Preview and Chat: The Toronto Raptors

Darius Soriano —  November 5, 2010

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Records: Lakers 5-0, Raptors 1-3
Offensive ratings: Lakers 117.0 (1st in NBA), Raptors 106.8 (15th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.7 (10th in NBA), Raptors 108.1 (21st in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers:Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Raptors: Jarrett Jack, DeMar DeRozan, Linas Kleiza, Reggie Evans, Andrea Bargnani
Injuries: Lakers: Andrew Bynum (out), Luke Walton (questionable); Raptors: Ed Davis (out)

The Lakers Coming in:  A 5-0 start allows the mind to start to go off tangent some.  Not with the players, but with the fans.  You see, the Lakers are playing so well right now that the topic of Andrew Bynum’s return and what it means to this team has begun to surface.  Again.  It wouldn’t be a Laker season if this topic didn’t get addressed at some point or another as it’s nearly inevitable that Bynum misses some games (we’re now going into the 4th straight season where Bynum has missed significant games in a season) and that Odom steps up and plays well in his absence.  Thus, the debate rages on about who should start and what these players’ roles should be, etc, etc.

My two cents are that Bynum should start.  First and foremost because he’s the Lakers starting Center.  While Pau can fill in that role quite well, that’s Andrew’s job and when he’s healthy enough to do it he should resume that role.  This allows Pau to play PF and the dominoes to fall, creating the versatile front court rotation that’s led to consecutive NBA titles.  Fiddling with that, even with evidence showing good results, isn’t really the prudent thing to do.  The other main reason that I think Bynum should start is that he’s the defensive post presence that allows the Lakers to really be aggressive on the wings by denying passing lanes and pressuring ball handlers.  Earlier this week when Phillip wrote on defensive adjustments, one thing he initally focused on was the Laker wings getting beat on back cuts.  The point that went mostly unsaid is that when Bynum returns there will be a 2nd seven footer patrolling the paint to contest the shots that come on those back cuts.  Understand that the Lakers want to pressure the wing.  They want to chase players off the three point line and funnel them into the paint where they have to finish over size.  This is a strategy that is at its best when Bynum is around to contest those shots.

This won’t be an issue for another month (give or take a few days), but when ‘Drew is back I hope to see him in the starting line up (which based off what Phil says, will be the case) and have Odom return to his role as the super sub that plays with both bench players and starters and helps both units build and extend leads.

The Raptors Coming in:  The Raptors are 1-3 and it doesn’t seem to be looking up for them.  Their lone win came in the “shunned bowl” against the Cavs and they’ve since lost two in a row against the Kings and the Jazz.  After losing Bosh, this team is mediocre on offense and hasn’t seemed to improve on defense from one of the lesser teams on that side of the ball last season. If ever the term transition year applied to a team, it’s this group right here.

That isn’t to say that this team doesn’t have some talent.  Andrea Bargnani is a former #1 pick that has scored at a good clip this season (24ppg) but still struggles to rebound and defend the paint.  Former USC Trojan DeMar DeRozan has made strides in his second year as he’s added some polish to his raw athleticism.  They have a point guard duo in Jarrett Jack and Jose Calderon that on paper is one of the more solid groups around the league.  Linas Kleiza is back from Europe and showing that he really is an NBA talent that can score well and Barbosa was acquired in a trade with the Suns to help fortify their bench.  But so far the results aren’t there.  They don’t rebound or defend well enough to consistently slow teams down and their offense is just middle of the pack in too many areas to carry them to wins when the defensive stops don’t materialize.  Sadly for Raptor fans (a dedicated bunch, by the way), this is the team they have right now.

Raptor Blogs: Sam Holako and the crew at Raptors Republic are holding it down in the T-Dot and have all the Raps news you could ever want.

Keys to game:  The Lakers have a much more talented team and seem to be on a mission to start games fast, build a comfortable lead, and then close the game by extinguishing any final run that the opposing team puts together in the fourth quarter.  This game could easily follow this template and no one would be surprised.  However, if the game is close it will be because the Raptors are exploiting the Lakers’ lackadaisical rebounding and taking advantage of the Lakers’ P&R defense by running pick and pops between Jack/Calderon and Bargnani.  The Lakers have yet to face a big man like Bargnani – one who can space the floor all the way to the 3 point line and hurt you by burying the long ball.  Sure, the Lakers have faced bigs that are likely better overall (Yao, Lee, Cousins, Gasol), but not one in the mold of Bargs.  This means the Lakers’ help and recover defense will be tested early and often with the appropriate response being quick, disciplined rotations that chase the Raps off the three point line.

