Preview and Chat: The Dallas Mavericks

Darius Soriano —  February 22, 2012

Records: Lakers 19-13 (5th in West), Mavericks 21-12 (3rd in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 103.1 (15th in NBA), Mavericks 102.0 (20th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 100.6 (11th in NBA), Mavericks 97.9 (3rd in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Mavericks: Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki, Brendan Haywood
Injuries: Lakers: none; Mavericks: Rodrigue Beaubois (out), Delonte West (out)

The Lakers Coming in: The Lakers have won 5 of 7 and are coming off a solid game against the Blazers that showed the full spectrum of what this team is capable of. When they were sharing the ball, hitting shots, and defending with energy they built up a huge lead. When they stopped doing those things, the game got closer than it should have been and the starters (namely Kobe and Pau) ended up playing heavy minutes to secure a game that could have been a laugher. The fact that the win came at home is the other key ingredient to it all but we’ll get to that a bit later.

The Portland win, though, isn’t necessarily the story of the day. Much like how Kobe’s comments about Pau’s future with the Lakers stole the headlines on Sunday night, the players-only meeting and subsequent rehashing of Kobe’s comments are still making more headlines than the results on the floor. Whether the Lakers can use the fallout from all this “drama” to their advantage remains to be seen, but as I wrote when previewing the Blazers game, the hope is that the guys in the locker room start to come together and produce a product that’s better than the sum of their parts. As we’ve all seen, this isn’t the most talented Lakers team of the last several years (even with their elite core) and they need that extra bit of chemistry now more than ever. If players-only meetings and comments to the media help produce that, I’m all for it.

The Mavericks Coming in: The Mavs have won 7 of 8, with their only loss coming against the New York Lins this past Sunday in a game they looked to be in control of until Jeremy Lin went all Jeremy Lin on them (note: it may or not have happened this way, I’m caught up in the madness with the rest of the world).

In any event, the Mavs are playing good basketball and have actually been able to keep their season on track depsite their identity changing from seasons past. Rather than explaining it myself, I’ll let the always fantastic Zach Lowe take it from here:

The Mavericks, an offensive powerhouse last season, rank only 20th in points per possession. But they’ve managed to go 21-12 behind a defense creeping up on Chicago and Philadelphia in points allowed per possession. Dallas is just a different animal. Shawn Marion defends point guards, and the team’s nominal point guard, Jason Kidd, defends whatever position is convenient that night. The Mavs use giant front lines, with three power forwards, and employ zone principles that confuse every opponent.

So, even without Tyson Chandler (who’s playing fantastic man and team defense in New York) the Mavs are playing elite level defense and winning games via the tried and true approach of stopping the other team and getting timely buckets from dependable crunch time scorers.

Mavericks Blogs: The Two Man Game is excellent. You should be reading their work.

Keys to game: The last time these two teams played we were treated to endured a defensive slugfest that saw a total of 143 points scored between the two teams on a combined 57 for 156 shooting. Yuck. Both sides missed a ton of open shots and neither found their rhythm, as physicality ruled.

Tonight, obviously, I think we’d all like a more aesthetically pleasing game but with the same result (a Lakers win) to discuss after the fact. A few things to watch for:

