Preview & Chat: The Chicago Bulls

Kurt —  November 19, 2009

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Chicago Bulls
Records: Lakers 8-3 Bulls 6-4
Offensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 105.4 (16th in league), Bulls 98.0 (27th in league)
Defensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 102.3 (10th in league) Bulls 99.5 (4th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Bulls: Derrick Rose, John Salmons, Loul Deng, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah

Getting This Off My Chest (using my hands): As a guy with the jersey from Ireland’s last World Cup trip still hanging in my closet, I am angry today.

The Lakers Coming in: Pau Gasol, fresh off his Emmy worthy performance as “good Samaritan driving by accident” on CSI:Sunglasses, returns to the Lakers lineup tonight. I expect there is going to be a few games of a learning curve with him and the other players, but I do hope to see better movement and spacing in the half court, something virtually non-existent at points this season.

Kobe’s 16th point tonight will put him past Kareem into second all time on the Lakers scoring list. The Logo remains number one, until the first part of next year, when Kobe should pass him, too.

I went back and looked at the playing time the last six games for our three guards off the bench, trying to read the tea leaves as to what Phil may be thinking as he settles on a rotation. I came away with only one conclusion: Sasha seems to be the guy getting squeezed out. Brown and Farmar’s minutes were more random — based on matchups, mostly — but Sasha’s minutes continually seem to drop. At least the ones not mop up time late. We’ll see if that continues, we’ll see if Brown continues to get more time spelling Kobe at the two and not just as the PG, but that seems to be the trend.

The Bulls Coming in: The Bulls 6-4 start is the best start the franchise has had since MJ was still a Bull. Still, there is a sense that this Bulls team can be better, and a slow start by their franchise guy Derrick Rose is the primary reason.

Rose rolled his ankle in the preseason but has played through the pain, looking like about 70% of himself. He is shooting about as often, but is getting about three less shots at the rim a game and is hitting 3% less (both in eFG% and True Shooting Percentage). His assists are down and his turnovers are up. If you watch him, he just looks a step slower (and that negates his strength, somewhat). The same debate Lakers fans have had regarding Kobe and Gasol has been taking place in Chicago — is Rose better shutting it down for a little while and getting healthy or does he need to play because he is the franchise guy? Also, like LA, the coach thinks the injury is as much in his head as physical at this point.

But a slowed Rose alone cannot account for how poor the Bulls offense has been overall, and it has been poor. They really miss a guy who can just carry the team with his scoring for a stretch, someone like a Ben Gordon, for example. The Bulls have gotten terrible play out of the two spot, although Salmons has long been a Lakers killer.

The one bright spot for the Bulls has been Noah — who spent the summer working out at Venice Beach and has come back stronger and more explosive. He has been s a monster on the boards — he is grabbing 20.1% of the missed shots when he is on the floor. That is basically the same rate this season as Dwight Howard and Greg Oden. He is a double-double machine. The key, to borrow a line from David Thorpe: Energy is a talent.

Blogs and Links: There is Matt’s Bulls By The Horns, and of course there is the legendary Blog-a-Bull, one of the OG NBA blogs and still going strong.

I’ll be at the game tonight, putting up comments here, tweeting and pitching in at the ESPN Daily Dime live chat.

Keys to game: Seriously, the Lakers can’t lose to these guys.

The Bulls have had trouble scoring unless they get some easy transition baskets — that also is the thing that helped bring Detroit back the other night, the thing that had Denver running away from the Lakers in the second half recently. The Lakers need to limit turnovers and not take long-jumpers early in the shot clock that lead to those runouts. Be smart with the offense. For a full 48 minutes. That means you, bench players.

The Bulls offense starts with penetration, usually from Rose although they will get the ball to Deng in that role as well, and then have those guys kick out. Which means the Lakers must stick with some basic defensive principals — bigs show out on the pick and roll to slow the penetration (the Lakers are good trapping team off this as well), smart and quick rotations inside, and the perimeter defenders cannot just leave the shooters out at the three point line to sag inside.

