which player the fans would like to watch on the “player cams.”

    Has the ring ceremony started? Is there anywhere I can watch live, now? I don’t want to watch the 15 second clips that we know TNT will show after the CLE/BOS game..

  52. Jboo, I’m still at my day job so I can’t even look right now.

  53. @Jboo,
    NBA.com is now saying the ceremony will be at 10:30 Easter, which should make it 7:30 Pacific time.

  54. Rajon Rondo…wow. Uh, yeah…wow.

  55. Ahh, sucks to hear.

    Well, after I stopped panicking, I figured the ring ceremony would likely be delayed until it could be aired live by TNT. Considering tonight’s game isn’t even going to be aired by FSW, I’m assuming TNT has the rights.

    ……… and as I type this, Ernie Johnson just confirmed it. We will see it LIVE on TNT in 14 minutes. Cheers.

  56. rondo is really fighting for rebounds

    and teams are already taking advantage of shaq in pick n roll situations

  57. Do we get to look forward to another awkward speech by a Buss kid at the ring presentation?

  58. That was an appallingly stupid decision by LeBron. You have Shaq guarded by Rondo under the basket, and you decide to shoot a long 3 instead??? Whatever was going through your head at that moment was NOT human intelligence…

  59. @Mimsy, that was Bron showing his killer instinct side instead of his involving teammates side.

  60. @J,
    Oh thank you so much… I just sprayed my drink ALL OVER my laptop! :D

  61. happy to be of service. Now that the season is starting, back to commenting more and lurking less. Hoping there’ll be less silly threads.

  62. let’s do this!

  63. Lebron James= 38 points, 8 assists.
    Shaq = 10 pts. 1 Assist.

    It’s going to be a very long season in Cleveland.

  64. And up next on TNT: The Ring Ceremony.

  65. Don’t know if anyone said this already, but Pau is officially out for tonight’s game. No surprise really, but still.

  66. Get your sunglasses ready when they show the ring

  67. Jeannie looks HOT!!!

  68. Nonsense, she looks like a pirate! :p

  69. Love the former players coming back.

  70. Put Magic at center and that’s a pretty good starting lineup you’ve got there. Fox, AC and Horry off the bench ain’t bad either.

  71. For the record, after Jack dies they need to retire his seat. No one else deserves it.

  72. @Mimsy. A hot halloween pirate! Arrrrr!

  73. Psst, Magic….the camera’s here…..turn around….

  74. AC Green still got an afro, I thought that went out of style.

  75. Really, the massage therapist gets announced. Tipoff couldn’t be further away

  76. My dreams of playing in the NBA died when I realized I couldn’t touch rim at 6 feet tall (fail). But I’ll be damned if I don’t try to become a “message therapist” and somehow try to get a NBA ring!

  77. i wonder if Jeanie is gonna make out with Phil…

  78. How many rings is Cleamons up to now? It’s got to be a lot.

  79. Man this is making me tear up!

  80. AC without a jheri curl just seems wrong…

  81. This is just over-all very touching… I love how the crowd responds to every player.

  82. I wonder what Luke and David Stern had to talk about for so long.

  83. the other Stephen October 27, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    oh man. remember the titans music for the ceremony. good choice. this is awesome.

  84. @the other Stephen,
    I KNEW it was familiar!

    Selecting Fisher to make th speech was GENIUS. Absolute genius. And frankly, he’s earned it.

  85. I thought somebody would have mentioned Tex Winter…

    Tex was supposed to be health enough to travel and attend the ceremony. Any word on whether he actually made it?

  86. Kenny’s “you can take their best player off the team and they’d still make the playoffs” is simultaneously terrifying and fascinating.

    So glad it’s another year. Happy to be back.

  87. I agree, I’m disappointed they didn’t mention Tex.

  88. The look on Kobe’s face looking at the banner was priceless. You could just see the pure joy on his and Fishers face, just an overall great ceremony. Now let’s get this season started!

  89. Game. On!

    I have waited all summer for this. This is amazing. :)

  90. rofl, Al Thornton jacks up a shot

  91. @work with the sound off… what in the world did Artest say to the crowd?

  92. @Manny,
    I have no idea. l am still distracted by Baron Davis’ humungous beard.

