Preview & Chat: The Dallas Mavericks

Kurt —  January 13, 2010

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Records: Lakers 29-9 (1st in West) Mavericks 25-12 (2nd in West)
Offensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 107.8 (T for 13th in league), Mavericks 107.8 (T for 13th in league)
Defensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 101.3 (1st in league) Mavericks 104.6 (11th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum
Mavericks: Jason Kidd, Jose Juan Barea, Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki, Drew Gooden

Want To Meet Kobe? Check out the contest we launched today.

Lakers injury update: Can I save time by just listing the people who are healthy?

Okay, here goes (I will update this closer to the game): Gasol is not playing but likely will on Friday. Kobe is playing although if you or I were in this much pain we’d stay in bed. Ron Artest’s finger and foot are hurting and is a game time decision. Sasha’s hamstring has him a game time decision. Adam Morrison may or may not be healthy enough to go tonight.

I would not be shocked if Phil asked Stu Latntz if he could play 10 minutes tonight.

Update to the Injury Update: From Phil pregame: Kobe will “give it go” after getting treatment all day. Artest is getting his finger taped up and will play. Sasha and Morrison also can play tonight, and Walton feels good enough the day after his first action to play even more minutes tonight.
Mavericks blogs: Very smart Mavs blog at The Two Man Game. And this is the only team where the owner has a blog, of course.

Keys to game: Last meeting, Gasol went out early with a hamstring issue and the bench stepped up big time. Bynum dominated Gooden, Sasha was hitting shots (as were Brown and Farmar), and most importantly the Lakers just ran the offense fantastically. They got good looks and buried shots from the midrange (like the Spurs last night) and they shot 58% from three. It was one of LA’s best games of the season. But also Dallas was the tired and banged-up team on the road; this time it is a sore Lakers team on the second night of a back-to-back. This game will look different.

The Lakers have an advantage inside with Drew, and they need to exploit it. This was something they did very well in the blowout win — Bynum got the ball in good position then took advantage. When the double came he recognized it and made the correct pass out (and, as mentioned, the Lakers knocked those shots down). The Mavericks will run a zone and the Lakers need to exploit the soft middle of it and not just launch jumpers over the top. The Lakers need to play like they did last meeting, especially with Dampier supposed to be out. More Bynum does not mean more isolation, run the offense and move without the ball.

The Lakers need to make Dirk work for his points — he is the best pure shooting big ever to play the game, so he is going to get some. The key is to make him work hard for them, and challenge him on the other end of the floor to wear him out.

It’s about pick-and-roll defense with the Mavs, they love it. They tend to run this from the wing (the guard gets the ball freed up off another screen) and their bigs can both roll or pop out. The Lakers need to disrupt the guard getting the ball and the bigs need to show out then recover.

The Lakers need to rebound well tonight, and they need to take care of the ball. What really gets the Dallas offense going is turnovers and the chance to get easy buckets in transition. Kidd isn’t young but he is still one of the best at running the break in the game. The Lakers have to limit those chances. Also, no team in the NBA loves the PUJIT like the Mavs, you have to watch for it.

Where you can watch: 5:30 p.m. start on KCAL 9 here in Los Angeles, and of course ESPN 710 radio.

Kurt

Posts

160 responses to Preview & Chat: The Dallas Mavericks

  1. Although I’ll try again for the 17th post, this one goes for Warren!!

  2. I’d get frustrated about this article “Are the Spurs Closing the Gap,” which heralds their victory last night without mentioning any of the injury issues the Lakers have going,

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=14973&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

    but I know we as Laker fans have done the same thing- casually ignored adverse factors affecting an opposing team as we revel in a victory that improves morale.

    I expect similar stories tomorrow if Dallas wins big because Kobe can’t be effective. These are the dog days of January. Always the most grueling part of the season (maybe tied with March).

  3. Hey J.D. I wanted to see you around, you owe me the almost four hours of my life, that I spent until I qualified first in a contest of the addictive game you induced me to play the other day…hehe

    Sad thing for the Clips the Griffin news, is this going to be another KVH or Gregg Oden story?

  4. JD, I will say (having watched two recent Spurs games now) that I think they are the second best team in the West now. Before the season I thought they were the only team in the West that could challenge the Lakers, and they may be finally playing near their potential. While they were hot shooting last night, this is a good shooting team that can be close to that nightly. That said, I don’t think they cam beat a healthy Lakers squad over seven games, but right now I think they are #2 in the West. If they can stay healthy I expect them to be #2 come the playoffs.

  5. 3- LJay- I was addicted for a while to that game until during one match I got super hot and somehow couldn’t crack the top 50, then I missed a layup and went on a Larry Hughes style cold streak and gave up.

    4- Kurt- I don’t mean to take away from the Spurs. You can’t rule them out until they’re out of the postseason, and they’re healthy for the first time in years- but that’s all the more reason that they don’t need to exagerate last night’s accomplishment.

  6. Ouch Kurt major diss to Larry Bird there. I don’t know… but Dirk’s definitely up there though.

  7. Injury update: Phil said that Kobe would “give it go” after getting treatment all day. Artest is getting his finger taped up and will play. Sasha and Morrison also can play tonight, and Walton feels good enough the day after his first action to play even more minutes tonight.

