Archives For December 2009

Happy New Year

Kurt —  December 31, 2009

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2010 is going to be a great year to be a Lakers fan. We want you to be there for all of it, so have fun but be careful out there. Don’t do anything crazy, like try to jump a car a couple hundred feet.

Thanks for making this site one of your homes on the Web. Happy New Year everyone.

Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  December 30, 2009

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I’m getting concerned about the Lakers defense.

That is what has pulled them through so far. Despite injuries and Bynum’s funk and and Kobe’s finger and Sasha’s shot going snowboarding with Radmanovic, the Lakers have kept winning because they had been at the top of the league defensively. But in this mini-swoon, that is what has gone away.

It is more than Ron Artest being gone. (By the way, I think Artest said, “I don’t recall” more in his 15-minute press conference last night than Ronald Regan even did.) Artest was there for Cleveland but Los Angeles’ defense wasn’t. The Lakers have gone to a more pressure defense on the wings using the big men they have healthy to protect the rim, but both ends of that have broken down in recent games. In the coming days (or by next week) I hope to have a more detailed breakdown.

This is fixable for sure. But that end of the floor is what I am watching more and more. It was the mantra here last year but it may be truer this year: The Lakers will go as far as their defense will take them.


Darius had this in the comments, and it echoes my thoughts about the growing “Kobe for MVP discussion.”

A couple of fun facts about MVP winners, Scoring Champions, and NBA Champions:

*Only three times in the past 15 years has the league MVP been on the team the won the NBA title: Shaq in the 1999-2000 seaon and Michael Jordan (twice) in the 1995-96 & 1997-98 seasons.

*Only two players in the last 20 years have won the scoring title and the NBA title in the same season. Michael Jordan did it 6 times and Shaq did it once (in his 1999-2000 MVP season).

My point is that the recent trend shows me that I don’t really care if Kobe wins either the MVP or the scoring title. I’d almost prefer that he doesn’t. We all know that Kobe (along with Carmelo and Lebron) one of the most dynamic scorers in the league. We also know that Kobe is one of the best players (along with Lebron) and one of the 2 or 3 most valuable players in the league. I don’t think he needs the hardware to justify his place in the game. If anything, the hardware that will justify his place in the game (not only for today, but for all-time and his legacy) it’s the Larry O’Brien trophy. Let him get a couple more of those and I’d be more than happy.


I still miss Ronny Turiaf

Records: Lakers 24-6 (1st in West) Warriors 9-21 (14th in West)
Offensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 107.3 (14th in league), Warriors 105.2 (19th in league)
Defensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 100 (3rd in league) Warriors 110 (26th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Warriors: Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, Anthony Morrow, Corey Maggette, Anthony Randolph

That picture of Pau scares me: But if you like it — or like to give yourself nightmares — you can own it. It is one of the many treasures Zach from Celtics Hub found available at the NBA Store, in Manhattan including a picture of Steve Nash, Serial Killer, right out of Dexter.

The Lakers Coming in: It’s a slump. Mini slump right now, but a slump. My first suggestion: Relax. This is not something to panic over. You had to know there would be one, that 72 was a silly dream that made a good media story line and nothing else. Titles are not lost in December games, what matters is that the Lakers figure out things — that they can’t take nights off on defense, that they have to run the triangle to get an offensive flow, to stop doing too much and start trusting teammates to make plays.

Last night, the Lakers failed on many of those counts. Bynum had a great first quarter then the team went away from him as the game wore on (and he was less active). Teams are (wisely) trying to use centers like Amare to pull Bynum away from the basket, but the other bigs are not rotating well and defending the rim. More Kobe is not the long term answer. Phil Jackson is not going to yell at this team, he is going to let them figure it out for themselves. Which means it may take a couple more games, but the lessons are more likely to stick.

Also, no Artest again tonight.

The Warriors Coming in: For a team that is in the bottom five in the league, you look at the Warriors roster and you see talent. Good talent. Talent you can win some games with.