The Lakers have not been good at owning the defensive glass this season — they need to against Noah and the Bulls, a good rebounding team, or it will come back to haunt them with easy second chance points. And with the way the Bulls have been shooting, there should be a lot of rebounds to go after tonight.

The energy and quickness (and dare I say length, in an homage to Joel Meyers) the Bulls have makes them a good defensive squad. One thing the Bulls do that reminds me of the best Spurs teams is they just do not foul much. They contest shots but they do not send you to the line. The Lakers need to attack the basket and try to get fouls on the Bulls, but need to realize they may not get all the calls they want. Even at home.

Where you can watch: This game is on TNT and tips off at 7:30, in theory (we know the early game on TNT is required to run long, so it could be 7:45). For the radio play-by-play check out ESPN 710.



112 responses to Preview & Chat: The Chicago Bulls

  1. I think a lot of the offensive woes for the Bulls is in Salmons missing lots and lots of wide open shots. Now, I’ve still got him on my fantasy team because I’m pretty sure he’ll get back on track and find his mean but dude is shooting 34% and taking 14 shots a game, plus he is no where near hitting his averages in FT%. Salmons at his mean would be 5-6 more points a game and that is a pretty big difference.

  2. I think you’re absolutely right, Kurt – Sasha is the one getting squeezed (are we seeing Vlad Rad part two?).

    I think Phil recognizes that:

    A) Shannon Brown has the most potential of the 3, and more importantly has the best attitude.

    B) He needs to keep Farmar involved simply because he needs a back up point guard.

    C) Sasha will never be more than a one-dimentional shooter who makes bad decisions…and even though he’s shooting better this year, he’s still not that great a shooter to justify all the other stuff he takes off the table when he’s out there (hmmm…kind of like Vlad Rad, huh?)

  3. P. Ami:

    Salmons is on my fantasy team, too. So is V. Carter (on & off sprain), Azibuke (out for the season), Iverson (waived), Randy Foye (out long term), Devin Harris (has yet to play), & Lebron (wrist injury last night). I am in injury/waiver hell.

  4. Check this out, Kobe’s shots and shooting percentage by type of shot:

  5. yes Burgundy, and Kurt, I agree that Sasha is moving more and more towards the end of the bench, and I can’t say that I’m unhappy about that fact.
    I for one, have just gotten tired of Sasha’s act, he does the same thing all the time, and it just feels like a 1 note player, who teams/players/refs have adjusted to, and he’s not capable of adjusting to the adjustments. real pros have the ability to mix up their game for these kinds of adjustments.
    also, as said already, Brown is just more athletic, and aggressive out there, and he’s actually hitting his 3 pointers pretty well too.
    I just don’t see this trend reversing.
    but I also don’t see it following a Vlad Rad path because who out there would take an expensive $5M/yr shooter, who can’t shot any more, and for 2 more years!!
    sadly, we’re stuck with him.

  6. I thought Sasha only had one more year after this year? He signed a 3 year contract right? Last year was the first one. So at trading deadline, he’d be only 1.5 years out.

    Not as great as a straight expiring, but it’ll be expiring after that which makes it a decent trading chip.

  7. Sasha had his 15 minutes of fame two years ago. Shannon is taking all his minutes and will continue to improve as the season continues. The only way I see V getting back into the rotation is an injury to one of the guards(Fish or Farmar), other than that his girl will be coming to the game to watch him be a cheerleader. At least he’s getting some playing time off the court.

    Tonight is basketball heaven for me, the Tar Heels play at 9:30 est and LA plays at 10:30 est. It just cant get any better for me here on the east coast.

  8. Phil tried. He really did. He gave Sasha PT when few other coaches would have. He tried different rotations, different changes in PT, anything to spark back the Sasha of 2008. The one who saved us a Finals game, remember. I disagree in that sense with #2, that form of Sasha was most definitely worth keeping. That year he would enter the game and blow close games open single-handedly with his downtown bombs. But I think even Phil realizes that the chances of that Sasha coming back are slim. He tried to get him back for a year, but eventually we have to think about the here and now.

