Preview & Chat: The New Orleans Hornets

Kurt —  November 8, 2009 — 132 Comments

Records: Lakers 5-1 Hornets 2-4
Offensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 106.9, Hornets 107.1
Defensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 103.3 Hornets 113.9
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, DJ Mbenga
Hornets: Chris Paul, Devin Brown, Julian Wright, David West, Emeka Okafor

The Lakers Coming in: Second verse, same as the first: no Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol again tonight. That will put some pressure on DJ Mbenga, who will have to protect the rim against Chris Paul, defend the pick and roll and deal with Emeka Okafor. While Mark Gasol is a good player, the Memphis offensive scheme was basically a straight line (that started late in the shot clock). New Orleans presents a bigger challenge.

In the preseason and after the first game, there were some on this site really questioning why Josh Powell was getting so much burn, and my defense of him was pretty tepid (“hey, he’s a solid pro playing or the minimum, what did you expect?”). But after the last game Phil Jackson called Powell the most consistent player the Lakers have had off the bench this year, and he’s right. Powell said post game he worked on his shot this offesason and it shows — he’s played the role of spot-up shooter at the four, but he is shooting 64.1% (eFG%) showing he is hitting those shots. He can hit that corner three if you leave him. He has been solid on the glass. Flat out, he has been professional.

Basically, J-Peazy deserves credit for stepping up and playing quality minutes when called upon.

The Hornets Coming in: First, let us wish well to Hornets’ owner George Shinn, who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Hope he makes a full recovery.

It is really hard to overstate how well Chris Paul is playing right now. His True Shooting Percentage is 74.9% (Kobe is at 56.1%, Bynum is at 59.7%). He is shooting 72% from three point range. He is doing his scoring (28.5 points per game) from range — nine of his shots per game come from outside 16 feet, Even with that, 31% of the possessions he uses end in an assist. He leads the NBA this young season in PER.

David West remains a great fit at the four to compliment what CP3 does, he can spread the floor with shooting range (all the way out to three) or play inside. He’s also a good passer, if not much of a rebounder at the four. Emeka Okafor also has had a good scoring start to the season and provides more scoring punch at the center spot than the Hornets have had in years.

But the Hornets defense has been so bad that doesn’t matter. Teams are shooting well against them, especially from three (38.3%), and basically are above the league average in every category. Well, save one, the Hornets don’t foul much. But that’s a pretty dim silver lining if teams keep making shots. Also, the Hornets rebounding at both ends has been bad. Now, are the two things mentioned in this paragraph tied to letting Tyson Chandler go?

For the first six games of the season, Mo Peterson was the starting two guard for the Hornets, but coach Byron Scott is making the switch to Devin Brown tonight. Peja remains the two guard off the bench for the Hornets, and the Lakers cannot help off him at the three point line (Kobe, that means you).

Blogs and Links: Be sure to check out Hornets 24/7.

Keys to game: The Lakers need to slow Chris Paul. Not stop him, that’s about like saying you are going to shut down Kobe or LeBron — CP3 is playing that well right now. The hard part is that the book used to be “make him a jump shooter, keep him out of the paint” but so far this season he is killing it from the outside.

Despite that, I think the key is to “Steve Nash” him — make him a shooter. Ideally an outside shooter, but the key is you’d rather CP3 shoot than rack up 18 assists, because those assists tend to go to guys dunking or in spots where they like the ball. Derek Fisher had one of his smarter defensive games against Memphis, we can hope that carries over and that the bench guys (this might be a good Brown night with CP3’s strength).

Defending Paul starts with defending the pick-and-roll well — the Hornets offense is usually a high screen for CP3 then let him make good decisions. This will put a lot of pressure on Mbenga and Odom to show out on those picks, then recover to their man. One good thing is that Lamar Odom and those long arms of his tend to frustrate David West (when he has gone off on the Lakers as generally been when Odom is out). Odom needs to have another one of those games.

On offense, Devin Brown is going to be on Kobe. The Lakers went at the mismatch of OJ Mayo on Kobe last game, and when Memphis didn’t really adjust the Lakers kept going at it. Some complain Kobe shoots too much, but you win NBA games by exploiting mismatches (and creating good looks by forcing doubles or on drives). Memphis didn’t stop him — you keep going at the weak spot. I expect Brown will get help on Kobe, but that means Artest and others need to hit their shots when things open up.

Also, New Orleans is not a good team on the glass. Even without the two seven-foot starters, The Lakers should be able to get some offensive put backs and, more key yet, limit all the second chances they have given up this season. The team that wins the battle of the boards will have a big advantage.

Where you can watch: This game tips off at 6:30 pm Pacific, on Fox Sports here in Los Angeles. Also, 710 ESPN Radio has the game.



