Clippers vs. Lakers Live Blog powered by nomuskles

nomuskles —  October 28, 2009

Welcome to the first nomuskles live blog of the year! It seemed like this day would never come!

Boston vs. Cleveland

Neither team looked incredibly impressive (it’s early) but two things stuck out about Cleveland. Shaq is pretty much his same self and Lebron is getting nastier and nastier. He continued his trend of incredible blocks from behind and hit some nice looking jumpers. That young man is unstoppable.

Championship Ring Presentation and Banner Unveiling

The Lakers receive their championship rings tonight because, in case you might have possibly perhaps forgotten, they beat the Orlando Magicians to earn the title of 2009 NBA Champions. That’s a phrase that never gets old. 2009 NBA Champions! How many times before that gets annoying? 2009 NBA Champions!

David Stern says something incomprehensible. Jeannie Buss stands next to him and says nothing. She has her umm…shall we say, “special occcasion” boots on.

The Lakers begin the ceremony with a few players from past Lakers championship teams. They are: Jerry West, Norm Nixon, Jamaal Wilkes, Michael Cooper, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, AC Green, Rick Fox, and Robert Horry. Kareem is introduced later as a member of the coaching staff.

Players I wish would have been invited as well: Shaquille O’Neal, Ron Harper, Byron Scott, Elgin Baylor, and Elden Campbell. Okay, not Elden. I also wish Wilt Chamberlain and Chick Hearn could have been at the event. Alas.

This is followed by an awkward moment in which Dr. Buss is given some love by Magic and he has to put his drink down and we all notice that he’s sitting next to an attractive young woman who can’t be older than 33. It makes you wonder what his kids might think. And then you realize that his daughter…okay mm yeah. I’m going to stop myself right there.

Then of course Adam Morrison gets his well-deserved ring. Speaking of which, does anyone know if there are formal rules for who gets a ring and who does not? For instance, I assume Sun Yue will get one. Does Radmanovic get one also? How about Chris Wallace? I think in this case, the Lakers should send him one. And when will Trevor Ariza and Sun Yue get theirs?

Very triumphant music being played. Fisher looks like he has tears in his eyes. Kobe comes out with some young man energy smiling and bouncing around. Haters/Cynics go ahead and insert your “he’s disingenuine/fake” comments here.

The new banner is unveiled like a giant game of peek-a-boo. Amazing. I’d like to offer my appreciation to everyone here and in the Lakers organization for letting me enjoy such a great season last year. Titles don’t come very often to “your team” everyday. I’m savoring the moment.

The TNT crew does a great job ribbing Charles about the fact that Mbenga, Powell, and Morrison have championship rings. They also mention such legen..wait for it…dary legends as Rich Petruska, Zan Tabak, and Mike Penberthy.

1st Quarter

Starting Lineups
Lakers: Dfish, Kobe, Crazy Pills, LO, and Young Bynum
Clippers: Baron Davis, Baron Davis’s beard, Eric Gordon, Al Thornton, Chris “The Recently German” Kaman, and Marcus Camby

11:50 – Lakers control the tip, go into Bynum who enjoys the give in the new rims and gets a jump hook to fall….eventually. Only notable because it forces the bench to wait on it’s new first made field goal ritual as the ball bounces around the rim. I watched the Major League version, and the bench actually does it slightly differently. Lakers tap their right foot twice in contrast to the movie guys who tapped their right foot once and then their left foot once before crossing over. Check out the 1:36 mark on youtube. Also of note: Josh Powell got it right this time. Mbenga…not so much. We are officially underway in this season of possibilities. LAC 0, LAL 2.

10:59 – For those who care, the Lakers are wearing a special patch celebrating their championship win. It’s the Larry O’Brien Trophy next to a black and gold banner that says 15 on it representing the 15 championships won by the franchise (including the ones from Minneapolis). The Lakers have also added decals along the baseline touting the 50 year history of the Lakers in Los Angeles. They now have about five different fonts on their court. Design nightmare. The in front of the benches, the new decals, the Lakers under the baskets, the Lakers logo at the center, and the Staples Center wordmark. Can’t we stick to one or two fonts? LAC 0, LAL 5.

10:22 – Baron Davis’s Beard is no match for Kobe Bryant’s Fadeaway. LAC 2, LAL 7.

8:52 – Sloppy play. Kobe goes around the back in the back court in transition and loses the ball. Kaman ends up with the ball and the enforcer, DFish, takes him out at the basket. There was a pile of Kaman on the floor afterwards. Recently German hits one of two. We also find out that Kaman built a workout facility on his farm in Minnesota. Someone tell Kaman that building a workout facility doesn’t fix the ugly. LAC 7, LAL 7.

