Man, Byron Scott had a sweet stroke. I was inclined not to like Byron Scott when he came to the Lakers because he was traded for personal favorite Norm Nixon (the guy I wanted to model my game after, as much as a fifth grader could in the YMCA league). But Scott could shoot, providing the perfect three-point counterbalance to Kareem, Worthy and Magic getting into the paint. I loved that he played his high school ball a couple blocks from the Forum at Inglewood High. I loved that quick catch-and-shoot jumper (but he could still create his own shot). Man, he was just fun to watch.
Not that I can root for his team to win tonight.
Letâ€™s talk about Bynum. His removal from the Laker starting lineup and Phil Jacksonâ€™s comments to the media about his work ethic led to a lot of ink and talk show air time along the lines of â€œPhil rarely publicly criticizes his players, he must be really frustratedâ€ articles. Iâ€™m sure he was a little frustrated; Bynum had a few down games in a row and made some poor offensive and defensive decisions.
But Phil is the master motivator, he goes to the media for the effect. It was a calculated public slap on the wrist because Phil thought that would work better than a private conversation. Nothing more, nothing less. Letâ€™s not read too much into it.
Finally. So you said to yourself, â€œKurt, those new NBA stats you use are nice, but why canâ€™t we apply these concepts and equations to things that really matter?â€ Well, someone finally has: Babemetrics.
Congratulations to Jon from Dodger Thoughts being named to Los Angeles magazineâ€™s list of the most influential people in the city. Heâ€™s not sure he deserves it, but I am. For my money, the best blogger in Los Angeles canâ€™t get enough credit.
Whither Kobe? He will be a game-time decision (Iâ€™ll update this as soon as I see any word). My personal thought: itâ€™s a long season, donâ€™t rush back for one game and have the problem linger. If Kobe does play, look for a lot of both Rasual Butler and Desmond Mason to cover him (often at the same time). If Kobe sits, Mo Evans will get more minutes.
Itâ€™s not just Kobe. The Hornets are banged up too, with three/fifths of their starting lineup out tonight. Try not to be shocked by this: Peja Stojakovic is injured (back spasms). Also out are Bobby Jackson (cracked rib) and forward David West (strained right forearm).
And the injuries donâ€™t help this: The Hornets are the worst shooting team in the NBA right now, shooting just 45.9% (eFG%) as a team. Chris Paul is the go-to offensive guy but he is shooting just 47.1% on the season.
Then there is the fact Desmond Mason (he of the 39.5% shooting percentage and 7.9 PER) is starting. And guys like Marc Jackson and Rasual Butler (both with PERs under 10) are playing 19 minutes or more a game.
The bright spots. Chris Paul is the focal point and he is good, heâ€™s averaging 19.9 points and 10 assists per 40 minutes (he uses about 25% of the Hornet possessions, and a third of those are assists).
And Tyson Chandler is a beast on the boards â€” so far this season he is the second best rebounder in the NBA, pulling down 21.3% of the available rebounds (only Dwight Howard is better). Heâ€™s not a scoring threat (7.1 points per 40 minutes) but the Lakers need to keep him off the board.
Old School blogging. If youâ€™ve been at this a couple years youâ€™re considered old school, but Hornets 24/7 is still doing well because itâ€™s such a good and smart read.
Things to look for. The Hornets have actually been a good defensive team this season (eighth best defensive rating in the league) but where they have struggled is to stop good power forwards. This is a game Odom can do a lot of damage.
When the Hornets have the ball itâ€™s pretty simple: The Lakers must not let Chris Paul control the game. Defending the point has been a big Laker weakness, and while some of that falls to Smush (and Farmar) we canâ€™t expect anyone to stay in front of the speedy Paul. Rotations inside will be key. Also, make Paul work on the defensive end a little.
kwame a. says
Kurt- I agree, the season is long, let kobe rest tonite and play friday, simple as that.
I liked the Hornets moves on paper, but I was skeptical about their chance to make the playoffs because the players they signed are all injury prone. B Jax, Peja and Chandler always are hurt and lo and behold, their hurt now.
Side note- what do you think of the Dodgers getting Schmidt, I like the move he’s a good top of the rotation power guy.
I like Schmidt, if the rumors are true and this is just a three year deal. He is not young, and power pitchers can fade, but put him in pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium and he’s good for three years. Expensive, but that’s the cost of top-flight pitching.
Ron Hitley says
Thanks for the hook up, Kurt. I’ll be very surprised if the Hornets escape with a win tonight, Kobe or no Kobe.
Oh, and @ Kwame: Damn right about Peja and Bojangles, but Tyson’s been a soldier so far. He missed one game but that was down to a mild concussion. He’s one of the few bright spots for the Hornets so far.
Byron used to sneak into games at the Forum as a kid.
That article on Jon calls him the “pioneer of the one team sports blog”, so we all owe him some thanks for his accomplishments.
I say Kobe should sit until Sunday…
kb24.com has video of Phil saying its up to kobe, and kobe saying its a gametime decision
John (Vancouver) says
It’s UPS! It’s Jack Bauer! It’s the Lakers in Canada!
Picking up Chinese food and going to watch the game while I study for my Japanese final exam (tomorrow at 8:30) 😀
John (Vancouver) says
Farmar got beat twice by Pargo with two fouls and a layup.
Farmar came right back at him with the play of the game so far – jab step and blew right by him. Just wow. And the Laker crowd was a collective “Ooooooh.”
Being a Lakers fan is going to be the death of me. Its so frustrating to watch them be out hustled by the Hornets.