132 responses to Preview & Chat: The New Orleans Hornets

  1. Thought this might be fun w/ Kobe’s recent scoring surge.

    Of course, you’ll notice he shot a lot more three’s and pull up, face-up jumpers in these, in contrast to his recent string of position, post-up scores.

  2. My suggestions:
    1.) Go into D-Fish in the post early. Make CP3 work on defense (not on the perimeter, where he can get lots of steals), and deal a couple of body blows early.

    2.) Send CP3 through like 5 bazillion screens and force him to fight over them. My idea: pick him off with a Kobe cross-screen, force the Hornets to switch and throw it into Kobe in the post.

  3. I like J-Peazy as a nickname.

    Also, would you consider implementing “Master P” when referring to Pau Gasol?

    Think about it. It’ll grow on you.

  4. J-Peazy? I’m disappointed. Might as well go with Big D for Drew, Lil D for Fish, K-Dizzle for Kobe, Ron-Sheezy…..L-Dogg…..P-Unit……

    2 – I like the first suggestion, if only because we’ll be able to score when the Hornets fall down laughing (joke! but not really). CP3 seems strong enough to give everyone short of Billups trouble, I have a hard time seeing our little Fish do much. It could happen, I suppose, but more likely we’ll just rack up some quick turnovers. I definitely like the idea of getting Paul switched onto Kobe – the help has to come, and their D will be left scrambling.

    Should be a fun one tonight. CP3 is my favorite non-Laker player (aside from maybe Wade) to watch, I’m looking forward to seeing him and Kobe go at it.

  5. #2
    Fish has a post up game? Why would we exploit our weakness?

  6. CP3 is my favorite player after KB24 in my book, but I do have Paul on my fantasy team, but believe it or not, I want him to have a bad game, the worst of the year, just to make sure that we walk away with a ‘W’ tonight.

  7. 6 – Geez you’re lucky. The best player I have is Deron Williams, and the drop-off from 1 to 2 is huge. My next best player is probably Brook Lopez or Luis Scola. That’s when you know you got screwed over in the draft.

  8. Kurt, you are absolutely right about Josh Powell. He’s become a useful offensive player. He’s got a mid-range jumper that is money. In pick and pop situations he’s automatic. And if he’s really worked his range all the way to the short corner three that’s even better. It’s rare that you see a veteran guy making the minimum that has upside, but Powell and DJ have both improved their game since joining the Lakers. For a team that has either traded or sold their draft picks the last few years that’s huge.

  9. So is this current team, minus Gasol and Bynum, better or worse than the Smush/Kwame teams that Kobe took the playoffs?

    I think it is actually better even with those two out. What a difference a couple of years makes.

  10. 10 Vor, I agree, it is incredible. I look back and realize I didn’t understand how bad we were back then, because Kobe and Phil had that team overachieving.

  11. 2 Zephid, CP3 is no Aaron Brooks, he is stronger and more crafty. If we went w/ the post up Fisher then it would undoubtedly lead to bad shots, turnovers, or stagnant offense.

  12. With the ability to extend his shot out to the 3-point line, Powell has sort of developed into the type of player that we all hoped Brian Cook might become but realized that he never would. He’s the type of big man Phil likes to plug in for spot duty who can hit the pick and pop jumper, but he also brings some toughness, grit, and hustle to the table.

    Sure, his game has its limits, but I like the fact that he’s putting in the work to improve. Seeing him flourish this year in a similar role actually makes me remember how much I couldn’t stand Cook’s game, it just drove me crazy.

  13. 11

    Looking back at that team makes my head hurt. Think about the other starters on that roster:

    – Kwame is now backing up 100-year-old Ben Wallace in Detroit.
    – Odom is the 6th man when everyone is healthy (although he’s obviously good enough to start).
    – Walton plays about 10-15 minutes a night.
    – Smush is out of the league.

    With all that said, It’s hard to believe anyone could still question Kobe’s ability to elevate his teammates’ play or Phil’s ability to coach a limited team. That group had no business making the Western conference playoffs 2 years in a row.

  14. Is CP3 so strong physically that throwing it to Fisher in the post wouldn’t tire him out a bit? The idea is not that Fish needs to *score* against him, although that would be nice. You make Paul defend the post on-ball for the same reason that you make Paul run through screens–to tire him out. He’s so important to them on offense that anything you can do to make him work more than he’s used to on defense is helpful.

