Slowing Kobe. All eyes will be on Bryant after his version of â€œThe Closerâ€ on TNT Thursday. And remember, the last time he faced the Clippers Kobe put up 20 in the first quarter. The Clippers in that game, and likely tonight, went with Quinton Ross on Kobe, the Lakers countered by posting Kobe up so he could use his size and strength. Tonight I expect Ross to get a lot of help in his job.
Little help here. Last meeting, Kobe shot 54.5% (eFG%), the rest of the team shot just 37.1%. Kobe is going to need some help tonight.
Kwame starts. In the wake of Kobeâ€™s explosion Iâ€™ve neglected to mention the change in the starting lineup, with Kwame in and Bynum out. It seems warranted to me, Kwame has been pretty consistent while Bynum has been up and down, and more down the last week or so. I expect Phil will go with the hot hand in crunch time each game.
Slowing the Clipper stars. In the last meeting both Elton Brand and Corey Maggette finished with 20 points, but combined they shot just 45.5%, not terribly efficient. With Chris Kaman out tonight Kwame and Bynum should be able to help more on Brand, hopefully slowing him some.
Out of their slump. You know how sometimes you see slumping teams start to execute better even as they lose another game or two at the end of a streak? The Clippers did that against Sacramento two games ago, at least according to Kevin at Clipperblog â€” Los Angeles ran its offense and got the shots it wanted, they just missed them. They missed 68 of them. In one game. Thatâ€™s pretty much the definition of an off shooting night.
But against Memphis the shots started to fall again and the Clips picked up an impressive win coming into the Laker game.
Things to look for. The Lakers had a lot of success in that first meeting with a high pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop, look to see more of it.
Sam Cassell had his way with Smush in the first meeting, although the Clippers went away from that match up late. The Lakers as a team are going to have to do a better job on him. Also, Shaun Livingston has had a couple good games in a row, if he continues he should get big minutes (and the Lakers might counter with Sasha).
The Lakers likely will see some zone defense. Get the ball inside, either by a pass or Kobe penetrating off the dribble, and the zone will break down.
“…and Kurt’s thing with Forum Blue and Gold is astonishingly bright…”
Jump over to Lakernoise when you get a chance.
Does anyone know why we have not yet had a John R. post predicting that David Stern will fix it so that the Lakers control the world and beat the Clippers?
John R. is in his closet hiding from the black helicopters.
I am absolutely loving the Lakers bench
Derek Banducci says
Huge difference between this year and last year: Lamar and Kobe on the bench and the Lakers are increasing their lead.
Well apparently the Lakers decided to miss all their FT’s so John couldn’t use it as evidence for a Laker fix
The Lakers had only shot 12 FT’s up until the Clippers started to foul when the game was decided. Clear evidence of league bias against the Lakers. But seriously. The Lakers balance and depth beat the Clips on this night.
7 turnovers by Kobe. That’s his total from like the last 7 games combined (I don’t know but he cut down recently). The people who saw the game… why so many turnovers by Kobe?
I’m not completely through the game on Tivo, but the bench does look good. And, the Clippers right now are just not the same team from the end of last season. But when was it announced Kaman was coming back, I missed that, I thought he was out for like another week?
And Roland Lazenby is far too kind.
kwame a. says
Bench played great, vlad and evans are looking more comfortable in the triangle, and Phil is learning that Bynum and Turiaf can play together. Couple that with Sasha and Farmar and you have a solid bench (that still can find a place for Cookie if you ask me). However, most important things from this game were Kobe not trying to assert himself at the expense of the offense (sans the 3-4 unwarranted to’s) and Lamar finally having a good game against his old mates. Wonderful team D the last two games, especially our front-court, which is stepping up defensivley
Derek Banducci says
According to the Clippers’ broadcast on ktla, Kaman said he wanted to play today, did well in warmups, and therefore got the nod.
Derek Banducci says
From Jeff Sagarin’s rankings of NBA teams (Sagarin’s rankings are used by the BCS), here’s how the Lakers stand right now:
Overall Rank: 7th
Strength of schedule (including home-court adv.): 23rd
Jeff Sagarin’s rankings:
Original source that alerted me to this:
Honestly, 7th seems about right.
There are only 2 East teams in the top 10 and only one West team in the bottom 10.