Welcome Back Fluidity. We Missed You.

Kurt —  November 20, 2009

Los Angeles Lakers play Chicago Bulls in Los Angeles
I think fluid was the word of the night. For the first time this season the offense started to look fluid again (and the defense looked improved as well, in part just because of the size and length). Here are a few other thoughts.

• I asked Kobe about being out on the perimeter more and posting less with Gasol back, but he doesn’t see it that way. His answer (lost to the whims of my digital recorder, so this is a paraphrase) is that in the half court he has preferred to get his inside position on the rub action and some curls, that he really only went straight to the post early in the clock before the defense could set. He said even with Gasol in the post he can still get the actions and shots he wants through the offense and that this is not a dramatic change, adding he did that against the Bulls. In fact, it’s easier because you have to respect Gasol’s shot and he can pass so well, he said.

Kobe was 7 of 21 on the night overall. He was 3 of 12 from the short midrange and post areas (based on the shot chart). He got a lot of shots in the paint, at the elbows, that usually fall for him but just didn’t last night (he said afterward he just shot like, um, manure). I don’t think we should be worried about those falling in the future.

• Darius added this on the offense in the comments:

…the other name for the Triangle offense is the “Triple Post” offense. I’m speculating here, but aren’t we in fact seeing a Triple Post with Kobe, Pau, and Drew? I mean, last night we had Kobe on the weakside block, Pau at the high post (FT line area), and Drew on the opposite low block. Yes, at times the spacing could have been better, but this is a deadly offensive alignment. From this position (especially when Kobe has the ball), the team can either 1). Have Kobe shoot a turnaround jumper or create for himself with a spin move to the baseline 2). Kobe sees the help off Pau and he hits him for a FT line jumper or on a cut down the middle of the lane 3). Kobe can hit Bynum on a lob or Bynum can sneak under his man for a pass that puts him right under the basket. And last night, we saw all of these options play themselves out (Kobe did end the night with 9 assists). I mean, this is essentially the same alignment that we killed Denver with in the playoffs after Game 4. Kobe went to the block (or mid post) on the weakside and then he picked them apart by passing to Pau on the weakside block (where Drew is now) or passing to LO who was either flashing to the FT line or executing a dive cut from that area. As I mentioned before, the spacing could be a bit better, but we have the horses to play this way (no other team can, so it’s not like we see this alignment a lot from other teams) and it creates match up nightmares for our opponents.

• Drew was moving pretty well after the game, just a slight limp on a “jammed ankle” as they are calling it. I’d be surprised if he missed time (if this were a back-to-back, I’d feel differently).

• A good way to ease Gasol back is to have his matchup the first night against a 6’9” rookie (Taj Gibson).

• Of course, part of the beauty of Gasol is he gets a favorable matchup most nights.

• My favorite Kobe quote of the night, when asked about how Pau blended right back in and if that was a surprise, “He’s been playing basketball for four straight years, this was 17 days off.”

• I want to see, and I think we will see, a lot more games like this from Artest this season. First, he locked down Deng, who could make clean cuts and couldn’t get the ball where he liked. Then on offense he just filled a role. Drain the three, got some boards, got out in transition, just did a lot of little things. He will have some big offensive nights, but games like this from him make the Lakers so hard to beat.

• Great note from the Kamenetzky brothers at the LA Times: The Lakers have NEVER lost a regular game in which Pau Gasol and Ron Artest played as teammates.

• Sam Bowie has applied to become the first black member of one of Lexington’s exclusive golf clubs (via TrueHoop). However, the club members have learned from history and will be admitting Michael Jordan first.

• Derrick Rose is just not right. In the first quarter he would come around the high pick and rather than go to the basket he just settled for the jumper. He got more aggressive as the game wore on, but he wasn’t the explosive guy that finished against Boston last playoffs. Then with Ben Gordon gone, there was nobody else who could really just start creating and hitting shots to get the offense going. That team needs Rose to be the creator right now.

