Preview and Chat: The Orlando Magic

Darius Soriano —  March 14, 2011

Records: Lakers 47-20 (3rd in the West), Magic 42-25 (4th in East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 111.6 (3rd in NBA), Magic 108.2 (11th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 104.6 (8th in NBA), Magic 102.1 (4th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Magic: Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, Brandon Bass, Dwight Howard
Injuries: Lakers: Devin Ebanks & Theo Ratliff (out), Matt Barnes (probable), Kobe Bryant (game time decision); Magic: Daniel Orton (out), J.J. Redick (questionable)

The Injury Bug:We all know the Lakers are rolling, winning 9 of their last 10 games. However, Kobe’s ankle was also rolling on Saturday and that leaves his status for tonight’s game up in the air. Personally, I think that Kobe will play but don’t think it’s necessary or even prudent for him to do so. The Lakers play two games (tonight and Friday) before reaching the 7-day mark of Kobe’s injury and we all know that with his obsessive commitment to getting treatment and rehabbing, the extra time off would do him good. And while the Lakers are in full fledged finishing mode to end the season with the best possible seed, an injured Kobe (especially a player more dependent on his jumper than ever) that doesn’t have the same lift or threat of going by an opponent isn’t the best option to be on the floor. When you add to that how he’ll likely suffer on D, I say rest him. All this probably means he’ll play and put up an efficient night scoring while playing lock down D, but that’s my 2 cents.

Kobe’s not the only Laker banged up, however. Matt Barnes continues to struggle with his right knee and Phil Jackson has said that the Lakers “are still not out of the woods” when it comes to their backup SF’s ailment. Barnes being touch and go really is an issue for LA. It’s one thing to have Kobe out a game or two, as that’s something you can work around for that limited time and then welcome him back on that pre-determined timeline. But it’s another altogether to have a key reserve like Barnes consistently questionable in this manner. I trust that Matt will tough it out and play, but the Lakers are reliant on him to play strong D, rebound, and be active in their halfcourt offense. If he’s compromised in performing these tasks, the Lakers then become more reliant on Luke Walton or Kobe (who, as noted, isn’t 100% himself right now). Hopefully Barnes can work his way through this and not be hampered for too much longer, but his situation bears watching.

The Magic Coming in: Since the all-star break, the Magic are 6-4 and have had a couple of good wins (Miami, OKC) and some bad losses (Sacto, Golden State). When this team is playing well, they live up to their top 5 defensive ranking, holding teams like OKC, Chicago, and Phoenix to sub-90 point games, but that caliber of D isn’t always available to them as evidenced by the 81(!) points they gave up to the Warriors in the 29 second half + overtime minutes in their 123-120 defeat this past Friday. This makes complete sense when you consider that outside of the tremendous work that Dwight Howard does in controlling the paint and in hedging/recovering in P&R actions, the Magic have surrounded the reigning DPOY with average to below average wing defenders. When teams that rely on outside shooting get hot, there’s little Howard can do to help out his perimeter mates.

That shouldn’t be mistaken as criticism for Howard, however, as he’s simply been a dominant player this year. He’s in the top 10 in scoring and is 2nd in the league in rebounding, blocked shots, and FG%, putting together a resumé that is truly MVP-worthy. Dwight has improved his offensive game by adding a solid 12-foot wing bank shot and continues to be a force in early offense, running post lane sprints and in the P&R where he’s always a threat to catch and finish on lobs. The only areas where Dwight can be knocked down a peg is in his FT shooting (still hovering right below 60% on the year) and in the fact that he’s already earned 16 technical fouls and served a 1-game suspension for reaching that threshold. All that said, though, he deserves recognition for the year he’s having and it’s likely only due to the perceived under-performance of his team relative to expectations that he hasn’t garnered more of a push for MVP. I’m trying not to make that same mistake.

Magic Blogs: Eddy Rivera does a great job running his site Magic Basketball and you should check it out for smart takes. Also check out the equally fine work Evan Dunlap does at Orlando Pinstriped Post.

