Preview & Chat: The Chicago Bulls

Kurt —  December 15, 2009

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Records: Lakers 18-4 (1st in West) Bulls 8-14 (11th in East)
Offensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 108.5 (10th in league), Bulls 98.0 (28th in league)
Defensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 99.7 (2nd in league) Bulls 107.4 (18th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Bulls: Derrick Rose, John Salmons, Loul Deng, Brad Miller, Joakim Noah

The Lakers Coming in: First, Kobe is feeling better and will be playing tonight for the Lakers, the stomach virus seems to be gone. For those of you wondering how he gets these bugs, you need to have kids to truly understand. I love my daughters more than anything, but they are a walking petri dish.

Speaking of players feeling better (not the best transition ever), has a very interesting interview with Lakers Trainer Gary Viti up that is well worth the read: No other NBA trainer has held his current job longer. How do you feel about being one of the league’s elder statesmen in what you do?

GV: I consider myself one of the last of ‘the old new guys.’ There have been trainers around since the gladiators. But the modern days of athletic training probably began in the late ’70s, OK? When there were only a few schools that had a degree in sports medicine. So when I broke in [in 1979-80 at the University of Utah], it was the modern science of training but there were still a lot of the old-timers around. It was a good combination for me, because there’s no replacement for experience. I learned a lot from the old guys, but then I had a more modern education. That’s your official job. Do you have any unofficial roles with the Lakers?

GV: I’m also guy who kind of connects our upstairs and downstairs here. Downstairs is the players, the equipment guys, all of our therapists, our performance coaches. Upstairs is our management team, whether it’s Mitch Kupchak, Ronnie Lester, Jim Buss and in many ways all the coaches, who have their offices up there. They come down for practice but then they go back up there.

I’m the eyes and ears down here all the time. That doesn’t mean I tell [management] everything. Sometimes I go up there and say something, and Phil or Mitch will ask, ‘Who?’ And I’ll go, ‘I’m not telling you that. I’m just telling you blah-blah-blah.’ And then sometimes I’ll tell them who, what, when and where. And sometimes I won’t say anything if I think things will just work themselves out. It’s my tenure and experience, and that management has to trust me that I’ll tell them what they need to know and nothing more than that.

I also have these conversations with the players. I say, ‘Look, I’m telling you right now that there are times I go up there and tell ’em stuff. So do the right thing.’ They know there are times that I protect them. So everybody sort of has to trust me. One of the things I tell them is, I’ll never lie to you. But I’ll also never lie for you.

The Bulls Coming in: Since we last saw the Bulls, the team has just about self-destructed. To get some insight as to what happened, and who is at fault, Matt over at Bulls By the Horns answered a few questions for me.

1) Last playoffs Derek Rose was carving up the Celtics defense like a Christmas ham, this season his numbers are down across the board. He is getting fewer shots at the rim and more in the midrange. What is going on here?

Simply put, the Bulls have no spacing. Part of this (a big part) is the loss of Ben Gordon. Another part is the fact that the Bulls’ “shooters” can’t shoot (32 percent three-point shooting for John Salmons, 28 percent for Kirk Hinrich, and 30 percent for Jannero Pargo, who’s barely playing). Opposing teams are clogging the paint or helping on defense early and often because they have nothing to fear from Chicago’s long-range shooting. Of course, Rose was injured to start the season, which limited his explosive ability in the early going. But the bigger problem is that the Bulls cannot spread the floor as presently constructed. Unless somebody — anybody — starts knocking down shots from long range.

Pargo wasn’t unleashed on the Celtics until garbage time, but went 4-for-8 in less than nine minutes of PT, including one trey and a couple long jumpers. I’m not sure why Vinny Del Negro is leaving him, forgotten, at the end of the bench.

2) Vinny is taking a lot of heat for this year’s squad. Is that fair? Is the long-term plan for this team really about who they can add this summer through free agency?

Some of the criticisms of Vinny are entirely fair. He doesn’t appear to have a clear, consistent vision for the team. There’s no identity. Sometimes he says they need to run, other times he says they need to “gang rebound.” Well, running teams can’t gang rebound, can they? So which is it? I don’t know. I’m not sure Vinny knows either.

But in Vinny’s defense, this is a poorly constructed team. First off, as everybody knows, the Bulls do not have a low post scorer. Luol Deng can occasionally post up, but whether it’s a coaching decision or he doesn’t like mixing it up in the paint, Deng rarely posts. Second, the Bulls didn’t enter the season with any consistent three-point shooters. And I mean guys who have consistently hit a high percentage of their long-distance shots over multiple seasons. Hinrich and Salmons were great last season, but that might have been a classic “one-season tease” (and it sure seems to be at this point). Plus, as I pointed out, Rose was injured to start the season, Tyrus Thomas has only appeared in four games so far, and Hinrich has had a variety of injuries that have inhibited him and forced him to miss time.

