Last 10: 2-8
What Vegas says: Lakers -4
Walking Wounded: I think old joke goes something like, “They have so many injuries that their team photo is an X-ray.” The biggest injury being Jermaine O’Neal, there are sevral others joinig him including Austin Croshere who got a concussion in last night’s game. Jamal Tinsley is also out. Foster, Pollard, and the newest Pacer, old friend Peja Stojakovic, will probably play but have nagging injuries. Only Stephen Jackson and rookie Sarunas Jasikevicius have played in all 41 games for Indiana.
What’s behind the Pacer’s slide?: Most media pundits are blaming the Pacers disarray on one Ron-Ron Artest. His trade demand was a distraction, but now that he’s finally gone, O’Neal gets injured, so it might take a little longer to get over that hangover. Lost in the Artest maelstrom is the oft overlooked factor of the leadership vacuum left by the retirement of Reggie Miller.
A sprained right pinkie finger: Seriously, that was one of the reasons why Peja was placed on the IL this season before the trade. As Charles Barkley once said about Marcus Camby, “I think the guys made out of tissue paper.” Living in the Bay Area and having the enjoyment/horror of listening to King’s radio, the King’s faithful are already feeling like they got the better end of this deal. But Larry Legend has been after Peja for two years and he finally got his shooter. But Peja can opt out at the end of the season and the Pacers could possibly end up with an Artest for cap space trade.
A ruthless duo: Terence Moore, a columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, called Bryant’s 81 point performance “one of the worst things to happen to basketball,” and characterized Bryant and Jackson as “a ruthless duo (who) couldn’t care less about the other Lakers or about the game already rolling toward a rout against pitiful Toronto, or about the effect of this selfishness on youth.”
New York state of mind: 58 free throws! Andrew “A-bomb” Bynum gets 16 points in 14 minutes and yes, it was garbage time, but that was Eddie Curry still in the game for conditioning reasons that he dropped those points on. Like a proud Papa, Cap got out of his chair on a 6 foot hook shot, “That’s my boy!”
How disturbed should we be about Kobe’s hijacking of the offense in the second quarter? By my count, 8 straight possessions where he shot the ball leading to 1-5 and two trips to the free throw line for a total of 6 points. Two caveats, the Lakers were already up by 19 points and it was New York. You didn’t really think Kobe was going to resist did you?
Update: A year ago today the Lakers beat the Blazers 92-79 to raise their record to 24-19. This would be the zenith of their season. This was the one and only time that season that they were 5 games over .500. Tonight the Lakers have a chance to match that mark.
I think we should be disturbed by the kobe hijacking (’cause I sure was when I watched the game…), but we’ve got to take the good with the bad in kobe. I think the bigger concern is beyond kobe not involving his teammates, lamar seems to have *less* of a clue with the offense. Kobe seems to know the offense, just chooses not to run it at times. Lamar just doesn’t have a clue beyond spot up beyond the key (and shoot a horrible 3PT%), or drive and turn the ball over. Between that and kwame not being able to finish, it’s no wonder we struggle on offense.
I have more concerns with Odom tahn Kobe as well and I don’t think we can lay it all at Kobe’s feet. He is indecisive and his confidence is down which for now is a lethal combination for him as an individual. The optomist in me would say, “He’s playing well below his ability and we continue to do well.” In his defense, he is the only player that has the unique combination of scoring, rebounding, and assists in the league.
The rebounding is good, but the scoring and assists just aren’t there anymore (on any consistant basis). Perhaps I’m focusing too much on last night, but it seemed like a decent representation of what we’ve gone through with lamar – he was never in scoring position with the ball. It was either keep the ball moving around the triangle (because he’s sitting outside the 3 pt line), a crappy 3PT shot (as he’s just a horrible 3 shooter), or the few-a-game fast-break offense where he drives with the ball and gets a layup/foul. Those three things encompass his entire game, for what should be the “number 2” guy on the team, and that’s bad. (separately, our real number 2 guy, mihm, is getting it done, but we knew that if he could just stay on the floor. I bet if we looked at the averages, our win/loss numbers drop as mihm’s minutes drop).
