Archives For October 2009

Lakers vs. Bobcats
What is the hardest part of building a championship caliber team? Getting the superstar. There are only a handful of true stars who can take over a game in this league (the Lakers are lucky here having not only Kobe but also Gasol and other guys who can do it for a game or even a week).

That is sort of where the Bobcats are now: They have a nice collection of complimentary players, but lack THE MAN. I like Gerald Wallace, he can be a good number two guy on a quality team. Tyson Chandler is now in Charlotte and with Larry Brown as coach that has the makings of a potentially good defensive team (they were seventh last season in defensive efficiency, almost even with the Lakers, and Chandler will improve that). They will stay in games this season, but when the offense stalls and there is 6 seconds left on the clock, who do they go to? Worse yet, tight game with two minutes left, who takes over for them and leads them? They need that guy, but getting that guy is very, very hard.

To learn more about Charlotte, check out Queen City Hoops, which is a fantastic blog on the team. (We are really spoiled as Lakers fans with the quantity and — in a number of places — quality of content about out team. If I were a hardcore hoops fan and a Bobcats fan, I’d be living on Queen City Hoops because there just aren’t a lot of places to get great content for this team.)

As for the Lakers tonight, I just want to see Bynum continue to grow, I want to see Artest working to figure it out and feel comfortable, I want to see some good play out of the bench guys. Also, I’d like to see a little more movement and offensive flow from the starters against a better defensive test.

The Lakers game starts at 7:30 and here in LA you can catch it on Fox Sports, on the radio on 710 ESPN. Remember this is part of the Staples Shootout, so the Lakers will play tomorrow against either the Clippers or Utah.

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Now, the Central Division Preview:

Chicago Bulls

BlogABull.com | Give Me The Rock

Cleveland Cavaliers

Fear The Sword | WaitingForNextYear | Cavalier Attitude

Detroit Pistons

Motown String Music  | Empty the Bench | Pistons Nation | Need4Sheed.com

Indiana Pacers

Indy Cornrows

Milwaukee Bucks

BrewHoop

Bonus Links:

See full schedule here

Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  October 16, 2009

Thoughts from last night’s Laker game and whatever else crosses my mind.

• The word on Lamar Odom is that it was nothing serious and he is day-to-day (but aren’t we all). For those that didn’t see, he was kicked in the shin by Jon Brockman in a rebound scrum under the basket. Just a shin bruise (not on the bone), but because it was preseason he sat.

• The Vegas game was clunky like you expect a preseason game to be. That said, the Lakers had a plan for a night — post up. Lots of Bynum on the block early, and if not him Kobe.

• With the ball in the post for essentially clear outs, and without Gasol getting the ball in the high post, the Lakers offense looked a little stagnant early — people clear out for Bynum on the low block so he can work, same for Kobe when he posts. but when Gasol gets the ball in the high post people move and cut because they know he’ll get them the ball.

• That changed when Mbenga came in with the second unit (nobody clears out for him), that unit with Brown and Sasha was cutting and moving. Not coincidentally, that is when the Lakers pulled away. By the way, so far this season Sasha seems back — he needs to start doing that in games that matter for me to give big props, but it’s a good sign.

• You have to love Bynum’s explosiveness and effort. Granted, the Kings don’t really have anyone who can really handle him on the block, but he was aggressive and took advantage of that. As it should be.

• Alex V. was right in the comments — right now, this season of Top Chef feels like preseason basketball. We know who the four finalists should be (my man Kevin, Jen and the two brothers) and it’s just a matter of waiting for the others to fall by the wayside until the real games start.

• Not to go all Joel Meyers, but when you haven’t seen them for a while, you forget what a long team the Lakers are, and how much trouble that causes other team’s shooters. Also, they should be a great rebounding team because of it. (I really should have worked harder to find a way to put the word “upside” in that bullet just to make it the ultimate cliché.)

• Artest seems often like he’s thinking, not just reacting in the offense. That will change. (And the handful of times he was in a position to just react, he made good plays. He is physically so strong down low going for boards.)

• Stephen Jackson got called for two fouls guarding Kobe, and he wasn’t even in the building this time.

• They found the Balloon Boy. Can we stop talking about him now? CNN, I’m looking at you.

• The regular refs need to be back for the regular games. Figure it out. By the way, the amazing Kevin Pelton at Basketball Prospectus breaks down the numbers on the new refs, and it’s a good read.

• Ugh, Dodgers. 3 for 14 with runners in scoring position doesn’t cut it. Need to clean that up today.

• Really wish I could have made Blogs With Balls in Vegas. Stupid “real world” got in the way of the fun.

Las Vegas Strip Business as Usual
Preseason games have about as much meaning as a Pauly Shore movie. If you’re lucky it keeps you entertained for a couple hours, but there’s not much to think about afterwards.

But there are a couple of notes in the wake of the Lakers last preseason game — the ugly loss at the Forum to Golden State — that are encouraging.

One is that after that performance they held a team meeting to talk about it and make sure they don’t lay an egg like that again. For a preseason game. Also, every report coming out of practices is that things are very competitive — the guys are banging and working, not just going through the motions. Kobe and Artest have commented on this.

These are good signs — complacency may be the Lakers biggest weakness this year. This team has a tendency to coast, and winning a title could make that worse. But it appears that the team — with its veterans leading the way — is not going to allow that to happen. There is still a hunger and it is evident in preseason. This in no way means we should suddenly expect a Lakers squad focused every minute of every night, but it may mean that the team is not going to get too fat and happy.

As for tonight, it doesn’t matter who owns a hotel in town this should pretty much be a home crowd for the Lakers against the Kings. Remember, they played a 1992 playoff game at the Thomas & Mack (moved due to the riots) and you basically get all the Lakers home games televised there. Vegas is a Lakers town.

By the way, no Gasol or Walton expected to play tonight, although both are minor injuries that would not have kept them out of a regular season game. No reason to worry. Remember, 7 p.m. start, Chanel 9 here in LA and radio 710 ESPN here.

You can toggle between this and the Dodgers winning game one.

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On a separate note, rather than open that Netflix envelope this weekend, try watching the Sonicsgate movie online. The fans in that city got screwed — by the team owners (old and new) and the politicians there to represent them. The fans were virtually powerless, and that was sad.

Lakers Chat Replay

Kurt —  October 14, 2009

Here is the Lakers chat from ESPN today that featured J.A. Adande and myself. Enjoy.

ESPN Chat, Southwest Previews, More

Kurt —  October 13, 2009

la lakers media day9/29/2009
Tomorrow at high noon Pacific (that’s 3 in important East Coast cities like Portsmouth, NH) I will be doing a live chat on ESPN along with J.A. Adande (okay, he’s kind of the featured guy) taking questions on all things Lakers. It will go at least 30 minutes, maybe more, just follow the link above and send in your questions.

If you can’t join the chat live, because you have a job or a life or some such annoying thing, I’ll have the transcript up here later in the day.

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For those of you who like previews, here are some blogger previews for the Southwest division. You know, the one where the Mavs are going to win 73 games.

Dallas Mavericks

Mavs Moneyball | The Two Man Game | NBA Mate

Houston Rockets

The Dream Shake | Ballerblogger

Memphis Grizzlies

3 Shades of Blue

New Orleans Hornets

At The Hive | Hornets Hype

San Antonio Spurs

Pounding The Rock | Project Spurs

Bonus Links

See full schedule here |

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Finally, Wednesday is John Wooden’s 99th birthday. If you want to send the best basketball coach of all time a birthday wish, follow this link, then tell your friends.