Keys to game: Not knowing whether or not Kobe Bryant will play impact the keys to this game some, but not as much as you may think. Because while Kobe Bryant is a key every night, tonight’s game is one that I think should be a Pau Gasol game whether Kobe is wearing his home gold #24 or in the locker room getting more treatment on that bum wheel.

You see, even though Brandon Bass is a rugged player and one who will scrap on the defensive end, Pau has at least 5 inches on the man and should be fed the ball relentlessly to take advantage of that difference in height and length. Pau should get low post touches in the hub of the triangle, high post touches at the elbow, and wing touches on the weak side where he can either shoot his jumper or attack off the dribble. The key, though, is that he must get touches. Even if Kobe does play in this one, the Lakers must run their sets and should let Gasol be an initiator of offense, both looking for his own shot and for teammates breaking open.

Pau can’t be the only big doing solid work, however. The match up that most are surely looking forward to is Andrew Bynum doing battle with Dwight Howard on both ends. After beasting the Mavs combo of Chandler and Haywood, Bynum gets a much stiffer test tonight in Howard. And in order to be successful against Dwight, Bynum must continue the underrated part of his growth this season – his patience. Since the all-star break, Big Drew has shown a great ability to correctly decide how to operate in any given possession. Rarely has he forced shots and more often than not he’s used an array of pivots and drop steps to maneuver his large frame into position to get off a good look. He’ll need to show that patience tonight against Howard if he expects to have good success. He’ll also need to show good instincts on the offensive glass, stepping in to gain good position when Howard steps away to challenge shots and bodying Dwight to root him out of position.

Odom must also show up tonight with an aggressive mindset and want to attack the paint to force help. LO will likely see a lot of Ryan Anderson tonight and that’s a match up that LO can win by using his superior quickness and length to get to the paint off the dribble and in attacking the offensive glass. This is also a game where Odom can effectively push the ball after securing defensive rebounds against any defender that he matches up with. If LO steps up with a game typical of his excellent year, the Lakers will be in good shape.

Defensively, the Lakers must execute well in slowing the Magic’s simple offensive formula. The Magic rely on three offesive keys to beat teams: Dwight Howard post ups, the P&R, and the three point shot. Luckily for the Lakers, these offensive actions are the ones that their defensive scheme hope to limit, but to actually achieve it will require discipline and strong play in both one on one and team situations.

Slowing Howard will mostly depend on Bynum’s ability to play on an island without fouling. Howard loves to post on the left block where he can drive middle for his running hook shot and then drop step off that that same action for a lay-in/dunk, turning over his right shoulder. I’d like to see Drew give Howard a half a step to his right hand to encourage the hook and then challenge the shot with his length. The key then, of course, is boxing out and keeping Howard off the glass has he possesses the best “2nd jump” in the league.

As for slowing the P&R and the three ball, this mostly comes down to limiting penetration by the ball handler. Orlando loves to get Jameer, Hedo, and Arenas going by having them run off Howard screens and then turn the corner to get into the paint, where they can either shoot a short shot, lob the ball to a diving Howard, or kick the ball out to open shooters when the D collapses. Bynum will need to stick to his guns by executing his soft show where he can both contest the shot effectively and/or rotate to a diving Howard. Meanwhile, the Lakers wings will need to stick to their men behind the arc as Orlando will never lack for shooters on the floor (especially Richardson who’s having a hot March shooting the ball).

In the end, this game is an important one for the Lakers as they’d love to continue playing strong ball and keep their momentum going in the right direction. But with a limited (at best) Kobe or even without him at all, the burden will fall on the Laker bigs who will hopefully get some help from Ron, Fish, and Blake. If the Lakers can control their glass, limit Howard’s explosive finishes, and run the Magic’s shooters off the three point line, they should be in good shape.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on Fox Sports and ESPN. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710am. And for those only near a computer, stream the game live at ESPN 3 right here.

Darius Soriano

Posts

97 responses to Preview and Chat: The Orlando Magic

  1. Orlando actually beat Sacto last week, though the game went down to the wire.

    http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/nba/recap?gid=2011030923

  2. #1. Yeah, I was referencing the Orlando’s first game out of the all-star break. Maybe I should have been more clear, but that first game fell into my 10 game sample that I referenced.