  93. Some sloppy play to start.

  94. It’s nice to be back here.. Time to start with our title defense.. KOBE going out of the corner swinging

  95. That didn’t look like much of a foul on Artest.

  96. This is not a ref complaining post, but don’t they need a preseason too to get into the flow of things?

  97. @emh101
    It wasn’t. And as a very reluctant Artest fan, I like the fact that he neither argued or steamed over it. That’s a good sign.

  98. Al Thornton’s shot selection is just diabolical.

  99. Drifted left on that wide open set shot. Ron drifts the most out of any good three point shooter I’ve ever seen. I rarely see him go up straight and in balance.

  100. Lamar has just been rediculous on triples to end the Finals and then through the pre-season. As long as he doesn’t fall in love with it too much, it can only be a good thing.

  101. Kobe’s spring still looks good.

    Did Khloe pick Lamar’s shoes?

  102. Artest is the most unselfish player on the floor right now. I almost feel bad, someone get him a shot.

    lmao Bynum’s reaction to Fisher’s behind-the-back: “Doh! I didn’t know you could do that!”

  103. Ha, ha. Bynum was definitely not expecting that.

  104. 1st game of the season should be brought to us with limited commercial interruption by…

  105. Is it me or does Baron look like a miniature fitter version of Kimbo Slice? lol

  106. And there’s our first point for Ron Artest as a Laker.

  107. anyone catching this game on tnt overtime on nba broadband? pretty cool – action cam & mosaic view

  108. So far no post ring ceremony let down for the team. We’ll see if there’s one from LO.

  109. Seriously, let’s not dissolve into a bunch of junior high girls here. Lamar married a celebrity, let it go. I hope he’s happy, that’s all. Especially the comments on her appearance (that I’ve seen all over the Internet), that’s just uncalled for.

  110. Lakers playing with a lot of energy and passion. I like it.

  111. liking the active defence

  112. Baron Davis is picking up where he left off last season…

  113. I honestly am so sick about Lamar’s marriage I can’t wait for it to end… seriously. Let him marry whatever reality-TV person he wants, I don’t care. As long as it won’t affect the Lakers, it’s just not that relevant…

  114. Asides from turnovers, pretty good opening quarter. 7 TO’s is a lot.

  115. Must repeat mantra: This is only the Clippers… this is only the Clippers… this is only the Clippers…

    But, wow. They look this good WITHOUT Gasol? WOW.

    Right right right…

    This is only the Clippers… only the Clippers…

  116. i thought dj was deactivated?

  117. Ron no drifting on that shot. good form.

  118. Odom is making a concerted effort to post up- I don’t remember that as much in past years. Did everyone work on this over the summer or…

    Did Craig Smith just run a one man fast break??

  119. Reggie Miller: “Why come over and get the goaltend when the ball hasn’t hit the backboard yet?”

    Touching the ball after it hits the backboard is a goaltend, Reggie. Automatically. You did play basketball once, didn’t you?

  120. Great pass from Ron, but I think at times Artest is trying to be too unselfish.

  121. Tex winter in the house! TNT overtime oh yea! He must’ve seen the ceremony! yay

  122. Oh, no, DJ . . .

  123. OK we have 1.5 scorers on the floor right now.

  124. Spending too much time with Ammo.

  125. Nice drag of the pivot foot there by Josh

  126. Does Phil think this is garbage time already? This lineup is terrible.

  127. i thought preseason was over?

  128. 2nd unit not doing the job like they did in the preseason.

  129. i think phil has to leave at least one starter in there

  130. Okay Phil. Starters back in. Right. Now.

  131. What better time is there to experiment than against the Clippers when you already have a big lead?

  132. This lineup is an absolute disaster. Nobody is going to respect Mbenga or Powell when they receive the ball at the elbow, and it’s all downhill from there. Get Bynum back out there now!

  133. I agree, Jim, a really odd lineup. I guess Phil is trying to get the kiddies some gametime experience.

  134. Powell and DJ were hitting that elbow jumper consistently last season and preseason.

  135. Why is Josh Powell shooting three’s?

  136. Can anybody stop the Rhino?

  137. Man, Craig Smith just KILLS us doesn’t he?

  138. Who is Craig Smith?

  139. The lineup at the beginning of the 2nd quarter was awesome for us against their bench. Odom and Artest were like men amongst boys there.

