I think Iâ€™m the only person in the world pumped for this game. The slumping Lakers and the season-long-slumping Celtics get together for a game so uninspiring Red Auerbach wouldnâ€™t watch it.
But I will â€” from really amazing seats just a couple rows off the court. Itâ€™s a birthday gift from my thoughtful wife. I go to a handful of games a season, but always up in the 300s (up above the luxury boxes, where the real fans sit as we like to say). This should be an interesting treat. (As the face value of these tickets are at more than $200 a piece, and these seats are always in demand at Staples, Iâ€™m on a donâ€™t ask/donâ€™t tell policy with my wife on how she got a hold of them.)
Wearing a back armband. The passing of former Celtic Dennis Johnson, who was coaching in the D-League, saddens me. For those that donâ€™t know, he played his high school ball in Compton and went to college at Pepperdine. RIP, DJ.
Hip-Hop Kobe. Great read over at Straight Banginâ€™ regarding Kobe and his place in the hip-hop world (via True Hoop):
Kobe’s preeminent ability taken in concert with the success of the Lakers, the direction in which they appear to be headed, and the improvement of his teammates has begun to recast KB824 as something different, something better. No longer unapproachable and selfish, he’s become a gallant figure whose scoring is generally placed within the context of Bryant’s desire to win through any possible means. Particularly notable outbursts of scoring are testaments to his talent, not manifestations of his narcissism. And people are even writing about the improved rapport he’s fostered on a young team. His skills are no longer assailed as the traits of a stubborn individual, and his image has been slowly repaired, most symbolically by his placement adjacent to LeBron at the center of Nike’s basketball future.
But to truly understand the altered perception of Kobe, one must turn on the radio in order to receive ultimate judgment: He’s among the featured players promoted on Hot 97’s all-star weekend giveaway. That’s a credibility he was not supposed to enjoy.
All-Star note. Friend of the site Broken Cowboy has some ideas to save the All-Star game.
Last meeting. One of those games were Iâ€™m not sure a lot came be taken from the Last meeting into this one. First, that game had no Paul Piece, heâ€™ll be ready to go tonight. Second, Kobe was ticked after being suspended for the Knicks game the night before and dropped 40 on the Celtics in a 111-98 win.
About PP. In his five games back he is averaging 24 a contest, shooting 55.2% (eFG%) overall and a crazy 54.2% from three. So, you better start covering him out by midcourt. What makes Pierce hard to defend is, like Kobe, he can shoot from anywhere, can drive or shoot the jumper.
Heâ€™s going to test the Laker D. (Gulp)
Other Celtics who hurt us. Ryan Gomes had 23 and shot the ball great from the outside, and Gerald Green had 22. Both looked pretty good, and we know Green can dunk if we give him the lane.
The good thing the Lakers did last game was hold Al Jefferson to 10 points on 3-11 from the floor. He still had 14 points but he didnâ€™t kill the Lakers inside (meanwhile Bynum was 5-7 shooting).
Donâ€™t forget to check out the Celtic Blogs. Jeff and Celtics Blog remains one of, if not the best, fan blog on the Web, with smart commenters and a passionate. Also worth noting are Celtics 17, Celtics Pride 24/7, Loyâ€™s Place, I Heart Celtics, Can Danny,
Perk is a beast and Redâ€™s Army.
Dealing with our frustration. There are no things to look for tonight, because there is only one thing that matters â€” the Lakers playing some defense. Smush staying with DeLonte, Bynum making quicker recognition and better rotations down low, Kobe/Odom/whoever sticking with Pierce. Bottom line, just play some damn defense.
I donâ€™t remember Laker fans being this frustrated with the team in a long time. The Rudy T. year was hard to watch, but there was a sense of futility about it. We Laker fans are frustrated now because you can see potential in this squad â€” theyâ€™ve showed it for stretches â€” so itâ€™s hard to watch. Injuries can account for some of it, but not the drop-off in effort, particularly on the defensive end. That is unforgivable.
Tonight is the perfect chance to start turning things around.
(Iâ€™ll try to post some comments during the game from the Crackberry, if I see anything interesting.)
chris henderson says
any word on Walton’s comeback? could use him asap!
Last I heard, Luke was shooting for sunday
Yes, Walton wanted tonight but Sunday was expected
Kurt, do you know anything about the Pippen situation? If we’re gonna sign him don’t you think we need him right now with the shortage of forwards as opposed to later in the season when we get healthier and there isn’t much PT for him?
Maybe it’s becuase I’m also a baseball/Dodgers fan, but I’m not THAT frustrated in this team. Everybody goes through the difficulties over the course of a full season … this is just the rough stretch of the 2006-07 season that the Lakers were inevitably going to go through. They’re missing two starters and a third isn’t playing at full compacity.