  3. i would like to see kobe sit this game out rather than risking further and potentially more serious injury. we all know that kobe at 100% when he goes into hero mode can hinder the team’s efforts to play within the system and execute. kobe playing at 80% now might result in kobe trying even harder and forcing things more. when you add that with a less than effective kobe on the defensive end then it hurts the team. he just needs to sit and heal. get better.

    the other benefit to this is it’ll give the rest of the team an opportunity to step up. imo they can win one or a few games without kobe. the team can get back to playing the offense and get into the groove of playoff level offensive execution. it’ll also force them to maintain or increase their defense since they won’t have the offensive contributions of kobe. i think it’s good every once in a while for the team and kobe to be reminded of what the lakers as a team are capable of, that is a threepeat.

    this could be a turning moment. either the team shows that they can step up and kobe heals and they build confidence. the other potential is kobe plays and hurts himself maybe resulting in being out the rest of the season. this would be demoralizing for the team and hurt their chances.

  4. What is the issue with Barnes? I was under the impression that his rehab went fine and even a little ahead of schedules. Is he going to be available in June? Did he come back too soon?

    Obviously no one’s going to be 100% at this time of year, but if he can come even close to replicating the game he showed at the start of the season, that’d make a big difference. Even when the bench mob as a whole cooled off after the first month of the season, I thought Barnes was still bringing some consistently decent minutes.

  5. Also… does anyone else think that the surest way to make Kobe play tonight is to have everyone tell him not to? :p I’ve heard that he can sometimes be competitive and stubborn…

  6. @ 4. kehntangibles.

    If he read FBG and SSR and LN as religiously as I do, I’m sure he would get stubborn.

  7. #5. Barnes had that small set back before the Bobcat game that he sat out and supposedly had a bit of an issue on Saturday where several folks mentioned his knee was heavily wrapped and that he may not play in that 2nd half. He did end up coming back, but from what I’ve read and heard he’s just not 100% and it’s still related to his knee.

  8. Why not just let Kobe play and lets see how he does. If he is hurting the team then just take him out, that simple. But Kobe takes pain well and I think despite the ankle he can only benefit the team tonight. He is the league’s toughest player guys.

  9. #8. Joe,
    If he’s good enough to play, I’m sure he will. But, your point about sitting him if he’s hurting the team isn’t really realistic. If he suits up, Phil will play him close to his normal allotment of mintutes and I think we all know that to be true. Unless he re-injures it and absolutely can’t come back, that is.

    Also, I don’t want what I wrote to come off as if I’m saying the Lakers couldn’t use Kobe. Obviously that’s not the case; not with Kobe still being the team’s best player and all.

  10. You know that I love your strategy of feeding Pau as much as possible, but the match-up of Drew vs Howard has me salivating. I say let Drew go at him often and hard. If Drew is at his game – Howard should be spending quite some time on the bench with foul trouble. (Or at least this is what happens when I simulate the match-up in my head;))

  11. My two cents, have Kobe show off one of those fine suits we all know he owns tonight. All of us, Kobe included, need to look at the BIGGER picture. No way does 3 extra days of rest HURT the ankle. I for one am excited to see what the trio of Gasol, Bynum, & Odom would do vs a D. Howard lead defense.

    Lakers are home, after all.

  12. What I meant Darius, maybe Kobe will play, but the injury is worse than he thought and the pain is worse than what was expected. In that case I don’t think it is that unrealistic if he played say one half and then sits the other. And maybe with Kobe hurting he won’t just try and take over at the wrong moments and will just try to play within the flow of the offense too, which is when the Lakers excel.

  13. I always like attacking the other teams best player if there is a chance of success. It tires the top scorer out on the defensive end and also is a slap in the face to the entire team saying … “we can go right after your top dog.” Similar to what Artest has done to Melo the last couple seasons. Last game Howard couldn’t defend Bynum in the low post as he was just too tall and big. And we all know Bynum has stepped it up a few gears since then;)

  14. #12. I hear what you’re saying. But, I’ve always seen Kobe as a “in for a dime, in for a dollar” player when it comes to playing with injury. Either he’s good enough to go or he’s not. That’s my only point.