That said, I kept looking at the Bulls and seeing them as a team treading water this season but with a plan. They have the young franchise PG. They have some quality role guys (and guys who can be a little more than that like Deng). If they could land Bosh or another of the big free agents this coming summer (and they have the cap room) that becomes one very dangerous team. They are playing good defense and the effort is there. They have a very good foundation, they just need one more big piece.

86 responses to Welcome Back Fluidity. We Missed You.

  1. Brought over from the last thread:
    32. Darius, that post was full of win 🙂
    It’s going to be a pleasure this season watching the team dominate. What team can beat our guys four games out of seven when we’re at full strength? I don’t see such a team for the forseeable future.
    To add to what Kurt wrote about Artest, besides his court vision on offense being such a pleasant surprise, I never realized how good he was at stealing the ball from his man. I knew he had a reputation as a lockdown defender, but his strength and the quickness of his hands is something to behold. Willowy scorers like Deng and Durant are going to have a tough time with Ron-Ron this season. While it still hurts to see Trevor in a Houston uniform, these pleasant surprises about Ron-Ron’s game help to ease the pain. And of course, his quotability helps too 🙂

  2. #1/Dude:

    I also like the idea of an opposing 3 having to bang with Artest over the course of a seven game series. That’s not going to be a stroll in the park, and that’s going to give the Lakers an edge.

  3. Going back to the last post, I think 3 things contributed to Kobe’s off night.

    1- He is still injured. Manu Ginobli is expected to miss a week or more with a “mild” groin strain. Kobe still has that now. What he did in Detroit shouldn’t make uis forget that.

    2- He’s out of practice from outside. Despite what he told Kurt, his 3 point attempts are way down and I don’t know if he’s been getting his reps there, so it isn’t as fluid.

    3- People have been saying Live by Kobe Die by Kobe, but last night wouldve been a die by kobe if that was true. With Pau back, the sins of Kobe and Bynum were forgiven. Kobe didn’t NEED to be super efficient. And that’s important for him. He can score whenevr, but his greatest strength is pure force of focus. When he scored 81 it was because the team needed it and he went into that mode. Against Detroit he needed to focus and did. But when he doesn’t need to, such as in blow outs when he comes in just to pad his stats he becomes way less efficient just because he doesn’t have to be.

  4. Lamar is going to be on Jim Rome’s show on ESPN in a few minutes.

  5. Ron erased John Salmons in the second half. Seriously, #37 will be in the conversation for DPOY.

    Yes, I know its early. Still Ron deserves his due.

  6. LOL…Ron-Ron just gave Lamar a hug on live TV 🙂

  7. Sorry for the second post, but it made sense thematically.

    On Bynum’s black hole tendencies, I’m not that worried. That’s his youth. He reminds me of kobe at that age (if less accomplished). He hasn’t suffered a lot of failure on the court- hasn’t suffered the pain of losing so hasn’t learned the sheer joy that this type of ball represents. He’s been a little spoiled.

    Additionally, he’s been SO close to breaking through for 2 straight seasons and watched it go to hell when he got injured. He’s worked hard and really wants to contribute. It’s selfish of him to want to go to the all-star game, but ultimately its a good form of selfishness. It means he’s driven. I’d rather have that than Kwame, who did his best to hide from the public glare.

    So he wants to show off what he can do. But he’s a kid. He doesn’t grasp how the one goal (all star) might interfere with the other goal (fluid, pretty basketball on a winning team). You never get the sense that he’s like Shawn Marion, resenting his winning team for holding him back, I think he wants both. He likes Pau and is glad he’s back but last night was clearly pressing a bit, probably eager to show his production won’t decrease.

    With time, coaching and experience playing together, he’ll get it together. He’s a smart kid with a good support system. He’ll understand eventually, but he needs to spread his wings out a bit too.

    But if he’s really really smart, he’d watch tape to understand how Pau could score 24 last night expending about half the energy it was taking Drew to average 20 while Pau was out.

  8. I remember saying something about the team needing time to adjust to having Pau back in the line-up again before they’d start playing smoothly and efficiently. I’m starting to think I was wrong.