  9. Sad, really, since Sasha was the type that would really help if blossomed. A deadly shooter and a feisty defender… somebody that could come off the bench and not give the other team a breather.

    But then again, an athletic type that drives to the basket a-la Trevor is a nifty weapon to have as well, so I’m pleased to see Brown get some PT. His growth may be key to evaluating the Ariza-Artest semi-swap at the end of this season.

  10. RE: 8 – Snoopy2006

    I absolutely agree with you that Phil has been giving Sasha every opportunity to work himself back into the rotation and he’s realized it’s not in the cards, but I disagree with your assessment of 2008 Sasha.

    2008 Sasha was a guy who no-one respected or thought anything of, so every single shot he took was WIDE OPEN. In fact, he was so WIDE OPEN before he lined up his 3 pointers, he had time to look at the jumbotron, hit on the girl in the front row, and there still wouldn’t be a defender within 5 feet of him.

    2008 Sasha was also a guy in a contract year who got on an incredible HOT STREAK from behind the arc (kind of like the playoff version of 2009 Trevor Ariza).

    Sasha also largely had the benefit of playing with Kobe, Fish, Lamar, and Pau to close out games, so all he had to do was spot up, get a kick out, and take WIDE OPEN shots.

    Problem is, after 2008 the book was pretty much out on Sasha, and every team the Lakers play simply chases him off the three point line, taking into account that he is a bad ball-handler, and 8 times out of 10, he will make a bad decision off the bounce.

    What’s worse, Sasha got so discumbobulated by the new defensive pressure, that even when he was open, he rushed his shots (Craig Hodges said in a radio interview that Sasha would go into his shooting motion before “finding the rim” which negatively affected his accuracy).

    Now, Sasha is jacking up shots like a gambler trying to win back money he’s lost (which is always a recipe for disaster).

    2008 Sasha was a mirage: a combination of wide-open shots, teammates that allowed him simply to spot up and shoot, and no expectations whatsoever.

  11. re: Ireland – Why doesn’t soccer have instant replay at least for goals? It is ideally suited for that because of the break in action.

    re: Sasha – I kind of disagree. I think Sasha is the kind of player who needs consistent minutes. I am not saying he will be great – but he could be good. I think Farmar and Morrison are the same kinds of players – they need time on the court and they will be significantly better(though I doubt Morrison has the physical tools to be very good). The bad news for Sasha is that with this team there are not a lot of minutes to go around and he is not good enough to earn those minutes.

    I think the rest of the bench are players who what you see is what you get – five minutes or twenty minutes that’s who they are.

    Brown is the one guy I am not sure about. Will more minutes boost his game dramatically? I am looking forward to seeing what happens this season with him.

  12. everyone’s mad about ireland’s bogus loss!

  13. Time to clear some cap space for Shannon Brown. Already the best backup at the point and shooting guard positions, SB will opt out of his deal this summer and command a LOT more scratch than his current deal pays.

    Sasha’s value, like Morrison’s this year, lies in the fact that next year he has an expiring contract. Of course, that makes him kind of useless this year, which is likely why he is sliding ever closer to the #12 roster spot….

  14. no need to clear up cap space … next year shannon will get fishers money and fisher will be an assistant coach

  15. If you had Maria Sharapova in your bed last night, would you still be able to shoot??! Much less so defend?? C’mon guys, you’re asking for too much. 😉

  16. re: Sasha – I kind of disagree. I think Sasha is the kind of player who needs consistent minutes. I am not saying he will be great – but he could be good

    That goes for every player in the NBA. You need guys that can do it we called on. if it s for 2 or 20 mins. I hope Sasha can pull it off, but right now it does not look good for him. Slava Med anyone

  17. Shannon’s game is not that much better than any of the bench players, its his athletic ability that puts him on a different level than the rest. He is this years Ariza on roids, considering that we have a pretty slow team in respect to foot speed, his game represents the missing element of youthfulness and excitement thats needed on such an experienced team.