    I agree with your second point about Kobe playing more in the system as I think that’s what’d we all like to see if he does suit up tonight. I just don’t think he’d have the strength in his ankle to play his standard game of being in full attack mode.

  15. Personally I don’t see how Kobe hasn’t broken his ankles 134 times since switching to those low top shoes. I have tried a pair on before just to see the comfort level and while you may be able to turn and may quicker cuts and not have your movement as restricted, I also see the shoe making you ever more likely to roll the ankle with so little support and protection. Even with tape or wear a supportive elastic brace you would still be more likely to roll it than not. Personally if I had worn a pair and tried to play with them I would destroy my ankles.

  16. Mojo: My guess would be that it has to do with the fact that Kobe is too much of a competitor to be on the bench, without being able to contribute. I think it could literally drive him nuts:)

    By rehabbing during the game, I think it’s easier for him not to think about it.

  17. It’s impossible for us to guess or even second guess the thought process of an elite player like Kobe with his competitive instincts, but I’m certain that while on an intellectual level he’s acutely aware of the need to preserve his body for the playoffs in a way that none of us will ever be, his decision making process on whether to sit or go is probably nothing like how we conceive it.

    Chances are that whatever choice he makes is doing to drive most of us batty, but he’s won more championships than I have, so I’m just going to have to trust his decision.

  18. New Jersey is about to beat Boston. So far a beautiful start to the night.

  19. On and btw, Chicago is now tied with Boston for the 1st spot in the East. Who would of ever thought.

  20. lakers8884, the low top shoes and ankle rolling is a valid point, but the problem is that with high top shoes, you risk your knees.

    high-tops may give additional security to ankles (which may or may not be true since professional players are heavily taped, a luxury casual players don’t have) but just like everything, it has a catch – if your ankle doesn’t roll, the impact will travel up your legs and hit your knees.

    so if you had to choose between better mobility + risk to your ankles vs. slightly worse mobility (and more fatigue probably, since high tops are heavier) + risk to your knees, I’m all for low tops.

  21. Miami is trouncing the Spurs. Are they defending them a bit differently?

  22. The way I see it Phil will let Kobe play tonight, I just hope that if he indeed play he will not aggravate the injury to the extent that it will hamper his play come playoff time.

    I think with or without Kobe we can beat Orlando tonight as they are not playing good basketball on the road lately. The way things are shaping up, I see our lakers catching the second seed on the west and probably having a better record on any eastern team.

  23. #21 harold I agree with you on your observation on low top and high top shoes. In fact players are no longer advised to heavily tape their ankles as it would risk of damaging the knees more if a player twist his ankle.

  24. Wade sincerely thinks that if any player jumps anywhere on the court it should result in freethrows for him.

  25. I know I’ve been saying all year long the Heat will beat us in the Finals… But if we have HCA with the way Bynum is playing we will beat them if Kobe is okay giVing the ball to Bynum again and again. And when he isn’t giving it to Bynum he should be giving it to Gasol whenever Bosh is on him. To be fair to my prediction I thought the Heat would have HCA. I didn’t think they would loaf through the regular season and I under estimated how hard every team would play against them.

  26. My terminology for the 3 superstars in Miami – “The Three (3) Terell Owens”

  27. ok almost game.

  28. question…who does everyone want the lakers facing in the finals?

    A) Miami
    B) Boston
    C) Chicago

  29. LOfan

    Boston – Chicago – Miami

    We’ve beaten Boston before, and I think we can again, and it has great satisfaction value.

    Chicago is not going to be easy with a quick point guard and defensive bigs that give Pau fits. Still, we have Boozer’s number so it won’t be tougher than Boston… just that there isn’t much satisfaction to be derived there. Like beating Orlando in 2009.

