Got back last night and passed up watching the Sopranoâ€™s return (which I will watch tonight, while eating some baked ziti) to catch the Laker game against the Sonics (on Tivo). I was saying ouch before the final minute, but I was in a lot of pain afterward. So letâ€™s talk about those issues, the great win against San Antonio (which I did watch half of on cable) and more.
â€¢ First things first: Thanks to Gatinho for doing a great job filling in over the weekend while I watched ball boys/girls squeegee the water off of tennis courts live. Itâ€™s much better than watching squeegeeing on television.
â€¢ Last offseason, Mitch went out and got Kwame Brown â€” I said then overpaid for Kwame Brown â€” to give the Lakers some depth inside. Well, now this pickup may be the key to the Lakers making the playoffs because Chris Mihmâ€™s injury is being described as a severe ankle sprain. Remember, thatâ€™s exactly the injury that put Kobe on the sideline so long last season, and Kobe has a high pain threshold. Iâ€™d be shocked if we saw Mihm any more in March, at best.
So the Lakers chances to make the playoffs rests on the two big-man projects they took on this offseason â€” Kwame and Bynum. Kwame will start and needs to play the good man defense weâ€™ve seen from him at times, and Bynum is going to have to deliver good minutes nightly off the bench. Both need to play good defense, something they have done at spots this season.
â€¢ About the playoff chase: The Lakers currently sit as the seven seed, half a game ahead of 8th seed Sacramento and one game up on ninth-seed New Orleans. If you want to see a great breakdown of the teams out west and what they have left on the schedule, check out this post (it is a few days old but relevant). The thing I look at and see here is Iâ€™m not as worried about Utah, what really affects the Lakers is how the Hornets do â€” their schedule is not that bad but they have been fading. Also, the next two games â€” against Sacramento and Minnesota â€” loom large.
â€¢ You all were saying it in the comments after the Seattle game â€” Itâ€™s the Defense, stupid. Seattle shot 64% in the first half, for the game they shot 63.1% (eFG%). They shot 50% from beyond the arc. I donâ€™t care how poorly Kobe shot, the Lakers as a team shot 52.1% from the floor, better than their season average of 48.9%. But you canâ€™t let your opponent shoot lights out like that and win.
â€¢ Look at the game flow and you see the Laker starting 5 held its own, Seattle made its runs when the Lakers bench players were in.
â€¢ My nomination for best driving CD ever: The Essential Clash (two CD-set).
â€¢ Lost if the frustration of the Seattle game is the fact the Lakers played a very good game against San Antonio. Yes, it was a back-to-back for them, but beating a quality team that others are losing too is big.
â€¢ The other thing weâ€™re all doing today is starting to fill out our NCAA brackets. I’m one of those people who does consistently well but ends up coming in third in the office to some person who picks teams by going, “ohh, Virgina is pretty, I’ll pick them.” If you like the efficiency stats I use here, or youâ€™re just looking for more information, I suggest checking out Ken Pomeroyâ€™s Web site, which is the best college blog/state page out there and has loads of great information (it convinced me to take UNC to win it all last year).
kwame a. says
The Seattle game was terrible on several levels, but i’m forgeting about it, we’re still in 7th, Odom is playing his best ball of the season and Walton and Parker have played 3 straight solid games. No need in stating how huge tommorow’s game is, all I have to say is that Sacramento is playing great ball and it has really happended since Kevin Martin came into the starting lineup at the 2. This allows them to get a good start to the game and then bring in Bonzi and Shareef to bring some pop off the bench. Let’s hope Kwame and Andrew eat their Wheaties, we’re gonna need both of them more then ever.
oh yeah, did the Lakers sign Jimmy Jackson to play the role of Isiah Rider or Mitch Richmond, I’m not quite sure who he looks like more planted firmly on the bench.
Kevin Pelton says
It certainly wasn’t a very good performance for the Lakers, but I think if you look at the Sonics as a 25-38 team you get a misleading picture of their ability. They’re 4-2 since the trade and are just a totally different team with Earl Watson and Chris Wilcox in the lineup, so Sunday should be looked at as much or more as the Sonics playing well as the Lakers playing poorly.
Of course, that does nothing to offset the loss of Mihm. …
The Lakers have to run the triangle. With adequate spacing, the teams can’t effectively double Kobe. Even on a bad shooting night, Kobe can dust essentially single coverage (even Artest).
chris henderson says
yeah, better watch out for Kobe tonight, he knows he’s got some redemption to give for what he himself said was a poor performance in the last game. plus, he’ll take it personally (again) that he’s got the toughest defender in the league on him tonight, he seems to rise to the occasion cause of factors like this.
wouldn’t it be great to see young Andrew blossum into what he future could be? the positive about the Mihm injury is that ‘Drew will no doubt get the PT, and what he realy needs is to just relax, let his instincts take over, play more, think less…and who knows? we might get some very pleasant surprises from him down the stretch.
I guess PJ is letting JJ get more comfortable with the team, the system, but I agree with kwame a., he’s a smart player, good outside shooter, he’s gotta start playing. I could see PJ is trying to find the right place to start establishing him on the rotation, but it’s like, “oh, we are winning an important game”…or “oh, we are losing an important game” so “I can’t take a chance here” but he’s not ever going to find a place to bring him in, cause all games are important now….so, he’s just going to have to let him take his bumps and find his groove, and we are going to have to ride that out too, if we want to see if he can help this team. Like Andrew, he needs time to get relaxed and find the flow of the team, that never happens on the first few times out on the floor.