So while Vinny has by no means been great, or above average, or even mediocre…he doesn’t have much to work with. Let’s not forget that Doc Rivers looked like a rotten coach and the people of Boston were ready to run him out of town before Danny Ainge gave him Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to work with.

As it is, everything hinges on the Bulls either making a major move in the already legendary (even though it hasn’t happened yet) Summer of 2010, or making some sort of major trade by this season’s deadline. Either way, by this time next season, I’d be willing to bet at least half of this year’s roster is playing somewhere else (or not at all).

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.

Keys to game: The Bulls try to generate a lot of their points two ways. One is through transition — give them easy buckets and they get rolling. The Lakers did a good job shutting this down last meeting, something they need to do again (make shots, grab offensive boards and run back down the court).

The other way is through dribble penetration, usually from Rose. Lately, the Bulls have been going to wide spread formations to facilitate this, but they stop their effectiveness without a ton of help. One reason, as Matt mentioned, is they can’t hit an outside shot consistently so teams can collapse. The other reason is that Rose has fallen in love with the running floater shot, which is not his strong suit. He will likely try to send a couple over Gasol and Bynum tonight. The Lakers should let him take those, just don’t foul.

Last meeting, the Bulls really struggled to defend the Lakers from the post. They tried to double Kobe and he picked them apart. Plus, the Miller/Noah frontline cannot stop Gasol and Bynum, so the bigs should get their touches. What I will say for Noah is he hustles on the boards, the Lakers need to put a body on him.

Where you can watch: This game is on Channel 9 here in Los Angels starting at 5. Or, check out ESPN 710 where the soothing voice of Luke Walton will be missed (welcome back Mychal).



182 responses to Preview & Chat: The Chicago Bulls

  1. This one’s for Warren!

  2. The game is also on WGN for anyone in the midwest that gets that station (I get it with my cable in NE).

    Should be a big game for Pau and Bynum offensively. Whoever is guarding Noah needs to box him out. If the Lakers limit the offensive rebounds it shouldn’t be a close game, since I don’t think the bulls can score on the Lakers unless a couple people get really hot from the outside. \

    I always though that Heinrich would be a good fit for the triangle, but his shooting has been so horrid this year. Hes shooting worst than Fish. Hasn’t he had some hand injuries that last couple years? Maybe that has affected his shooting.

  3. So at least we can now say with certainty that Sasha’s struggles aren’t due to heroin addiction (Vitti would have told on him). I, for one, am relieved.

    Still can’t rule out the psychological effects of dating over his head, though. That just leads to contentedness, which doesn’t help cometetively.

  4. Ryan, the brothers over at the Laker Blog got into this a little today. Kirk is banged up, but at 28 is he starting to regress or is this a blip? What his shooting last year a blip? What I feel certain about is that the Lakers are not going to pay out $9 mil a year to find out.

  5. Mychal Thompson will be back alonside Spero for tonight. Luke’s time behind the mic is over… for now…

  6. Mark, you’re right, Utah was the second game. My bad. Change being made.

  7. Speaking of Luke behind the mic, did anyone catch his broadcasts with Spero? I missed them unfortunately; did he provide any cool insight?

  8. Tonights game is the beginning of a tough stretch for LA. With back to backs in 8 of our next 9 games, this is a true test if LA is head and shoulders above the rest of the league. The home friendly schedule at the start of the season had LA looking like the team to beat, lets hope it looks that way in the next two weeks after the dust has settled.

  9. That interview with Vitti was awesome.. More nuggets than a MacDonalds.. and on all sorts of stuff.. fittest/toughest/most durable laker.. shaq vs kareem.. players hiding in the toilet stuffing themselves with hot dogs..

    Just one quote everyone should read

    ‘When God gave me this disease, he gave it to the right person. I am going to beat this, I am going to do something good with it and I’m going to help other people.’ – Magic Johnson

  10. lakersfansincemagic December 15, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    I too would like some insight on Luke’s broadcasting performance. I was only able to catch a glimpse of what was said.

    He said things like Tower #1 and Tower #2 (referencing Pau & Bynum).. He referenced the scouting the report a few times on what the Lakers are trying to do..

    He recognized Minnesota’s triangle offense.. and every play they’re executing.

    Anyone else would like to add?

  11. RE Luke’s broadcasting: I saw this link over at TrueHoop. It doesn’t have a lot of info, but Spero had some nice things to say about Luke:

  12. Kurt makes an awesome point about having young kids. Of all the things “they don’t tell you” about parenting, one of the biggest is “be prepared to be sick with some strain of cold or flu at least 50% of the time.”

    Kids have absolutely no idea how to contain an illness. My 3 year old daughter will cough directly in my face without thinking twice.

  13. Any update on how serious Kobe’s finger injury is?

    If the injury is serious enough to impact his game, are we better off by having Kobe take care of it now – even if it means he’ll miss the All Star Game?

