Preview & Chat: The Atlanta Hawks

Kurt —  November 1, 2009


I’m at the game, so I’ll be throwing in running notes:

• Bynum spent a lot of warm-ups 45 minutes before the game working on little five footers with the left and right hand. When the game started he promptly missed his first two of those. (He hit the third.)

• Early on tonight, it is the Lakers forcing the Hawks into turnovers, a nice change of pace.

• Rule #1 in transition: Stop the ball. #2: Find Joe Johnson when he runs to the three point line. Lakers not doing that part.

• Why take Johnson out and sit him for a long stretch — he was 7 for 8 from the field with three 3s — if you are Atlanta? Well, because you are Atlanta, I guess.

• Through the first quarter and a half, entire Laker bench in the positive (of +/-). That is a nice change of pace.

• Lakers shoot 59.8% (eFG%) in the first half. You win a lot when that happens.

• Ron Artest on Joe Johnson at one end forces the miss, nails the three at the other. He’s starting to feel comfortable, little by little. Part of a run that has the Lakers up 64-58.

• The Lakers length and size is really bothering the Hawks inside. If LA would stop leaving Bibby at the three point line they would pull away.

• The Lakers 16-0 run, which has basically put the game away, was brought to you by the defense. LA was trapping, jumping lanes, using their length, particularly on the Hawks less stellar ballhandlers. The result was a mess of turnovers (the Hawks are giving it away on 22% of their possessions for the game) and that became a lot of easy points. And a lot of crazy fun dunks.

A couple quick locker room notes postgame: Phil said that the current five-guard rotation is not going to last forever and the guys off the bench not producing will see time cut, those who produce will get more. He really wants to get Fisher’s minutes down, but also Kobe.

Walton talked extensively about the second unit not playing well, getting too much isolation and not playing as a team. He said they realize they need to get it together.

Everyone was praising Artest.

Mike Woodson quote of the night, on taking out Joe Johnson: “Well, I pulled him because he nearly played the whole quarter… He’s got to rest sometimes.” Note to Mike — sometimes you need to ride the hot hand. Especially against the defending champs.

Records: Lakers 1-1 Hawks 2-0
Offensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 92.5 Hawks 113.1
Defensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 95.3 Hawks 101.8
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum
Hawks: Mike Bibby, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, Al Horford

The Lakers Coming in: Once again, no Pau Gasol tonight. This makes 9 games missed if you count the preseason, and word is it may be weeks rather than days until he returns. Is it time to worry? Not where I sit. It’s not ideal, but hamstrings can linger. Better to rest it now — remember this is game three — then risk it getting worse.

Now let’s talk for a couple minutes about the ugliness of Friday.

First — it’s game 2 or 82, so chill out. Do you know what the award is for being the best team in the NBA in October? It’s the same as November, in case you’re curious.

The Dallas game was not about shooting percentages — the Mavericks shot 1% better than the Lakers (eFG%). What they did was attack the rim. The Mavs got to the line on 32% of their possessions, the Lakers 11%. The Mavs did a good job of trying to clog the lane, the Lakers countered by going with the three, but they hit just 7 of 23. Open shots they often hit clanged out. And when it wasn’t working, they stuck with it. When they got into the penalty a couple minutes into the fourth quarter, the next two possessions down the floor they shot threes.

The other thing, the more irksome thing in my mind, is that the Lakers dealt poorly with their frustration with the refs. They got emotional rather than playing with emotion (as Billieraven put it on twitter: Whine or Win.) The entire team — Kobe and Artest leading the way — did it. Championship teams play through the bad calls, through the frustration and regroup. For one game the Lakers did not do that.

Also, credit Dallas, who played well. This is why 72 was a great media talking point but never reality — this league is deep with good teams, the Lakers are without their second best player, there just are no easy wins.

It’s a lesson in a long season of lessons to prepare one for the playoffs. Learn and move on.

By the way, a few people in the comments have pointed to Ariza’s point totals the first couple of games. Of course he is putting up bigger numbers — he is the focal point of the offense. He has to carry the scoring load. If he were still in LA, he would not be getting the touches or putting up those stats. Still, I’m happy to see him doing well, I like the guy.

The Hawks Coming in: Everybody talks about the “Big Three” in the east, but the Hawks may well be team number four. And they are good.