7:15 – B Diddy looks good. He’s quick and he can still shoot bricks with the best of them. LAC 8, LAL 9.

6:43 – Marv Albert is telling me about how teams fair on opening night after winning the championship. Thanks Marv. Totally relevant. My life is now complete.

4:49 – The crowd Oohs and then Ahhs when Fisher throws a wraparound pass to Bynum who proceeds to Kwame it out of bounds. LAC 15, LAL 18.

3:32 – Crazy Pill decided to shave more stuff into his hair. It’s amazing. Words can’t do it justice. Go find a picture. Run, don’t walk. He shoots a couple free throws and makes one. The announcing crew proceeds to have a banal conversation about whether Artest will accept his role as a third or fourth option. Miller insights this little gem, “well he’s going to have to.” Thanks Captain Obvious. I’m glad you make so much money telling everyone what they already know.

1:07 – I believe Mike Dunleavy just asked his assistant coach what a clear-path foul is. You can now watch Bill Simmons light himself on fire. LAC 19, LAL 28.

0:53 – B Diddy fell asleep trying to receive the inbounds in the back court and Farmar accepts the gift, flushing home a deuce. Clippers turn it over again and the Lakers get two more. 4 careless points right there. I imagine Mike Dunleavy is pretty happy with that. LAC 19, LAL 32.

0:21 – Ricky Davis banks home a three instead of holding for the last shot. Hard to argue with that but Lakers will now have plenty of time to get the last shot. The scoreboard crew is also a little rusty. They add three points to the Lakers’ score and then have to take it away and add it to the Clippers’ score. LAC 25, LAL 32. That’s how the quarter ends as Artest can’t make the wide open three. Kanye West interrupts and says, “sorry Ron, but Ricky Davis had one of the best threes of all time.”

2nd Quarter
Summary of Mike Dunleavy’s 1st break interview: We’re playing well except those stupid mistakes we made. Oh really? And I’m a good cardiac surgeon except for all those patients I killed.

Lakers open the period with Odom and Crazy Pills still in with Vujacic, Farmar, and Mbenga.

10:17 – Craig Smith is built like a tank. He scores underneath and then gets a steal and beats farmar down the court to get an easy layup. LAC 26, LAL 37.

9:27 – Eric Gordon’s nickname is Hobbit??? This is quite a well-read Clippers team we’ve got on our hands. I wonder if it’s a reference to The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings. LAC 29, LAL 39. Every time the camera gets a glimpse of Blake Griffin, he’s standing and walking around. He should probably not be standing and walking so much if he’s got a borked knee. He is the new franchise player, just sayin’.

8:30 – Mbenga is throwing up all kinds of trash towards the rim in hopes that…well I’m not sure exactly. Let’s just move on.

6:35 – Mbenga spikes the ball off Josh Powell’s face. Did he yell hibachi? LAC 33, LAL 40.

5:36 – Bassy Telfair hits a jumper to make it 37-40. clippers making a little run here with Kobe, Fish, and Jerry West on the bench. I imagine they’ll be back out there on the flipside of this timeout. On a positive note, that means Kobe got a long rest with the 5 minutes from the intermission plus the 6 and a half minutes of game time already elapsed in the second quarter. If Phil can afford to do that for the entire year, Kobe is going to feel like a spring chicken come the playoffs. All the starters come back except LO. Powell stays in.

3:45 – Kobe is playing center field off his man but when Craig smith reaches the paint and Kobe doesn’t rotate over in time, what exactly is the point? If you’re cheating off your man, shouldn’t you be in prime position to help? If you’re not going to help, then just go guard your man. Don’t stand in no-man’s-land.

The following is almost as sad as Phil Jackson’s hanging dap is hilarious: Khloe Kardashian sees herself on the jumbo tron and almost points it out to her sister Kim but then realizes that she’s supposed to be above such pedestrian concerns and stops herself midway through saying “hey look, that’s us.” You could literally see the SLOW progression of thoughts from “Oh I’m on tv!” to “oh I want to tell my sister” to “Oh, I should just pretend not to notice.” You aren’t a publicity fiend at all, Khloe. Not at all. We’re totally buying that you don’t care about being famous. Yup. Totally buying it.

1:32 – Bynum swallows up Rasual Butler’s shot and gets called for a phantom foul. So much for the regular refs being the saviors of the game. After the free throws, LAC 45, LAL 51.

0:27 – Reggie “Ferengi” Miller can finally stop talking about Khloe Kardashian when Kobe makes a nice over the shoulder layup. He articulates “Mmm..nice” Mmm nice, indeed, Mr. Ferengi. Lakers make another steal and get a Bynum layup with 1 second left. Nice way to close out the half. LAC 49, LAL 59.


