Preview and Chat: The Memphis Grizzlies

Darius Soriano —  February 23, 2010

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Records: Lakers 42-14 (1st in the West), Grizzlies 28-27 (tied for 10th in the West, 13.5 games behind Lakers)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 109.0 (9th in NBA), Grizzlies 108.4 (12th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 101.9 (2nd in NBA), Grizzlies 109.6 (24th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Grizzlies: Mike Conley, OJ Mayo, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol

The Lakers Coming in:  As we’ve heard ad nauseum over the past few days (what can we say, slow news days for the Lakers since the Boston game), Kobe will be back tonight in his first action since the Nuggets debacle on February 5th.  That was a quite some time ago.  Over the time that he’s been out the Lakers have performed quite well, but it will be nice to have Bean back.  It will also be interesting to see how Phil handles the rotations with both Sasha and Luke missing tonight’s game.  Will we see heavy minutes for Kobe?  When will Lamar enter the game and for who?  Bynum has been limited in recent practices due to his sore hip, so maybe we’ll see LO for Drew earlier than normal.  A lot of questions tonight as we have our starting group together for the first time in over two weeks.  The good news is, everyone should be well rested coming into the game.  The Lakers haven’t played since Thursday and had an off day on Sunday.  So, with tonight the first game of a back to back, the Lakers should look fresh.  Hopefully, we can say the same thing tomorrow.

The Grizzlies Coming in: Memphis has been struggling to get wins as of late.  With only three wins in their last eleven games, the Grizz have not been playing their best ball and are playing a bit more up and down than they need to in making a push for the post season.  And though some of their losses can be excused due to the quality of their opponents (Cavs, Hawks, Spurs), they’ve also lost to the Hornets (missing CP3), the Rockets (tied with them in the standings), Minnesota, and Miami (missing Wade).  Throw in an uneven performance against the Nets on Sunday (where they were down by 18 at one point), and you’ve got a team that not a lot is going right for at the moment. 

That’s because, besides the losses, there has been even more bad news for the Grizz in recent days.  Trade deadline acquistion Ronnie Brewer is out indefinitely with a torn hamstring.  Brewer, brought in to add some much needed depth on the wing from the Jazz, was supposed to be a key piece to help the Grizz make their push to the playoffs.  Brewer, despite his up and down season so far, is a good player that plays above average defense and could have been a real asset at the end of games if paired with Mayo (with OJ sliding over to the point) and Gay on the wing by allowing those guys to guard the lesser offensive threats on the opposimg team.  Now, with a question mark regarding the timeline of his return, the Grizz will have to go without their newest player and that can be a bit deflating for a team that was on the rise and looking to really make a move in the final 6 weeks of the season.

Grizzlies Blogs3 Shades of Blue is where you need to go for all your Grizzlies info. They’re smart and have skinny on the up and coming Grizz.

Keys to game:  In the last meeting against the Grizz, the Lakers bigs looked tired (coming off a back to back) and not up to the challenge of facing the talented front court of the Grizz.  Randolph went for 22 points and 17 boards while Marc Gasol chipped in a double-double of his own with 11 points to go with 13 rebounds.  You add in an efficient night from Rudy Gay (25 points on 19 shots, with 3 steals) and you had a recipe for a long night. 

Tonight, rest should not be an issue.  The Lakers haven’t played since last Thursday and should be fresh as could be coming in BBQ country.  On offense, they need to get back to basics while incorporating Kobe back into the mix.  In the last outing, Kobe had a very efficient night, but dominated the ball to the tune of 41 combined FG and FT attempts while Pau/Drew/Ron/LO combined for only 42.  Tonight, in Kobe’s first game back the shot allocation needs to be more balanced and our bigs need to be more involved.  That means going into the post early and running our offense.  Let Gasol go to work on whoever is guarding him and create offense for himself and others.  If Marc is on Pau, that means Andrew will have a mismatch against Zach and he should also get ample opportunities to score the ball.  One aspect of post offense I’d like to see more of tonight is the repost by our bigs.  In the last game, Memphis did a good job of pushing our guys off the block and making their catches difficult.  If they try that same technique tonight, our bigs must fight hard to gain position to make the post catches easier.  But if they have to make a catch further out than they’d like, they need to pass back out and repost.  And then our guards must reward them by passing the ball back in to let our guys go to work.  Even against a team like Memphis, our big men have an advantage, it just may take more patience to exploit. 

