I really need to come up with a clever name for these â€œodds and endsâ€ columns. â€œTen things I think I thinkâ€ is taken, and thatâ€™s the best one Iâ€™ve heard yet (and is part of one of the best columns going). Anyway, here are some thoughts from last nightâ€™s loss in San Antonio (I know Iâ€™m 24 hours late to that party), and other stuff.
â€¢ New coach on the bench but old demons got the Lakers last night. The Lakers lost the turnover battle by 6, gave up 17 offensive rebounds (and grabbed 10) and by the end of the game San Antonio had taken 14 more shots than the Lakers. The Lakers eFG% was an impressive 50.7%, but you canâ€™t give an efficient team like San Antonio that many extra chances.
â€¢ Another old demon â€” Tony Parker went around Chucky Atkins like he was a traffic cone. Iâ€™m done being frustrated with Atkins about this â€” the Lakers are asking him to defend guys he canâ€™t stop. Solving this issue is now on Mitch K.
â€¢ Then there was the third quarter, when the entire Laker team took the quarter off from playing defense. On offense, it appeared the strategy was to go at Tim Duncan and test him out after the injury, both getting the ball inside and on penetration. Good plan â€” until he proved he was up to the challenge with some good stops. Problem is, the Lakers kept at it until they were out of the game.
â€¢ Eva Longoria is a Spurs fan?!? And sheâ€™s married?!? Another fantasy bites the dust. I really wish TNT had not done that interview.
â€¢ The Lakersâ€™ continued effort in the fourth quarter gave me reason for hope. Sure, Duncan was on the bench and San Antonio mailed in the quarter, but the fact the Lakers didnâ€™t is a good sign.
â€¢ Using Kelly Ripa is the clearest indication possible that the NBAâ€™s â€œI Love This Gameâ€ campaign has officially run out of steam. Especially since they left this quote in the commercial:
I do like the three pointer from way, like, halfway in the court
Bring on Dr. Kevorkian, this campaign is suffering and needs to go.
â€¢ Hamblen gave some extra floor time to Luke Walton. Waltonâ€™s offensive numbers were not that great against the Spurs, but he played the best defense I remember him playing in a while. If he continues the good play on that end of the floor, he will get plenty of run.
â€¢ If I were Phil Jackson, I would sit out coaching this season then after the finals use the Knicks and Lakers (and anyone else entering the fray, say Portland) against each other to jack up my price. If I were the Lakers management, Iâ€™d sign Phil ASAP to stop this scenario from playing out.
â€¢ In case you didnâ€™t know, the Lakers cable ratings are down by about one-third this season compared to last. However, ABC says its NBA ratings are up 52% from a year ago. Thing is, ABC has shown three games, and one of those was the Lakers and the Heat on Christmas Day.
â€¢ The Lakers are last in the league in steals, getting steals on 6.1% of opponentâ€™s possessions.
â€¢ In a sign of just how respected the Clippers are in this town, they are now broadcast on the local outlet for â€œAir America,â€ the left-wing (or progressive or insert your tag here) talk radio station now on again in Los Angeles. And I thought the Dodgers being on an all news station was bad.
â€¢ A few people have asked so hereâ€™s the deal with the Lakers and the upcoming draft. If they make the playoffs they do not have a first round pick (it goes to Boston) but have their second rounder. Miss the playoffs and they get the lottery pick (and next year it goes to Boston unless the Lakers really fall apart). The first round pick from Miami as part of the Shaq deal is for down the line (Iâ€™d rather have that one in a couple of years and not this year anyway).