  • If you look at the boxscore to the last game, you’ll notice Dirk going for 21 points on 8-17 shooting. That’s a good, but not great night and one that I think most Mavs fans would be happy with based off the numbers. However, what that boxscore doesn’t describe is the defense that Pau played on Dirk down the stretch of the game and how he didn’t fall for any of the German’s pet moves, contesting shots expertly and doing it all on an island with no help. Tonight, if the Lakers are to win, Pau will need to bring that same defensive intensity to the floor in trying to achieve the same results.
  • More box score watching gives us insight into what the Lakers’ offensive attack should look like. A hint: it rhymes with Andrew Bynum. The Lakers’ big man was the most effective player in that game, using his big frame to get good post position to score inside. Tonight, the Lakers would be wise to do more of this as Bynum is the one Laker that has advantageous matchups on both sides of the floor (more on this in a second) that should allow him the energy to be a focal point on offense.
  • Kobe too should get his shots, but as mentioned above, he has some things going against him tonight. First is that the Mavs will throw multiple defenders at Kobe – Carter, Marion, Kidd – in an attempt to keep a fresh body on him all night. Second is that Kobe will either have to deal with Vince Carter (who’s having a good season as a 3rd option) or Jason Kidd (where Kobe will have to navigate screens and make key rotations on D) that will affect his legs throughout the game. Taking these factors into account, Kobe needs to be smarter on offense by getting into position to score before he has the ball (either by using screens, making smart cuts, or posting up) rather than isolating on the wing or at the top of the key 20 feet away from the rim. The more he’s able to get into the teeth of D to get his shots, the better.
  • Rebounding will also be key tonight. Despite the Lakers missing 37 shots last game, they only grabbed 6 offensive rebounds. The Lakers must do a better job of getting to the glass on the offensive end, especially when Marion is on Kobe and either Ron or Barnes are matched up against a smaller defender that they can take into the paint to battle for rebounds with.
  • Finally, the Laker bench must provide something of value tonight. As I’ve mentioned before, role players often perform worse on the road, but for this Laker team to start to win some road games, that has to change. Blake, Barnes, Murphy, and Goudelock must hit shots to take the offensive pressure off L.A.’s big three, and must defend well enough that big minutes aren’t needed from Kobe and Pau. This can’t be stressed enough. The Lakers are some legitimate road wins away from being, record wise, one of the better teams in the league and as much as we harp on the things that Pau, Bynum, and Kobe can be doing better, they’re really not the problem here. The bench (as well as Fisher and MWP) must do more and must do it in a place not called Staples Center.

Where you can watch: 6:30pm start time on ESPN and KCAL.

Darius Soriano

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135 responses to Preview and Chat: The Dallas Mavericks

  1. Dude,
    You’re spot on about a slightly below average starting PG and slightly below average back up PG immediately putting the Lakers into title contention. What I think we both agree on is how good a slightly below average starting PG is now a days. That would be like the 16th to 20th best PG in the NBA. That’s like anywhere between Jrue Holiday, Tony Parker and Ricky Rubio. Good luck getting those type of players without giving up Gasol. Do you think we could beat the Heat like 3 out of 10 finals series with let’s say a Sessions who is a 30th to 40th PG and a average starting (Beasely) SF?

  2. Its interesting to note how good Dallas is on D this year with a roster that doesn’t teem with defensive stalwarts. Of the starting 5, only Marion can be considered an above average defender, and even his best years are behind him. Kidd was good too, but a long time ago.
    Just as interesting – they replaced Chandler, who most people agree is good defensively, with Haywood – and actually got *better*.
    The credit should go to the coaching staff.

  3. Lakers are facing the NBA champs tonight. The team that ended their season last year. In addition, the Lakers were off last night. So I expect their best tonight. Our big 3 all need to be productive with both Gasol & A. B. getting the ball in good scoring positions leading to a minimum of 12 fga’s each. Kobe will get his 25, just hope he won’t need 25 shots to do it. Also, is it too much to ask for at least 20 points from the bench tonight?

    And for what it’s worth, I’m ready to trade the Lakers 1st round pick (mid 20’s) for Beasely if The T’ Wolves are open to that exchange.

  4. The other thing I meant to say was that unlike Chicago and Philly, Dallas doesn’t have any young legs – at least not in the starting 5.
    Boston is another team that comes to mind. Hopefully, we get to that level with Coach Brown

  5. 3)
    I would give the credit to the coaching staff putting the long Marion on opposing PGs. Same thing the Bulls did in the 90’s to become a historically great defensive team. Putting long SGs and SFs on PGs shuts down opposing teams offenses. Especially in the new PG centric NBA. I hope we get a athletic SF who can guard PGs. I’ll be waiting.