As for the rebounding battle, the Lakers have enormous size advantages over the Raps, but Reggie Evans is an aggressive rebounder who chases every loose ball.  If the Lakers are lax in chasing down long rebounds or don’t box out, they will allow the extra possessions that can make this game closer than it need be.

From the Lakers’ perspective, I expect to see the ball go inside the majority of the night to both Kobe and Gasol.  Both DeRozan and Bargs are capable one on one defenders but tonight they face two of the best post players in the league and the Lakers should test them to see if they’re up to the task.  Eventually the Raptors will need to help down on the block and if the Lakers can continue to shoot the long ball as well as they have, this can get ugly pretty quickly.

One player I would like to see get going is Ron Artest.  During the exhibition season we all remarked how well Ron was shooting the ball and discussing how if it lasted the Lakers would be nearly unbeatable.  Well, even though Ron is showing much more comfort in the Laker sets, the results from the preseason have not carried over.  Against the Kings things started to turn around but one game does not a trend make.  Here’s hoping he can get a couple of easy buckets tonight, get his outside shot going, and we then see a second consecutive good game from Artest.  It’s obvious that he’s worked on his game and that he’s really understanding where his shots will come from.  If they start falling it will be one more weapon that the Lakers have in their arsenal.

Where you can watch: 7:30 start time in the West on Fox Sports.  Also listen live on ESPN Radio 710am.

Darius Soriano

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111 responses to Preview and Chat: The Toronto Raptors

  1. Amen to the reasoned argument for Bynum’s starting role.

    As for tonight’s game, the Lakers may as well be playing Maccabi Tel Aviv or the Dongguan Leopards — these days Toronto is just another team from outside the United States with a roster full of players in whom I have zero interest and/or have never heard of.

    Just get the W and move on to the Blazers on Sunday.

  2. Well said Darius… now lets let Phil Jackson give his two cents compliments of Mike Trudell of

    “Defensively I’m not really happy with where we are, but those things happen at this time of year.”

    Yes, the Lakers have gone against opponents that both score and give up a lot of points. Golden State (second in the NBA), Houston (third), Sacramento (fourth), Phoenix (seventh) and Memphis (eighth) are all also conceding well above 100 points per contest. But perhaps the biggest factor for L.A.’s points allowed is the absence of the man in the middle.

    “(Bynum’s) size is overwhelming,” said Jackson. “Andrew changes shots, he blocks shots, the ability for him to cover lanes really makes it difficult (for opponents). Teams have to go to different aspects of their offense to get things accomplished when Andrew is out there with Pau because of the size. Then you combine that with Lamar coming off the bench and changing up the whole aspect of the game.”

  3. I think the primary argument for Andrew starting other than his size is that he is probably less psychologically tough and mature enough to come off the bench while Odom can play well performing any role that the team needs.

    Also I would consider this game a failure if Kobe and Gasol have to play in the 4th. We need to knock out these weak teams early so that Kobe can rest.

    Odom is clearly a championship caliber starting PF. If we had 1 or 2 more solid back up bigs on Bynum’s salary and Odom starting we’d be just as good or better, but for the pieces we have (tremendous as they are) the TEAM is best with Odom coming off bench even to the starting five may be out best unit with Odom and not Bynum

  4. I think Odom fits really well with bench. But ultimately, “starting lineup” is misleading. Phil will find plenty of burn for Odom with the likes of Pau and Japanese Beef Bean.

  5. ““(Bynum’s) size is overwhelming,” said Jackson. “Andrew changes shots, he blocks shots, the ability for him to cover lanes really makes it difficult (for opponents). Teams have to go to different aspects of their offense to get things accomplished when Andrew is out there with Pau because of the size”

    It will be interesting to see who is on the floor at “crunch time” – in the past it has been Odom (even when Bynum was healthy).

  6. 5,
    That is normally the case… but a healthy Bynum was finishing games the last 2 seasons against the Celtics (regular season games) and in last years playoffs against OKC.

  7. Both Aaron and exhelodrvr are right. And therein lies the rub. Phil Jackson will play who he thinks gives him the best chance on any given night. Odom is no longer the guaranteed closer next to Gasol. That ship sailed. In fact, Gasol may not be the guaranteed closer. In a game last season (I forget against who) Bynum closed the game with Odom while Gasol sat. Pau came back in, but with a minute or two left in the game and it was seemingly more about FT shooting and to give one of the other bigs a rest.