However, just becasue we should focus on going inside, that does not mean Kobe should not be involved.  Quite the opposite, actually.  I want Kobe to be aggressive, but he should be much more selective with his shots and try to work the offense more to get his looks.  Make Mayo work by running him off of screens and occupy him on defense by working hard off the ball to get open looks.   Kobe has a size advantage over OJ and he should exploit that by doing his work off the ball and making catches going to basket and getting good shots that way.  Also, operate at the elboys in isolation rather than on the extended wing.  As for the rest of our guards, tonight is a game where they must show more discipline than they’ve shown for most of this season and work the ball around in order to get everyone good looks.  The push for the post season is now upon us and there is no better time to start practicing good habbits than tonight.

On defense, the Lakers need to focus on the taking away the strengths that hurt them the last time they faced this team.  That means focusing on Zach in the post and on Mayo/Rudy on the wings and taking away what they want to do.  If you thought Lamar loved to go to his left hand, Zach’s obsession may be even more pronounced.  Zach loves to make his catches in the 15-18 foot range on the right wing where he turns and faces to either shoot his feathery jumper or drive by you because of the respect you must show him on his J.  Pau needs to force Zach to put the ball on the ground to the baseline where Zach will have to either make the skip pass to the opposite corner or try to finish in the paint over our bigs.  Zach is capable of doing this, but he’s less effective in these scenarios than when he’s dictating to you with moves in his comfort zone.  And when Zach is in a straight post up postion, you must stop him from turning over his right shoulder.  Make him drop step and finish by bringing the ball over an extened right hand that’s contesting (which is quite a difficult finish for a lefty).  Stopping Rudy and Mayo is a different task as they are both players that can do it all from the wing.  Both are capable jump shooters and both can attack the basket and are effective both ways.  That said, Mayo is much more comfortable shooting the J from range (8 of his 15 shot attempts per game are from 16 feet and out) and Rudy is much more effective driving the ball (9 of his 16 shot attempts are within 15 feet).  Understand these tendencies and you go a long way in making these guys less effective.

Also understand that Memphis is in the top half of the league in pace (they’re 12th in compared to the Lakers 8th).  Most of this is due to Conley wanting to push the ball while he is in the game.  Conley is much more comfortable in the open court than in their set offense and he will try to attack our guard in the open court when our defense is not set.  Funnel him to his right hand and push him to the sideline at every opportunity.  Along with recognizing what Conley wants to do also understand that unlike against recent opponents, the Grizzlies do not run to the three point line (save Mayo).  Gay, Gasol, and Randolph all want to play close to the basket and will run to the rim.  So in transition D, the Lakers must build a wall in the paint and then recover back to the perimeter when the Grizz pull the ball back out to run their sets.  It should be a good game tonight and the Lakers should have revenge on their mind.

Where you can watch:  5:00pm start here on the West on KCAL locally and on NBA TV nationally.  Also ESPN Radio 710am.

Darius Soriano

Posts

182 responses to Preview and Chat: The Memphis Grizzlies

  1. This one’s for Warren!

  2. It’s good to have all the boys back. The most interesting take-away from Bynum and Kobe being out (then Bynum being back the last few games) is how much better the team seemed to be without Bynum.

    It was healthy in the short-term for the team to be without Kobe. From what I saw (in an admittedly small sample size) is this team may be better without Bynum.

    This issue will reach Civil War proportions in Lakers land in the coming months. If it hasn’t already.

  3. It would be funny if Bynum say that he will not play.

  4. I’ve gotta agree that an aggressive LO seems to be more effective on the floor than a mild tempered Bynum. I do think PJ has a happy medium, sub out Bynum with LO about 5-6 minutes into the game, that works pretty well. Bynum gets a blow, LO is in and should be playin as hard as recently, then near the end of Q1, sub back in Bynum for Pau, so we keep the bigs out there all the time, gotta be maddening for the opponents.