  14. Manny, let’s see how much it impacts his game. He had a bad night in Utah the night after the injury, but the entire team had a bad night in Utah. The next four games should tell us more. But the odds of Kobe getting surgery in season seem incredibly long to me.

  15. Kobe is not going to get surgery on it, I think. I don’t need Donaghy to tell me that this is a good bet, too.

    Still, I hope one of these days it hits him and hope he stops to think about preserving his body more and at the same time make his teammates happy by giving them opportunity to learn.

    Even if it’s in a loss. Be like PJ. Force-feed Bynum and Pau and see what happens, although not as blatantly as the PHX game.

  16. Surgery is not an option on Kobe’s finger. There is no surgery that will speed up the healing process. The finger will be 100% in 4-6 weeks.

  17. I reached out a little and was told this: Kobe’s finger is just going to hurt for the next few weeks, and sometime around the end of January it will start to heal on its own. Surgery would not speed the process that much and he would miss considerable time. So, it is what it is, so to speak,

  18. Well, I’ll take a broken finger over the torn ACL they predicted for Kobe in Flash Forward (for those of you who watch it) 😉

  19. “Surgery is not an option on Kobe’s finger. There is no surgery that will speed up the healing process. The finger will be 100% in 4-6 weeks.”


    Thanks. Would it heal faster with rest?
    Also, @17, at the risk of sounding callous, I assumed it will hurt, but the basketbal issue is its functionality in terms of helping him to control/shoot the ball.

  20. WhiteLightnin’ December 15, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Luke’s broadcasting was about what I expected. He provided good insight to the team and specific plays but there were many times when Spiro would set him up and I was ready for the impending response only to hear awkward silence. All things considered, very entertaining, especially the missed cues.

  21. I got the impression (this was not a detailed conversation what with game time approaching) that functionality was really a matter of pain tolerance. Basically, with the finger in the foam splint thing, it’s pretty stable, it’s just a matter of what he can tolerate in terms of pain and adjust to in terms of control. Like I said, we’ll see how it plays out.

    MannyP13: The worst part is that the flash forward is to April, so Kobe would go down in the playoffs. The interesting question is, if this Flash Forward really had happened, and you were the Lakers who had a playoff game fall on that day (or the day before, since people are reading about it in a newspaper), would you sit him for that game? (Wow, is that an off topic tangent.)

  22. WhiteLightnin’ December 15, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Tried to edit, but ran out of time. RE: Sasha starting. Any player would benefit from more time with the starters, I don’t think this is the issue. The issue is whether the possibility of hot shooting from Sasha outweighs all the benefits that are brought to the table by the guys taking his time. Defense (as opposed to fouling), ball-handling, decision-making, dunking, lack of complaining… All should weigh into PJ’s decision, not just whether Shannon’s shooting is worse than Sasha’s.

  23. I’m only getting tonight’s game in low-def! Oh the agony. DirecTV, I thought we had something special.

  24. Finally a game I can watch on local TV.

    Can we trade for the Bulls PA announcer?

  25. Mike Trudell posted this video of Kobe practicing his shot today:

    Looks alright for me. Obviously gametime is different, with pace, contact, etc. but if time has taught us anything its that if Kobe can practice it he can accomplish it.

  26. Oh wait, the game is like starting isn’t it? Lovely. All those home games made me forget that “East Coast Road Trip” means “Catch the final quarter”

  27. @25 Thanks for the vid.

    14-4 Bulls. Nice.

  28. JD, you and I are in the same boat, save tonight I will miss it all live. Thank you Tivo.

  29. Kobe is unstoppable, unbreakable, and unapproachable (in skill).

  30. j.d. – Welcome to my world, except the opposite. This is one of the few games that’s on time for me. I used to stay up until 1-ish to see the end of each Lakers game even as a wee lad back in elementary school.

    Lmao that Fisher vs Miller battle was one of the slowest face-offs I’ve ever seen. Watching those two run the floor together was amusing, to say the least.

  31. WhiteLightnin’ December 15, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    Off topic: T-Mac will play about 7 minutes in the first half tonight.

  32. derek fisher the worst fast break guard ever

  33. Kobe, what finger?

  34. 31

    Same here. East coast games are usually the only ones I can watch at a reasonable hour.

    Looks to me like Kobe’s finger is OK. A stop or 2 would be nice though…

  35. wow kobe is unconsious, shame that gasol is putting up a lame defensive effort

  36. It looks like the splint on Kobe’s finger is not affecting his shot as he is hot from the field

  37. kobe activated god mode early

  38. Kobe putting on a clinic!

    The United Center still looks packed. Impressive fans around here. I’m shocked every time I see Miami’s arena, especially with a supreme talent like Wade.

  39. Kobe needs to learn that his Unstoppable Mode is like the Kai-o-ken. It can’t last indefinitely.

  40. The Bulls with five offensive rebounds on 11 missed shots.

    The good news is the Lakers scored 31 in the quarter. The bad news is they gave up 31. Time to tighten up the defense.