    Miami is dangerous if only because they seem to bring out the worst from Kobe. Besides, I will be much more happy to see the three FAIL by not reaching the finals than having them reach it and get beaten; them just reaching the finals will generate so much hype that I am already sick thinking about it. And I’m not even willing to entertain the thought of them actually winning it all on their first year.

  30. 29 – Answer…Miami

  31. i want revenge in Miami. That team is SOFT, i don’t care what their record is or what the analysts think about them. they are S-o-f-t.

  32. #29, LoFan:

    I’d want to see Chicago, then Boston, then Miami in terms of Lakers’ best chance to win. Rose would be a tough guard and their bigs matchup reasonably well (though we’re much more talented at the 4 & 5), but I like our experience to prevail convincingly. I am much less afraid of this Boston team without Perkins. Green is not a difference maker right now in my eyes. We beat them last year, and I just don’t see them being any better now than they were. Miami is the most dangerous team of the three. I think we would be the favorites to win against them all, but the team with the best chance to pull it off would be the Heat. It would be the toughest series for Kobe to dominate w/ Wade on him and Lebron roaming. Plus, I just get this feeling that Wade and Lebron have this quiet confidence when it comes to Kobe. Like, they definitely feel like they’re better and can bait him into hero mode which plays into their hands. Anybody else know what I mean? Regardless, I’ll take any of em if it means we’re in the finals.

    Basically, I think we’ll beat all three, but Miami actually makes me most nervous.

  33. anyone have a link to a live feed?

  34. I agree with Adam that Miami looks like the biggest challege.

    All the more reason to hope for them vs the Lakers.

    I wanna see the Heat players sob.

  35. Adam I completely agree. I think you said it perfectly. Lebron and Wade do have a confidence against Kobe and it would definitely be the hardest matchup for the lakers in the finals. I think Chicago doesnt have the experience or chemistry yet to beat the lakers in a 7 game series, although i pick them to come out of the east. It would be amazing if Phil and co. could beat miami in the finals. What a way to end a career.

    I just think in the playoffs the Heat will be exposed. They are not a good “team”, and i can almost guarantee that they do will not be successful this year.

  36. lakers are collapsing way too much on dwight. giving them wide open threes.

  37. Can someone please guard the three? I would, but I’m washing my hair.

  38. Yeah R, beating Miami would be the most satisfying…even over Boston I think. Would LOOOVE it!

  39. Jane, I think you could still do a better job of guarding the 3 even while washing your hair! Figure it out already!

  40. Orlando goes down the court, takes a J and makes it, the Lakers go down the court, take a J and miss it. This has been the sequence of events, unfortunately.

  41. Ol wily Fish drawing the O-Foul…you can’t spell intangibles without Derek Fisher, err, something like that

  42. 8 rebounds for Bynum already….

  43. Thank you Jerry, Jim, and Mitch for not trading Bynum

  44. interesting look to end the quarter for the lakers,…
    Bynum
    Odom
    Kobe at the 3
    Brown
    and fish

  45. So Bynum is playing like a beast against Howard, yet Gasol could barely draw rim on like 4 shots against Ryan Anderson? Seriously?

  46. most impressive stat so far…bynum has 11 rebounds…7 on the offensive side. BEAST.

  47. Adam – yeah beating the C’s you know, been there done that …

  48. Man I hope the lakers don’t waste this effort from bynum. Bynum is doing his job and more, but Pau can’t seem to get a shot of in rhythm against Anderson who’s smaller and couldn’t guard a fly. I’m pretty much convinced Pau just doesn’t like playing inside. Since bynum has come back he’s been a jumper shooter,a really good one, but a jump shooter nonetheless. And the rest of the lakers need to do their job defensively and not let Orlando just keep firing open three’s.

  49. haha exactly R, i was thinking that

  50. Somebody needs to tell Jackson and Mullin that Arenas is done. No amount of ‘adjusting’ is going to give him his knees back.

  51. Joel: Pau was originally a shooting guard, so you’re not totally wrong;) But in all seriousness: Although Pau might have some trouble versus the bigger centers inside, he should own Ryan inside all day long. Normally, he’s one of the league’s best low-post players..

