Preview and Chat: The Dallas Mavericks

Emile Avanessian —  April 15, 2012

Records: Lakers: 38-22 (3rd in the West), Mavericks: 34-26 (6th in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers: 106.1 (8th in the NBA), Mavericks: 102.8 (23rd in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers: 103.6 (13th in the NBA), Mavericks: 101.4 (7th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Ramon Sessions, Devin Ebanks, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Mavericks: Jason Kidd, Delonte West, Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Brendan Haywood
Injuries: Lakers: Kobe Bryant (out), Jordan Hill (out); Mavericks: Rodrigue Beaubois (questionable)

The Lakers Coming In: The Lakers woke up Sunday winners of three straight (all sans Kobe Bryant, whose enflamed shin has sidelined him for the last four and will likely do so again on Sunday) and seven of their last ten, and in sole possession of the second best mark out West over that stretch. Sadly, however, the best mark (8-2) is shared by the team directly ahead of them in the standings (the Spurs) and the two (the Clippers and Grizzlies – 1 and 2.5 games behind, respectively) nipping at their heels.

On the plus side – setting aside concerns about the Lakers’ cyborg superstar (the dude that’s suited up, played and played well with virtually every manner of non-fatal ailment known to basketball-playing man) missing his fifth consecutive game in the midst of a playoff-positioning charge, because, well, y’know, the alternative is kinda freaky – the Lakers have received some outstanding play from the rest of the crew. As one would expect from the West’s most daunting frontcourt duo, Andrew Bynum (21.3 points, 16.3 rebounds and 2 blocks per game in the last three, including a silly 30-board explosion in San Antonio) and Pau Gasol (a tidy 20-10 and 2) have stepped up admirably in Kobe’s absence.

Additionally, however, the supporting cast has turned in a series of strong performances. In the starting lineup, while Ramon Sessions (11.3 and 5.7 assists) has remained steady and solid, Metta World Peace had brought nothing short of his A-game in the Lakers’ last two victories, netting a season-high 26 (including 5-of-8 3-pointers) against the Spurs, and following it up with 14 points, 8 rebounds and 5 steals Friday night against the Nuggets.

Meanwhile, Matt Barnes has provided a welcome spark to the second unit. Barnes has not only averaged 15.3 and 8 rebounds over his last three (including his best game as a Laker on Friday night – 24 and 10, including a perfect 4-of-4 on 3s), he’s locked in from the outside, making 8-of-13 (!!) from beyond the arc and is distributing the ball without turning it over, handing out 15 assists and committing just 7 turnovers in his last five games.

Assuming the extended absence is simply attributable to Kobe shelving the bulletproof act in the interest of peaking in the postseason, the past week will prove invaluable as this team moves forward. While sights would undoubtedly be set on a lower target were the Lakers to enter the postseason Kobeless, for the rest of the team to prove –to themselves and to the rest of the league – that they can win, sometimes comfortably, on the road, against playoff-caliber opposition without Kobe is a huge boost.

The Mavericks Coming in: The Mavericks take the floor at Staples in a situation similar to that of the Lakers. Like their Sunday hosts, the Mavs are firmly ensconced in their half of the West playoff bracket (unlike the Lakers, however, Dallas is in the bottom half), but not set in stone with regard to positioning. The Mavericks, currently the West’s #6 seed (and at the moment slated for a playoff rematch with the Lakers), trail the Grizzlies by a game and a half and lead the Nuggets and Rockets (who face one another tonight) by the same margin.

Currently 0-7 on the road against currently winning at a .600+ clip (great stat, via Arash Markazi on Twitter) and staring down the barrel of a 4-0 regular season sweep at the hands of the Lakers, the Mavericks will be beneficiaries of the opposing injury report (they were spared trying to stop LaMarcus Alridge on Friday) for the second straight game.