  5. You’se guys still don’t remember Lamar, do you? Sheeeeez!

  6. This is a great read. I don’t know if it’s already been posted but here you go anyway.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/columns/story?columnist=hollinger_john&page=PERDiem-100223

  7. Great story on Truehoop, titled: “Study: Good Players Aren’t Afraid To Touch Teammates”:
    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/13761/study-good-players-arent-afraid-to-touch-teammates

    I think I’ll try to use this study to boost morale in my co-ed dorm. Busboys – for those that don’t have Insider, mind a quick recap? Always fun to watch the Gasol bros. dance in the paint. Here’s to LA starting that final push!

    Also, based on that study, shouldn’t any team with Reggie Evans automatically become elite?

  8. Gasol vs. Gasol is always cool to watch and I hope Kobe plays limited minutes, it is still soon after the injury. LO seems to be playing better since his marriage, has he not? Darius, a great game preview again from you, where do you get the time to write these articles.

  9. This is a fascinating look at Penny Hardaway; many (including me) tend to forget how good he really was.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/blog/?p=4647

  10. Monkey – I hope Bynum sits out. Too much bad Karma in Memphis for the big guy,

  11. Snoopy (7),

    Just wondering (since you mentioned a co-ed dorm), are you in college? If so, which one?

  12. link for tonights game please

  13. elsewhere in the league, new orleans scores 40 points in the 2nd quarter in cleveland (23 by 2nd round rookie marcus thornton and 21 fast break points). they lead by 3.

    a 4th straight loss by the cavs would be sweet, especially if the lakers win and take solo command of first place.

  14. did marcus thornton just score 23 in a quarter

  15. Aaaaand… he’s back. :)

  16. welcome back Kobe, and with a 4 point play

  17. links?

  18. Kobe with the DUNK!

  19. sometimes it annoys me that we have 0 jump shooters on this team other than kobe

  20. When you have Fish and Artest running the break on both sides, you fake the pass and dunk. Thats always the correct play….I miss Ariza :(

  21. I think the ankle’s OK. =]

  22. NBA Fan Night just ruins these games for me.

  23. anyone with insider care to summarize Hollinger’s article for me? I’m curious :)

  24. Holding Memphis to 16 points in the first quarter, looking active on the defensive side of the ball.

  25. Still booking my 50pts tonight..

  26. I like this facilitator Kobe…with 5 assists to start the game!

  27. save for kobe’s 4 point play, lakers have yet to hit a perimeter shot.

  28. Thankfully we’ve hit a jumpshot now with Shannon knocking one down. Not good to see Ron struggling with the three as much as he has today. Hurts the spacing.

  29. I love the way Farmar is playing tonight. Good decisions, solid defense (although he’s been dropping a little too far off of shooters, even if they are bad shooters), and good transition play.

  30. drew is killing haddadi

  31. Loving how Kobe & Pau are filling out the boxscore getting on the glass and making good passes.

  32. I am loving Kobe’s renewed commitment to the defense end.

  33. Brown and Farmar definitely work out better than Fisher and whoever else. Finally PJ realizes Fisher can’t get it done?

  34. Can DJ stay foul- and jump shot-free in 40 seconds?

  35. 37- I think he just did!

    Nice final possessions to end the half. Not such a great quarter.

  36. The Insider article was not that great – just that the Lakers won w/o Kobe because of defense, not offense. A few people had commented on that and someone blogged on it (http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/lakers/post/_/id/3397/some-numbers-without-kobe#more). nothing groundbreaking by Hollinger.

  37. Yeah, he did manage it, although Phil helped by taking him out with 5 seconds left!

    It was a decent end to the half, but overall that wasn’t a great quarter defensively. The offense is looking fine, but we’re not getting enough stops.

  38. well gasol is stinking up this quarter, kobe time to step up

  39. Gasol cant claim fatigue, they just came off a 4 day layoff

  40. Why is Fisher helping off Mayo who is a great 3 pt shooter?

    Geez…

  41. Wow – Memphis blocking a lot of shots here in the 3rd. Combine that with some bad LA passing, and it’s not a pretty start to the 2nd half at all.