  18. Well, now that Walton is out, is Sasha the new Walton for this blog?

    Naw! We used to have two players to kick around and now we only have one.

    Life is tough if you are the Laker fans.

  19. #13

    Let’s see, Marko Jaric averaged 8.3 points and 30 mins in the 07-08 season. He then got with Adrianna Lima and averaged 2.6 points and 11 mins per game in 08 – 09. Sasha used to average 8.8 points per game in 07 – 08 and now averages 2.2 points! Coincidence?

  20. Bernie, if I were either one of them, I really wouldn’t be too worried about my output on the court unless that decreased performance leads to being dumped. Those stat sheets are probably not the sheets that matter…

    Anyway, I’m bracing for news that Sasha is diagnosed with some sort of hearing disorder, associated with being exposed to great noise near his ear. That’d be an injury that ranks up there with Vlad’s snowboarding…

  21. Sasha has been given more years to adjust than a lion in a Sigfried and Roy show. When do we stop making excuses for this guy, he was excused until he played one significant season, his contract year. I have long tired of Sasha Vujacic, why do we the Lakers always end up with the worthless European shooters.

    Oh, and by the way Sasha is not that good of a defender either, if he were the Lakers would not have so much trouble with penetrating guards. Don’t give me that crap that he is too tall, actually that should make him a better defender. Ergo, Sasha has no value in the NBA.

    If you have any doubts about a player making the most of his time on one team, look no further than Mbenga and Powell, two guys that did not last long enough on any team to be allowed to improve. Yet, these guys have improved vastly with the opportunity that they have been given.

    Sasha’s own home team saw that Sasha was not any good and let him go. Remember! This is supposed to be the year that Sasha proved his country and the Lakers wrong, yet he is starting this season like his past seasons: With Excuses!!

    You know, I knew this kid that could shoot the lights out at practice, and during the game he could not throw a pea in the ocean. Sadly, Sasha has reminded me of that kid for years!

  22. Re: 14

    “If you had Maria Sharapova in your bed last night, would you still be able to shoot??! ”

    Oh…I think he’s able to “shoot” just fine with Maria, Warren Wee Lim.

    Sorry…couldn’t resist.

  23. Except Sasha’s first three games after the public revelation of the relationship was better than his previous games and last year. Over 50% from the field and 4-7 from the arc. He also displayed decent defense again.

    Then last three games, he’s plunged back into the Sasha of last year. Den 0-4 from the field and 0-1from the three.
    Hou 1-5 and 1-3. Barely got off the bench in the Det game.

    I was really hoping he had turned the corner after the Memphis game. I think he got into a tiff with Maria.

  24. I wonder if Brown’s enthusiasm and athleticism on the court sometimes makes fans overrate him. I continually see comments extolling Brown, but to my eyes he is a good NBA back-up whom you want, and you DO want him, playing 15-20 minutes but not out on the court 35+ minutes a game. The truth is Fisher is killing the team at times this year and Brown has not stepped-up and played well enough to demand the minutes of an NBA starting point guard. I like him and hope his play improves to the point where the starting job is his next year, but at this time if I am Kupchak I am not planning on backing up the Brinks truck for him.

  25. Shannon was barely able to get off the bench on his former teams. And they didn’t run as much of a system as the Lakers. Perhaps Larry Brown was tougher on him than Phil, but no other stops were. This would lead most observers to believe that he is probably not a big minute player on a regular basis.

    We will see if he can grow into that kind of player, but I would not make any early assumptions about him turning into a starter just yet. He has shown growth in his shooting and adjustment to the triangle and that is good. He still has a fair amount of growth to go before we anoint him a starter, however.

  26. 4 Kurt, interesting stats on Kobe’s shots. I’m surprised how ineffective he has been off of screens (1-6 on pick and roll, 2-16 off of teammate screen). Is it because both defenders always give Kobe extra attention in those situations?

