From Devin Kharpertian, TrueHoop: What’s also notable is that the undershooters “undershot” almost twice as much as the overshooters “overshot.” But the most surprising revelation had to be Goldman’s figures on Kobe Bryant, which found that he slightly leaned towards the side of undershooting. I don’t think anyone in NBA history has accused Kobe of undershooting before (the second half of Game 7 in the 2006 Western Conference first-round exit excluded), but Goldman stood by his formula. Goldman explains by e-mail that injury concerns could be a factor: “Kobe’s undershooting t-statistic is 2.3. This means he undershoots in a very statistically significant way, but not quite on the order of LeBron/CP3/Roy. As a nice counterbalance, Pau Gasol has an undershooting t-stat of 2.83 and as such his undershooting behavior is more statistically significant that Kobe’s…
From Dave McMenamin, ESPNLA: If the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, they’ll run their current winning streak to eight games, matching the longest win streak they’ve had since starting the season off 8-0. While the Lakers haven’t made any drastic trades in the time from October to March and wear the same familiar purple and gold jerseys, the win streaks are hardly matching bookends. The difference is Andrew Bynum, who missed the first 24 games of the year while recovering from offseason knee surgery and the revamped team defense that his presence in the lineup allows the Lakers to play.
From Eric Stephen, SB Nation: The Los Angeles Lakers look to extend their winning streak to eight games tonight in Atlanta facing the Hawks, a team that has won just four of its last 12 games. Kobe Bryant is closing in on another milestone, just 12 points shy of Moses Malone for sixth place on the NBA all-time scoring list. To pass Moses, Kobe needs 13 points against the Hawks, a number he has reached in 62 of 64 games this season. Bryant began the season in 12th place on the all-time list, but has passed four legends this season. Kobe passed former Celtic John Havlicek on December 10, passed Dominique Wilkins on January 4, passed Oscar Robertson on January 7, passed Hakeem Olajuwon on January 28, and passed Elvin Hayes on February 27:
From Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: Derek Fisher sits in an almost-empty restaurant on a midweek morning in Cleveland that defines silence, save for the hushed conversation at a nearby table and the occasional clink of dishes behind a closed door. He seems to savor it as he sips his coffee. There will be little downtime for him in coming months. After the Lakers’ playoff push ends, Fisher transitions from 13 teammates to about 420. As president of the NBA Players’ Assn, he’ll be on the front line during negotiations on a new labor contract, with the very real possibility of an owners’ lockout that could stall the sport before it typically starts up again in October. Pro basketball might be paralyzed for an entire season.
From Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: Reporting from Atlanta Pau Gasol remembers all the questions about his tired legs. He used to field them every day. He logged almost 40 minutes a game while Andrew Bynum was sidelined by a knee injury, and it began to show when he shot 49% in December. Some teammates privately wondered why he looked so fatigued after taking off the entire summer. “Internally, some of the stuff was that Pau’s not living up to his potential, he’s not playing hard enough,” Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said Monday. “I didn’t like that because I knew exactly what he was going through as far as the process of playing minutes and wearing himself out, muscling down there with the big guys.”
From Elliot Teaford, LA Daily News: They made a few subtle tweaks to their defensive philosophy several months ago, and after a few trials and tribulations, the Lakers are reaping the benefits in the form of a seven-game winning streak. Andrew Bynum stands at the center of the turnaround. “There’s no question he’s the captain of the defense,” assistant coach Chuck Person said Monday. “Everything is in front of him. He sees it. We’ve got to get him to talk a little bit more. He’s quiet by nature, so we’ve got to get him to be more vocal. … Andrew fits the mold as a perfect guy to anchor the defense.” Bynum stands 7-foot and weighs 285 pounds, which makes him ideally suited to act as the protector of the basket, but there’s more to his recent success in a defensive scheme that is designed to usher driving opponents toward him in the paint.
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: With the Lakers’ adjusted defensive scheme paying the dividends already that the coaches hoped for by playoff time, Phil Jackson offered a clearer picture Monday of what is different in the new defense that showcases Andrew Bynum as the defensive stopper and prime rebounder. For one thing, Jackson sees the Zen angle in which the stale and long regular season has been spiced up by the Lakers having something new to digest. “That has given us really a second wind,” Jackson said. “As far as the team goes, they’re learning — and because they’re learning, they have kind of a learner’s mentality (and) beginner’s mind, which is really important.”
From Ken Sugiura, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: After losing two games in a row, Hawks coach Larry Drew assured the team on Monday that it was no time to panic. He also said the Hawks needed to play better in transition and not settle for jump shots. This might sound familiar. After narrowly beating Minnesota on Nov. 14, center Al Horford noted the team was a little careless with the basketball and “not necessarily running our offense like we should have.” After losing to New Jersey Dec. 19, Drew said shot selection “was a little bit questionable at times.” After losing to Milwaukee Jan. 26, Drew confessed, “It was not a good display of shot selection, which we talk about over and over, especially on the road.”