  15. We could also post up Shannon Brown on Paul. He’s strong enough to take advantage of the matchup and quick enough to lose him with his first step and explosive enough to finish once he’s lost him. Keep in mind, (if you saw the playoffs in 2008) that Chris Paul is a dirty player whenever he’s overmatched. I distinctly remeber him intentionally trying to trip up Kobe once Kobe stole the ball from him and was on a breakaway. He handchecks, grabs jerseys, sticks his leg out when he sets screens. These are reasons that make me glad we got Ron Artest over the off season. He will be a good deterrent to Paul’s antics. Lastly, one thing I’ve grown to dislike about the Lakers is the way they handle injury updates. Pau’s been “coming back next game” for several games now, and not much has been said about Drew, at all. The same happened in the past all the way back to Karl Malone, then Lamar, and most notably, during both of Andrew Bynum’s knee injuries.

  16. I’m expecting Kobe to hit at least 70 if Devin Brown plays starter minutes. If ever there was a guy who didn’t belong in the L…

  17. @15

    I think posting up Fish in hopes of tiring out Paul will only be to the Lakers’ disadvantage. If I were Scott, I’d be happy with Paul having to play a little more D in exchange for getting the Lakers 6th best (if that) option on offense. Paul’s a young stud in this league, anything Fisher can throw at him in the post will be counterbalanced by the fact that Fisher actually has the ball in the post! He’s limited there, unless he can just hit fadeaways with .4 seconds left on the clock (tingles running up the spine!)

  18. Don, that series on Kobe is fun to read albeit short.

    VoR, good question, but I’m not so sure about the answer since 2006 Kobe and 2009 Kobe are a bit different. Not quite as drastic as the supporting cast, but even our supporting cast really did well when they were on OUR team…

  19. In a perfect world it is advantageous to force your opponents superstar and primary ball handler to extend himself on defense. The Lakers have the perfect weapon in Derek Fisher to attack Chris Paul. Fisher has long been a prime time scorer and uses his great length in the post to punish smaller and less talented opponents. Of course Derek is also a tremendous passer as he has such extensive experience passing out of double teams while opposing coaches tend to not want to let Fisher beat them single handedly on offense. I expect to see heavy doses of D Fish in the post just like we see most every game. When you have a perpetual monster like Derek… a player that can just score at will and takes his teammates simply to another level of basketball consciousness, it would behoove me to not utilize such a godly hoops talent. People mostly ignorantly just think Derek only puts up big meaningless numbers… but just the other day Derek played 34 minutes of basketball along side Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Ron Artest, and Andrew Bynum… and scored zero points, collected zero rebounds, and distributed zero assists while as usual dominating the floor. Why would such a question even be proposed? Give me 48 minutes of Derek Fisher in the post or give me death.

  20. Good grief Aaron, I think you just broke the board’s sarcasm meter with that post.

  21. Reading Aaron’s post, I’m convinced that he’d actually give Smush Parker another shot than letting Fisher play.

  22. looking for a sreaming site, anyone got a link?…please

  23. Harold, I’m beginning to wonder if maybe Aaron actually is Smush Parker… 🙂

  24. I wonder if D-Fish sold Aaron a knock off watch or something…

    Wow. There is bitter, and then there is Aaron regarding D-Fish.

  25. NO might want to ditch the Devin Brown experiment and get Posey out there to at least bother Kobe.

  26. 26,Thanks for the link.
    Looks like kobe’s going for #100 40+ game. N/O offense isn’t as tight as i thought it was going to be.

  27. Love to see Artest hitting those shots, but I wish he had been about a foot farther back.

    Long 2 pointers… bleh.

  28. This Bynum/Gasol outage maybe a blessing in disguise. Powell is rising to the occassion and others are getting more playing time and building their confidence. Plus, Kobe’s getting his average up. As long as we keep winning and folks dont get injured, I dont mind.

  29. Lakers moving the ball well in the 1stQ 8 assists on 10 baskets

  30. i like sasha setting the tone of this reserves squad. that shot was more important than just 3pts.

  31. @20
    I don’t frequent this board much, but I’ve visited enough to know that you don’t think much of Fisher. When I saw that an “Aaron” emailed Charlie Rosen to confirm his low-opinion of Fisher, I think even most statisticians would accept my narrowing down all of the Aarons in the world who think so little of Fisher down to you. Fisher is a below-average starting PG, but he can do many things and backing-down CP3 a couple times to start each half is one of them. Note that I did not say, as your straw-man argument says, that Fisher needs to score at all in these exchanges. The point is to tire CP3 just a bit and the cost consists in just a few possessions that are less efficient than usual. I won’t be awaiting your sarcastic response, so don’t tire yourself out with any diatribes that pretend to be ripostes.