  140. He’s been killing us ever since he was in Minny

  141. rofl, Kobe drives the lane, thinks about dishing, sees it’s Josh Powell rolling toward the hoop, then thinks better of his decision and forces up a lay-up praying for contact.

    Even Kobe realizes that Josh lacks the ability to dunk.

  142. Andreeeew!!! How do you miss that?!?!

    Yes, you got it back and you got te point, but please….

  143. That was such a selfish play by Kobe. He had a wide open three, Bron would have taken that three. But Kobe was trying to pad his stats and pass for the assist.

  144. Lamar is certainly filling the boxscore tonight.

  145. THAT WAS CLEAN!

  146. Wow, that looked like a good block by Drew.

  147. You guys aren’t going to believe this but… The Rockets are having trouble scoring.

  148. That’s because we have Artest… ;)

  149. Ariza will be wistfully watching the Ring Ceremony on Sportscenter tonight.

  150. Great final minute of the half.

  151. What a way to finish the half!

  152. That was Bynum deflecting, Bryant stealing the loose ball, outlet to Odom, dish off to Bynum for the basket, yes?

    Love to watch Bynum running hard, boxing out, rebounding, and hitting free throws.

    So nice.

  153. Did I interpret Ron’s first answer correctly? Did he say when he signed he expected Phil to use him in his normal aggressive role, and now he’s just adjusting to playing team ball?

    Sounds odd if read that way, hope I heard him wrong.

  154. Trevor 2-4 from 3 but only 3-8 overall. That was typical of preseason too. His stroke from the arc is there but he still hasn’t been able to create from inside.

  155. The bench without Odom looks anemic.

  156. Bynum with 17 points at the half. He stays healthy he’s an all star

  157. Bynum’s line: 6-10 fg, 5-6 FT, 0-0 3pt, 17 points 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 TO +17

    Kobe’s line: 6-10 fg, 5-5 FT, 0-0 3pt, 17 points 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 steal, 1 TO +14

  158. 160- PJ was throwing some preseasonesque lineups out there.

  159. I wonder if Phil was having flashbacks of his CBA coaching days with that 2nd unit.

  160. Kenny Smith is so right. You know you’re good when you can lose your 2nd best guy and it be a non-story in terms of winning the basketball game. If Phil doesn’t trot out that that ridiculous lineup for 4 minutes in the 2nd half, we’re up 20 right now.

  161. Greg Oden is threatenign a double double- 10 rebounds, 7 TOs, 0 points so far

  162. According to J.A. Adande, Tex was suppose to get his ring but there was a “mix up”. He’ll now get it during the 3rd quarter.

  163. LOL Snoopy. 124 was classic.

  164. @Snoopy, what I heard from artest was that when he first came over he thought phil was going to want him to be more of a roll player but hes learning that phil actually wants him to be more aggressive.

  165. Man, Bynum is just a Beast. The future is Bright.

  166. kobe’s missed at least 3 layups already

  167. Kobe’s touch around the rim is not quite there yet. Give him a about 3 days. You know he will be working like a madman on his finishing for the next few days.

    Bynum! So good. So good.

    *knocks on a tree*

  168. yes agreed, kobe hasn’t been his usual self at the rim. he’s not finishing his layups and missing on his post shots. the other uncharacteristic thing of note is that fisher is making very nice passes like an actual point guard even and getting more than 1 assist/gm.

  169. I know it’s the first game of the season, I know that Pau is out, and I know that it’s only the 3rd quarter – but is anyone else slightly frustrated that we haven’t put this one away yet? It’d be nice to see Kobe et. al. kicking back on the bench for the 4th when we play the Clips…

  170. How good is a shooter is Gordon?

  171. Remember, the Clippers are not the Sacramento Kings this year. Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Camby, Thornton, Smith. This is a borderline playoff team if healthy.

  172. what did just happened?
    i went out with the lakers up by nine, when i came back it’s down to 1..