Good to see Agent Zero back in action. He was hoopin tonight.

3rd Quarter

Both teams go with their starting lineups. Young Bynum put a sleeve on his bad knee at halftime. Something to be worried about?

10:50 – Clippers run a horrendous slow break. Baron Davis lets his beard make decisions for him and shoots a three with no one else around. On replay, it’s obvious that Baron’s shot was about a foot to the right of the rim. He tries to play it off like it was deflected.

8:29 – Clippers fans are now going to light themselves on fire. Baron Davis just earned his third foul in the past two minutes.

6:57 – Camby asks the Staples Center staff to shut the door after he throws up a 19-foot shot from 21 feet away. LAC 61, LAL 70.

5:31 – Reminder: it’s the first game of the season. Turnovers and bad shots abound along with the inability to corral rebounds. LAC 63, LAL 70.

4:24 – Great battle of young centers. First Kaman puts Bynum in the popcorn machine with a plethora of fakes and jabs but can’t finish. Then Bynum gets fed in transition and beats Kaman at the other end for a pretty layup. LAC 63, LAL 71.

1:26 – we might hear this a lot more this season “[insert point guard’s name here] blows by fisher.” LAC 70, LAL 74.

0:41 – Hooo weee. Telfair gives a great alley-oop to marcus camby from the wing! Great vision by the young New Yorker. LAC 75, LAL 76.

4th Quarter

11:22 – Great defense by the Lakers. They are heavily pressuring the ballhandlers. OOOoooo. shanWOW breaks out the rocket pack and rises up in transition for a dunk after the Farmar steal. The German nudges him and takes out his legs and Shannon’s lucky not to get hurt. Brown was about to do a 180 degree reverse.

9:39 – LO! Kobe is trying to will the lakers to a win but misses the runner. Lamar grabs his 11th rebound and puts it back while getting fouled. He’ll try and pick up the 3 point play. He does. Big play right there. Did he learn how to close the deal from Khloe? LAC 77, LAL 82.

8:36 – Craig Smith (recall: built like a tank) has a full head of steam and Jordan Farmar (recall: not built like a tank) stands in the paint to accept the charge. I believe he breathed a gigantic sigh of relief when Smith wiggled his way around without any contact. Farmar immediately calls over the equipment manager for a change of shorts. Smith gets fouled at the rim but misses the free throws. LAC 77, LAL 84.

6:55 – It’s the Lamar Show! A couple seconds left on the 24 second clock and Lamar heaves up a deep three and it’s beautifully true. LAC 79, LAL 89.

5:35 – After Kobe throws up an ugly 27 footer that bounces straight to Bynum, Bynum deftly feeds Mamba on the move towards the bucket who draws the foul and hits the layup. Kobe gets a steal on the next possession and hits Ron Ron with a nice bounce pass for the layup in transition and the foul. Lakers are too deep and too strong for the Clipper Ships on this night of battle. LAC 79, LAL 94. …the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard, and the jellooooo’s jiggling. This one is in the refrigerator.

0:27 – No one told the Clippers this game was over as they continue to play hard. Too little, too late. LAC 92, LAL 99 is your final.



to Clippers vs. Lakers Live Blog powered by nomuskles

  1. Wow, what a surprise with a nomuskles live blog after the 1st game of the season, perfect timing here at FB&G for this. Very entertaining indeed, like usual of course, lot’s of good stuff in your live blog tonight to enjoy and savor, nomuskles. I just finished watching the game, just a 7 point win and I never felt that we had complete or total control over the game at all, at anytime, a fierce battle the entire game for sure, maybe they are not that bad after all this year. I did feel that we were going to win the game with Kobe out there, though, never really panicked tonight. Another win in the books, for this season.


  2. I’m going to vote that Powell and Mbenga never play non-garbage time together ever again.

    They can’t get a rebound and they were making Craig Smith look like a young Charles Barkley out there. Please just one at a time from now on.


  3. Funny to see that “World Champions” tag in the back of the players yesterday. I guess Gasol is the only true reigning World Champion right now, NBA (unofficial) and FIBA (official).

    The game was awful, can’t believe what the reserves did in the second quarter. Can’t believe the starters couldn’t put away the Clippers. I guess it’s hard to play on ring ceremony night…

    But Boston looked impressive, so watch out. When it seemed Cleveland would route them, they quietly fought themselves back (based on a really solid bench) and won easily in last year’s toughest arena…

    Up to a really interesting season. So good it finally started!


  4. Nice liveblog 🙂

    Is it just me or was Bynum not explosive tonight?

    It’s like he was still testing out his knee. He seemed a “reserved” or something especially at the start of the game.

