Preview and Chat: The Houston Rockets

Darius Soriano —  March 27, 2010

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Records: Lakers 53-19 (1st in West), Rockets 36-35 (10th in West, 16.5 behind Lakers)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 108.8 (11th in NBA), Rockets 107.0 (16th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 102.7 (4th in NBA), Rockets 107.2 (16th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Rockets: Aaron Brooks, Chase Budinger, Trevor Ariza, Luis Scola, Chuch Hayes

The Lakers Coming In:  Former NFL coach Bill Parcels used to say that “you are what your record says you are”.  And, in sports, I think that’s pretty much truth.  I mean, the Nets and ‘Wolves (for example) are quite bad.  And based off record, the Lakers are one of the best teams in the NBA.  However, the Lakers are also one of the more inconsistent teams in the NBA and they’ve been that all season.  Capable of playing great ball and beating anyone, of playing awful and losing ugly and everything else in between.  This is the truth of what this team is.  Does that mean they can’t win the title?  No, it does not.  But what it does mean that following this team through the playoffs will be a true roller coaster ride that will have fans exhaulting them one game and condemning them the next.  Really, this is the same as last season (see the Houston and Denver playoff series) so I urge fans to try and get used to this fact again.  I do understand that this team has seemingly lacked the “desire” or “hunger” of last years’ team.  However, I also understand that this team is different in its personnel and its makeup.  They are the defending champions that is no longer doing the hunting; they are the hunted.  And that target on your back can become a heavy load to carry night in and night out.  My point in all of this is that while there is no reason to think that this team has some sort of magical switch it can flip to suddenly become dominant, there’s also no reason to think that when challenged in a playoff series that they don’t have the resolve to win.  Seeing what actually happens is why we watch the games.

The Rockets Coming in:  The Rockets have been struggling to get wins lately.  They’ve lost 3 in a row and 4 of their last 5 games.  In their last game, trade deadline acquisition Kevin Martin sat out with a sore left shoulder and the Rockets proceeded to lose to the Clippers.  That game also saw Shane Battier miss his eighth consecutive game due to a hyper-extended left knee.  With that last loss, the Rockets now sit 6.5 games out of the 8th seed of the playoffs with only 11 games left to play.  Basically, at this point, even though this team has fought hard over the course of the season it looks like the Rockets will miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2006 season.  A season that, coincidentally, saw Yao Ming play in only 57 games and T-Mac only play in 47.  And while this teams’ secondary players are more talented than the group that played without those stars several seasons ago, the point remains that this seasons’ Rockets have missed that big time talent that can carry them from night to night.  You can get by on hustle and mettle for only so long before talent level and ability catch up to you.  The fact that a group that’s been led mostly by Brooks and Scola is above .500 this late in the season speaks volumes about the heart and character of this team. This group of guys should be proud about the effort they’ve put forth in the 2010 campaign.

But this season is not over yet and the Rockets will continue to play hard.  Besides Martin, new acquisitions Jared Jeffries and (rookie) Jordan Hill have round roles on this team.  Chase Budinger has turned into a gem of a 2nd round pick and is flashing the talent that had him pegged as a lottery pick throughout his college career.  And when Martin was healthy, Ariza had found his stride again as a highly effective role player that was slotted correctly as a 3rd or 4th option on offense that does the little things to help teams win.  There are positives with this team.  It’s just, in a very deep western conference, they didn’t have enough this year.

Rockets BlogsRed94 is a very good sight that brings in depth analysis and great information on the Rockets.  It’s worth a visit.  Or 50.  Check them out.

Keys to game:  Contrary to popular beilief, the Rockets are not an elite defensive team this season.  They will battle you for position and they will play hard, but they don’t have Yao as a detterent at the basket and are missing their best wing defender in Battier.  This season, they are middle of the road and have holes on defense that can be exploited.

