Fast Break Thoughts

Darius Soriano —  January 13, 2011

With an off day for the Lakers, it’s time for a look around the league with some Lakers thoughts mixed in…

*The latest count of All-Star votes has been released and Kobe is still the high vote getter across both conferences with roughly 1.7 million votes.  If voting ended today, his teammates on the West team would be Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and Yao Ming.  They’d face off against an East team with Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Dwight Howard (the leading vote getter in the East).  You’ll notice that Rondo and KG are no longer in the starting 5 for the East.  What a shame.

*Speaking of All-Star teams, John Schulman of tweeted this past Monday how a roster is filled out when a player can’t participate due to injury.  Essentially, the roster spot would be filled by the commisioner with the coach of team deciding who stepped into the starting lineup from the selected All-Stars.  That means no automatic bid for Andrew Bynum in the West even though he’s in 2nd place in the voting for West Centers, with Yao unlikely to play due to injury.

*One last note on All-Stars: If I could pick the reserves for the West, they’d look like this: Gasol, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Dirk, Ginobili, Blake Griffin, and Tim Duncan.  As you see, absent from that list are a bunch of deserving players including Steve Nash, Kevin Love, and Lamar Odom.  However, if Yao can’t play and ‘Melo gets traded before the ASG, that opens up two spots for the West.  In those spots I’d choose Love and Odom.  Call me a homer all you want, but I just think Odom deserves it.  I also think Love deserves some recognition for how fantastic he’s played this year even though his team isn’t very good.  In the end, though, that means I’m very sorry Steve Nash (with Paul, Williams, and Westbrook there were just too many PG’s).

*I have Carmelo Anthony trade rumor fatigue.  Just tell me when it happens and until then don’t mention it, please.

*Go read this piece by Kelly Dwyer on Lebron James.

*After you read that, go check out this Shannon Brown commercial over at TrueHoop.

*Last night, I attended the Lakers game at Oracle Arena in Oakland.  I’ve been to countless Warriors games (I was there for the Dallas upset in the playoffs a few years ago) and the crowd there is as good as advertised.  Last night, I’d say it was a 60-40 (or maybe closer to 70-30) split amongst the fans of both teams and it created a tremendous atmosphere with the game action making it even more of a great night.  After the game, Kobe was asked if the game felt like a home game with all the Lakers fans in attendance cheering for the road team.  He replied “When we’re up yeah. When we’re up we give our fans a chance to cheer.”   This is one of the fun places to see an NBA game, so the LA fans were cheering in many more cases than when the Lakers were up.  I’m not sure there was a bigger roar from Lakers’ supporters than when Kobe drove the lane, took the contact from Biedrins, and still finished the play with a lay in (about the 3 minute mark of this clip).  After the whistle, while Kobe sat on the ground giving a finger wag to the crowd, the Laker faithful tried to start an MVP chant that almost gained steam until the hometown fans drowned them out with boos and hisses.  You have to love a great crowd.

*That Kobe shot was part of a 46 point quarter by the Lakers where Mr. Bean dropped 17 and Odom had 16.  Realize that in only 12 minutes the Lakers scored only 11 points fewer than the Cavs did in 48 minutes the night before.  Also realize that Kobe and LO’s point totals just for that period last night were equal to (Odom’s) and one point more than (Kobe’s) the Cavs scored in any quarter all of Tuesday evening.

Darius Soriano

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  1. Pau, Duncan, and Lamar have all played center at some point during the season, so I hope they don’t stick to that underwhelming centers ballot list when choosing a replacement for Yao.

    And it’s time for Nash to get the “sub .500” treatment, because otherwise I could make a case that Monta Ellis deserves a spot more than Nash does, and perhaps more than Love does as well.


  2. The All-Star voting is about rep and flash, as much as it is about anything. Why do you think they take HOF voting out of fans hands? Perhaps they should also take HOF voting out of journalists hands – seeing as there are practically no real journalists left.

    I really don’t get anything that proports to be serious being said about all-star games. Unlimited voting for heavens sake!


  3. ‘cmon, enough about the Lakers, let’s get back to trashing LBJ.

    Seriously though, that Kelly Dwyer article has some good points, but it is silly to pretend the Cavs team our heroes just destroyed is last year’s Cavs minus LBJ. That suggestion reduces Dwyer’s cred more than a little.

    I mean, honestly, the chattering class (perhaps not Dwyer) was raving last year about how “stacked” the Cavs were.


  4. Darius,

    Very good insight. I too believe Lamar Odom deserves a spot as I believe he’s playing the best I’ve seen him play since joing the Lakers.

    As for the game last night, that was the best I’ve seen Kobe all season long. Hopefully he can keep it up and get back to playing at an elite level. Golden State’s arena is one of a couple arenas he seems to shoot very well at.


  5. LeBron is just awesome. I didn’t imagine anyone topping Kobe in the love/hate fandom, but LBJ manages to reach it without a legal incident, all by himself. In that regard, maybe it’s Wade that is the ‘next Jordan’ or closest to it, and LeBron the ‘next Kobe.’

    Silly musings aside, I just think everything is falling into place for Odom. A championship, his childhood buddy joining him, marriage, world championship… all’s missing is a child with Khloe, all-star appearance and the third championship. It’s profoundly satisfying when you see a player you like getting the non-monetary rewards of life.


  6. Another great article to read: SS&R’s piece on Steve Blake:

    Blake’s been extremely underwhelming lately, and that article takes a hard statistical look at his exact production compared to Fisher’s.

    Now that I think about it, we were all far more excited about Blake’s signing than Barnes’ (although we were happy that we got Barnes at such a low price, we were just happy we finally had our long-term triangle PG). But Blake’s hasn’t nearly lived up to the billing.

    The triangle takes time, so I’m hoping it’s just a learning curve thing. We’re signed Blake for 4 years, so like Clark said, Fisher/Blake is the PG combo we’re going to have for quite a while.


  7. Isn’t Blake playing on a hurt ankle?


  8. 7 – If true it’d explain a lot, I haven’t heard anything about it (beyond the normal nicks and bruises at this point in the season, that every player has to man up and play through).


  9. Wow, the Nuggets beat the Heat; and LA and Miami have 11 losses each. The C’s are just two ahead in the loss column.

    This could get interesting …


  10. #9 – It does look like the standings are tightening with the Mavs recent injuries, the struggles that Miami & Boston have had, and the Lakers getting on a little streak. Just need the Spurs to slow down at some point!


  11. The Spurs are injury-free. If that keeps up I would expect them to have the best record. However, both Duncan and Ginobli have a history of getting nicked up sometime during the year.


  12. I was looking through the comments to the link Snoopy2006 provided above. Saw quite a few about Roy’s operations on both knees. It occurs to me the ‘torn meniscus’ operation Roy has gone through several times was the same one Andrew Bynum was supposed to have done last summer. That operation doesn’t make anything better, but keeps things from getting worse. Instead the doctor decided to do more repair work while in Andrew’s knee and he now has a stronger situation that is less likely to be a repeat problem down the road for Andrew.

    I know we all griped a lot about how long it took for him to recover, but if it means he can play for years without Roy’s type of problem, I’ll be eternally grateful for that doctor’s decision – so will Andrew, I bet.