  8. I hope Kobe can go tonight, but if he and the team know how to make back spasms go away after a day, they could be making a lot more money marketing that knowledge than they can in the nba…

  9. Simonoid, maybe I should have said 7-footer (or even 6-11). I wasn’t thinking of Bird in the same way. But yes, Bird would have to be there.

  10. JD, they’re not gone. Kobe has decided that since the spasms were not strong enough to sever his spine, he can move, so he’s going to play.

    And you thought Chuck Norris was tough? ;)

  11. At the beginning of the season I saw this game as a “schedule” loss- second of a back to back after playing in SA. Now this is compounded by the injuries….the fan in me says that the Lakers can tough out a win but I won’t be heartbroken or gnashing my teeth over a loss. Lakers 97- Mavericks 92

  12. I know I keep hammering this topic, and this will be the only thing I say…but how come Sasha comes back the next night after a hamstring tweak and Gasol takes the next 6 games off?

    My cynical view of the way Pau is handling his hammies isn’t coming from nowhere. Phil wouldn’t be constantly needling Pau in the press if they were serious injuries.

    I’m just saying.

    I know…I know, what matters is that everyone is healthy come June, but let me tell you something, Home Court Advantage is HUGE in June.

    What happens if Cleveland ends up in the Finals with HCA and the Lakers have to face them?

    Do you think LA is going to be able to overcome a 40 to 10 free throw advantage in 4 out of 3 games in a series?

    That’s why HCA is important.

    You think Game 2 of the 2008 Finals was bad, wait until you see LeBron at home. He’s going to break DWade’s 2006 record for most free throws attempted in a series.

    Just watch.

  13. Obviously Kobe is tough as nails, but I think it’s kind of unfair to compare him to Pau (as people sometimes do) in that whole playing-through-injury-department. Your body tends to be a lot more fragile when you’re 7 feet tall, so it’s prudent to be more cautious when injured.

    That being said: Kobe’s a freak, in the best sense of the word.

    Edit: And that of course goes for comparisons with Sasha as well.

  14. If Kobe cant move that well, why is he trying to kill himself to play.

  15. 14

    Because he’s Kobe, that’s just how he is.

  16. Burgandy, Cleveland isn’t getting past a healthy Boston or Orlando. I don’t think the Cava are any better this year than last. Stop worrying about Lebron!

  17. But he’s running like he needs to go to the bathroom.

  18. Really enjoyed the play on both ends by Bynum. He did a good job getting a hand up on Dirk’s jumper then he ran down the floor and established position at the rim.

  19. Is it just me or have opposing coaches been doing a great job at calling good time outs and stopping lakers’ runs this year?

    Excellent timeout by Carlisle there

  20. Joel and Stu are right, the Mavs should be attacking with whoever Kobe is guarding.

  21. Man, if Joel says “length” one more time…

  22. Fisher just lost the positive karma he earned for his first drive into the lane.

  23. @Burgundy/12 – I’m beginning to think best record isn’t as important for home court as it is for tournament seeding. The #1 seed (in either the East or the West) is likely to be a huge advantage in the second round (1-4 while 2-3 beat each other up). (I know Atlanta gives Boston fits, but I don’t expect Boston to have the best record in the East.)

    ETA: My biggest fear of the finals is that LeBron gets the D. Wade edit from the refs.

  24. Does Marion have the absolute weirdest release or what???!!!

  25. Pretty much comparing Kobe Bryant’s physical fitness to anybody else in the league’s is a bit unfair. His preparation for the season is OCD to the max. Comparing him to Pau isn’t fair since Kobe’s injuries, sans the back spasms, will heal as time goes on.

    I agree with Kurt on this that Pau simply understands the limitations of his body and the context of the team’s situation. To say tough it outfor a game in January when it could easily lead to problems down the line in April, May and most importantly June isn’t thinking right. We have championship aspirations that will not be ruined if Pau takes some time coming back. We don’t want to have to deal with nagging injuries for the rest of the year. I would rather Pau take his time to come back then to rush back, not be fully healed, and aggravate his injury when we need him most.

    I understand the argument for HCA, but I would rather us be fully healthy for the playoffs. If we aren’t healthy, forget about repeating.

  26. Like Coach Jackson said when the Kobe saved the Lakers from getting beat by the Kings. When you win, the bad things you do don’t get talked about…

    Well, the Lakers are losing and now the mistakes are finally being put under a microscope. You know what? This is a good thing! All the chicken littles of the world want Bosh for Bynum…let me save you some time. The Buss family is not the Cuban family, which equals smart decisions.

    How many times do we need to say this…Bynum is YOUNG! He is just coming off two consecutive years of major knee surgery. He is exactly the player we need to be a great defensive team. What are his problems right now? He’s focusing too much energy on offense, because he wants to be an all-star. What do the Lakers need? A defensive presence down low that rebounds the ball and blocks shots.

    To Bynum’s credit he is rotating well on defense, however what he lacks is the passion and total focus on rebounding. Time and time again he does not box out and drive his man away from the rebound.

    Most of his rebounds come as a result of length. If you notice last night, the Spurs were getting many second chance points and a crucial play came when Bynum didn’t box out Duncan and the ball, literally dropped to Duncan who found a cutting Ginobili and opened up the game.

    Bynum doesn’t have the desire that a great rebounder possesses. He gets most of his rebounds based just on his length and let’s other players out play him based on hustle, drive, and aggressiveness.