They are off to a hot start in part because of very efficient play from Josh Smith, who has a True Shooting percentage of 72.3% (for those unfamiliar, True Shooting percentage is basically a points per shot attempt stat that counts both free throws and three pointers a number, the league average so far this season is 52.8%.) He is shooting that well because he is attacking the rim — 7 of this 10 shot attempts per game come at the rim. (Stats from Hoopdata)

I watched a chuck of their season opening win and this is a good defensive team — they are long, quick, like to jump passing lanes and work hard to create turnovers then get out and run. On offense, they run pretty standard NBA sets, but use them to highlight their players’ athleticism. It is the athleticism rather than the system they use to create shots. Also, the Hawks have been good on the boards, particularly the defensive glass.

Jamal Crawford comes off the bench for them and looks like a good fit with this group, and he can still light up the scoreboard. Also, our old friend and solid pro Mo Evans is solid off the bench for them.

Blogs and Links: Hoopinion is the best of the Hawks blogs, and is smart about the NBA in general.

Also, the final NBA previews: The Western Conference

Golden State Warriors: Golden State of Mind 
Los Angeles ClippersClips Nation

Sacramento Kings: Sactown Royalty | Basketball Fiend | Cowbell Kingdom 
Bonus Links: See full schedule here |

Keys to game: At halftime, can we just have a Shannon Brown vs. Josh Smith dunk-off?

This is one of those games where the Lakers perimeter defense will be key — Kobe will be on Joe Johnson, Ron Artest on Josh Smith (it is certainly possible they switch that up for stretches). In the crunch against Indiana it was all Johnson, he was the creator of the offense and often the shooter, take him out of rhythm and the Hawks may flounder.

However, just as key a matchup will be Derek Fisher on Mike Bibby. The non-USC Bibby has been a Laker killer his entire career and now here he plays into the Lakers weakness. Also, he hangs at the three point line and as Smith or Johnson penetrate he becomes a kick-out option, particularly late in the clock. However, Bibby plays poor defense and Fisher (and Brown and Farmar) should be able to score on him. This needs to be a good PG night for the Lakers.

The Hawks attack the rim with passion, the Lakers need to clog the lane and need to take away some of the easy baskets. That means Bynum (and DJ) making good rotations. Also, the Hawks will get some calls, the Lakers need to deal with that emotionally. Also, Bynum and the Lakers as a whole need to use their length to their advantage on the glass.

The Lakers need to take care of the ball, the Hawks love to go for the steal. They are long and athletic and their defense is based on getting steals. On the other hand, Josh Smith and Marvin Williams will turn the ball over, trying to trap or pressure them would be a good thing.

The biggest advantage the Lakers have is length and height inside (we will miss Gasol this game for that reason). They may do it anyway, the Lakers should go to Bynum early, and see if he can get Horford in foul trouble. That said, the Hawks will bring help and go for the steal — Bynum needs not to continue to be a black hole inside, he needs to pass out when pressured.

After a bad last game, I am curious to see how the Lakers come out tonight.

Where you can watch: 6:30 start of Fox Sports. For those of you outside LA, remember this is free League Pass trial week.

Also, I will be at the game tonight, so look for updates here as well as on twitter from Staples.



137 responses to Preview & Chat: The Atlanta Hawks

  1. Kurt, your point about Dallas attacking the rim and Lakers not, especially when they were in the bonus was really driven home to me last night when I was at the Clippers game. The reasons both teams lost to Dallas were amazingly similar.

    Kaman dominated in the post against Humphries and Dampier, Dallas big men were struggling to contain Kaman who doesn’t have the fluidity and moves that Bynum has, let alone Pau. Kaman was either getting a basket or a foul most times they went into him.

    Clips were also in the same situation where they made their run and got the fouls and bonus early. But they stopped going inside and started jacking up threes. Baron was particularly egregious in this and neglecting Kaman or Gordon.

    Meanwhile Dallas was going hard into the lane repeatedly. Clips just like Lakers got emotional about it and let the refs get to them instead of playing and actually having a very good shot at winning that game.

    Kind of disheartening to see the same type of behavior being exhibited by Lakers and Clips. But people forget Dallas is a very good team. They may not be in the top 4 or 5. But they are at the top of the second tier.

    At the end of the day, I agree, it’s a long season. People panic way too much. If the team uses this loss as a learning lesson, then the loss will do them more good down the line than a win where they cruised lackadaisically.

  2. Going to this one tonight as well. I think the Lakers will probably come out strong, seemed like they were pretty embarrassed about the Dallas game.

    I agree with the rest Pau now sentiment. This team has proved that they can win anywhere on the road (although not w/ Ron, but his defense and toughness should translate pretty well) so if we fall a bit behind early, I won’t be that worried.