While a fantastic post defender, Chuck Hayes is still undersized and can be shot over the top of.  Tonight will be a night where Pau won’t be able to just back down his defender, but he will be able to get his shot off (granted he doesn’t expose the ball too early to Hayes’ quick hands) by being active on the block and using his quickness to get to spots on the floor where he can be effective.  I’d really like to see Pau get his post touches off of ball reversals rather than on the standard sideline initiation of our sets.  Set up our offense on the weakside with Kobe in the low post and then pass the ball out and swing it around.

Speaking of Kobe, expect a bounce back game from Mr. Bean.  Last night had Phil saying that Kobe “was not himself” and that was pretty obvious to anyone that watched the game.  While Sefolosha deserves loads of credit for his defense, Kobe was not aggressive at all and only took 11 shots even though the Lakers were trailing almost from the outset.  Kobe rarely has two bad games in a row and tonight he faces off against a rookie (Budinger) and a guy that he’s very familiar with (Ariza).  Kobe can go to the post on either of these players and with no shot blocker roaming Houston’s paint, I expect him to try and live at the front of the rim this evening.  The same of which could be said of Odom.  If any player played half way decent last night it was LO.  He should be able to build on that performance tonight against Houston.  Much like the game against the Spurs, the Rockets don’t have a player that matches up with LO very well (especially now that Landry is gone) and Odom should be able to use his speed and quickness advantages to attack Scola in the open court, on dribble isolations, and in sneaking in for offensive rebounds.

On defense, we’re all familiar with Laker killer Aaron Brooks.  Brooks sees Fisher and he (seemingly) thinks it’s time to set a new career high.  That said, what people rarely talk about is how it takes effective team defense to slow a quick guard like Brooks that plays full speed and in attack mode for the entire game.  Yes Fisher needs to shade Brooks better and keep him to one side of the floor as much as possible, but the Lakers’ bigs need to hedge better in P&R situations and rotate earlier on penetration because of Brooks’ speed and ability to close the gap between the three point line and the rim.  Every time Brooks gets a head of steam to the rim, there should be a big man there to deter the drive or contest the shot.  Every time.  If one of Gasol, Odom, Powell, or Mbenga isn’t in the picture it’s a breakdown.

The other key Rocket to watch is Luis Scola.  He’s been on a tear lately and has scored below 15 points only twice in all of March.  Granted his minutes are up now that (other Laker killer) Carl Landry is gone, but he’s taking on the extra load and producing for Houston.  The key to slowing Scola is to understand that he wants to go right.  Luis’ right hand is like Odom’s left – you know that’s where he is going, you try to stop it, and he gets there anyway.  His patented moves are his jump hook over his left shoulder and an up and under straight out of the Kevin McHale handbook.  The Lakers defenders need to shade him to turn over his left shoulder and contest without fouling.

As I mentioned earlier, Houston will continue to fight throughout this game and will not give an inch.  I mentioned Brooks and Scola, but Kylee Lowry is another bulldog off the Rockets bench that will attack every chance he gets.  After last night’s debacle, the Lakers needs to come back strong to show that the OKC match up was only one game and come into this game determined to erase the memories of that wretched loss.  On a side note, media and fans may try to turn this game into a battle of Artest vs. Ariza.  Ignore it.  Both of those players are on the teams they’re on now and while both guys are missed in both cities (Houston may not want to admit it, but before Kevin Martin came on board they could have used a versatile scorer like Ron that could create for himself or his mates while also providing strong, physical defense) but at this point everyone has moved on.  It’s an easy story and that’s why it comes up, but in the end we’re already 70+ games into the year with both teams adjusting quite nicely with their acquisitions.

Where you can watch:  5:30pm start in the West on KCAL, also on ESPN Radio 710am.

Darius Soriano

Posts

73 responses to Preview and Chat: The Houston Rockets

  1. After last game, no more games for warren. Sometimes the magic just wears off. Anyway, Houston plays the lakers tough every time. So I’m a bit skeptical about whether the Lakers “will” come out and play hard and execute on both ends of the court. Take advantage of their advantages and play one good consistent game. I just don’t know if they will. They can. This team is different than the last time they played, they have more offensive options and are capable of outscoring the lakers. So well see what happens at 5:30.