  9. Kurt, you totally stole that photo from my post. Plagiarism!

  10. I love the ball movement whenever Pau’s in the game. It makes the offense so effortless because the open guy always gets the shot.

  11. WhiteLightnin’ November 20, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    I’m feeling the same way Mimsy (#8).

    Adding to Darius’ triple-post comments: When Kobe, Pau and Drew are posting, our two most reliable three point threats (Crazy and Fish) are on the perimeter.

    Kobe won’t only play in the post for the rest of the season. He is treating the beginning of the season as Phil treats it, as a learning/experimental period. As he learns where and when to use his newfound post moves he will integrate them into his game and have more weapons at his disposal at season’s end, making him all the more dangerous.

  12. 7. @JD, great points about Drew. I’ve never had any indication that Drew is anything other than a smart, well-adjusted kid who wants to be a great NBA player. He just turned 22! This reminds me of that comparison I made several months ago between Drew and a Hall of Fame center, and how Drew stacked up favorably:

  13. On the basketball jones podcast (vodcast?) today Kelly Dwyer plays and sings a song about Kobe Doin Work. Worth checking out. http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/TBJ-Ep-471-Pau-Pow-?urn=nba,203824

  14. 13- Dude- that was a great post. I remember it well. Drew is the young up and comer within a group of established veterans. He wants to fit in with those guys by establishing himself, even if he doesn’t always understand the exact dynamics he needs to do so.

    I think Farmar is the same way, the only difference is Andrew has the talent to make the case for himself.

  15. @J.D. and Dude
    Maybe it’s just me, but I’d put Shannon Brown in the group of talented young guys eager to fit in and contribute to the team as well. They might not get it right all the time, but you can’t fault them for lack of effort.

  16. You are right about the Bulls, Kurt. That team is one top notch player away from being dangerous.

    This is off topic, but I believe it won’t really matter where LeBron ends up next season. The Bulls with either Wade, Bosh, or even Stoudamire would become the face of the East. At some point it will click to LeBron and his fans that he alone is not enough to win a title.

    But yes, the Bulls are on the verge of being elite again.

  17. @T.Rogers
    I read your post, and then I thought I heard angry screams from the general direction of Boston… 🙂

    Serious question, actually. If the Bulls are able to add the missing major piece to the team, will it be them or the Celtics that becomes the really dangerous team for the Magic to worry about?

    Yes, I left out the Cavs. Anyone disagreeing?

  18. I brought this forward from the previous post, love to hear all your thoughts on how great our rotations looked last night, a glimpse of the future I hope –

    one of my favorites things to do is try to look at something from the other guys perspective, ie; take a walk in his shoes.
    so that occurred to me last night around the 3rd qtr, when we had been giving the Bulls a real drumming, and then I looked up and noticed after a time out that *the starters were back in!*
    and I thought the bulls must be saying to themselves, “man they’ve been doing this to us, with the bench??!!?”

    what a great time PJ must be having as the coach with the ability to play with his rotations so much. think about it, starting with Fish, Kobe, Ron, Drew and Pau, then first sub in is LO, for either Pau or Drew depending on circumstances, next in is Shannon, for Fish, and shortly behind that either one of the Pau/Drew who was on the bench getting a blow, (so that means we are never without a 7 footer on the floor, and often times have 2).
    another thing I liked was subbing in Farmar for… Artest! thus moving KB to the 3, so then we have Farmar and Shannon, (developing a good chemistry) and Drew, LO and KB (or sub Pau for Drew) and this is considered our … bench!!
    PJ has so many options!
    unfortunately, this will mean less time for Josh Powell who I think deserves more time the way he’s been playing this year, so I think he’ll work his way in. having Pau return will probably mean much less time for Mbenga, but he’ll handle that ok.
    the one guy I see sulking to the end of the bench and maybe never recovering from it emotionally, is Sasha, now that he has this high profile girlfriend, he’s going to put so much pressure on himself, that he just won’t be able to perform, and with a team this deep, see ya.