  3. 2nd post of the gameday post… if we lose on this one, its on you J. 😀

  4. Brendan Haywood plays for the Wizards Kurt. I’m guessing you meant Joe Smith right?

  5. Anyway, regarding Ariza, watching him play last night I was surprised at how well was able to create all those shots for himself. It’s one thing to be given the green light, but you need to have the skills to take advantage. Clearly the kid has continued to work hard on his game during the offseason (his improved 3-point shooting looks less and less like a fluke with every passing game).

  6. I did mean Smith, I misread my own notes. This is what I get for writing before coffee. I should know better.

  7. Since we are on Daylight savings, FB&G comment times will be ahead 1 hour from now on, right? I mean, I do not think this site ever adjusts for the time changes.

  8. Or it is Standard time now, correct, you would think I would know this stuff by now…

  9. Went to the Laker game Friday night and left very disappointed. I know they missed Pau but they made too many costly errors. Jordan looked terrible, not that Fisher looked much better. Kobe could not make a shot and looked out of sync. I hope they do much better tonight.

    Seeing Ariza put up 33 against the blazers really wishes we didnt let him walk so easily. My intial feeling when we got Artest is that we got better. I hope by the end of the season we can still say that.

    *at least the steak I ate at mortons on Friday was delicious.

  10. sT, I have wordpress just set to Los Angeles time, which I would think keeps the time with DST, but it is an hour behind right now. I can manually change that if people want.

    Never had a bad meal at Mortons. Haven’t had that many, but never had a bad one.

  11. Gasol is out. Team play, both on offense and defense is out of sync. Pau will come back and team play will come with time.

    What is more concerning is the play of Walton, Farmar, and Vujacic. The Lakers need these three to play at an average compentence for NBA players to win the West without burning out the starters. Not play well, just the mean.

    However, a combination of declining athleticism (Walton), IQ problems (Farmar), and emotional problems (Vujacic) has created a dangerous situtation for PJ. Instead of average performance, he is getting failing, D-League, performance.

    If you can’t remember the last time Sasha made a shot, you’d be right to wonder. Sasha is no 0-fer the last seven playoff and regular season games. Imagine that. The last time he saw a shot of his, from the field or from the line, go through the hoop was the end of May in 2009.

    I think Mitch and PJ has written Farmar off, hoping for a positive surprise but not expecting it. The signing of Shannon and his contract not getting extended are screaming clues. And after 3 years of the same boneheaded plays, he and Ammo must be trade-deadline fodder.

    Sasha is another case. He is under a medium term contract at about the league average. He needs to produce at the average. Watching Artest and Fish brick one 3 after another, suddenly the Lakers have very few player who can stretch the defense and open up lanes for Pau and Kobe.

    PJ somehow must get Sasha going and cure his malaise. One radical idea is to start him in Fish’s place (at least one game) and give him some serious minutes. If he is still ofer after 30 minues of play… then you have to just shoot him. But somehow I think he will get a shot to drop. Obviously 2 minutes stretches are just not fixing the machine.

    He spent the summer learning the lead guard spot under the coaching staff’s direction, so he can play the position. I think this is a good gamble and not too risky as when Sasha plays poorly, he is a zero. When Farmar plays poorly, he is a huge minus.

  12. Something I feared before the season was the loss of Ariza’s athleticism and energy in that starting unit. Of course Artest is a better player and defender… but he can’t replace Ariza’s speed. That is one of the many reasons inserting Brown into the starting lineup to fill the void Trevor left would be such a coup for this team. Lets face it… in a couple weeks when Pau Gasol is integrated back into the starting lineup the team won’t be getting any faster and PG is the one spot it is almost a necessity to have a player that can bring energy to the floor.

  13. I’m as disappointed about Friday’s effort as any Lakers fan and games such as those should put some concern in our minds. Am I concerned that I, for the first time in his career, saw Kobe blocked by the rim? Am I concerned that the team let the refs in their heads? Am I concerned that Sasha seems to feel even more entitled to calls then ever? Am I concerned that Gasol’s strain seems to be dragging on much longer then initially stated? Am I concerned that I saw the Artest glare after he went to the bench after his T? Does it concern me that Boston just doesn’t take any games off? Am I a bit concerned that Farmar doesn’t seem to want his role to click into place? The answer to all those questions are “yes”. But damn, two games ago we were talking about how the Lakers are going to win 20 games that they should lose, purely on talent and there were idiots (not anyone reputable on this site) who were trying to shill the 72 win concept.