  42. this is some ugly basketball by the lakers

  43. So sick of Phil’s coaching 13 to 3 ni TO and really sick of Bynam running away from rebounds.

  44. Bynam does not want to play defense or rebound. GET HIM OUT OF THERE AND GO TO LO!

  45. wHO CAN fISHER GUARD IN THIS LEAGUE.

  46. NBA.TV is awful, but these two Memphis announcers are worse. The only thing missing from this “Dukes of Hazzard” out take is a banjo soundtrack and Boss Hogg.

  47. These Grizzlies are pesty little devils.

  48. Wow Odom. I could see that charge coming a mile away.

  49. gasol has been awful so far

  50. Nice to gave Kobe back. Zero defense on his man Mayo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1Zero

  51. Too many careless TOs!

    I think we may need the Mamba tonight.

    Everyone on the team is expecting that Kobe will rescue them from their lackadaisical play tonight…

  52. The Lakers are rushing on offense and it’s leading to turnovers and bad offense overall. Slow it down, and penetrate the ball through passes into the post and to cutters rather than depending on the dribble.

  53. Where is Kobe’s defense?

  54. What in the world is Kobe doing out there?

  55. Wow, what did PJ talk about at the half.

  56. Nothing is what he talked about. Just like his timeouts. Nothing!

  57. This team hasen t won this month at home. Nice effort Lakers.

  58. Nice finish to the third quarter. Now to get closer, and go for the kill…!

  59. Some really poor decision making on the fast breaks, and LO… what are you thinking?
    Bad quarter at least it’s not double digits, hopefully the team slows it down and doesn’t rush.

  60. Has drew ever passed the ball in his life?

  61. I’m strongly beginning to suspect that ken is a troll – never a positive word coming from that direction.

  62. Yea I know you are right. Its hard to be positive right now. They are playing a team who has lost 6 of 8. Tomrrow will be much tougher and you would think they would play smarter tonight. I will relax.

    thanks

  63. uuummm, What happened since our domenating first quarter I caught a glimpse of? Was it Kobe taking us out of rythem? Or, guys sleeping on defense? Or maybe that we didn’t finish on the offensive end?

    Haven’t caught much of the game due to my Wife’s birthday. Thanks

  64. Memphis is playing a style of defense that really denies penetration, yet that is what the Lakers are trying to do almost every possession down the court. Pass, cut, screen, rinse, repeat. Almost every open shot the Lakers have gotten the entire game has come off of kickouts from post ups and weakside screen action. If the Lakers go back to that, they’ll be just fine. If they continue to try and drive the ball against this team they’re going to continue to come up empty.

  65. Kobe comes back in fresh with 7:59 left, good, I am not worried anymore. Kind of…

  66. Our D starting to tighten up should make the difference. Let’s hope Kobe still has the legs for it

  67. Darius, I’m pretty sure they stopped going to the post when Gasol and Bynum combined to miss about 10 shots and turn the ball over about 5 times in the 3rd all with good deep post position.

  68. Wasn’t that really cool, the Gasol brothers in a jump ball, and our man Pau won it.

  69. I love Pau Gasol, but he doesn’t seem to have a lot of hand strength…

    I would love to see him dunk hard, and rebound strongly.

  70. z bo is a monster on the boards

  71. Can’t afford to be missing FTs right now.

  72. Tyler,
    While I understand that, you can’t run this offense without the ball going into the post – at least not successfully. The more you depend on the dribble to get the ball deep, the more you ruin spacing and find your self surrounded by defensive helpers.

  73. two games in a row with missed ft by Fisher. Retire

  74. They shouldn’t collect a salary if they lose this game.

  75. Well, the chances to cut this deficit have certainly been there. Three straight missed fts by Pau & Fish haven’t helped. I just hope we’re not leaving any run a little late…

    Edit – Make that FIVE straight missed fts…

  76. We have missed the last 5 out of 6 FT’s, not good at all.

  77. crap bynum’s in

  78. Darius,

    Thanks for the calm, reasoned analysis. Just came from another board that’s a little more reactionary – actually manic-depressive. It’s a little tiring.