    This is one of the major issues the Lakers need to address to be a force in the playoffs. Not getting Bosh…oh yeah that Gasol guy will help too, but that’s not an excuse for Bynum not getting 11-14 rebounds a game.

  27. Bynum is a one man wrecking crew!

  28. Kobes back spasms can be a blessing in disguise. are you seein the others flourish right now?

  29. anyone have a good stream? atdhe is choppy.

  30. Ok, this is what I don’t understand. Kobe is clearly unfit to be playing out there, so why is he even playing? Leadership inspiration? Just look at how he’s running, and did you see that jumpshot he just took? It was the most awkward shot I’ve ever seen Kobe take.

  31. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player start in a game when he’s in such obvious pain. Kudos to Kobe for being out there, but seriously…can’t the man get a single game’s rest?

  32. Here is hoping kobe sits the rest of the game.

  33. Boy, Kobe looked like an old man walking to the bench. Not good.

  34. alright. Here is what everyone wants to see. Our bench players. Lets go bench.

  35. There was spanish reconqueror heroe, named ElcCid, who won his last battle, while being death, his lietunants dressed him with the full armour and tied his body to the horse, his mere presence was enough for his men to win the battle, and that’s what Kobe is doing today.

    Do I think is the wise choice? Most likely not, Is it necessary? Most likely yes, if we’re going to stay in the game.

  36. Terrible call on Farmar.

  37. bad foul call on farmar. JJ flopped.

  38. #32, no, it definitely is NOT necessary for Kobe to possibly delay his recovery time for a January win.

  39. refs gifted farmar a travel.

  40. Any reliable links, all of my gotos are down right now?

  41. Is it just me or has the link from #16 gone down?

  42. ok, who loves luke being back?

  43. we really missed luke’s playmaking ability

  44. Prior to the game I thought to myself that Andrew needs to go for 30 & 15 tonight. He’s easily our best player with a healthy body on the team – time to make a statement. Looks like he’s on his way to doing just that. Hopefully that translates into a win for us, too.

    P.S.

    I love seeing Luke back.

  45. in three possessions i saw farmar and brown try to run the offense by dribbling or PUJIT, after luke gets the ball, he directs andrew to get in the post and runs the triangle…

    I mean cmon, run the O, they can’t guard Bynum. This is why farmar or brown don’t start, their decisions aren’t good.

  46. Looks like Kobe’s done for the night.

    Good chance for the rest of the team to build some confidence. Bynum in particular is having another terrific game.

  47. Luke’s passing was sorely missed
    Powell needs to get back, leavin his hand up in the air after the J cost him a foul.

    Anyone think Drew hopes Gasol & Kobe sit out and nurse their injuries?

  48. alright guys, who was worse at jacking up shots as soon as he touches it: medvedenko or powell?

  49. Portuguese

  50. 45

    Powell isn’t in the same league as Slava when it comes to chucking.

  51. First half, bench looks pretty good.

  52. LJAY: Haha I love the comparison between Kobe and El Cid!

    For those of you not familiar with this brilliant scene, check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqFWBNB2xfI#t=6m2s

  53. For anyone wondering if Veetle is worth downloading to watch some of the links to the game… I just got it, and yes, it’s worth it. No lag, good quality. Do it.

    No I don’t work for Veetle.

  54. Quick question about some of the links out there… Is anyone else having issues with the Veetle player? Is there some kind of fix for it?

    Thanks.

  55. what is the problem 3threelll?

  56. At least Slava could shoot!! He just didn’t understand the defense thing the coach was talking about. You see the beautiful shot that Powell made and posed while Dirk ran down the court and got a foul? What a dumbshit. PJ pulled him right away for the gaff.

  57. So far, I am loving this game much more than the San Antonio one. I love the way our TEAM plays, even if we ultimately could lose this contest. So far I love :

    – The return of some decent ball movement

    – The aggressiveness of Lamar to go to the paint. He DID wake up for this game

    – Luke is playing with some confidence. Hats down to him given the long layoff

    – Fisher is playing some defense, albeit against a 90-yr old JKidd

    – Our kid, Mr Bynum, is playing with confidence, and is will to PASS once in a while. Hurrah!!

    For some reason, Lakers play better team ball knowing that Kobe is not there to bail them out.

    But having said that, I DO wish Lakers WIN this!! Go Go Go!!!!

  58. Anonymous aka Yusuf January 13, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    How about we start Mbenga, Gasol and Luke. Farmar/Shannon/Ron Ron/Odom and Bynum would have to make the greatest bench in nba history.

  59. @Anon aka Yusuf
    We should start Farmar instead of Kobe. Kobe, Ron, Odom and Bynum would make a killer bench. All the commentators will say, wow that bench could start for any other team

  60. So much for Kobe being done. He’s moving a lot better though…

  61. What have they done with Kobe during halftime? There must be some heavy painkillers involved..

  62. Odom needs to lay off the 3s and take the ball to the basket.

  63. Lamar’s love affair with the 3 needs to end as soon as possible.

  64. Spasms come and go. That extra heat and his drive and adrenaline have kicked in.

  65. Good focus in this game considering the second half of a back to back. Team has not had the deer in the headlights look that I have become accustomed to in the last couple of weeks or so.