    Atlanta is a dangerous team and the Lakers could very well lose today. I think the Lakers’ ,and many of us on this site’s, biggest problem comes when we forget that the Lakers can lose any game. The great thing about our team is that there isn’t a game they will be playing where they are not likely to win. Lets try and see the difference between those attitudes.

    This should be Kobe’s worst game of the season. ShanWow should keep getting better (and get an invite to the dunk contest, which btw, should be a one-on-one dunk competition where you actually have to dunk on your opponents). Artest will let some PJ into his mind. Pau will come back healthy and rested. Bynum will keep growing even as the team’s needs him less. The crisp passing will return and I’m pretty sure the Lakers will get their defensive intensity to where it has to be.

    Personally, I think Artest is very similar to Ariza in that, defensively, they are both always working and never give up on a play. That play where Ron knocked the ball away from Marion on, I think, an inbounds play by Dallas and got us another possession, is the sort of thing that Trevor did for us on defense. Artest does his work with his body and quick hands while Ariza does his with his length and quick feet. I’m personally shocked that Trevor is doing so well in Houston and if he turns out to be another Caron Butler in terms of how much better he is then was expected, so be it. He deserves the success. Ron Artest ain’t no Kwame Brown. That is for sure.

  14. It is a long season. Phil doesn’t care too much about the 1st half of the season. I’m confident after watching this team for 35 games he will make the proper adjustments. Much like he did last year when he benched Vlade and Walton in favor of Ariza.

  15. Sometimes I look at my posts and think English must be my second language. Sorry for the bad grammar.

  16. hey readers here in asia appreciate the early morning posts..

  17. Gasol returning will magically fix any chemistry woes, but before that happens I’d like to see the team correct them. It would give me a lot more confidence.

    The biggest item I pointed to in the Artest/Ariza swap was telling myself it was a better move because of his better 3-point shooting. Ariza is making me doubt that more and more with his excellent shooting out of the gate. Of course Artest’s numbers will improve, but it worries me that his presence seems to be throwing off the other guys.

    I have a hunch that from talent standpoint we may have taken a bit of a hit. Maybe talent isn’t the right word. Chemistry is probably the better one. Hopefully the “big intangible” of Artest wanting/willing a ring that his teammates already have ends up tipping the scales in his and the Lakers favor in the end.

    I will say this: even if the Artest swap looks bad all season long, it will be more than made up for if he gives the team the toughness it will need to face what looks like a VERY tough Celtics team.

  18. magic’s 3 point shooting has been ridiculous so far 17-32 tonight, getting ryan anderson in the carter trade is looking genius right now

  19. There’s no leadership on the second unit, so I think Odom would be more valuable coming off the bench.

  20. @chibi,
    I completely agree, and that is another thing that will be fixed when Pau returns.

  21. Second game of the year was bad, a wake up call at its best. We need WoWs athleticism and young legs on the floor as much as possible, giving Sasha and Farmar the garbage minutes. Lets get back to basketball 101, pass the ball, move on offense, and stop shooting all those d### threes.

  22. kurt,
    “By the way, a few people in the comments have pointed to Ariza’s point totals the first couple of games. Of course he is putting up bigger numbers — he is the focal point of the offense. He has to carry the scoring load. If he were still in LA, he would not be getting the touches or putting up those stats”
    In your last post i commented on this topic. I agree that he wouldn’t put up those #’s in LA but do you think that Artest can do what he did in H-town without causing a loss along with low fg%… I vote no. don’t get me wrong i was all for the swap being that we almost gave up LO for Ron last season and on paper he seems like a steal. BUT i am second guessing those ideas whether its too early or not.

  23. I signed up for the leaguepass free preview week thing. How do I access it and watch the lakers game tonight?

  24. hopefully tonight they will come out inspired and play good ball.. not more like one on one like what we saw against dallas.. hopefully sasha can hit his 3s, fisher can run a little bit.. hoping for a great game… he he

  25. @ Warren, I forgot about your deal. C’mon man, get your head in the game. You were a good 45 minutes behind me. The third post! You should be subscribing to Kurt on Twitter and be ready to comment as soon as he posts. You had the preseason to work out the kinks. Are you pulling a Phil and treating it like a marathon instead of a sprint? LOL!