    And 14-16 when cutting to the basket makes me want him to do that more often (legs permitting).

  27. If it was for Maria then he’d not miss a single shot. LOL.

    But Maria ain’t payin’ him 5M per season that’s why it matters to me… aside from the fact that I’d be willing to suffer auditory nerve damage on hearing her scream first hand 😉

  28. Hopefully the Lakers will be better on the boards tonight with Gasol back in the lineup and Odom providing a spark to the second unit. It will be interesting to see how many times Kobe posts up since that is his largest percentage of scoring. I wonder how many minutes Gasol will play tonight, PJ said about 25 so Pau will probably play around 35. Will Kobe start the 4th Q if the Lakes have a big lead so he will not have to come back into the game if the Bulls go on a run?

    Just saw the video of the Bulls music from the link in the preview. I agree the Lakers can’t lose to those guys.

  29. Jed- I have watched every laker game this season as I usually do every year and I recognize S.B as so much more than an athletic backup guard. He shoots the three just as affective as any other laker at this time, he can make baskets deep in the 4th qtr, his athleticism and EFFORT makes his harrassing defense and explosive offense that much better, and he doesn’t make as many silly plays as the rest of our guards do. (including our senior vet. Fish with his “let me shoot our way out of this slump mentality” he showed 2 games ago.) Correct me if I’m wrong on any point but I know I’m not the only one that sees the consistency in Shannon’s effort and perfomance compared to Farmar, Fish, and Sasha. Also, when has athleticism all of a sudden not been a talent? That’s the difference between Sasha not knowing what to do when he can’t shoot a 3 or Fish not being able to make a semi-contested lay-up when ShanWOW would have just dunked it.

    For the record, that doesn’t mean I want Kup’ to fork out the big bucks for this guy during contract time. (maybe Artest can teach Brown the value of winning compared to a big contract.

  30. @glove32,
    I’m not sure that qualifies as music. Though I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Derrick Rose not only was able to carry a tune, but actually did it rather well. He has a bit of a voice to him. (And was also the only one who seemed to actually be having fun. That disturbs me.)

    And for the record, the 80’s should NEVER be revived in any way, shape, or form. Not even MacGyver.

    In the name of taste and self-awareness, we need to beat this team. Badly.

  31. I am also interested in seeing how KB handles the return of Gasol. Kurt posted a link earlier about his shots and percentage by type of shot. His post game was his high percentage shots while Pau was out of the lineup. His non post shots, coming off screens and pick and roll, was very low. He will not be able to post up as much as he did at the beginning of the year.

  32. the other Stephen November 19, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    i wonder what kupchak has been up to this year…with the payroll straining like a fat man’s pants, he probably just sits in his office and twiddles his thumbs all day.

  33. Does anyone have a link to the game for when TNT’s first game drags on forever?

  34. People have been (rightfully) making noise about Beaubois, but I love what I’m seeing from Darren Collison on the defensive end. These quick, long, defensively active PGs are hard to find, I’d love if we could get our hands on a prospect like that.

    That said, these guys have to develop offensively enough to stabilize a team, or they end up like Earl Watson.

  35. Massive round of applause for Pau in the introductions.

  36. welcome back Pau!!!!

  37. Pau leads the league in FT%

  38. Wow, Drew, really? You’re not going to put a body on the leading rebounder in the league?

  39. i wish bynum would spin away from his man more often instead of trying to bully into severel men

  40. Bulls getting too many easy transition baskets.

  41. Gasol looks fluid and smooth. He looks…big. No one loves Odom more than me, but we’re a different team with Gasol. That much is already evident. But you got to love Noah. He’s making all the difference for them right now with his rebounding and ability to change ends by running hard.

  42. I still think we need to bribe Noah’s girlfriend to shave his head.

  43. I hope bynum packed a sleeping bag and some smores’!

  44. Not sure we’re going to see JD Hastings in the comments tonight, he’s got to be drinking off what happened to Cal.

  45. How long until Gasol reaches NBA physical condition?

  46. Drew starting to get into a good rhythm now. But that last foul sure looked like a clean deflection. It was a bad angle to try that pass. You usually don’t see a foul called when the pass is from that angle.