  79. 5 straight missed FTs? Really?

  80. Inexcusable. This is pathetic.

  81. what is the point of running hte offense through pau late in games if he cant hit free throws. Kobe should be taking these shots.

  82. Thanks for the insight Darius. Just a pesamistic outlook to throw out there: if we lose this game we will be staring the first three game losing streak in the face tomorrow since Pau’s aquosition.
    Sucks.

  83. Fish and Pau with key missed FT down the stretch….this seems to be a reocurring theme

  84. Pau should be on the bench right now. Can’t make free throws, can’t play in the last 5 mins. Period.

  85. Can we officially call MEM our Charlotte Bobcats this season?

  86. yes but unlike the bobcats of last season, we might play the grizzlies in the first round.

  87. The Memphis announcers are back to being their crazy unprofessional selves.

  88. dam its good to have kobe back

  89. and of course he made that

  90. OK, let’s get a couple stops and wrap this up.

  91. MAMBA!

    Great defense on Conley and then a game tying 3!

  92. Kobe!!!!!!

  93. Kobe with the 3 to tie the game.

  94. Welcome back, KB24!

  95. Thats why you pay #24the big bucks.

  96. Well, at least it looks like Kobe still wants the W! Cold-blooded as always.

  97. We still need to get some stops in this last minute…

  98. Darius is always calm and rational, which is probably best since someone on here has to be.

  99. These announcers are bigger homers than the Simpsons patriarch

  100. artest 1-9, artest, farmar, brown 0-8 on threes. Bynum – 4 boards. Missed freethrows during crunch time are key but the problem is not the freethrows.

  101. Not a great night for Pau

  102. 96-98 i’m pretty sure Kobe will hit a couple three’s and well go home w/ a win

  103. kobe if we learned anything its that only you should be shooting in clutch

  104. Mamba time!!!

  105. . 2 GAMES IN A ROW FISH MISSES 2 LATE IN GAMES. RETIRE ALREADY

  106. Mayo obviously doesn’t want this game to end yet…

  107. OK don’t need a 3 here…let’s just get a quick score. Pau, Lamar, and Ron – you’re due to redeem yourselves.

  108. Wow missed FTs killing both teams today.

  109. Why does everybody seem to play so tentative when KB comes back? Going from confident too looking scared.

  110. Drew: Not really a terrible night either with 22-13-5-2-2.

  111. I think I have more butterflies in my stomach than OJ Mayo.

    EDIT: WWWWWOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!

  112. SHOOT KOPE DO NOT PASS IT TO FISH

  113. Great, 2 point game with 8.8 left and the Lakers have the ball. Kobe drains the 3 for a 1 point lead…

  114. OK – ONE stop. I think we can do that.

  115. This guy is just unreal.

  116. damn… too much time on the clock

  117. THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  118. Money! Please don’t be too early!

  119. KOBE again with the 3, the closer is back

  120. The stats say Kobe sucks in the clutch!!! Oh wait…

  121. BANG!!! Welcome back black mamba. That was for everyone who said you should have sat out longer.

  122. “I knew I had to knock it down”. – Kobe

  123. I called this and am unsurprised. Kobe being Kobe. Did not know any player was capable of making game winners seem so routine.

  124. KOOOOBEEE!!!!!!!

  125. OUCH. WE ARE THE LA KOBE’S!

  126. OK – you know… the missed FTs, the poor team execution down the stretch, Artest going 1-24792 from the field… all that was worth it to hear the sadfaces of the Memphis announcers :)

  127. And for a bonus… Bynum has left the game healthy

  128. Kobe Making a serious argument for MVP with all these game winners, especially during injury. If we get the best record by a close margin, you could argue that we wouldn’t be the winningest team in this season without Kobe. That sounds like the definition of MVP to me.

  129. Welcome back, Black Mamba. We have missed you.

  130. No more complaints about Kobe until the playoffs at least, agreed?

  131. I had missed the clutch dagger threes.. welcome back Kobe

  132. Yeah, I love the stats that show Kobe is not clutch.

    I also really love Ron’s game. His D and hustle are fun to watch, but man if he could just shoot, I dunno, 35% from the field… Seriously, if he can find his shot and rythm, that would be a huge asset.

