Around the World (Wide Web): Lakers/Warriors Reactions

Phillip Barnett —  November 1, 2010

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From Kevin Ding, OC Register: After their ring-ceremony night and the Phoenix Suns’ home opener that was a Western Conference finals rematch, here was the first chance for the Lakers to stumble into the complacency that plagued them in their last title defense. The Lakers dominated from the start in a 107-83 blowout of the lowly but previously 2-0 Golden State Warriors on Sunday night at Staples Center. The Lakers’ early attack made sure this Halloween game soon was revealed to be merely an exhibition game in costume. The Lakers (3-0) led by 20 points after one quarter and by 32 points in the fourth even though they eased up for a while in the second quarter when Coach Phil Jackson sent the reserves out there without Ron Artest or Pau Gasol to stabilize.

From Mark Medina, LA Times: The Lakers played well enough to earn some rest for their starters: With exception to Gasol, every Lakers starter played less than 30 minutes. They all sat out for the first 3:24 of the second quarter. And they all sat out for the final 6:50 of the game. Gasol had to log heavy minutes for a few seasons. Jackson doesn’t feel 100% confident in playing the bench entirely. It also spoke to the fact that the Lakers lack frontline depth outside of their starters, the fact Artest shot two-of-11 from the field and Jackson wants to limit the minutes as much as possible for Bryant (knee), Odom (played the most minutes during the preseason) and Fisher (Jackson keeps him under 30 minutes every game).

From Dave McMenamin, Land O’ Lakers: The Lakers smothered the Golden State Warriors with defense Sunday, holding a team that came into the game averaging 120.5 points per game on the season to just 83 points on 40.9 percent shooting. Warriors head coach Keith Smart marveled at the Lakers’ perimeter defense in particular.  “They’re difficult because when those guys are playing at a high level, one, they kind of take you out of where you want to get the ball from,” Smart said. “You have a point guard in [Derek] Fisher who makes you work to get the ball in a scoring area; you have Kobe [Bryant] who will make an off guard work to get the ball in his area; you have [Ron] Artest who is going to do the same thing and then you have the length of [Lamar] Odom. They have a group out on the perimeter that can take you out of the comfort zone that you want your offense to be in.”

From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: He hardly was a clock puncher, registering 20 points on 8-for-16 shooting, seven rebounds, and a pair of assists. The best number in his line, though, was the 27 minutes he logged. That’s a sweet number for the Lakers, the kind hopefully paying dividends as the season wears on. On the court, the work of Odom and Gasol (as well as Derek Fisher, who missed only one shot on his way to 14 points) mitigated the need for Bryant to do much heavy lifting. It was a similar scene for Bryant in Phoenix, where the Lakers were very effective distributing the ball through their bigs in the post and saved Kobe heaps of labor, except Sunday’s run was even less stressful. On any given night, it’s great for the Lakers to find ways to limit his minutes. It’s also a plus if other guys are able to lighten his load. To get both in consecutive games?

From J.A. Adande: It’s not that Lamar Odom improved so dramatically. All that’s happened is a resetting of the scale on which we measure him. No longer do we judge the gap between expectations and accomplishments. Instead of criticizing Odom for what he is not, we simply acknowledge him for what he is, a guy who helps his team win in a variety of ways. When he entered the league in 1999, the combination of that 6-foot-10 frame and slick ballhandling skills prompted visions of nightly triple-doubles. When that didn’t materialize and his off-court problems overshadowed his on-court progress, he was considered a disappointment.

From Dexter Fishmore, Silver Screen and Roll: I hope trick-or-treat-based obligations didn’t force you to miss the beginning of tonight’s game. If they did, you missed those fleeting moments at the beginning of the first period when the outcome was still in doubt. Against a Golden State Warriors team lacking Stephen Curry but still possessed of the awful defensive skills they learned under Don Nelson, the Lakers scored on six of their first seven trips to grab a 14-to-2 lead. On two of those possessions, Derek Fisher took someone off the dribble for a hoop, which for an NBA defense is about as red as red flags get. From that point it was clear to everyone involved that the Lakers could name their score tonight. With the starters getting heavy rest, the champs sailed to a 107 to 83 blowout win.