  52. 29 LOFAN offcourse nothing beats the feeling of winning the championship against your rival Bosteon Celtics

  53. 29, I think it’s a moot point, because as of right now, Chicago is in the driver’s seat to get a higher seed than Boston. Miami is not going to beat either Chicago or Boston in the playoffs, and Boston won’t beat Chicago without HCA (or serious injuries on Chicago’s part).

    As of right now, I’d bet on Chicago coming out of the East.

  54. Only we could let Duhon score his first bucket of the season and turn Ryan Anderson into a first team all league defender.

  55. 56

    Im picking Chicago as well.

  56. Good thing the ref didn’t know that was Artest’s max vertical on that Turk foul

  57. I would love to see fishers shooting % on lay-ups where he’s fouled versus lay-ups when he’s not fouled. But if Howard is going to knock down 15 ft. jumpers there’s nothing Bynum can do. But nobody can knock down a shot, and chalk this one up as an L if they can’t.

  58. kobes having a terrible game thus far. i know im stating the obvious but its not fun to watch.

  59. The defense against the 3 completely baffles me. At what point do they make it tough for Orlando’s shooters?

  60. Adam: Haha so true:)

    LOfan: It definitely looks like the ankle is bothering him.

  61. 60 – Kobe has been consistently ineffective over the past three games. No, it’s not comfortable to watch.

  62. I wasn’t aware that Kobe wanted to be like Allen Iverson and shoot like 10% to maybe score 20…

  63. Lakers might be down 10+ right now..Lucky, their defense is average because they are only down by 6

  64. Fisher has been our 2nd best player tonight…and we’re down 5. How is this possible?

  65. Couldn’t buy a shot. Couldn’t score on Ryan Anderson. Couldn’t stop Dwight Howard’s amazing jump shot. Still only down 5 so maybe there is a chance.

  66. Lakers are currently shooting 34%. I agree with Vhan, I would expect a greater deficit.

    I think Kobe needs to sit for a couple of games. It would do his body and mind some good.

  67. “he’s very long…(look away) pause haha”…Dwight really shoulda dropped a that’s what she said. Maybe if Sager was doing the interview

  68. The problem with Kobe is that he’s going one on one every time down. The lakers need to run their offense and put kobe in position to catch and shoot. Gasol was better in the second quarter, but when he catches the ball 5-8ft away from the basket against anyone other than dwight, he needs to right and left hook them to death. If he turns around and faces up fine, but just shoot a bank shot or take it to the rim. No more jab stepping and ball faking 5ft away from the basket that results into a contested fall away jumpshot.

    and fisher has kept the lakers in the game with his offense and defense. Please don’t waste a good game from fisher, we may not see another one until game 5 in June.

  69. If Lebron isn’t the world’s greatest frontrunner, I’d like to know who is

  70. Does not look good. Lakers can still win this, but normally when they don’t play a good first half, they don’t play a good second half either. The key is we have to keep this close with great defense, can’t let Orlando stretch this past 10 come second half

  71. 70. Joel, I’m loving Fisher tonight…he’s like “Kobe this is how it’s done”. I would really love to know what’s going through Kobe’s head sometimes. He’s got to know that they can win without him imposing his will/dominating the game. Does he know this? He knows this, right? Does he not accept it? Does he not care, because it’s the regular season? Sometimes it’s incomprehensible. I would just love to know what goes on up there sometimes. And not that he’s “gonna kill ‘em”

    DISCLAIMER: Kobe Bryant is my favorite player, and sorry for the ambush of posts

  72. in the last 10 games the lakers played very good D on the second half. Lets see if they continue the trend on this game

  73. Ok, now Kobe smells blood

  74. where would the lakers be if Fisher is not making those shots

  75. KOBE FIRED UP I LOVE IT GO LAKERS!!!!!!!

  76. Kobe is a mad man – you gotta love it:D

  77. Wow, Kobe with a great impersonation of Big Baby.

  78. held the Magic to 20 pts in that quarter , if the lakers can hold them down to 15pts in the 4th quarter this one would be a W

  79. Killer Bs are a buzzin

  80. It doesn’t matter if Shannow, Blake and Barnes shoots 2-10 FG’s. I look at the +/- stats…and said WOW

  81. Ok, I underestimated Bynum when I said he was overrated. Breen just said it best, he is not just getting rebounds because of his height, he is pursuing them. That is the difference that I have not ever seen in Bynum. He is way more aggressive now and is being responsible for playing well, not just relying on his height alone.