  47. is there something wrong with Kobe’s right hand? He is taking alot of shots with the left hand

  48. #47, I think Kobe is going through a “phase” similar to his bank shot phase.

    Also, Kobe, in my opinion, has always been a subpar lobber. And although Kobe is efficient when he posts, it makes stops player movement. Phil mentioned that as well.

  49. Pau missing some chippies for him now.

  50. kobe needs to shoot some threes in practice forget this dream shake nonsense

  51. Anyone watch the Hornets game earlier? Peja looked like his old self there again… 7 3 pointers for 25 points, 13 rebs.

  52. 51. re Peja, he only plays like that about once every five games nowadays.

    Even though the guys look a little ragged right now, they’re playing with good energy and they almost never lose when they play at this energy level.

  53. I hate when LO attempts very tough football passes. Very rarely they turn into spectacular play, but mostly it is east to intercept

  54. A little late to the party, glad to see the score, as the Lakers are up by 10, we seem to be missing some chip shots though. Fisher just nailed a 3, then a steal, good job.

  55. The spacing on some of these plays is just bad. I can see why Kobe’s post game is hurting the flow of the offense – it’s because the others haven’t learned to play around it. They’re just swarming Kobe and for some reason it isn’t leading to open jumpshots like it should.

    Forgive me for this – but I think one of the reasons is Kobe isn’t passing tremendously effectively out of the post. And it’s not his fault – it takes him some time to see over the double. Shaq comes to mind (winces) – he could see over the double and the ball was quick out of his hands, it’s sticking in Kobe’s hands in the post.

    Not nitpicking or being negative, just trying to see what Fisher was saying, about how the post wrinkle is throwing some things out of whack.

  56. Is PJ going to give Kobe a rest this half? Geez…

  57. Mimsy, I liked Airwolf, A-Team, McGuyver, Knight Rider, and just about everything in the 80s…

    As for Kobe, did he pull that groin again? The time difference makes gamecast viewing difficult at times (1:45pm, @work).

  58. Kobe would have to guard Salmons at some point…he is making him look like an all-star out there

  59. I think Bynum just intercepted a pass meant for Gasol. Whichever way works for me.

    It looks to me like Kobe’s been eating too many in-n-out burgers the way the ball is rimming out on him.

  60. Pau is so smart. He deliberately slowed down to make sure he was the trailer on that fast break after Drew blocked Deng’s shot. So many times teams don’t know how to run fast breaks properly.

  61. I’d rather see Kobe closer in working off mid range and posts than outside jacking threes.

  62. wheres the link?

  63. Boy, Salmons kills the Lakers every time he plays them, and Kobe still gives him no respect. Weird to complain when we’re up 10, but this has been an ugly game so far. No rhythm to the offense and actually too much posting up for my taste. Not enough fluid ball movement.

  64. Oh yeah and: God, I’ve missed you, Pau.

  65. Kobe is 4/14 and the Lakers are up by 11. My guess is that Pau is back.

  66. 62- Dude- A lot of Lakers don’t know how to run the fast break. It is amazing how much Pau can hide the problems of others on offense. I was on the phone during the first quarter and saw a million missed shots but wasn’t sure how the Lakers were in the game. When I finally put the sound on and could pay attention he had 10 puts and I remembered maybe 3 of them. He just calmly goes about doing exactly what he needs to do.

  67. Link for the game:

    Click on the last choice when you go to that page

  68. I have missed Pau Gasol.

  69. Yeah this is one of those rare situations where I didn’t realized how much I missed him until he came BACK

  70. Pau Gasol is the most beautiful man I have ever seen.

    Wow the post looks crowded with Kobe, Pau, and Bynum in there. And that was with Kobe in the high post. I think eventually Kobe’s going to have to realize that his strength is being an unstoppable perimeter player with Pau/Drew and switching to an unstoppable post player when Lamar enters.