  41. Kobe is going for 50 tonight. You heard it here first!

    (I actually typed that up when Kobe still had 10… but forgot to enter it)

    Much respect to Gary Vitti. If you guys haven’t read the interview/Q&A with Vitti on, you should check it out.

    PS. Bynum’s close out effort (or lack thereof) pisses me off.

  42. 40

    Actually yes it can in Kobe’s case. Not that the Lakers should be relying on that, but still…

  43. Noah is a relentless beast.

  44. stuck up in Toronto tonight, any links to the game? been a whlie since I had to do this, so spoiled having a nice HD feed at home, but the wife did tivo it for when I’m home…just missing seeing the game is all.

  45. You’d think someone would show Artest game tape and politely point out that nothing good happens when he tries to post up. He seems oblivious. This reminds me of Fish’s PUJITs last year.

    Oh wow. Getting stripped by Brad Miller’s Hands of Lightning? A rare occurrence indeed.

  46. whats up with gasol he looks asleep

  47. December 15, 2009 at 5:51 pm
  48. wow noah is killing pau tonight

  49. How the heck does Brad Miller beat anyone off the dribble? It’s a constant source of bewilderment for me.

  50. Man, if we played a drinking game for every time Joel said “mid-range game,” or “two-man game,” or any phrase that ends in “game,” everyone would be plastered well before halftime.

  51. Time seems to freeze whenever Brad Miller drives.

  52. As those last few plays show, players (especially Lamar) cut much harder when Pau has the ball, because he repeatedly finds them.

    Pau is like Steve Nash. Continually makes the right play.

  53. With 2:37 remaining until halftime, the Lakers are only rebounding 55% of Chicago’s missed FGs. That pretty much sucks.

  54. 51

    Just be glad you aren’t listening to the Bulls commentators.

  55. Random thought: does Pau ever foul?

    Dude is Tim Duncan-esque as far as putting your arms straight up to bother the shooter without fouling.

  56. I wonder if Drew still being on the bench is some sort of message from Phil regarding rebounding.

  57. Dude (abides), do you have a link?

  58. How exactly was that a foul on Lamar?

  59. VDN is a bit trigger happy with timeouts gonna regret it if the games close

  60. Does anyone notice that whenever Kobe is defending a fast break by himself these days, he likes just faking the challenge but refrain from contesting just before leaving the ground?

    I get the concept of scaring the opposing player into rushing a shot or whatever, but the last time I remember him actually challenging was the block on Kirilenko early in the 2008 season (before Pau).

    Now that it’s getting so repetitive and predictable, no one’s getting scared of it anymore.

    Nice dunk by Pau BTW.

  61. 58. Simonoid, sorry, I’m watching the game on TV, not online.

  62. Joel:

    Ignoring my quip about his slowness, Miller is able to get to the rim as he is a capable jump shooter, and upon ball rotation, defenders bite on his pump fakes, leaving him driving lanes – it’s not as if he is crossing people up, i.e., taking people off the dribble, in order to get to the bucket.

  63. two wide open threes missed by kobe and ron would have been nice

  64. 62

    Of course you’re exactly right, but the thing is, even after people bite on his pump-fakes he still looks like he’s moving in slo-mo. Selling the fake is one thing, getting past the defender to the basket from 20 feet out is another. I just have to shake my head every time he pulls it off.

    In completely unrelated news, we have unconfirmed reports of a T-Mac sighting (on the court) in Houston tonight.

  65. Anyone else feel like Hot Rod talks just a little too softly?

  66. Simonoid – that’s a great point. He really does a great job of using his length defensively, very Duncan-esque.

  67. 65 – I was hoping for Joel & Hot Rod. Thanks though.

  68. Wow…Drew got hammered by Rose on that pass under the basket.

  69. Kobe having some trouble with free throws today.

    And Bynum got lost defensively again.

  70. hooray here comes kirk, kobe time

  71. kobe missed two free throws in a row….

    *waits for the apocalypse*

  72. Man the Bulls commentators really suck. Thought better of Red Kerr.

  73. I like these Bulls announcers. They’re not homers in the slightest. That was a clear block by Fish but they still gave him credit. They’ve been dishing out the Lakers praise all game long. Kerr was a better commentator, but also far more biased, and as a Lakers fan more difficult to listen to (for me).

  74. cant bynum catch the ball went straight to him

  75. 73

    I wouldn’t go that far (I thought Kerr was atrocious) but these guys are pretty bad as well.

  76. Bynum needs to put more of an effort into getting rebounds, chasing after them, etc. That’s twice now. First to Rose, then to the sideline.

  77. I’d like to see the end of the Ron Artest in the post experiment.

  78. #76, when Ron is in the post on an isolation, he can easily muscle his way in. Like Hot Rod just said, there was too much congestion.

    Do you guys think maybe Kobe has to “warm up” his injured finger?