  32. aaron, you sure no how to stir conversation around here. i think Fish along with LO would be a great tag-team for our bench and that’s why i wouldn’t start him. It would not be because he can’t handle the starting spot but because we need a veteran to control these guys like sasha when they want to break the offense and shoot off balance (in the heat of the moment shots). Also, our talent and leadership we have in our starters and the combination of the way the triangle works; we don’t need an above average pg. We just need a descent defender and someone who can knock down an open J’ here or there. In my opinion all of our pg’s fit that description, they are just either streeky, old, or WOW.

  33. Kobe wants 50 tonight. Without FTs or 3s, that would be tough though.

  34. I don’t know… he has 20 already, and there’s still a few minutes left before the half.

  35. Kobe more than half way to 40

  36. Haha- I said it’d be tough, not that he couldn’t do it. Kobe can make tough look easy

  37. Where do people find sources for internet feeds? I just search on google but the one I’ve found is a slideshow.

  38. Fisher for 3 at the buzzer!!!

  39. Kobe has 0 points and 0 rebounds, but he picked up his passing in the second quarter, it just led to other passes or in one case an awkward J Peezy floater that didn’t have a chance of going in…

  40. i think Fish could hear you talking aaron.

  41. #36 JD, if he keeps shooting like he is, he’ll get 50.

    I can’t see the game (watching GameCast), but it seems like KB24 is taking WAAYYYY to many shots, or is Devin Brown on him?? 🙂

  42. If Kobe’s shooting 63% from the field and 100% from the stripe, he can shoot as much as he likes.

  43. 41

    Exactly. Besides, scrutinising Kobe’s shot totals is so 2005.

  44. mildclubsauce beat me to it. As long as he keeps hitting them, let him shoot.

  45. Oh, I hear ya, I just don’t see the point of putting up 30 odd shots when everyone else is averaging 7. RonRon won’t stay happy for long if that keeps up (and neither will LO).

  46. Ron Ron will stay happy as long as the Lakers are winning. He is there to help Kobe win the championship

  47. When has LO ever cared about his shot attempts anyway?

  48. Gamecast has been stuck @ 1:16 left in the 2nd quarter. Is there a long stoppage or something?

  49. Ron is also there to get a championship of his own. Lets not kid ourselves into believing he’d be as happy and willing to do anything to fit in if we were not a credible contender for the title.

    Back to the shooting, if you want to take shots when Kobe is on your team you need to start taking them. Kobe will keep shooting as long as he makes them and long after that stops. The only way to get some points of your own on the board is to keep the ball and take the shot when you see an opening. And I’m pretty sure everyone who’s played with him at any time in his career is aware of that.

  50. @Danny,
    There is now, we’re in half time. 🙂

    Restart your gamecast, or switch sites. It’s probably just glitching.

  51. I love that Kobe gave the ball up for the last shot. It is going to be the passing that makes the Lakers lethal. And Kobe is key to that.

  52. We shouldn’t need ANOTHER 41 from Kobe tonight. We’ve taken the game away from the Hornets to start the 3rd.

  53. Is it me or is Mbenga becoming a Slava-esque black hole in the post? Granted he still has a ways to go in that regard, but damn…

  54. Cheers Mimsy!

  55. We have gone to ugly time… for the Hornets.

    So, I am not so worried about our depth anymore…

  56. I think kobe’s 40 streak is in danger.

  57. You just got to love the effort in the 3rd quarter, long way to go still but I really like how we’re playing without Pau and Drew.

  58. I think the crowd has encouraged Mbenga too much…now he feels the perpetual green light. In games like this, it’s fun.

  59. Anyone see that Orlando game? They lost to OKC by 28! talk about an upset, hopefully they can build on that win. Wouldn’t be surprised to see the Thunder make the playoffs.

  60. I love when Lamar draws an offensive foul instead of giving one. Makes a nice change!

  61. hrm, what happened to the hornets?

    major collapse?

  62. ShanWOW’s knocking down those threes today. Play like that no doubt helps PJ with that backup PG decision.

  63. Man Artest needs to shoot when he’s open. Passed up two open 3’s that led to bad plays.

  64. 63

    No bench, no quality swingmen, no playmakers other than Paul – and a lame duck coach to boot. It’s gonna be a loooooong season for them.

  65. is it just me or is WOW making a good case of being a ligit pg on this team by playing very good offense and contributing to holding very easily argued “best pg in the league” to 11pts and 8ast’s threw 3qrt’s?

  66. Luuuuuke with not one but two 3’s!

  67. slow down jeremy… paul has played 30 min, brown 13, so can’t give him all the credit for defending paul, tho i can’t watch the game so i’m not sure what’s going on. nevertheless i love the WOW and glad ot see him knocking down shots.