    Plus it is the second of a back to back and the Lakers have used that excuse far to many times this season.

  2. Let’s be honest: every PG looks at Fish and thinks it’s time to set a new career high

    And when every team takes a look at Kobe and Artest (voted the two most physical defenders in the NBA by their peers), and a Lakers frontline that approaches “vaunted” reputation when Bynum is in the line up, they’re more than willing to facilitate their PG setting a new career high

    One thing that’s understated is how much such a mentality can take a team out of their standard offense. It reminds me of when Dallas let Nash be a scorer, Nash dropped 50, and Phx lost in a playoff game.

    Not sure how much more the bigs help other than run a box and 1 defense. And with Fish being the 1 I’m not even sure that’d help much more either.

    If you’re saying a big needs to be there every time Fish gets beat by a guy like Aaron Brooks that’s sort of like saying a big should just camp there all game long.

  3. I know the Lakers haven’t made a living this year by taking advantage of matchups but tonight Artest has the biggest advantage (Besides Kobe as always) against whatever SG Houston puts on him (Ariza/Buddinger).

  4. I must respectfully disagree with Darius: There is a “switch” the Lakers can throw to become a domineering team. Give Gasol/Bynum/Odom the majority of initial touches to begin the half court offense.

    Just that simple.

    Our three bigs are among the best finishers in the league, and all of them demand double teams in the low post.

    Sasha, Fisher, Farmar and Brown are still professional caliber NBA players. They can hit the open looks that those low double teams will provide with good efficiency.

    But it all begins with spacing, and that all begins with feeding the beasts down in the post.

  5. 3-Gonna be hard to feed Bynam when he is in street clothes.

  6. Darius (or others):

    for those of us trying to further our understanding of the game, can you explain the perceived advantage of getting the ball to Pau via ball reversals rather than through sideline initiation? Is it because he would be more likely to be facing the basket upon receipt of the pass, or is it something about the position of the defense?

    Thanks

  7. Gasol is a nice one on one low post player when playing PF… but while at Center against normal sized Centers he shouldn’t be trying to post up. He should be facing up in the mid post.

    2,
    I see what you are saying however Nash wants to make plays for his teammates so it made sense to make him be a scorer since that isn’t what he was trying to do. Most NBA PG’s like scoring so they are more than willing to destroy Fisher and the Lakers. On top of that Fisher gets beat too easily so there is no time to help leaving the PG open and everyone on the perimeter open.

  8. @4 “Sasha, Fisher, Farmar and Brown are still professional caliber NBA players. They can hit the open looks that those low double teams will provide with good efficiency.”

    Ummm… no… that’s been the main problem for this team all season.

  9. larryobrieninla March 27, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    nice post darius. team defense is key with a guy like brooks. and it should be no surprise to anyone that with a team like the lakers that have been so dominant for years running a triangle system that almost every other team in the west has a strong pg to break it. so the constant and partially justified criticism of dfish is a bit dated. get over it already! the guy should not be playing the amount of minutes he’s had to play – and that’s a reflection on the bigs and the other guys responsible for the pg role. and blame the front office for not making the move you guys would like.
    it’s pretty clear that the egos of farmar and sasha are a problem – nothing new to anyone who’s followed the team the last couple of years. bynum is a work in progress, but better than most his age. injuries have played a role in defining team character, yet the lakers still have the 2nd best record in the league. (And they went on a nice streak without kobe against some top notch teams! that said a lot to me!) nothing wrong with pointing out the many shortcomings on this team, but geez, some of you need a little perspective. maybe you all should talk to some portland fans…

  10. #6. lil’ pau,
    When the ball starts on the weakside on the block and in Kobe’s hands it allows for Kobe to draw the focus of the defense with defender shifting into help positions. Then when the ball is swung and entered into the post it allows for Pau to play against less established help defenses. Ball movement will always get a defense scrambling and I think one of the issues that Pau has had this season is when he makes his move against defenses where the help is already set up. This is magnified by the fact that our outside shooting is inconsistent and Pau has had guards digging down more often.