    Given that though, he still played a pretty good game. I’m hoping for better things when he can start truly exploding again.


  5. The Clips looked pretty solid, although any team that has to give Ricky Davis minutes is a borderline playoff team at best.

    They should seriously send Al Thornton to the bench; he kills their offensive flow with his horrible shot selection. Just put Baron Davis in the post, and either have him use his huge ass to butt his way to the post or kick out to Eric Gordon on the perimeter. Camby and Kaman rebound and pop for set shots, and you’ve got an offense. Save Thornton and his horrendous shot selection for the 2nd unit where it’s needed.

    As for the Lakers, Bynum looks good, LO’s shot looks miraculous (even though he releases his shot like a split-second too late it seems), and the D looked pretty leaky. Once we have the rotations down and prevent the splitting of the double team, we’ll be fine.

    Bynum was pretty active, moved really really well compared to after he came back last year. He looks fit, a lot slimmer than last year, which should be good for his mobility and overall health. I liked his energy and lateral movement, but he needs to use his head on the boards, not rely on his height and jumping ability, and instead get some better positioning and timing.


  6. Just think, we didn’t even have Gasol out there. Great overall effort and start to the title defense!


  7. I know the season just started, but the biggest concern is obviously at point guard. When you look at all of Phil Jacksons teams, you notice that there were a couple of weak spots on each of them. With the bulls it was at center, with the Lakers 3 peat teams it was power foward, last year PG. None of his teams realy had an all-star caliber point guard. The reason is that the system he uses doesnt call for one. With that said, there are so many good offensive point guards in the league right now. It might be an idea to go after a defensive stopper/3 point shooter at the point. Sort of like a Bruce Bowen for PGs. I don’t know that any of the PGs we have right now are able to provide that. Is there a PG out there who might be able to give us that if the need should arise?


  8. Laughing at some of the lines. My boss wants to know what emails I’m reading that are so funny. I had to make up a story about someone asking for somethig ridiculous.


  9. Bynum’s vertical explosiveness (or lack thereof) reminded me a lot of Kobe’s first games in the 2006-07 season as he came off knee rehab. I’m hoping it’s a conditioning issue and not residuals of the injury (or that nasty brace)–he’s going to need more than a 5 inch vertical against the likes of Dwight Howard, Oden, et. al later this season (and post-season?).

    Despite this, he looked really good–confidant and very mobile.


  10. re: the knee brace for Bynum, he actually make the switch from the more bulky brace he was wearing in the first half, to the sleeve in the second half, which I took as a positive.
    I wonder how Sasha felt after the game, the first half rotation, PJ had him coming in for Kobe, but ahead of Shannon, then after a blown defensive assignment, he got the quick hook for Wow. didn’t come back in the first half and only for garbage time at the end. I thought he played a pretty good preseason, especially compared to the end of last season, so he was probably feeling OK about his game. he strikes me as too sensitive and prone to sulking, so let’s see if he comes back string, with confidence, or shaken. this should tell us a bit more about how he approaches the season too.

    let’s hope LO’s shot continues to strike gold, he’s showing lots of confidence in it.


  11. I have to disagree with the statement that this is a well-read Clippers team. That might have been true before Peter jackson made a series of super-popular blockbuster movies a couple of years ago, but these days, everyone and their grandmother’s cat should know what a hobbit is. If they’d nicknamed him Bombadill or Feanor instead, then the claim about reading a lot might have been justified…


  12. 7.

    “It might be an idea to go after a defensive stopper/3 point shooter at the point.”

    This player does not exist in today’s NBA.


  13. If we have Bynum play like that the whole season, and stay healthy, then this is all cream cheese…

    It is awesome to have a team that can lose Gasol for a night, and still easily win.

    81 more to enjoy. That first one won was great to watch.


  14. the other Stephen October 28, 2009 at 9:00 am

    nice ferengi reference. obscure as hell. how nobody spotted him before is beyond me.

    if they introduced kareem as part of the coaching staff, does it mean there’s still a chance he might leave to help coach elsewhere (e.g. memphis)?


  15. We still insist on judging the PG position by the really quick guards that control the ball and cut and weave through traffic.

    That isn’t the kind of offense we run. If we had a Chris Paul and played to his strengths we wouldn’t be running the triangle. The system is there for a reason and we not only don’t need, but the coaches don’t want a PG the dominates the ball.


  16. I worry about bench production when it comes to this team.


  17. Craig W.

    I’m not sure if you were responding to my post, but I totaly agree with you. We don’t need a top notch offensive PG. I’m not saying that our PGs can’t get the job done, but defesively if we are getting destroyed at that position, maybet there is a PG defensive stopper out there.