  133. This is why I have no problem with kobe jacking up 40 shots a game. Because while the other players are more than capable of playing well, as they did in the 4 wins without kobe, NONE of them are capable of stepping up in close games in crunch time! They all piss down their legs! They need to sack up when it counts, not just in blowouts!

  134. The best player on the team with the best record will be the MVP of the league period. Right now it’s a tie with both Lakes and Cavs having the same amount of losses. Certainly, Kobe’s 5 game winners with a 1/3 of the season left is pretty impressive.

    Tonite the guard play stunk, Artest had a terrible offensive game (though his defense was big), and the free-throw shooting by Fish, Gasol at the end almost killed us.

    Thank you Kobe.

  135. Kobe ripped their hearts out…it should’t have come down to that again…I’m not complaining but the guys seemed so tentative with him on the floor..they looked so rusty..funny he ?since he was the one out for 18 days.

  136. Why is McHale wearing a Marc Gasol jersey on NBA TV?

  137. “Don’t get this twisted, this is Kobe’s team” – Ron Artest

  138. This has been the most exciting regular season I have ever experienced (I am 24). How many Mamba moments have we seen this year? The man is insane. I don’t care that Lebron is an unstoppable freight train. In a close game I want Kobe and it’s not close.

  139. well I missed a good finish. Thought it was a home game tonight. Based on the comments on here it sounds like:
    Pau and Bynum missed plenty of gimmes while employing “hands of stone”. Artest couldn’t shoot, D Fish was his usual dead-man-walking self and Kobe played D in the first Q, went back to being a rover and then hit the money shot late to overcome horrible 3pt shooting and horrible ft shooting. Oh, and the Memphis announcers are laughable. Did I miss anything?

  140. #135, unfortunately, LeBron James is and will remain the favorite for MVP from now on.

    The analysts and “experts” all seem to ignore the fact that (a.) LBJ is bigger and plays at small forward and (b.) Kobe plays in the Triangle Offense. Both factors attribute to LBJ’s higher rebound and assist numbers. Also, people have forgotten that Kobe was shooting a monstrous 51% before all the injuries, not to mention his superior FT% (LeBron’s is laughable) and 3PT%.

  141. Great win but Andrew having more fouls then rebounds and Fish choking for 2nd game in a row will catch up to this team/.

  142. McHale wore it during a pre-game demo on the set going over the matchups and kept wearing it throughout the game. No biggie, I wouldn’t expect McHale to be cheering for the Lakers but I heard him say that Kobe is as clutch as Bird was with the Celtics–that is as good as it gets from a great Celtics rival

  143. While I don’t think Kobe will win MVP this season, he’s been the best player in the league for at least 5 years now. Lebron is great at what he does…taking a mediocre team to playoffs and contend for conference championship.

    Kobe takes a good team to that NBA championship level. One may think there’s not much difference, but that’s what it takes to be considered GOAT. While I still think LBJ can become that, right now it’s still KOBE TIME!

    Damn good to have you back!

  144. I’ll take being the LA Kobe’s any day!! god damn that guy is freakin’ something.

  145. Just like after the last memphis game, I wonder if Pau is going to b*tch and moan again about not getting enough touches. Yeah, that explains why you shriveled up like a little girl late in the game tonight. And I’m sure he thinks that 19 shots, 13 of them makes, were way too many shots for kobe. Whatever.

  146. If the Lakers have the best record at the end of the season trust me, Kobe will be the MVP. And if the Cavs have the best record it will be LeBron. Why do you think Nash was a two-time league MVP??? Because he was better than Kobe those twe seasons??

  147. clutch back to back kobee….(a la 08)…hope he doesn’t need to tomorrow but i have a feeling he’ll go for another one…and make em’

  148. Kobe — 32 Pts, 7 Reb, 6 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 Blk, yeah that’s making an impact…

    but we spoiled fans want to make it 36, 10, 8, 4 and 3 ftw!