  66. Stu just said Ron uses his body well in the post… haha good one Stu, you joker.

  67. Did anyone hear about the stupid idea the NBA has to use a “dunk-in” to decide the 4th player to play in the dunk contest? Geez. Just expand the field to 6 or 8. Is the fear that the “superstars” like D-Howard and Lebron won’t make it out of the first round in a dunk contest? If so, then they don’t deserve to be champs.

  68. The way the Drew is playing is why the Lakers will never give him up for Bosh. I just wish this was every game instead of every third game. Chris Bosh is great, but Andrew is a BEAST when he wants to be. He just needs to be more aggresive with rebounding.

  69. D Fish is like Dan Marino at the end of his career. A quarterback that can’t throw. Kobe is a Killer!!!

  70. 63. While I agree Drew is a very good young center, and has an extremely high ceiling…he isnt close to the player bosh is right now

  71. Drew has size, length, and weight. Bosh gets killed in the East. Drew doesn’t.

  72. Congrats to Dirk on 20K. Nobody believed in him when he entered the league. (save for Don Nelson, actually)

  73. lol @ the standing ovation. Franchise player that plays mediocre defense with the offense run through him, took Dirk long enough.

  74. Damn we missed Luke. I never thought I would say that.

  75. Man am I glad Luke is back. Can’t wait till he and Lamar are anchoring the second unit together.

  76. Bang that Farmar. He turned his hand at the last second to finger roll. He should have cupped it and tried to break the rim.

  77. Offense seems to be flowing tonight. Product of Luke walton being back and Kobe not shooting that much. I like this team.

  78. @busboys4me

    Drew just has to figure out how to bloom playing with Gasol & not being a 1 or 2 option on offense. We need his effort on defense every night, too!!!

  79. That 3 to end the 3rd was big for Farmar’s confidence.

  80. i really think its time farmar became the starter, he’s not great but over 48 minutes is so much better then fish

  81. Luke and Ron Ron need extensive layup drills!!!

    If we had Pau we would kill Dallas!!! They could not match up.

    Luke and Lamar play so well together but Luke has passed up some gimmies to get it to LO.

  82. I still think Farmar is better suited for the bench. He is better for us there. offensive spark plug.

  83. Very, very pleased with how our team has played this game.

  84. Apart from those bricked 3s, Odom has been terrific. Rebounding, dishing, attacking the rim (albeit with a few missed layups), tough D on Dirk – he’s done it all.

  85. Farmar just made your point ray.

  86. and thats why he shouldn’t start. That was a bad decision. Plenty of time. Bring it out, run the offense. And can someone throw the ball to bynum??

  87. Serious mental mistakes. Yes, Shannon was fouled, but they should have pulled it out. Wow. We should be up by 10, or at least 6 right now.

  88. See, that’s why Farmar’s an idiot! For every good play, he still makes like 3 boneheaded plays!

  89. I think Luke should be instead of shannon… since he sat down, they haven’t been the same.

  90. Wow. I’m speechless.

    And…….. KOBE. BEAN. BRYANT.

    Blocked -> air ball -> clutch swish when we needed it.

    THAT’s what defines clutch. Not whatever ridiculous criteria used by mathematicians.

  91. Awful, awful decision-making down the stretch, by all the guards. However:

    Stop! Kobe time!

  92. Wow!!!! How did Dirk get away with that foul???

  93. Big shot by Mamba! How bout we try this. Don’t give up a 3!!!!!!

  94. I take back anything I was thinking about Kobe not shooting.

  95. @booboo, i like that he made it, but i dont like that bynum hasn’t touched the ball in the post in a while. We were rolling when bynum was touching the ball and luke was moving it.

    But the Mavs would gladly have a hobbled Kobe take that shot tied

  96. Great foul by Kobe.

  97. Smart foul by kobe! He’s physically ailing, but he’s still using his brain!

  98. Farmar and Shannon don’t start because they just don’t know how to run the offense. Shannon runs up the court and Farmar is always looking for his shot first. He should have never driven to the basket in the first place.

  99. Damn. 4 guards on the court, and they can only get the ball to Bynum.

  100. Farmar was the first player in the gym tonight? That’s good to hear. At least we know he’s trying (I had no doubt).

  101. You know what, it wasn’t a buzzer-beater, but technically that’s another game winner for kobe!

  102. This will be the first real statement game win of the season. Very nice!

  103. Good team win. With the way they played the 2nd quarter, I’d be comfortable with Kobe missing one or two games.

  104. I’d take 3,000th franchise win over 20,000th point.

    And how ironic is it that Odom is talking about “focus” with that I’m-daydreaming-right-now-because-I-hate-being-interviewed expression and tone.

  105. Are we allowed to call the Lakers a good team again?

  106. 3,000 wins or 20,000 points. Bigger achievement?

  107. got to like how good we are at close games

  108. Very proud of the team tonight.

    1) The rotations on defense were significantly better than last night. Even when they didn’t properly read they play, they switched faster and moved through picks instead of getting lost.

    2) Less iso play on offense…enough said.

    3) Bynum and Farmar with constant effort on both ends. I guess they’re not getting traded…yet.

  109. GREAT WIN tonight, probably the biggest statement game of the season so far.

    Now they just need to keep the momentum going because the rest of this month is a real challenge.

    Just wanted to show I’m not a troll like Zephid and others may think. I will admit to impressive performances and give credit when it’s due. Proud of the team tonight.