    • Not that the PG defense on the Lakers has been good, but there is not a one-person answer out there. As has been said before here, Tony Parker can’t stop Tony Parker under the current rules. A longer PG who can recover quickly and guide the opposing PG to the help defender is about all you can ask right now. We don’t have one of those, unless Brown can prove me wrong. It’s too early in the season for me to say the answer here cannot come from in house, but if it can’t we will be shopping next summer.



    Setting aside that scheme matters as much individual personnel in terms of defending a PG, particularly a quick one that looks to penetrate, in 2008-2009 the Lakers were the 9th best team at defending PGs by PER.

    Here’s who was better: Orlando, Charlotte, Boston, New Orleans, Miami, Denver, Portland, Milwaukee.

    Felton, Chalmers, and Blake are the only realistic targets from those teams, and none are an honest to goodness upgrade on Fisher, not to mention would cost tangible assets to acquire.

    [Editors note: As is the policy at this site, we are not going to get into “The Lakers should trade X for Y speculation around here. So please don’t put those kind of follow-up comments up.]


  19. [Editors note: As is the policy at this site, we are not going to get into “The Lakers should trade X for Y speculation around here. So please don’t put those kind of follow-up comments up.]

    Why not?


  20. Not that I want him back and I think it’s more of an indictment of his idiocy, but Smush Parker came the closest to having a long PG who could play D, recover to guide to help and hit the open 3.

    He had the strength, wingspan, speed and shot to do all that. His lack of handles and PG vision would have been hidden in the tri.

    I had such high hopes for him and thought he could be the modern version of Mario Ellie, whom I loved on those Rocket teams. A scrappy unwanted underdog who fought his way onto a team. The tenacity and grit came through whenever the pressure was on.

    Alas, Smush was and is a pure headcase.

    But my point in bringing that up is with the roster and financial commitments, the only way Lakers will find someone like that is through an undrafted or D league type player. A tweener type that cannot easily and successfully fit into traditional systems.

    Asides from his high draft position, Shannon seems to fit the needs and conditions. I’ll hope but will be realistic about my hope.


  21. Will

    So what you are pointing out is that the Lakers realy don’t have that glaring weak spot at PG that we all seem to noticed. Fisher is essentialy in the top 6 in the league as a primary defender against opponents PGs. It also shouldn’t matter if we insert Farmar or Brown into the equation, since the overall scheme is realy what gets the job done.

    I have no problem with what you’re saying. The fact that we won the title last year is probably more proof then you need. But I trust many people on this site, and most seem to think that we are not ok at that spot.


  22. Lou,
    FB&G is not, and has never been, a site where potential trades were discussed. Once a reliable 3rd party has brought up a trade scenario – where there was some possibility of a trade actually occurring – then we have commented.

    We try to have wide-ranging discussions on what is happening or what is possible with this club or the NBA in general.

    There are plenty of sites that cater to gossip trades. Kurt has repeatedly said he did not want this site to be one. Two hundred one-line comments regarding which PG with a left handed shooting style might be available would not advance the level of discussion.


  23. Drew looked good last night. I do agree his upward explosiveness is not there yet. I think that is more mental than anything. It will come in time.

    There were times last night when the offense looked a little messy. A few times I saw guys running into one another. Ron is still trying to figure things out. So he will not always know where he should be. I saw him run into Drew. And I saw him and Brown run into each other.

    Also, as much as I love Shannon Brown’s athleticism he needs to tone it down on the “highlight” plays. Because he gets so far up off the floor he is also opening the door for injury. That move he attempted to do with Kaman trailing him was not smart. If the open floor is there then go for a simple dunk and get back.

    All in all a W is a W.


  24. Column on Andrew:;_ylt=ArJLYYK1ryLSERMZyglXMxW8vLYF?slug=jy-bynumlakers102809&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

    I’ll have to agree. If he can stay healthy for an entire season, the explosiveness will come, and with it some monster numbers and crushing performances.


  25. I noticed one play that showed Fish’s smarts.

    He gave up the ball and cut toward the basket in a circular arc. There were two Lakers down low on the right side of the basket and their spacing was terrible. Fish saw that and cut off them toward the open space left of the basket. He got a pass just as he reached the middle of the lane and had an easy layup to the left of the basket.

    That was a fine example of understanding spacing and doing something about it.


    • Lou, we don’t have trade speculation discussions here because it tends to just take over the site. Pretty soon someone is posting ways we can trade for LeBron and only give up Ammo and an equipment guy. As was said, there are other places that welcome that kind of speculation, this is just not it.