  79. I hate how Ron tend to have the second/third when it come to shot attempt. I thought it suppose to be Kobe, Gasol, and then Bynum.

    Not, Kobe, Ron, Bynum

  80. Pau Gasol can barely get his shot off against Noah, but Ron Artest thinks he can score over Noah and whoever else happens to be waiting at the rim.

    Makes perfect sense to me.

  81. get the machine in we need somone who can shoot

  82. Phil is pissed.

  83. I’m watching the Chicago feed. The Chicago announcers have spent the last quarter explaining just how much better the Celtics are than the Lakers.

  84. I am suffering the same pain as emh101… is there a Laker feed somewhere?

  85. can you blame them? they watched the bulls get destroyed by 26 the other day

  86. I have never seen Kobe get pickpocketed this many times in one game. That finger is having an effect, even if its on his handling and not his shooting.

    Taj Gibson reminds me of that type of PF that doesn’t look too impressive on a team like the Bulls, but is perfect next to a dominant center. Someone like a Haslem (although dissimilar games).

  87. wiseolgoat:
    I’m pretty sure the Bulls contributed to that nearly as much as the Celtics did…

    Holy crap, Kobe is unreal.

  88. And the Chicago color commentator REALLY doesn’t like Gasol.

  89. Pau didnt get on the charter for this trip…apparently

  90. I’m not saying the celts are better, but i can see how the announcers would reach that conclusion from watching these 2 games.

  91. that’s how you guard rose…

  92. Okay this is driving my absolutely crazy, so I have to vent. Pardon my language.

    Whose stone monkey thought it was a good idea to cut off the TOP AND THE BOTTOM OF THE SCREEN to adapt the feed to a widescreen TV!?! I WANT THE CLOCK AND SCOREBOARD YOU MORONS!

    Sorry. To have to follow the score on my laptop box score while watching the game on TV is the very height of adding insult to injury.


    isn’t that great though.

    I wish our big guys box out people.

  94. Well… we have won every close game this season but that was with Andrew Bynum on the floor. The only reason he was on the floor with Gasol against the Heat was because Odom got ejected. We will see if we can close out the Bulls without Bynum on the floor down the stretch.

  95. Five Bulls in double figures – Might be an issue with the Laker’s D.

    Noah is outplaying Gasol. Artest can’t buy a shot.

    Yeah, the Celtics looked a lot better the other night.

    Good thing this is December.

  96. ShanWOW! with the 3 and a dunk

  97. Let Shannon Dunk!

  98. Maybe that will light a fire under the team.

  99. omg right as I start watching, Andrew Bynum post up, kick out to Odom, repost back to Drew, then Drew puts up a terrible fade away turnaround jump shot. It’s as if God has blessed me.

  100. wow… bynum got his 3rd rebound and its the 4th qtr. good god…

  101. I keep thinking Shannon will become the next Kobe once Kobe retire, he have too many star quality.

  102. There will never be another Kobe. Just like there will never be another Jordan, Bird, or Magic. Kobe is unique.

  103. What’s Aaron going to say when he looks at Fisher’s +/- numbers and then sees Farmar’s and Brown’s? 🙂

  104. Okay that entire rebounding mess could have been avoided if Andrew had been in there from the start, going for the rebound.

  105. I’d like to see the head-to-head stats, but I’m pretty sure Brown has absolutely erased Rose on defense this game.

  106. Most of that is probably because of Brad Miller, someone that doesn’t post a lot.

  107. Bench mob showed up in the 4th. No excuse not to win this game.

  108. Third consecutive 20-rebound game for Gasol?

  109. Stop…Kobe…time? In a different kind of way, I guess.

    This is what we expected at the beginning of the year. As the defending champs, we’re going to get every team’s best effort. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the Bulls play defense like this.

    Our offense execution isn’t helping matters, but still.

  110. HOw many striaght turnovers by Kobe? Dude wants his 40 too much

  111. Wow. Maybe Kobe should just forget about passing for the rest of this game.

  112. Kobe . . .

  113. Kobe right now has roughly as many turnovers by himself as the entire team usually gets on a night. That finger must be bothering him…

  114. Kobe with the left hand shot puts the game away

  115. Can’t believe Gasol only got 8 shots.

  116. BOOBOO, Gasol has been a beast on the boards the last several games. Very impressive.

  117. Good thing Luck was on our side. Even though we won this, it is ugly. We would have lost if those Bulls’ layup fall.

  118. I know, I was wondering if he’d get 20 boards again. Those rebounds are good for two things: helping the Lakers win and helping me stay on top of my fantasy league =)

  119. I wonder if anyone has told Bynum that he is a 7 foot center and is supposed to rebound…

  120. it’s a shame about noah… he should be on a better team.

  121. Certainly not the prettiest win, but I’ll take it.

  122. love the bulls guys slaying lebron, really impressed with jordan and shannon tonight

  123. As I thought, his finger needed to warm up. Expect some cold starts from Kobe after halftimes, I guess.

  124. BOOBOO, Ha, ha. I bet Pau has been great for fantasy basketball these last games. Funny enough, I haven’t had a Laker on my fantasy team for the past two years. I’m embarrassed, I know.