  68. Maybe I am delusional but I think that Mbenga is a valuable asset. With 25 to 30 minutes a game he would average close to a double double with a couple blocks thrown in. For less than a million a year that is a bargain compared to other backup centers. He plays hard and is a good team player, at least saying the right things to the press. I am wondering if he has value as a trade asset when our bigs are healthy. Thinking out loud while watching this blowout.

  69. Is our bench looking better, or are the Hornets that bad?

  70. I would love to see CP3 as a Laker…. if only there was a way.

  71. @VoR,
    If it makes the bench confident again and gets them back into a rhythm, I don’t care which it is…

  72. I guess Kobe wants his 40

  73. Now if Luke can become the 40% 3pt shooter he once was, that would be quite something.

  74. So…. Lakers up by 20+ and yet no Ammo sightings. Could he be that bad in practice that he does not even get to come in during blowouts??

    P.S. Shannon Brown = Quickly becoming my favorite Laker highlight.

  75. Imagine the type of player Luke could be if he got an athletic condition pairing his BB IQ…..

  76. Ammo replaces Kobe !

  77. Double Double for Mbenga

  78. And now DJ has a double-double.

    Somebody tell me how a team with CP3, DWest and EOkafor can trail by double digits to a team that has Fisher, Powell and MBenga matching up with them?

    I mean, i guess we do have sort of an advantage in at least one of the remaining spots, but still 😉

  79. Ammo is doing fine, get him some burn this year.

  80. i have to say i’d be shocked if farmar isent gone by the trade deadline

  81. Okay, the Klondike Bar waxing commercials are really starting to bother me… they’re not that good!

  82. can’t see the game… was that flagrant by sasha bad?

  83. Sasha and Morrison, the only Lakers in the negative tonight.

  84. Two 3’s for Sasha!

  85. Mimsy, are those negative +/- figures more the result of them being the last two off the bench in garbage time with no starters on the floor, or does it reflect their performance?

  86. Lakers with Bynum struggle through the first week or so.

    Without Bynum or Gasol, they blow through two games, albeit against lower tier teams.

    I love how sports can be funkly like that.

    (By the way, if anyone can have an explanation outside of “bad teams”, do tell.)

  87. Jaybird:

    No, he just made a frustrate swipe at the arms of Collison, I think it was. Kind of close to the head, but it’s merely fragrant I bad.


    Both; it’s true that the two came in last, but a big reason is because those 5 played pretty poorly together. They gave up a ball a few times and caved in to pressure defense.

  88. If everyone could humour my superstition..

    I know we’ve been mildly hating on the bench/frankenmob of recent. Well basically since somewhere near the beginning of the last season, I personally blamed it on the back-to-back game after the Dallas game (Trev on Stack block + Trev on Sasha fail chest bump) #7 against NOH where we held them to 30 points in the first half and literally collapsed in the second half needing a Kobe dagger 3 to win it, and from then the bench became increasingly more complacent and unreliable, culminating in a chip!

    So lo and behold, here we are at game 7, and we’ve got walton raining threes, sasha catching rebounds (the maria effect), mbenga blocking shots, brown being the spark in the 2nd half. Like others, the Bynum/Gasol injuries may have been the blessing in disguise in giving the bench a step up.

    Loved the effort from everyone even if some shots didn’t fall (J-Peaz and the Farm), but hopefully this is a sign of hope rather than ominousness- where the bench picks it up instead of letting the ball drop. Great effort by the team, makes putting of my finals study that much sweeter.

  89. @VoR,
    What Simonoid said. Sasha’s numbers were initially worse than his final -3, he improved them with making those 3s and his free throw. That he and Morrison might have gotten their bad numbers because they came in only for garbage time is balanced out by them playing against the hornets garbage squad. Admittedly, scoring attempts tend to be fewer in the last few garbage minutes, but still.

  90. ladlal, it may be possible that DJ, although not as talented as Bynum, brings something to the table that is much more conducive with how Kobe likes to play.

    And it could be that it isn’t about Bynum at all, but it’s about who Kobe’s matched up against, and how efficient he is that night. When Kobe is shooting 50% from the floor, I don’t think many teams can really beat us… because Kobe will really, really keep shooting if he’s making 50% of his shots 😉

  91. From ESPN’s recap: “Even Mbenga, the Lakers’ backup center with only rudimentary skills, matched his career scoring high and fell one shy of his NBA rebounding best while making his fourth NBA start.”

    I wonder how DJ feels about “rudimentary” being the adjective used to describe his abilities!

  92. harold, thanks for bringing up the points about Kobe’s matchup and Bangin’ Mbenga.

    Also, I’m not trying to imply that the team is better without Bynum; rather, the last two games excite me in terms of what this team could be with everyone active and running on all cylinders.