The only frustrating thing for me about this was the decision to sign Vlad Radmonovich in the offseason. It didn’t make much sense to me at the time, but I was willing to give Phil and Kupchack the benifit of the doubt even if (a) the offense from 2006 was fine (b) the D needed more help and (c) Radman is almost the identical to Brian Cook …what do I know. But know it seems pretty obvious that Vlad wasn’t a good choice. Cook’s been buried and the defense still sucks. I know the recent loosing streak is more a product of the offense collapsing, but the defense has been consistently terrible going back to last season. Forget Jason Kidd, the defense needs fixing before the Lakers can even think about contention.
Bynum’s emergence has made this season worthwhile, for me, regardless of how much (if any) improvement there is on last years record.
kwame a. says
Vlad is a different player than cook, he can play the small forward position and is a far better team defender. One year under the tri, and him being healthy will go a long way to showing what type of player he really is
I agree with Kwame A…Vlad is a much better player than Cook. Cook is strictly a pick and pop jump shooter. Vlad has a more well rounded offensive game and a much higher upside. They just need to make the offense easy for him. Tell him, when Kobe drives run to one of the corners and spot up. It’s that easy.
Rob L. says
Let’s all gasp in shock now.
Radmanovic lied about shoulder injury
Oh man! Good job Rob L.
First of all… we all knew he was either snowboarding or skiing… he had to be. Horrible excuse. Who falls over while walking and seperates their shoulder? Something seemed fishy about that whole scenario.
I give the man some credit for coming clean. He could have been an asshole and kept lying but he realized that probably wouldn’t be a good idea. On the other hand, like the article said… he could have foreseen someone ratting him out.
Either way… really dissapointed with VladRad. Its like having a child who gets in trouble at school and you have to ground him for a couple months to teach him a lesson.
Or maybe Pinkerton solved the mystery
Red 5 says
Word– I knew it wasn’t a “fall”
the moment I heard where Rad was
when it happened.
I’d like to go to the game tonight myself,
I probably won’t be able to cut loose from work in time.
I sure would like to see Lakers
licking their chops ready to take the BCs down
instead of playing them even as if it were
a pickup game at the Y.
Stop being so bloody afraid
of getting in the paint.
Nobody– not even Lamar–
would take a step into the key
during that infamous run in the second half
while Kobe sat on the bench.
DJ– man, I hated him as an opponent
because he played like SParker
ought to be playing.
He died still involved with basketball
and just after having a laugh with a friend.
Not many better ways to go out, eh?
– 5 –
That was the most well-written public appology I’ve ever read. I wonder who his PR firm is.
PS. not the news I wanted to hear in the hours before leaving for Mammoth.
Rob L. says
I should say that credit goes to Henry at True Hoop for finding the Radman article. I was just reposting here.
I agree that the apology was well-written. Hope he hits rehab with the same precision.
I hope all of you are watching this game…
Shammond Williams sighting!
Pierce looks heavy.
A shammond sighting sending a message to Sasha and Farmar
Rob L. says
14 – I’m glad to be watching this game. Holy c–p. The Lakers are destroying a team they’re supposed to destroy. They’re hustling. They’re even playing some D here to begin the 3rd. I am a happy man right now.
The Celtics are a slump buster.they are bad
Tony B. says
Shammond should teach the rest of our guards to make the post entry pass, he did it well under pressure.
Kurt, if you are correct that a Shammond sighting is a message to Sasha or Farmar, we need to permanently get rid of the messenger. Sending messages to players who get token minutes won’t fix anything.
Everyone played! About time to see the coaches do some rethinking–but they’re still far from “outside the box.”
Shammond Anderson at point guard is a clear improvement over the Smusher–if Phil isn’t ready to work in Jordan Farmar. 24 minutes for Smush is not unreasonable–maybe 15-20 off the bench is better. Turiaf needs more minutes; Bynum needs more rest.
Defense was acceptable for the second, third, and fourth quarter.
Bynum looked far more aggressive then he has in the past few games….
Craig W. says
I know it was the Celtics, but I think Shammond and McKie have earned some minutes backing up the starters. If Shammond can continue looking this good running the club – not a given with better competition – I suspect he will be starting before the end of the year.
Oh lord, Shammond kinda reminds me of a veteran-version Smush. Hopefully, Phil gives him a shot.
This brings up the question: Should Kobe just start attacking in the first quarter? Make sure he is hot then start to involve other people? Because frankly as long as we win I don’t care about the other players fragile egos, they make enough money.