  173. I remember when at Indiana, all the scouts had Eric Gordon pegged as the next Ben Gordon. That comparison now seems silly, other than they’re undersized 2s. E.G. is going to be better than B.G. because of one simple reason: he can penetrate. He has a quick first step, great penetrator, and can finish at the rim. Ben is a much more limited scorer, he can penetrate (not as well) but doesn’t have the first step and doesn’t finish well at the rim.

    If Eric Gordon were on a better team, he’d be getting more recognition. I’m looking forward to watching him improve.

  174. ummm… quick question. Has Sasha even played?

  175. Kurt, my friends and I have a large bet down on Clips over 34.5 wins at -130. If it weren’t for the Dunleavy factor, we would have put down even more. He’s the biggest factor in not making that a sure bet.

    Just so much talent on this team and it’s well balanced too. The pieces really fit together. We always say that if this team had a Del Harris type coach, they’d be in the playoffs easily and probably threatening 50 wins.

  176. Big ovation for Tex Winter at the end of the Third Quarter, when he got his ring.

  177. Sasha has not entered the game. I just got home, has there been an announcement why?

  178. Haven’t heard anything, he seemed to be playing well in the preseason not sure why he all off the sudden lost all his minutes

  179. And on cue – it’s Sasha.

  180. Speak of the devil, there he is

  181. the espn boxscore is not correct. sasha came in for kobe in the 2nd quarter. i remember seeing him in there and my housemate asking about him with his hair.

  182. Odom is smooth tonight.

  183. Sasha cut his hair for the ring ceremony.

  184. I like Odom’s demeanor. He’s feisty, focused. His head’s completely in the game.

  185. @magic, must have missed that. I didn’t miss much of the game so he must not have been in for long.

  186. Can somebody other than Odom please make a 3?

  187. Love that last sequence with Jordan driving but looking for LO trailing behind him. Then the quick pass from LO to Ron for the wide open three when the D collapsed from Farmar’s penetration and rotating over to LO after the pass.

  188. @Isolate, no it was not long, but it was during that traumatic and unforgettable few mins where phil brought in the preseason lineup. maybe that’s why everyone forgot.

  189. Odom is looking to please his new wifey in the stands. I suggest she comes to all home games.

  190. I think, overall, the Lakers have played well considering they are playing without Pau and integrating a new starter.

  191. Is it just me or does it seem like Kobe is trying to match Bron Bron’s 38, couple of times he has forced the shot when I saw a wide open cutter.

    If he’s just getting it out now better against the Clips than a contender I guess.

  192. Loving Bynum’s activity on defense. I just remembered the questions/complaints we had last year with his slow rotations, I’m seeing nothing but quick movement from him in the parts that I’ve watched.

  193. #197, it’s just you. He’s hit several people people today. Would have had more assists except they missed.

  194. I really don’t think Kobe cares what Lebron does on opening night.

  195. I love Kobe from the mid-post, he is so hard to stop. The Clippers unsure what to do with that.

    Also, notice that in crunch time the Lakers used Brown then Kobe on Eric Gordon, but lesser defenders on Baron Davis. Shows you who they fear.

  196. Baron Davis doesn’t look like himself tonight.

  197. This is rough. They took off streaming radio broadcasts and I’m in Lebanon. My Laker fandom is unfulfilled. Anyone know why ESPN isn’t broadcasting like Laker games? NBA AudioPass isn’t working for me either. Never had this problem before.

    Just from the boxscore/play-by-play, Arest has provided what Ariza did and 4 assists. I know it’s too early, but damn this is gonna be one heck of a season.

    After I say this, I will wash my mouth out with soap. I am so happy the Celtics won today. I’m wearing my FD 24 > 23 shirt all day today.

  198. Kobe forces a couple of shots pretty much every game, I wouldn’t read anything into it.

  199. Dang it. No Tacos

  200. Too bad Lamar didn’t make that last 3… D:

  201. Bynum. 26 and 13 with 2 assists and 1 blocked shot. Against a solid center in Kaman. Great way to start the season. Also lends creedence to the theory that he doesn’t get as many boards with Pau and LO around because they get most of it.

    He’s been putting up solid board numbers when either LO or Pau hasn’t been in.