  93. when you look on an NBA wide perspective and not just how us laker fans pick apart laker perfomances, it is pretty impressive what we are doing. my reasoning is, i don’t think any other powerhouse team in the nba could win these last 5 without their #2 scoring option and the last two games in a commanding way without their third best scoring option (yes, drew is). imagine kg and r. allen out for the celt’s or orlando who is proving my point right now. van gundy said it himself, he doesn’t think they are a good team right now but when you look at our team it is just about the same (talent wise accounting injuries). we have just figured away to be efficient and come together stronger game by game.
    With that said, is it just me or do you get a feeling like that game wouldn’t have gone that well if we had both big men back tonight? Mbenga’s dub/dub gone… pau (as good as he is) would have been a little rusty… i could also see drew upsetting us his 1st game back from injury. plus that would have taken away touches for luke, WOW and the rest of the supporting cast tonight. Sorry about the long post. {thanks for reading}

  94. another pleasant surprise of a win…no more, no less. GO LAKERS!

  95. A Lakers team without two all star big men beat a Chris Paul led Hornets club. And they did it with Derek Fisher only playing 13 minutes because of foul trouble. How the Lakers can win a game against the best PG in the NBA with Fisher playing only 13 minutes is beyond me. I never thought it could be done. This is the most talented team the NBA has seen since the 80’s.

  96. 97 – Aaron,

    I completely agree. I’m amazed ESPN hasn’t found you and turned you into the next Adande. I’m telling you, we should really start tearing down our mediocre starting lineup and build around a certain 35-year-old veteran. His PUJIT’s are unstoppable. Maybe make him a player-coach so he can instill the SSOL mindset in all our players. Let him mentor Farmar so he can start on his own PUJIT’s.

  97. If you look at it, the Lakers main strengths are QUALITY and DEPTH. The only team deeper than us is Orlando but there is no other team in the league that belong to our “class” of players…

    Speaking of depth, Orlando has:

    C: Howard – Gortat
    PF: Anderson – Bass
    SF: Lewis – Barnes
    SG: Pietrus – Redick
    PG: Nelson – Johnson

    But its in the quality of players that makes the difference.

    • Fisher was +7 in his 14 minutes, all against Chris Paul. (And for those that like simple math, that means Paul was -7 when Fish was on the court.) So yeah, he was a huge problem.

  98. 97–Derek outscored CP3 on a per minute basis, embarrassed him with three point shooting (67% to 0%), was +7 compared to Paul’s -18 in oncourt points, and got twice as many rebounds in half the time. All that in 14 minutes!

    You might recall that this is not the first time that Derek provided his kryptonite against CP3 either. The Fisher led Lakers have frustrated Paul before–may have even denied CP3 an MVP one year.

  99. I don’t know why the hornet’s coach didn’t put Posey on Bryant earlier. Maybe I am wrong but i think Posey shut down Kobe almost all the time.

  100. while we’re on nicknames.. why aren’t we calling gasol Mr PG16? he has the looks (if not the moves) for it..

  101. 93 – lmao I saw that…wow, “rudimentary skills” is a bit harsh, even for Mbenga….

  102. the other Stephen November 9, 2009 at 5:44 am

    is it just me, or do 95% of mbenga’s blocks look like goaltends?

  103. 105- if you are basing that on the last 2 games, the ref’s let 1(gt) go in each game. other than that he does seem to like to block the ball from the week side with help defense so he will always either get a block well after the ball is shot or a goal tend depending on how late he is from the helping side.

  104. i really enjoyed last night’s game, we got great games from Shannon, and DJ, two pleasant surprises for sure.
    Kobe continues to deliver this new aggressive O, and he is looking more and more unstoppable with single coverage.
    I hate to pick on anyone, but when Fox Sports did their usual “look at the celebrities” minute and they showed “Maria S” (Sasha’s new girl) I said to my wife, “oh no, Sasha’s going to try to do too much tonight”.
    well, I was surprised early on, when he hit a 3 and grabbed a few boards, but when he got put back in during garbage time, he tried way too many times to do something “cool” and he got picked 3 times by Collison, he caused 3 straight turnovers. granted the game was over by then, but it got me thinking what it is that annoys me about him, he tends to have his focus not on the game on the floor, but how he’s perceived by fans, I think that was why the “hair” last season, and that was what bugged me then, always messing with it. what he needs to do is forget about looking ‘cool’, and just get out there and play his ass off, learn to focus, “wax on wax off”… he needs to go and watch Karate Kid again.

    now with 3 days off, let’s hope we come back with at least 1 of our 7 footer’s for Thursday’s game with the Suns, that’s going to be a great game!

