A few little bullet points to get to before the potential first-round playoff match up on Thursday.
â€¢ The polls are open: After a hiatus, the polling feature has made a return. Unfortunately, due to a glitch I canâ€™t figure out (I am useless at HTML, itâ€™s quite sad), it got bumped to the bottom of the right-hand column of links. But itâ€™s there and ready to go.
The question is: What team would be best for the Lakers to face in the first round of the playoffs?
My two cents: Dallas is the best match up for us. San Antonio has Bruce Bowen to slow Kobe and a really quick point guard, our biggest weakness defensively. Phoenix has a really quick point guard and the personnel to expose our second biggest weakness, defending athletic big men who can play away from the basket. To beat Phoenix the Lakers would need to play their slow-it-down, Phil Jackson style of the triangle and control the tempo. And nobody seems able to do that to Phoenix.
Dallas on the other hand, while better defensively this season and with a good point guard in their own right, has nobody who can slow Kobe. That means they are going to let Kobe get his and try to stop everyone else â€” risking another 62 â€” or they can focus more on Kobe and dare the other Lakers to step up. And Odom has been doing that better lately. Now, I wouldnâ€™t bet the Lakers win a series from Dallas, they have a lot of firepower and balance, but the Lakers stand a better chance and would at least make a series of it. Plus, wouldnâ€™t it be fun to make Mark Cuban sweat a little.
â€¢ Pump Up The Jam? Are the Lakers pumping in crowd noise at Staples Center? I know itâ€™s a fairly common practice for sports teams these days, and the Boi from Troy (a good sports blog of LA that was early to the game and gives us the quality Sports Illustrated seems to think blogs canâ€™t do) said he noticed it when he was at a recent Laker game. Personally, I get to a handful of games a year, taking a friendâ€™s season seats above the luxury boxes (with the real fans) and I havenâ€™t noticed it. Has anyone else?
(Not that you were wondering, but I donâ€™t really talk about what I saw live at games as opposed to on television because the aforementioned seats donâ€™t provide a ton more insight than watching the game on television. The view is different and you notice some things (like spacing), but youâ€™ve got to be a lot closer to get the details. On the bright side, I always love to pay $8 for a beer.)
â€¢ Speaking of the games on television: Damn-it FSN â€” stop interviewing stars while the game is on. Those second-quarter interviews are distracting and useless (the James Worthy interview was the exception to the rule). I guess this comes down to basketball fans vs. casual fans who want entertainment, and Fox has decided the casual fan wins. The interview with Spike Lee the other night netted just one interesting thing (that he was at the legendary Willis Reed game seven) but was little more than a movie promo and a chance to watch James Woods eat nachos while seated next to him. Spike just wanted to watch the game, it was pretty clear. Same is true of us at home.
â€¢ If you want another look at possible Laker future options, the Orange County Register takes a look at future plans.
â€¢ I know Supersonics fans may have a little more time on their hands the way this season has unfolded, but enough time to start your own comic? Danny Fortson Cyborg Smasher, itâ€™s pretty damn clever. And as I canâ€™t draw a stick figure, Iâ€™m impressed.