    Against Houston specifically, I think that if Pau makes post catches off ball reversals it will help him more easily establish position against Hayes who is a very strong position defender but also one that is help conscientious and will shade towards the ball side when a dangerous offensive player like Kobe has the ball.

  11. #8 (Sharky): I disagree. The main problem with the guards, including Kobe, is that they are shooting low percentage shots in the early to middle portion of the shot clock.

    Does the phrase “PUJIT” ring any bells?

    I have lost count, even during individual games, of how often one of our guards shoots off of a weak dribble on the wing, out of rhythm, with no spacing, with a defender closing and harassing them, from 6″ inches inside the 3-point line. It happens far, far too frequently.

    If our guards would stop taking these low percentage “I am the MAN and I am on FIRE” attempts their shooting percentage would climb by 5% to 10% easily.

    Shoot when you are open. Pass when you are not.

    I think at this point that most of us agree: Laker guards not named Kobe cannot create their own shots. Use the offense.

  12. makes sense. thanks, darius. and thanks even more for continuing to run such a great site.

  13. Here’s the link doesn’t have english commentory but good video quality)…
    http://channelsurfing.net/watch-nba-4.html

  14. Can’t fault Fish too much even though Brooks has 10, that guy has some serious range.

    and uh
    who is Jermaine Taylor and why does have 10 points already?

  15. I get the feeling that Farmer and Brown don’t give a ((((((((((( what the coaches want. They just want to shoot.

    Not players for this type of team/

  16. I’m loving how Mbenga plays right now whether it is offence(post move!!!! lol) or defense(being there when fisher fails….).

  17. Mbenga is wreaking havoc out there.

  18. http://atdhe.net/16158/watch-los-angeles-lakers-vs-houston-rockets

    and the commentators are really praising the lakers bout teamwork and dissecting the opponents offense…makes me wonder if they saw the results from yesterdays game.

  19. Nice response to yesterday’s game so far from the Lakers. They had a few unlucky bounces in the beginning, but now they are finally clicking again. (And when they do, it’s a beautiful thing to watch – on both ends.)

  20. Much better effort so far tonight. I like the way the Lakers have responded after last nights game

  21. Who is that team? Looks like the imposters from last night are gone.

  22. Brilliant Stu comment on Aaron Brooks: ‘I like watching him play because… uh, he likes the underdog and, of course, you know, he is the underdog…’

    Incisive.

  23. Can someone fill me in on how the game is going so far? I’m at a baby shower and won’t get to the game until later. How’d we build the lead? I’m only boxscore watching…

  24. They held Houston to 11 in the second quarter. Up by 17 at the half. Houston has the lead down to 11 with 6 min left in the third. Artest just hurt his ankle

  25. Darius: With good D primarily. And then because the Rockets can’t really defend the Lakers. These last couple of minutes have been a bit more sloppy again though.

  26. Artest is back in there btw, so he looks to be ok. Now Pau bleeds (which I suspect he actually enjoys since he’s always checking for blood;))

  27. LOL, Andreas!
    “See, I wasn’t exaggerating!!”

  28. exhelodrvr: Exactly:D

    The reason for all the bloodchecking, flopping and such from the international players is of course that they are all from countries where soccer is the number one sport – and in soccer the “theatrics” is an integral part of the game.

  29. im hoping for some more ammo time tonight :]

  30. lakers are like a box of chocolate ya nvr know what ur gonna get

  31. Darius,
    Kobe having a great all-around game. Odom, Gasol, Fisher having strong games. Farmar solid off the bench. Artest not doing a lot, but his ankle seems to be OK. Hopefully it doesn’t stiffen up tonight.