  105. 88, 92)

    In addition to playing bad teams, I think part of the reason we played so well because we’re getting in a rhythm.

    Plus, as good as Bynum has been this year on the offensive end, he’s no Kobe (or Pau for that matter). Phil likes to push the ball through Drew in the post to get him some touches and save Kobe’s energy, but we’re more efficient pounding the ball into Kobe. Especially if Devon Brown is going to guard him.

  106. 99 – I think you’re leaving out a few notable players in Orlando’s lineup. Check again.

  107. Also, I think no one has the scouting report on the Lakes without Pau and ‘Drew – do you think that’s played a little bit of a factor? Kobe on the block, he’s not really competing with a teammate in posting up. The middle is all clear. Haven’t you guys noticed more alley-oops as well? Less cloggage in the lane.

  108. @100

    Kurt, you should know that +/- isn’t the same as cause and effect.

    Peja missing an open jumper from a perfect pass by Paul and a break away layup by the Lakers will give Fish a +2

    • 112. I am well aware of the limitations of +/- (that it is not cause and effect, and that it often says more about your replacement than you). But, first, Peja missing an open jumper alone does not make Fisher +2, the Lakers would need to score a basket for that to happen.

      Second, my comment was a response to Aaron’s simplistic statement that the lack of Fisher on the court was the reason the Lakers did well on CP3, when the fact of the matter was the Lakers did well against CP3 when Fisher was on the floor as well. But I don’t think you can read much into anybody’s play in this game, because the Hornets are just not a good team. Neither is Memphis. To suggest either of these games was good evidence for or against Fisher or Brown (or Farmar) is a huge leap.

  109. Not only is “rudimentary” a bit harsh… I’m actually a bit surprised that anyone who wants to be taken seriously as a sports writer uses it about an NBA player. If you’re good enough to come off the bench in this league, your skills are more than “rudimentary”. They may be below the average NBA player, but I’m pretty sure he’s still a better basketball player than most readers of that column… or the writer of it. 🙂

  110. Chobe B. – LOL I forgot about that guy who was supposed to bring balance to the force…

  111. About the ‘rudimentary’ comment – I’ve actually caught a few of those disparaging liners in the recaps. I figure they are less concerned with poor writing but more concerned with amusing themselves, that job does not seem like happy times

  112. I figure they are less concerned with poor writing but more concerned with amusing themselves

    That explains a lot about the state of sports writing in the world today… and why I tend to read blogs rather than what the “professional analysts” have to say. At least bloggers have a sense of accountability and care about getting their facts right. (Sorry for the bitterness. OD’ed on ESPN’s NCAA coverage again.)

  113. Kurt,
    Check out Fisher’s plus/minus compared to the other starting Lakers. Fisher was a plus 7, Artest was a plus 18, Odom was a plus 16, Dj was a plus 17, and Kobe was a plus 20. And it isn’t a surprise the Lakers blew the Hornets out in the 3rd when Fisher went to the bench with 9 minutes left after picking up his 4th foul. The plus/minus is a nice stat… but is has as much to do with who the player is playing WITH and who the player is playing AGAINST as much as it does with how the player IS playing. Please… I am making jokes at Fisher’s expense. I don’t really wanna have discussions about them because I think anyone who thinks the Lakers are better off having FIsher on the floor with the starters over Brown thought last year the Lakers were better with Luke or Vlad on the floor with the starters over Ariza.

    I will say this one more time… Phil doesn’t think Fisher should be starting over Brown. He doesn’t bench veteran players ever. That is his philosophy on how to keep players accountable and also to achieve better chemistry within the team. He waits for them to step down. Jim Clemons already said as much a month ago when being interviewed for a piece on Fishers age. He said “Derek will let us know when it is time for him to step down.” The long time Laker and unselfish Luke Walton asked Phil to start Ariza over him after the all star break last season… and Derek will do the same this season. So I am sorry to break the news to anyone who thinks Jackson is going to bench Derek… it isn’t likely to happen. Derek will bench himself in time.

  114. Interesting post Aaron, I actually quite enjoyed that.

    I don’t think it matters who starts as much as who meshes better with the starters. The starter can still end up getting less minutes, but finish games when needed. The question is not whether Fisher’s shooting and veteran saavy ouweigh SB’s explosiveness or Farmar’s quickness, but rather whose qualities are best for the unit at any given time.

    I think that SB supplied a good answer to that question last night. Whereas before his shooting and shot selection was somewhat suspect he is provided the good decision making and smart defense we’ve come to value in Fisher along w/ some explosive forays into the paint.

    But SB still needs time to prove he can do that on a consistent basis, so even if he does get the starting nod in the future I don’t want to hear from Aaron about how he was right all along.