  19. Apropos of nothing, but the picture with this post – I really am becoming a fan of Noah. I couldn’t stand him as a college player – but he really seems to have matured and just plays hard.

    Mimsy, I am not sold on anyone in the East after this year, just too many questions. I really think this is the Celtics last shot before the grim reaper (or his cousin) catches up. Cleveland has nothing around LeBron. So yeah, Chicago could be something if they get a key piece.

    On another point – anyone watch Rondo shooting free throws this year? Serioulsy….

  20. I still think Celtics are more dangerous even worst than Magic because they have the chemistry or at least some chemistry from summer camp. Also because Celtic got Garnet, one crazy mofo.

    On the side note, Do you guys think Phil gave up on Sasha now?

  21. Still waiting for the fish bash =[

  22. RE – 21

    Celtics are more dangerous than the magic (in relation to the Lakers) because they are a team of dirty thugs. That’s the only type of team, at this point, that gives the Lakers problems.

    The Lakers will still beat Orlando, because Orlando is a team, like the Lakers that relies on execution, ability, and talent to win. Lakers will win in that matchup because Kobe beats Vince, Pau beats Rashard, Ron-Ron beats Peitrus, and Bynum should at least be able to hold his own vs. Howard.

    The teams that give the Lakers problems are teams like Denver, Boston, and Houston – smart teams that rely on physical play and thug tactics, which takes LA out of its comfort zone.

  23. via Ball Don’t lie, Dime posted this mix of WOW dunks. Worth the 3 minutes…


  24. wil, why would anyone bash fish? he played a great game last night, look at his stats, as well as the usual stuff he brings, I think you’re thinking of another game here, even Aaron gave him props already for last night.

  25. Thats a good video Darius. The block on Johnson (or whoever it was) in the middle was pretty damn amazing. And I like where he jumps over Powell going for the offensive rebound.

  26. I pray that sometime soon we come here to find a “Welcome Back Machine. We Missed You,” post.

  27. @Mimsy,

    I am really thinking long term. The Celtics will contend this year. After that they are really done. Their core is getting too old. Unless something drastic happens (a Kwame Brown for Pau Gasol type deal) The Celtics really won’t be a factor after this season.

    Orlando is a different beast. I am not sure if they are going forward or backward. Either way, I see them as contenders for the next few years, but not necessarily THE team of the East.

  28. 15. @JD, thanks I agree. Jordan just needs to get it in his head to continue going to the rack. He’s been doing it the past few games.

    16. @Mimsy, I agree. With his athleticism and work habits, Shannon can only keep improving.

    19. @Chris H, see the first comment in this thread 🙂
    But I am still waiting for the Kobe, Ron Ron, LO, Pau, and Drew lineup. I’d love to see Phil throw it out there just to see what happens. Even if the opposing PG penetrates, getting a shot up over that triple tower front line can’t be easy.

  29. I love how toni braxton fell in love with 2 lakers on her video

  30. I was wondering what the thoughts of Kurt and some of the FB&G regulars were on the concept of the possible leaguewide retiring of Michael Jordan’s number 23.

    An NBA-wide number retirment would be such a high honour that it should be treated with care and caution. People have already suggested that greats like Magic, Bird and Russell should also be recognised in this way.

    Personally, I think that the idea should either be:
    a) Avoided completely… sorry MJ, or
    b) Implemented in a structured and unbiased way that recognises only the highest level of achievement in both individual dominance and team success.

    For example, a minimum accomplishment threshold of 3 championships won AND 3 MVP awards would yield the following retired numbers:

    #6 Bill Russell
    #23 Michael Jordan
    #32 Magic Johnson
    #33 Larry Bird + Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

    and maybe an honourary retirement for #99 George Mikan who dominated before the NBA introduced the MVP award.

    You could mix and match the award criteria, but I think that all of the players in the above list are worthy, and at a rate of retiring 4-5 numbers over 60+ years of the league’s history, players won’t have to start sporting decimals in the near future.