  110. For all the heat the bench took (not by all, but by some) yesterday, they really came through tonight. Very, very pleased with their effort and focus – except of course for almost giving up the lead at the end. I suspect we’d be singing a different tune if Howard had hit that 3. LO mentioned something about a meeting that got the team’s focus back. That, and somebody named Luke definitely helped.

  111. 112 – YES. I never thought I’d be singing Luke’s praises, but someone get me a microphone and a corny Lil Jon beat. His pace and control throughout the game was a blueprint for the rest of the second unit.

  112. before the game, I said Phil should sit Kobe. in my face!!

    hehe I love eating Lakers crow.

  113. #114 classic man, i laughed pretty hard… seriously though i got goosebumps when Kobe hit the jumper. props to the bench lets build on this momentum!

  114. good lakers win! wow, luke led the team in assists with odom (4 a piece) and played 30 minutes less!

    denver killed orlando. boy theyre in a worse slump than the lakers and theyve got everyone pretty much healthy (except carter???)

    and look at the triple overtime game in houston. sad that the arena looks so empty!

  115. I agree the one mental mistake Farmar made negates his 12 points and several big plays in the 4th quarter. I would rather have Fisher in the game because his 1-8 performance is full of brilliant decisions. The only bad decisions he makes is his choice to never make a basket or his selection to not stay in front of his man. Meanwhile Brown has another 3-6 game.

    Can someone pass the ball into the post on this team????? Bynum, Gasol, and Artest are so good down there but rarely get the ball. The scary thing is that Phil and his staff harp constantly to get the ball in the post. I guess the team doesn’t respect Phil? Do they now view him as an old man? WHat is the deal?

  116. Spurs rest TD and get a 28/21 from Blair, taking OKC in OT. Maybe Hollinger will explain why he more or less counted the Spurs out.

    Props to the Lakers.

  117. We fans watch way, way too much ESPN highlights.

    We think with our highlight far too often.

    The best example of this is Luke Walton. He is never going to be on a highlight film and on this blog there is constant ragging on his lack of athleticism (read: ability to get on ESPN).

    How about just being able to play smart? Yes he will be taken advantage of – everyone is at one time or another – but it is really good to have someone who can keep their head when all around them others are losing theirs.

  118. (Total sidebar conversation… My issue with the Veetle player: Veetle will play for 2 – 5 seconds and then freeze.)

    Good game tonight. Luke looks good, Bynum was on target, good effort and energy all around.

    If this team is healthy in May and June I don’t see any squad out there that beats us in a seven game series.

    Go Lakers.

  119. I’m really starting to believe in the Clipper Curse. About a half-dozen of my friends called this 2 weeks before the draft. “Either the Clipps will trade the pick for a bag of balls or Griffin will blow his knee out mid-season.” Close.

  120. I like the love fest but the test comes when we play Cleveland and Boston.

  121. This is response to people who think the Spurs are really good now, and are the team we have to watch out for.

    I very much DISAGREE with that sentiment! Teams go in streaks, whether we are talking about inside of games or inside of the season. The lakers are in a slump right now, perhaps brought on by injuries or perhaps not. Even when Pau was still healthy, we were in a slump, at least compared to the 10 games or so after Pau returned. Although we were still winning basically every night, the winning margin fell from 20 points per game to needing a buzzer beater by Kobe. On the other hand, the Spurs are in a spurt right now. This doesn’t mean much in the longer term.

    The Spurs, i believe are the 3rd best team in the West. And the difference between the 1st and 2nd spots vs the Spurs is HUGE, in my opinion. One has to look at the Spurs record vs good teams. Check out this link: http://www.82games.com/0910/0910SAS4.HTM

    They haven’t had a chance to include the last Laker’s vs Spurs game into the stats, but on “net points” the Spurs are 0 and 8 against GOOD teams. Good teams are teams currently ranked in the top 11 in the league. Now i may be reading these stats incorrectly, but from what i’ve seen from the Spurs this season, before the Lakers win yesterday, the Spurs hadn’t won against a good team (by memory) since the season started. This is a horrible signal.

    Also, the Spurs simply do not have the talent level to beat either the Nuggets or the Lakers (healthy) in a 7 game series. Tim Duncan is currently playing out of his mind, but i doubt this will continue. The other stars on the Spurs team, Parker and Ginobli are simply not the same. Parker may come around as he is still young, but Ginobli is no longer the player he used to be. They also picked up Mcdyess/Jefferson. Mcdyess i thought was going to be a great move. I was wrong. He is too old and decrepit to even be on the court in the playoffs. Jefferson i always thought was a bad move. Here is a bad defender who was NEVER any good on offense either. He is a volume shooter and a bad mix for the Spurs. He cannot shoot or play in the post. His game is slashing/diving to the hoop or taking you off the dribble. But he is very inefficient for a ROLE player. Not what the Spurs needed at all.

    The Spurs are going through a good part of their season. They are injury free and in a spurt. This will end. They have shown an inability to win against good teams. They, on the other hand, have a great record against average/bad teams. This tells me that they give full effort, but just don’t have the talent level to win games against good teams.

    The Nuggets on the other hand are going to be TROUBLE. If we don’t make it to the finals this year, it will be due to the Nuggets, not the Spurs.