    The comment about PJ not benching Fish was interesting because reminded me of Pop’s pulling of Bowen out of the lineup as soon as he showed signs of deteriorating skills. It’s definitely a different philosophy in terms of being confident in your players. Had the same thing been done to Fish early last season, would he still have hit those shots in the playoffs?

  115. For all the ragging that Aaron goes for his less than stellar opinion of Fish, I think he actually makes sense with his last paragraph in post 117….

  116. Don,
    I don’t know how much more Brown can do to prove his “shooting” though. He was the Lakers best shooter at the PG spot in the post season shooting almost 50% from behind the arc… and has been so far through the preseason and now into the regular season. Where as Fisher has shot 25% from three the last half of last season through the playoffs and in the preseason and now into the regular season. I don’t think Fisher’s outside shooting can any longer be used as a reason for him to be on the floor with the starters.

  117. With regards to Fisher and who should be starting, if you look at the box score Phil did something very similar to what he did most of last season, he gives players the minutes they deserve or that are needed.

    Derek started, and he ended up playing 13:53. Coming off the bench, Luke, Shannon Brown and Josh Powell played a little over 21 minutes each, and Farmar played a few seconds over 20 minutes.

    Phil might not be benching players, but he doesn’t let them stay on the floor unless they contribute either.

    Or am I reading too much into a few numbers during a game against a sub-par team?

  118. If the Lakers get too impressed with their victories this weekend, I fear a let down against Phoenix on Thursday.

    Lest we forget the Hornets’ struggles, here are the teams with the worst point differential in the league, in order:

    NEW YORK -54
    MEMPHIS -62
    NEW JERSEY -83

    Admittedly, its a small sample size this early in the season and the lakers added to NOH and MEM’s totals there, but Phoenix is #2 in the league at +65 and just waxed Boston in Boston.

    Thursday is the real test of who is playing best in the West right now


  119. Aaron doesn’t need to read minds, he just makes assumptions about how you and I and Phil feels and thinks about everything.

    As in the “If you think that Fisher is better with starters over Brown = you think Luke & Vlad is better with starters than Ariza.”

    I don’t even understand that logic, if Fish is better than Brown = Luke/Vlad is better than Ariza. It’s like saying if an Orange is sour than an Apple must be sour.

    But Aaron knows all. Aaron is always right and never wrong. If you disagree then you must think that the world is flat too because you obviously don’t know any better.

    Breaking news from LATimes…Phil will not bench Fisher! Fisher to start until he retires or until he turns 40 whichever comes first!

  120. just a hunch, but I would tend to believe that Fish is the starting PG because Phil thinks that his savvy and consistency gives us the best chance to win every night. And not just because Fish wants to start.

  121. DJ Mbenga also injured:

    This injury trend is starting to worry me a little bit.

  122. Kurt,
    You can make quick and cute comments like that… but it doesn’t make them right. Most people also think Phil doesn’t like calling timeouts because he likes to let his team figure it out by themselves. That is only a small part of it and that is what he tells the press because he doesn’t want to give away tactical tools to other coaches. The main reason he doesn’t call timeouts in the middle of large runs is because he feels that timeout break will let the other team reenergize after exhausting a lot of energy to make the before mentioned run. Often times Phil won’t call a timeout and the other teams tank will go to empty and the Lakers will come right back with they’re own run. It is the same reason after a large Lakers run Phil will call a timeout when he sees the Lakers losing energy at the end or near the end of they’re own push.

    So don’t be so sure next time… xoxo

  123. You can make quick and cute comments like that… but it doesn’t make them right.

    The only way for the comment to be wrong is if you truly do know what Phil is thinking. In which case you should be earning a fortune showing off your telepathic talents on a talkshow of your choice, and not waste your time here in a blog comments thread.

    Your comments are funny when you stick with actual facts and discuss them. When you try to be cute you become annoying.

  124. Travis,
    Do you think Phil last year thought Walton gave the Lakers a better chance to win than Ariza did? Do you think Phil is that bad of a talent evaluator? What is more likely?… That Phil thought Luke was a better player and a better fit with the starters than Trevor or that Phil, in wanting to secure team chemistry, doesn’t like to bench Lakers veterans and would rather not risk players picking sides… so he waits for the player to give up his role. I would probably say the ladder considering Jim Clemmons has already said as much on the record.

  125. Aaron is simply annoying. It’s like talking to a know it all kid who thinks everyone is wrong but him.

    If you know so much, why aren’t you coaching or doing something better with your time or winning to lotto with your telepathic abilities.

  126. #131, Mr. Anonymous,

    Let me be the first to direct you to the commenting guidelines:

    Let’s all relax a bit

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