From Mike Trudell, Basket Blog: Combined points (13), rebounds (10), assists (four), steals (two) and blocks (one) for Odom in an all-around terrific first half. He held his counterpart David Lee without a point and just two rebounds, and was on triple-double watch before sitting out the fourth quarter. Incidentally, the first triple-double of Odom’s career came against the Warriors on 4/11/06, when he scored 15 points with 13 boards and 10 assists. “I thought (Odom) played really well,” said Jackson. “We were concerned, David Lee was on the All-Star team last year, and basically Lamar was very effective against him on both ends of the floor. He’s a guy that we rely on to rebound the ball … he wills himself to the ball and that’s great.”

From Rey Moralde, The No Look Pass: Okay, people have asked about how our favorite candylover does, Lamar Odom, during Halloween games. The NBA season seems to get earlier and earlier as the years go by (I remember them usually starting on early November but these days, they start at the last week of October) so Lamar must not have played very many Halloween games, right? Well, we thought he would do well during Halloween games because of the amount of candy we thought he would’ve consumed before gametime (or would consume after). Lamar has been in the league since 1999… and he’s actually only played in four Halloween games (including last night) in his career. Let’s take a look if there is any correlation.

From Ethan Sherwood Strauss, Warriors World: I’m not claiming that his contributions inherently hold top value. I’m saying: The Warriors have nobody to replace this guy. Reggie Williams cannot create offense. In Curry’s absence, Monta Ellis can only create a very narrow kind of offense–I call it “One 360 layup forward, two turnovers back.” Charlie Bell? Perhaps his eventual expiring contract can blossom into offense, but until that day, he’s a blight on the boxscore. Without Curry, the Warriors lack cohesion. Monta starts driving, chucking and not passing to guards who should be Monta Ellis. The ball rotates with the smoothness of a square wheel, three-pointers develop a magnetic attraction to the rim. In short, the team implodes and Nellie’s ghost envelope’s the evening–even if he’s off somewhere feeding a mai tai to a sea turtle.

From Janis Carr, OC Register: Luke Walton, who re-aggravated a hamstring pull in the exhibition finale, is listed as a game-time decision for Sunday’s contest against Golden State. But that’s not what Walton says. Walton, who has missed the first two regular-season games, said that while he isn’t experiencing any more pain, he doesn’t expect to play until Tuesday’s home game against Memphis. “It feels good and I didn’t feel anything and as long as I don’t feel anything that means I’m making progress,” said Walton, who took part in Saturday’s practice and 3-on-3 game afterward.

From Kevin Ding, OC Register: NBA commissioner David Stern has made clear that he wants dramatically increased revenue sharing to be the new economic structure for his league after this season, following the leads of the NFL and Major League Baseball. For Lakers owner Jerry Buss, that means basically giving a lot-lot-lot of earned money away to his competitors … for nothing tangible in return. So how much are the Lakers going to fight that revenue sharing? “Not only are we not going to fight it, we’ll support it,” Lakers spokesman John Black said Sunday night, “due to the benevolence of our owner, who is willing to sacrifice for the overall good of our league.” There you have it: The Lakers, the league’s royalty whose purple and gold robes already make everyone in the NBA some nice coin, are on-the-record on board with giving up a lot more. At a time when there’s almost no good news coming out about how the NBA could avoid a lockout after this season, that’s a definite something.

Phillip Barnett

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16 responses to Around the World (Wide Web): Lakers/Warriors Reactions

  1. Hey guys!

    As a college student I miss a lot of games at night and I don’t have TiVo here. Does anyone know where I can watch the game after online? Or if not more highlights than just what’s on espn / NBA.com

  2. I am loving me some Matt “Matt Barnes Will Kill You” Barnes. His passing is superb, his rebounding is borderline maniacal, and he’s hitting his shots for the most part. Also, with Ron having an off-shooting night, we had the luxury of using Barnes. Last year, it would have been Luke or Kobe being forced to play the SF position.

    I think the whole “empty the whole bench” sequence in the 2nd threw off the rest of the Renegades (Brown, Blake, Barnes), but for the most part, when some bench players were integrated with starters, they looked fluid.

    I’m still looking to see how they perform against some real upcoming challenges like Portland. But I like what I see so far.

  3. Through three games, I would say while minutes is a big thing (keeping them low for Kobe), I think what we’ve been doing on the court is even better. It really doesn’t seem like Kobe is exerting that much energy. Last season there were many times when the 35-40min were “hard, long minutes.” The feeling I’ve gotten through the first three games is that he could play all day because everything doesn’t have to go through him. He’s there when we need him, but we aren’t needing him every play all 48-min, and I think that’s where the true benefit is. Even if his minutes go up, as long as they are “soft” minutes, I’m ok with it.