Monta Ellis can flat-out score. On the dribble, with the jumper, half court or getting out and running, this guy can play. Then he is paired with Corry Maggette, someone who can also shoot the jumper but is more likel to take you off the dribble and draw the foul. He is in the Kobe/Wade class when it comes to drawing fouls. Anthony Randolph is capable of exploding at any point for a huge night. Add in the rookie Curry who can shoot the rock (40% from three this year) and Anthony Morrow and you have a lineup of guys who can score.

If the players are not living up to their talent, you have to start looking up the ladder.

Thing you should be reading: The Kamenetzky brothers new blog at Also, Dave is rockin’ it. You know, for a guy who went to Syracuse.

Keys to game: This is a test of the Lakers discipline. More than the Suns, the Warriors pull you into playing their style, and you can’t do it. It is a Siren Call and you have to plug your ears, lash yourself to the mast and not get sucked in. You will see open jump shots 6 seconds into the shot clock, but you have to resist the urge to take them because you will get a better look later. The Celtics did not do this last night, they got sucked into the Warriors game, and the result was a rushed 25 turnovers and a loss. The same fate awaits the Lakers if they rush.

The Warriors create more turnovers than any other team in the league, it fuels their fast break offense. Rule number one against them is to control the ball, do not give it and the easy buckets away.

That is all part of controlling the tempo, the other way to do that is pound the ball inside. All game long, not just the first quarter then start running and gunning. It’s a 48 minute test of discipline. Ignore the 20-foot jumper they are daring you to take and get the ball near the rim.

Defensively, take away the easy baskets for Ellis and Maggette, make them give it up now and again and force others to create shots. Or force Maggette to create and pass. This will not work long term for the Warriors, the Lakers need to be focused and stick with the plan.

The Warriors are a terrible rebounding team. The Lakers should dominate the boards at both end, creating opportunities for put backs and taking away the second chance points.

Where you can watch: 7:30 start back at Staples, with Fox Sports and 710 ESPN radio, your usual hosts.

[picappgallerysingle id=”3800274″]Otherwise known as Where Amazing Didn’t Happen At All.

After getting mauled by the bear that is the Cavaliers and gutting out a win against the Kings, the Lakers swoop into Phoenix to take in their third viewing of The Steve Nash Show. Will the Lakers rise above the ashes or Icarus their way to a scorching?

Artest remains out.

1st Quarter

11:46 – Pau hits a nice turn around jumper from the right block. Great to see him start with good lift in his legs. Pau seemed a bit taken by surprise by the intensity of the Kings’ big men.

10:58 – Lakers run an atrocious “fast” break off a turnover. No spacing and the suns clog the middle.

10:06 – Grant Hill = Speedster? Hill beat the lakers down the floor for an easy bucket. LAL 2, PHX, 6

9:28 – The Lakers have turned into the Washington Generals. Derek charges down the floor and shoots an airball from 5 feet against Amare. This game is full of rec league hallmarks. Jason Richardson airballs a wide open three on the ensuing possession. I want to throw my face through a plaster wall right about now.

6:42 – Kobe gets smacked on the hand and it falls off! Just kidding. He’s in a little pain but he’ll hit the free throws. Lakers are settling down and figuring out how to use their height. Pau got a nice offensive rebound on a missed free throw by Bynum. LAL 12, PHX 10.

5:49 – Bynum gets a three point play. Rumors of his hibernation are being debunked a little here. He’s finding his height useful here against the smaller Suns players. Who would have thunk it?

1:55 – Jared Dudley throws a post entry pass to Josh Powell. I bet he wishes he had ctrl+z available there. LAL 20, PHX 20

1:30 – Whoa! Ammo nails a nice looking threeball. Sign him up for the three point contest at all-star weekend! Okay, maybe not yet. But hitting the long ball is helpful in opening up the middle for the bigs. LAL 23, PHX 20.