  8. Let’s hope Bynum can stay healthy the rest of the year. I’d love to see him continue to develop.

    What a luxury it would be to choose between him, Pau and LO to finish games. That would be amazing if Bynum could play enough so he could develop to that point that he would be an interchangeable option for Phil at the end of games.

  9. Maybe this year we’ll see the fabled lineup that includes all three on floor at once, with say Kobe and Blake, or Kobe and Artest.

  10. I love Cleveland’s response to Lebron’s new commercial. (via PBT)

  11. flye, if Odom can continue to be a consistent threat from outside, that might actually be an option. Maybe he should just continue to hit 80% from three. 😉

    But my guess is that having two good main options at SF (Artest, Barnes) plus Ebanks and eventually Walton will not make that big line-up very likely.

    There are very few teams who can put out such a big line-up themselves that it would make sense to put Odom at the three to match up. Maybe Orlando if they continue with a Howard-Anderson-Lewis frontcourt, but I think both Artest and Barnes would be adequate defenders against the taller Lewis.

    Using the fabled big line-up to create mismatches ourselves and just dominate the boards is still an option, but has Phil Jackson really ever tried it? I can’t remember that he did. Or did he at some point?

  12. Well, Kaifa, I suppose they would get beaten by PG and good penetrators in a way that it wouldn’t compensate.

  13. Did the league just schedule every High Offense, Low Defense team for the Lakers at the start of the year?…

    Oh I guess Toronto’s not a good offense anymore. But they’re perfectly mediocre on defense, so there’s that!

  14. feels like a possible trap game tonight guys, I can see the Lakes taking these guys for granted, trying to cruise past ’em, and they better watch out, any team can beat any other team on any given night, it’s the NBA.

    also, wouldn’t it be great, I mean really great, if LO could win the 6th man of the year award??

    and love seeing a comment from Aaron that doesn’t blast our man Fish, but then, what’s to complain about so far this year, he’s been lighting it up!

  15. How could you go on and miss ‘Warren’? That’s just unacceptable. Plain unacceptable. 😉

  16. Ariza lighting up Miami so far in New Orleans. I like both Wade and Bron as top players in the league, but the hype surrounding them has been a bit over done. Chris Paul is definitely a competitor in the mold of Kobe, he hates to lose, it shows when hes on the court.

  17. Excellent point about Reggie Evans and potentially lax defensive rebounding. He is EXACTLY the kind of guy that the Lakers often let grab 3-5 offensive boards in a game. I think if I could improve one thing on what’s happened so far this season, it’d be boxing out on the defensive glass.

    Sure is nice to have such a small number of things to nitpick over!

  18. This game should be over by the end of the 1st Quarter. By no means am I tryin’ to disrespect the Raptors, but this Lakers team is on a ‘3peat Mission.’ I know that 5 games is only a small sampling (especially considerin’ the level of competition we’ve been up against) but I know that I’m not the only one who’s witnessing a much more determined and focused group. It appears to me that we have that ‘Us Against Da World’ mentality and I, personally, believe this stems from an overall lack of respect that we’ve received from everyone (the Scribes/Media and the So Called Experts). So now it’s as if we have to prove ourselves all over again, even after winning Back 2 Back ‘chips and the only way to accomplish this is by continuing to Steamrole the opposition. Force them 2 give us the Love and Respect that we rightfully deserve.

  19. Any good video links to tonight’s game? I’m out of town and would still love to catch it.

  20. @10 Zephid, lol, I learned something from that video.

    Quitness…to stop at nothing until the goal is achieved, like delivering the promised NBA championship.

  21. CP3 obviously was noticing Rondo getting all the press for high assists…

  22. LOL at the refs trying to win the game for the Heat.

  23. Trevor hits a huge three with 14 seconds left and NOLA beats Les Douches Trois 96-93. Sometimes your night is made even before the Lakers play 😀

  24. Anyone have a live link to watch the game?

  25. Nice to see Ariza still chipping in with clutch 3s.

    NO looks a bit scary, they just knocked off the heat!!

  26. So chances of Miami going 72-10 or better?

    They still have 8 games to lose…

    … and way to go Trevor! (not just because he’s on my Fantasy team…)

  27. Nice! I’ve been wishing Ariza well wherever he goes, and he’s doing well now. I’m happy for him. :)

    And nice move by Kobe… this game is more interesting than I expected it to be.