After a slow start, Dirk Nowitzki has rounded into form (maybe not the transcendent form of last spring, but definite All-Star form), with 51 points in his last two games on just 37 shot attempts, averaging 21.2 per game (on 46%/36%/88.5% from FG/3-pt/FT – how’s that for an off year?) after a month of March in which he hit nearly 45% of his 3-pointers and over 92% of his free throws en route to 25.2 per game. In the three previous meetings between these teams, Dirk is averaging 24 and 9.7 in just 35 minutes per game. Barring a cameo from the 2011 iteration, holding Dirk to these averages and focusing on shutting down the remainder of what is now an offensively challenged lot (Jason Terry is a threat, but Jason Kidd, a nicked up Roddy Beaubois, Shawn Marion, whatever is left of Vince Carter, Brandan Wright and Ian Mahinmi? Meh) should prove sufficient for a Laker victory.

Mavericks blogs: For the latest news and some great insight on the Mavs, check out the work done by The 2-Man Game and Mavs Moneyball.

Keys to the Game: FEED. THE. BEAST. It’s really awesome to see Brandan Wright’s career finally get rolling, Ian Mahinmi is a nice player and Brendan Haywood is, well, big, but Tyson Chalder ain’t walking through that door. The key to victory over these Mavs – as it would be with Kobe in the lineup, but particularly with him out – will be to dominate the paint through Andrew Bynum.

With Kobe in a suit, however, the Mavs will utilize their zone defense to pack the paint and force the Lakers to settle for the contested 3-point attempts that will be in far greater supply. This will ratchet up the pressure on the Lakers’ remaining wings (MWP, Barnes), along with Pau Gasol, to loosen that grip from the free throw line area, by both making mid-range jumpers to keep the defense honest and executing crisp, decisive entry passes to Bynum when the opportunity is present.

An additional challenge presented by Kobe’s absence is that Shawn Marion, the Mavs’ best defender (held Kobe to 29 points, on 10-of-37 in 2 games this season; Kobe scored 30 in the game Marion missed) and wing rebounder, will be afforded the opportunity to focus his effort on crashing the boards and shutting down the likes of MWP and Barnes, without fear of a Mamba strike. If he is allowed to dictate the terms under which he will be involved in this game, Marion will be a thorn in the Lakers’ side. It is vital that the Lakers a) keep Marion off the boards as best they can, while b) making him work as hard as possible on the defensive end, by running him off of screen, making him defend post-ups, run him off of screens.

Where you can watch: 12:30 PM start time on ABC. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM.

Emile Avanessian

Posts

130 responses to Preview and Chat: The Dallas Mavericks

  1. CDog,
    I love Kareem. But I don’t have him in my top three of all time Centers. Having said that… If I was drafting players for an entire career/franchise… I would draft Kareem number two behind Hakeem because of Kareem’s longevity. He had a much longer and fruitful career than any other player of all time.

  2. Wow Emile. I didn’t know that the Nuggets starting five had been traded to the Mavs. Ha, ha!

  3. I am very concerned about KB. Go ahead and respond with the blind optimism about how this rest is planned etc., but that will not change things. He has played with every conceivable ailment this year, and to miss 5 straight games when we are pushing for seed and he is pushing for a scoring title are a concern. He hasn’t even attempted to run/jump on it, which might be smart, but it still means the injury is very serious. Further we will need to re-adjust to having KB back in the line up for those of you who think the whole thing is just a disguised rest for KB pre-playoff. The timing is not good.

  4. Sessions is due for a big game today.

  5. I hope Haywood doesn’t punch Bynum in the back.

  6. sunday afternoon, guaranteed loss

  7. This looks like a disaster waiting to happen. Wide open Dallas shots and AB missing everything. This is the game we need Kobe. Metta never plays well in Sunday games due to Saturday night.

    Are Lakers trying to finish 4th or is Kobe much worse then we are being told.

  8. Robert-
    I feel ya on Kobe’s injury. Part of me thinks that this is a ‘business’ decision on his and the franchise’s part. He has a chance to get a ton of rest here and be completely fresh for the post season. I’m also scared because Kobe *never misses games, so this seems like it must be a worse injury than anyone has been led to believe.