  32. Boy they must be REALLY ticked off on Sasha. I guess talking back is a death sentence.

  33. This was a nice scoreline to come home to after picking up the groceries. Even Shannon shooting a good percentage! Definitely a pleasure to see after yesterday’s game-which-shall-not-be-mentioned-again.

    (As I go to post, we suddenly give up a few turnovers and let the lead start to slip – maybe I just shouldn’t post!).

  34. come on Kobe play the game and stop worrying about triple double.

  35. Does anyone else get the feeling that Kobe really wants that tenth assist? Looks to me like he prefers to penetrate and kick it out for a jumper right now, rather than feeding the post or shooting himself.

  36. Farmar is doing just fine, we need this from him all of the time.

  37. Man- Lakers better get rid of Sasha, Farmar, Brown, Powell – the entire bench (except LO) this off season. They absolutely stink. Powell just fouling – Sasha and Farmar not running the offense but throwing up shots. Sasha now a disgruntled player arguing with the coach?

  38. oopppsss – meant Brown not running the offense. The more I see him play the more I don’t care for him on this team.

  39. Absolutely disgusting how this team can’t hold a lead. Lakers going to win but why make it a close game?

  40. What kind of coaching is Phil doing. Just stupid. Get Kobe back in before you screw this up Phil

  41. Farmar is the Subway Sub of the game… Whatever that is worth? He just hits a tripple as I am typing this.

  42. Farmar had a good game but he cannot do it consistently. He usually takes shots too early in the clock – so if he’s hitting his shots it comes out ok, but when he’s cold, then just ends up as fast breaks for the other team. He is not the starting PG that we need.

  43. I do not know what the Lakers are going to do next year at the PG position, it is and will be a problem. I am glad that we did not give up the lead to badly this time, I will take the ‘W’.

  44. I don’t think this game was in as much jeopardy as the scoreline or comments may indicate. Houston shaved some points off the lead and scored a couple baskets in the last minute to make the final margin just 8 instead of 12~13 plus. Not saying that the Lakers giving up a good chunk of a 20pt lead is a positive sign, but just last night the Taco unit carved 17 off of OKC’s lead last night to make the score more respectable.
    I’m just glad the Lakers didn’t cave in after another blehhhh first quarter. They got the win, plus viewers got to see Pau block wee little Aaron Brooks a couple times. “GET THAT OUTTA HERE!”

  45. For all the people so eager to upgrade the PG position, this a list of the upcoming free agents at the point guard position off of ESPN for the summer of 2010.

    Unrestricted: Eddie House, Raymond Felton, J.J. Barea (Team Option), Anthony Carter, C.J. Watson, Speedy Claxton, Acie Law, Travis Diener, T.J. Ford (Player Option), Earl Watson, Sebastian Telfair (Player Option), Marcus Williams, Allen Iverson, Mario Chalmers (Team Option), Chris Quinn, Luke Ridnour, Jason Hart, Rafer Alston, Bobby Brown, Chris Duhon, Nate Robinson, Shaun Livingston, Anthony Johnson, Jason Williams, Royal Ivey, Steve Blake,

    Restricted: Will Bynum, Kyle Lowry, Sergio Rodriguez

    While this list does have some potential players the Lakers could pursue, the problem is the amount of money the Lakers have on tap for next year. I don’t know the exact cap numbers, but I assume they will be paying the luxury tax again next year. It all depends on if Jerry Buss is willing to take on more payroll to upgrade the position. Even if he is willing to add some payroll, the above list of PGs available are not overly enticing.

    Additionally, the Lakers need to find a PG on that list that fits the triangle offense. Can’t just plug in anyone at PG.

    I think that a lot of fans tend to focus on flaws of the Lakers i.e bench and PG.

    The Lakers have the best big men combo in the league, an all-defensive small forward, the most versatile sixth man, and #24. However, I don’t think it is realistic that the Lakers can have the aforementioned players AND a good PG. Fiscally and within the offensive system.