  31. Avery Johnson said Brandon Jennings reminded him of Nick van Exel.

  32. 32, so if KG wins two more MVP’s and two more championships, we may have to retire his number, even if he won the championships at our expense? I just threw up a little in my mouth.

  33. 26, 31. Ron Ron and Shannon, nooooooooo!!!!! Don’t fall for Toni, don’t you guys know what she did to the Dallas Mavericks in the 1990s?!? She’s a maaaannnnneater!!! She destroyed that young team!

  34. Re: 32,

    I am not a big fan of retiring numbers league wide. One of the reasons the NBA is so much better than the NHL is because there are multiple “greats”. I would add Elgin Bayor’s #22 to any list of potentially retired numbers. He was the league’s first above the rim player. And how can we forget Wilt’s #13. Him and Mikan forced the league to change rules to deal with them.

    And that’s the rub. How do you determine who gets left out? There are too many opinions and subjective criteria.

    Lastly, would teams really want to retire the numbers of players that routinely beat them? Why would the Jazz want hang MJ’s 23 in the same spot they would have championship banner had it not been for him? As much as we acknowledge their greatness how many of us Laker fan would really want to see Russell’s #6 and Bird’s #33 hanging in Staples?

  35. Box scores are funny.

    End of 1st Quarter of ORL-BOS, 4 of the 5 Magic starters played the whole quarter, yet somehow, White Chocolate and Howard have played only 11 minutes, while White Chocolate, Lewis, and Pietrus are +16, while Howard is only +14. Also according to the box, Vince Carter (+12) played 9 minutes, and his replacement, Matt Barnes (+3), played only 1 minute. Amazing how none of those numbers add up.

  36. re ORL-BOS: Jason Williams/White Chocolate? Surprisingly good. Anthony Johnson? Not so much.

  37. Okay, so I’m not very impressed with either Orlando or Boston tonight. Anybody else watching? Thoughts?

    Pierce is great at drawing and selling contact, though.

  38. Not sure if anyone mentioned this already, but how about Shannon Brown being on the bench during garbage time? Great news for the kid — he is now the clear #7.

    • Re: League Wide Number Retirement: As I said before, I think this is a Nike thing. But to me, baseball retiring Jackie Robinson’s number makes sense. And for the NHL, what Gretzky did was worthy in my mind — not just on the rink but how he really spread the sport and it’s popularity, there would be no Ducks, no Sharks, no sunbelt teams in Florida if it had not been for Gretzky and his popularity spreading the sport after the trade to LA. I can see that.

      But Jordan, as great as he was, does not to me cross that threshold of changing the sport in fundamental ways. Unless you look at it from the perspective of Nike, then heck yea he changed everything.

      • Just so we’re clear, Orlando is hanging with Boston in Boston without Jameer Nelson. If this team is healthy I still think they are the best in the East.

  39. From what I’ve seen Orlando looks better than Boston. They’ve got better passing… better “fluidity” if you will. But I’m surprised they don’t give it to Howard more – I know he doesn’t have more than two moves, but there’s no way the likes of Garnett/Wallace can handle him (Perkins couldn’t either).

    Boston doesn’t have a solid interior game and their speed on the outside stops with Rondo.

  40. I know we went into this season saying that Orlando’s only real hole was back-up PG, but I’ve got a little White Chocolate envy. For all the all-flash, no-substance rep that his game gets, he’s turned into a really really efficient back-up PG. He shoots threes decently, his defense is OK, he has good handle, and he doesn’t turn the ball over. And he’s leading the Magic in +/- against Boston.

    • Zephid, I was just sending that same comment in to guys doing the ESPN chat tonight. How many players that are all flash with raw talent develop into a solid professional player by the end of their career? Very few. Smush may be example #1. I am impressed at the transition he made.

  41. Zephid,
    Add them all up, and divide by 5. That should give you the margin between the two teams.

  42. @VoR
    I was watching the first quarter and a half, then switched over to football, but I have to agree with you. I’ll add as well that Orlando looked a lot more energetic and athletic than Boston, almost as if their players are a lot younger and healthier. Oh, wait…

  43. I’m really getting tired of Pierce’s constant body flailing.

  44. Looking at the Orlando-Boston box score right now… are my eyes deceiving me or do I see Jameer Nelson on the court right now?