  9. I think that you mixed up Nuggets and Mavs squads

  10. Can I tell you how much I love Mwp right now!?

  11. Maybe the world best center might think about getting further then half court on defense.

  12. Bynum struggles with centers that have length. He rushes his shots. He needs to pass back out and re-post.

  13. Am I the only one that sees that Andrew Bynum’s pick n roll defense is terrible? I just don’t understand why he doesn’t get called out for it. He sags way back near the baset leaving the on the ball defender basically covering 2 people (the ball handler and the man who is picking him).

    We can’t win with him continuously playing defense like this.

  14. rudy, i see it right now. he doesnt hedge likeyhe rest of the team does (i think darius wrote about that earlier this week).

    lakers arent making shots theyve been making all week.

  15. Sessions is not a very good defensive player

  16. Right now on defense and offense Andrew isn’t even the best center on the court. Scrubs are blocking his shot. 1 for 8. Must be the Aaron jinx.

    Or good coaches know how to stop him with doubles.

    Might be a very long day.

  17. the lakers are playing defense like a road team, when the refs will give them the leeway of a home team.

    dallas defending mcroberts correctly; they just sag off him. need more movement from him. if he’s stationary he hurts the offense.

  18. Does anyone know if Bynum not hedging is by design? Or is he just sticking to Person’s defensive scheme from last year and ignoring Brown?

  19. Murphy’s floor spacing and offense is more valuable than McRoberts lobs imo.

  20. I was just thinking how MWP asked Ramon to slow down the tempo sometimes because he outruns the front court players, but then Blake doesn’t push the ball when he should. The bench would really benefit from easy scores.

  21. Bynum and Gasol a combined 1-11 to start the game. (And Ron 0-5) Can’t win without Kobe if those three are going to shoot like that.

  22. Metta startng to force his offense…

    and Blake playing his best D of the year on Terry.

  23. For those of you excepting the trophy because of Metta’s 4 good games. He has had 40 bad ones and now he is into that “I am Kobe act”. The guy still is not a good shooter and will shoot Lakers out of way more games then win games for them.

    It’s called reality!

  24. Lakers play 4 on 5 with McRoberts on offense. He’s either waiting for a lob or putback

    McRoberts = Joel Anthony, Murphy = Haslem. Pick your poison

  25. Today’s “All Star for a game because I’m playing the Lakers” is——Delonte West

  26. 21. But Haslem can defend

  27. Snoopy, because allthe other bigs hedge almost every pick an roll, it would be a rational assumption that bynum is going rogue on it.

    darius wrote that the inconsistency makes the backside rotations confused, but it appears that inconsistency makes leaves point guards, today sessions, out to dry. west has been pulling up for jumpers after screens.

  28. blake fights through screens; sessions curls around them.

  29. I feel like the Mike Brown defensive philosophy is cross your fingers and prey. Wide open 15 footers?

  30. blake needs to have the confidence to shoot, too much passing around the perimeter

  31. James: haslem’s d has slipped. he’s more valuable for floor spacing same with murphy.

  32. 26 – Haslem’s FG% has dropped to a career low 42%. Right now he’s the opposite of floor spacing. He’s shooting 27.8% from 3-9 feet, 25.5% from 10-15 feet, and 40% from 16-23 feet.

  33. Sessions isn’t showing starting pg material lately

  34. Another 4 for 13 game for Andrew. Haywood is playing him even. I guess that makes Haywood one of the all time greats?

    Dallas appears to want this more and they will continue to abuse Lakers and Andrew on the pick and roll.

    Hope Coach Kobe can solve the problem.

  35. Where is the sense of Urgency? Are we tryin’ to maintain the 3rd seed or what? Where is Pau? We’re playin’ in slow motion out there .. RS7 needs to show more aggression on the defensive end of the court. Fortunately, we’re only down by 6 @ the half. Don’t they recognize that this Dallas team swept us last year and might be a potential 1st rd opponent? Frustrating.

  36. Yes – this “could” be our first round opponent. Not sure who I would want between Memphis, Houston, and Dallas. None of those are what I would call easy. Our bigs are 5-17. On a positive note we are only down 12-11 on the bench.

  37. Bynum is down to 68% FT with a downward trend. He is 1-3 today. We could see Hack a Drew in the playoffs. Combine this with MWP’s 58% and RS is 74% since joining us, and we are weak in this key playoff stat.