    I do agree that PG needs to be upgraded, but it is not as simply as some of you make it out to be.

    Sorry Darius if this spawns some sort of annoying free agent speculation.

  46. all the negative comments on here are such a downer……i mean a few are good, constructive, but then others are like… “stupid phil”, dumb kobe, crappy bench this, crappy bench that…meh. The lakers are just being the lakers. if they were perfect, they’d be 82-0.

  47. If the Lakers dont win the title this year this will go down as the worst year in sports of my entire life since my Kentucky team lost tonight.

  48. speaking of guards.

    Channel surfing and seeing Beabouis drop 40 on the Warriors…

    When I saw him at first, I said that guard seems ridiculously quick with the ball. But I was surprised that he’s got a nice stroke from three too!

    Granted it’s the Warriors but that’s still scary

  49. Interesting – I haven’t looked through the videos yet, but it appears the Celtics are adopting facets of our old defense:

    http://celticshub.com/2010/03/26/something-different-a-strong-side-overload/

  50. It seems like some commenters on this blog ignore the game and make repetitive “downer” posts–this time, as usual, about the “pg” problem. This was while all of the Laker pgs had good games–but especially Derek Fisher teaming with Jordan Farmar. Derek made all his 3 point shots, and they held Aaron Brooks to low percentage
    volume shooting.

    If some want to pull a Plashke, they should at least be noting when the game evidence is not on their side.

    That wasn’t all. The much maligned Pau “Gasoft” had a game high 30, and “volume shooter” Kobe nearly had a triple double. Artest/Ariza was a nonissue. Sasha, whom some want to replace Fisher and/or Farmer as starting pg–didn’t play at all.

    Is it really a downer to some of you when reality contradicts your negative stereotype of our Laker players?

    Be happy. The Lakers won easily with important contributions from our PGs and Pau Gasol–even as Kobe only made 17. I continue to like the
    players on this team–all of them!

  51. Just saw this article
    http://ken-berger.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/11838893/20633310?tag=headlines;nba

    I thought that this quote from Phil Jackson about points guards was very interesting: “The death knell was ringing for us last year in the Houston series when Brooks was lighting us up, and we actually had to make a change a little bit in our rotation,” Jackson said. “In fact, Derek helped us out by getting suspended a game, otherwise I would’ve stuck with him”

  52. 46 – The Lakers don’t even need a “good” point guard next year.

    As Aaron has pointed out so may times I want to hurl, they only need an average PG to significantly upgrade the team! Even a crappy PG would be an upgrade.

  53. Last night seemed to further illustrate the ongoing theme for this Lakers team: boredom.

    They beat the Spurs, relax, and get thumped in OKC. A bit of a wake-up, but they have the small, completely out-classed Rockets up, and they come out still bored and overconfident.

    They fall behind and then “turn it on” in the second quarter to take an 18 point lead. From that point on you want to see an absolute obliteration of the other team, but the Lakers get bored and give back more than half of their lead as the game goes on.

    Like Darius says, this isn’t something entirely new for the Lakers. This happened plenty last year too. It’s pretty much their MO. Unfortunately that doesn’t really lower the frustration level with watching it.

  54. I only got to the game on my DVR this morning. I’ll have some thoughts on it up sometime this afternoon.

  55. Drrayeye

    I commend Fish on one of his best offense games of the year. Brooks did light him up in the 1st quarter and slowed dow when Fish went out. We all want Fish to do well but his offensive and defense stats are last in the NBA for point guards and one game dosen’t erase the other 70. Its not from lack of effort because he works hardewr then anyone on the court. He is just 2 steps slower then his prior career speed which was not fast.

    As to negative comments, isen’t that our job as true fans? To point out the lackluster effort or holes on the team we care about. Several players and mangement read this site and as opposed to yelling at games this is our only outlet to express our concern with the team we care about. Call it tough love if you want.

  56. From T.J. Simers on Derek Fisher:

    “I know athletes are the last to know,” says Fisher, 36 when next season starts, “but I don’t think I’ve slowed down.”