  149. I think the Lakers will need to have the best record by at least 4 or 5 games (and do serious work in the last 25 games of the season, ala 23-2, 22-3) for Kobe to make up the MVP deficit. Even then he might need to have a couple more game winners for the point to hit home… the man is the most valuable player in the league. Already if the Lakers win 60 games, 10% of those wins came on the back of Mr. Bryant’s game winners (and, oh yeah, we have never lost when he took the game winner, I’m not counting Toronto since there was less than a second left). When was the last time a 60 win team had 10% of their wins come like that with such a high completion rate? Yeah. That is the MVP.

  150. to #157: I disagree that Lakers have to have a decisive best record to guarantee MVP for Kobe. In the 80s when the Celtics had the best record Bird would get MVP; when Magic won his three MVPs guess who had the best record? Yes, the Lakers.

    Are you saying that LeBron is that much better than Kobe otherwise???

  151. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4940013

    Is it possible for a team to be cursed at a specific position? If you’re a center for the Blazers, run (gingerly) the other way.

  152. Max,

    Nice to see you’re up late with me (I live in NYC). I don’t think Lebron is better. What I am saying is that many journalists have already called the MVP race a 1 man show (Lebron). I think for Kobe to win, the Lakers would need to go above and beyond to put Kobe back into the conversation. If the Lakers have a better record by 1 game, I do not think that will convince enough voters. Too many people perceive the Lakers to be a better team sans their best player than the Cavs, so I think we would need to exceed expectations. I don’t like it, I just think that will be how it plays out.

  153. Enjoyed the nail biter tonight(wanted the blow out), as usual we find out that #24 puts his pants on 2 legs at a time. Dude is sick, show stopper, quiet the crowd in a single bound.

    LeBron, great player, hope he wins all the regular season MVP’s, as long as Kobe wins it in the post season.

  154. This is too Disney like.

    Main character comes back after the team loses by 1 pt and hits the team’s final 9 points to win by 1.

  155. Hey Jim….lots of NY Laker fans…ive been here 22 years, originally from SoCal, but have always remained a Laker fan, though the Knick Riley years were fun here (but that was almost 20 years ago!)

    I feel bad for the Knick fans…so depressing here for them. And there is no way LBJ is going to play here in the next few years, maybe wayyyy down the line.

    My long-term Laker predictions: Byron Scott becomes successor to Phil, while Derrick Rose succeeds Kobe

  156. @151,

    Anyone notice Lebron isn’t in the commercial. Man is not clutch.

  157. Jim and Max-
    I’m in NY as well. We need to find a Lakers bar in the city one of these nights.

  158. Magical night. How does this even happen? Kobe should have been rusty, should have been cold, should have been fatigued by the end…

    Forget Shaq and Dwight. This guy’s the true Superman.

  159. Mohan,

    Totally agree. Hopefully it’s a night when Kobe does the game-winning move he has. You know the one where he hits a shot to take a lead and then no one else scores? (Sorry, I’m just wondering if NBA Jam will give Kobe the game winning shot special ability in light of this year’s ridiculousness in the game coming out later this year).

    BTW, Luke is right. If Kobe ever has to sit for an injury, he should dress no matter what so that he can step in and take game winners as necessary.

  160. Ken,

    I’m all for everyone being able to post whatever they want, but can you add anything more than just, Fish sucks or Pau is killing us or Fish and pau’s late game crap will haunt us in the future.

    I will be all for giving you your props for calling it in the end of the year if we lose the Finals because of Fisher or Pau coming through in the clutch. You can even tell me “I told you so.” But til then, can you add something more?

    I didn’t watch the second half, but reading your comments without checking the score as I came back, I thought the Lakers were down 30?

    Everyone here gets it, you think Fish should just put on a suit. Even Aaron stopped harping on that and gives us something to talk about.

  161. Kobe did work. Solid performance by 24 any way you look at it.

    the rest of the team will pick up their shooting and clean up on the offensive end tomorrow. I don’t see how Artest can miss more layups and open 3s than tonights game. And Lamar had an uncharacteristically bad game decision wise… the possession where the lakers had the ball down 68-70, and Lamar just went in a straight line coast to coast and picked up the charge was probably the worst play I’ve seen him make.