  71. A 4 point switch by Noah! What energy!

  72. No wonder PJ was miffed that Gasol wasn’t healing…

  73. Pau’s played 23 out of 30 minutes so far. so much for monitoring his minutes

  74. Odom’s just showing off for Khloe now.

    And wow, I didn’t think it was possible to move as slowly as Brad Miller just did. I looked up at the TV and thought TNT was showing a slow-mo replay.

    Oh man…when we get 3-point shooting out of the PG spot, this offense is a beautiful thing to watch.

  75. The Bulls just don’t have an answer for all the Lakers weapons. And tonight they are using all those weapons. Nice to see that again.

  76. That was scary

  77. that was a scare. wew

  78. Gasol first game back and he has a double-double

  79. The only way this could get better is if the bench actually holds the lead and starters get some rest. Heavy minutes through the 3rd.

  80. i sense that were going to lose shanwow to a freak injury. he needs to be more careful

  81. Six Lakers with at least 10 points, four with at least 7 boards. Balance is a good thing.

  82. Okay, it is time for the Shannon Brown garbage time dunk. It’s all we have left this game.

  83. Oh man I loved that last drive by Brad Miller, thing of beauty!

  84. I think Brad Miller started that drive in the third quarter.

  85. Cool, we were 8-3 without a guy that gets 20-10 on his first game back with a block and two assists.

  86. we need tacos. seriously

  87. Kobe loves shooting during garbage time… I think he wants to pad his stats a little bit, but a lot of times he takes low-percentage shots (like that 3 with a hand in his face) and does the opposite.

  88. 35 minutes for Gasol
    39 for Kobe.

    I still think that’s quite a lot though.

  89. I think it’s great that Pau hasn’t missed a beat, but Drew should have been back in the game several minutes ago. I’m surprised PJ pushed Pau’s minutes with such a big lead.

  90. Joey Jo-Jo Shabadoo November 19, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Farmar and Ammo have a nice 2-man game going.

  91. I don’t get the heavy minutes for Gasol or Bryant.

  92. Bynum with the least amount of minutes from the starters at 24. Fish at 26. Pau, Kobe and Ron at mid 30’s with Kobe at 37!!

  93. Well, it’s been a very good night. Except for you Cal fans.

  94. I wonder how Bynum would react to his scaled down minutes and numbers.

    On another note, what’s encouraging for me is the rebounding story. Despite Pau’s 13 and Kobe’s 9, Andrew was still able to grab 8 of his own.

  95. The team is jelling with Gasol better than I thought, like as if he was never gone this season. Kobe keeps breaking records.

  96. My prediction for the postgame analysis: Barkley takes 2 minutes to say, essentially, “Pau Gasol is good”

  97. 94- Brutal. But as a Cal fan, it’s nothing new. I’d say Patrick Christopher’s nba stock just defaulted. Jerome Randle, on the other hand only impressed me more, as the only guy with the ability to step up to the moment. Too bad he has no shot of ever being drafted.

  98. i too worry about drew’s ego, not sure he will react well to less shots and minutes

  99. 92 – I don’t like it either, but I’ll take a stab at it. I remember there was talk about this last year. We were confused about the heavy minutes Phil was playing Pau down the stretch. I think one theory was that Phil thought more minutes would heighten Pau’s stamina, allow him to take more of a beating that he (perhaps) couldn’t take in 2008. It’s just a theory, I’m not sure if I agree with all of it, but it could be what Phil’s thinking if he plays Gasol big minutes again later on.

  100. Pau is simply one of the best players in the world.

    Once again I was impressed by Artest’s defense. He has done this several times this year, just physically demoralized an opposing small forward. I would hate to have to have him guarding me for 30+ minutes.

  101. what was the scare late in the game?

  102. Very happy to see Gasol back. Great game. Our defense and rebounding was especially improved. Beautiful rotations, Gasol always in the right place, not fouling. And being in position led to a high percentage of defensive rebounds.