    Maybe he was never very fast to start, Jackson saying Fisher at times looks like he’s a step behind, packing a body that makes him more fullback than halfback, “but he gets the job done.”

    He didn’t a year ago against Houston’s Aaron Brooks, the NBA’s version of Darren Sproles, Jackson joking that Fisher’s suspension for a game helped the Lakers.

    Fisher met Brooks again Saturday night, the old man who is supposedly the Lakers’ weak link, making five of seven, scoring 13 first-half points and leading the Lakers to a 17-point advantage.

    Read the whole article: http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-0328-simers-20100328,0,2925828.column

  57. sorry about double post

  58. I hope this is a trend for Fish not an accident. Guess we will see after Paul and Collison run around and through the old man Monday. My concern is the playoffs and teams attacking what appears to be he only Laker weakness.

    Also concerned that Fish dosen’t think he is slower. That’s like octomom not admitting she might have had to many kids. De Nile as in the river.

  59. I think its my job to state that Derek Fisher played his best game in 2 years last night. It just gets me even more excited to bring in an average starting PG next year though. How great would it be to not have to play 4 on 5 almost every night?

  60. #60 and #61. Honestly, at this point, what drives you guys to continue to pile on Fisher? Good game or bad game both of you just regurgitate the same things over and over again. I think we all understand that Fisher has limitations at this point. That said, many of us enjoy watching him play well. We like to compliment him (and any other Laker) when they put in a good performance. What we don’t enjoy are fans like you continuing to say things like “yeah that was good, too bad it’s the one time in two years” or “nice game…for him” or “that was passable for a PG, but it will be so much better next year when it’s not him”. You both are tired. Your comments are tired. I’m not saying don’t stick around if you don’t have anything good to say – constructive criticism is fine because I think it helps people understand the game better. But that’s not what either of you provide. There are plenty of other places where you can say the same thing over and over again – it doesn’t need to be here. Seriously. I’m just saying.

  61. So with all the criticism about D Fish and very few suggestions or alternatives other than to just replace him, I’d like to propose something that might help.

    DFish is listed as 6’1″ and 210lbs – the 210 seems a little high for him, but based on physical appearance, DFish is pretty ripped and in great shape.

    In comparison:
    Chris Paul is 6′ and 175 lbs,
    Deron Williams is 6’3″ 207 lbs, and
    RRondo is 6’1″ 171 lbs

    Now my question is, does Fisher really need to weigh that much? If players are blowing by him why should he carry the extra weight? Do we all remember when Kobe Bryant added extra weight; I believe it was the season Rudy T started the year as our coach? Kobe admitted later on that the extra weight made him a bit slower. He quickly shed the weight for the following season.

    I think maybe DFish should consider doing the same. His added weight isn’t so much of a benefit (unless we expect him to body check the Scola’s of the league every other night) and the trade off for losing some strength for added speed would complement the help defense that the Lakers play. If he can stick to his man a little closer and make him take a slightly wider approach to the hoop then our front line will have that much more time to react.

  62. Darius,
    I will make this short… Phil Jackson would have cost Los Angeles an NBA championship last year if Derek wasn’t suspended for that one game in Houston. This is what is at stake people. I pile on because I want to win another one. And if we have to be a little annoying to put pressure on the media to put pressure on Phil that so be it.

  63. sedale,

    Fish’s size has nothing to do with it. He’s 35 years old. He could take lose muscle, but that could also make him worse. He was never a quick PG. He’s just older, and there no way to solve that unless he shares a trainer with Roger Clemens.

  64. Aaron, this is going to sound sarcastic, but “is that right, Nostradamus”? You can now tell me what would have happened had events somehow been different? You have powers to see into an alternate universe? Please. You’re the same guy that was saying Bynum ruptured his achilles tendon and would never be the same player.