  125. 124 – Careful. Criticize Bynum and the Bynumites around here will attack you.

    Did someone say Shannon Brown looks like the next Kobe? That’s an automatic ban, and I don’t even think Kurt bans.

    Is 3 consecutive 20-rebound games a Lakers record?

  126. #127, what do you mean (regarding “slaying LeBron” lol)?

  127. boo boo, the bulls announcers ripped Lebron for dancing and said Kobe and MJ would never do something dumb like that

  128. Kobe was really blackholish out there tonight. A couple of times his screener was wide open and Kobe missed the pass and instead tried to beat the double team and either turned the ball over or made a worse pass through traffic.

    If Andrew went after rebounds half as hard as he went after buckets, he’d be averaging 20 a game.

  129. James, Tyler,
    My husband was commenting on that as well, and we both found them funny about that part.

    I imagine the Bulls announcers have probably brought that dance up quite a bit, and it doesn’t surprise me. Lebron danced at the free throw line towards the end of a blow-out. I don’t care how he meant it, he should have realized it would be taken as a taunt, and shouldn’t have done it. I would not be the least surprised if he’s booed his next visit to Chicago.

    On the topic of tonight’s game, Kobe’s turnovers, Ron’s shooting %, and Andrews rebounding are all three unforgivable. Shape up, guys!

  130. The Lakers and Bulls combine to finish the game 6 of 31 from three. Artest had a tough night with his shot, 1 of 7 from three.

  131. thanks for the channelsurfing link it worked good! better than nothing anyway, which is what I was facing.
    nice to see the guys pull one out, outscoring the Bulls something like 22 to 11 in the 4th, yeah, win with D, when the O stalls, go to the D!

  132. Kurt, that 3-point stat is embarrassing to both teams.

    I think this was another example of the “4th quarter higher gear” style of play. Flip the switch in the start of the 4th, lock down and outscore.

    Something tells me that might not work on the Celtics or Magic.

  133. I think by and large you don’t see that kind of effort in the Celtics/Magic/Spurs/Christmas day games. But a Tuesday road game against a team you easily crushed a couple weeks back….

    Also, remember folks, road wins are rarely pretty things. Teams don’t roll over in front of their home fans, the effort level is often different. Expect more of these on the road, all that matters is the W.

  134. Oh, the Christmas game… that’s going to be the highlight of that day. Assuming we win, at least. 🙂

  135. Kobe learns to shoot with the foam.

    Maybe next game he’ll learn how to pass with the splint.

    If I’m the owner, you just have to love the dedication he brings… and the talent that capitalizes it.

    Scary stuff. Thank god not too many people are both talented and hard working, otherwise I might be out of a job.

  136. Mike Trudell of made this comment about Bynum’s 3 boards: “In fairness, AB was pulled away from hoop guarding Miller”

  137. More Mike Trudell tweets: “Reason Bynum isn’t getting10+ reb: Gasol. ‘Drew had at least 10 reb in 9-of-10 games to start season, not once since. Makes sense.”

  138. Can anyone good with the cap answer this for me?

    Is it true that a max extension is 25% of the salary cap? And if we estimate that the cap drops to $54 million, wouldn’t the value of a max contract be $13.5 for the first year? Or is that not how it works?

    I ask because Wade’s player option for next year is over $17 million. Would he actually be losing money (for that 1st year) if he opted out, because of the shrinking cap? That can’t be right, I think I’m missing something…

  139. The Gasol excuse for Bynum’s rebounds explains a minor drop off but not the huge dropoff, coupled with suddenly being outrebounded in every game.

  140. I suspect Kobe was going for the I-can-dominate-with-a-broken-finger-in-Jordan’s-house sort of performance, which led to too many turnovers. But still, a good game.

  141. Kurt,
    The only way that I would agree with that line of thinking is if Bynum is not trying as hard for rebounds now that Gasol is back. He just doesn’t put the effort into getting position.

  142. Extension, under the current agreement, is maxed at 105% of the previous salary or the salary of other players with same years of experience in the league.

    at least that’s what i remember from the ‘why Kobe hasn’t yet signed an extension’ article.

  143. 130.

    “Is 3 consecutive 20-rebound games a Lakers record?”

    Wilt averaged 21.1 rpg for the Lakers in 1968-69.

  144. 148 – I looked up the sentence I had read that triggered that question, and forgot that it was restricted to the last 14 years (Pau, Lamar, Vlade being the only consecutive Lakers 20-boarders). Thanks for the clarification.

    harold – But if you’re signing a new contract, it’s not tied to the old contract at all, right? It’s tied to the cap? I’m confused, and this shouldn’t be hard, it’s just the research that’s the problem.

  145. 143.