  6. 20th-ish was trying to be optimistic (and gave me some wiggle room) 28-35th is realistic…I am trying to think is there any other option? is sessions the easiest to acquire or is he the best pg in that realm

  7. im calling lakers by 8 tonight

  8. 7)
    As do I

  9. Bdog–I listened to SAS’s self-aggrandizing rant and failed to hear anything that was anything other than SAS’ opinion about what the closed-door meeting was about. He wasn’t there–you understand that? He hasn’t talked to anyone who was there–do you understand that? SAS is giving you his opinion. He may be right, he may be wrong. Some people over the past week on this board have agreed that Buss jr. is the problem–others are taking a wait and see approach…

    All of that said, nothing changes the fact that SAS is an ENTERTAINER first and a REPORTER/JOURNALIST a very distant second. We aren’t claiming he doesn’t know what he is talking about, we are just trying to remind you that his motives have nothing to do with truth-seeking and getting to the bottom of the story, and everything to do with rousing as much rabble as possible–period. Does he make some points that ultimately prove to be correct sometimes? Sure. Blind squirrels find nuts sometimes, and a broken clock is right a couple of times a day. That doesn’t mean we should treat SAS’ rantings as the gospel truth. In short, the adverse response you got had little to do with the message, and everything to do with the source of your news.

    Cheers

  10. #9
    For those of us without the time to listen to Smith’s whole broadcast, can you give us a quote or some sort of summary? The only thing I can remember is the “Lakers were dumb to attempt the Paul trade with all the team owners in the NBA offices.” How has this been corroborated?

    Also, I’m trying to think of 16-19 PGs ahead of Parker and Rubio…

  11. We need to win at least one of the next 2 games. If we lose both I am afraid that the media, the fans, and the team will be in a daze (even worse than we are already) headed into the ASG. This will greatly impact morale and could even worsen Mitch’s already desperate bargaining position. Please root hard for W’s.

  12. Stephen A Smith from December 2011:
    “I predict that Kobe Bryant will demand a trade, and I am not budging from that. He’s livid. I’ve known Kobe too long. He is ticked off.”

    So there’s that. If you throw enough crap at a wall, some of it will stick. That’s Stephen A’s M.O. Sometimes right, sometimes wrong, always loud to garner attention. That’s why people tend to discredit his reporting style. Nothing against you Bdog

  13. One thing I can say about Smith is that he is tied into players. He knows how to work a room and does have sources that are either the players themselves or people that are close to them (agents, etc). The thing is though, he can be very declarative in his statements and this approach serves him well from an “on air personality” perspective. But, when reporting news there are often areas of gray and I’m not sure if operating in those areas is his strong suit. Just my two cents.

  14. Aaron: Your quest about Pau + Drew: I posted about this approx 1 month ago. If we “truly” had A) The best player in the league – even let’s say Top 3 B) The 2nd best Center + C) A 3rd Team All NBA at PF, then I think we would be better than we are, even with subpar 1+3. You think the modest upgrade at 1+3 can make us contenders and I hope you are correct, because my D12 dream is not probable now. although I am holding out until 3/15 : )

  15. Robert,
    Go back one post and read what I copy and pasted from Hollinger about the Lakers real issues and how serious our PG and SF problems are. Then get back to me on your thoughts and we will discuss.

  16. Robert,
    Hollinger actually thinks its remarkable we have such a good record even with three all world players considering the garbage through out the rest of the roster. He said its unprecedented that an NBA team has players with PERs like Fisher and Artest even playing… Let alone starting.

  17. It was just mentioned on Sportscenter that Kobe called Jim Buss almost immediately after Phil resigned, and wanted to offer input on the coaching search. Buss never returned Kobe’s call, and has not spoken with Kobe yet this season. Oh, and it was Stephen A. Smith who said it.

  18. I think Bdog is Stephen A. Smith!

  19. Aaron: Like I said, odds are we will get to see if you are correct, and I am rooting for it to be correct. My concern is that the distance between us and the Heat is greater than you think. I would be ecstatic with a 30% chance against them after some moves by the FO – by the way – I noticed you lowered this from 40% : )

  20. “Do you guys play for the Lakers? Are you guys employed by the Lakers organization? Were you present during players-only meeting a couple nights ago”

    We can discuss the merits of Stephen A’s reporting while still being mature about it Bdog. I’m just trying to provide reasons why people take Stephen A’s reports with a grain of salt. Obviously none of us were in that players only meeting, and that includes Stephen A, the front office and the coaching staff. As Darius mentioned, Stephen A appears to be tight with some players and/or agents, but that doesn’t mean everything he says comes from those sources or those sources are correct. If everything he said were true, and came from Kobe, Kobe would have demanded a trade.