I think I’ve figured out kwame’s problem – he has no hops, can’t get off the ground. He’s got nice post moves, but everything that’s vaguely contested turns into layups, instead of dunks, which is why he can’t make anything.
Derek Banducci says
Lamar Odom is Lamar Odom. He gets assists, rebounds, and points. That’s his game. He won’t lead the league in any of those categories, but put it all together and Lamar’s a valuable player on this team.
To ask Lamar Odom to be something that he is not is unfair and utltimately won’t work. That’s why, in my opinion, Phil hasn’t asked Lamar to be more of a scorer this year. Lamar adds something to the team, and that’s good enough.
The only real disappointment this year, for me, has been Kwame Brown. The guy doesn’t deserve to start. We play better when he’s not on the court. In fact, if you look back to that stretch in early December where we were looking real good, it [coincidentally?] was when Kwame was out.
Phil must see something in Kwame that I haven’t seen b/c frankly I think Bynum has given us more than Kwame this year and that’s pathetic because Bynum is 18 years old and raw.
Bad for basketball aye? Then why is this the first time, in a long time, that I’ve seen regular coverage of the NBA on Good Morning American, heck even the Colbert Report?
Go suck an egg, jeeez.
Yes, Odom can get a triple double on any night and certainly had good stats in Miami before coming to the Lakers. But, truthfully, was he ever that efficient, even in Miami? This was the Eastern conference after all. His team didn’t have to convert as a great percentage of offensive possesions into points as they do in the West to get a fifth seed in the playoffs.
The triangle offense is purely a facad at this point. LA barely executes it before a shot goes up.
How can Odom or anyone else learn the offense if Kobe is giving the ball a 15 second massage every time down the floor?
Odom will play better when Kobe becomes a better teammate. In fact, with Odom’s court vision, passing abilities, and comfort with his back to the basket, LA would be best served running the triangle through him on a regular basis.
Even in Chicago, the triangle was initiated through Luc Longly, an excellent passer. The Lakers don’t have that luxury when it comes to their bigmen, but they do have Odom.
What the Lakers need is a true point guard. Get rid of Odom and get a point guard and have him decide who’s open. This will ensure that Kobe shoots good shots and hopefully puts the ball in the other’s players hands when they have “their shot”. The rest of the team still needs to make their shots.
Tony, you got to get this into your head, this team just ain’t that good and it will DIE without KObe being Kobe. Lamar isn’t going to become a All-Star because he doesn’t have the attitude when playing with someone better then he. Smush isn’t going to become what a starting point guard should be because he just hasn’t had fundementals growing up to be a pure PG. Same goes for everything else. Last night Kobe made damn sure to make passes and yet everytime he did almost, the shooter missed. That’s how it is, the team isn’t that good and this is why Kobe is howing just how good he is because otherwise this team would be a disaster. Phil would be ALL over Kobe if he felt that the team could grow beyond average, but he knows it can’t. Mitch just hasn’t done the jobe he should have and we’re lucky we even have a playoff spot looking at us.
Besides, if anyone massages the ball it’s Odom as he does one of two things, holds onto it for about a second, or holds onto it for 10 and up. There is almost no inbetween with him and I agree with that commentor up above, he is consistently out of place. Face it, he ain’t gonna work in this system. Not unless there is a MAJOR change in how he perceives what he should be doing in a game.
Lets say you’re right. The Lakers just aren’t very good outside of Kobe. Then I have a question for you or anyone else.
Why is Odom repeatedly deemed “untouchable” in terms of trading when he is their most tradeable/prized asset?
If the Lakers are truly in such disarray (from a roster standpoint) during Kobe’s prime years… then it’s time to heat up Mitch Kupchek’s office chair.
Now I know Kevin Mchale, Isiah Thomas, and the guy in Orlando are caught in a fierce battle for the worst GM award…but Mitch is not far behind.
This guy has missed out on numerous draft opportunities and managed to trade Shaq for what amounts to Lamar Odom and Kwame Brown. In addition, the roster has been severely unbalance for two years and counting.
Whats going on in Lakerland besides Kobe Bryant?