  26. Jeremy, Ariza through two games (just looking at the stats, I have yet to see a Rockets game) is far more efficient than Artest was (or will be). Ariza’s true shooting percentage is 64%, while Artest had 51% last season in Houston. Artest can score, but he is usually not efficient at it (lots of shots). But 78% of Ariza’s points have come off assists, he is not the one who is creating the opportunities. Credit him for knocking them down, though.

  27. I wa watching the Houston game last night and Clyde Drexler said “Ariza took less money from the rockets than the lakers were offering, so he can expand his game” I couldnt stop laughing. He misled a bunch of rockets fans,

  28. hey Warren, I had the good fortune of seeing Kurt’s post go up today, with no comments, and I thought about you, but if you noticed, I did that same thing for the Dallas game, (first one there and that time I gave it for you) and we know how that game turned out, so I thought twice about it today.
    and as you know, you snooze you loose, even by thinking twice, my chance was blown.
    I think you should listen to J, he has some good ideas about twitter and all that stuff.

  29. kenny, watch out for that league pass.
    I did it last year, (the broadband version) and I hated it.
    this year they are trying to “auto-renew” without my permission.
    and try as I will, I can’t find any way to contact them
    I feel like they are fraudulent!
    seriously, I would not recommend them.

  30. When the team has a TOTAL suck-fest like it did against Dallas, don’t tell us to “chill out.”

  31. I think the blog just got a bit deeper at the trolling position…

  32. We don’t need to stop shooting wide open threes… we need to start making more of them.

  33. Jacob, if you don’t like what I am saying, there are a myriad of other Lakers sites you can visit. I won’t be offended.

  34. @chris h,
    Can’t find a way to contact them…? Who did you get your league pass through? I have never had any difficulties contacting DirecTV, who provides our league pass.

  35. A few pregame notes from Staples: Phil talked about Dallas killing the Lakers on the pick and roll, and said part of that is the lack of Gasol, who he called a vastly underrated pick and roll player. He also talked about focus and the mental let down against the Mavs. Andrew Bynum was out working on five-foot jump hooks (both left and right handed) and the Lakers coaches have talked about trying to exploit the small (6-10) Horford early. Sasha remains money in warmups. However, the last time he made a shot in a non-preseason game was against Denver in the playoffs last year, so I will not read much into the practice shooting.

  36. I actually don’t mind when the Lakers have a TOTAL suck-fest; it definitely makes the comments way more entertaining to read. If you get a chance and want a good laugh, you should go back to some posts in mid-March, early April where there were tons of comments about how the Lakers would never win a championship with this team and how we should’ve traded Bynum and Odom, all sorts of really fun stuff.

  37. Here chicken little.

    Where’s “Joe?”

  38. Seriously, I thought *winning* the Chip would have made things easier for the over reactive bandwagoneers. Boy, was I wrong!

  39. links for the game anyone? thanx


  41. Just a gut feel from the locker room and watching the team come through intros — they seem more business like tonight. We’ll see if that translates to anything.

  42. I still don’t know how to access leaguepass though.
    It’s trial week…but I cant access it from
    Anyone know how I should watch it?

  43. I said Bynum spent a lot of warm-ups 45 minutes before the game working on little five footers with the left and right hand. When the game started he promptly missed his first two of those. (He hit the third.)

  44. The Lakers are running some strong side zone tonight with Johnson and Smith out there getting the ball on the wings.

  45. surely kobe deems JJ of worthy his efforts to defend

  46. 45 – Joe Johnson has always given Kobe problems but he is still playing him light. Doesn’t make sense.

  47. really cant understand kobe’s defence on johnson

  48. LOL @ chris J and J… thanks.

    But you forget guys… my mantra of the 1st post is no longer for us to win… that was Smush-Kwame era for us. This time its for the “Farm-Machine” to function. Rather weak objective but I know it will be better for us in the long run.

    Or atleast until we trade them both LOL.

  49. If Joe Johnson keeps shooting like this Kobe may want to clamp down on him a little bit more…

    That said, I like the way this looks a lot better than I like the last game against the Mavs. The guys seem a lot more focused and businesslike tonight.

  50. Joe Johnson is gonna be dropping 40 on us tonite.

  51. Rule #1 in transition: Stop the ball. #2: Find Joe Johnson when he runs to the three point line. Lakers not doing that part.

  52. Teague is a better three point shooter than Johnson, Lakers should not leave him.

  53. Odom just got on DJ for not dunking that one.

  54. The sooner everyone and their dog stops talking about Odom’s new wife and all the circus around them, the happier I will be…

  55. Crawford called for a dribbling violation? Impossible!

  56. Joel, I’m sure Crawford told the ref that Don Nelson encouraged that.

  57. The Hawks offense just stagnates without Joe in there… not very relevant but I like how Artest is keeping Marvin Williams’ athleticism out of the plays. Also, Odom’s length is frustrating Josh Smith.