  38. Lakers come out second half deciding to play the right way, and (not) amazingly, everything looks easy.

  39. I wonder who Lamar is rooting for?

  40. I don’t say much during games… But it should be an automatic fine to allow three pointers at the end of shot clocks or quarters. MWP should teach a class how to press up on shooters. At the buzzer players don’t have time to drive to the basket because if they get trapped there is no time to kick it out for a shot. So they need to shoot outside shots. MWP always plays up on players in those spots… He needs to teach his teammates. No excuse for those bonehead plays. That’s just basketball IQ. Very simple stuff.

    Dude,
    Can we inforce a six month ban on Ko for that comment?

  41. Good quarter. Kobe coached them up. Not sure how Blake allows that last shot though. Only hope Brown dosen’t mess up rotations now. This game could just about do it for 3rd place.

    Like to see Metta and Barnes in there rest of way.

  42. lakers play a much better defensive 3rd quarter. pnr defense is better contested.

  43. Did Blake learn 3-point defense from Fisher? Guard the guy or put Barnes on him.

  44. Time for Sessions and Drew to put there stamp on this game

  45. Good God, Bynum. I’ve seen Jack Nicholson play stronger transition defense than that. My favorite part is how he’s watching Delonte West the entire way, and doesn’t think to pick up his leisurely pace at all.

    With that said, beautiful work on the offensive end and offensive glass by Drew.

  46. I don’t want to be mean or sound anti women… But Pau Gasol needs to play more like a man. He too often is missing lay ups and is backing away from contact.

  47. I get Sessions is injured but this is his 3rd game in a row where he’s been ineffective.

  48. Pau needs rest. This is a perfect game to play Hill and Bynum together. If Hill comes in with some energy maybe he can motivate Bynum to play with a sense of urgency, also.

    Awesome putback!

  49. If Sessions’ injuries are that severe, they need to rest him. I’d much rather see him close to full strength in the playoffs than watch him struggle throughout.

    I think we can safely say Mike Brown isn’t going to play Jordan Hill at all this season (please work, reverse jinx).

  50. Kevin what are you watching. He has 17 points the most points on the team!

  51. Sessions and Bynum stepping up

    Ko: sessions doing a great job this game. playing big

  52. Man what’s with Sessions talk. The guy has the best percentage on the floor and now 22 points.

    What the heck do you want from the guy.

    Think Fisher!

  53. He doesn’t look injured at all right now. Love the aggressiveness.

    Ko – I was talking more about the previous games. I just turned into this one.

  54. See that’s the real Peace. Thinks he can shoot. He can’t turn into something he is not. A good shooter! Stop him please.

  55. Ok Snoop. Today he is the best guy on the court.

  56. We need to put Bynum on Dirk for the last three minutes of the game. I don’t care if Dirk has been off.

    Edit,.. Haha. Well… We got lucky. Dirk missed an easy shot (for him) at the buzzer. We need Bynum on him in the future for big moments at least.

  57. sorry but if you dont have Kobe you take a time out there

  58. Stupid stupid stupid Brown. No Kobe out there and you call no time out, just a stupid job of coaching. How many games will this guy cost Lakers this year?

  59. Horrible Shot..

  60. Ahhhh. Two plays now where they should have tried harder to get it to Bynum.

    Brown should have called a timeout and let Kobe draw up the play. Love the engagement and leadership from Kobe – he always coaches, but today it’s more obvious.

  61. Good challenge by Pau .. Now lets get this one in overtime.

  62. gasol #1

  63. Holy crap Pau!!

  64. Pau Gasol with the 3

  65. Pau Gasol. He is a seven foot guard!!!!!!! He might not be able to do three pushups in a row… But he has the coordination and skills of a PG. The Mavs shot the ball as well as I’ve seen a team ever shoot the ball from deep. We were without Kobe. And we still are probably going to win is game.

  66. Great game

  67. Caught a couple of breaks there, now we need to take advantage of them.

  68. Bynum with the dream shake

  69. Very impressed with that shot by Bynum. He showed a couple of moves and hit a 10 footer in the lane. Great shot and patience!