John (Vancouver) says
Completely outhustled. Although this would be a different game if Luke would have hit some of those wide open 3’s, the Lakers clearly don’t deserve to win this game. The offensive rebound difference is pathetic; just completely outworked on the boards.
I hear ya Ian…
I understand a team that has the “world against them” feeling giving you troubles but just like in the Milwaukee game you have the Lakers getting chances to win and they just don’t work for it. Then Phil subs out the people who made that move (not bad exactly) but it’s just so ridiculous to watch them get worked like this.
So far the Lakers seems to just lose it when they go down by 8 or something. Seen it a couple times so far. They’re great when the lead is something like 5, 6 or 7 but I’m dumbfounded…
If I had heart meds I’d be looking for them right now…
We should not be losing these games.
What the hell….
How FSN just lost it? Interviewing an opposing player after they win? Give me a BREAK. First Courtside Live or what ever the Vlade flop you call it and then this!
We go far too much out of the way to accomadate other teams…
These games give me heart trouble. I can’t stand to watch them when they lose like this. It’s not because of lack of ability, but lack of effort. Farmar is one of the only regulars that plays hard every night no matter what. Smush really has to go!
The story of the game: The Lakers lost in all of the hustle categories and shot terrible at the free throw line. Change those issues, and they would have totally killed the hornets. To me that’s a sign of a team that didn’t take this game seriously…
And nevermind that Odom was total KIA from this game after the 1st quarter…
I’m sorry but tonight he just further pushed me towards believing that using him as a trade piece would be far more benefical in the long run compared to keeping him.
That should be MIA….KIA would be a little harsh.
Big let down, but considering we were out rebounded by almost 20 and the game was pretty close up til the end there is at least a little consolation. I t would have been nice to see Bynum given more than 7 minutes, but oh well. Almost every team loses games like this once in a while, calm down people!
come on now lets not get caried away.. we lose one game and everyone wants to jump ship.. but seriously we lost one game to a team who had been losing and in the NBA every team out there could win on any given night… I’m serious.. this league isn’t like the NFL when in one of the however many years the league has been around there is actually a unbeaten team that takes it all the way..this league is much differant.. all I can say is play bynum and Ronny T. more and we wil win more.. PERIOD.. whats up Kurt..
I’m not jumping ship….but the Lamar enigma is not going away. So I’m sorry, we can keep touting the virtues of Lamar but the man is not getting it. And the last thing we need is for him to do something equally strange during a playoff game.
kwame a. says
As far as Lamar, nobody is gonna play great every nite, but this season he’s followed up his poor games with a string of consistent ones, so hopefully he got those turnovers and bricks out of his system, I think he’s having a great season, just one bad game
As far as Kobe, it was not his fault we lost, but he is clearly limited out there, and shouldnt have played last nite, he essentially forced us into a zone because he cant guard anyone man-to-man. I liked the idea of the zone, I think we should use it more, but with Kobe banged uo it just sunk us, open threes for Pargo, more O boards.
Oh yeah, how good is Chris Paul, that dude is already one of the 10 best players in the leauge and can competley control a game like Kidd with a shot and more speed
I’ve got to agree with kwame a. about Odom, he has some frustrating off games (but then everyone was off last night). That said, he is still solidly the second best player on this team, he scores efficently from the post or wing, dishes out a fair amount of assists and is a good rebounder. Those packages just don’t come along all that often.
And Kobe the jump shooter didn’t help us much last night.
I thought Walton and our point guards got outplayed last night. Walton going 0-4 from 3pt and missing at key moments during the 4th qtr comeback and Chris knocking the ball away from him causing a turnover really hurt in the 4th. Looking at the box score and having Farmar/Parker 13pts vs. Paul/Pargo 46pts tells me a lot as well. Over all I thought the coaches were not prepared for the 1,2 punch of quick guards. I’m sure it will be different for Nash & Tony Parker. Good learning experience. PJ is still tweaking as he should. After the all-star break they could go on one of these 10 game winning streaks like Dallas or San Antonio. The road should prepare them or break them.
When he has a game like that it highlights Odomâ€™s importance to this team’s success. I recognize and understand that he is going to have games like this this year. It is amazing that he is playing in the first place, so I’ll give him a mulligan and know that he will bounce back.
I stiil think Kobe should have sat, then maybe the rest of the team would have come out with a matching hunger…
I agree with Gatinho, AM570 after the game talked about how the game was disappointing since they figured the supporting cast would be pumped up since Kobe ended up playing today..I think it was quite the opposite…they were ready to play without him but once they found out he was coming they weren’t as pumped anymore..
..this of course..is completely unsubstantiated
unsubstantiated or no, the “reverse Ewing Effect” seemed to play a role last night.
Rebounding is the reason we lost (effort being the cause of not rebounding, it seems, but I didn’t see the game). Just looking at the box score, FG% was similar, TOs were similar (Odom’s 7 didnt help, but they didnt make us lose as badly as we did). NOK had almost 20 more shot attempts than we did. Why? Because of their 20 offensive rebounds. The Lakers had 5.
Could Bynum and Turiaf have helped in this regard? Who can say. I can’t see how two hungry players could have hurt, though. They were in a combined 16 minutes and had 5 block, but only 2 rebounds.
Look, Odom is a skill player, not a power player. Even Kwame is more of a skill player than power. We need a Turiaf/Rambis type player in there fighting for every rebound. When I coach 5th graders, I teach them to believe every rebound is their’s if they want it. The Lakers didn’t seem to want it last night (the rebounds, and therefore the win).