  45. I thought so myself, but check out the box score. Apparently Nelson played almost a minute and a half.. haha. I was stunned when I saw his name in bold late in the fourth when I opened it… XD


  46. Shows him with a +/- of -4… weird

  47. You know, I think age may have already caught up with Boston – or they’re pacing themselves…

  48. 49, that would be true if it added up to a multiple of 5. Sadly, 16+16+16+14+12+3 = 77; somehow I doubt that Orlando was up by 15.4 points after the 1st quarter.

  49. So Yahoo’s box score is buggy and incorrect? Imagine that… 🙂

  50. 58. I take it then that this happens a lot huh… 😛

  51. That suspension is ridiculous. Rick Kamla doesn’t get suspended for calling Yi Jianlian a “Chinaman” and these guys get suspended for mispronouncing “Iranian”? I can’t decide which I’m more upset about.

  52. I think they got suspended more for the other stuff they said in their comments rather than just the mispronouncements, like the Borat references and whatnot.

  53. @VoR,

    I don’t really buy the “pacing” thing. I think Boston’s age is showing. Plus, their offense seems to be very simple. Granted, it is better than Cleveland’s. But still very simple none the less. A decent defensive team can disrupt it.

    I guess I am too used to watching the Triangle.

  54. According to the Yahoo! Sports preview of the Magic-Celtics game, Jameer Nelson had knee surgery on Wednesday. The box score still shows he played a minute and 25 seconds.

    Yes, they’ve done this before. Not very often, but it’s happened.

  55. What Kobe Bryant said in response to your question at the end of it Kurt makes sence, when Gasol takes a 15-18 footer, it is money in the bank. Really cool being able to ask a question to the greatest basketball player on the planet, it must have been exciting to do. Can you believe the Clippers are beating the mighty Nuggets by 10 points with a few minutes left in the game.

  56. Not a bad evening for the Lakers. Nuggets lose, Celtics lose, Portland loses. What a productive night off for our guys. Keep up the good work!

  57. Silent Fluidity

  58. Now that the Lakers are at full strength (with apologies to Luke), the records of other teams are going to matter so much less than ours. We currently are tied with certain teams in the loss column and are ahead of pre-season “contenders” (read: SA, Cle, Bos, etc). If we are the team we all think we are, we will continue to win games and that is the only thing that is important. Whether we get home-court advantage throughout the playoffs by 1 game or by 10, it shouldn’t matter to us. The best record is the best record.

    That being said, I do not know which is the best team in the NBA besides us. Everyone seems to have their flaws. But that also means there is a lot more parity in the league than many thought there would be. Teams like ATL and Hou are doing much better than they were predicted to perform. For us that means that there are no nights off. If we play with that attitude and stay healthy, we’ll be in great shape (record-wise) for the playoffs.

  59. Off topic, but is anyone else subjecting themselves to the giant black hole of suck this Knicks/Nets game is? It’s sad how tragically and epically FAIL the Nets squad is. Poor Devin HArris. And Brook Lopez. They deserve better.

  60. I wouldn’t feel too bad about the Nets. They’ve had some pretty bad luck and a couple of near-misses. Plus they’ve got Devin Harris, Brook Lopez, and Courtney Lee all under contract for at least the next 3 years. That’s three solid starters set. Throw in Terrence Williams (who seems like he’s a pretty good pick), CDR (who could be really good if he ever gets healthy), and the Chairman, and you’ve got 3 solid bench guys. Add that to $30 mil in expiring contracts, and you’ve got a team just waiting for a superstar (or two) to be turned into a contender.

  61. Anybody else notice that by Hollinger’s math, the Lakers have had the second hardest schedule (we’re a hair behind the Rockets) so far this season? Did you also notice that the Craboliers have had the 3rd easiest? The Tragic and the Sucktics are also on the easy side of middle. http://espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/powerrankings/_/sort/sos/order/false. just sayin’.