  202. Key stat: Lakers 37 FTA, Clippers 16. Lakers attacked inside, were rewarded at the line.

  203. Bynum and Kobe with 22 of the 37 FT attempts

  204. Great win. A win at opening night for a champ was all I wanted.

    I wasn’t able to see the game though, a shame I know. I just hope this was a type of game where the box score does not tell of what happened.

  205. If this is how we play without Gasol…wow.

    Bynum looked great tonight. Odom was smooth, Kobe was, Artest played hard and smart…

    This is going to be a fun season.

    *knocks on a house*

  206. Lol of course after I say that he makes a beauty of a pass to Bynum.

  207. Cleaned up the TO’s too. 7 in the first quarter, only 9 the rest of the way.

  208. For those who missed it Sasha did check in during the first half, 30 seconds later got beat on a drive by Gordon, started randomly whinging about it until Lamar got up in his face trying to get him to chill out. Seconds later he was subbed for Brown.

  209. First off, Eric Gordon looks really, really good. In the fourth quarter the Clips were right there until he picked up a fourth foul and he had to sit. When he came back in the lead was double digits.

    Towards the Lakers: Good job not having a huge lapse on ring night and coming away with a solid victory. Yes, the bench was a non factor, overall the team did not shoot the ball well from the outside at all and the third quarter was extremely lackluster, but really if you were watching you never doubted they were going to win this game, even when it was close.

    I’m sure everyone will have an opinion on Artest but he seemed to do fine. Moved the ball well, looked for his teammates, took open shots when they were available. If he starts hitting those corner and wing threes consistently the Lakers offense will be unstoppable.

    On Bynum: He displayed outstanding footwork on the block, including a spin move for a mini jumper and twice stepped through to his left and finished with his off hand. I was also very impressed with his motor / determination changing ends from defense to offense. The guy was consistently beating Kaman and Camby downcourt (and it wasn’t close), setting himself up for lobs or sealing his defender who was trailing him on the break. I still wish he would improve his reaction time providing help in the paint on defense and work on the angle he takes when he approaches a penetrating driver and, in relation, his timing when shot blocking. But hopefully those things will just continue to develop over the season.

    Lots to be happy about as a Laker fan. Glad the season has officially started!

  210. I guess with Artest, toughness wont be an issue this season lol….

  211. I’m 90 percent sure Artest can’t dunk anymore.

  212. There’s a lot of rough edges still to polish here, but that’s always the case at this point in the season. Artest will only get better, but frankly if he gives us just what he gave us tonight, I’ll be satisfied. The turnover and shooting (especially at the line) will take care of themselves. The defense, playmaking and rebounds were all great though. I liked how he handled himself out there.

  213. watching Drew was a pleasure tonight, he was hustling, moving with out the ball, all good stuff.
    the bench was a tad weak in the first half, but i like the way PJ worked them back in during the 2nd half.
    sasha did get a quick yank, had a lapse on D, fought with LO, and the next thing ya know, Wow was out there.
    means the focus on D is for real!
    thanks Warren!

  214. Wow…nice win tonight. I notice that Drew only got credited for one block. He had at least three, plus the block on Butler where he got called for a foul. He still doesn’t have 100% of his old explosion/timing back yet, but if he stays healthy, he’ll get it back.

    Also, Phil decided it was time to win and thus didn’t put Mbenga and Powell on the court at the same time in the second half. Mbenga subbed for Drew, then when Drew came back in, Powell subbed for Lamar.

    Ron-Ron should just stay away from setting up for the corner three. He’s never been effective from there, but he’s deadly from the wing.

    On defense, I like the way Fish guarded Baron today. I liked Kobe’s and Ron-Ron’s active hands, and Lamar again was such a good help defender. I never knew Kaman was such a good mid-range shooter. Drew did well to keep him from scoring on the low block, making him settle for outside jumpers and therefore staying out of foul trouble.

    When Pau comes back, this team is going to be a juggernaut. I predict a 15-1 record after November 30th.

  215. the banner looks so good up there…

    Now, again.

  216. If Andrew Bynum plays an entire season, it’s possible that we could be the best team in the league WITHOUT Pau Gasol.

    This should be the best Laker team of the last twenty years.