    According to NBA Salary Cap FAQ, “the salary in the first year of the extension is limited to 110.5% of the salary in the last year of the existing contract. However, it also can’t exceed the maximum salary* the player can receive if he were to sign a new contract that year as a free agent”.

    *35% of cap

  146. Sorry, can’t edit my comment, but actually the research is easy, I was looking in the wrong places.

    Harold – you were right, thanks. Here’s my understanding, Kurt or someone else can fix anything that’s wrong:

    The max for a 7-year player is 30% of the cap (prior to that, it’s 25% of the cap) or $11 mil, whichever is higher. So for Wade the new contract would start at $13.5. However, the catch is this – to protect players way over the league-wide max (like of Wade’s caliber), the max can never be below 105% of the last year of his previous contract. Therefore Wade’s can’t be less than $16.5 million. So, funnily enough, I guess Jermaine O’Neal’s max next year will actually be $22 million.

    That clears things up. Thanks Harold and Larry Coon.

  147. If not for Kobe this game was doomed.TG lakers have him.Would be unbearable to watch team winning 33 games.

  148. From Blog a Bulls game review:

    “I’m going over old territory, but why does Neil Funk insist on ripping players from opposing teams? I’m all for making fun of the less fortunate or able (in basketball, and in life!), but the Bulls are one of the worst teams in the league. Pau Gasol is miles better than any player the team has had in 10 years. Yet they spent the whole game ripping his play. Can’t they instead laud Joakim Noah for doing what he did against great players like Gasol? Neil Funk sucks and he’s blind. (alright, I did like him and King using Kobe’s performance to further rip dancin’ Lebron).”

    Overall good read, and when even the home team fans got enough of it, then you know there is something there…

  149. O boy, does reading those Bulls-blogs make you appreciate being a Laker-fan.

    This was not a pretty game, not an impressive game, Kobe is hurt, Bynum isn´t rebounding, but damn, the Bulls-fans aren´t sure if their team got up to face the champs, or to audition for a trade… actually most seem to be leaning towards the latter.

    Gotto hurt.

  150. why does the lakers keep getting outrebounded eveyr game?
    gasol excuse for Bynum is BS. bynum operates a lot closer to the hoop than Gasol…and even then, it doesn’t explain his constant games below 4 rebounds (for the last 5 games or something).
    And it is understandable for him to lower his rebounding rate is the Lakers are still rebounding the other team…but the fact that they keep getting OWNED on their own defensive glass means something is effing wrong with Bynum’s effort.

    Can anyone explain that?

  151. Just finished watching the game, Artest with a little over 45 minutes played, well he almost got to rest 3 minutes, huh. The Bulls are not that good of of team, right? Without Kobe doing what he does (even injured) we could easily have lost this game, but like it was said earlier, I will take the W. Here I go and eat crow again, you know, saying the rest of the team will have to pick up the slack for Kobe, in the next month or so, until he is back to at least 75%. Kobe is just not a normal human being on this planet. He picked up the slack for the rest of the team tonight. Nobody could buy a 3 point shot, from either team. This is Kobe’s 101, 40 point game, right?

  152. lakersfansincemagic December 16, 2009 at 1:23 am

    Mamba scored 42 points with 2 broken fingers on shooting hand… G.O.A.T.

  153. I’m actually glad the Lakers are on the road and having to struggle. We need to build in the toughness. The front part of this schedule was a little too easy.

    I’ve been down on Brown the last few games, props to him and Farmar for playing well last night.

  154. Kobe is indisputably the GOAT among those with 8 fingers. Yikes. Even Bulls fans were highly appreciative of his 1st Q performance.

    Now if they can get Pau some more shots, Bynum can rebound a little, and hit like 33% from 3s…. What was that German word that Sheldon used on TBBT? The grief you feel over the difference b/t the ideal world and the real world?

  155. GOAT = WILT

    That is all.

  156. Bynums rebound numbers looked bad, but the entire team rebounded poorly last night. Down the stretch, Chicago was pulling down wide open offensive rebounds for putbacks. Rebounding is a team effort.

    Did anyone else notice that the guys looked kinda stiff last night. Their legs didn’t seem to be moving. Bynum picked up an offensive foul for not moving his feet to get in position and throwing his elbows on a screen. Pau short-armed a couple of close ones because he wasn’t getting any lift. LO was barely bringin the ball across half court before 8 seconds. Ron was not even getting off the ground when shooting in the paint. Even Shannon Brown left the court in the 4th walking gingerly on his legs.

  157. Wilt was so far off the charts we don’t even think about it anymore – we just dismiss his accomplishments as being in another era.

  158. My vote for GOAT is Bill Russell.

    From the Wikipedia article: “Russell was the centerpiece of the Celtics dynasty that won eleven NBA Championships during Russell’s thirteen-year career.”

    He has more Championship Rings than fingers. If the point of the game is to win, and the goal of the season is the Championship, I can’t see how anyone else can compare to Russell, especially as his rival was Wilt, who he beat like a drum during his career.