  28. Go Fisher, yeah did you see that one. Then he takes the charge.

  29. Jarret Jack has more rebounds than our frontcourt combined.

  30. I know it’s Toronto, but Kobe really does start out hot these past few games… did he change his routine, or is he just getting much better looks thanks to his teammates?

    Or is it that we haven’t met Boston yet? Can’t believe that we’ve seen him struggle to score last Finals.

  31. @harold
    Kobe did really well against Toronto in a January game a few years ago 😉

  32. Pau DUNKS! 😀

  33. steve blake is a killer

  34. me likey steve blake. he’s fairly better than that farmar guy.

  35. I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but ever since Blake joined the team, I’m actually looking forward to seeing Fisher going to the bench. It’s a very nice change of pace.

  36. Kobe’s court vision is so, so underrated.

    Grab-a-board watch: Reggie Evans has more rebounds than the whole Lakers squad combined.

  37. When this team’s defence gets back to last season’s level it’s going to be scary.

  38. When is the last time that the Lakers have had a clear advantage in point guard play like this? Go Fish an Blake.

  39. Mark Kobe’s court vision is indeed underrated. But Kobe that last play showed why Kobe has one of the highest bball iq. He set that play up with steve while the raptors were at the line shooting free throws. I don’t know if anybody else caught but he was telling Blake to go to the corner and executed the play perfectly

  40. @Tyler
    FB&G Comment section: Latest official chapter of the Steve Blake Fan Club

  41. We have not seen this is a while, the bench is EXTENDING the lead. 3’s are dropping like hot cakes. Who is this number 50 guy, he is pretty good so far tonight. OK Mark, it just seems like it I guess.

  42. Not yet, sT. Raptors is winning the second by two.

  43. Wow, I like seeing us take 3s for a change. Last season, I really wanted to swear whenever our guys took a 3 😉

  44. So we’re all in agreement that we like the changes to the roster? :)

    This Laker team is fun to watch. Blake is GREAT and Ratliff and Barnes fit in so well.

  45. luke walton…

  46. Anyone got a link to the game?

  47. Thanks man!

  48. 45. Especially because Theo just made his first bucket of the season 😀

    47. I just approved post #27, the one with a possible link.

    Edit – and #48 too :)

  49. Wow.

    Ugly 2nd quarter.

  50. So much for the joy that the Lakers bring, but we won’t win esp. if we don’t grab the boards. 25-14 Raptors. That says it all.

  51. Barbosa! I want that guy…

  52. I’m not worried. It’s a whole half left to play, and our starters had very few minutes in the second half.

    The Mamba will prevail.

  53. @52. I blame Larry Bowa. Oh wait, that was the Dodgers blog. Giving up dribble penetration and offensive boards, getting beat in transition, and missing layups are all signs of wandering focus. Time to regain control in the 3rd quarter.

  54. I am a bit worried since this post didn’t start with Warren…

  55. 38 points for the Raptors in the 2nd quarter.

  56. Barbosa still has it

    I’m hoping the Lakers work the zone better in the second half than in the second quarter.

  57. Lakers get Barboza’d!

  58. Typical Lakers, you have to hit em up side the head with a 2×4 before they start to show interest.

  59. @ 60
    I wouldn’t have it any other way…

  60. Lakers look..not very interested in playing this game. They are having a little too much fun, Kobe is going for a half court pass every other play it seems.

  61. 56, I hear you.

    Time to pickup the D already. Sub Lamar for Barnes. And let’s see what happens.

  62. Just started watching game a little upset its not a blowout, I quess you cant have it your way everynight doesnt build good character as a fan or player. LA has got to get on the boards. Pau with no rebounds WTF! Wishing Drew was in the middle to stop all this wide open shots in the lane.

  63. Fisher stops another 2 on one!

  64. Pau with 1 rebound is not a problem… it’s a MAJOR ISSUE! I told you this kind of laziness/complacency/whatever will haunt them sooner or later. Although I still think they will win this game just because they have Kobe.

  65. laziness and complacency? when have we had that this year except for this game?

    we’ve been blowing people out an average of 13 points.

    relax peeps.

  66. ray,

    We’ve been blowing people out an average of 13 points, but those games were either new teams trying to pick themselves up or teams with significant injuries. And I’m not trying to be negative here or anything but I’m not talking about full-game laziness or complacency, I’m talking about “short spurts” of them. Anyone watching would know.