  62. Kurt,
    Wallace has not had a “diverse game” for a couple seasons. He is 35 and fat. As soon as he slowed down he has been nothing but a spot up shooter. As I was saying before the season started… Sheed hasn’t been good for a couple years now… why do people think he will get younger on the Celtics?

  63. lakers&dodgersfan November 21, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Here we go now! Pau’s back in the lineup, and we will rise in the rankings. Also, Aaron’s right. ‘Sheed is old and useless for Boston. I think he will actually hurt the Celtics by making them even older (ha ha), similar to the way the Cavs seem less athletic with the addition of Shaq. Shaq was good with Orlando, the Los Angeles Lakers, and Miami. Suns & Cavs, not so good. Oh, does anyone know when Kobe Vs come out?

  64. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/sports_blog/2009/11/lakers-bynum-misses-another-practice.html

    andrew’s questionable, game time decision for Sunday night. probably better to err on the side of caution, plus we’ll get a chance to see how the old line up works (but w/Ron), LO, Pau, Ron, Kb and Fish.
    luckily it’s against the Thunder, could this be a trap game?

  65. Sigh. I read that Drew didn’t get treatment on that ankle after the game. He wanted to see if he could “walk it off” or something. So when it swelled up Friday morning, it should have been no surprise.

  66. This is just part of the ride, one 7 footer comes back and another leaves, must be nice to have options like the Lakers do. I always did like Gasol and Odom together anyway.

  67. Gasol and Odom together got muscled out of the Finals by the Celtics. Gasol is an undersized Center and Odom is an undersized PF. Bynum’s presence down low is critical to the Lakers and Gasol’s success. So when people talk about loving Gasol and Odom together it is a little odd. That lineup is a nice change of pace of course… but you don’t want your All Star Center out for very long.

  68. Coaching FAIL: Marc Gasol played the first 15 minutes tonight against the Bucks and dominated their crappy backup centers with 8 pts on 4-5 shooting and 9 rebs. He had a +10 in those 15 minutes. So Skiles went small with Ilyasova at center and four little guards around him, and Hollins panicked and went small too, with Z-Bo at center, Rudy Gay at PF, and Gasol on the bench with zero fouls for the rest of the half. Result? The Bucks cut the lead to five at halftime.

    Can you imagine Phil reacting to the opposing coach’s desperate adjustments and going small in the second quarter after dominating with his bigger lineup in the first quarter?

  69. Horribly low blow from Adande:

    All Knicks Fans (NY, NY): How did we miss this Jennings kid in the draft? Can we ever catch a break!?!
    J.A. Adande: Isiah would’ve drafted him.

    Zephid – I’m with you 100%. That Nets team already all the pieces except the superstar, kind of the opposite of the old KG Wolves teams. Lopez is a stud, him and Harris are close (or will be close to) All-Star level. I love the versatility of this Williams kid. Can guard and play 3 positions, when Harris was out he was a huge PG. He just needs to work on his efficiency, but he’s shown glimpses of that all-around game that Clark was supposed to have. Then again those pre-Rose Bulls teams seemed similarly built. If the Nets can’t get the superstar, they might fizzle out.

    76 – I think it’s true that Gasol and Odom are more fluid offensively. And by that, I only mean there’s more ball movement and less of Black Hole Bynum. But I definitely agree, Drew’s presence (esp defensively) is crucial, we don’t want him out of the lineup, and he’s one of the most efficient offensive players we have. Besides his own impact, he strengthens our bench by moving LO down there (and often playing with the bench himself). So yeah, we need Drew back ASAP.

  70. @aaron, l&d fan. : Rasheed doesn’t necessarily have to be an all-star in boston for them to succeed.
    Even if he was only a better grade of Horry (skilled interior defense, solid 3s, spell starters, step up in big moments, team guy), he could well be the piece that puts them over the top. Plus he would bring in leadership, emotion, and spell KG & Perkins if in foul trouble. And I suggest that like Horry, his value or otherwise would be primarily evaluated based on the postseason.