  122. Did not foresee looking at the best win of the season tonight, but no matter way you slice it you have to consider it that way. Under duress on the road against a top western team with motivation to punish us, the Lakers could have written off a double digit loss tonight. They persevered and got a character win that both teams can look at if they meet in the playoffs…

    Now if we can just carry that into Pau’s return and the road trip the team has the potential to turn a period of adversity into a defining moment, which is exactly what great teams do.

  123. 112, good to see, I take back my downer comment.

    Didn’t watch tonight, but seems as though Luke Walton played pretty good, which always makes me happy. Just goes to show that no injury is insignificant.

  124. I’m glad that all of last year’s Luke haters seem to have faded into memory, lol.

    I’ve always loved Luke because his play is what creates a team atmosphere. A TEAM of scrubs is always better than a set of individuals that are above average and just happen to be playing on the same court. That’s why i’m never surprised when a crappy team beats a better team. Like the Blazers with everybody and their momma out injured beating quality teams. They don’t have the talent level, but when they play as a TEAM the sum is much greater than the parts.

    Luke and Pau are similar in this respect. Unlike Bynum and LIKE Kobe when he is in the facilitator mode (think playoffs last year) unlike Kobe when he is in chuck mode, they create a TEAM out there. Odom also, when he is on his game.

  125. @Aaron.

    It was more than just one mistake, there was one mistake in the fourth quarter when they were losing their lead, but there were a few during the 2nd quarter as well.

    He played well today, but I think his energy and his ability to score makes him better suited for the second unit. Points off the bench will be important down the line, and with your thoughts, Fisher couldn’t hit anything as a starter, and probably won’t get open looks as a second unit guy.

    Plus Phil said it best in LA TIMES last week that Fisher brings stability to the starting unit and moving the ball for the offense. Farmar does not facilitate the offense and did not do so tonight. He did what he was great at which was score the ball when the ball is in his hand. The offense moved with the second unit because Luke would move it around and set it up.

    But I agree with you that no one seems to know how to give a good entry pass besides Luke and Pau. I have no clue why they all of a sudden.

    And Lakers8884 – now you love the bench huh?? I joke.

  126. During the off season people didn’t seem to think that luke was worth the near $5MPY deal that he was dealt. Although, under the current circumstances, it seems there is a mutual consensus that he is the best mid level contract we have singned bar none (except the Ron Artest guy we snatched up). I will admit, with his streaky shooting in the past and lack of athleticism I thought along the same lines as most everyone else. Now on the other hand, seeing what our bench’s play looks like with him and devastatingly what it looks like without him, he is a piece I would say we NEED to put together a back2back puzzle.

  127. great team win. wondering since andrew and ron where 13 for 16 how much we would have won by if Fish never played? another 1 for 8 for the worst shooting pg in the nba. if he is such a smart guy why isen t he passing to those guys instead of living in the past and thinking he can shoot. not smart!

  128. Jordan sure play better in pick/roll situation than the triangle. Either that or Kobe sure make a lot of nice pick.

  129. if fisher can pass up some of those 7 shots he missed tonight, everyone will be happier

  130. Great three palyers double-double’s tonight, Artest giving some good stuff, huh? Fisher 1-8, I will not say anything more about that or him, done deal.

  131. where were you guys when Fish was 5-11 and 4-9 from the three against portland?
    You know the game where farmar was 1-6 and 1-2 respectively.

    Fisher isn’t what he was, but if he’s open, he better shoot the ball. That’s what you’re supposed to do in basketball.

  132. I posted a while ago, that I had begun to think Luke might be a key to the Lakers’ bench. I have not ever been down on Luke, but I think his importance is really being illustrated now in way I had not realized before.

    The ongoing FIsher bashing is getting old. I think some fans just need a player or two to bash every year. I don’t get that. Yeah, he is not playing that well, but this isn’t Smush or Kwame or Cook.

    That was a gutsy win. I am looking forward to seeing this team at full strength. I think the character they are building now will be huge come playoff time.

  133. I didn’t watch the game until I saw what the score was with half a minute left in the 4th quarter :(

    I didn’t think they were going to win, didn’t think Kobe would be able to contribute (you’d think I would have learned by now), and didn’t want to ruin an already bad day by watching my beloved Lakers lose badly and embarrassingly.

    luubi, would you pass some of that crow, please?

  134. dave in hillsboro January 14, 2010 at 5:57 am

    121, veetle works great for me in Firefox. Try using a different browser. If it doesn’t work in Firefox for you, use Chrome, and if it doesn’t work in IE, then switch to Chrome or Firefox.

  135. 132) Anonymous:

    “if fisher can pass up some of those 7 shots he missed tonight, everyone will be happier”

    I think you’re on to something there!!! The coaching staff needs to figure out how to get the players to pass up on the shots they’re going to miss. Think what a great team they would be then!!!

  136. LOL Ray I dont love the bench but I give them credit they played very well tonight, I just need to see it maintained over the course of the season to be a true believer, But as for tonight they were a pleasure to watch.

    If this same scenario happens against Orlando, Boston and Cleveland this month you wont hear me mention a single negative comment about them the rest of the year (because those are the true tests)

  137. Excerpt from Pelton’s first power rating (Lakers are #1 but that was before the Texas trip. He had the Spurs 9th.)

    Laker fans have to be concerned about the steep decline in Derek Fisher’s performance, which has dropped to below replacement level. Heck, my style of basketball might fit in well with Kobe and the Triangle Offense, but my lack of ability is still going to make the Lakers vulnerable. Fisher might still be able to contribute in a bit role, but Jackson is still giving him 55 percent of the point guard minutes. Fisher is sporting a -13.3 SPM–that’s a lot of points to make up.