  67. 66, weren’t you saying the exact same stuff last year? It’s the 6th game of the year, there are 76 games left in the regular season. I fail to see how this will haunt them.

  68. A little run to start the 4th will cure all.

  69. WOW what a move by Pau Gasol. Simply beautiful

  70. Pau is smoooooooooth

  71. That group right there was hustlin’, reboundin’, and challengin’ shots, playin’ defense. That’s the opposite.

  72. Totally agree with Stu Lantz about the new technical rules. If the league really cared about respect for the game, they would penalize the players for all the horrible language they use on the court. A little raw emotion after a questionable call is just passion; swearing and cussing out your opponent is disrespectful.

  73. I’m okay with not having a blowout every time. Competition’s a good thing… even when you’re playing a cellar dweller.

  74. I haven’t been able to watch the game yet. It’s recording now and I’ll watch the entire thing tonight with a recap tomorrow.

    Now, I’m reading comments about complacency, laziness, etc. And while I’m sure there’s some of that tonight, I don’t yet buy that this is the personality of this team. They’ve been destroying teams so far this year. Even the 13 point average margin of victory doesn’t fully describe how this team has come out of the gates just ready to destroy teams. So, this one game won’t convince me that this team is suddenly not the team it’s been in the other 5 games this year.

    One thing I didn’t say in the preview that I’ll say now is that this is a classic trap game in that the Lakers could easily be looking ahead to Portland. The ‘Blazers are the first tough team the Lakers will play since opening night. So it doesn’t surprise me that they haven’t been playing their best tonight. We’ll see how this game ends, and again, I’ll have my full thoughts up late tonight (much later, even) or early tomorrow morning.

  75. @mark,

    this isn’t NBA 2k11, you’re not going to get a perfect game from everyone every game. its important to win the games where we aren’t playing our “A” game. So I want to see them dig deep to eek out a win.

    The bulls 72 game season weren’t all blow outs.

  76. I did Zephid. And that’s with a horrible bench. This year? It would be head-scratching.

  77. argh my stream failing me at this key juncture

  78. While I don’t expect them to play a perfect game, we, as fans, do expect them to play hard. And that’s what I’m trying to point out. Complacency is the opposite of playing hard. Not challenging shots and not boxing out is the opposite of playing hard. What we want to establish here is not being hard on them, but them being hard on themselves. We say this team has a lot of motivations, they must show it.

  79. Nice one by Fish there!

  80. Fisher with a huge basket gives Lakers some breathing room

  81. Clutch 2. Is Fish going to save another one for the Lakers?

  82. 81, I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but it’s a little comical that you say that we want to “establish…them being hard on themselves,” as if what we write here has some sort of effect on the players.

    And while expecting players to play hard 100% of the time is a very rational expectation, it’s similar to expecting students to spend 100% of their energy on learning while in school; it sounds like a very good premise, but has never actually occurred, ever.

  83. @mark,

    do you really question their motivation? a team with kobe, pau, and phil jackson? I think they’ve proven trhough the past 3 years that they are a highly motivated team. and so far this season, they have shown that they are motivated.

    i agree that our defense is out of whack right now, but thats what the season is for, to get better and learn from it. But i would never question these guys motivation. Its not like Baron davis is on the team.

    I like this game for two reasons: 1, looks like its going to a W. 2. PJ has something to harp on to make our team BETTER: defense and rebounding. If aaron were here, he’d say that Bynums addition should help that, and I agree. (which is something i hardly do when it comes to what aaron says.).

    so relax, and enjoy the competitive game.

  84. Wow, Memphis sure let a sure win slip through their fingers.

  85. Where would the Lakers be without Pau Gasol? One of, if not the, best trade in Lakers history.

  86. You never know Zephid. 😉

    Ray, I hear you. I might just be expecting too much from this team, but this has been the deepest team I’ve ever seen since LA’s last 3-peat time. I’m enjoying the game though, it’s just me.

  87. @mark

    i think you’re expecting what everyone else expects from our team: CHAMPIONSHIP.

    our defense does need work though. We need to lock down people sooner rather than later especially teams like this. However this game we haven’t that killer instinct defensively, and we will need that against a premiere team.

  88. sucks… no tacos!!

  89. It was not pretty but the Lakers win

  90. I hope our defense is there when we hit the tougher part of our schedule.

    But a win is good, and really, I never felt threatened about the outcome.

  91. The Mamba prevails. Obviously.

    Two months from now, no one is going to care how close this game was, or if it was complacent or not. All that will matter is who won. Just like with the NBA Finals… what matters is who wins, not how they do it.