0:00 – Steve Nash pays himself some royalties at the end of the first after throwing a patented left-handed pass from the top of the key to Lopez who gets the shooter’s bounce as the lights go red. LAL 23, PHX 25.

2nd Quarter

Lakers defense has been pretty active but a few mistakes and missed communication have led to some easy layups/dunks. They’ll need to tighten that up and continue to find ways to improve the offense.

11:15 – Louis Ahmandson rides his bike to the scorer’s table to check in. Almost immediately he gets to watch Academy Award winning acting by Channing Frye as he mimes a tall person being hit by a sledgehammer in the chest as Gasol backed him down.

10:27 – The bench is doing well here. And by well, I mean they are struggling mightily. More ctrl+z material as Channing Frye tries the tomahawk. With furious anger he throws the ball down it goes straight up. And over the backboard. Dunk Fail. LAL 23, PHX 32.

9:12 – Farmar gets his Ariza on by knocking the ball out of a passing lane, takes the ball to the hoop. But then, he gets his Lamar on and throws the ball out of bounds. Farmar had Mr. Fantastic (Shannon) running with him but threw it about 4 feet behind him. LAL 25, PHX 35.

8:12 – A couple minutes ago, Lamar had his hand smashed in between his crotch and Barbosa’s backside (don’t ask) and has some sprained fingers on his right hand. We’ll see if Kobe points to his own broken finger and tells Lamar to man up. LAL 27, PHX 39.

5:02 – Bynum is forced to hold down the bench due to foul trouble.

4:48 – Kobe threw up a wonderfully ugly airball. It’s easy to blame the finger here. That finger should be admonished. Has one entry ever said the word ‘finger’ so many times?

3:16 – Suns shooting 41% so far, and brick it up nicely here. Hard to talk too much trash. Lakers are shooting below 35%. LAL 38, PHX 48.

2:30 – Kobe reattached his finger to his hand and immediately stroked two jumpers. Just as we should remember to appreciate Lamar, of course we should not forget Kobe’s evolution as a player and LAL 43, PHX 48.

1:56 – Amar’e dunks the crap out of the ball. Too bad the ball didn’t get the memo. It bounces out past the three point line. He and Channing Frye work on designing membership cards. LAL 45, PHX 48.

0:10 – It turned into the Amar’e and Kobe show here at the end. Kobe has hit 10 of the Lakers last 12 points and Amar’e has the last 10. Why did anyone else even suit up tonight? LAL 50, PHX 54.

0:02 – Lakers take Kurt’s advice and make Steve Nash a scorer. He obliges by drawing a foul on DJ Mbenga under the hoop with 2 seconds to go. Dear Mbenga, you don’t need to jump to block the shot of a 36 year old 6’0” point guard with no vertical. Shoot, I wouldn’t need to jump to block it. LAL 50, PHX 56.

3rd Quarter

11:10 – Channing Frye hits a beautiful shot from outside. He “nets” two points only, however, because his toes were on the line. LAL 50, PHX 58.

10:00 – Lakers and Suns are “hot” here to open. The teams have combined for only two misses in 8 shots. Mr. Nash had an unorthodox fading jumper from the wing. LAL 54 PHX 64.

8:58 – I enjoyed this possession. I’d characterize it like a nice red wine. With enough space and air, the offense worked well. Pau drew the attention of multiple defenders and Lamar took advantage by cutting to the middle. LAL 58, PHX 64.

7:37 – Adam Morrison looking like a seasoned veteran. Pau dishes the ball off to him block to block after Ammo recognizes he has Steve Nash in the post. It would have been fun to see Adam throw down a hammer there. I’m not sure he’s capable but I would be inordinately entertained. LAL 62, PHX 67.

5:15 – En tu Ojo! Steve Nash drills a three straight down the tube over the outstretched tentacle of The Spaniard. LAL 64, PHX 73.

4:51 – Derek loses his cool a little. After a blocking foul he pushes Nash out of the way.  Good call. Nash hits the T. LAL 66, PHX 74.