    _______

    Link: http://www.basketballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=862

  138. The reason the Lakers are so good is that they have 3 high paid stars (one coming) and 2 very good mid-level stars. Plus a HOF coach.

    Just how do people expect us to have a deep bench with the amount of payroll left to pay the others with. Every team has a player or two who is overpaid. However, nobody has as many really good players on the team.

    However, even very good players go in some cycles during the year.

    All this does not guarantee us a spot in the finals, but it sure makes our appearance much more likely. Perspective people, we have far fewer potholes in our highway than any other NBA club.

  139. 138, lol agreed. The coaching staff needs to teach players how to identify which shots are going in and which shots are going to miss, that way they can always take the ones that are going in and never take the ones that are going to miss!

  140. my favorite part of the win was that if it was a home game, it would be tacos for the fans.

    I like that we’re playing D on the road.

  141. Interesting tid-bit from KD’s BTB this morning:

    “while Lamar Odom remembered that Tex Winter counts a missed shot (and potential offensive rebound) as “penetration” (seriously, and Tex is right); clanging on 12 of 20 but still putting up a needed 18 points and 14 boards.”

    This is why I rarely complain about players shooting in this offense. Sure there are times that I think players are forcing shots or that they could have set up a teammate for an easier look but eschewed that opportunity to get their own. But, in the end, this offense is dependent on players running our sets and shooting when the shot is there for them to take. This offense puts players in position to offensive rebound. It puts players in position to transition from offense to defense. This offense is supposed to generate the necessary spacing so that, when the ball is moving, an open shot will occur.

    Do I wish more of our shots would go in? Of course. But this is why 20 shots for Odom doesn’t bug me (even if he misses 12) or why 8 shots for Fisher (as long as 6 of them aren’t PUJIT’s) don’t bother me (even if he misses many of them). Because if those shots come within the flow of our offense, we should be able to clean up some of those misses with offensive boards and/or not be hurt by the misses because the other team won’t be able to capitalize as often because they’re changing ends against a set defense (and a pretty good set defense, too).

  142. 142, That’s what I love about this blog; what keeps me coming back for more.

    We’ve got some incredible basketball minds here.

    However, why do the coaches need to identify which shots are going to miss? Shouldn’t the players be able to do that on their own without help? I mean, does PJ have to think of everything??

  143. Travis, when I Was watching that last half minute yesterday, as soon as that 100th point went in, I immediately shouted “TACOS!” and cheered a bit extra for that shot. :)

    My husband of course had to ruin my fun by reminding me the Tacos only happens during home games… :( I’m eagerly looking forward to Friday’s game now.

  144. 141) Craig W.

    Yes, that’s an intentional decision that has it’s risks. As long as those five are relatively healthy, the team will be fine. I think the biggest issue with the bench is that Farmar has not developed as hoped, and unfortunately, he is the backup for the weakest of the starters.

  145. Some good Kobe quotes from Kevin Ding (via TrueHoop):

    “Kobe Bryant was there for his team again Wednesday night, and the result for the Lakers wound up even more inspiring than if Bryant had reached into his back, ripped out his annoying spine and tossed it aside like a sweaty towel before going for 50. Bryant went for 10, and his teammates went for 90. ‘Great win,’ Bryant said. ‘I love the win even more because it gives our bench new life. It gives them confidence; they’ve been struggling for awhile.’ … Lamar Odom said they were talking Wednesday afternoon about how without Pau Gasol and with a creaky Bryant, ‘We were just going to go. No letting the game come to us.’ The previous night, Bryant had tried to get that across to Artest while they rode the team bus away from the arena in San Antonio. When I later told Bryant what Odom had said and wondered if Bryant’s sore back had actually helped Odom and Artest register what they can do, Bryant replied with surprising animation at the end of such a long day. Said Bryant: ‘I thought, ‘It’s about (expletive) time. It’s about time. What the (heck) you guys waiting for? Don’t sit around and wait for me to bail your (butts) out all the time. Get going — because it makes us a better team. Don’t worry about me. You’ve got to be aggressive.’ ‘ Just as those fans who admire Bryant still don’t fully get him, the teammates who admire him need to understand, too. He pushes his limits for his own reasons. But he does think it should trigger more than a fleeting thought in your head: You are quite capable of more, too.”

    This is the concept that Phil talked about after the Portland loss – you can’t leave Kobe out there by himself because he’s going to do what he does regardless. Kobe is agressive and, if you let him, he’ll continue to attack whether you join him or not. We need more nights like last night – ones where Odom is shooting, where Artest is getting after it on offense in the same manner he does on defense, where we move the ball and the guys are getting themselves involved. The Lakers run an equal opportunity offense, but the other guys need to grab that opportunity when it presents itself.

  146. Darius, I lost my edit ability before I had a chance to read your comment on shooting being a good thing, within the flow of the offense. If I understand that right, that’s because a missed shot is a successful attack on the basket and puts the ball where a big guy can either grab it and put it in, or send it back out for a quick open three.