  26. Kurt,
    The value of the ring the equipment guy just got can be used to make the salaries match.


  27. “trade for LeBron and only give up Ammo and an equipment guy” – LOL Kurt, that is almost as good as nomuskles stuff…

    “Laughter is an instant vacation.” – Milton Berle


  28. Kurt – genious! I agree, let’s trade Ammo + Equipment Guy for Lebron. LOL!

    I love how people post trade speculation less than 24 hours into the new season and with a team as stacked as the Lakers.


  29. kurt.. why can’t we see a picture of the chip rings?


  30. There is just something about Lamar Odom that tells me he has finally gotten it *fingers crossed*. Some quotes from LAT.

    “The strength to my game is that I’m able to do it and I’m prepared at all times,” Odom said. “Right now, mentally, physically, I’m prepared to do what I have to do to help this team.

    “A lot of minutes, short minutes. Dive, rebound, score, make plays on the first unit or second unit. My objective at this point in my career is to win.”


  31. It was nice to see Al Thorton not go for for 25 against the Lakers for the first time. That is the biggest deference… there is a SF who can play on ball defense named Ron Artest.


  32. Lamar drove to the hoop with his right hand!


  33. First off, great to see a nomuskles live blog to open up the season. My fiendish-like shakes are now temporarily subdued as my fix has been fulfilled. As far as the game goes, pretty much everything has already been said, but here is my take:

    *Ron needs to shoot a bit more when he drives the lane. In the 2nd half he penetrated to the middle a few of times and once committed a turnover by forcing a pass to the short corner when that guy was covered and the other time he tried a hand off to Bynum that didn’t do anyone any good at all as ‘Drew found himself with the ball and no where to go with it. Mind you, I’m not asking Ron to be more selfish, but I am asking him to read the play a bit better when he’s creating off the dribble. It’s like he’s trying too hard to conform to the offense. Even Ron mentioned it in his halftime interview “Phil wants me to play my normal agressive game”. Phil’s right. Take the liberties that are presented to you, Ron. This offense is equal opportunity. When the opportunity presents itself to make a play for yourself, please take it. Believe me, I like moving the ball. I like seeing him as a decisive passer. But there are times when he’s 5 feet from the hoop and looking to pass. Our offense will be much better off if he’s shooting on some of those plays. Even if he misses, the offensive rebounding chances will be there for our bigs.

    *Bynum looked good in all phases. Footwork, effort, rebounding, and overall movement. There was one possession in particular that I was impressed with: It was the 4th quarter on a defensive possession and Drew just subbed in for DJ. The ball was on the wing and Bynum moved to the strong side to give our SSZ look. When the ball got reversed he hustled to the other side of the lane and then played the SSZ on that side. Then when the ball went back to the top of the key he slid back to the middle to show on the ball handler. He did this with such effort and quickness that I couldn’t help but notice and be impressed with his effort. That is the type of movement on defense that can inspire trust and earn him quality crunch time minutes.

    *I still wonder if Bynum can be as productive as he showed last night when Pau returns. I still think their numbers will come at the expense of each other as they have essentially become the same type of offensive player. Yes, Pau has more range on his jumpshot (out to 18 ft whereas ‘Drew is 15 ft and in) and Bynum is not as deft a passer as the big Spaniard. And Pau is more polished (though ‘Drew is growing by leaps and bounds in this area – how about those hard dribbles to the middle from the right block with the smooth left handed finishes?). But both primarily score on the block in post isoloations or in attack situations from the elbow. Plus our high low sets work best when it’s Artest or Kobe flashing to the mid-post and looking for the lob to one of our bigs when the defense reacts to the flash – so I don’t expect to see a ton of high low work between Pau and Drew (though there will be some). My point is, while I’d love for both our bigs to be 20 point guys (they obviously both have the talent to do it), I think they’ll share the court too much and it will likely be Pau getting 18-20pts with Drew getting 13-15 points. I’ll be just as happy with that production from both though. Especially if they’re both in the 8-12 rebound range.

    *This was brought up several times yesterday, but in an email to Kurt about a week ago I mentioned this as well: LO looks extremely comfortable and confident shooting his jumper. I don’t know if he put in a bunch of work on his outside shooting or if the light bulb just clicked for him, but I expect LO to shoot 35% (or higher) from three and also expect anywhere from 70-85 made 3’s this season (considering he made 64 combined the last two seasons and shot 32% or worse this is a major leap). This added dimension is going to make it so difficult to help on Kobe/Ron/Pau/Bynum when Odom is in the game with them that I expect even greater efficiency in our post ups from those guys this season.


  34. #34. Aaron,
    Not trying to pick on you or anything, but Al Thornton has never scored 25 points against the Lakers. His high is 22 and his averages against us his first two seasons are 11.5pts and 15.3 pts respectively. Speaking to your point about Ron’s defense though, I do think he’s going to make a difference in his one on one matchups. He’s just a crafty defender. On one play he bodied the ball handler (Thornton? Butler?) when he was dribbling and then reached around and tipped the ball and created a turnover. Several other times he got deflections and poke aways that disrupted what his man wanted to do. I agree with you that he’ll surely make an impact on defense, especially in isolation.