  58. Start of 2nd, Farm Machine time… … …

  59. Farm Machine stat trak:

    Farm = -1
    Machine = 0
    Luke = +1

  60. Mo Evans is on Artest. Get the man the ball on the block and turn him loose, Evans cannot contain him.

  61. Why take Johnson out and sit him for a long stretch if you are Atlanta? Well, because you are Atlanta, I guess.

  62. I think Sasha just made his first shot in a year…!

    Why is ShanWOW not on the floor?

  63. Farm = -1

    (had layup blocked by Mo Williams) -1
    (tweener shot at FT line) -1
    Hawks fastbreak steal +1
    Strong play on the break +1
    Ugly jump on the alley-oop -1 (he should be the one throwing, not dunking)

    Sasha = +1
    Jumper +1

    Luke = +1.5
    Mid range jumper +1
    Mid range runner +1
    Ugly alley-oop -1
    Taking a charge +.5 (but failed)

  64. it’s as if bynum’s not even out there on the boards tonight…

  65. any streaming links working?

  66. OK, I really do not care about the clock here at FB&G, and we are on ‘Standard Time’, ‘Daylight Savings Time has ended. I just got back from a tie in the Soccer Playoffs (ties are allowed?) and the Lakers look alot better so far tonight, than the other night. But Joe Johnson is going to have a career game I fear.

  67. Mimsy, that was Sasha’s first since the Denver series.

    As for why lots of Farmar and no ShanWow, small lineup from Atlanta. And Farmar a +8 so far.

  68. as a follow-up to my previous post, the difference in activity levels between Bynum and Pachulia is mind-boggling

  69. Johnson is not going to have a career night if he is not in the game. He was pulled in the first and out seven minutes now. Stupid.

  70. I think it’s safe to say the ball movement has picked up a bit tonight.

  71. My bad. Thanks for that correction, Kurt 🙂 Farmar looks a lot better now… more focused and “all together” somehow.

  72. at least kobe-drew making that effort to shoot…we’ll pick-up

    man is johnson sweet tonight

  73. UPDATE:

    Luke +1.5
    Mid range jumper +1
    Mid range runner +1
    Ugly alley-oop -1
    Taking a charge +.5 (but failed)
    good pass to Drew +1
    missed 2 straight shots -1

    Farm even
    (had layup blocked by Mo Williams) -1
    (tweener shot at FT line) -1
    Hawks fastbreak steal +1
    Strong play on the break +1
    Ugly jump on the alley-oop -1 (he should be the one throwing, not dunking)
    make a corner three +1

    Sasha = +1
    Jumper +1

    nice poke on JJ +1

  74. few fouls on atlanta starters…are we not attacking again? (sorry no coverage here in the philippines have to rely on gamecast)

  75. Passerby, refs letting them bang tonight.

  76. @passerby,
    Do the links on this page work for you?

  77. oh…thanks kurt

    go powell power! he is really looking like haslem who was sweet shooting tonight

  78. ‘Downtown’ Brown or ShanWOW to me.

  79. I know you have to have rotations, but I would love to see Phil not drag Shannon for Fish straight after he knocks down a three.

  80. @mimsy — 2 links, 1 banned by admin, 1 just shows a smiley face and a question mark (don’t know if some downloading is needed)

    would have wanted some more shannon burn

  81. So far in this game, the Hawks have grabbed 35% of their missed shots, the Lakers need to do better on the boards. However, Zaza Pachulia is very good at tipping in his own misses. He’s had a lot of practice.

  82. oh thanks mimsy. justin tv link now working!

  83. lakers need to switch to a plain zone d. Atlanta is getting too many entry passes inside and the lakes keep fouling.

  84. Finishing out the half nicely…

  85. Ron Artest on Joe Johnson at one end forces the miss, nails the three at the other. He’s starting to feel comfortable, little by little.


  87. Fast pace, 52 possessions in the first half. Lakers shooting a very good 59.8% (eFG%). The only things keeping the Hawks in the game is they got to the line and the offensive boards.

  88. Passerby, NBA LP BB has a free preview so you cant watch the game there, good quality too.

  89. I’ve been impressed by how well this entire Atlanta team shoots the ball (especially from the line, where they are 16 of 17) but the Lakers keep sticking with their game plan, posting up anyone and everyone they can and getting high-quality looks at the basket, and I think in the long-run that strategy is going to prevail.