    Once again, ““I predict that Kobe Bryant will demand a trade, and I am not budging from that.” – Stephen A. Smith

  21. Robert,
    I would be ecstatic as well to get those kind of players to fill the 1 and the 3 spots as har that kind of chance against a great Heat team. And I think we would be lucky to fill those holes. I don’t think it will be that easy to fill both those holes. And the 30 to 40 percent to me depends on what kind of average players we get to fill those holes. I think of anyone can beat the Heat it is the Lakers who have Kobe to guard Wade and a strong Artest to bang against LeBron for an entire series (but to be honest we just have to hope he chokes again). Then you throw in a huge advantage with Bynum at Center (let’s hope the Heat don’t get a average Center at the trade deadline and we have ourselves a series in a slow down Finals environment where the Heat can’t use their speed and athletisism. All I’ve been sayin this entire year is we aren’t that far away. PGs are very easy to obtain. Heck… We traded for the best one in the game before the season already.

  22. #20. Not to get all preachy here, but you don’t know who Kobe does or does not trust with “all basketball related issues” and going on his show in 2007 doesn’t equate to making that statement true. We also don’t know if Kobe’s saying things that should be taken at face value or saying things with alterior motives at play. This has nothing to do with SAS, really. It’s more about sourcing in media and who says what and why. Sometimes that stuff is pretty straight forward. Sometimes it’s not.

    As an aside, media get burned a lot going with what their sources tell them. Bucher also had “sources” in the Kobe/2007 trade situation and he vehemently stuck with his guns about Kobe never playing for the Lakers again. We see how that worked out. This isn’t to say Bucher shouldn’t have reported what he did – I happen to think he was told exactly what he reported – but things don’t always play out the way media reports them and it sometimes has nothing to do with the media outlet.

  23. Robert, Aaron,

    Apologies for intruding into the conversation, but if Dallas could beat the Heat last year with their roster, I think we can do it as well with a serviceable PG. Yes, Dallas was definitely the deeper team, but in the playoffs, the rotation gets tightened quite a bit.

    That, of course, assumes the Heat played like they did last year as well :)

  24. I think we can all say with a certain degree of certainty that this Jim Buss mangement issue is going to get louder and louder. I dont see Mitch being back next year

  25. Bdog

    I live 4 blocks from the guy and he sure never talks to me!

  26. I think it’s crazy how people try to interpret and dissect what Kobe says. Digging a little too deep thinking a little too much. Willard is that guy just take what Kobe says as the truth.

    ESPN can’t find another guy to replace Willard, seriously?

    Tonight will be a game where ball movement has to be key pound the paint with Lakers bigs. Have to make Dirk play defense.

  27. By the way Bdog, I think SAS can be entertaining as all get out. He is very charismatic, and very good at what he does–that he gets a skeptic like me to even pay attention to what he says is proof enough of that.

    @ Kevin–amen to that. Bynum was dominant early on against POR, and as DS pointed out, was the only guy who played very well offensively against DAL last time out–hopefully we go to him early and stick with it.

  28. Wow, what a media storm Jelly Bean’s son has created. Seems as if Kobe’s the modern day E.F. Hutton: When he Talks, people Listen.

  29. Quote from Magic on ESPN–“So, I think what has to probably happen is sit Kobe down [and] Jim, sit him down [too] and say, ‘Hey, Dr. Buss was the master at taking you to lunch or taking you to dinner and really going over what he thought about, or what he was thinking and what he wanted to do with the team and Jerry West was great at that as well.’ Kobe, Mitch and Jim just got to get on the same page and it will be OK.”

    Tra, you hit it on the head–even Magic is paying attention to “E.F.” Bryant

  30. mindcrime: Agree Lakers should feed him all game. I want to see what he can do with 20 shots a game for 2 weeks straight. Don’t really know if he can be the guy he’s never given the chance.

  31. Any truth to the rumor that Odom is not playing and flying back to LA because he is taking over Laker GM position?

    Nah

  32. Alright everyone, I’m killing the SAS talk already. I think everyone’s opinions are what they are and that’s that. Plus, it’s almost time for the tip. Let’s get this win, you know?