  35. Was it just me, or did it appear Rick Fox maximized his faux kiss opportunity with Jeannie Buss?

    I liked Ron’s work in the post in the triangle. He looked comfortable and made some nice passes. We clearly didn’t have this post option with Trevor, so this will add yet more versatility.

    Tight game late in Cleveland. Time out Cavs. They come out and run a “play” where Lebron goes 1-on-5 from the top of the key while his teammates stand and watch. Next possession, bad jumper by “Peter” Parker. Coach Brown? Hello?


  36. I’m really not too heavily concerned with point guard play right now. No team is ever perfect, especially with a salary cap/luxury tax situation. We’ve got three really talented and productive bigs, a defensively and offensively talented guy who can guard melo, pierce, and give a little resistance to lebron, and we’ve got the best or second best player in the game in kobe. The team is stacked. It just needs to play to its strength.

    @Mimsy – noted about the possibility that the team is just well-watched, not well-read. Probably more likely.

    Re: Bynum – I believe he’s definitely coming along but there were two awkward alley-oop “finishes” that do give me pause. He was looking a little like KG out there. I believe the soft sleeve on his knee was put on at halftime underneath his hard brace. It probably just rubs his skin or slips with the perspiration.

    I’m interested to see how our defense progresses over the year. last night wasn’t a great indicator of much because the Clippers don’t have the sharpness or talent of the elite teams.


  37. I was impressed w/ Kobe’s forays toward the rim. I have always wanted him to attack more, but he showed he can use his brilliant footwork to get easy buckets w/o putting his body at much risk. Maybe the post work with Olajuwon did help, even if on a mental level, as his approach to taking more shots inside definitely is a change of what we’re used to seeing.
    It probably had something to do w/ the Clippers, but the steals and disruptions Kobe and Artest caused on D was a reminder of what we can look forward to this season. Their steals seem to be more crafty than athletic, their games more mental than physical. And it was beautiful to watch.
    I was disappointed that the bench did not do more, but that was more on PJ and missing Pau more than anything else. A Powell-Mbenga-Luke frontline is going to be disaster. Hopefully we can get Pau back and our bench can do what they showed flashes of in the preseason.


  38. Good game last night, wasnt the best but is yet to come. I definitely liked AB’s aggresive nature while Pau was out, and will continue to grow as the season moves along. The situation with Sasha should be considered the red light going off, he got the quick pull from Phil. LA is a very versatile team this year and if Sasha continues to whine and pout he will sit. Phil is sending an early message at the beginning of the season, you will have to play your part on a talented team or you will not play at all. Repeating is about this year and not what you have done in the past, hopefully everyone heard Phil’s silent message.


  39. It’s sad to see that Farmar still doesn’t get it. Part of being a good point guard, is knowing your team’s strengths and weaknesses, and putting your teammates in advantageous positions to score.

    I’m not sure why he thought dumping it into Mbenga at the top of the key was advantageous for the team…or for Mbenga. He’s played with DJ for over a year now. He should know:

    1) If DJ gets the ball, he’s shooting it no matter what.

    2) If he’s not wide open, or directly under the basket, he’s going to miss.

    DJ does not have a post up game.

    Truthfully, the same can be said of Powell. Powell is excellent at “pick and pop.” Both Kobe and Fish successfully set him up for some nice looks last night that he converted.

    For some reason, Farmar still insists on dumping it into the post to Powell when he’s well covered. This never works out.

    I don’t think the light-bulb is ever going to go on with Farmar. He’s just a bad fit for the team.


  40. Off-topic (Kurt may choose to take it down, which I could see–not sure if Donaghy scandal is on list of stuff not to bring to FBG)

    Donaghy excerpts up at Deadspin:

    Enjoyed AB17 last night.


  41. Also, Random House is not going to publish it–supposedly the NBA threatened to sue.


  42. dunno about anyone else but im far more worried by the magic then everyone else, there so deep and they all shoot 3’s


  43. Cavs are down by 18 to the Raptors. If this trend continues, expect some fireworks between Shaq and Lebron.


  44. Byron Scott has one of the worst moustaches in NBA history.


  45. I made a prediction last week, that the Celtics and Spurs would come storming out of the gate–but age will catch up later. Looks like first part is happening.


  46. rofl best part about CLE – TOR:

    Shaq, -25 in 25 minutes
    Bargnani, +11, 28 points in 30 minutes.