    One little thing that Gasol didn’t seem to have back yet was his post footwork. It seemed a little awkward on 3 occassions, but he still managed to use his length.

    Not too worried about Gasol / KB playing the minutes they did. PJ probably just trying to get Pau back into shape and KB is just playing the way he always does. Does a a 38 min game differ that much from a 33 min game to these great athletes? Probably won’t matter at all. Esp since KB is not expending energy fighting for position in the post anymore. I’d rather they use the extra minutes to build chemistry w/ different units and stay in shape for the playoffs.

    Also, I’m pretty sure AB has gotten to a point where he is very confident in himself and the lack of minutes won’t be an issue whatsoever. On a couple occasions this game he did seem lose balance around the basket. And as Darius said he can work on passing out of the post instead of looking for a score. He may have missed a couple rotations. But other than those little things he should remain his dominant self and very confident in his game despite the low minutes. It was a blowout anyway.

  103. 92. VoR, Gasol said after the game he expected Phil to play him a lot, kind of playing him back into shape the hard way. He said he was pretty tired, and he said it in two languages.

  104. One other thing of note, Bynum said he rolled his ankle a little when he picked up his fourth foul (against Miller). Had a slight limp but didn’t seem too bad. Good to have a couple days off before the next game.

  105. Loved Artest tonight: locked up the hot-shooting Deng, wisely took Salmons to the hoop, hit from deep. Perfect.

  106. Well… it happened. 12 games into the season and Derek Fisher has had his first good game… and it was a great game. He played great on offense and good on defense. He was one of the biggest reasons that the Laker two best players this season (Kobe & Bynum) had “bad” games and the Lakers still blew out a pretty good Bulls squad.

    Speaking of Bynum… the last couple games Drew looks like he is playing on tired legs. Of course this is a stage that a lot of players go through at some point in the season. And it makes sense for Andrew who hasn’t played a lot of NBA minutes.

    Ron Artest also had a very good game. He shutdown the Bulls leading scorer Deng to the point you didn’t notice he was even on the floor. He also played well offensively off the ball but also playing one on one. It was nice to see Ron start to be more aggressive.

    The Lakers title defense officially began tonight with the team at full strength.

  107. 105. I bet that’s why Drew’s minutes were down. Hopefully it’s not too serious.

  108. Damn you Artest. Deng’s on my fantasy team. That 0.273 night is going to kill me.

  109. LOL Snoopy.

    Pau Gasol is just seamless. Its like he never missed any time… heck Sasha looks more disorganized to me than any other player in a gold jersey.

    Maria, you need to get off my boiii Sasha.

  110. I agree Warren, Sasha’s body language out there tonight was Ammo-like.

    He looked like a defeated man before he’d even attempted (and missed) his first shot. None of his usual yappy dog spark.

    Also, I’ve noticed Kobe flashing a lot of contented smiles and knowingly relaxed chuckles this year with both teammates and opponents. He seems to have come to a place where he is finding genuine enjoyment in the long, strange trip which is his Lakers career.

  111. did Pau do something to get on Phil’s bad side, b/c Phil seems to get on Pau’s case more than anyone with the possible exception of the space cadet with his barbed comments. Also, the heavy minutes that Pau has put in…

    The Lakers should be 10-2 at this point, but I guess I can’t complain too much. Glad to see Kobe smiling more. His “intense” stay-in-character face from last year needs to be retired. Pau looks like he never missed a game. Maybe it’s just adrenaline; we’ll see how he does in the next few games.

    You know what’s amazing about Artest? We haven’t heard a pip from or about him. Where’s the crying, fighting, complaining about his role, hogging of the ball, taking shots from Kobe and others, dribbling down the clock and jacking up bad shots — all the stuff we were warned about?

    Now, if only we could get a truly reliable 3pt shooter. Seems like one shouldn’t be THAT hard to find, but every reputed money 3pt shooter we’ve had never works out. See Rice, Glenn. Of course we expected Rice to do more than shoot 3s. That’s not our current requirement.