The guys over at 48 Minutes of Hell have a lot of Spurs/Lakers content up today, including their 4-Down Podcast where Andrew McNeill and I talk about tonight’s Lakers/Spurs matchup.
Also from 48MOH:
From Scott Sereday, 48MOH: The staple of any Phil Jackson team has long been the triangle offense. The triangle offense relies on creating space and options for skilled scorers to operate. This set produces opportunities to read and pick apart a defense, resulting in many mismatches and easy scores. This video describes the current version of the Lakers triangle offense. The Lakers can produce offense efficiently in a variety of ways. Even without Andrew Bynum, the Lakers are scoring 20.5 PPG on possessions derived from the post, tops in the league according to figures provided by Synergy Sports. The Lakers also score 10.0 PPG on possessions beginning with Kobe Bryant in isolation sets. No other individual player is responsible for more such scores. In addition, the abilities of Bryant and Pau Gasol have contributed to many easy scores for others. The Lakers score 14.6 PPG from cuts, second behind only the Magic. (A couple of these scores started as isolation or post possessions.)
From Timothy Varner, 48MOH: Varner: Very simply, what’s up with the Lakers? Are they on cruise control or is something genuinely amiss? Kamenetzky: Do I have to choose? Certainly complacency was the theme following Saturday’s embarrassing loss to the Heat. Kobe Bryant took the opportunity to take his teammates to the woodshed, saying they know how good they can be… which is the problem. Odom said the team has a problem with cockiness. To what degree their problems can be blamed on boredom is an open question. The complacency discussion to me is less about trying while on the floor- I think most nights they, at the very least, think they’re playing hard- but problems paying attention to detail. Maintaining the mental edge to make the extra pass, cut, and rotation. That sort of thing. Certainly giving a damn wouldn’t hurt, but there are other things going on.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: It’s at least a good sign the team’s taking steps to heal the wounds left from its 96-80 loss Christmas Day to the Miami Heat. But it’s unclear if a competitive practice consisting of the reserves beating the starters, Ron Artest getting a cut under his right eye and Kobe Bryant playing aggressively will make any difference Tuesday when the Lakers play at San Antonio. The Lakers had reported a solid practice two days after their double-digit loss to Milwaukee because of the two-hour length and the fact everyone practiced together. But that meant very little come Christmas Day. It remains unclear whether a simple practice and a agitated Bryant will simply cause the Lakers (21-9) to perform a complete 180-degree turn against the San Antonio Spurs (26-4).
From Chris Tomasson, NBA Fanhouse: Other than with Shaquille O’Neal, Phil Jackson hasn’t had greatness in the pivot during his coaching career. He did still win three titles with former star Bill Cartwright at center and three with never-was star Luc Longley manning the middle. So Andrew Bynum could be regarded as the second-best center Jackson has coached ever. The only problem is the Lakers’ coach can’t get him on the floor much. So pardon Jackson’s frustration regarding Bynum, who has been slow to return to form this season while coming off yet another knee injury. Jackson knows what kind of potential he has in Bynum, who is just 23 but has shown some impressive flashes in his six-year career.
From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: Never let it be said Kobe Bryant doesn’t have any pull around the Lakers’ organization. After Saturday’s loss to the Heat, The Mamba promised a Monday practice full of butt whuppings. Fire and brimstone. A “wrath of God” kinda vibe. Whatever it would take to shake the Lakers into a sense of urgency. Well, as I reported earlier today, today’s session in El Segundo was a “feisty” affair, according to Phil Jackson (who, by the way, found nothing unusual in Bryant’s practice demeanor beyond some aggressiveness and his literal participation). The mood was competitive and a scrimmage was won by the reserves, which Jackson always gets a kick out of.
From NBA.com: The Los Angeles Lakers have assigned forward Devin Ebanks to the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Ebanks, who was selected by the Lakers with the 43rd pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, has appeared in 12 games for the Lakers this season, averaging 2.9 points and 1.5 rebounds in 6.4 minutes. The 6’9” rookie will be available to play for the Jam tomorrow night in their game vs. the New Mexico Thunderbirds.
From Jevon O, Silver Screen and Roll: To put it simply, I do not think Ron Artest’s defense on Lebron James was terrible. While I support the notion that Lebron James played a great individual game, played great team basketball, and helped his team to victory; I cannot support the assertion that the defense played by Ron Artest on Lebron James was terrible. Thinking back to yonder days of yore, I remember an article posted here many moons ago where it was discussed that Milwaukee scored a lot of points against a Laker defense that, at first glance, appeared terrible. But after a rewatch, CA Clark discovered the Milwaukee Bucks took shots the Lakers would want them to take. Therefore, it was not bad defense, Milwaukee was hitting the shots, tough shots, that they were being given. The coaching staff was pleased with the shots taken, and the Milwaukee Bucks played good basketball. Eventually, things usually even out and the Lakers win (enter biased fan logic).