  82. It’s amazing how much easier things are when we just make shots. When we’re making shots, we’re almost impossible to beat because we have the firepower to score with the best of them. But the difference between us and teams like Phx or GS is that even though we may not be the best defensive team in the league statistically, we have the ability to play top notch D like we have been since the AS break. Those 2 things combined make us real tough to beat in a 7 game series.

  83. The first six minutes of this quarter showcased some of the best Lakers D of the year. So much activity, gotta love it.

  84. Matt Barnes returns, Luke Walton doesn’t play, bench play vastly improves: coincidence? I THINK NOT.

  85. kobe bryant has no peer among the all-time greats in his on bench enthusiasm for his teammates. he gets excited when his mates do well from the first quarter on. rarely do u see this kind of star off his butt applauding his mates throughout the entire game.

    if lakers win the title this year, i put kobe #2 all-time behind michael. and look out michael. it seems as if kobe wants to win more than anyone else.

  86. Pau and Drew seem to developing a nice bond, and they are also figuring out how to play together. I think Pau’s rebounding numbers will continue to be a bit lower with Drew playing this way, but on the other hand his jumper is perhaps better than I’ve ever seen it. You just know it’s going in every time he takes it.

  87. 18-1 Turnovers, 14 offensive rebounds => Lakers get 21 more shots than Orl, haha

  88. Nice. Just a nice game from the Lakers. And the growth in Drew over the last few weeks has been a pleasure to watch. Reading his interview a couple of weeks ago gave a real insight into his desire to actively be a better rebounder. And we are reaping the rewards.

  89. Don – and that’s exactly where we won the game.

    It’s actually 18-3 TO’s – but still an impressive figure.

    And of course, the +8 offensive boards.

  90. The lakers pretty much every adjustment they needed to make in the second half and played good game. Kobe stop trying to back J Rich down for 10 seconds every play and started to let the offense come to him and what happened, he scored 12 easy points. Fisher continued to play well and Gasol started to be more decisive when he got the ball down low. Overall they made shots that just wouldn’t fall in the first half.

    Bynum’s play speaks for itself and Odom quietly had a really good game. This game started a home stand for the rest of the month its time to start gaining ground in the standings and move into second overall.

  91. Held Orlando to 38 points in the 2nd half and that was the key to the game. If Andrew Bynum would be as healthy as he is playing right now we could be in for a 2001-like playoff domination. If this laker team is healthy I dont see a team that can beat them on a 7 game series with or without HCA. I just hope no serious injury would happen to any of our players. A healthy & well rested team is all we need come playoff time.

  92. Huge win tonight. We’re only 1/2 game back on the bulls and celtics, 1 1/2 up on the heat. We may not catch the Spurs, but beating out the East would be huge…perfect time for a home stand

  93. Five and one on the most important test of the year at this time of the years bodes well for our boys. We still are playing great halves. I would love to see the total game again (the first game against Cleveland or the last against San Antonio).

    Rest Kobe and get treatment. Forget about your shot, it will return.

  94. I’m really hoping that phil reduces bynum s minutes from here. The most important thing is to gave bynum playing at this level. Lets not risk any possible injuries with him, if he plays at this level, a championship may be guaranteed, but if he is hurt again before the playoffs, the lakers are in trouble. Bynum may be the most important player on the lakers team.

  95. Great win. I was kind of nervous they would have a letdown at home after a good road trip, which would be just like them to do.

    Am I crazy or is Pau our best shooter from 18-20′ now?

    Everybody please stay healthy. Can we prophylactically put a brace on Drew’s other knee too?