    I understand that you have concerns – as fans we all do. But the continued piling on even when it’s not required is old already. I speak for myself on this only, but I’m pretty sure that my opinion matters on this one considering I’m the guy that’s running the site. BTW, all Lakers fans want to win another title. You’re not alone there. But you’re close to alone in thinking that you’re “annoying” comments on this site (and any others) are going to inspire media criticism and then that the media is going to make Phil Jackson do anything but crack a wry smile and say something sarcastic.

  65. Out other PG’s are pretty bad on defense, and they aren’t 35. What’s their issue. It’s pretty sad that we want Fish to sit, just because it wouldn’t hurt. Not because one of the bench guys earned it.

    Trevor earned his spot last year, and Luke seemed to be a Phil guy just as much as Fish is.

  66. Wondahbap

    A 35 year old Derek Fisher will not be as fast as today’s Rondo or the other guys that Sedale listed, I think we all understand this. But a 195lb Fisher is faster than a 210lb Fisher, just as I am slower with a load of groceries on my shoulder.

    Parallel muscle fibers (bulk) don’t add to speed, only to the ability to generate force and also to gross mass. Only fibers that are in series add to speed and those don’t change nearly as readily as parallel fiber composition. So losing bulk w/o a change in the speed of muscle contraction WILL make Fisher faster. So to say that his “size has nothing to do with it” is, and excuse me for the term, a little short sited on your behalf and detracts from what I think is a decent point to bring up, especially when no other suggestions for improvement are made. I am also guilty of not having any suggestions.

    I don’t think anyone expects Fisher to be as fast as Brooks, but when the complaint in our little FBG neck of the woods is that Fisher is too slow, I think this is a viable thing to consider. It won’t make him fast in a dominant way, but it will make him faster, which has to count for something.

    BTW, Sedale, is your tag name in reference to Sedale Threatt? Now there’s a point guard! Too bad he could only shoot when dribbling to his left. And I’ve slightly dated myself.

  67. A new post is up. A look at the Rockets game and the return of some offensive wrinkles.

    http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2010/03/28/lakersrockets-some-offensive-wrinkles-return/

  68. Darius,
    I was guessing that Bynum ruptured it by the way he described the injury. In reality it is very easy to see that the only game Fisher didn’t play in Houston was the only game Brooks didn’t dominate us and the only game we won in Houston that entire series. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to come to that conclusion. Even Phil himself joked that if Fisher wasn’t suspended we probably lose in 6 to the Rockets.

  69. Aaron (70)

    If Bynum ruptured his calcaneal tendon it would be visible to Gary Vitti on the court. When the tendon is ruptured, the gastrocnemius and to a lesser degree the soleus muscle (calf muscles) will pull the entire muscle mass and tendon closer to the knee due to the unrestrained tension. It’s incredibly obvious to diagnose and completely debilitates the ability to plantarflex the foot. I’m sure that’s one of the first things Vitti looked for.

  70. @ 63 interesting and valid point imo. I can’t believe Fish weighs more than D-Williams (??) It could be too late in the season to reasonably expect Fisher to pull an Artest and shed enough weight in order to get noticeably quicker, but even just a few pounds could have a positive effect.

    The Lakers have their roster set, there is not much point in complaining day in day out about players who aren’t going anywhere for the rest of the season/post-season. One can take the standpoint of being “stuck” with certain players and cry about it, or one try to be constructive and work with what is available (hate being speaking as if it’s so black and white). seriously, it’s not impossible to turn a weakness into an advantage for the team.

  71. Chickenlittle,
    Your right my bad. I actually forgot about that. And you are 100% right. But why did the Lakers and Bynum say they were happy to get the mri back and see it wasn’t ruptured? Because it could have been ruptured and needing surgery without it being completely ruptured?

  72. 73,
    They were happy because Bynum and PJ aren’t trained physicians. I would say that the medical staff knew that it wasn’t ruptured but had to run a diagnostic MRI out of protocol (and to appease you and I). MRI has become quite the gold standard for soft tissue diagnostics (even when it’s not always warranted).