    Russell was also the first African American head coach, and won his 9th, 10th, and 11th titles as a player-coach.

    Hall-of-Fame Lakers guard Jerry West stated, “If I had a choice of any basketball player in the league, my No.1 choice has to be Bill Russell. Bill Russell never ceases to amaze me.”

    Were Jordan or Kobe better offensive players? Without doubt.

    Was Wilt a more amazing talent and physical specimen? Certainly.

    But, in my opinion, Bill Russell was the best team leader, the most tenacious defender and rebounder, and the greatest competitor, of all time.

  159. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around our rebounding. We lead the league in rebounds per game (44.9) but are 26th in opposition rebounds per game (44.3) and 29th in opposition offensive rebounds per game (13.0). The only thing I can think of that is contributing to this is our defensive philosophy of funneling guards into help from our big guys, thereby leaving their men open to clean up the glass. Any other theories??

  160. The Lakers play at a fast pace and make their opponents miss a lot of shots. That’s why they lead the league in rebounds per game and give up so many as well.

  161. sbdunks, one reason the Lakers have so many rebounds is the good defense they play — other teams are shooting 42% againt the Lakers in the last 10 games, that means there are a lot of rebounds to get. The Lakers have allowed the opposing team to grab 23.5% of their missed shots in the last 10 games, which is really not that bad overall. But there are games like last night, or Minny, where the Lakers are bad and it keeps the other team in the game.

    I wanted to do a post on this after breaking down last night’s game, but I didn’t get to it. I will do it in the near future.

  162. 163.

    “Wilt was so far off the charts we don’t even think about it anymore – we just dismiss his accomplishments as being in another era.”

    I think that the opposite is true. As time has passed and less people are around who actually watched him play, Wilt’s reputation has grown leaps and bounds exactly because of his statistical records.

    During their era, however, Russell was much more highly regarded by his peers.

  163. Awesome Kurt, looking forward to it. I’m hoping you discuss Bynums rebounding in particular as part of that post.

  164. RonRon going to the post and getting his shot blocked time after time really got me thinking; what was his percentage in the post during his alleged effective days down there? and was his jumping ability far greater than it is now?

    I’m asking since I haven’t followed him through his career and it really amazes me how poor his vertical is. I like him as a player but it just hurts to see him get humilited on the block every game (although I know that Chicago has been blocking shots like crazy lately).

  165. do you think amare being voted ahead of Bynum for the AS game has put bynum in a funk? he usually lets little things like this get into his head … or maybe its the fact that he has still never played through an 82 game season to know how to pace himself.

  166. If I may proffer an additional “regressive rebounding hypothesis”.. Since Pau’s return Bynum’s touches and crunch time minutes have gone down.. When that happens (baby that he is) he tends to sulk.. he’s not as active on defense or on the boards. Bynum could be a beast.. he’s got more skills than dwight howard, less injuries than oden and could be the best center in the league for years to come if he could get his attitude and consistency down.

  167. Russell definitely isn’t in the GOAT conversation. Maybe the all-time best defensive players conversation, but definitely not GOAT. Look at his career FG%.

  168. West’s quote about Russell was said in what, 1967?

  169. Being an east coast guy BUT a Laker fan, I was able to see my first Laker game from start to finish last night. I have to say, I was not all that impressed with the way the Lakers played.

    I realize Kobe had a mismatch and he was taking advantage of it, but to me he looked like the old Kobe. Not the facilitator I thought he had become these past two years.

    We were suppose to have an advantage inside but Pau and Byum did not get enough touches.

    What happened to our “lock down defense” ? One game I know, but I thought I was going to see a different Laker team last night.

  170. lakersfansincemagic December 16, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    I was born in 1980 and any records prior to that time are pretty much meaningless to me.

    There should be a resource where I can watch these old games so it has meaning to me.

    Yeah I’ve heard of Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, but I haven’t seen them in action. I can catch some highlights on Youtube, but they don’t tell a story. NBA needs to release these archives in a way that the public can freely access it. It’s the best way to honor these Hall of Famers..

  171. 175) They held the bulls under 90 points. That spells lockdown defense to me. Don’t know about you. Defensive rebounding was a black eye, so was outside shooting. But how do you argue with holding a team under 90 ?

  172. Motoman, having seen most of the games this year I can say that was not one of the prettier performances, but I think it is telling when a team has an off night and can still win with ease. Had they hit a few of their open threes, that game would have been a blowout.

    And yeah, we need more touches inside…always

  173. @178

    “Had they hit a few of their open threes, that game would have been a blowout. ”

    Uh, yeah, that’s been their problem all year long. That’s why the Lakers gave them those threes, because they can’t hit them.

  174. Igor – I meant if the Lakers had hit their threes – I can’t recall the exact numbers but it seemed both Ron and Kobe misssed some open looks.

  175. LA as a team where 4 for 20 from the three point line last night.