  47. I am rooting for the Wolves to succeed for Rambis’s sake.


  48. Cavs start the season with 2 loses, somebody better get the keys from the driver before they crash.


  49. my how i’ve missed this. thank you!


  50. 51) holy smokes! shaq +- tonight is especially impressive when compared to the rest of the cavs.


  51. I think Nomuskles got my concern right on the noggin.

    When I was watching the lakers, it was the lob pass to Bynum for alleyoop finishes that jumped to me. Hence my statement that he doen’nt have the explosive power he had yet. I was thinking that his jump was webber-ish at that time.

    I really do think it’s purely mental and that he’s just getting used to game shape.

    On another note, that Dejuan Blair really showed some nice game. It was really too bad that we had to pass him up since we sold the pick. Then again, with our depth he might not have had the chance to play 20 minutes he got today.


  52. Did anyone catch the new NBA on ESPN commercial which has Odom, Magic and Worthy on the bus eating chips? I cracked up – a very well done ad.

    I won’t ruin the gag here for those who haven’t seen it yet.


  53. correct me if i’m wrong, but didn’t the cavs start off with two loses last season? they’re playing without west right now and still getting used to shaq. let’s not count them out yet, folks…….although i would love to see lebron and shaq get into a war of words. that would just be awesome.

    on another note, i really want to see the celtics make the finals so that we can get revenge. and from what it looks like two games into the season, ray allen may be out of gas by then. they have a deep bench, i wonder why doc is not resting him more. he played 38 min tonight and they won by 33. what gives? not smart, doc. but keep it up, for our sake.


  54. I’m actually excited to see the Clippers play the Rockets at some point just to watch the Craig Smith v. Chuck Hayes matchup.


  55. In no particular order, Denver, San Antonio, Orlando, Boston, and the Lakers are the current top 5 teams in the NBA. Denver lost Kleiza and Jones, but replaced them with Graham and Afflalo. Karl also started Carter at SG, and he was predictably terrible. Lawson got almost all of the minutes at backup PG, and was predictably awesome. Melo and Nene were beasts. I believe the Nuggs will finish 1st in the Northwest again, health permitting.


  56. It’s finally happened… people are running out of things to bash the Lakers about:


  57. Seriously! Talk about nitpicking.

    I like how the last entry from a Lakers fan is the post of reason and pretty much shuts up the Denver blog.



  58. Drew looked good, I especially liked the hustle both on offense and defense. He consistently beat his man down the court to get deep position early; this will come in handy especially against teams with slower front court players like Cleveland, SAS (I can’t see McDyess matching Drew down the court every time hes getting up there) and Boston (again I can’t see Wallace matching Drew and Gasol down the court every time).

    The spacing was not that great last night. The team is still adjusting and learning to play together but that will come along. There were a few plays where Artest ran into Drew or another big guy in the middle.

    I love how long the team is. There are 4 guys in the starting unit that can post up against smaller players, and two coming off the bench (Odom and Walton). This team will create all kinds of match up problems if the outside shooting continues to develop.

    San Antonio looked really good last night. I know its only one game and it was against a not so deep NOH team (does Peja have anything left at all?) but Richardson seems to be fitting in perfectly and Blair is a freaking machine out there. Blair will easily be the steal of the draft the guy just has a knack for getting the ball that I have never really seen before. He is going to eat other second units up grabbing all kinds of rebounds and getting alot of easy second chance points.


  59. #61

    The clown who wrote that blog has been up at elevation for too long. Doesn’t an easy schedule early have to balance out with a tougher schedule at the end? It’s not like the Lakers have 75 home games….maybe just a few more than most if you count their LAC away games!


  60. I’ve always thought the two extra “away” games that the Lakers get to play at home against the Clippers are more than offset by the fact that every visiting team in the NBA is twice as familiar with the Lakers’ home court as any other court in the league. Western Conference opponents play in Staples four times a year, not twice, and Eastern opponents twice, not once.


  61. 36) Darius,
    “I still wonder if Bynum can be as productive as he showed last night when Pau returns.”

    That may cost at least one of them an All-Star selection, because they may not have the “stats” to compete.


  62. Funny thing about the Laker schedule: The haters will complain that this is too easy and it gives the Lakers an unfair competitive advantage in the standings as this gives the coaching staff time to play around with line-ups and Laker players will be “well rested” for the second half of the season.

    Fatalistic/pessimistic Laker fans (such as myself) will complain that the schedule makes the second half of the Laker season unfairly harsh, will result in tired players for the play-offs and does not provide enough time to make coaching adjustments.

    So, to summarize, the grass is always greener in the other side.


  63. Here is a link to the ad that Chris J (#57) mentioned. I enjoyed it as well.