    In that case, it’s probably a safe assumption that once Pau gets back in the line-up, we’re going to be a lot less frustrated by the missed shots, since he’s been a rebounding fiend in the games he’s played, and passes much better than Bynum. It would also explain why our good games this season have lots of rebounding in them… when the offense runs right, more rebounds happen.

    Still looking forward to Friday! :)

  147. Darius,
    Good points. Kobe is right (although he shares some of the blame for creating this attitude.) When Lamar wants to be, he is one of the top ten players in the league. (Unfortunately, that’s only about 15 times a season.) And Bynum can dominate, when he decides to.

  148. One thing that’s been on my mind, especially in light of this post: http://www.basketball.org/what-it-is-like-to-sit-courtside-at-a-lakers-game/ …is how often the players complain about calls. I don’t like the way Andrew throws his hands down demonstratively and yells at the ref everytime he doesn’t get a call his way. Referees are human, and a young player showing them up like that is going to get old really fast, and they aren’t going to be in any mood to be generous towards him. Then, there’s Kobe with all of his Technicals. Lamar, Jordan, and we all know about Ron’s potential short fuse. Everybody argues and whines and tend to get out of the team game and mental focus that Phil’s trying to instill in the players. And that’s why we need Derek. He’s the one who maintains his poise and if a call doesn’t go his way, tends to go to the referee when there’s a stoppage of play and ask calmly what happened and why the call was made. He’s the role-model and the guy the Lakers need to get them through a tough series. Yes, maybe he’s a streaky shooter and a step slower on defense, but the Lakers could not win the tough playoff games without him. So my point is, I wish the players would calm down on the calls and focus on playing the game the right way, without over-focusing on bad calls and personal stats…just focus more on defense, boxing out, spacing , sharing the basketball, and team game (whiners are never winners). Also, learn to see and appreciate Derek for things that don’t show up on the score board: leadership and role-modeling. We don’t see his importance now, but wait until we’re down in a playoff series or game and players are losing focus, (because Phil can only do so much) when we need leadership from a player to get the team over the hump.

  149. I thought the W last night was one of the most important of the year for more than one reason.
    First, when Kobe is hobbled, this forces the rest of the team to step up, and last night, we finally got to see that we have other potential great players, 1) keep forcing the ball inside to Drew, and he can deliver, (proved as well against a great, TD), 2) LO can be a force, he stepped up and into Kobe’s shoes, the O ran through him and he did what he’s more than capable of doing, (normally he defers too much) and Ron did what he’s done through his whole career, be a focal point of the team for offense, all 3 stepped up. The bench also came through, Luke is playing the “heady” style of play, Shannon keeps on being the “athletic” force, and Farmar, “quick” (sometimes too quick and occasionally has a brain fart).
    why I loved last night was we were able to beat a quality opponent, bent on revenge, on their home floor, with all the players mentioned above, while Pau and Kobe (kind of ) sat it out.
    This team could become too dependent on Kobe, and as PJ said, KB would put the team on his back anyway, cause that’s how he’s wired.
    but for this team to really “have it at the end”, we need all players contributing, like we saw last night.
    that’s the best way to reach the end with Kobe having something left in his tank, and the best way to repeat.

  150. oldie, I agree with you, well said.
    and as you said, wait until the post season, that’s when the pressure mounts, with each series win and stepping up to a bigger stage. this pressure can affect a player, no doubt, and that’s when we’ll truely appreciate Mr. Calm, D-Fish.
    and you (Fish bashers) don’t think PJ knows this too?

  151. I can’t remember the last time I looked at a Lakers box score and saw 20 shots taken by Lamar Odom. Even though he missed a few gimmes, I like that aggressiveness. Him and Drew can not get by on taking nine shots (or less) a game. The Lakers are asking to lose if thats the case. With Pau Gasol out Lamar and Drew need to take more shots. The Lakers have too much size and length. They need to punish teams up front.

    That was a character win last night. Now lets get some revenge on the Clips!

  152. Surprise, suprise.
    Luke returns and suddenly our bench finds a new life with better ball movement and better execution of the triangle.

    Very gutsy win, to say the least, from the Lakers last night.

  153. New post up, wondering if any of the contenders in the West can really challenge the Lakers? What if they make a trade?

    http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2010/01/14/can-anyone-in-the-west-challenge/

  154. His recent spate of injuries has me wondering if he can transition into something other than 30pt scorer.

    Here’s a far-flung thought: what happens in 3-5 years when Kobe starts to slow down?
    – Does he slide into the PG spot and help facilitate w/size and BBIQ? I think he can play the Shaw/Harper role beautifully in the triangle.
    – Or still insist that he is the offensive key and take 20+ shots?

    Thinking back to the Jordan teams, I think Jordan sort of aged with the rest of the team, so there wasn’t a Bynum to worry about.

  155. It’s really good to have Luke back. He is just perfect for the team in a role like this – I know people like to rag on him about his contract or athleticism, but as a guy who can come in for a few key minutes and help stabilize the bench, make a few plays, hit a shot or two, and keep the system running properly, he is really invaluable. If you go back and watch the Denver and Orlando playoff games last year, this is exactly what he did – not much fanfare to it, but it helped the team win huge games. One of the keys last night was the team never had to deal with one of those scattered 5-minute stretches of bench play when the game plan goes out the window and the other team goes on an 18-4 run.

  156. Darius. As a 40 year Laker fan and one who played the game I must say your insights are outstanding.

  157. Ken, thank you for the kind words.