3:58 – Lakers are reaching vaunted heights here. They’re going to give up a four point play. Channing Frye hits a three and fisher gets called for a foul underneath.

3:39 – A nice little run here for the Suns (if you’re a suns fan) as they are now up by a whole bunch after some sloppy play and a Jason Richardson three pointer. LAL 66, PHX 82.

2:48 – Lakers try and stop an 11-0 run as Kobe misses with his left but Odom tips in the putback. LAL 68, PHX 84.

1:18 – Kobe wins the battle with Frye but his face loses.

0:56 – OOOooo. Amar’e absolutely demolishes the rim with a dunk. He just ran by Bynum and then threw it THROUGH the basket. Actually reminiscent of Dwight Howard’s superman dunk a couple years ago.

0:00 – Kobe gets the ball (UGLY miss by “shooter” Channing Frye) with 6 seconds to go and races down the court. Unfortunately he’s not 19 anymore and his layup is blocked. Great hustle by three Suns players to get back and contest it. LAL 77, PHX 89.

4th Quarter

11:55 – Chants of “Beat LA” rain down. Jared Dudley hits a nice corner three. Lakers are looking a little umm..sad out there. LAL 77, PHX 92.

10:39 – Dear Sasha,  I’ll send you a postcard from the rim. Please give my best to my wake. I’ve left it for you. Regards, Leandro Barbosa. In two steps Barbosa had him beat so bad Sasha gave up and just went down to the offensive end.

9:31 – Timeout called. For those of you who believe in The Secret, now would be a good time to start Secreting or whatever it’s called. LAL 84, PHX 98.

9:21 – Jeebs! Dudley just rakes Bynum across the wrist and the refs call a jump ball. I’m not sure how that qualifies as a jump ball. It gets more awesome. Dudley has to go against Bynum but can’t outjump him. So he does what anyone who’s ever gone against a giant does. He waits for Bynum to tap it backwards and then intercepts it. I’m not sure what the rule is but the refs let it go. I’m not sure that the Lakers can complain about the refs missing two calls when they have barely shown up tonight.

6:40 – After a Dudley three and a Barbosa jumper it’s time to shut this thing down before I stab myself in the pancreas with a macbook. If the Lakers make some sort of miraculous recover, I shall make sure to update and credit to you Secreters. LAL 89, PHX 108

Happy New Year everyone! Don’t take this one too hard. It just wasn’t meant to be.

Preview & Chat: The Phoenix Suns

Kurt —  December 28, 2009

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Records: Lakers 24-5 (1st in West) Suns 19-12 (5th in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 107.3 (14th in league) Suns 114.4 (1st in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 99.3 (1st in league) Suns 110.8 (27th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Suns: Steve Nash, Jason Richardson, Grant Hill, Amare Stoudemire, Channing Frye

The Lakers Coming in:No Ron Artest tonight, he was not cleared by doctors to play. This is a head injury, nothing to mess around with long term (just ask the NFL… what, they say nothing is wrong? Riiiiiight.). Get Ron Ron better, that’s what matters.

This means the Lakers will go extra big with Odom starting against the small Suns (who play well at home).

Great post from Kevin over at TrueHoop on how much you can really take from a regular season loss:

If I’m the Lakers, I want to use this loss to the Cavs to better understand why my team entered Sunday night tied for 15th in the NBA with the Houston Rockets in offensive efficiency rating. How can a team as long and skilled in the post as the Lakers have this much trouble finishing at the rim? Is there something amiss with the spacing, even though the unit operates in a system that thrives on space? Are the Lakers becoming needlessly impatient trying to pound the ball inside instead of drawing defenders to the perimeter, which would get them cleaner looks underneath? Addressing these questions over the next 50 games seems like a very doable exercise.

The Suns Coming in: After a hot start to the season, the Suns have cooled off and are a pedestrian 4-6 in their last 10 games.