  33. first thing we see, Fish miss a wide open 3 lol

  34. Darius

    Why can’t we talk about the San Antonio Spurs?

  35. do MWP iso’s ever ever ever work?

  36. Ok Mike it’s time to take the ugly out. Barnes and Blake please

  37. Dallas bench looks vunerable tonight

  38. Pau Gasol playing well 6-8 for 12 points, very active tonight. Mavericks turned all 3 Lakers turnovers into points (6).

  39. My bad on the SAS Darius–the spurs bring out the worst in me

    Pau coming up big early….let’s see if the bench can maintain

  40. actually starting to look like a team ..Goudelock!

  41. And Murphy cutting to the basket for a layup off a bounce pass from Drew?

  42. Did all we really, really need is competent outside shooting? I feel like we can at least make the playoffs and win a round or two with this team. If we were to get any kind of upgrade at the PG or SF, then this team can compete for a ring!

  43. It sure look like Coach Kobe really knows how to get him team up!

    Year Mamba Coach.

  44. Lets go GLock .. Squeeze off and Hit that Target.

  45. Has there ever been a worse starting player in Laker history then MWP?

  46. mwp has been the only bad thing about the lakers so far. he is really a site for sore eyes

  47. Man…it’s sad to see Kobe’s handles desert him like they have over the last couple of years. He used to be an amazing dribbler.

  48. Kobe looks really bad tonight. Kind of sucks we just blew a 14 point lead

  49. 51Not the only.Kobe is 1/6 FGA and 4 TO.

  50. What’s going on with Kobe’s handle? 1st qtr. lakers pounded the paint 2nd qtr. no post offense now tied

  51. This game to me shows that the West is much more wide open than people think. LA can hang with the top teams in the league (except for Miami – no answer for their athleticism), now imagine if LA can acquire a serviceable PG or a SF or both. Instant Finals contenders, I’m not willing to call them title contenders with those upgrades however because I feel Miami is the worst possible matchup for this LA roster and the bench is too horrible to win on the road against them. LA can probably get away with their inconsistent bench for most of the playoffs (they did even with Farmar and Shannon and Sasha though people forget how inconsistent they were – even Lamar).

    I’m not willing to call this roster excellent because they are really only as successful as they are because of the big 3 even with the rest of the team working against their productivity. But with minor tweaks here and there this team isn’t far off from making a deep run in the postseason. But I understand the front office’s financial situation if they do indeed decide to trade Pau, both scenarios make sense.

  52. Turnovers, Vince Carter, and offensive rebounding hurt the Lakers in the first half. Lakers need to continue to go the Gasol and Bynum, both are playing well.

  53. Lakers got great looks going inside-out. Have to force feed the bigs. When Kobe goes in the post everyone stands around. More Kobe/Pau PnR and post plays defense too.

  54. dallas getting away with a ton of reaching and slapping. come on, refs.

  55. So far, Kobe’s play has been a sour spot for the Lakers. 1-6 shooting, 5 points, and 4 turnovers to only 3 assists. If he can pick up his game, LA may be able to take control.

    Of course, they also need to defend better. Carter’s gone off and Dirk is starting to get warm. The Lakers are right there, but need pick up their intensity on that side of the ball.

  56. Kevin-
    When Kobe is in the post everyone stands around except for Matt Barnes. He cuts and gets fed quite often.

  57. Can’t believe that Gasol got that call. That’s a superstar call!

  58. turnovers hurting, sure seems like alot of wacking on the wrists going on

  59. Fish..3 in a row?

  60. Is there butter on the ball?

  61. Wth is up with the butterfingers?

  62. not boxing out

  63. please sit kobe down! for the rest of this quarter i mean.

    but the only player not doing his job is kobe. Not playing defense, not boxing own, taking bad shots, over dribbling and turning the ball over. Is it just me or does kobe almost always suck on nationally televised games.

  64. kobe trying to establish a rhythm at the expense of the team. !@#$%

  65. Kobe appears to be completely disengaged from this game.

  66. I love the timeout. Prevents Kobe from single handedly shooting his way to another laker loss.

  67. kobe rulez!!!