    I thought the missed free throws in the 4th were pointing towards a loss. 5 in a row for Fish and Gasol in a critical stretch! That was horrible and Gasol has been making his free throws lately. Sometimes I wonder if they sometimes mess up like that just to set up a scenario that requires Kobe to make a game winner.

    167/Luke – agreed, I’m also going to say if kobe doesn’t care about his ppg, he could probably play the role of designated last shot taker into his 40s.

  162. I am truly sick if some of the posts lately. Fans seem to be bipolar! Example:

    Bynum: when he’s hot- they say- “wow he’s the future of the franchise how lucky we are and he’s progressing well at such a young age.

    When the kid (Bynum) performs poorly they say ” man the team plays better without thus guy!

    Fish when he hits a bug shot they say “he’s such an experienced veteran and clutch shooter. Akers need his leadership to win it all. When Fish does a horrible job they say “when will he Retire please!”

    Kobe takes too many shots and lakers play better without him. After 40 point game or a “closer” moment it’s Black Mamba all night!

    I could go on and on but I’m so tired. Point: it’s a long season have faith in the team and coach. Players will have dome bad games but what’s important is our record. Obviously that’s under control. So stop the bipolar comments. Stick to one side of the coin please. Don’t be a bandwagon slut.

  163. Does anyone else love going on opposing team’s blogs after Kobe hits a game winner on them? Am I sadistic?

  164. Paul–

    Extremely enjoyable. And watching opposing announcers say something about it even more so. I think it’s less sadistic and more…gloat-y.

  165. 170. Kobe himself prefers to tear our the heart of road crowds than to make a home crowd explode.

    I know for me my favorite announcer calls of Kobe game winners don’t come from Stu and Joel. Example:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57yR0MphgwU

  166. Kobemoney, care to tell us which side of the coin are you on:

    Fisher?
    Fisher starting?
    Farmar?
    Farmar starting?
    Shannon Brown being a PG?
    Bynum being the future?
    Bynum needing to be traded?
    Gasol being soft?
    Lakers being better without Kobe?

  167. 169, I don’t think people are bandwagoning. Some people are just big downers and other people are big uppers. Just so happens that these types of people mesh here in the comments and you get people exaggerating in both directions, good and bad. So it seems like the comments are disjointed, when in fact people are pretty consistent.

    159, it’s called the Curse of Darius Miles. Or as I like to call it, karma.

    I got bits and pieces of the game (proctoring an exam while watching a stream), and the difference between this game being a nail-biter and being a double digit win was just 3-4 missed shots, like a couple of Artest threes and some of the bunnies missed by Gasol.

  168. Darius,

    request. Can you tell me how the offense was in the second half? Did it flow? Can you compare it to when Kobe was out?

    Thanks.

  169. @174
    Zephid, I think you got it exactly right. People are just so dramatic!!!

  170. I think it’s pretty salient to realize that Kobe was the inbounder on the last play, which was pretty well designed as a curl by Lamar, giving Kobe the option of either cutting to the rim or reversing the cut and going back outside to the three point line with a screen from Gasol, of which he chose the latter. If we’re gonna pile on PJ for drawing up crappy plays against Boston, we should give him credit for a pretty solid play this game.

  171. Zephid,

    Cmon now. You know people won’t do that. They’ll just harp on how bad PJ’s inbounds play was at the end of the Celtics.

    Don’t u know the comments on this blog by now?

  172. I am very happy tonight that my Lakers won and that Bynum had no knee injury.

    Go Lakers…

  173. Ray. I agree with your thoughts. Its tough being a 40 year fan to not be to critical. I wish I didn’t get so upset at bad play. Perhaps there is a rehab where Tiger stayed for Laker Nuts. I will try to tone it down. Its a good thing you don’t listen to Laker talk or you would really have a issue.

    This blog is my outlet and I don’t have to pay $200 an hour to vent.

    thanks for your thoughts.

  174. hey mohan and jim….
    laker fans in gotham…

    hells kitchen here….

  175. #173
    This is one of my favorite announcer call of a kobe game winner. Starting at 5:00 minute mark.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuP-36pNLsM&feature=related