West All Star staring center Amare Stoudemire (and you know that grates on Bynum) continues to play well, averaging 22 a game in the last 10 shooting 54% from the floor, while adding 10 rebounds. Steve Nash continues to play amazingly well, also averaging 22 a game in the last 10 but shooting 64% (eFG%) and 40.9% from three. Plus, he can still pass as well as anyone who has played the game.

Outside of those two however the Suns contributions have been less consistent. Channing Frye can shoot the three, Dudley has his moments, but overall the shooting of the Suns has slumped off. And when you don’t play good defense, you can’t have shooting slumps.

The Suns will have the lightning quick Leandro Barbosa back tonight.

Blogs and links: A couple good Suns blogs out there, Valley of the Suns and Bright Side of the Suns.

Keys to game: In the Lakers two previous wins this season over the Suns, they were at Staples catching Phoenix in the second game of a back-to-back. That will not be the case tonight, and I expect this one to be closer.

The Lakers still know the secrets to beating the Suns. Just to recap in short:

• Pound the ball inside on offense, and have the bigs run the floor and get good deep position. If the Suns double, make them pay.

• Let Steve Nash dribble and be a jump shooter but try to cut off the penetration where he kicks out to an open Hill or Richardson for the three — if Nash scored 20+ but the other Suns do not get involved offensively they are not as good a team.

• Do not run with them. Take layups and attack the basket on fast breaks, but no PUJITs. See point number one about pounding the ball inside.

• Do not let Leandro Barbosa get going. That means cutting off the outlet pass to him — if you let him get the ball and a head of steam to half court you are not going to catch or contain him. Stop him before he starts.

• Defend the three-point line.

Where you can watch: 6: pm start, you can watch on Channel 9 here in LA and listen on 710 ESPN radio.

Tracking Andrew Bynum

Kurt —  December 28, 2009

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What is up with Andrew Bynum’s shot? In his last three games he is shooting 38.5% at the rim, although he is 2-4 from the rim out to 10 feet (Bynum rarely shoots beyond that range). In the last five games that improves to 57.9% at he rim (thanks to a good showing of 5 of 6 against Detroit) but that number is still low for what you would hope he could do. And this doesn’t even bring up the questions of rebounds and defense.

Things can change fast, the back-to-back that starts tonight is one where Bynum can break out — the Suns and Warriors cannot handle him on the block, he has had success there before. These are the games that could boost his confidence.

What needs to change? Last night I rewatched the last two Lakers games, simply tracking Bynum, and here are a few notes:

• He’s just missing shots he can make. For the most part, these are not terrible shots, they are 5 to 9 foot jump hooks or other shots where he is single and sometimes double covered, but stuff he can make. He’s just not. Call it a shooting slump or a confidence issue or if you want blame Dr. Facilier’s black magic (hey, I have young daughters, what movie did you think I watched this weekend?). Whatever the reason, he is missing shots he can make.

Perfect example, the Lakers first possession against the Kings: Gasol is out at the three point line and feeds Bynum on the left mid-block, then makes his cut baseline and moves through. Bynum waits for the double but it never comes hard (Kobe has slid over as the three point release for Bynum and people are afraid to double off Kobe for some reason), so Bynum makes his move to the middle on Spencer Hawes and gets a good look 8 footer that rims out (Gasol tips it in).

• At times he seems to try to do a little too much. Not trusting the simple jump hook to fall, there are moments he seems to try to put on a couple moves when one would do. Again against Hawes on Boxing Day, Bynum had the ball on the low block and tried a fake middle, spin back through move but Hawes does a good job just keeping a body on a body. Bynum drops the ball, picks it up and tries to dribble again and gets called for it.

• On defense, he has been inconsistent at protecting the rim, and had some bad luck. A couple times he was back on Tyreke Evans and forced him to alter his shot, it’s just that Evans is a wizard and makes them anyway. But then there was when Ime Udoka drives and Bynum picks him up forcing him baseline, but Udoka stopped, spun back into the paint and with a head fake got Bynum up and out of position, The result was basically a layup.

• Drew is passing, and I don’t just mean that beautiful three-quarter court baseball pass to Kobe last game.