  68. could we just run Kobe of a few screens instead of the iso’s

  69. Hate to say it but Kobe needs to be benched. More TO then points is a Metta thing not Kobe.

    Worst game I can remember him playing.

  70. You know Kobe’s struggling when Derek Fisher matches his scoring through three quarters… on half the shots.

  71. any idea why Brown changed the Bynum + bench that worked so well in 2nd quarter to Gasol + bench?

  72. the officiating has completely been one side since the second quarter. It may be too much to ask the lakers to overcome a terrible night from kobe and bad officiating on the road.

  73. ridiculous calls this quarter

  74. These calls that Dirk’s getting are real suspect.

  75. Geez, love Bynum, just happy go lucky and a great kid.

  76. fisher breaking backs!

  77. if we can survive this Kobe stinkbomb..

  78. Seriously, Kobe? What is that, like 15 turnovers tonight? And stop jacking up 3’s!!! If you didn’t want to play tonight, you should’ve stayed on the bus and saved us all the trouble. 4-15 shooting. Phenomenal.

  79. that’s how you do it when your shot isn’t falling, kobe!

  80. Two awesome passes by Kobe there!

  81. Then with two great passes in a row, Kobe ices the game. Hilarious.

  82. What a great pass by Kobe to Bynum for the slam dunk.

  83. two games in a row where the extra help from a guard (Blake than Fisher) makes all the difference

  84. You have GOT to be kidding me.

  85. Kobe is killing the team tonight.

  86. really cant believe Kobe just did that

  87. Wow. We miss 4 straight freebies. Dirk missed 2 earlier. This is ridiculous! I’ve never seen Kobe this off…

  88. Unbelievable. Good job, choke.

  89. Nice job kobe

  90. no flagrant? scumbag refs.

  91. This is an incredible finish! Barnes is fouled! Can he miss 2 more!?

  92. 6 missed in a row by 80% plus shooters

  93. It’s Jim Buss’s fault the Lakers can’t make free throws.

  94. so what part of free throws are exactly free?

  95. Holy crap…this was entertaining to say the least!

  96. I bet Haywood gets a fine or suspension for that once they review the tape. Can’t go for the ball when 1) the guy doesn’t have the ball when you hit him, and 2) you’re leading with the elbow.

  97. So what part of free throws are actually difficult??

  98. Despite their best attempt to lose the game in the fourth quarter, it looks like the Lakers will get the W.

  99. Still can’t believe that blatant flagrant foul wasn’t called. If that were Bynum on Dirk I’d bet on him getting a flagrant 2.

  100. I can’t believe we miss Sasha to hit some icing FTs….

  101. Odom didn’t play? The Mavs must be hiding him from other teams so they don’t request him in a trade.

  102. kobe will bounce back at OCK

  103. Lakers survive 6 straight missed FTs and a missed call that should have been a flagrant foul by Haywood on Gasol to win in Dallas. Best road win of the season.

  104. whew, glad they won. however this won’t fly tomorrow night vs. okc. lets hope the roll players and pau build on this win and kobe plays much better tomorrow.

  105. Considering Kobe’s performance tonight, he should have declined that Post Game Interview and granted it to D-Fish.

  106. No doubt about that, it should have been a flagrant two and an ejection on Haywood. It will be interesting to see if the league office suspends him for at least one game. IMO, he should be suspended for two games, but I have a feeling he won’t get any suspension or even assessed a flagrant. The league’s policy for the past ten years or so is to let opponents have open season on Laker players.

  107. Lakers did almost everything they can to lose that one. Good win. Let’s hope it builds a little momentum heading to OKC.

  108. That was stressful. Lakers always find a way to make it interesting

  109. I agree with dj, Kobe will bounce back tomorrow. Marion and Kidd play very physical D on Kobe, often bordering on fouls, not a lot of guys get away with that kind of D against him.

  110. I wouldn’t be super surprised if we got blitzed tomorrow at OKC, but I wouldn’t be totally upset. We are who we are and OKC at home is awfully tough for anyone. I think we would’ve taken 1 out of 2 on this road swing which is what we got.