  4. Yes Lamar is in shape for the first time in many years and he is a very good player. But don’t forget he is playing against bad small teams. He has always played well with a size advantage… or at least not a disadvantage. The problem is the teams the Lakers are going to have to beat to win a championship are mostly bigger teams that can gang inside. Even the Heat have the longer Bosh at PF. It has been 3 games… Andrew Bynum averaged like 19 and 10 the first 3 weeks of the season last year. Lets keep things in perspective. A few years ago we would except these games from Lamar. J.A. Adande said it best… ” It’s not that Lamar Odom improved so dramatically. All that’s happened is a resetting of the scale on which we measure him.”

  5. Aaron,
    I agree that the competition the Lakers have faced has a correlation to the performance of Odom. However there are still some holes in the points that you’re making and the examples you’re using to try and drive them home.

    First of all, yes the Heat have Bosh at PF, but they also have Joel Anthony at Center right now. Their reserve PF is Haslem and he’s been the player that has been closing games with Bosh in the front court. If the Heat go to that line up against the Lakers, the match ups reset and then one of those two must guard Gasol, with the other on Odom (or Bynum). That shifts the match ups in the Lakers’ favor regardless who plays next to Pau.

    Second, yes Bynum had very good numbers at the start of last season. However, those numbers came when Pau was injured. Once Pau returned, the decline in Andrew’s prodcution was swift and steep. Bynum did find his groove later in the year and was able to successfully blend his game with Pau’s, but it took a lot of time for that to happen. Right now, Odom is having success with Pau and that’s the big differrence that we’re seeing with this Lakers’ team right now. It’s not only that Odom is playing great ball, it’s that he’s doing it while complimenting the other pieces that the Lakers have to offer.

    I’m not trying to knock Bynum here. We all understand his importance and want him back soon. But, to try and play down Odom’s success here isn’t the wise approach. Odom’s been a big difference maker for the Lakers and, while I rarely try to predict what any player will do, I think there’s a strong chance that continues.

  6. @Jordan Check this site out:

    http://bt.davka.info/index.php

  7. If someone’s already mentioned it, I apologize:

    Pau named Western Conference Player of the Week:
    http://my.lakers.com/blogs/2010/11/01/pau-gasol-named-western-conference-pow/

    =)

  8. Comparing Odom’s hot start to Bynum’s last season is a fallacy. We’ve got evidence from portions of the past three seasons from which to compare how Odom has played while Bynum was off the floor, and by most anyone’s reasoning Lamar’s been at a much higher level so far this season – even if we are only three games in. In short, we’ve seen this lineup many times before, and this season Lamar seems to have stepped up more so than in the past.

    Bynum’s hot start last season, as Darius noted, came when Pau was out and Bynum — for the first time since (maybe) late 2007/early 2008, right before his first knee injury – had become the Lakers’ unquestioned No. 2 option on offense. Bynum had way more touches and involvement early last season than anyone should/could want or expect once Pau rejoined the lineup. Of course Bynum’s productivity dipped when Pau came back; he had to share the ball more with a proven and better teammate with whom he’d only briefly shared time on the floor. The fact that they took more time to mesh is wholly understandable.

    Odom in fall 2010 and Bynum of fall 2009 are totally different sets of circumstances; it makes no sense to suggest a comparison is in order.

  9. Guys, it’s Aaron. He’s a cautious, glass-half-empty kind of guy.

    And, I kind of agree with him. Lamar is looking real good, playing this summer appears to have done wonders for him- but I don’t think we’re going to be seeing these numbers from him on a nightly basis, especially when matched up against some tougher front-lines. Frankly, I hope he doesn’t have to bust his rear this whole season and that Bynum gets back soon to spot him. I want this Odom we’re seeing right now in the playoffs.

    Anyway, Odom is a guy I’ve never been interested in bashing. I love that player. He’s inconsistent, but he’s come through with important plays almost every single time the Lakers really needed it in the last few playoff runs. He’s the quintessential glue guy, to me.

  10. If Lamar continues to play at this level, the Lakers are unbeatable. When he is focused, he has a combination of size, skill and athleticism that give him an MVP-caliber game. Hopefully this season we’ll see that game more frequently. Not holding my breath, though.