If the double team comes early, Bynum usually recognizes it and makes the pass to the right relief point (and often good shots ensue). But if the double comes once he puts the ball on the floor and starts his move, he is pretty likely to shoot, once his mind is made up he just goes.

• Bynum’s one basket against Sacramento is something I’d like to see him do more of (and get touches that way). He is the big on the weak side of the triangle and when the ball swings out top again he goes from low to high post and gets the ball from Adam Morrison at the elbow. Ammo then runs the standard little rub cut off he big — essentially a pick and roll action — and Bynum hands the ball off to him, but now both defenders go out on Ammo to trap and cut him off (I’m not sure that was great player recognition by the Kings), so Bynum rolls to the hoop, gets the pass back and has a clear path. I think he can be effective in that role more.

Preview & Chat: The Sacramento Kings

Kurt —  December 26, 2009

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Records: Lakers 23-5 (1st in West) Kings 13-15 (13th in West)
Offensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 107.5 (15th in league), Kings 109.1 (9th in league)
Defensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 99.4 (2nd in league) Kings 110.4 (27th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Kings: Tyreke Evans, Donte Green, Omar Casspi, Jason Thompson, Spencer Hawes

Talking Lakers at NBA Breakdown: The NBA Breakdown is talking Lakers today and they have two interviews up: One with Jeanie Buss and one with me (done prior to yesterday’s game). Check it out.

Ron Artest Out: Ron Artest tripped over a box and will now miss the Lakers Boxing Day game. He was at home last night and tripped over a box and down a flight of stairs. He was taken to a hospital, got stitches in the back of his head and on his left elbow. He was released last night and will visit with a neurologist today (Saturday) and any decisions on the Lakers Monday/Tuesday games will be based on that.

It will be interesting to see what Phil Jackson does here. He likely starts Odom at the three and goes big. But he can play Shannon Brown at the two, have him guard Evans, and slide Kobe to the three.

The Kings Coming In: Do not think the Kings are just a give me win, they are 4-6 in their last 10 and that includes taking the team that just thumped the Lakers (the Cavs) to overtime. They also had that great comeback against the Bulls — most teams down 35 with 18 minutes left and on the road roll over, and they fought back and won. That says this team is building something.

If the voting started today, Tyreke Evens would be rookie of the year. He has taken on the Dwyane Wade role for the Kings, as the guy with the ball in his hands who has to score and create for the other team. He is big and strong – 6’6” and he can bull rush you or beat you with quicks. He gives the Kings a player to really build around (although as a two it may mean Kevin Martin is on the move).

Also, Casspi has been a great surprise for the Kings. There were a lot of questions about how developed his game was. I’m not sure what the scouts were looking at, although he looked solid but not THIS good go me at Summer League. He has shown range all over the floor, you can’t leave the guy anywhere on the court. He also hustles on defense and is a solid rebounder. Just a good rookie.

By the way, they still really hate the Lakers in Sacramento.

Keys to game: The Kings have one of the very best NBA blogs out there with SacTown Royalty. Tom Ziller is a hero of mine. Also, Zach at Cowbell Kingdom is doing great work.

Keys to game: For the Lakers, it’s going to start with stopping Evans and his penetration. He shoots 58% when he gets to the rim, but if the Lakers big can cut off the path then he becomes a weak shooter — from the rim out to 10 feet he shoots 29%, from 10-15% it is 13%. He also is not a good three point shooter. Make him a jump shooter, keep him away from the rim. That means the Lakers bigs need to rotate.

The other deciding factor tonight may be the Pau Gasol/Jason Thompson matchup at the four. Thompson can be the kind of physical defender that gives Gasol difficulty. Even so, the Lakers still need to work the offense more through him and less in the ugly isolation stuff we saw against the Cavs. The Lakers need to run the offense.