  70. Metta can not shoot. He can not shoot. He is shooting bad all year and now the guy thinks he can shoot off of 4 games. To bad we don’t have a coach!

  71. We gotta win this – this is huge

  72. Barnes 11 pts 11 reb 8 ast DOING WORK

  73. MWP needs to show these guys how to defend the three. Don’t give up a three!!!!

    Wow. We didn’t give up a three. Wow!

  74. Coach Kobe tell them no 3 pointers. Please tell them!

  75. Why hate on Metta? He has been relatively clutch.

  76. Since I criticize his transition D, I’ll also give props to Bynum for the good contest without fouling on that last play.

  77. Pau Gasol Icicles from the FT line.

  78. after being big for them all day, terry comes up SHORT bahahaha

  79. Bynum came to play 23 and 16.

    Pau did a number on Dirk 9 – 28

  80. Huge, huge, huge win. Hope we play these guys 4 more times. Love looking at Crying Mark C.

  81. Pau was clutch in OT. Both the 3-pointers and the freethrows.

  82. Barnes with a nice game off the bench–filling LO’s old role with a bit of everything–11 pts 11 rb 8 asst

  83. Good win – though Lakers got a lot of favorable calls down the stretch.

    The Barnes goal-tend changed the overtime.
    The Pau no foul call with 3.5 left sealed it.

  84. Boston is resting Pierce and Garnett today.

    Brown better be right about the minutes/seeding trade-off.

  85. Do like the fact that Lakers pretty much gave up a layup on the last play of overtime either. Barnes did a good job contesting, but more times than not, that shot goes down (And 1).

    Knew it was going to happen too – when Brown took out Bynum there was no rim protector.

  86. meant Do not*** like the fact

  87. Who would have thought we could win without KB and our bigs going 15-38?

    Bench back to normal – losing – 32-23.

    A lot of comments on both sides about MWP: I like what I see. We need him to be aggressive for our playoff push. Having him aggressive is a gamble, but one we must take.

    McR getting all time and Troy glued to bench is a good thing.

  88. Wins against the Spurs and Mavs both teams w/ great coaches. w/o Kobe may be seeing something special brewing

  89. Ko,
    Again another weird and blatantly false comment. I’m impressed. I’m not even mad. MWP has been shooting above fifty percent the last five games. So to say he can’t shoot at this very moment is just a false truth as they say.

  90. I told last week in this site and bet that this TEAM will end up the 3rd seed. I’m gonna bet that at the end of the regular season…

  91. The Lakers just beat three very good teams in a row (Spurs, Nuggets, and Mavs) without Kobe Bryant. This is a championship roster. There are no ifs ands or butts.

  92. Took advantage of the breaks we received in overtime and gutted this 1 out .. Solid TEAM victory. No one stands out in particular, but Drew, RS7, MWP, Pau & definitely Matt Barnes all had good games .. Nice to see the TEAM pulling out these victories without their Leader. I just hope upon Kobe’s return that they remain aggressive and do not become too reliant upon him.

  93. Anyone who is criticizing MWP on this game is damn stupid and insane. I mean look at the 1st half. DWest demoralizing the Lakers and it was shutdown on the 2nd half when MWP guarding him. Man, he was 2 pts i think in that half. He played very good defense and lifted the scoring in the 3rd quarter when Dirk suddenly started shooting the ball. He might be missing those 3 on the clutch but you can’t blame and criticize him for those bricks. He played hard at both ends of the floor. Watched the game and focus on it just don’t criticize players because of only one damn play.

  94. Recap will be up a bit later, folks. Great win, though. This team sure does have some fight in it to win these close games.

  95. Lakers overcome Mavericks 12-21 57.1% from 3. Excellent job taking care of the ball with only 7 turnovers (8 total turnovers with a 24 second violation). Good win for the Lakers.

    Double-Doubles for Gasol 20-10, Bynum 23-16 and Barnes 11-11 (with 8 dimes for a near triple double).

  96. dude: When did the 95 rockets team peak?

    Bynum took only 8 FTs could’ve been doubled getting hammered down low but playing through it. No team is hotter than this Lakers team right now.

