Before we get into Lakers/Kings, remember that our t-shirt giveaway contest will run through the end of the game. So, if you haven’t already, please tweet me using the hashtag #capgoggles or leave a comment in the contest thread with why you deserve to win.
With that bit of business out of the way, the Lakers tip off against the Kings this afternoon (a 3pm tip, so be aware) after taking a tough loss on Friday against the Thunder. The Lakers were competitive throughout, but Kobe couldn’t turn his poor shooting night around and missed a potential game winning pull up jumper as the clock expired. In terms of looks, it was a quality one by Bean, but like most of his attempts that evening it clanked harmlessly off the rim and the Lakers were losers in the end.
Throughout that game Kobe looked fatigued which, considering the team hadn’t played since Monday, should cause a bit of worry. After the game Byron Scott commented that he planned to take Kobe’s minutes allocation “day by day” even after Kobe said that he just didn’t have his legs under him. I went on a bit of a mini-rant (check out my tweets after the game) after both Scott and Kobe had their words with the press because it seems to me that neither — especially Scott — seem inclined to publicly acknowledge what seems so obvious to everyone.
Kobe needs to be playing fewer minutes and Scott needs to be the one to sit the player down to discuss and then enforce this. As I have written before, part of the reason Scott was hired was because his relationship with Kobe was supposed to lend him an ability to work and communicate well with him. Well, now is one of those times where Scott needs to cash in some of that goodwill and make some adjustments for the betterment of his team and his star player. Kobe having dead legs (supposedly after pushing hard in Wednesday’s practice) and still playing 35 minutes a night is not setting him or this team up for success. Scott’s chief objective should be finding ways to maximize his players and this team’s results. Maybe we will start to see some of that today against the Kings.
Speaking of the coaching and the Kings, they made some waves of their own this week when they fired Michael Malone and inserted lead assistant Ty Corbin into the head coaching spot. This move baffled many analysts, as Malone had done well leading this team to a solid record before DeMarcus Cousins had to miss extended time with a bout of viral meningitis. Ownership and the front office have said that they want the Kings to play a different style — more uptempo, more free flowing — though it’s a real question whether they have the personnel to really execute that style. I haven’t seen a ton of Kings basketball this year, but I thought working Cousins on the block and having slashers and shooters try to work off him was a sound approach. Seems the owners thought different.
This game, then, might represent one of those games where the players will need to overcome some of their coaching issues to play well enough to win. We’ll see how it goes.
Where you can watch: 3:00pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM Los Angeles.