    Kurt (and others) called it: Joe Johnson had something ridiculous like 17 points in 10 minutes when he was pulled from the game, and he cooled off and only scored 3 points (again, all on free throws) in the second quarter. Inexplicable move by Mike Woodson.

  90. This Laker team is very much a work in progress. Barring injuries, this should be a really fun year watchng them gel.

    I am not sure what I am more excited about – seeing Gasol out there with the starters or seeing Odom coming off the bench.

  91. I’m liking this performance much better than the other night… not only are we up at the half, Ron is doing his rottweiler defense, Kobe is being Kobe-esque, and Farmar is mentally in the game and doing good.

    And Mbenga got an MVP chant. That may be the most awesome moment yet of the game.

    Glad the link’s working, passerby! 🙂

  92. Nice dunk, Kobe.

  93. Lakers length really bothering Hawks inside, and Atlanta not getting back in transition.

  94. watching the gamecast… what’s with all the fouls our way? good defense?

  95. Lakers length also finally pounding the Hawks on the boards

  96. thanks lakersgirl

  97. Guess Kobe slacked a bit on defense looking on his 5 steals… or was it all good honest defense and hustle?

  98. this is just embarrassing if you’re a hawks fan – what is that, 6 straight TOs leading to 12 straight points?

  99. Wow. The Hawks have just fallen apart.

  100. getting a glimpse of the kind of defensive team we could be

  101. Bench should get some good burn tonight. Let’s see how they do in the 4th.

  102. I sense a Taco chant coming…

  103. am sorry how did we blow them up? am really happy but wasn’t able to see it live.

  104. Wow, Kobe is putting on a dunk fest tonight!

  105. Passerby, turnover after turnover after turnover by the Hawks.

  106. I also sense we may not see much of Kobe in the 4th quarter… which is great. Give the the bench mob some minutes, see if they can make a shining comeback.

  107. wow, powell has some range.

  108. Uh-oh… the tacos are in danger!

  109. no bench letdown please…we should be collecting blowouts right about now..

    thanks kurt

  110. Am I overly paranoid for being worried abut the way Artest is working his shoulder whenever he has a moment? Did he take a blow to it or something?

  111. was hoping for a morrison sighting…

  112. This lineup should feature a fair bit of Artest on offense.

  113. Hawks bring a bunch of the starters back in. Looking to make a late run, or at least avoid giving the fans tacos.

  114. powell + Mbenga does not work.

  115. Mimsy, in a collision under the basket, Artest got his arm pulled back and he’s been grabbing the shoulder since. I’ll ask after the game. He’s playing through it.

    Also, right now during this time out, he is the one talking to all the guys out with him on the floor right now, he is leading.

  116. kinda funny when artest has more blocks than bynum… or everyone else combined 😉

  117. 81 Witness, Powell + Mbenga does not work against the other team’s starters.

  118. Thanks Kurt. I missed the start of the game after the half, and the collision as well, apparently. If he’s out there playing with what the score was it can’t be that serious though, right? 🙂

    It did look like it bothered him when he was shooting free throws, but that understandable when it’s his shooting shoulder.

    Hm. No tacos tonight. I really wish that second unit would be able to hang on to a lead once in a while. Ah well… when Pau returns and Lamar rejoins the Bench Mob, that will hopefully change. And we get to see Kobe again.

  119. Bryant really heard people say he’s old, can’t jump, can’t take it to the hole, etc etc.

  120. 4 of 5 of the lakers starters will have played mid-to-high 30 mins each by the time this game is over. i believe this marks the 3rd game in a row this has happened? not a good trend

  121. Time to go to bed and sleep off the cold… good night everyone. I’ll check back in the morning for news on Artest’s shoulder.

    2-1. Let the celebrations begin!

  122. wiseolgoat, yeah read Bill Bridges comment at the beginning, he talks about not burning the starters out.

  123. 120. wiseolgoat

    Gasol will reduce each starter’s playing time by 5 minutes.

  124. A couple quick locker room notes postgame: Phil said that the current five-guard rotation is not going to last forever and the guys off the bench not producing will see time cut, those who produce will get more. He really wants to get Fisher’s minutes down, but also Kobe.

    Walton talked extensively about the second unit not playing well, getting too much isolation and not playing as a team. He said they realize they need to get it together.

    Everyone was praising Artest.