  97. vhanz
    Are you trying to talk sense into people who don’t like coins? Don’t bother my friend ;) If people can’t see how well MWP is playing they don’t watch much basketball. Pretty simple. He is a monster on defense and playing like the old Artest on offense.

  98. Lakers are 10-4 in games of three points or less and 5-1 in OT. They have more wins than anyone else in the league in both of those categories.

  99. What an exciting game! I thought the Lakers played with great effort and heart throughout the game. This team is finding itself. Guys like Matt Barnes and Steve Blake and MWP who have been much maligned all season are now filling in the gaps and playing the roles that are necessary for them. Peace may not have shot well from the field (7-20), but his hustle and defense were superb. Delonte West was having his way until Metta switched on him. The only reason that Dallas was in this game was their 3 point shooting.

    All in all, a strong effort in a playoff type game. Games like this will do wonders for Session’s confidence and make him feel like he belongs. Whoever questioned his game earlier in the thread must not have been really paying attention to the game. Ramon played very well. Derek who??

    I love what I’m seeing from the team right now. Earlier in the year, the team would have collapsed without Kobe. Now, they are coming together at just the right time.

  100. Fun game. Reminded me of the Lake Show days, with Sessions playing the role of Nick Van Exel, and Bynum bringing back memories of Elden Campbell.

    *Gets ready to duck Aaron’s throw*

  101. Snoopy,
    You just compared Andrew Bynum to Elden. What do you except to happen? Elden was a nice player…. But he never demanded double and triple teams for entire games. Haha. I mean let’s be real. If you want to make comparisons at least make good comparisons. I mean Nick the quick wasn’t the same type of player as Ramon either. Ramon is most similar to Rod Strickland. In game and body type.

  102. Snoopy,

    I loved Elden, but he was no Bynum.

  103. Btw… If McBob is really this kind of player… If he was just too nervous being in LA with limited minutes… He adds athletisim and defense off the bench. His skills are looking better. We are a different team if McBob is a average back up NBA big man.

    And apparently Bynum came down with a chest cold last night. So for him to play those kind of effective minutes being sick is a great sign for the Lakers.

  104. Lakers won the last 4 3rd quarters 101 – 89. +12

  105. Aaron, if you’re going to make comments, at least make them good comments. Don’t criticize somebody’s comparisons.

  106. What a great win. 3rd in a row against playoff teams without Kobe. I think it’s time that the Larkers are considered serious contenders. It was all about the bench for me. Barnes was huge but was that Blake playing shut down D? He has looked really good over the Kobeless streak. And McBob had a nice game as well. Thought Bynum really stepped up in the 2nd half playing through a chest cold is no fun. And again Metta reminds us why he’s here. Delonte who?

  107. @KevinDing: Mike Brown suggested Bynum sit out because of illness, but Lakers trainer Gary Vitti told Brown: “Nah, nah, he wants to play.”

  108. We really do need a sarcasm/joke font. I thought the point of that comment was obvious – to get under Aaron’s skin. No one in their right mind would compare Elden Campbell to anyone but Elden Campbell.

  109. FWIW, I don’t really see too many similarities between Nick the Quick and Ramon either. They’re both fast, but completely different style of play.

    If we’re making serious comparisons … I’m not sure who exactly compares to Bynum. He’s got size, bulk, and power (a bit like Shaq, but on far a lesser scale). He has a more versatile repertoire than Shaq. He’s been breaking out some semblance of the Dream Shake recently, but if you go back and watch Hakeem, Bynum’s not close to the Dream in terms of sheer quickness and agility. Hakeem’s P&R and perimeter defense were otherwordly. I’m not sure I see an easy comparison for Drew.

  110. Didn’t know that Drew was battling health issues during the game. I never watch the ABC pre-game shows. Too many experts for a simple fan like me. That makes Andrew’s performance even more impressive.

  111. Aaron. Ok I will change that. I flinch when he shoots outside. Maybe it’s muscle memory on my part. He is a different player the last 5 games and he and Barnes make the SM very good at this important part of the season.

    Ok?

  112. hornets are 6 minutes away from beating the grizzlies. 11 point lead.