Along those lines, the Lakers have the height advantage — especially with Odom moving into the starting lineup — will be hard for the Kings to match. The Lakers need to run the offense inside-out. Pass it in the post, cut off of that, kick-out if the double comes but repost sometimes. Just run the offense. The Kings are not a good defensive team, exploit them, make them pay.

What I really want to see is the focus and the effort of the team tonight.

Where you can watch: 7 p.m. start on KCAL here in Los Angeles, and of course ESPN 710 radio.

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Last year, the Boston Celtics came in to Christmas Day as the defending champs and a team with just a couple losses — they came in the best team in the NBA. And the Lakers thumped them in crunch time. Thumped them good.

The Celtics went on to lose six of their next eight. They were never quite the same team after that (although clearly injuries added to this). They were never really a title threat.

The Lakers are the defending champs. They had the best record in the Association. They got thumped by a contender on Christmas day.

I don’t care about the one game. One game in December will not matter five and six months from now, when the games do matter. What I want to see is how they respond to this loss the next couple of weeks. Does it shake their confidence or to do they shake it off? This is the biggest test so far this season. Let’s see if they respond like real champions, the kind that repeats.


The Lakers actually got to the rim more than the Cavs — the Cavs had 24 shots at the rim, the Lakers 31. The difference is the Cavs shot 79% at the rim, the Lakers 52%. Close out the easy ones, something the Lakers have struggled with for a couple games now.

Regarding the referees, what bothered me more than the calls was how the Lakers dealt with it. And how poorly they dealt with it. Very un-champion like.

Zephid added this about the game:

1.) Off the ball movement
I’m pretty sure the Triangle offense is predicated on off-ball movement and spacing, and our team sure didn’t have a lot of it today. I saw a lot of trying to force the ball into the post; this led to a number of easy turnovers when guys like Delonte West and Jamario Moon just jumped up and intercepted the entry pass into the post. The triangle has built-in releases in case the post pass is not there, but our guys just held onto the ball way too long, eating up the shot clock, and then forced way too many bad passes.

Similarly, the Cavs off ball movement was superb, which got a lot of open dunks for Lebron, Hickson, Moon, and Varejao. Guys like Artest, Kobe, Brown, and Farmar got killed on off ball screens and back door screens. Then, our bigs were either too slow on the rotation or weren’t in the proper position to help. Pretty sure it wasn’t Mike Brown, but somebody on the Cavs coaching staff deserves some credit, because the Lakers seemed genuinely unable to adapt to these off ball movements.

2.) Post Play
On defense, Shaq really punished Andrew. Out of anyone in the league outside of Kendrick “Babies for Breakfast” Perkins, I think Andrew has the best chance of taking on Shaq 1v1. But, Shaq repeatedly got good position in the post and made Andrew pay with a plethora of dunks. And as always, the activity of Varejao was difficult for Gasol and Odom to handle.

On offense, both Bynum and Gasol got manhandled by Shaq, Varejao, and Big Z. Andrew was definitely not aggressive in his post moves, which given his ineptitudes with passing, made his post game very inefficient. Part of the blame goes to the perimeter guys for not properly spacing the floor, but when Andrew gets the ball, he needs to show Shaq he’s the boss now.

Pau, on the other hand, seemed really bothered by Big Z. A number of his shots were blocked/altered near the rim, and his mid-range shot looked even worse. This is a game where we really needed Odom to bring some energy (much like the game in Cleveland last year in February), but he just didn’t bring it on the boards or on defense.

3.) Pace
The Lakers played way too slow. Our front court is somewhere between 4 and 500 times faster than the Cavs front court, and we didn’t take advantage of this. The only guy who had a couple of good post positions was Artest, and that was when he was pissed for not getting fouls called for him. However, our backup guards, like Farmar and Brown, forgot that when you push the pace, that doesn’t mean you should take the first open look you get. Farmar and Brown both put up some pretty awful shots in semi-transition, where I would’ve preferred for them to wait for help and get it into the post.

4.) The Triangle

To the Lakers: Run it. Through Pau. A lot.
That’s all that needs to be said.