    Mike Woodson quote of the night, on taking out Joe Johnson: “Well, I pulled him because he nearly played the whole quarter… He’s got to rest sometimes.” Note to Mike — sometimes you need to ride the hot hand. Especially against the defending champs.

  125. I’m just glad Artest showed us he’s still able to dunk (twice).

    Bench needs to get it together.

  126. mimsey,
    if you check comments in the AM…
    I was referring to nba broadband, it’s through the web site that they I think, interntionally do not give you anyw ay to contact them. because they know you’re going to be complaining.
    last year at this time I had to leave LA for an extended period, and nba leage pass wasn’t available where I was, so I went the broadband route.
    it wasn’t great, it chugged, I had many blackouts because the lakers are so popular, on tuesdays, when (I don’t know who) poeple got to vote, it was the lakes, and then I got blacked out.
    it sucked.
    I’m back in LA and really enjoying being home and watching our team.
    tonight was a great W
    my opinion, when Artest was put on Johnson, it started the turnaround.

  127. PJ said he had to pull Brown early, not giving him the burn that he wanted to, I wonder why? Was he not defending very good, I missed the reason that PJ gave.

  128. sT, Phil said that in response to a question about having a 5 guard rotation and trying to find minutes. I think it was more match ups tonight that led to Brown sitting. But that’s why Phil said that soon the guys not performing will see their minutes cut. And he wasn’t talking about Brown (who he said he felt bad about).

  129. “We picked up our intensity, and it all started with No. 37,” Bryant said of Artest. “He picked up the energy level defensively, and I told him the game was on him. I felt like the energy really changed the whole complexity of the game, and we all kind of rallied behind him.”

  130. Just to let the folks know… Joe Johnson is one of the top guards in the NBA and Artest shut him down. He didn’t make him work for his points… he didn’t slow him down… Ron eliminated an all star SG from the game after Joe scored 18 points on Kobe in the first quarter. That doesn’t happen very often in the NBA. Artest will go on to score many more points and grab tons of steals as he gets more and more comfortable with the offense but you won’t see a better defensive effort from him the entire season.

  131. Agree with Kareem – Gasol does not just change the starting lineup – LO moving to the bench is a huge addition to the team.

  132. Kobe’s steals numbers are gonna be high this year… maybe its coz Artest can man up the opposing team’s best scorer (you can ask Joe Johnson for that) so Kobe is more comfortable roaming around and playing the passing lanes. Right now its at 3 per game, totalling 9 steals from 2 games (Dallas game he had zero). I will continue to monitor this particular stat for my own use.

    Until Pau comes back, continue to expect a volume shooter Kobe. I’ve seen all 3 games so far (thanks to a Laker-biased national broadcast sked in the Philippines) and I hope to see all 82 even if I have to call in sick (from my own office) half the time.

  133. @chris h,
    I do, and that makes a bit more sense then. Online feeds are hard to guarantee…

    Have you tried their Live Chat support? They claim that puts you in touch with a real person.

    Back to the game: No mention of Ron’s shoulder anywhere in the post-game coverage, so I’m going to assume it’s fine. Good. We really got good things from him last night and as the season goes on that will hopefully continue and improve.

  134. Was that the quietest 41 points or what?

  135. hi Mimsy (you’re not the last Mimsy are you?);)
    I did try the live chat, here’s how it works, you fill in (for the umptheenth time) all your information, email, etc, then click on a subject matter, and submit.
    i did that 3 times, it took 5 days to get a reply, it was an automatic reply giving me generic BS answers that weren’t even close to my subject.
    it’s all BS!
    I’ll wait to see if my credit card gets charged, then I will stop that payment, but I have spoken with my lawyer about this because “in principle” i feel this is just wrong. we are looking at a small claims court case, and I will not go quietly, I’ll share it with this blog, and others, and I am also looking at the BBB, and the FTC.
    next, I’ll call the FBI…I WANT JUSTICE!!

    regarding the game, man didn’t LO have a great game last night?? seemed like he was everywhere, long arms grabbing boards, timely shots going down, great assists! like to see him stay at this level!

  136. Agreed on Lamar, he played great. I’m a bit concerned that he and Ron got all the rebounds though and Andrew had less than a handful (I think 3?). I’d like to see Andrew get more aggressive on both offensive and defensive boards. Kobe shouldn’t have more rebounds than our big center does…

    At the same time, it worked out, we won decisively, and Ron got to show off what he brings to the team and what his contributions will be for the rest of the season. I remain hopeful that he’ll make a difference in the end.