  92. Thhheeee Lakerrr Girlllsss …

  93. Raptors dominated the boards. Well, this is one of the reasons we need Andrew there.

  94. I am not worried about our defense. Number 1, we don’t even have Bynum back yet, and that obviously hurts our inside. The bigger point however, is that the Lakers are not really a Celtic team that comes out and plays 100 percent on defense for 48 minutes. After watching this team the last 2 years, it seems like the Lakers play great defense when they need to. They struggled to score against the Celtics in the finals last year, but look what they did on defense. Plus, with this being the beginning of the season, playing easy teams and scoring a ton of points, they really have not had to turn up the defense yet. If anything, I think the defense can even do a tad better this year with the addition of Barnes.

  95. And even though I am waiting for the Hornets to lose their first game, Miami losing is a beautiful thing hahaha.

  96. Granted, it was an odd game. But, playing hard from the vantage of watching TV’s a bit different than peeling yourself off a hardwood floor and strapping on the ice packs. It still doesn’t excuse sloppy play but I’ll cut a little slack to a team that just started 6-0.

  97. there went LO’s shooting %age.

  98. Well, I posted pre-game that I was worried about giving up offensive rebounds, then went out for the day. I come back to see a W (which I like), and Lakers losing the battle of the boards 49-31!

    But I’ll take the win, and the 21 turnovers forced.

  99. looking ahead to Hollinger’s first Power Ranking of the season:

    1. Orlando (3-1)
    2. Miami (4-2)
    3. LAL (6-0)

    based solely on point differential, of course. :)

  100. 6 – 0, nice indeed.

  101. With the game on the line, the Lakers showed that veteran ability to close out a game–especially Kobe and Derek–with steals, deflections, and intimidations that left the Raptors shaking their heads after playing a scrappy, agressive, determined game from the 2nd quarter to the end.

    Sidenote: If the Hornet fans don’t already love Trevor Ariza, they will–just like we did.

  102. Darius,
    Now I know how you got this gig 😉 You indeed are correct. The game Bynum finished (even over Pau, the best PF the Lakers have ever had!) was in Boston against the Celtics when kobe made a little fade away over Ray to win the game.

  103. And Darius,
    Reading your earlier comment… I couldn’t agree with you more. This Lakers team is Kobe’s team fully. They play ever possession like its game 7. If anyone had been to a game you quikly find out that no Lakers fan base has been behind a Lake Show like this years fans. They are loud and into the game… the entire game. I hate to be a Kobe worshiper… but Kobe has made this team in many ways. Who were Trevor Ariza and Shannon Brown before they watched Kobe work day in and day out? Were the Lakers signing Ron Artest, Matt Barnes, and Steve Blake before Mitch started bringing in Kobe’s type of players? No, he was signing guys like Vladimir, Sasha, and Luke. Ron Artest was a hot head charging into stands. The guy just lost half his body weight when he joined the Lakers. Why? Because thats Kobe. Every chance RonRon gets he praises Kobe like a basketball Jesus… an NBA Jedi. I think we are all learning quickly… Ron isn’t as wrong as we once though he was. Bryant is the best tam in the leagues most dominant player every sing night. Ask Lamar how hard that is.

  104. Thought it was a pretty sloppy game. A classic “trap game” on a Friday night where the Lakers wouldn’t take their opponent seriously and let em hang around for a little too long. But hey, always good to win that game if you can.

    As to defense, I actually disagree. Defense is a mindset, and from what I am seeing on the court two things are different from last year: 1. Officials are allowing teams to be more physical on both side of the ball, which negates a lot of the strengths Pau and Lamar have on offense and Defense. And 2. Kobe has back off of the man-up D, seemingly saving his legs, and is roaming around so much that the Lakers are forced to always help off a cutter to the lane.

    Will the D. be better with Bynum (when healthy), sure, but last years team came out with a slogan of defensive intensity at the beginning, which I might add did prove useful later in the year.

  105. Sorry, but I just don’t get why my comment was removed when I just said that Aaron words were actually workshipping Kobe. I supposed that comments get removed when they offend someone.

  106. #108. Feel,
    The comment was held for moderation by the site’s tools and not by one of the moderators. It was then and deleted accidentally by me when I was reviewing it. My apologies for that. I was going to post a comment about that, but couldn’t remember who wrote the comment.

  107. Hi Darius, thanks a lot for the apologies and politeness. Thanks for the effort towards the site!