  113. ive almost got to the point now that I think the only team we cant beat is OKC 4 times out of 7.

  114. Ko,
    Ha. Yes. That is perfectly okay :) I have changed my oppinion on you now. It shows great intelligence and knowledge to admit when one miss speaks. I have done it occasionally myself ;)

  115. Snoopy,
    That’s easy. Andrew Bynum is so similar to Patrick Ewiing it’s crazy. Same bulk and strength. And they both don’t rely on their great strength and relatively impressive athletisism. They instead use their amazing dexterity. Their hands are amazing. They have all this bulk but don’t always need to use it. They are very coordinated and skilled. They even move in a similar way. Haha. I just bumped into Ron Artest at AMC Century City. I told him its amazing to see the way he is moving. He was very nice. Right in the middle of writing this. Haha.

  116. rr@89: The Celts seed is pretty much locked in. They can’t move up or down. The Lakers on the other hand can’t move up, but we can certainly move down : ) Brown is in a tough spot without KB. He can’t rest the others and win. If we lose we might drop to 4th or 5th. Dropping to 5th and it is adios. No wonder he left abruptly before the last game : )

  117. Dropping to 5th and it is adios

    Maybe. As I said in the post, Brown needs to be right about the issue. He has made his choice clear. Memphis losing helped.

  118. Don’t worry about the seeding. I’ll tell this again that this TEAM will end up the 3rd seed at the end of the regular season. Trust me and have faith on this team.

  119. I’m not worried about the seeding–Brown is. I am worried about the minutes.

  120. My main “good” takeaway from this game – SEVEN turnovers. In an OT game. Have the Lakers done anything close to that this season before now? If that can be maintained, it’ll be very beneficial.

    And obviously the other thing to add is the TEAM aspect of today’s win. A lot of guys pitching in, nobody giving us nothing. I like that, and echo earlier statements about hoping that once Kobe’s back in the lineup, the level of play is maintained by the rest of the team.

  121. james: OKC would definitely be the toughest series. Only reason to think they can is Ron, Barnes, Blake weren’t playing the way they are now the first 2 meetings. I could see Ron being effective on Durant and make him work for his a way I couldn’t see a month ago.

    Fitting a player of Kobe’s caliber back into the flow of things may not be as smooth. No doubt his game will be there but will the rhythm be the same as it is now. Team is really in a good groove. I think it can be done he’s moved the ball so well before his shin but he has to be off ball a lot coming back and not many post ups that’s usually when guys stand around sometimes.

  122. Everyone talks about Bynum recently–and rightly so. But Pau is THE MAN. TWO–count ‘em–two clutch 3′s. And the man’s been getting points, rebounds, and assists lately, while playing good D. I love seeing Pau run the floor and find the open man, and when he and Drew set one another up it’s to die for! Still trippin on that no-look over the back shoulder touch pass over a month ago. Can’t remember what game it was but it sure was a beauty.

  123. So the rule of thumb is to never give Coach Brown credit, right? Kk.

  124. I really hope they don’t wait and bring Kobe back for game 1 of the playoffs.

    Not because I don’t think this team has a shot to get the 3 seed without him (though the schedule is brutal) – but because when players miss stretches of games, even if they are rested, something is always “off” about their game.

    Kobe’s D may not be in rhythm with the team. His offense may be all out of whack. Who knows.

    But bringing him back in game 1 of the 1st round – especially against a good team like Dallas, risks that funky game by him and the team losing at home.

    He needs to come back a couple games before to get his “Basketball legs” back.

    And this is no slight to Kobe – he’s the heart/sole/ and leader of this team. All players come back a little rusty with extended time off.

  125. It took then 2 games to really Gel without Kobe, one week off will shouldn’t be much for one of the greatest players in the last 15 years.

  126. Cdog: I agree get him back a few games to get his legs under him. Positive sign is Wade and Rose came back and team didn’t miss a beat. Could see the same thing happening but you never know.

  127. Bynum still sucks at throwing out of doubles…he just waits til it’s nearly impossible to make a good pass then goofily forces some junk up…once Kobe retires let’s get him on the bench as an asst coach please