    Boston’s interior play could be restricted to Rondo penetration (which the Lakers historically have trouble stopping), offensive rebounding (another weakness), the occasional Perkins point blank shot, KG, Pierce on the block and then anything inside from Sheed or Big Baby would be gravy.

    A fantastic defensive team, penetration, leadership, solid outside, – if boston & la make it to the finals, it will be a good one. And a chance to shape the incomplete story of the last two years.

  71. 79,
    Wallace is not capable of doing any of those things at this stage of his career but spot up and shoot… and he isn’t even doing that well this season. So no… he can’t put them over the top. If he was the player he was 5 years ago he would be great for them. When Robert Horry was on the Lakers he could play team defense, pass, and spot up. He was a great role player to go along with 2 of the best players in the NBA (Shaq and Kobe). Sheed is not playing with any of the top players in the NBA (sorry KG… you are not healthy) and he isn’t even a good role player anymore. Wallace was great at one point in his career… but that was a few seasons ago. But if this was a few seasons ago the Celtics and the Mavs would be in the Finals… wait… I guess it would still be the Lakers but you know what I mean. A Boston/Lakers Final would be great for the NBA for the 4 games it woud take the Lakers to win the series but they will have to settle for a Magic/Lakers rematch. And that 7 game series won’t be too bad of a conciliation prize.

  72. 76, kinda curious how you can extrapolate performance in June 2008 to performance in November 2009. Does this mean I’m allowed to extrapolate Derek Fisher’s 2008 stats to this year? Cause that means he’s going to revert to 11.7 pts, 2.9 assists, 40% from three, and 43% from the field. That’s pretty exciting.

    And Sheed is important to the Celtics because he’s a 7 foot body. Their backup frontline last year consisted of Mikki Moore, Leon Powe and Glen “Cry Baby” Davis. Even if he’s not the all-star that all of Boston touted him to be, he’s still an upgrade over all three of those guys. Same way Ron Artest isn’t going to be an all-star; he’s just an upgrade over Trevor Ariza/Luke Walton.

  73. Kurt,

    I was going crazy on Twitter regarding ‘Sheed during the Orlando game. It’s ALL he’s looking for. It’s a main part of the reason that Detroit declined. Low post ‘Sheed was a beast. Now? He’s shoots it every time he gets it out there.

    His game doesn’t present any match-up problems for us. At all. Especially since the Celtics have no real low post presence. KG plays 12-18 ft. out. There should be no reason for someone like Lamar to have brain cramps and cheat in to double, and get burned by an open 3. No matter what the personnel is, we should have major front court advantages defensively. KG and ‘Sheed play far out, Perk, Davis, and Shelden Williams should have problems with our length. Be it LO or Drew (Andrew’s crunch time minutes probably depend on Perk being the game.) They aren’t good enough offensively to overcome that. Ron will have Pierce, Kobe can sag off Rondo and help. Fish can chase Ray. I think we’ll beat Boston again in both games this year. Won’t be blowouts, but I think it’ll be handily.

  74. Aaron, the Gasodomy front court isn’t just a “nice change of pace” it is the front court of pretty much all our best line ups

    I don’t buy much into +/- or adjusted +/- or anything like that, but the Lakers won a championship with pretty much only Gasol, Odom, Ariza, and Kobe playing well with contibutions from WOW and a couple shots from Fish and a couple fouls from Bynum.

    The best we’ve done with Bynum is get to the #1 seed without Gasol two years ago.

  75. Gasodomy made me laugh and cringe at the same time. Nice one.

  76. Mr. STD,
    Nice wordplay but only so-so logic. Although it is true Bynum was playing at 50% he was still out there playing and starting at Center. If he didn’t drag himself on the court and limit Gasol’s minutes at Center the Lakers don’t win the championship last year. Gasol is a change of pace Center. Like a speedy RB who breaks big plays only getting 10 carries a game. If you make that speedy RB make 30 carries there is a point of diminishing returns, Which is why Gasol is a nice change of pace to have play Center on occasion.