  111. Dude-
    “The league’s policy for the past ten years or so is to let opponents have open season on Laker players.”

    Whenever I say stuff like this I get told to stop whining about the referees! I agree with you wholeheartedly though…

  112. By the way…we are only a half game out of 4th in the west after how bad we have played this season. Pretty incredible. Only 1.5 out of 3rd I think…

  113. It’s been a very, very long time that I’ve seen a box score where Kobe wasn’t leading the team in FGAs.

    It’s almost the first time where I’ve seen Fisher score as much as Kobe.

  114. Both bigs had good games. Kobe trusted both of them in big spots down the stretch, passing the ball inside on back to back plays, (both resulting in baskets) instead of jacking up off balanced, double team jumpers. Sweet

  115. kobe went all LeBronesque missing those FTs.

    Good playmaking by Kobe down the stretch he stepped up late

  116. Kobe’s two lobs late to pau and ‘drew were a refreshing departure from some of the late-game hero-ball we’ve seen from kobe during this season–if kobe can start to trust the big men late in games, and thus diversify the late-game options, things could start looking up–especially in close road games like tonight that haven’t been very kind to LA this year…

  117. @119, KenOak – Seriously, think about it. When is the last time somebody got suspended for committing a flagrant foul against a Laker? The refs almost never call them, and the league office never seems to assess a suspension.

  118. Odom didn’t play because he is in LA on a Kloe health issue.

    Now Brown should see why barnes needs to play 35 minutes and Mess 10.

    Rebound probably won the game.

    Kobe has been worn down by Brown minutes and it’s showing last few games.

  119. @ the dude

    I’m a reprobate ref-basher, and agree that the failure to call a flagrant there was horse-hockey…but was it LA – haterade, or just a crew afraid to enforce the letter of the law in a situation where a flagrant foul call pretty much ends the game (assuming LA remembers how to shoot FT’s)…if it had been a 10 pt lead either way there–the flagrant probably gets called

  120. Dude-
    I completely agree man. That elbow that dropped Pau was as bad as Bynum’s against Barea last year. Hell, this one was aimed at Pau’s head.

    If anyone gets the chance- take a look at how physical the Mavs are allowed to play against Kobe, and then compare that to how physical the Lakers are allowed to play Dirk.

  121. TheDudeAbides:

    I think it was the Raja Bell clothesline on Kobe back in Game 5 of the 2006 playoffs.

  122. Once again, Fisher shows up when it matters.

    !!

  123. Big win tonight. So even if we lose tomorrow against the best of the west it will still be a respectable close out stretch heading into the break

  124. D’ Fish is the menu of the day on Ash Wednesday, the impregnable ancient Derek. He’s the most valuable player in tonite’s game

  125. If Fish can hit his open 3’s, I’m fine with him staying. Same with Murphy, GLock, Barnes, etc…

    Gotta hit your open shots. Period.

    The Mavs also missed some key shots.

    I gladly welcome that!

  126. Even though he didn’t score tonight. Blake has revived the bench ever since he came back it’s a totally different look.

  127. lakers by 6 tomorrow

  128. Kobe is beat. Hence the 7 TO, 6 for17 and 5 of 9 freethrows. Sounds like a Metta box score.

    OKC has a point guard slightly better the Kidd.

    OKC has lost 1 game at home.

    Metta can stop Carter so Durant may score 50.

    Other then food poisoning for OKC there is no
    chance of winning tomorrow.

    OKC by 8 .

  129. Ken 2 your embarrassing my name, really back to back against the best home team in the NBA and the worst road team in the top 16 playoff teams and you pick Lakers by 6?

    FYI I have made 6 picks on the site this year and have yet to be wrong yet.

    OKC by 8.

  130. @Bmao, that’s right…it’s the last time I think it happened. And that one they had to call, because it was so blatant and he threw Kobe down. I remember a play that Barnes made on Turiaf in 2008 – two hands to the side of the head in a hitting motion as Ronny was going for a layup. No flagrant was called, and no suspension either. And Shaq was the victim of two or three flagrants every game, but they were rarely assessed.

  131. seems like a lot of people are content with a L tomorrow. I can’t stand OKC and will be extremely upset if we don’t pound it down low to expose those frauds. Westbrook is a punk who will do something stupid late and MWP has shown that he can slow down the Durant train. Looking forward to a big game from KB24, something in the 40s.