  11. Agreeing with exhelodrvr, and expanding the point.

    If the Lakers are playing well, no one can beat them. They are one of the few professional teams I have ever seen that can truly say that, and mean it, based on their talent level alone.

    The only teams that are close to the Lakers in talent level are Boston and Miami, and both of those teams have a large drop off once they get to their bench.

    For the first time in a long time our bench is a strength. More than a strength, it can be a weapon. Both to extend leads against other second units, and also to force other coaches to rest their starters less than they would like.

    Combine that bench with a deep front court (once Bynum returns), and a “swiss army knife” of post up options to create foul trouble, and simply wow.

    I have trouble envisioning other teams giving this Lakers team any trouble if they are healthy and focused.

    Again the mantra: No injuries. No injuries. No injuries.

  12. Aaron has a good point, which is that when a team has a defender for Lamar that isn’t undersized and has the footspeed to prevent Lamar’s drives to the hoop, he can struggle offensively and will not necessarily dominate on the glass.

    But those teams are few and far between, and in last years playoffs the only team against which Lamar didn’t have a major impact was OKC. I am not worried about Lamar not being an impact player in this year’s playoffs either, since he has usually given us great overall performances when needed.

    I think that Lamar beginning the season in “game shape” is doing wonders for his stamina and high level of play, and I don’t think he is going to “wear down” as a result.

  13. Darius,
    We disagree on the Heat matchup. They most likely would have Z on Gasol since he has given Pau problems with his size and length as recently as last year. That would leave Bosh on Odom. And as you know I wasn’t down playing his play so far this season… he has been great. I simply was noting that Lamar always plays well against teams like the Warriors and Suns. I am simply saying that his play so far doesn’t tell me anything regarding how he would play against bigger or more athletic teams in the league. It was just in the 1st round he was benched to close out games against the Thunder in favor of Bynum because he was struggling so against the athletic OKC team.

  14. Aaron,
    I hear what you’re saying. And that’s why I’m also saying that Bynum is important. What makes the Lakers as dangerous as they are is their combination of Kobe AND their versatile front court of Pau/Bynum/Odom. The Lakers front line can change gears and play with anyone depending on the match ups.

    One thing I will say about Odom though – this year he’s spending much more time in the post than in years past. In a way, it reminds me of the season he spent in Miami in that he’s scoring a lot inside, but not just doing it on penetration or by receiving passes when slashing to the cup. Against Scola and David Lee, Odom went to the post and got some easy scores. He can do those same things against a lot of PF’s – even Bosh/Haslem, Baby/KG. He may not have the same success rate against some of those guys as he will against a defender like Lee, but Odom has a good post game. I know you’ve been someone that has asked him to go down in the paint more, rather than settle for jumpers. Well, this season he’s doing it and I think that’s contributing to his early season success.

  15. Chiming in again — when Odom’s numbers dip a bit upon Bynum’s return, let’s keep some perspective and remember that LO will be then dividing his time and touches with another quality front court player. Just as Bynum’s numbers went down when Pau came back last fall, so will LO’s this fall (or whenever) Bynum is back in the rotation. But so long as the team is winning and their collective numbers don’t slip, so what? Let’s enjoy the excess of size rather than nitpick it to death.

    Regarding Miami, the Heat’s best course of action to neutralize the Lakers’ big men will, unfortunately, come down to the officiating. If the zebras decide it’s a defensive foul each time LBJ goes into his Jim Brown mode and barrels his way into the lane, knocking down everything and anyone in his path, well then the Lakers will have problems with early foul trouble.

    Same concern applies with Wade and his many travels – key word there – into the paint. If he gets the Jordan treatment again, forget about a three-peat. Anyone who questions this, just ask Dallas circa 2006, whose fans watched Wade earn questionable calls repeatedly to then shoot free throw after free throw on his way to a title.

    But if the refs take a “Let them play” approach similar to what we saw in the playoffs earlier this year vs. Boston, then the Lakers’ front court will dominate Miami (again, provided everyone is healthy — a big if for all involved.)

    If Boston makes it out of the East, the slugfest that will ensue between L.A. and the Celtics’ deep frontcourt will be a sight to behold.

  16. Why is Andrew Bynum afraid of Ronny Turiaf’s shadow?

    http://hoopstopia.com/?p=62